3-8) Gone

Light NSFW warning.

Giggling and chuckling, oddly muffled noises, as the young couple tossed their bodies and pillows atop a bed, play-fighting, teasing each other, laughing harder till he rolled atop her, pinning her down and the grin changed into a different look, deeper, quieter. Her giggling and fighting back seized as well, when he said
“I love you, Katie.”
“I love you too, Rett.” her eyes begged a question as to why he had become so serious of a sudden, but her mind was taken off the subject when he bent down to kiss her. A long kiss, which she returned.
It did not take long for the kissing to turn even more intense and what little clothing both initially had been wearing ended up on the floor as he started to rhythmically move atop her.

In the heat of the moment she began shifting, trying to reach one of the drawers of the nightstand on the opposite side of the bed, then digging in it, before she tensed up and stopped him from going any further.
“Rett, wait. I think we’re out of condoms…”
“Yeah, I forgot to pick some up after work … it’s okay, we don’t need them, especially since you’re on the pill anyway…” he mumbled, tried to continue with their lovemaking, but she started tensing more and wiggling away from him.

“Stop! What do you mean we don’t need them I am on the pill?! Birth controls fail all the time. Just relying on one method is pretty reckless …” she said forcefully.
He halted now to look at her, while she slid out mostly from beneath him.
“Oh, Katie, nothing is going to happen. And if, who cares? We wouldn’t be the first parents whose wedding date doesn’t quite line up right with the birth date of their child.” he smirked, winking.
I care, for one. But I think I have some extras in my purse. Get off me, will ya?” she pulled away and slid out from underneath him, as he rolled over onto his back with a disappointed groan.
“Why in the world would you need condoms in your purse?” he asked bewildered.
“Because after that one time, when someone we both know seduced me at work, when we were supposed to be finishing up that Kaiser draft… neither one of us was prepared for THAT. But I think we got lucky then..”
He chuckled. Oh right. That had been fun. And unexpected. And lucky was right. Definitely on the list for a repeat.
She now joined him again, handing him the object of her search, which he took with a sigh.
“Really Katie, I think you may be a little too tense about birth control. Not like we just met in some bar. We have been in a committed relationship for 6 years now. We live together. If birth control would fail or be forgotten once even twice, it would not be the end of the world. Not even at the tiny chance something would actually come of it.”
“Great planning for our future, Rett.” the sarcasm was impossible to miss.
“The only thing I am planning on is different ways of making love to you. Everything else is secondary. Really, Katie, you need to loosen up, baby.” he chuckled at his words, while gently stroking her face.

“An unwanted pregnancy is not something ‘secondary’!” she insisted.
“It wouldn’t be unwanted, so what’s the big deal?” he had begun kissing on her again to resume their earlier activity, but she pulled away.
“Not unwanted? The big deal? Are you kidding me?” she sat up now.
“Really Katie, now?” he asked, sitting up too. The mood was gone anyway.

“Yes, NOW. When else? In the delivery room when I am about to have the child that we shouldn’t be having?” she shook her head.
Now he tensed up too.
“What is THAT supposed to mean?”

“Means we’re career people, Rett, not parents.”
He laughed, shaking his head.
“Really Katie …”
“Glad YOU are amused.” she hissed, as she was gathering up her clothing, which had been shed across the floor, putting it on in a hurry.
“So what is this now? You’re mad at me? Whatever for?” he asked, pulling on his pajama pants, since it was obvious that what had been about to happen, wasn’t going to happen anymore.
She left the room, he watched her, shaking his head.

When he realized she wasn’t coming back, he followed, finding her in the kitchen.
“Not talking to me anymore now, too?” he asked, resigned.
“What’s left to say? Make sure we are stocked up on condoms, if you want bedroom action.” her tone was noticeably upset.

“We are really fighting about stupid condoms now?!”
“No, we are fighting about your nonchalance about it.”
“Nonchalance? Katie, we’re both nearing 30 years of age. We are not that far off from when we said we’d get married and have a child anyway. What’s a few years give or take?”
“We said we’d not have a kid BEFORE that age, we never said we would for sure have one once we get there. Or get married.”

“Wait, what?”
“You heard me.”

“Let me get this straight. You do not want to get married or have a kid?”
“I do not see the point. No. Everything is fine the way it is, why fix something that isn’t broken.”
“Oh no, it’s not fine. I DO want a child. Very much so. And I do want you to be my wife. Sooner, rather than later.”
“Why? So you can have that name go on another generation? What for? There’s really nothing special about it. And if we were to have a kid and it were a girl, there goes that name anyway. Unless she is modern and keeps it after marriage. And what if our kid has an accident and dies. Poof, dumb-ass legacy gone anyway.”
“Katie, are you hearing yourself? Why does marriage and children piss you off so much?”

