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The proposition, p.31
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       The Proposition, p.31

           Jessica Schlafer
 
Chapter 30

  The next few weeks were spent in a similar fashion. We would wake up late, eat breakfast, work out in the gym (as much as I could handle), I would take a nap, and then we would have a late dinner, and take a bath, where Nick would wash my hair. Almost every night, I would take care of Nick. I was getting increasingly frustrated, to say the least.

  The day came when I had to go back to the doctor for a check-up and to have my cast removed. Nick drove me to the doctor’s office in his SUV. Once again, I would see Dr. Rhodes. I was called from the waiting room to an exam room. I had been weighed, my blood pressure taken, blood sample taken, and I was just waiting for Dr. Rhodes. Nick had waited in the waiting room.

  There was a knock at the door and Dr. Rhodes came inside.

  “Hello, Abby, how are you?”

  “I’m doing pretty good, Melissa, how are you?”

  “I’m great, thank you,” she said. “What brings you in today?” She asked, shuffling papers. “Oh, we’re taking your cast off today. I bet you’re happy about that.”

  “Oh, yeah,” I said.

  “How are you feeling otherwise?”

  “My leg still hurts a lot of the time. I still have headaches and dizziness.”

  “How often?”

  “Not that often, maybe once or twice a week, but not always.”

  “That’s good. Let me take a look at your leg? I see you’re still wearing a bandage.”

  “Yeah, not every day, though. Sometimes it’s the only way I can handle the pain.”

  “Hmmm, I’m going to set up an MRI to see if there’s any additional damage that we didn’t catch after the accident.”

  I nodded and Dr. Rhodes ran through more tests with me and then decided it was time to remove my cast. They used a saw to remove the cast and Dr. Rhodes ran through another few tests, to make sure my arm was in good shape.

  After receiving a relatively clean bill of health, I thanked Dr. Rhodes and went through check-out. They set up an appointment for an MRI on my leg. I went into the waiting room and Nick was not there. I was curious, but not worried.

  I walked outside, expecting to find Nick waiting in the car. I looked around and didn’t see his car. I walked up the street about a block and turned around the other way. I still didn’t see Nick. I was starting to get worried. I didn’t have my phone with me so I couldn’t call him.

  Oh, shit! I have no money, no credit cards, and no way to contact anyone! What am I going to do?

  I sat on a bench, not far from the doctor’s office to think. I could find a pay phone and call Paul. No, that would get Nick in trouble. I decided just to wait. Maybe he just ran to a store.

  Time passed, the sun was bright and it was hot. I was trying to suppress my panic. After what seemed like hours, I recognized Nick’s SUV pulling up to the doctor’s office. Nick looked around, saw me on the bench, and walked over to me.

  “Hi,” he said.

  “'Hi?' Are you kidding?”

  “I’m sorry, Abby.”

  “Right, sorry. Nick, I’m in a strange city with no money, no credit cards, no phone, and no way of getting in contact with anyone. I was going to call my parents and ask them to send a taxi and have it bring me to the airport.”

  “Where is your phone?”

  “I forgot it, but that’s not the point,” I yelled.

  “Abby, come on. Please, let’s talk about it in the car.”

  “Of course,” I said. “You and Paul practically have me hostage here.”

  “Abby, you’re free to go wherever you want, anytime you want. I’m not holding you hostage.”

  “Where were you, Nick?”

  “Paul heard I was in town for your appointment and called and demanded to see me. I’ve been there the whole time.”

 

  “Did you think I was going to be in the doctor’s the whole time?”

  “No, but I thought you’d call me when you were finished.”

  “I DON’T HAVE A PHONE,” I screamed, immediately regretting it. Thankfully we were in the car, driving away.

  “I didn’t know that, Abby. Fuck. Look, I know I should’ve been back a long time ago, but I couldn’t leave. There’s some things going on that Paul had to tell me about.”

  “Like?”

  “Like we have to go to The Winfield tomorrow night to see Merritt. He’s been asking about you around town.”

  “What if I don’t want to go to The Winfield?”

  “You can do what you want, Abby, but I have to go.”

  “I don’t know what to do anymore, Nick. I guess I don’t have a choice.”

  Nick just shook his head.

  “Nick,” I said softly, “I was scared. I didn’t where you were or what to do. I was really just scared.”

  “Abbs,” he said, taking my hand, “I’m so sorry, believe me. I won’t let it happen again, I promise.” He added, kissing my hand.

  “Can we do something while we’re out? I love being with you at your house, but I’d just like to do something else.”

  “Okay, do you like birds?”

  “Um, yeah, I guess so.”

  "There's a nature reserve where we can take a boat ride and check out the birds."

  "Ooooookay," I said. "A nature reserve, ehh?"

