Would you like to swing on a star,
Carry moonbeams home in a jar,
And be better off than you are?
Or would you rather be a mule?
A mule is an animal with long funny ears,
Kicks out on anything he hears.
His back is brawny, but his brain is weak.
He's just plain stupid with a stubborn streak.
And by the way, if you hate to go to school,
You may grow up to be a mule.
Would you like to swing on a star,
Carry moonbeams home in a jar,
And be better off than you are?
Or would you rather be a pig?
A pig is an animal with dirt on his face.
His shoes are a terrible disgrace.
He's got no manners when he eats his food.
He's fat and lazy and extremely rude.
But if you don't care a feather or a fig,
You may grow up to be a pig.
Would you like to swing on a star,
Carry moonbeams home in a jar,
And be better off than you are?
Or would you like to be a fish?
A fish can't do anything but swim in a brook.
He can't write his name or read a book.
To fool the people is his only thought.
Although he's slippery he still gets caught.
But if that's all life what you wish,
You may grow up and be a fish.
A new kind of jumped up, slippery fish.
And all the monkeys aren't in the zoo.
Every day you meet quite a few.
So, you see it's all up to you.
You could be better than you are.
You could be swinging on a star.
It was a highly unusual car ride for Maddie Hayes and David Addison that late Sunday afternoon. They were sharing a cab from L. A. International Airport to Maddie's house, just having landed after a quiet flight from Chicago. A cousin of Maddie had celebrated their wedding there, and David had been Maddie's plus one in an unforgettable weekend that he would not trade for the world.
Both were sitting in the backseat of the car, and neither of them was talking – which was the unusual part. The silence between them was not exactly awkward, but not comfortable either. A lot of amazing things had been said, had been felt, had happened between them during that space of time, and it wouldn't have been overstating it to call it a breakthrough in their relationship – and that was exactly what filled them both with an equal measure of awe and anxiety.
David had contemplated, for a brief moment at the beginning of the cab ride, putting his arm around Maddie's shoulders, but had scrapped that idea quickly; he knew that Maddie had already taken a huge step by opening herself up to him in the way that she had – had that been only yesterday? He wanted anything but to add pressure.
Tentatively walking up to their breakfast table that morning, he could already tell from afar that she was on the verge of regretting what had happened between them the night before – okay, what had almost happened. It was the furious way in which she had been stirring her coffee. He had felt that she was about to backpedal, but somehow, this time his instinct had put the right words in his mouth, had enabled him to show her just the right amount of tenderness that had won her trust. Yes, when he had taken her hand and kissed her fingertips, he too could feel the electricity that had shot through her body; and when he had suggested a casual after-work dinner, it had been as if a light had been switched on in her eyes – he had been delighted to see sheer happiness shining there.
The rest of the breakfast had continued with friendly and – yes – alluring and even openly flirting banter, presenting both of them with a glimpse of the exciting things that were to come. David would not risk a thing in the world that might scare her off now; he simply didn't want to overbid his hand, although, frankly, he was not only contemplating but dying to put his arm around Maddie's shoulders and pull her close, bury his face in her hair, brush his lips against her temple. But he was afraid that things between them were just too fragile to push any further right now. He did not want her to regret it later. Let her stomach the events of the weekend first, give her time to ease down.
Maddie's hands were in her lap, the fingers of her right hand played with the silver bracelet on her left wrist. From under her long eyelashes, she cast a glance at David from time to time; getting more and more frustrated with each mile that the cab drove them nearer to her house. He needed to say something, anything.
He didn't look at her, he didn't talk to her, and what was the worst – he seemed to be anxious not to touch her. Secretly, she longed for him to put his arm around her shoulders and pull her close; she wanted nothing more than to feel the warmth of his body against hers (even if they were both dressed) and to lean her head on his shoulder. Why did he avoid her, was he playing cool? She was getting increasingly annoyed with him – and with herself, because he affected her so goddamn much.
