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The proposition, p.18
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       The Proposition, p.18

           Jessica Schlafer

  Chapter 17

  I decided I would just kick back and watch movies for the rest of the night. Halfway through my second movie, my phone rang.

  "Hello?" I answered.

  "Abigail," Merritt said.

  How did he get my number?!

  "Hello, Merritt," I said coldly.

  "My dear Abigail, I understand you are alone tonight? That your Nick is out of town on business?"

  "Who told you that?"

  "That is not important. I'm calling for you to accompany me to dinner this evening. I would like to apologize for the events in my club with my former employee."

  "I'm sorry, Merritt. I'm just not feeling up to it this evening."

  "Abigail, I don't think you understand. I'm not asking you to dinner, darling. I'll be arriving at Paul's home in 20 minutes. I'll be waiting for you."

  He disconnected the call and I laid in the bed, staring at my phone.

  Like hell!

  I stormed out of my room and directly to Paul's office, he was not there. I went downstairs and looked all over for him, but he was still out.


  I stomped back up the stairs and my phone rang.

  "Abby," Paul's voice.

  "Paul, if you think I'm going to dinner with Merritt..."

  "...Abby, I'm with Merritt. Just get dressed and meet him in the front."


  He hung up and I went back to my bedroom to get dressed.

  I'm not going to spend any time making myself look good, that's for damn sure!

  I threw on some black pants, a blue tank top, and blue flip flops. I waited for Merritt in the living room, watching for him to pull up. Sure enough, exactly 20 minutes after he called, his car pulled into the driveway. I watched for eight minutes before I walked out. Merritt was just getting out of the car.

  "Abigail, beautiful as always," he kissed my hand.

  "Thank you," I said.

  You're doing a job, get it together!!

  He opened the car door for me and I climbed in. He sat beside me and Marquis drove.

  "I hope I'm not disturbing you too much this evening," he said.

  "Well, I did some baking and I'm pretty tired because I over-did it."

  "I won't keep you out too late, then."

  I'll throw up if you try.

  As we drove through downtown Portland, he droned on and on about the architecture and history of buildings. I tried not to look or sound as bored as I felt. Finally, the car pulled in front of a trendy restaurant.

  "I do hope you like sushi," Merritt said as we exited the car and walked into the restaurant.

  "I love it."


  I followed him inside and sat at the table where Paul was waiting.

  "Abby, what have you been doing all day?" Paul asked.

  "Well, I went swimming and then I did a bunch of baking."

  "Baking? In my house? Was there even anything there to bake with?"

  "No," I laughed. "I had Diego take me to the grocery store."

  "That's good. You know, your car is there, you can drive it any time you'd like."

  "Oh. I didn't realize it was there. But, I'm really more comfortable with someone else in the car with me. Plus, I don't have my license."

  "We'll take care of that," Paul said.

  Don’t roll your eyes!

  "Abigail, my dear, I would just like to take a moment to apologize for what happened at the club."

  I tensed. "Thank you."

  "I knew, when I hired Ben, that he had some problems. I regret my decision to give him a chance. I'd like you to know that he has been handled."

  That last sentence sent a shiver racing down my spine. I decided just to smile and eat my dinner.

  Lucky for me, there was no further talk of Ben or the incident at the club. If I had different company, I would have had an enjoyable meal. Afterward, Paul told me that he'd be home a bit later, that he had some business to take handle. Of course, Merritt was quick to volunteer to drive me home.

  "Dear Abigail," Merritt said, as the car drove to Paul's house. "It's such a shame that you've ended up with Nick."

  "Why is that?" I said, trying to keep it light.

  "Hmmmm, oh the things I could do with you," he ran his finger up my leg.

  "Please don't do that," I said, uncomfortably trying to get away.

  "Abigail, you must know how pathetic Nick is?"

  "He's not pathetic," I tried.


  "Abigail, there's so much you don't know. Look a little deeper into things, you'll see."

  At that moment, we pulled in front of Paul's house, and I jumped out and ran to the door. I was fumbling with the lock when I felt Merritt standing very close behind me.

  "Abigail, you look and smell amazing. You are a remarkable woman and I'd love to steal you away from here. We could travel the world together. I could make you very happy, Abigail."

  I was holding my breath. I was afraid of what he would do next. I had managed to get the door unlocked, but I didn't open the door and I hadn't moved. I didn't dare to do anything.

  Merritt stood for a moment and leaned close to me. "You dropped these on my boat," he whispered, handing my panties.

  Before I could react, he walked back to his car and was gone. I went inside, bolted the door, and ran up to the shower. I threw out my panties, I wanted to burn them. I wanted to wash with scalding water, to get the feel of him off me. I couldn't stand it.

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