Disclaimer: I don't own any of the songs or quotes mentioned. I do not own Logo TV or The A-List: New York. I don't own any of the products, quotes or song mentioned.
Warning: T for Language and quite a bit of it.
Epilogue Part 2
TJ was so happy that Adam was back in the city. He had missed him greatly; however, he was dreading the conversation they were going to have. They had dinner and seen a show the night before. It was a great night. And it didn't end in making love. TJ couldn't, knowing what was on his mind. Adam was at his own New York apartment doing interviews for several entertainment news shows and one website. Sometimes it was just easier for everyone who wanted an interview to come to one place and take a number.
Waiting for Adam to finish and come over was nerve wracking for TJ. He tried talking to Ryan but it didn't help much. At this point, the conversation was unavoidable and the situation was close to getting out of hand. When they first got together, TJ didn't know if he could actually handle a long distance relationship. He was proud of what he had accomplished so far. He cared for Adam and he did fall in love with the superstar. But now things were changing and he wasn't so sure of what to do now.
Adam finally made it to TJ's and he was glad they were alone. TJ's roommate was spending the night with a friend since he didn't know how long this conversation was going to be. Or how either would react.
"Hi Honey." Adam said as his kissed TJ. "Don't you look relaxed?"
"I try. Come sit." They sat on the couch facing each other. Adam with his left leg underneath him, TJ pulled his legs up resting his chin on his knee. He took a deep breath to steady his nerves and emotions.
"Is everything ok? You don't look so relaxed anymore. Has something happened?" TJ was thinking of how to best approach this.
"Not exactly." Adam frowned at those words. "I'm trying to think of the best way to say what I have to say." Adam held TJ's hand for support.
"Just tell me sweetie. There's never been a time when we haven't been able to talk to each other."
"Well, you know when we started dating that I had never been in a long distance relationship before."
"And I said, 'What the hell, for a chance at love I'll give it a try.' And I have. This has been one the best relationships I've ever been in. And I know it probably wouldn't have been without modern technology. I don't even want to think of how people did this before."
"It's been a great relationship for me too. It's been a long time since someone wanted me for me and not my fame." Adam could see the seriousness on TJ's face. "Come on; tell me what's going on." TJ sighed again.
"I met someone." He whispered. Silence. Adam slowly pulled his hand from TJ's grasp. "It's not exactly what you think."
"What the fuck TJ? What do you mean it's not what I think it is? What am I supposed to think?"
"He's just a friend." Adam's eyebrows rose.
"You expect me to believe that?" He replied with hurt and anger in his voice.
"Please, let me explain." TJ started to reach for Adam's hand but changed his mind. "We met at a fundraiser for Mike. He asked for our support, so we were there. We were standing at the bar and he came over and introduced himself. We all talked with him but somehow a little while later, it was just the two of us. And we talked about a lot of stuff."
"Does he have a name?"
"His name is Lucas Roberts. His friends and family call him Luc. He's an English professor at NYU, with a doctorate and he's an advisor with the Gay Student Union. So we were talking about me coming to talk with the students about volunteering, supporting gay rights and things they could do as students. He also thought it would also be a good idea because so many of them had watched the show."
"And you never suspected that he had ulterior motives?"
"No, not at all! We exchanged info and met at a coffee shop to discuss schedules and what the students were doing. And I did. I had a great time talking with them. I even helped some of them come out to their parents."
"So why are you making this seem like you have feelings for him?"
"I didn't… at first, but now I do. We had been working together for weeks and the subject of our personal lives had never come up. Ever. He asked me if I was single one day. I told him no and I started talking about you and how great our relationship was. I don't think he knew it but his disappointment was all over his body. He tried not to show it, changed the subject and that was it. He started hanging out with us, he became a friend. He works out with Richen and Rodiney sometimes. Ryan has cut his hair. And it seems like we've known him forever. Ryan and Derek even mentioned once that they thought he was interested in me for other reasons, but I dismissed it."
"So when did he tell you he was interested in you?" Adam's tone was flat and disgusted.
"He didn't. He told Ryan. He waited 'til I had a day off and came to the salon. He asked Ryan how serious our relationship really was. Ryan told him that it was solid, which it is. Or was. We didn't have any problems."
"Until now." TJ nodded.
