Getting caught

Previous posts: The Beginning, Crispin Meets Gina, Spilt Milk, Pretty Penny, 4am, Stumble, Left in the Lurch & Slip

It was 5am and Larry was still sleeping. Slivers of sunlight were casting bands of light across Nancy’s side of the bed, and she groaned softly, waking with the sun in her eyes. She slid out of bed and pulled a jersey from the top shelf of the clothing cupboard, but before she could put it on, she spotted a brown corner poking out from under the stack of t-shirts on the bottom shelf.

She quickly looked around, listening hard. Larry seemed to be fast asleep. She carefully tugged the corner, pulling the envelope free. It felt heavy in her hands.

Things had never been so secretive between them before. Or maybe they had been and she was only noticing now. She held a secret too, she reminded herself. The feel of Crispin’s lips against hers made her squirm with guilt – guilt at deceiving Larry, for betraying him, but also from the excitement. Crispin made her feel crazy.

Nancy stared at the envelope. It was like a test, and she wanted to cheat so badly. She cast a look over her shoulder, checking on Larry again. Just his deep breathing met her ears. She quietly closed the cupboard door and tiptoed out of the room. At the stairs, she carefully stepped over the creaking steps, her journey much more silent than Larry’s had been the night before, and headed for the kitchen. She switched the kettle, waiting for it to boil.

As clouds of steam rose from the spout, she held the envelope over it. The edges began to lift and peel back until she could open it without a tear or rip. Adrenaline was making her jump at every creak, every whisper groaning against the windows and the scratch of branches against the outside walls.

She slowly shook the contents out of the envelope. A pair of blue eyes stared up at her. Is this some kind of fucking joke? It was like the breath had been slammed out of her chest. Crispin. A picture of Crispin. He was wearing a black polo shirt. Short sleeves, and a goofy smile on his face. His arm was around someone, but she was cut out. 

Her hands shook and she dropped the photo on the counter and unfolded the stapled sheets. “Crispin Grove” it read. Her eyes caught snippets of words. “Missing”, “18 months”, “exhibiting signs…”

Nancy couldn’t breathe. What was Larry doing with this? Who is he? Who is my husband? Nancy shoved the folded paper back into the envelope. Her hand hesitated over the photo, before she slid it under the microwave. In the utility drawer, she found a stick of glue. She pasted the envelope lid down again and forced herself back up the stairs.

Her legs were like lead. She had to remind herself to draw in breath and let it out again. She peeked around the door and found Larry still asleep. Hastily, Nancy opened the cupboard door, stuck the envelope back where she found it.

She threw on some clothes, and grabbed her cellphone and bag. Back in the kitchen she retrieved the picture and scribbled a note for Larry.

Nancy sat in her car and dialed Crispin’s number. It rang until voicemail. 

“Shit, shit, shit!” she bashed the steering wheel and pressed redial. Again, voice mail. “Shit.”

Nancy started the car and backed out the driveway. She vaguely remembered the place their taxi had stopped at the few times they had met and she headed in that direction, hoping her memory would help her find her way.

***

 Crispin woke up to a loud, insistent knocking on his door. He glanced at the alarm clock. 6am. The door knob twisted.

“Crispin?” He heard his name hissed. “Crispin!” And his cellphone rang. 10 missed calls. What the hell?

He stumbled out of bed and unlocked the door. Nancy practically landed on top of him. She was pale and panting, and tears were streaming down her cheeks.

“Nancy,” he exhaled, steadying her. “What happened?”

He led her to the bed and sat her down. She flung her arms around him, pressing her wet face against his neck. Crispin wrapped his arms around her, breathing her in.

She gently pulled away and scrambled in her bag for the picture of Crispin. She shoved it in his hands and stared straight at him. He looked down at the picture and frowned.

“Where did you get this?”

But she wasn’t listening. An “ahh” had escaped her lips and she was sitting stock still.

“Shit,” he whispered.