This morning, at the breakfast table, he had said and done everything right – when she had been the one so ready to stumble two steps backwards after their huge step forward last night. He had reassured her that his intentions were not to play around with her – well, at least not in a bad way – but that he really cared for her. Without actually saying it, he had convinced her that it had not been a mistake to be heading where they were heading; at least she had thought that. His somehow detached behavior now was a little weird, to say the least.
Maddie made a little sighing noise, and immediately David's head snapped around to face her.
She looked into his green eyes and was annoyed that she couldn't read the expression in them if her life depended on it. It looked to her like he was insecure, but surely, she was mistaken – why on earth would he be insecure, when his middle name was self-confidence?
'Nothing,' she replied quickly, 'I didn't say anything.'
He threw her that slight lopsided smile of his that never failed to make her knees weaken (not the 1.000-Watt grin, but the half-cheeky, half-sweet one which was even worse). 'You okay, Blondie?'
She shrugged and tried to sound nonchalant, 'sure...'
David could clearly see that something was bothering her. He turned to her with his whole body, determined to find out what it was. He didn't want to give her a chance to ponder in silence and nourish whatever qualms she might be having just like she had that time, a few weeks ago, after their highly emotional (they thought that they'd never see each other again due to the fact that he had to go underground) and passionate encounter in the parking garage.
Maddie noticed his move, and her heart leapt.
'Maddie...' he began, and the cab driver chose this very moment to slam the brakes down.
'Here we are!' he announced brightly.
'Great,' David muttered under his breath.
Before he could move, Maddie had jumped out of the cab as if she were on the run from something, someone...
'Stay put,' David told the cab driver quickly, 'just open the trunk. I'll walk the lady to her door.'
'Sure,' the driver replied and pushed the button unlocking the trunk. David left the cab quickly and hurried around the car to open it and pull Maddie's baggage out. She nodded and started to walk towards her entrance door, with him following on her heels carrying the two huge suitcases.
When she had unlocked her door and pushed it open for him, David stepped inside and put the suitcases down in the entranceway. She followed him in but didn't close the door behind her- an action devoid of hope.
'Well...' she said, avoiding eye contact. For a crazy moment she was afraid he would suggest she let him stay. Or was she hoping? She shuffled her feet in an awkward dissociative gesture.
'Well,' he replied with a hint of regret in his voice and cleared his throat. 'Want me to carry these upstairs for you?' He motioned to the two luggage beasts. Unusually, his voice stayed clear of the suggestive undertone that he normally would assume in such a situation. But he felt nervous and still pretty anxious not to press her, make her feel uncomfortable. Look at me - been reading 'The Hayes Guide to Dating'.
She shook her head. 'No, thanks, that's really not necessary, David.'
Finally, she looked up at him, and the expression on her face confused him: slight disappointment, tense, confused – but clearly affectionate. He already felt better and smiled.
'Long weekend, wasn't it?' feeling suddenly instilled with the confidence that he was doing everything right, he raised his left hand and tucked a streak of hair behind her ear.
His touch electrified her, and a gesture that promised so much made her heart and stomach flip. She smiled back, almost a little shyly, and seemed to faintly relax. 'Quite,' she replied, with a soft girlish giggle.
He suddenly felt the need to remind her of their decision to step forward – just in case she had forgotten how incredible it had been (and how much more was waiting for them behind the door that they had just unlocked but not pushed open yet) – and lowered his voice. 'And eventful,' he added.
She swallowed and whispered: 'That too.'
For a moment, they were looking at each other, and the seconds stretched. David's expression was unreadable, and Maddie felt an unwelcome fluttering in her stomach. Kiss me! Her inner voice had shouted this out unexpectedly, and for one horrifying moment she was afraid she had voiced it. But, judging by David's still very composed expression, she hadn't. He didn't look like he was going to make a move, and slowly, she was getting angry about this and took a small step back away from him, to show this disappointment.
'See you in the office?' she asked nonchalantly, almost coolly.