  Nick laughed, "It's something here that I've never done before, let's try it. I'll buy you dinner afterward."

  "Let's do it, then."

  Nick drove just outside the city to the nature reserve and we took a leisurely boat tour, checking out the birds in the area. I was apprehensive when he said we were going to a nature reserve, it's not usually something I'd do. But, we really had a fun time riding the boat and looking at the wildlife.

  As we were leaving, Nick took a picture of us for his iPhone.

  "I love seeing you smile," he said, sneaking a kiss.

  "Me too," I said. "I'm really happy."

  Even though people have tried to kill me.

  "Let's go get something to eat."

  I followed him to the SUV and he drove us to a little diner, not far from the preserve. As we got out and walked toward the restaurant, I noticed an SUV driving by, very slowly. Nick noticed it, too. He stopped and lifted his shirt up, revealing a hand gun in his waist band. The SUV sped off.

  "Holy shit, Nick! You have a gun?"

  "I always have a gun," he said, nonchalantly. "I have to, Abby."

  "I didn't know you had one."

  "I have one here and one on my leg. There's two more in the car."

  "Holy shit," I shook my head.

  "Are you okay with that?"

  "I mean, if I wasn't, were you gonna get rid of them?"

  "No," he said simply.

  "Okay, then I guess I'm okay with it," I said, taking his hand.

  We had a nice, late lunch at the diner and were on our way back to Nick's house. Nick was driving down the highway, smoothly changing lanes and passing cars. I noticed that he liked to drive fast.

  "Baby?" he sounded a little concerned.

  "Hmm?"

  "I need you to sit up, honey," he said very cautiously.

  "Nick?" I sat straight up.

  "The car that was at the diner has been following us for the last 20 minutes."

  Holy shit!

  "What do you need me to do?" I said trying to keep my voice steady.

  "Just stay there and be calm. I don't think they'll try anything on the open road like this, in the middle of the day. There's too many people around."

 

  We picked up speed and Nick weaved in and out of traffic. I looked in the mirror and the car followed every move Nick made.

  "Shit," Nick said, more to himself. Then, louder, "Babe, open the glove compartment and take out the black box."

  I did as he asked and handed him the box. He opened it and pulled out a gun. I knew nothing about guns so I was immediately tense.

  "Baby, look at me," I nervously looked at him. "
I won't let them hurt you. Do you understand?"

  I nodded.

  "Abby, I promise."

  Breathe, stupid!

  We drove faster while Nick watched the car behind us. The SUV was almost at 100 miles per hour, Nick overtaking the other cars on the road with ease. We were in the left lane, the car behind us about five cars back.

  "Babe, I'm gonna get off the next exit, hang on."

  And with those words, Nick swerved the SUV across three lanes of traffic and off the exit. The other car didn't have time to make the exit and we could see smoke from the brakes locking up, and the car swerving all over the road. Other cars on the highway slammed their brakes and we could see swerving and hear horns blaring.

  I finally remembered to breathe, almost gasping for air.

  "Woo," Nick yelled. "Fuck with me? Fuck yeah!"

  "Oh my God, Nick! Did that just happen? Who was that?"

  "Baby, it's Merritt's people. I don't know what they wanted but I'm not taking any chances."

  I was shaking. Once again, I was thrust in a dangerous situation that I had no control over.

  Nick noticed I was shaking, "Baby, you're okay. I told you I wouldn't let them hurt you."

  "Nick, I want to go home," I was on the verge of tears, feeling like a panic attack was coming on.

  "All right, honey. We're going home."

  "No, Nick. I want to go back to Boston. I can't do this. I'm not strong enough. I'm so scared."

  "Abby, I'm here. I'll take care of you."

  "Nick, you're putting yourself in more danger by just having me here. Just let me go," I whispered.

  Nick took a deep breath, "I don't want you to go, Abby. Please. We have that meeting with Merritt tomorrow. I promise you, thing will be different after that. Please don't leave."

  "I have all these feelings for you that I wasn't supposed to have. Then, because of this situation, I was almost killed and now we're together but I'm not doing the job. I don't know how I'm supposed to feel or what I'm supposed to be doing anymore. I'm so confused, but, more than that, Nick, I'm scared. I never know what's gonna happen next. I hate that feeling that, if I walk outside, someone will be there with a gun. Or, if I ride somewhere with you, someone is gonna come after us."

  "Abby, it's gonna change.”

  “I don’t know if I can do it.”

  “Baby, it’s one more night. They won’t be able to find us at the cabin. If tomorrow doesn’t go the way I’m pretty sure it’s gonna go, I’ll drive you to the airport from the meeting. I…just can’t think about losing you.”

  I took a deep breath and resigned myself. “I trust you, Nick. Please remember that.”

  He took my hand and kissed it. We finished the drive without incident and in silence.

 
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