“Crispin…” She could not pull her eyes away from the scars on his right arm. She had raised her hand to touch them without thinking, but Crispin got up and pulled a t-shirt over the tank top he was wearing.

“Crispin,” he heard her again. She stood up. “Crispin…”

He turned to face her. Her eyes were huge, still glued to his shoulder even though all she could see was cotton.

“So this is what…” It was starting to add up.

“Where did you get the picture, Nancy? Did Penny give it to you?” 

Nancy’s mouth was slow to work.

“I found it this morning. In an envelope. Larry’s envelope.”

“Fuck. What else was in the envelope?” Crispin was reaching for his cellphone.

“Papers. Quite a few of them. Maybe 20 pages?”

“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Did you read them? What did they say?”

“I was scared there wasn’t time. I didn’t read them. I glanced at the first page. Something about you missing for…” She stared at his arm again, “18 months… Physical differences…”

Crispin collapsed on his bed, burying his head in his hands. 

“Do you know where Larry got the envelope from?”

Nancy shook her head. “He snuck out last night. I think he might have got the envelope then, but I don’t know. It could have been sitting there since he got home yesterday. It hasn’t been opened. I had to steam it open.”

“So he only has my name? There weren’t any other pictures?”

“No…”

“There might still be some hope.” He fumbled with his cellphone, finally finding Joe’s number.

“Joe!” Crispin was talking so fast Nancy could hardly keep up. Her head was fogging, her hands shaking. She hadn’t even noticed Crispin had ended the call.

“We’ll sort something out, Nancy.”

Slip

So, there’s quite a few gaps between each of the pieces. That’s mainly because I haven’t really worked out the plot. Oops.

Nancy needed a reason to “stray”, and I decided that reason was her estranged husband, Larry. Things with Larry used to be good. Very good in fact. But his work soon became an obsession.

In this world I’ve created, there are people who become “experimentals” and those who choose the job of “disconnectors”. Experimentals are people who have undergone life-saving, but also life-changing experimental treatments. These treatments are considered blasphemous, “against God’s plan” (to the fanatics) and are considered taboo. Crispin is an experimental.

Nancy mostly lives alone because Larry is busy with his “research”. He has returned home suddenly, and this leaves her in a difficult position. She’s met Crispin, she’s cheated on Larry, and doesn’t know how to progress with her marriage from this point on.

So here goes:

Previous posts: The Beginning, Crispin Meets Gina, Spilt Milk, Pretty Penny, 4am, Stumble & Left in the Lurch

The night was chilly and Larry was regretting his decision to not bring a coat along. When Nancy had run a bath he had slipped out. He had to be quick. Walking to the park was like an act of remembering – his legs took him there without him thinking about the twists and turns. They knew the way just as well as he did.

He stopped in front of the third bench he saw and sat down. The park was empty and quiet, except for the sound of dry leaves scraping against the pavement. He sat calmly, watching the breeze toss leaves into the air, catching on his boots and fluttering higher and higher until they dropped again, only to be stood on, or caught in the tail of another breath of wind.

“Larry,” he looked up, spotting her neat little black shoes, beige tights, a woolen dress, a beautiful figure and a full head of blonde hair.

“Miss Montgomery I presume?” She nodded.

“May I sit?”

“Ofcourse.”

They sat together, not looking at each other.

“I have no evidence,” she said, as she fidgeted with the strap of her bag.

“As long as you’re sure.”

“I think so. Look, I’ve heard the signs, right? Missing for long periods of time, poor excuses, sometimes there are physical changes… sometimes they’re psychological – these are the sort of things you should look out for?”

Larry turned to her. Her blue eyes were bright and concerned. 

“Yes and no. But I’m not sure what you want me to do about this situation.”

“I’ve heard things. They tell me you’re a disconnecter.”

Larry blinked. She had done her homework. He sighed, running a hand through his thinning hair.

“You do know what that means ofcourse? Sometimes it means killing a person.”

Her mouth tightened. 

“He just… left me. Left me. Left me to cope with this alone. He couldn’t even say it out loud.”