His lips curled into his half-smile, oh I'm so getting this right, and for a moment there was a wicked glint in his eyes. He bent forward to kiss her goodbye.
She, determined not to give away how much she had wanted him to do that before, tilted her head slightly, so that his lips would land on her cheek. This will teach you.
But David had foreseen her move and tilted his head just a little more; Maddie almost jumped when she felt his smooth lips on the right side of her throat – but although she was angry, she just couldn't bring herself to back away from them – they felt too good on her skin, like they belonged there. She wanted the contact to last an eternity. This insight made her even angrier. He makes me feel so out of control of my emotions.
Before she could react in any way to this sensual assault, it was already over. David had taken a step back and was now smiling at her in his inimitable way. The only thing that held Maddie back from snapping at him was that he didn't look smug at all, and she had to admit to herself that it had been... enjoyable.
'See you in the office,' he finally replied, touched two fingers to his lips. In the blink of an eye, he had already reached the waiting cab and was out of sight, leaving her with the burning sensation of his lips on her throat.
Maddie could hear the sound of the engine as the cab drove off to take David back to his place; it had been an incredible weekend. She'd give him that. She leant against her front door and let out a deep sigh – whether of contentment or trepidation, who knew, she certainly did not. When it came to David Addison she had arrived at a decision, that making no decision was usually the best foot forwards.
She needed to take stock.
Heading straight to her fridge for a chilled glass of Pino Grigio, she had already made up her mind to run a hot, steamy bath full of bubbles. She justified this decadent duo with the firm affirmation that it would help her to absorb what had happened over the weekend in the windy city. She'd gone expecting a light breeze but had been treated to a full tornado a la David Addison.
It's funny how sometimes life has its own plans for you. She'd been perfectly happy to pay David Addison for his services as her plus one, it meant that she didn't feel obligated to him - well, that was her plan anyway. As far as she was concerned it had been set in stone, too, but along he had come, with his wit in one hand and his charm in the other, and before she knew it one dance had led to a fight, had led to a kiss, had led to an intimate exchange, had led to a lot of promises being made... She sighed again and felt butterflies in her stomach which, at once, made her feel both angry and elated. It's going to need to be a big glass of Pinot Grigio!
Sinking into the bathtub, she attempted to absorb the pleasant feel of the hot water on her skin, the luxurious perfume and the intoxicating feeling of relaxation that can only be truly appreciated after a long journey. The simple fact that time was standing still was delicious. For a long moment she smiled in content, however this content started to turn up at the corners until it furled itself into a dry crisp. Irritation had taken the place of feelings of well-being as her usual nagging doubt concerning one David Addison sapped joy from her temporary retreat. Damn that man to hell.
Maddie's dark mood prevailed as she angrily sloshed around in the water, cleaning the memories from her body in vigorous strokes, until those strokes gradually became softer, more sensual, and slower and then, dammit, she was thinking about that night again. How he made her feel.
She reached for her glass of Pinot, water spraying across the tiles, and took a long drink. Cross.
Taking stock was not easy when it came to Maddie Hayes and David Addison. They were the garish sun and the soft moon - when one set, the other rose. They were the unstoppable force and the immovable object: forever circling one another. Standing still, in an embrace, was going against their natures but overwhelmingly addictive. But was it right?
Surely, she deserved happiness whatever shape it took. This felt good.
She wanted him more than she had ever wanted a man, she also hated so much about him: his tardy nature, his absolute sexist attitude, his magnified ego, but then there was a side that knew her so well, that made her feel like the most attractive woman in the universe, it knew just what to say when she was feeling blue. The more she thought, the more she needed another sip of that wine. She reached for more and then topped her glass up. This was not a one glass dilemma.
The wine was seducing her with its insidious effect, beginning to take the edge off the sharp line separating: Him. Her. It was blurring the edges, easing panic, allowing her to dwell on what was good as much as abhorrent. It forced her eyes shut; she was able to fully engage with both sides of this thing that was happening to her... the warmth... the bubbles... more wine... easier to think...