"Yeah, until now. Well, Luc told Ryan that he had a crush on me and he felt that it could be more than a crush."
"More than a crush?"
"Luc told Ryan that he thought he might be falling in love with me. Then he swore him to secrecy. Which I thought Ryan would never do to me."
"And what did your best friend say?"
"Ryan encouraged him keep it just friends. What Luc didn't know was how sexy I thought he was. I mean, we'd dance together, laugh and flirt a little but I would never act on anything. It was harmless fun."
"You think flirting with him was harmless fun?" Adam asked as he felt tears hovering at the back of his eyes.
"Yeah. I mean, I flirt with Richen and Rodiney all the time. It's harmless fun."
"Well, they're not in love with you TJ, Luc is. It's not harmless." TJ could hear the pain appearing in Adam's voice. It was clear that he was hurt. He buried his head in his knees for a few minutes, trying to figure out how to proceed.
"We were all supposed to have dinner at Mike and Ray's one night and he backed out of it. Then he started backing out a lot of friend things- dinner, movie night, clubbing. We would see him at charity events and stuff but he refused to hang out with us. So I asked him what was his deal. He told me that he didn't want to jeopardize my relationship with you. I told him our relationship was strong; there was nothing that could mess it up. Then he confessed that he wanted to kiss me. And. I. Froze. I didn't know what the hell to say. I didn't know how to feel. He confessed that he was spending less time with us so he wouldn't have to see me and it would be easier to get over me. But it didn't work; he thinks about me all the time."
"So did you kiss him?"
"No! I could never."
"But you thought about it?" Tears began to flow from TJ's eyes. "You did, didn't you?" TJ nodded slowly.
"Yeah, I did."
"Shit." Adam replied. He looked at TJ in anger. "Why the hell are you crying?"
"Because I'm confused! Luc seriously wants a relationship with me. And as much as I'm in love with you, I can't help but think…"
"I can't help but think what if. What if we had never met and I met him instead. What if I had let him kiss me? How far would it have gone? Would I have cheated?"
"So what do you want?"
"I don't know." Adam threw up his hands in frustration.
"This is crazy! Either you want me or you want him. Which is it?"
"Adam I love you, I do. But I have come to like Lucas too. And I can see him as more than just a friend." Adam stood up from the couch wiping his tears that had finally fallen.
"I can't hear this right now. I just can't." He headed towards the door.
"Adam wait!" TJ cried out, trying to reach him before he got to the door. "Don't leave, please." He said wiping his tears with the back of his hand. "We can talk this out."
"No, not right now we can't." Adam said, the hurt extremely evident in his voice. TJ tried to grab Adam's arm and pull him back to the couch.
"Yes, we can. We always talk it out."
"We can't talk about this right now."Adam yanked his arm back. "Do you even understand how I'm feeling right now TJ? My boyfriend, that'd be you in case you forgot, has just told me that he might be in love with someone else. Would you want to talk after hearing that?" TJ was silent. "No, I didn't think so. I need to leave. Right now. I'll call you before I leave New York." Adam unlocked the door.
"Adam please…" Adam just looked at TJ with disgust, left and slammed the door behind him. TJ slid down the wall to the floor and became a bundle of tears. He cried until he thought he couldn't and then he cried some more until he fell asleep. That's exactly where his roommate found him the next morning- tearstained face, stopped up nose and puffy eyes- asleep on the floor.
Once Ryan arrived, he and the roommate managed to get TJ off the floor and cleaned up. He finally told them what happened.
"TJ honey, I didn't know you felt that way about Luc. This is bad on so many levels." Ryan said.
"What do I do? He was so hurt when he left. I've never ever in my life hurt someone like that. And I didn't even cheat on him!"
"Well, maybe you two should take a break. It will give you some time to think about who you really want."
"How much time?"
"I would say you need at least two months to yourself. Then maybe you and Luc can go out on a few dates and see how things go." TJ sighed and shook his head.
"How did I get in this situation?"
"I don't know, but we'll get you out of it."
A few days later, Adam contacted TJ and asked if they could meet. TJ said yes and they agreed to meet at the salon after hours. Ryan was going to step out for a bit and let them talk, but Adam insisted that he stay; he wasn't going to be there long. TJ invited him to sit down anyway. Ryan sat quietly and listened.
"I wanna apologize again for the way things have turned out. I never expected this to happen." TJ said.