“Because marriage does not work. The end. And I do not want kids. Period.”
“What about what I want? And what do you mean, marriage does not work? Have you met my parents?”

“They just got lucky. And who knows, maybe they fight when nobody’s around. Maybe they sleep around and are just great at hiding it.”
“Seriously? You do realize that I grew up with them and see them frequently, and that my brother lives with them. Kinda hard to fly under the radar with some secret life.”
“My parents worked together and my mother managed just fine.”
“My parents are not your parents and neither are we. What else you got?”

“OK, how about this: NO marriage, NO kid, not EVER.”

“You don’t just get to decide that for both of us, Katie. I very much want to get married and have a child with you. And once you come down from that anger and are able to think rationally, you’ll realize we’d be great parents and have the perfect lives to share with a baby now.” he tried to pull her into his arms to calm her, but she stepped away from him.
“No. Rett, I did not realize how dead-set you were on this. I never meant to lead you on, but I do not fit that equation, and really think it’s best if I leave now. For good, this time. I wish I could give those 2 weeks notice at work, but think that would be extremely weird for both of us and no way that we could pull that off. I know I am crazy, but not THAT crazy!”

“What the hell, Katie. STOP!” he tried to hold on to her, she pulled away, ran into the bedroom and started packing.
His attempts to stop her, failed, only made her angrier and he did not want this to spiral into an even worse drama, so he sat on the edge of the bed, watching her do her thing, feeling helpless.
When she was all packed, she pulled her key-chain out, slipped two keys off it, handing them to him.
“Work and this house. I have no copies. Bye Rett.” she looked sad, but when she left the bedroom, Rett felt frozen, unable to move.
His paralysis lasted until he heard the front door shut and the engine of her car complain as it aways did.
Then it was quiet.
Very quiet.
He looked up at some of the pictures on the wall, his parents and grandparents in younger years, teens or early twenties, all smiling contently. They just looked like they belonged. How had they managed and why couldn’t he?

Everett dropped backwards onto the bed, his brain failing to process what just happened.
All he could feel was coldness and darkness and the gaping hole of hopelessness.


A knock on the door, which then opened before he could even respond.
Mrs. Walken, the HR manager of EC Architects, entered.

“Sorry to bother you, Mr. Cameron. I tried calling your office, but you didn’t pick up and this is rather pressing.”

“It’s fine, what is it Mrs. Walken?”

“I need you to sign off on the revisions for the quarterly personnel reporting. I had to redo it all after Miss Wilson left. You really should have told me right away that she won’t be coming back, not wait almost three weeks …”

Her last words send daggers into his heart, not just because of the accusatory tone.

Staring at the document he felt that if he really put his signature on it, it would become real, then reprimanded himself for being such a melancholic fool. Katie did not seem to have had such problems forgetting him. Not a word since that day.
No call, text, nothing.
He had tried to find her, but of course his efforts were futile.
He closed his eyes briefly, inhaled, opened them again then signed the documents, handed them to the HR manager, who smiled encouraging, saying something about first interviews lined up for the following week as she was leaving his office.

Rett just felt numb.
Nothing seemed to matter anymore. It had been 6 weeks now without even a sign of Katie. This time, she wasn’t coming back. Her phone number was no longer in service.
And in Rett’s head always the same questions.
Why had this happened?
Where had he gone wrong?
Was wanting to marry the girl he loved really so wrong?
Wanting a child with her?
How could she have just stopped loving him?
What was he working so hard for now, if there was nobody to share it with, nobody to hand it down to?
It felt like his entire life had been a waste of time and effort.

The office was usually a place he loved to be. His dream, realized through many years of hard work, in school, college and here. From the first pencil stroke on paper designing the office building, to watching the foundation being poured and the first brick laid.
The first big contract.
All the hard work had paid off.
Yet, today, it felt like it was suffocating him.
Before he knew it, he was downstairs and in his car, starting it, no destination, just wanting to get away from it all. Wondering if skipping his therapy sessions had been a good idea. He went twice after Katie had left, but regurgitating what hurt so badly was just too much. When he told the therapist he did not want to talk about it and the man kept pushing, he told him where to stick his curiosity, left, and never went back after that.
Not like it mattered anymore anyway.
He’d be depressed with or without them.
His life had just lost all meaning, whether he told someone about it or not.

He rolled down the windows, the cool air blowing into his face, as he accelerated.

Faster and faster. The speed warning alert started beeping relentlessly, so he turned it off. More acceleration ..  more …. faster ….  until the scenery around him was merely a blur of greens.

He closed his eyes, leaned forward on the steering wheel, sobbing quietly, as his foot pushed down on the gas pedal until it would not go any further.

He never knew what happened next.


At the same time at the beachhouse the housekeeper placed a stack of mail on the counter in the kitchen, atop it all a picture postcard, showing a jungle scene, and the words “Wish You Were Here” printed across.

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