Maddie was in a fine restaurant establishment, waiting for her date to arrive. She kept checking her watch, but she couldn't remember who it was that she was waiting for, funny, she was normally more in control of her life than this. She double-checked the menu, but the food choices had altered again- she could have sworn that she was in a French restaurant (her favorite), but she now found herself choosing between the pasta and anti-pasta... she checked her watch. He still had not arrived.
A waiter approached her table with a look that communicated sympathy and she automatically felt abashed and defensive. 'Another glass of Pinot Grigio,' she ordered. 'He'll be here soon.'
'Madam?' inquired the waiter, 'a single gentleman just entered the establishment, and perhaps this is the man you have been waiting for?'
Maddie glanced towards the main entrance and nearly choked on her wine. This was her date. He was dressed immaculately up top, a black tuxedo; white shirt and bow tie- perfect but... wait what had he been thinking? Below she could see, clearly on display, a pair of boxer shorts with a pattern of red hearts, finished off with perfectly shiny black, patent shoes.
'Madam?' The waiter patiently asked once again, impervious to the state of David Addison.
Maddie's cheeks flushed, the fire travelling down her neck and along her collar bone as if it were searching for an escape route.
'Yes,' she disclosed her emotions in that single word; feelings that were disloyal to how she wished to present herself.
'I will guide him to your table Madam,' he persevered, still strangely unfazed.
'Thank you,' Maddie muttered, looking down at her menu, burying her ego in the entrees.
With an elegant turn, the waiter left her side and made his way over to the gentleman at the entrance. All the waiter could discern was a man, early-thirties, well turned out and dressed just right for this establishment. In his mind, he casually blended this couple together and decided that they looked good together.
'Sir? Your date is waiting for you. May I show you to the table?'
'Do cats cat? Do Puppies pup?' He pulled a disbelieving face at the waiter's question. 'Who wouldn't want to be escorted to that woman's table...?'
The waiters allowed a slight smile to ruin the rigid features of his face. 'I am sure sir, that the lady feels the same way.'
Maddie watched him approach the table like a slow-motion sequence from a movie, unable to stop the disaster that would surely follow. He was smiling ear to ear, holding out a red rose, avoiding all stations in order to arrive at hers all the faster, although she wished that he would stop at each and every one. Instead, here he was, he was holding out the rose, his other arm ready to embrace her...that was, until he was falling, falling; he had tripped over a handbag that one of the other customers had carelessly discarded in the aisle. Now he was toppling, most ungraciously, towards her feet - rose flying towards her face. It hit her on the nose and left a scratch. She stared down at him.
'Maddie!' he called from his floor-position, 'you wore your hot-date underwear!'
'This isn't happening,' Maddie muttered under her breath to the tablecloth.
'It surely is,' the waiter stood before her with his pad open, ready to take her order. 'Have you decided on your sushi requirements Madam?'
'Sushi?' Maddie looked bewildered as she stared harder at her menu which no longer offered a choice of Italian delicacies. 'What the...?'
'A selection of your best,' David ordered from the floor, 'a little of everything; oh, and a bottle of your finest Champagne.' He relaxed into a more comfortable position.
'David, what are you doing? Get up, you're embarrassing me.'
'Oh, it's okay Maddie, chill, will you? This is a come as you are restaurant,' he drawled as he traced a finger along her fine ankle bone. 'Why don't you join me down here?'
'Get off,' Maddie spat, devastated at his display of public affection. 'This is...excruciating.'
'Maddie, you got to get with the program, live a little, loosen your panty hose,' he chuckled.
'No thank you, I'm quite happy as I am and I would like to eat at the table, sat on a chair, with a knife and fork and a napkin in my lap!'
'You there, me here,' David observed, 'won't it be awfully difficult for romantic dinner chit-chat?'