"I'm not sure I'm ready to accept your apology yet, but thanks anyway. You know what upsets me the most is that you broke our promise."
"Our promise that the moment we thought someone else might come into our lives to tell the other and we could discuss it. This situation is months old and you never told me. You never told me. Here I am traveling and working, thinking you're all about us and there is someone else trying to get in the picture. And you're letting him!"
"Would it have made a difference if I had?"
"Hell yeah! I wouldn't have felt so blindsided. I wouldn't have felt like you cheated on me."
"But I didn't Adam. I didn't kiss him or anything."
"Maybe not physically, but emotionally you were not in our relationship." TJ realized that Adam was right. As long as he was thinking of Lucas, he was not thinking of them.
"So what do you want to do?"
"Well, since you can't decide who you want, I'll decide for you. Why don't you just be with Lucas?" The tone in his voice made his words seem like mini daggers, stinging all over.
"You don't have to be mean like that Adam."
"I'm hurt TJ, what else to you expect me to be? Hurt people hurt other people. You weren't sure about being in a long distance relationship anyway, so maybe this is exactly what you need, someone who is here with you." Ryan could see that Adam was fighting back tears.
"I know I said I would be quiet, but may I add my two cents?" Adam shrugged as if to say it was ok. "Well, when Lucas first mentioned how he felt about TJ, I told him to stay out of it, begged him to stay out of it. But that was before I realized that TJ had feelings for him too. I know you may not what to hear this, but I did suggest to TJ that maybe you two should take a break from each other. Spend some time by yourselves, re-evaluate who you are and want you want. And maybe, just maybe you both can venture out to attempt to date someone else and see if 'Adam and TJ' are where you really want to be." The hurting couple looked at each other. "After a certain amount of agreed upon time, you'll sit down and talk and really decide if being together is for you."
"What do you think?" TJ whispered. Adam gave him a look that could kill. "What if we spent some time apart?"
"TJ, we're in a long distance relationship; we're always apart." TJ gave a hopeless sigh. "But sure if that's what you want, you got it." Adam stood up and prepared to leave. "We're no longer a couple. Do whatever you need to do for you. Let me know what you finally decide." Then Adam left.
Where I Wanna Be
When Austin exited the plane, his emotions were all over the place. He was anxious, nervous, cautious, in love, hopeful. He had plenty of time to decide what he wanted. Every time he looked at Jake's ring, he knew what he had to do. But could he do it? He always claimed that Reichen was just a friend. Reichen backed up his story. But the truth of the matter was that Austin wanted to be with Reichen; he wanted to be where Rodiney was.
And he thought he might have had a chance right before Reichen met Rodiney. He really didn't think they would develop into a couple. Rodiney was bisexual and never really been in a relationship with a man. Reichen had never been single longer than a few weeks to a month at a time. The weekend that Austin met Reichen was a drunken good party time. Was it the alcohol that made him want Reichen? No, because the feelings continued after they had gone their separate ways. And this reality show was bringing up so many feelings and emotions from the past that neither Austin nor Reichen knew what to do with them. They couldn't act on them. Well, they could but there would be harsh consequences since each man was involved with someone else.
When the rumors and lies started flowing, Austin began to regret what he'd said and who he'd said it to. But he wouldn't admit that out loud. The only men who would know if Reichen were a "bad cock-sucker", (Austin's own words) would be those who decided to be intimate with him. No one ever asked Austin how he really knew. Austin was jealous of Rodiney. He would have been jealous of any man who was in Reichen's life. But he just thought Rodiney was all wrong, although he could never come up with a list. Well, a list that Richen could accept.
When he was called for the show, he didn't mind much that he and Jake were apart. He was hoping that Reichen was single. No such luck. And instead of trying to be friendlier, he was tearing up what little friendship was left between the two of them. And after Rodiney and Reichen had turned him down for a threesome, he felt abandoned. Jake was gone and he couldn't even get laid by the couple who, for a while, liked to invite someone into their bed.
Austin had to really re-evaluate who he needed in his life. On one hand, he could be the lost little puppy, running behind Reichen, nipping at his heels causing Reichen to kick and ignore him instead of picking him up and nurturing him. On the other, there was Jake. A man who was more than ready to love Austin with every single flaw, love all of his crazy friends, be ok with a crazy work and travel schedule. He wanted love, he wanted stability. He wanted Jake. No, he needed Jake. It was the reason he was on this long flight from New York to the UK.
