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The proposition, p.32
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       The Proposition, p.32

           Jessica Schlafer
 
Chapter 31

  Once at the cabin, we went back inside and I decided I needed a nap.

  “I need to be alone for a little while. I’m just going to lie down for an hour.”

  “Okay Abby. I have some business to take care of.”

  I turned and walked up the stairs to Nick’s bedroom. Once inside, exhaustion hit me and I fell into bed without even changing my clothes.

 

  I had terrible dreams during my nap. I dreamt that I was at the cabin with children who kept calling me “Mommy.” We were outside and we could hear gunfire and bombs. We would see Nick at the windows, covered in blood and he would shout, “I’m okay, it’s not my blood.” Then a car would start driving down the driveway, at top speed, headed straight toward me and the children.

  I woke up sweating, out of breath, and clinging to a pillow. I sat in the bedroom, trying to get my bearings, and I realized it was dark.

  How long have I been asleep?

  I slowly got out of bed and started to go downstairs. I could hear Nick on the phone.

  “No.” Pause. “Who the fuck was it, then?” Pause “Of course she’s safe.” Pause. “I’m not bringing her back out now, it’s not safe.” Long pause. “BECAUSE I LOVE HER.” Pause. “We’ll be at the meeting tomorrow. I’m shutting the phone off.”

  I heard the phone slam down on something and I scurried into the bathroom. I turned on the shower, stripped off my clothes, and got in. I sat down on the floor and just let the hot water wash over me. The water was starting to get cold when I decided to stand up and wash. I shut the water off and stepped out.

  Nick was standing in the bathroom with a huge, soft towel. “Hey,” he whispered.

  “Hey,” I walked into the towel.

  He massaged the towel, drying me. “Did you sleep well?”

  “I had a terrible dream.”

  “What was it?”

  I looked into his eyes and shuddered. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

  “Okay.”

  “I heard you on the phone.”

  Nick gulped, “You did?”

  “Yes.” I watched his reaction. Did you mean it?”

  Nick looked into my eyes, pushed my hair back from my face. “Yes.” My turn to gulp. “Abby, I love you.”

 

  "Oh Nick," I threw my arms around his neck. "I love you."

  The towel dropped to the floor and Nick picked me up, while I wrapped my legs around his waist. All the while, we were kissing. Nick walked us to the bedroom and set me down on the bed. We made love for hours, only stopping when we were both physically exhausted.

  The next day, we awoke in the late morning and made love again. We showered and made love in the shower. We finally got dressed and went to the kitchen to have lunch.

  "Abby, you know we have that meeting with Merritt tonight?"

  "Yeah, I know."

  "Are you okay to go?"

  "I don't want to go, but we have to."

  "Baby," he pulled me close and kissed me. "I'll take care of you."

  "Can I have a gun?"

  Nick got very serious, "No! No way! You don't know how to shoot. It'll put you in more danger than not having one."

  "Well, Nick, I'm kind of just a sitting duck out there. I can't drive. I can't shoot. I'm bringing nothing to the table."

 

  "Babe, you're bringing you to the table. You'll be a huge distraction for Merritt."

  "Are you sure?"

  "Absolutely," he said. "He wouldn't have come after us if he wasn't aware of what we're doing."

  "Will he hurt us or you or me at the meeting?"

  "No, we'll have bodyguards with us. Besides, this is supposed to be a peace keeping meeting."

  "Oh," was all I could come up with.

  "Babe, there are a lot of things that are changing after tonight. You won't believe it."

  "I trust you," I said, kissing him long and hard.

  That afternoon, we went for a walk behind the cabin. I didn't know there was a small lake just a short hike away. Luckily, we had packed a lunch, so we were able to have a picnic beside the lake.

  "Is this all yours?" I asked, eating a sandwich.

  "Yep, all mine," he said, between mouthfuls. "I bought it a couple of years ago."

  "It's amazing here."

  "I thought you were a city girl?"

  I laughed, "I am, but I love it here, too. It's so quiet."

  "Yeah, I love it. It's when there's noise that I get worried."

  "I bet," I said, laughing again. "Wait a minute...."

  "Yeah?"

  "So, this is all yours?"

  "Yeah?"

  "And we're all alone here?"

  Nick smiled, starting to crawl toward me, "Yeah."

  I screamed and giggled as Nick started kissing me, backing me onto the blanket.

  I didn't think it was possible to be this happy and this scared at the same time. But, the way I felt about Nick was making me feel giddy. And the situation with Merritt and the business had me terrified. Not just of Merritt, but what if the police started investigating? Nick would go to jail for a long time and I'd be alone again. That thought alone was terrifying.

  Back at the cabin, we showered again and prepared for the meeting. Nick had asked me to wear something revealing, so I happily obliged. I was finally at a point where I didn't have any bruises showing, except for my leg, of course.

  We made our way to Paul's home. Once inside the gates, I noticed a lot of cars in the driveway.

  "Nick, what's going on?"

  "It's part of the changes. We need the back up."

  "I see."

  "Just stay close to me."

  I nodded, he parked, and we walked into Paul's massive house. There were several large men standing around and we were able to find Paul in the kitchen. He was dressed in a suit with no jacket.

  “Abby and Nick, I’m so glad to see you,” he said. “We’re almost ready. Can I offer either of you a drink?”

  I held Nick’s arm and shook my head as Nick said, “No, thanks, man. Let’s just get on with it.”

  “All right,” Paul said. “Let’s do this.”

  We followed Paul to his office. He handed Nick a holster and a gun. “I know you already have one.”

  “Yeah, I understand,” Nick said.

  Paul started to walk out and we followed, back down the stairs and to a waiting SUV. Paul walked to the passenger side of the SUV while Nick opened the door for me to climb into the driver’s side, in the back seat. We rode most of the way in silence, Nick holding my hand on the left and Paul sitting to my right. A large bodyguard was driving. I didn’t notice what happened to the other cars when we left.

  Just after we pulled in front of The Winfield, Paul squeezed my knee and said, “You’ll be just fine, Abby.”

  “Baby,” Nick whispered, “Whatever happens, just stay close to me.”

  You bet your sweet ass, buddy!

 
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