The waiter appeared with a bottle of Dom Perignon in a silver ice bucket, two flutes balanced on a matching silver tray- a single pink rose cheekily resting between the two. It was the ultimate symbol of romance. It was exactly as Maddie had imagined the start to the evening: perfect. Not like this... her date was not meant to be wearing boxers and laying on the floor, her date was meant to pull out her chair, hand her a rose (not throw it at her) and maybe kiss her hand right before the Champagne arrived.
'Thank you,' David remarked, taking a glass from the waiter, who had bent down to serve him. He took a sip. 'This is nice, very nice.' He looked up at Maddie to see if she also approved of the champagne and saw that she was holding her flute in mid-air, not having taken a sip, frozen with mouth slightly agape and eyes wide but unfocused, it was a look that she had perfected each time David had dug himself into the gutter just that slither deeper than the last time.
'Maddie, you look beautiful tonight,' he flattered as he took a sip of his drink from down there in the gutter.
'You look...' she stopped. She wanted to say 'amazing' because he did, well the top half did but then again, so did the bottom half. She would think that he looked pretty terrific if he would just sit down in a chair and put on some pants...
The waiter interrupted her thoughts with a tray full of Mexican food entrees.
'I didn't order this,'' Maddie complained, 'this just isn't right.'
'It looks pretty tasty to me,' encouraged David as he propped himself up on an elbow. 'Why don't you just try and see if you like it? If you hate it, we can always send it back.'
'But it's not what I ordered...'
'Does that matter? Live a little.'
'Yes!' she exploded, 'in a restaurant this expensive? Of course, it goddamn matters.'
'Exactly, it'll all taste pretty darn good... let's just try it,' David pleaded.
'If you'd just sit on the chair,' Maddie negotiated... and it would have gone well as David was about to give in to her demands, he was even making moves to get to his feet, when the waiter suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, decided to pour the ice-bucket all over Maddie's head. She gasped in shock, sputtering on the bathwater and none-the-wiser.
A face mask, another glass of wine, some beautiful music later and she were none the wiser. One thing was for sure: he had not called her! But somewhere, deep down, she knew that her goddamn rules forbade an over-enthusiastic call. That was always a no-no in the Maddie Hayes book of 'Getting it Right.' The second rule? Sleep on it.
Off she went to bed.
Despite it being a bread-and-butter stakeout, David was finding it increasingly hard to focus on the case in hand. It was an open and shut mission: snap a few photos of the cheating spouse and deliver with a bow tomorrow – that's all the client had wanted. He also knew that Maddie particularly hated this sleazy side of the job so he had offered to get his hands dirty and take care of it solo but that was before the weekend had happened; now he was kind of irritated that he would have to spend their first day back in LA without her. All he wanted to do was be in the same room, same building, same anything... except he was here, in this seedy motel with the Blue Moon camera and no Maddie in sight. This place was so cheap; it didn't even have a telephone. It even made him feel grimy!
The telephone, the telephone... as much as she tried to hypnotize it, that stubborn thing just wouldn't ring. Maddie had been sitting behind her desk like a statue, hands interwoven, for an hour already; way before the office had slowly started to come to life. She had arrived at work early, much earlier than usual, because she had woken up at the crack of dawn this particular Monday, following a night of restless, troubled sleep. She had totally expected, no, hoped that David would call her the previous evening, but no – not a word, not a sound, not a peep from him. She knew that he was on a stakeout, of course; it had been set up already the day before they headed to Chicago. But damn him, that was no reason for not calling at all. She disentangled her fingers and tapped them nervously on her desk.
One of the reasons she was so fond of Mondays was that her usually boring weekend finally came to an end, that she was able to get back to Blue Moon which had become her second home – and of course there was (even if she had never admitted this to herself during the last two years) the prospect of seeing David again, even if he kept driving her crazy. She clenched her fists without noticing it and stared desperately at the telephone again.
'Ring!' she hissed.