They had planned their wedding a while ago and neither of them bothered to change anything when Jake left to come back to the UK. Their suits were still available, the setting, the reception hall, everything was available. The question was would either of the grooms be there? Once Austin was through customs, he hailed a cab and headed straight for Jake's apartment. It used to be their apartment. But with this decision in his mind, it was going to be theirs again.
Jake stood warily in the hallway, ready to call the police at what sounded like someone about to break into the apartment. The door opened but was halted by the security chain. Again, the intruder tried nearly breaking the door down. Jake didn't have a gun but thought if the intruder thought he had one maybe he would leave.
"Oy, you've got two seconds to get 'way from my door or I'll come out and blast ya with my gun!"
"Jake open the door!"
"I mean it!"
"Jake, it's me Austin! Come open the door." Jake walked cautiously to the door and peeked through the gap made by the security chain. "Please?"
"Austin, it's the middle of the freakin' night." Jake said as he finally opened the door where he saw Austin standing with a couple of suitcases. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"Jake, we need to talk."
"What, you forgot how to use a phone and decided to hop on a plane instead?"
"I needed to see you, in person." Jake sighed, wiped his eyes with the back of his hands but slowly stepped aside to let Austin in. Austin carried his bags over to the couch and stood next to it. After closing and locking the door, Jake just stood there and looked at Austin.
"Now that you woke me up, what do you want?" Austin went into his pocket and pulled out the ring that Jake had left on the counter over a month ago and offered it to him.
"I brought your ring back."
"You could have sent that in the mail. Austin, why are you here?"
"We're supposed to get married in a few weeks."
"So, I'm here to marry you." Jake gave Austin a look that said he didn't want to be bothered.
"And what makes you think I still want to marry you?"
"You didn't cancel anything. Everything is still available; I called and checked." Jake sat down on the couch.
"Neither did you so we're even."
"Why didn't you cancel anything?" Austin asked as he sat next to his lover.
"Why didn't you?"
"Come on Jake, I asked you first." Jake looked away and sighed.
"I was going to cancel everything tomorrow…well today now that it's after midnight. I gave you a month and in that month I expected you to call so we could talk and possibly work things out."
"You could have called me."
"I wasn't the one who had second thoughts about being in this relationship; you were. You were the one who wanted to be with Reichen or Rodiney. Or both."
"But I was lonely without you."
"Then you should have stayed here! With me. Things would be so much different now if you had."
"I wouldn't have been able to do the show."
"The show, the show, the show. That's all you talk about. What about us? Huh? What about the plans we made? Did you forget about those as well?"
"How can you say that?"
"How can I say that?" Jake asked standing up. "How can I- are you kidding me right now?"
"Jake this show is opening up all kinds of opportunities for me."
"Yeah, like sleeping with Richen and Rodiney."
"They turned me down."
"Ha, not good enough for them huh?"
"No it wasn't like that. They encouraged me to think about what I really wanted. What I really needed in my life. That's how they stopped their open relationship. And that's what I've been doing. Thinking about us."
"You expect me to believe that?" Jake asked.
"Whether you believe it or not, I'm here. But I hope you do. I love you Jake and I want to be with you. I need to be with you." Austin said as he got up and walked closer to Jake. He gently took Jake's hand and placed the ring inside. "I know we have some work to do on us. I'm willing to work if you are."
"Austin, I just don't know."
"We've got a little time to talk before our ceremony."
"I don't know if it's going to be enough time."
"It will be, if we make the time." Austin replied. "Look, I know woke you up and I appreciate you letting me in. If it's ok with you, I'd like to crash in the guest room and I'll go to a hotel later." Austin turned to grab his luggage and head towards the guest room. Jake looked down at the ring in his hand. He thought about the letter that he'd left with it. He clearly remembered writing: When you figure out what you want, you know where to find me.
"You really want to work this out don't you?" Jake asked. Austin turned to look at him.
"Yes, I do. Don't you?" Tears formed in Jake's eyes and streamed down his face as his answer caught in his throat.
"Yeah, I do." He reached out, grabbed Austin's hand and pulled him into an emotional embrace.
A/N: Reichen's thoughts in bold italic, Portuguese in italicsand translation in parenthesis.
