I can’t believe I’m fucking smiling.
“He really didn’t mean it,” she tells me. “Michael, I mean. He’s been nice to me.”
I wonder how nice Michael’s been.
I wonder whether he’s had his hands inside the cami top I’m staring down into. I wonder if his mouth has been on her. I wonder what she tastes like.
I’m usually unmoved by attractive women. I’ll fuck them and enjoy it, but they make little lasting impression. Blonde, brunette, redhead; they’re usually much of a muchness. As long as their body is tight and their pussy is wet, that’s good enough for me.
Carrie Wells isn’t like any of the attractive women I’ve ever seen. Her eyes are much older than her years, glinting with the promise of both a potty mouth and a massive chip on her shoulder. She dresses like a tomboy, a loose bomber jacket obscures her surprisingly tight cami. I get the impression that stripping the layers will show more and more woman the deeper you go.
She’s all woman. There’s no doubt about that.
Her scruffiness only adds to her femininity, as odd as that sounds.
“Let me clean up,” she says, and I let out a breath as I release her.
She tiptoes around the broken glass, being careful with her feet as she sprays polish over the table. I watch her scrub the bird crap from the top. Her fingernails are grubby. They’re also bitten to shit.
I can’t believe I’m doing it, but I grab the brush and pan from the utility room and work to clear the glass from the dining room carpet. I tell myself it really is to save it from bloodstains, but I’m saving her feet and I think she’s well aware of that, too.
She doesn’t say a word as she goes about her cleaning and neither do I.
I’m almost relieved as I hear Michael’s car pull onto my driveway.
The other part of me wishes I’d never called him.
Worryingly it seems the Carrie Wells delusion might be fucking contagious.Chapter TenMichaelI should’ve called Carrie last night. Or I should’ve at least tried. Even better, I should’ve turned back up at Jack’s and told her I’m not going to be pushed away by her sticking her middle finger up to everyone trying to help. I should’ve told her that if things were different, if I was ten years younger and hadn’t spent the last five months with her on my books, that I’d be falling into bed with her in a heartbeat, for right or wrong.
I should’ve told her I care. That I care too much.
Jack’s right; this is a midlife crisis and it’s getting the better of me. I can’t get her out of my mind, and it takes every scrap of determination to stay focused on my meetings through the morning, knowing full well she’s at Jack’s getting up to Christ knows what.
If she’s even still there.
The idea she’s taken off again sends a chill up my spine.
I’m talking through career options with a kid called Brooklyn when I feel my phone buzz in my pocket. I hope it’s her calling. I hope it’s her who’s left a voicemail when I feel the second buzz go off.
I ignore it until Brooklyn’s session is wrapped up, of course I do, but my fingers are clumsy on the handset once he’s out through the door, racing to retrieve my call log.
My heart drops when I see Jack’s number appear on screen.
I sigh as I press to hear his message, feeling like such an asshole for keeping him in the dark through this. His house isn’t a hostel, and his friendship is worth more than keeping secrets of this magnitude, even for the sake of just a few days.
His voice is gruff enough to take me aback. His message chills my blood.
You’d better get here. Now. I’m in my fucking living room with your missing fucking person. Get here, Mike, before I call the fucking police.
I check the call time. Forty minutes ago.
Holy fucking fuck.
I grab my jacket from the back of my chair and make a dash for it, hating how frazzled my explanation sounds when I ask Pam to please cover my appointments for the rest of the afternoon.
She looks worried, and I feel like more of an asshole by the second.
“Are you alright, Mike?” she asks, and I count on looking as fucked up as I feel when I tell her I think I’ve got food poisoning.
She nods. “You don’t look well.”
I don’t feel well, either.
I make a sharp exit, barely even offering her a goodbye in my haste to be out of there.
I jump into the car and speed off for Jack’s, drumming my fingers on the steering wheel all the way. Please, for fuck’s sake, don’t call the police. Please, for fuck’s sake, don’t let her run.
Every set of traffic lights conspires against me, and the usual five-minute journey takes over ten. My tyres screech as I pull onto his driveway, stopping just short of bumping his Range as I kill the ignition and bail out.