Actually, perhaps it was a good thing that there was no phone in the love-shack because he'd be reaching for it all ready if there was. And one thing that he'd learned about Maddie Hayes over the last two years, apart from the fact that he was inexorably attracted to her, was that she needed her space. Period. Oh boy, was she a dame worth waiting for. He sincerely hoped that he was doing the right thing – but who knew when it came to this woman!
Maddie's nervousness had slowly transformed into annoyance. Surprisingly enough, during their weekend in Chicago, David had been doing the right things and saying the right words at the right moment – which had led her to the conclusion that he really cared about her, that his interest was really serious. Damn, she still believed that – wanted to believe it – but then, why was he leaving her high and dry like this? He had to know that it would upset her!
Two years! Damn him – two years, and I still don't understand how this man's brain works. If he has one, that is.
Two years. Two years. Two years! David played the events of the last couple of years through his mind and smiled. The fights, the door slams, the objects hurled at him. His smile widened even further when he recalled how many times she had grabbed him by his tie and forced him up against the wall when she had been trying to win a fight between them. She looked so hot when she was livid with him; it was almost worth the war wounds. They fought well, but they also made up pretty well. A flash of a memory landed in his mind pool and left ripples that he felt in every part of his body: the kiss in the garage. His stomach physically flipped as he relived his reaction. He'd thought he might never see her again and despite how awful he had looked, how badly he needed a shower, he had taken her in his arms and kissed her. He'd been terrified that he would never know how she tasted. It was now or never. She had kissed him back. It was a moment that rested well under his pillow on lonely nights.
Maddie was furiously pacing back and forth in her office now, like a trapped tiger. She hated the feeling that she was so obviously hooked, obsessed already with David that, all of a sudden, she couldn't keep her mind on anything else. She was not like that, was she? She was a modern, self-confident businesswoman, and she didn't depend on a guy – especially someone like David Addison – to give her a phone call, like a lovesick teenager! That was pathetic! That was nuts! That was... She stopped her restless pacing and glared at the silent phone, thinking about putting it in the trash can. The song she had been hearing on the car radio this morning, rasped by the rough voice of Bonnie Raitt, came into her mind although she had tried to push it aside.
Rainy night, I'm all alone,
Sittin' here waitin' for your voice on the phone.
Fever turns to cold, cold sweat,
Thinkin' about things we ain't done yet...
Yes, she was thinking a lot about those things, and this worked her up into an even greater fury.
He wondered what she was doing right now. A dark cloud of doubt drifted into his blue sky, he hoped that she wasn't having second thoughts. Maybe she was thinking about the weekend and remembering all of his faults like the tick list of doom. She'd probably come to her senses and realized that, yes, he was that dumb shmuck that she had always thought he was. Maybe she was even happy that they had not consummated this relationship, conjured in the bowls of hell, yet – a lucky escape! The more he thought about it, the more his nagging doubts grew in fury... that was; until he realized that he was unabashedly doing a Maddie Hayes.
Now that the thought was stuck in her mind, she couldn't discard it. The scenes played in her head again and again; she relived the whirlwind of feelings that David (and what had – almost – happened between them) provoked in her mind, in her body... the thought drove her crazy that, if for some reason, this... this thing between them wasn't going to work, or even get started, she would never know what it was like to make love to him. The thought was almost unbearable, and she got even madder at herself for that.
Tell me now;
I gotta know, do you feel the same?
Do you just light up at the mention of my name?
Right now, she was cursing that name... David, David...
David, David, David, he rebuked himself. What had he been thinking? That was her job, not David Addison's. His was to remember how incredible it had been to dance with her, in that dress, just one silver clasp away from the word naked. He recalled, with pleasure, the feel of his hand on her hot, bare back – that electricity he had felt. A lesser man would have pulled away from the dangerous combination of attraction and complexity but not he. He chuckled when he re-lived the moment when she had walked in on him, dripping with water, no towel – she had not known where to look but he could tell that she had taken pleasure in what she'd glimpsed as she'd blushed furiously. Oh yes, that infamous damp problem. He chuckled again and wished that she was here with him. Well, he looked around, maybe not here; this place wasn't classy enough for Madolyn Hayes.