Larry frowned. “Miss Montgomery, not to make it sound like I sympathise with experimentals, but you can imagine how hard it must be to… admit weakness? Instead of living with defects, they choose abomination. How do you say that out loud without fearing judgment? Everything would change, don’t you think?”

He heard her sniff, and saw her dabbing her eyes with the sleeve of her dress. 

“I’m just not sure what to do. There’s no one I can talk to about this.”

He patted her shoulder.

“Just tell me what you want me to do, otherwise we’re wasting each others time.” Larry waited, holding his breath. A feeling of excitement was rushing through his veins, his heart beat faster and he couldn’t help the smile that crawled onto his lips.

“I want him to pay,” she whispered.

“Do you have the information?” His whole body was in motion  – his tongue shot from his mouth, wetting his lips, his fingers twitched, and he was leaning in, waiting, and finally a thick brown envelope slid into his hands and he stood up. He shook Miss Montgomery’s hand, watching her leave.

He looked at his watch.

“Shit.”

He had been longer than anticipated. Larry turned and went back the way he came, a little skip entering his otherwise but surly steps.

***

She heard the door creak open. Nancy wiped her angry eyes and tiptoed back to their room. She had been sitting on the stairs waiting for Larry. But the click of the lock made her jump and move from line of sight.

She quickly switched the bedroom light off and crawled under the covers, her back towards the door. She closed her eyes and tried to steady her breathing, but all she could think about was “goddamned, fucking Larry.”

The first thing Larry noticed was the house was quiet. He climbed the stairs to the first floor landing, each footfall landing on a creaking stair and he cursed. The bedroom door was ajar and he peered in. He could see the curled lump of Nancy in their bed. 

Larry pushed the door open silently and opened the cupboard doors. Suits were spaced neatly on the hanger, ties hanging on the rack, his t-shirts and jeans folded neatly. He smiled a little. Returning home was like returning to something normal, stable. Nancy had kept everything exactly the same. He pulled the envelope from his back pocket and stared down at it. Unmarked and hefty, he shoved it under a stack of t-shirts before closing the door behind him. He undressed quickly, folding his clothes and placing them on a chair next to the dresser. He walked naked to their bed and slipped under the covers.

He lay there for a while, staring at the ceiling. He was not the man he used to be, he thought morosely, but pushed the thought from his mind. He could feel the heat of Nancy’s body, and he reached out and touched her. His fingers met an annoying piece of satin.

He touched her hip, and he felt himself growing hard. She seemed fast asleep. He tried again, his hand a little more forceful this time, and she rolled onto her back, her head turning, their eyes meeting.

He pushed the satin slip up, baring her thighs and stomach, and he bent down to kiss her. Her lips were hard, but he was unrelenting, and soon she softened a little. His hand rubbed her breasts, skimmed her stomach and pushed her thighs wide.

“Larry, I’m not in the mood.” Her voice was steady, loud in the dark. 

“Nancy…”

“It’s been a long day,” and she turned from him again.

Larry sighed. So much for thinking she hadn’t noticed he was gone. He rolled onto his side and closed his eyes.

Nancy pushed the tears from her eyes and fell asleep.

Left in the lurch

Previous posts: The Beginning, Crispin Meets Gina, Spilt Milk, Pretty Penny, 4am & Stumble


Nancy got up and wondered toward the bathroom, and turned on the shower tap. A sticky bar of soap sat in an equally gross looking soap dish. She ignored this, her hand under the water waiting for the right temperature. Without a glance back, Nancy climbed into the shower.

Crispin could hear the water hitting her curves, and the thought made him grin. With the shower curtain half drawn, he could see brief glimpses – a hand, her ass, her hip. Before long, she stepped out and walked dripping toward him.

“I wouldn’t touch the soap if I were you,” she said, her nose scrunching. She was trying to manoeuvre back into her dress, but it was sticking.

“Want a bit of help?” he asked. She flashed him a smile.

“If you help me, I’ll never get this dress on…”

“What’s so wrong with that,” he said, taking a step toward her.