Richen sat quietly at the table, trying to ignore the sneaky photog who had snuck into the restaurant, by burying his head into the menu. He was waiting patiently for Rodiney. Reichen thought a nice quiet dinner between the two would be good before the second season of their show got too far under way.
"Oilindo (Hi gorgeous)." Came the familiar sweet sound of Rodiney Santiago. Reichen turned around and smiled as he stood to greet him.
"Melindo?Olhe para você! (Me gorgeous? Look at you!)" The gentlemen hugged and kissed each other on the cheek. "Please, have a seat."
"Thank you." Rodiney replied as he slid into the opposite side of the booth.
"You look so good! I didn't think it had been that long since we'd seen each other but I guess I was wrong. It's been a while."
"A little while." Rodiney said as their server came to the table to take his drink order. "Papa was looking forward to seeing you when I was visiting my niece." Reichen took a sip of his drink.
"I know but I just didn't feel right. I would have felt like I was intruding on family or something."
"They still feel that you are family." Rodiney replied.
"I know. Mama feels the same way about you. She was kinda looking forward to cooking a lot of food for us." They each laughed.
"Yeah, I definitely ate too much at Thanksgiving."
"Oh, but it was all so good."
"Yes, it was." The server came back with Rodiney's drink and asked for their food order. "I'm not really hungry."
"How about an appetizer platter then?" Reichen asked pointing to the menu. The server took the order and left.
"Was everyone really disappointed that I wasn't there?" Rodiney asked.
"A few were. I hadn't been home in a while and everyone just assumed that you were coming with me. Mama was hoping you'd change your mind and come skiing with us. She thought I didn't invite you."
"I know; I talked to her. She really wanted to see me. She says next time she's here in New York that we are having lunch or dinner, just me and her." Reichen laughed.
"I think our families are taking our break up harder than we are."
"I think because they thought we had finally worked everything out. It's hard to explain to everyone that it was a friendly split. This time anyway."
"I agree." Reichen replied. "It was hard to explain after our episode of Dr. Phil aired. I still wonder why they waited so long to air it." Rodiney shrugged his shoulders. "It was just weird to see us together when we weren't together."
"I know right? But it was good exposure and it was kind of funny."
"Yeah, you and your dancing." They laughed again at each other and the fun they had together. The server brought their food. "So how have you really been?"
"Things are good. I'm getting more modeling job. I'm so proud of the website and my calendar."
"That calendar was hot. Are you doing another one?"
"I don't know. It was a good experience for me."
"I stopped by Mike's studio the other day and I saw some photos he had taken of you. They were damn beautiful." Rodiney blushed a little.
"Aww thank you. He's easy to work with. And I love the way the pictures come out."
"He's a good guy. And Ray too." Reichen said.
"I listen to Ray's CD to help me relax at night when I can't sleep."
"Really?" Rodiney nodded. "Do you have trouble sleeping a lot?"
"Uh, sometimes. I get nervous the night before a shoot. Sometimes if I've been out clubbing I can't get comfortable, the music helps me. Sometimes I can't sleep because I'm missing you." Rodiney looked down, avoiding Reichen's eyes. He didn't want Reichen to know how much he missed him at times. This touched Reichen's heart because he knew Rodiney had no idea just how much he missed their relationship too. Reichen reached across the table and gentle grabbed Rodiney's hand.
"I miss you a lot too." He whispered and Rodiney managed to look up.
"What do you miss most?" Reichen chuckled at the question.
"Depends on the day. Some days, it's your laugh. Some days it's the conversation. I mean I can talk to Hans kitty but when she gets bored off she goes. I miss talking about our days together, cooking together. I miss waking up next to someone. I miss waking up next to you."
"Yeah?" Reichen nodded. "I miss teaching you Portuguese. You got pretty good for a while."
"Yeah, I was getting the hang of it."
"I miss waking up with you too."
"Have you dated anybody since we broke up?" Rodiney shook his head.
"Nothing serious. I've been out to lunch, dinner, dancing. I had a little too much to drink one night while I was home and had a one night stand with a guy I grew up with."
"Protected of course?"
"Yes, protected. I always thought he was cute but never had the guts to talk to him back then. It was nothing. How about you?"
"The same. Lots of making out and almost sex. Lots of lonely moments."