Was he having second thoughts about giving it a try? Had he decided that it would be too complicated? She knew she was demanding and had never made it easy for him, but she also knew he had the guts to deal with it. Or at least, she had thought so. But who knew? That man was an enigma to her – he always tried his very best to come off as the devil-may-care, superficial womanizer (although she had no idea why anybody would want to nourish that kind of image if it wasn't real), but she was quite sure that he wasn't. All the same, she was furious that he was capable of unbalancing her peace of mind. What was it about him?
Don't worry, baby, it ain't nothin' new.
That's just love sneakin' up on you.
If your whole world's shakin' and you feel like I do,
That's just love sneakin' up on you.
'Thank you, Cousin Wimberly,' he said aloud to nobody in particular. 'Thank you for getting married and thank you for sending Maddie a plus one invitation. I will be forever indebted to you.'
That wedding, that weekend... Maddie knew they had taken a big step – a plunge into the unknown –, and that it was almost impossible to step back from it; things between them had irrevocably changed. What now? What if they messed it all up? She groaned and buried her face in her hands. She wanted to disappear into a hole.
Nowhere on earth for your heart to hide
Once love comes sneakin' up on your blind side,
And you might as well try to stop the rain
Or stand in the tracks of a runaway train.
You just can't fight it when a thing is meant to be,
Come on, let's finish what you started with me...
David was snapping away, with his camera, at the motel room opposite. There would be plenty of concrete evidence to hand to the client tomorrow. Mr. Hansler was living up to his reputation and Mrs. Hansler would be able to take him to the cleaners with these babies. Although, he felt a moment of doubt as he acknowledged the emotional pain that would accompany them. Surely every client in this dilemma would like to be proven wrong and this was why Maddie hated these stakeouts. He firmly pushed his emotions into a drawer and continued to click, cold, calculated photographs: evidence in a court of law: an intimate kiss; a forbidden touch; a loosened belt; a ripped shirt; flying buttons; hungry hands and the adulterous act.
She checked her watch, for about the fiftieth time that day. Would this darn Monday ever go by? Surely, David's stakeout must have come to an end by now. What could be so complicated about a sleazy job like this one, taking pictures of a cheating spouse? She detested that side of her job, but David was right, of course, when he pointed out (all business-like) that it brought the agency good money and would help to pay the bills that never ceased to come in.
Maddie snorted. He probably took pleasure in watching the intimate scene evolving before his scrutiny, with those green eyes that seemed to burn holes deep into her core, those eyes she never could stop thinking of, especially not today...
Don't worry baby, it ain't nothin' new.
That's just love sneakin' up on you.
If your whole world's shakin' and you feel like I do,
That's just love sneakin' up on you.
The photographs taken, David had pulled the blinds down and now lay back on the motel bed. The light was fading outside and the naked, low watt light bulb that hung down from above did not afford much light. He noticed the cracks in the ceiling, the peeling wallpaper and wondered how many people had come here to make or break relationships. Some people would find themselves taken hostage by a forbidden love, others pure lust... him and Maddie? They were different. In that hotel room (a million miles from this decrepit hovel), with her, he had never felt such an aching passion for another woman in his whole life; it was as if he had a fever that consumed his body and the only way he could remedy it would be by making love to her over and over and over again. But he hadn't. No, he'd given her space; given her time to think about them; time to ponder if she was sure about them.
'Oh, why don't you just shut up!' Maddie snapped at Bonnie Raitt's voice in her head and slammed her briefcase shut in a determined movement. It was past five, and Agnes had just left (after popping her head in and waving goodbye). Not for one minute longer would she sit here and stare at that goddamn telephone! So, David hadn't called. Fine. He hadn't called her Sunday evening, and he hadn't called her this whole damn Monday. What was the reason again why she used to love Mondays? The ugly truth nagged at her brain. Because every Monday morning she couldn't wait to breeze into the office with the definite knowledge that she would see...
