Publish Novellas 27 November 2022
EPISODE 13 – CLOSURE
Ricky is either toying with Nicole’s mind or he is the mastermind of an elaborate plan. Find out which in this titillating conclusion.
Ricky drops a bombshell on Nicole with an imposing question.
“What if I were to tell you that everything I’ve been through during the past year has been for you?”
“How do you mean? You’re doing it again—messing with my mind,” Nicole says while fidgeting her hands.
“Come closer. Let me hold you. My becoming sober, learning a new trade, and becoming your neighbor are all steps to a well-orchestrated plan to reunite with you.”
“That doesn’t make any sense, I could have been married by now. And you already are. How is this a brilliant strategy. It sounds like a mess,” Nicole objects.
“Your marriage was of little consequence to my planning. As for me—news flash—there was no elopement.”
“Wait, are you telling me that you’re not married?” Nicole shouts in shock as she jumps to her feet.
“That’s right, and Zephyr is not my son. Why do you think Jillian wanted his last name to be Agassi and not Sanders? Boom! Mind blown.”
“This is confusing. I can’t tell if you’re pranking me just to hook up. Please stop it,” Nicole demands as she paces back and forth.
“Think it through. No one saw me get married. Who ran a paternity test? My words became truth in the ears of the naive.”
“That would mean that Jillian was in on this ruse as well,” Nicole reasons.
“The two of us had different goals that overlapped. She wanted to get back in good graces with her family and I wanted to be with you. So we helped each other out.”
“You’re just trying to shock me. That must be the most devious thing I ever heard!”
“Call it deviousness or call it love. Either way, the man you lust after is now sitting before the woman he loves. Come closer,” Ricky says while pulling gently.
“I warned Jack about this. I’m an addict and you’re my drug. This conversation takes advantage of my vulnerability. I should go,” Nicole softly argues but sits next to him anyway. “What if Jillian returns?
“Don’t worry about Jillian. She left us this time together.”
“With a reasonable degree of certainty, I can say that I probably don’t believe… what you say… is true….” After succumbing to her heart, Nicole regains composure. “I’m losing track of reality. Did that just really happen?”
“It did, and I have no regrets.”
“I must be having a vivid fantasy. This happens frequently when I’m alone at night. But I can still feel you near me. Is everything else you said to me real? I would be very upset if you used me,” Nicole says as she slaps Ricky’s chest.
“Don’t get yourself worked up with suspicions. It’s all true.”
“If Jillian were to walk in right now and see us like this, what would she do?” asks nervous Nicole.
“I imagine that she would shout, ‘Oops! Sorry, thought you were done,’ cover her eyes and go back out the door.”
“You’re telling me that she knows about our feelings and is okay with what we’re doing? That’s too incredible. I’m tempted to stay here until she comes home just to confirm what you’re saying is true.”
“That’s up to you. Hey, look at this text from her just 10 minutes ago. She asks me, ‘Do you need more time?’ with a wink emoji.”
Nicole continues battling conflicting emotions. “I don’t think this was supposed to happen. Maybe it was a mistake.”
“Do you really want to get married to Jack and be my mistress on the side? It’s a platonic engagement. You deserve more than clandestine passion. Your body language will soon reveal your wayward feelings. Eventually, as an armed police officer, Jack won’t take kindly to finding his wife in my embrace.”
“I already feel everything you’re saying is true. Help me out. How can I tell Jack it’s over? This conversation will get awkward really quickly,” Nicole asks in desperation.
“Less is best. You don’t think I would do all this planning without an exit strategy, do you?”
“Okay, what’s the next step? I need you to help me,” Nicole begs.
“Stop shivering, baby.” Ricky gently rubs her arms while snuggling. “Jillian is primed to act out the role of a grieving wife of an adulterous husband who left her with a newborn child.
“Most people only remember the first part of the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme. After Jack breaks his crown and Jill comes tumbling after, it continues:
Jack got up, and home did trot
As fast as he could caper
To old Dame Dob, who patched his nob
With vinegar and brown paper
“The real Jack and Jill will recover too. William will come to Jillian’s aid with all the financial support for her to raise Zephyr. Jackson will move on and find another bride. From what I hear, this place is full of eager women. Everyone will live happily ever after.
“All you need to do is pack a bag and leave a note for Jack. Then we quietly drive away into the sunset, without a fuss.”
“I must confess… I’ve been fantasizing about you. It is why I avoided you and delayed my wedding plans. I kept imagining that somehow, some way, we would end up together. I even warned Jack that I had strong feelings for you.”