“I need to get going…” she sighed.

The shower water was still running. He looked at her blank face, and then back at the shower, condensation rising in the air. He went and switched the water off.

“I’ll have a shower when I get home.” He said simply.

She managed to get the dress on, both of them pulling on their shoes, finding missing items, and finally, leaving the room, locking it behind them and handing the key in at the office.

The drive back was quiet. They sat apart, a gulf between them, neither of them saying what they were thinking. The only time one of them spoke was when Nancy asked Crispin what his home address was.

The car screeched to a halt outside Crispin’s apartment complex. The building was grey and gloomy under the darkening sky, and before he could even say anything to Nancy, the car pulled away, leaving him standing on the curb staring at the last view of the taxi’s number plate.

As he climbed the stairs back to his room, the street lights switched on. A deep booming bass rattled around the neighbourhood, the window panes vibrating slightly. 

He wondered if Nancy was always this way, or if reality had hit. He had noticed her wedding ring. He felt bad for putting her in an impossible position, but at the same time, she was a grown woman. She had pulled into him. She hadn’t said no.

He sighed. Why was shit always so goddamned complicated? Why couldn’t he find a woman who was free, available and without any baggage? And then he laughed. Baggage. Like he didn’t have any. Maybe they were perfect for each other. She had a secret life, and he, well, he had a secret. And it was probably something she’d never be able to handle.

Letting himself in, he poured himself a drink. Enough feeling sorry for himself. Gina had made it clear that this wallowing business wasn’t going to help at all. It sounded like such a simple thing to say, and such an obvious thing and yet, here he was, reminding himself to get the fuck over this shit. Over Nancy.

 

 

Stumble

So, I haven’t posted anything in awhile. I need a kick in the right direction. So, to help me get excited and interested in writing again, I’ve ordered myself a Writeable (http://humanwrit.es/the-writable/). They start shipping in July… So here’s to practice-practice-practice, and getting the wheel turning…Again.
 

Previous posts: The Beginning, Crispin Meets Gina, Spilt Milk, Pretty Penny & 4am


Nancy found him a week or two later. He was sitting outside a little deli, elbow deep in a gourmet sandwich.

She sat down opposite him. He looked up and swallowed the last bits of bread and cheese. “You found me,” he grinned.

“I said I would.” She leaned back in her seat and surveyed him as he continued to make his way through his lunch. 

The sun was hot on her back, a pair of large sunglasses covered her eyes and her dark hair was pulled back into a messy pony. Despite the simplicity she still looked sleek, well put together, like she had spent some time trying to find an outfit that looked both carefree and thrown-on, but also classy.

He grinned. She’d probably spent ages looking for just the thing.

She pulled her glasses off and gave him a look. He gulped. He must have looked guilty because she laughed, a low tinkle mingling with the clink of knives and forks and the hum of restaurant chatter.

Nancy ordered a glass of wine and sat talking to Crispin. She liked his animation, his easy smile. He made her feel like she wasn’t a wife who spent her evenings waiting for a husband who never called or came home. She felt real again, sitting so close to someone who seemed to care about the fact she did volunteer work, or that she was lonely and alone. 

Sometimes she could feel every atom in her body wanting to reach for him. The alcohol gave her the courage last time, but she didn’t want this next time to be a repeat. She wanted it clear in her mind, without the numb feeling of too much to drink.

When they got up and left the deli, their arms brushed and she tried hard not to close her eyes and try it again. They walked aimlessly, feeling the slow buzz of his skin close hers.

Even though their mouths moved, her mind was elsewhere. She was squeezing his fingers, undressing him, biting his lip.

Crispin stopped and turned to her. They had reached a cul-de-sac. She took a deep breath and moved closer, into his space, against his chest, her fingers finding his and the hot sun beating down on them. It was like he was holding his breath – his chest was still, hard, until he let that breath go, and he melted against her, setting her on fire.

 

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"We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
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Till human voices wake us, and we drown."

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