"Hey baby."

She sighed. Ever since he'd quit his job there'd been a lot of hell in their lives. He was working now in a Broadway theatre. He'd never been able to get away from acting, but he never could show his face in public anymore. He worked behind the scenes. On a playwright team, no less. Putting his lies to good use, he always said ruefully. But he used a penname. He was afraid, terrified, of having his name out there anymore. But the cost of that was not having the money to pay the damn bills.

He put down the pen. "What is it?"

"We got this in the mail."

He took it from her and read it. Tears sprang to his eyes. "Foreclosure? Eviction?"


He shakily put the paper down. "I really fucked up your life, didn't I?"


"No, Kelly! God, everything has been such a mess ever since I picked up that stupid goddamn phone!" as if on purpose, the phone rang and he flinched. "I hate this. I fucking hate all of this. I finally try to make an honest living and this is what I get. I can't even keep a roof over my wife's head. I wish the bastard had shot me."

"Don't talk like that, Stu," cried Kelly. "I need you. I don't care if we have to live in a goddamn box, it's you I need. Please… I don't know why you torment yourself so much, I just—I hate it."

"I'm sorry," he whispered, looking up at her. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying, and her lower lip trembled and he wanted nothing more than to just run away with her to some place safe and never come back. He reached for her and she went tearfully into his embrace. When she was securely in his arms, he continued. "He's still out there," he whispered. "The pizza guy was murdered. He came to me that day in the ambulance. I don't remember what he looked like, I was drugged. He said he'd be watching me… that if I started all those lies again, he would call. I keep waiting to do something wrong and then he'd kill you and i—oh God, he was aiming at you. I saw the laser, that's why I was screaming that you were crazy, that I didn't know you. I don't want to live without you, I'm just so scared…"

"Why didn't you tell the cops?"

"I don't know… I was scared. What if he found out? Look, I don't see Pam anymore, but that doesn't mean I want that crazy psychopathic bastard to hurt her. Adam… he's been so lost without me… I don't see him anymore either, but he calls and begs me to come back. I don't know, I—if he gets hurt because of me, I don't know. All my life, that's who I've been, and now everything is fucked up without it. I feel so weak and out of control…," he sobbed. "I'm sorry I keep failing you. I'll never be good enough for you but I'm too afraid to let go of you. I don't know how. I don't want to. I love you."

"We will make it through this. I love you."

"Me too."

Just then the phone rang. "Hello," Kelly answered.

"Hello, Kelly. Put it on speaker."

She blanched and did as she was told. "What do you want?" she whispered, beginning to shake.

"To congratulate Stu," the deep voice said. "You win the game."

A gun cocked, and he wrapped his arms protectively around his wife, gasping for air. "What the hell do you want now? Haven't you taken enough?!"

"I just wanted to congratulate you. It's been three years and you haven't seen Pam. You quit smoking, you got yourself an honest job. I'm proud of you, Stu," breathed the voice. And then the gun went off, making them both jump. Kelly screamed while Stu just tried to breathe, tears rolling down his cheeks.

Somewhere on the other side of New York City, a man was pronounced dead, and pictures of Stu and the other victims were found in his apartment. A loaded gun was found in his hand and a suicide note that said:

They paid for their sins. Now it's my turn.

A/N: I do not own Phone Booth, its plot, or its characters. I do wish I owned Stu, though. He's quite sexy. Hope you enjoyed.


~temporary insanity