This was inspired in part by a deleted scene from the script "The Son Also Rises".
She turned to look at him, still with his hands in his pockets, the squint and the half-smile nearly gone. He always eyed her that way when he had something important weighing on his mind.
Maybe this time he would level with her. Maddie's heart raced as the sound of Aretha Franklin singing "Rescue Me" washed her vision of David away.
"David?" she breathed, sitting up in bed in a daze, the familiar dream interrupted. Reaching across the bed she found herself twisted in a sheet and struggled to turn off the singing alarm clock.
It had been the first week of vacation. Maddie never would have thought New York City could become boring after three days. But there she was, waking up early to catch a flight back to LA, five days earlier than she had planned. She'd considered going to Chicago to visit her parents for a week, but they had planned a vacation of their own. Virginia tried to get her to come with them, but Maddie enthusiastically proclaimed she had big plans for her last few nights in New York with friends. Of course, her mother wanted to know the particulars. "Male friends?" she had asked inquisitively, even managing to bring David's whereabouts into the conversation. Maddie simply laughed her off and changed the subject.
There had been two dates. One with an old flame from her modeling days who, after they had attended a Broadway show, proceeded to tell her over dinner that he had been involved with just about every other model Maddie could remember ever working with during those days. He seemed to be proud of his conquests. Maddie feigned illness shortly after dinner.
Even David never bragged about notches on his bedpost, although he seemed to enjoy her apparent jealousy when Jillian came to town. But still, there were certain things they had talked about and certain things they hadn't and David's scoring tactics never were a topic of their sometimes-heated conversations.
Though…. she was pretty sure he had plenty of tactics up his sleeves.
The second date was with an older gentleman she had met through a friend of hers. They shared a very nice meal with mediocre conversation. Well, that was putting it politely. The dinner repartee was boring and he was too eager to turn their prattle into pillow talk. She forged a headache and spent the rest of the evening alone with her own hotel pillows.
Come to think of it…any conversation she had ever had with David was far from boring; infuriating, maybe, and a few times titillating…but NEVER boring.
She was certain David had gone someplace tropical with an endless supply of tequila and Coppertone. And a lot of beautiful women clad in bikinis. Maddie jerked the sheet back testily and climbed out of bed.
Why did she care what he was doing anyway?
He was right. It would keep till fall.
The hot afternoon breeze flowed through the open tiki hut bar. Tourists filtered in and out with their umbrella drinks in one hand and their significant other…or others in some cases…in the other hand. The beach was crowded, but no one seemed to care.
She stood looking hopeful…really hopeful. Too hopeful, actually. What could he have said? That he was going to miss her? That he didn't want to take a vacation away from her? That Mexico had lost its appeal when he realized he was going alone?
"It'll keep till the fall."
"If you think so."
"Yeah…it'll definitely keep till the fall."
Good God, she was even beautiful standing in the middle of an ugly, oil-stained parking lot. Why did he ever let her drive away without at least telling her he would miss her?
His Raybans were pulled from his face to reveal the beginnings of raccoon-type sunburn. David sat up on one elbow and squinted in the bright sun.
"Did you hear me?"
"Huh?" he answered sleepily.
"You need to put some more lotion on. You're getting burnt."
David looked at the woman who he vaguely remembered from the night before. His head still felt heavy from the tequila shots that started at midnight. He did remember someone helping him back to his room in the wee hours, though he wasn't sure it was she. One thing he knew for sure…he woke up alone.
"What?" she asked, a little puzzled at David's confused look. "Here, I'll put it on for you."
She generously rubbed suntan lotion over David's shoulders, neck and back. David politely sat still and uncharacteristically quiet, until she offered to rub down his arms and chest.
"Uh…" he stammered, trying to recall a name.
"Sasha," she said, now a little miffed.
David smiled disconcertedly. His half-functioning brain was still trying to drum up the events that led to Sasha giving him a complimentary beach massage.
"I think I can manage the rest."
"Ooookkaaay," she sang. "If you think so."
"What did you say?"
"I said if you think so," she shrugged. "That sunburn of yours will keep till the fall," she said with a seductive smile. "You sure you don't want me—"
"No, no, that's okay," he said, gently removing her hand from his arm and taking the lotion from her.
"Why so shy all of a sudden? There was no shyness about you last night!" she retorted, definitely more than a little miffed now.
He really didn't have a very good answer. Well, he did, only he knew better than to tell her.
"Who is she?"
David glared at her, put his sunglasses back on his face and tossed the bottle of lotion down on his beach lounger. He really didn't want to have that kind of conversation with her. Actually, his mood was turning sour by the minute and he didn't want to have any conversation. Period. Maybe if he sat there long enough without giving her an answer she would get a clue.
"Okay! You don't want me around? Fine with me. There's plenty of other men who'd be very happy to have my company right now." She gathered her things quickly and threw her beach bag over her shoulder.
"Just one thing, David. If she's so important to you, why isn't she here with you?"
Mexico lost its allure. David was back in LA three days later.
Damned right it would keep till the fall.
Maddie parked in her reserved spot in the parking garage, noticing the new sign posted with Blue Moon's logo. Vacations weren't all they were cracked up to be, she thought as she sat staring at the sign. Especially if one spent the entire time cleaning closets, garages and whatever else needed organizing. And even she could only keep her nose in a few books for so long. She wondered if vacations were really for people who needed to discover what one really wanted…to get back to work…and to the people who worked there.
Her pumps clicked quickly through the garage to the elevator. She was anxious and wanted to beat David to the office so as to look absorbed in the business of Blue Moon when he arrived. The doors closed and she punched the button repeatedly for the twentieth floor. Stepping into the elevator made her heart race.
Good grief Maddie! So you missed him…so what?
David's cab dropped him off by the curb. Clad in a Mexican poncho, Raybans and bandana around his neck, he wrestled with his furry dominoes dangling from his sombrero that had become tangled in the guitar he had thrown over his shoulder.
Once in the lobby, he stood waiting for the elevator. A few people stared and a pretty lady smiled.
"Buenos dias, " he quipped, looking over the sunglasses and shaking the maracas he had bought for Maddie, the one thing he had actually bought in Mexico. The other accoutrements he had brought to work that morning were purchased at the Five and Dime down the street from his apartment.
A few passengers got off on the tenth floor, leaving him alone for the rest of the ride up. Vacations were a time for people to let loose, unwind…work on their tans. At least he had done one out of the three. Taking his sombrero off, he looked at his reflection in the shiny thin metal strip of the elevator wall. He smoothed his hair back on the sides a little; his trips to the new tanning salon in town had served their purpose. Putting the sombrero back on, he laughed at his reflection. He never would have thought he would ever be glad for a vacation to end. A guy could only play so much pool and poker with his guy friends until he was either broke…or wanting something more to look at that was softer on the eyes.
David repeatedly pushed the button for the twentieth floor. He checked his watch and his heart picked up a bit with the anticipation of returning to Blue Moon. He purposefully left late that morning. He couldn't have Maddie thinking he was actually anxious to get back…back to work, that is.
The elevator dinged and the doors opened, interrupting David's thoughts of what the day might bring. He stepped out giving the guitar a playful strum. Stopping in front of the Blue Moon window he peeked inside to see a bunch of sad, bored Wobblies needing some perking up on their first day back from vacation. No sign of Maddie other than a closed office door.
Get a grip Addison! So you missed her…so what?
He took a deep breath, pulled the bandana over his mouth and nose and went inside.
Muchas gracias, Jen!