"How do you think our fans will react when they find out we aren't together anymore?"
"Honestly, I don't know. I think more people know than we think. A lot of people thought we didn't belong together anyway."
"And I can see people saying that a breakup was inevitable, which may or may not be true. But we broke up on our terms, not anyone else's. We decided to remain friends."
"What do you say to hitting a club? I don't have anything else to do tonight."
"Sounds like fun."
An hour later found the former lovers in a club dancing and sharing drinks with friends. While sitting with some friends, Reichen seemed to zone out of the conversation when he saw Rodiney talking to someone new. Jealously crept in. This guy really seemed interested in him too. Why am I so jealous? Reichen watched as they danced. Rodiney and I are just friends. After a few songs, he watched them exchange numbers. He's free to meet whomever, it shouldn't matter to me. Then the stranger gave Rodiney a kiss on the cheek. I know we've both moved on but I never thought it would hurt to see him smile at someone the way he used to smile at me.
These little depressing thoughts had Reichen drinking a little more than he intended to do. He wasn't drunk yet but he definitely was feeling all the affects of the alcohol. He managed to straighten himself up enough to dance a few songs with Rodiney. The slow song reminded him of some of their intimate times together, dancing before making love. As Reichen closed his eyes, the rest of the club patrons and noise melted away; it was just him and Rodiney, in each other's arms.
Soon the last call came from the bar and patrons starting spilling out into the early morning and they followed. The nighttime air seemed like ice to their cheeks after being inside the hot club. Reichen held on to Rodiney's hand so he wouldn't get lost in the crowds of people heading for the subway or hailing cabs. They walked to a small clearing across the street from the club, Reichen still holding Rodiney's hand. He pulled Rodiney closer to him and kissed him gently on the lips. Rodiney returned the kiss and soon it became passionate. After pulling away for air, Reichen gently caressed Rodiney's cheek, feeling the stubble. Reichen blushed at what was about to say.
"I can't believe that I'm going to ask you this."
"Ask me what?" Reichen leaned against the building with his shoulder, still holding Rodiney's hand.
"You want to come home with me, for a little while?"
"What?" was the reply with shock in the voice.
"Come home with me tonight. Maybe we can watch a movie, listen to music, dance a little or-"
"We could be together; you know apenas nós (just us)."Rodiney smiled.
"Like old times."
"Yeah. So what do you say?"Rodiney thought about it for a minute. "Come on; we both miss that and we can get it back tonight."
"Reichen-" His response was interrupted by another kiss. "Reichen, namorada (sweetheart), I miss that too but I think we should wait."
"Wait? Why? There's no better time than right now."
"I had a really good time with you tonight."
"Me too; absolutely fabulous time." Reichen said as he was trying to kiss Rodiney's neck.
"We've had quite a bit to drink…"
"Yeah…" Reichen replied kissing Rodiney's lips again.
"And I think our emotions are all over the place."
"We're just a cab ride away from our hands and lips joining our emotions." Reichen leaned in for another kiss and Rodiney stopped him by placing his index finger against them. He shook his head indicating that them sleeping together that night would not be a good idea.
"As much I want to, I don't think we should."Reichen gave Rodiney a nearly irresistible pout. Rodiney growled when he saw it. "Que é tãosexy (That is so sexy)."
"I know. I'll pout all night if you want."
"No, Reichen. I think we should wait."
"Why? So you can get to know that guy you met tonight?"
"No, we should wait because we aren't sure what we want. We're friends and a part of me will always love you. But I have to decide, we have to decide, if we want to be in love again." Reichen sighed and his shoulders sank in defeat.
"And we can't make that decision in one night."
"Right." Rodiney looked into Reichen's eyes and nearly melted at the emotion.
"So are we starting over?" Rodiney shrugged.
"Maybe. Who knows? We take it one step at a time, ok?"
"Ok." This time Rodiney reached up to kiss the taller man and after the kiss, he whispered...
"Boa noite,minha querida. (Good night, my darling.)"
"Boa noite (Good night)." Reichen replied as he released his former lover's hand. Rodiney was walking towards a row of cabs waiting for fares when his phone rang.
"Hello?" He answered.
"Call or text me to let me know you made it home safe ok?" Rodiney looked back behind him, seeing Reichen in the background.
"I will." Then Rodiney slipped into the waiting cab.