Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013 -

The Road Less Travelled

by Eric Essex
Published: Sep 28, 2013
Words: 53,072
Category: general
Orientation: M/F
Click HERE for further details and purchase options.
Chapter 1

The light on Kim McConnell's answering machine was blinking red when she returned home. Threading her way through the jungle of moving boxes - some of which had yet to be opened - she checked the display and found that there were three messages. All from him, probably. She had a cell phone with voice mail, but she hadn't given him that number. The last thing she needed was him calling her at work.

With a sigh, she pressed the blinking red button and listened as the artificial voice of the machine confirmed that she had three new messages, then:

(Beep)... "Hey, it's Jack. Just called to see how things are goin' with the new place and all. Guess you must be putting in some long hours at the store. You're never home when I call..."

There was a long pause and Kim could just imagine the turn of his head and the slight curling up of one side of his mouth. She knew those pauses well enough. Knew too the face that always accompanied them. There had been at least one in every argument they ever had. In the last couple of conversations they had had before she moved out, Jack had spent as much time pausing and making that face as he had talking down to her.

When he continued, the pretence of civility was gone from his tone.

"Is that what you really want? Spending all your time working in that damn store? You know you're never going to get ahead. You'll be just like all the..."

The machine cut him off just as his voice was starting to rise. Apparently he must have gathered himself together before calling back, because when the second message started to play, he was once again the level-headed Jack of old.

(Beep)... "Look, I'm sorry about that. I miss you, you know? I just don't know what you think you're..."

This time Kim cut him off herself, hitting the Delete button before the message had finished playing. When the third message started to play, she didn't even let the beep finish before she deleted it as well.

She went into the bedroom to change, congratulating herself on the fact that she wasn't crying. She wanted to, sure, but she wasn't going to. Kim had already decided that she had cried enough because of him. But he was still getting to her, there was no denying that. After twelve hours at work, almost all of it on her feet, she should have been ready to just crash for the night, but instead she was changing to go out because she just had to. Tired as she was, she had to get out for a while, away from her new place, away from her boxes, and especially away from that damn answering machine.

So a few minutes later she emerged from the sliding glass door at the back of her condominium. The dress shirt and formal slacks she wore to work had been exchanged for a T-shirt and a comfortable pair of blue jeans.