“And how did he respond?” Ricky asks.
“He continued making arrangements to bring us to where we are now.”
“It was meant to be. This is the final chapter. No more deception. No loving one person while marrying another. All your fantasies become reality and all your frustrations evaporate like mist.”
“Where will we stay? Back in your old van? It was good enough before but we have come a long way since then.”
“Actually, Mr. Agassi has been very generous. I stashed some money aside in savings and still have the tattoo parlor. A friend has been keeping up with the clientele. I can even make more income with my new skills. There’s a furnished apartment waiting for us outside of town.
“You don’t really want to marry Jack. You want to be with me. You crave me like a dry plant needs water.”
“How could you know I still had strong feelings for you or would leave Agassi? It was very presumptuous.”
“Perhaps, but my hunch paid off. My love for you is the motivation for all this planning to win you back? I figured your feelings had to be at least as strong as mine. With you still being single, this is the best outcome. Just leave the engagement ring on the note. It is so easy.”
“I always thought of you as creative. But this plan of yours is genius! We should measure your IQ. Pinch me. Ouch! I guess I’m not dreaming. You had me 100 percent fooled.”
“Sorry to leave you in the dark. But I couldn’t risk you spoiling the plan. Actually, all of your intense feelings helped make everything more convincing. You had no script to memorize. I wish I could have heard you unleash your typhoon of emotions on Jack as he brought us back together with Jillian between us.”
“I was so jealous of Jillian sleeping with you, I wanted to do unspeakable things to her. Wait! Did you even…? Never mind, I rather believe that you didn’t sleep with her. If I ask again, lie to me—or tell me the truth, as long as the answer is the same…. Did you sleep with her?”
“No, I’ve been waiting for you,” Ricky assures Nicole.
“Good answer! I guess I’ve been waiting too. This was long overdue. With all my emotions exposed, I’m not embarrassed to say that you’re the only man I’ve ever been with.
“The more I heard about your marriage and mine, the more sick I became. It seemed that the obstacles between us were becoming more impenetrable.
“Now, like a knight in shining armor, you sweep away all the impediments and stand ready to carry me away into the sunset. To be perfectly candid, I simultaneously feel happy, confused, and titillated,” Nicole admits. “Is that too weird?”
“I love your candor. It means you’re comfortable around me. I’m surprised to hear you and Jack never made out. But don’t take that as a complaint.
“Your whirlwind of emotions is what I miss most. Those feelings won’t go away as long as you’re with me,” Ricky assures Nicole with a kiss.
“I don’t want to trade my potential committed relationship for one with you hooking up with women behind my back in your parlor. That must stop! There’s another condition. Please don’t ink my body with tattoos or string me out on drugs again? You’re the only drug I need. I want you to love my mind and body as-is, without competition.”
“Those are fair requests. All I want is you. I plan to remain sober. You see the genius ideas I have with a clear head. But if I slip, I won’t pull you down. You can walk out the door like you did before.
“In fact, I need you to keep me straight. Flush my weed down the toilet. Slap sense into me. Do whatever it takes to remind me of what I have. You’re my creative inspiration—my muse.”
“Answer me again. Did you sleep with Jillian in either your parlor, van, or apartment? I know you had her top off to ink her and she is very attractive. Be honest. If I was a man, I probably would have hooked up with her too.”
“I did not,” Ricky says plainly.
“It seems unlikely. But I choose to believe you and trust you to keep your promises. There’s no need to delay our happiness any further. Meet me at my place in two hours. I’ll be ready to leave. Tonight we’ll be in our new apartment making up for lost time.”
In the note, Nicole remembers that less is best while trusting Jillian to provide the cover story. She reminds Jack that this is the outcome she warned him about.
“Dear Jack, Please don’t think of me as a home wrecker. Perhaps Jillian can better explain that in due time. I’m happy that your family has been reunited. You should feel good about it too. Jillian has been through unspeakable things to make this possible. Continue to love and support her with Zephyr.
“As for me, I’m at peace knowing my heart is at home with the man I truly love. The only explanation I can offer is that I made dramatic changes to become an artificial version of myself. The mask is now off. I hope this doesn’t cause too much scandal in this gossipy town. Do whatever you want with my belongings.
“You have good detective skills. But I hope you don’t use them to find me. Sorry for not providing a two-week notice. But you need to hire another security patrol person. Find a more worthy soul for this ring. I wish you and Agassi all the best, Nicole.”