The days went on and still no Rosemary, though I desperately hoped with all my heart that I’d see her either from my spot on the wall, in person or both.
The prisoners continued to come and paint. They painted the lower portions of the walls as well as the support posts that were scattered throughout the large room, though those were partially painted as well. In the midst of it all was some talk about the prisoners going to work in other old buildings in need of repairs and paint jobs. In the meantime, I decided to lease the building as an office in which to operate from when working undercover, from what I told Melanie the second time I was there with the prisoners a few days later after they had been picked up at the end of the day. I would even live there for a while, since I was, after all, breaking up with this going-nowhere Alicia character and moving out of her home.
“Well, at least you got the place painted up nicely for you,” Melanie joked with a wink as she helped me carry in boxes of both work-related and personal items a few days later.
We were both casually dressed and had come in separate vehicles containing my belongings.
“Yeah,” I said with a chuckle, “but it’s still going to feel weird staying in a place like this at first.”
“Hopefully it won’t be for too long.”
“Tell me about it. Though I’d rather be alone here with a year’s lease than with Alicia at her place. It’s been terrible, Melanie, really terrible.”
“She still having trouble accepting the breakup?”
I nodded. “You could say that. Been going back and forth. I mean, one minute she agrees it’s for the best, the next she’s begging me to stay, accusing me of dumping her.”
“I don’t think that girl was ever really too stable.”
“I don’t think she was ever quite sound of mind myself. Just why are the ones I meet always crazy, dumb or boring, with absolutely no energy or life in them whatsoever?”
“I went through that for a while myself before I met Jenna.”
“Yes, I remember. In the last two years that we’ve been human, I remember some of the dates you’d tell me about.”
“Utter catastrophes,” Melanie said with a roll of the eyes. “That old refrigerator work?” she asked, motioning towards the far-left end of the room.
“As far as I know it will if I just plug it in. I’ll do some grocery shopping tomorrow. For tonight I’ll just have something delivered.”
After Melanie left I spent the next few hours setting the place up to make myself as comfortable as possible. I loaded my clothes into the huge armoire Melanie and I had carried in. Next, I pulled out a large folding bed that had been stashed against the wall and set it up towards the right of the computer and sitting area. I attached its headboard and made the bed up. When that was done I dragged over a small round end table to use as a nightstand, then I called to order a pizza.
I had just barely taken my last bite when a car drove up and there was a knock on the outer door. Though the sun was setting fast, it seemed I could see enough to know that it was someone I’d rather not see. I rose from my seat at a card table I’d set up down by the refrigerator.
I watched myself open an outer door to a young woman of average height and weight. She had light brown wavy hair to the middle of her back and appeared to be in her early twenties. I couldn’t make out what was being said, though I could tell by my tone and expression that I wasn’t happy.
The woman then turned, opened the inner door, took a few steps inside and said, “So this is where you want to be, Kay? You’d rather be here than with me?”
I ran a hand through my hair with frustration. “Look, Alicia, we’ve been over this a million times…”
“Oh, don’t give me that!” screamed Alicia, turning to face me angrily before she softened a bit and said, “I’m sorry. It’s just – it’s just that I don’t want to lose you. You were the best I ever had in bed and…”
“I don’t want to be anyone’s sex toy, Alicia. You know I need more in a relationship than just that.”
Alicia’s frustration was growing again. “Just tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.”
“I want you to get on with your life,” I said, leaning towards her for emphasis, hands on my hips.
“So you just go and dump me?” Alicia wailed.
“I didn’t dump you,” I said, raising my voice. “We agreed we weren’t compatible and we broke up.”
“But I’ll never find anyone else like you!”
“Sure you will. You’ll find someone who’s way more right for you than I could ever be. They say we know it right away when we meet our ideal mates, and that there is no taking the time to really decide and to be sure because you know it right away without a doubt.”
“That seems so off the wall,” Alicia said with a sniffle.
“Perhaps, but either way, I know you and I don’t have a future together. I don’t love you, Alicia, and I’m not going to lie to you and tell you otherwise. That wouldn’t be fair to me and it wouldn’t be fair to you either.”
Fireworks darted from Alicia’s eyes. In no more than two seconds tops, she went to slap me across the face just as I batted her arm away with my left hand and slapped her own face with my right.
Alicia hit the floor.
I stood gazing down at her with a mixture of disappointment, anger and regret.
Alicia pulled herself up on shaky legs and began backing up towards the door. She held her cheek with one hand and gazed at me with shock, anger and fear. “You’re insane, you know? I’m glad you don’t love me, you sick, twisted bitch!”
With that, she spun on her heel and crashed through both sets of doors.
I went out and lowered the blinds on the inside of the outer doors as her car revved up and quickly faded off into the distance. Then I returned to sit on the couch, looking more frustrated than ever. I sat there until darkness had almost enveloped me completely. Then I rose and headed to a couple of switches by the doors that operated the room’s lighting thirty-five feet overhead. One switch lit up the right side of the room, the other lit the left side. I decided to leave only the right side lit which was basically the side I’d spend more time on anyway. The bed, sitting area, and computer were in this area.
I sat down in the large leather chair by the computer and rested my head on its back while I waited for it to boot up. Once it was ready, I began fumbling around with the mouse, obviously not understanding a thing. At one point I inserted a floppy disk into a drive, and again, frustration overtook my features.
Finally, I stood up and headed over to the small round jacuzzi to the right of the doors and began to fill it with hot water. Once full, I ran the jets, peeled off my clothes, and slowly stepped down into the roaring bubbles. I sunk down into the water until the water level was just below my shoulders and the ends of my hair. I splashed water onto my face and sat back, long arms outstretched along the rim, and closed my eyes.
After several minutes, I rose, grabbed a nearby towel and dried myself off. Then I slipped on a pair of panties and a sleeveless shirt and cut the lights. I gingerly made my way through the darkness. A moment later I heard myself settling under the bedcovers. It wasn’t long before I could hear steady, rhythmic breathing signaling that I was asleep.