Anybody Out There?

Anybody Out There?

Page 33

I turned back and settled myself firmly against the seat. “That was Janie, wasn’t it?” If he lied to me at that moment, there would be no future for us.

He nodded, a little grimly. “Yes, that was Janie.”

“A bit of a coincidence.”


Back at the Maddoxes, having a cup of coffee before leaving for the airport, I noticed several fat photo albums in the bookcase and I suddenly imagined them whooshing out from their shelves, their pages flying open and the photos taking flight, filling up the room like a flock of birds. Hundreds of them, flying past me, getting tangled in my hair as they documented countless Aidan and Janie events: Aidan and Janie at their prom; Aidan and Janie at their high-school graduation; Aidan and Janie at Aidan’s thirtieth-birthday dinner; Aidan and Janie at the surprise pah-dy Aidan threw for Janie’s promotion; Aidan and Janie at their high-school reunion; Aidan and Janie winning a bowling trophy; Aidan and Janie on holiday in Jamaica, cooking clams together in Cape Cod, at the farewell shindig before Aidan went to New York, painting the house in Bah Hah-ba pink…

We were very quiet on the flight home. The visit had been a terrible mistake, a risk worth taking but that hadn’t worked out. Aidan was a great guy in lots of ways but he had too much baggage and too much unfinished business. He belonged in Boston with Janie, and I admitted to myself that, no matter what, he would always return to her and she would always take him back. They had too much history, too much in common.

He was gray green with tension and in the cab from the airport he held my hand so tight he hurt my fingers. He was trying to figure out a way to tell me it was over, but there was no need, I knew exactly what was going on.

The cab dropped me at my apartment and I kissed Aidan on the cheek and said, “Take care of yourself.”

As I clambered out of the cab he called after me, “Anna?”


“Anna, will you marry me?”

I stared at him for a long, long moment, then said, “Get a grip on yourself,” and slammed the car door.


To: [email protected]

From: [email protected]

Subject: You’re going to love this!

Coming in to work this morning (second day back) I met Tabitha from Bergdorf Baby and she checked out my scar and said, Hey, that look is beyond! Then she got it that it was a real scar and she literally recoiled in horror. Her head pulled back so far her skull was practically resting between her shoulder blades. She went straight to the bathroom. I think she might have varminted.

I hope you’re okay, I love you.

Your girl, Anna

To: [email protected]

From: [email protected]

Subject: You’re going to love this too!

Read Daily Updated Light Novel Online, Web Novel, Korean Novel and Chinese Novel Online for Free -

People at work think I’ve been to Arizona. On my way back from lunch with Teenie, I met an EarthSource girl in the elevator and she said that she hadn’t seen me in a while, and I said, No, I’ve been out of town.

I thought everyone here at work knew what had happened but I suppose those EarthSource girls are space cadets. It must be the diet of mung beans. She asked how long I’d been gone and I said, About two months. Then she gives me a meaningful look and mouths something, and I had to lean closer to her rough-woven, sacking pinafore and say, I’m sorry, what was that? So she does it again and this time I got it and she was saying, One day at a time.

Er, right…

I hope you’re okay, I’m thinking of you all the time, I love you.

Your girl, Anna

To: [email protected]

From: [email protected]

Subject: Thursday’s clothes

A yellow poplin Doris Day style shirtwaister, over black leggings patterned with blue spiky hearts, a denim jacket with the sleeves cut off, and my blue pumps, the ones you said were the pointiest shoes ever made, so pointy that the last six inches are invisible. No hat today—a little treat for myself.

I love you.

Your girl, Anna

I was writing him two or three e-mails a day, keeping the tone light and breezy. I didn’t want to guilt him out by saying how desperate I was to hear from him. Better to just keep the lines of communication open so he’d contact me if he could. I was also checking his horoscope every day, trying to get some insight into how he might be feeling. Stars Online said:

Don’t allow others’ need for closure to force you into hurried decisions. Since you’re unlikely to know all your options until early May, they’ll just have to wait.

I didn’t really like that, so I went to Hot Scopes!

Career-minded Scorps could be looking at an overseas business trip. Could be, you meet a desirable stranger who speaks a different language. Whatever or whoever it turns out to be, you’ll be pleased that the world is a small place!

I didn’t like that at all. It made me cry. Quickly I clicked on Today’s stars.

Try to make plans and you’ll only encounter frustration. Be a free spirit and by mid-May you’ll be so confident that you’ll wonder why you ever worried.

That was better. No desirable strangers. I shoved my feet into my pointy blue pumps and picked up my keys, but at the door of the apartment I stopped, then went back to the phone. I just wanted to ring his cell phone. Again. The pleasure of hearing his voice, even if it was just his phone message, was like a mouthful of chocolate when you’re craving sugar.


The best in landlubberly eye care! I stared at my screen and took a swig of coffee. No, the coffee didn’t help—the line was still atrocious. I deleted it and faced my blank monitor, willing inspiration to strike. I was trying to write a press release for Eye Eye Captain, our new eye treatments, and was attempting a play on mutiny, salt water, piracy, rum, and other ship-based stuff. But it so wasn’t working. I’d seen Aidan again on the way to work this morning. This time he was walking along Fifth Avenue in a jacket that I didn’t recognize. He’d found time to buy new clothes but not to call me? Once again, the taxi was moving too fast, so I didn’t get the driver to stop. But now I desperately wished that I had and the regret was interfering with my concentration. Or maybe it was the painkillers. Something was filling my head with cotton wool.