[Write about anything you’d like. Somewhere in your post, include the sentence, “I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock.”]
She hung her coat on the hook, dropped her purse and keys ont he hall table. The day had been exhausting, in a good way, but she was glad it was over.
“Rick?” She walked into the dark living room and turned on the light.
“Rick? Sorry I’m late.” Terry paused. “Rick?”
Terry was proud of the extra effort she made to push through the day, staying the additional couple of hours to not only finish the project, but review the details one more time to make sure everything was in place. Tomorrow was going to be a piece of cake. But, she should have called Rick, or sent a text.
So, where was he? Terry walked over to the desk, expecting to find a note. She was surprised not to find one. Rick could be old-school that way, leaving notes on the desk for her rather than email or text, but not always, so she went back to her purse and pulled out her phone. She must have missed a message. He probably decided to go out with his friend when he hadn’t heard from her about dinner. They’re probably getting in a round or two of pool at their favorite place, she thought.
She scrolled through both texts and emails. Nothing. Terry racked her brain, wondering if she forgot something he might have told her this morning about tonight. She had been so distracted with this thing at work, she might have missed it if he told her he’d be out.
“Where r u?,” she entered on a text. “Today went great! Can’t wait to tell u! Home soon? If told me sorry! :^x” She tapped “send” and put her phone on the desk.
Terry walked into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and scanned for something to quickly eat. She pulled out the leftovers from the night before, zapped it in the microwave, grabbed a beer and walked back to the desk to check her phone. Rick hadn’t replied.
She finished her food and beer, washed the dishes, changed into her pajamas, started a load of laundry, watched some TV, paid a couple of bills online, played some Angry Birds, called a friend, and finished the laundry. In between each chore she checked email and texts. Still nothing. The excitement she had about her day was dissolving into worry. She called his friend, Jeff.
“Nope, sorry. Haven’t talked to him today.” Jeff agreed it was weird that Rick hadn’t left a note or message and promised if he heard anything he’d call her right away.
Terry watched one more TV show to try and turn her mind off, but then decided there was nothing for it but to go to bed and wait. She lay awake for a while, her mind racing through where he might be, wondering if she should call the police, his folks, something.
The slam of the front door jolted Terry awake, and she immediately looked at the bedside clock. When Rick didn’t come into the bedroom, she got up and walked out into the house. Rick was seated on the couch in the living room hunched over, his arms leaning on his knees, his head in his hands.
“Hey,” she gently said.
Rick sat up and looked at her. His face was blotchy and his eyes were wet and puffy. He got up and swayed a bit, uneasy on his feet. He looked this way and that, avoiding her gaze.
“Are you drunk?!” she snapped.
He shook his head.
“Rick, it’s almost four in the morning.”
“Yeah.” He hesitated a moment before finally meeting her eyes. She flashed an angry look at him, and when he didn’t say anything, she gave him a what-the-hell shrug.
“You get I was freaked out, right?” she said. “I mean, no note, no message, you don’t return the text I sent earlier…I called Jeff, he didn’t know where you were and was a little freaked as well…I mean, I thought I should call the police maybe…how the hell…where were you? What’s happened?”
“I’m so sorry,” he finally managed to croak out.
“We’re passed that now.”
Rick stared off toward nothing. Terry tried to calm down. Rick was obviously upset in a way she’d never really seen before.
“Babe, seriously, you look like you’ve been… I dunno… what happened? Just, please tell me what happened.”
“I…” he trailed off and fell back on the couch.
She started to walk over to him, but he shot up his hand to stop her.
“Just,” he shook his head, “Please, don’t. Just…don’t.”