'Time to go!' she interrupted her own thoughts that unpleasantly, inconveniently took their own inevitable path.
And she slammed the office door behind her.
It was shortly past eight on this fine Tuesday morning, when David threw the main office door open and strolled in with a dangerous sway of his hips, his Ray Bans balanced on his nose and the fingers of his left-hand snapping. He was singing:
'Boom boom boom boom.
I'm gonna shoot you right down,
Right offa your feet,
Take you home with me,
Put you in my house.
Boom boom boom boom.
Agnes was used to entrances like this one and just exclaimed a welcome aloud, obviously happy to see him: 'Mr. Addison!'
He snatched the sunglasses off of his face and beamed: 'In the flesh, Curly-head! Missed me?'
Agnes smiled her Agnes-smile and simply asked: 'How was your weekend with Miss Hayes' family?'
David dashed to the receptionist's desk. 'How was it? What did she say?' he motioned his head towards the closed door of Maddie's office. He looked like an over-excited puppy dog.
Agnes smiled again when she noticed the hint of anxiety on his face (nobody else could notice such a small nuance, but she had known him for a long time, and she was a good mind-reader). 'Well,' she shrugged, 'she didn't look unhappy.' She bent forward a little and whispered in an almost conspiratorial way: 'Not even upset!'
David smirked. 'Hey, would I ever upset Miss Hayes?' He held up his left hand. 'I withdraw the question, Agnes. Let me see how the wind blows today.' He winked at her and passed by Agnes' desk, heading for Maddie's office.
Agnes smiled to herself when she heard him almost break down the door to Miss Hayes' office.
Maddie was sitting behind her desk, drumming with a pencil on her calculator. She had heard the havoc in the outer office that usually announced David's arrival. She had been growing angrier and angrier at him with every passing minute for not calling her since they had parted on Sunday afternoon, now she felt the steam rising inside her. Quickly, she took a notepad and started to scribble down incoherent words so that he wouldn't notice how upset she really was.
A minute later, he burst into her office, all self-confidence... and drop-dead sexy. She pressed her lips together, cross at herself now for noticing this. She really wanted to stay mad at him, but she couldn't help feeling elated about seeing him again after... not even two days, woman! She inwardly chastised herself. Two days! Are you that hooked already, seriously? You're pathetic!
'Morning partner,' David beamed, 'the sun has risen!'
Maddie forced herself to look down at her desk and not at him, trying to sound indifferent. 'Take a second look. It's pouring outside.'
He smirked. 'I wasn't talking about outside, outside.' He came strolling nearer, flopping himself into one of her leather chairs. 'Missed you.'
She looked at him for the first time, with a raised eyebrow, and replied coolly: 'Oh yeah? You did?'
David frowned. 'Course I did! What kind of question is this?'
Maddie let her gaze drop down to her Blue Moon notepad again and she shrugged, answering him in a deliberately – forced – indifferent tone: 'Obviously, you didn't miss me enough to call.'
David leaned forward on his seat, amused but also pleased. Sometimes, Madolyn Hayes was an open book. 'You're upset because I didn't call?'
'I'm not upset!' she snapped, clearly upset.
'Set up?' he offered.
Maddie was now really angry at herself because she felt she was giving away far too much. She pressed through clenched teeth: 'Just forget it, Addison. I...'
'You missed me!'
She threw him a fierce, traitorous look. 'I didn't...'
David leaned back again and folded his arms before he declared smugly: 'The hell you didn't!' But then he saw that she was obviously really upset and hurt and decided that now was probably the right moment to stop teasing and get serious. 'Listen Blondie,' he soothed, 'I so desperately wanted to call you, but I figured you'd want some...' he shrugged and finished after a short pause: '...time and space to yourself.'
Maddie was puzzled. 'Time and space?' she echoed, forgetting her anger.
'Time and space,' he confirmed, nodding. 'You're always telling me how important it is to you.'
She frowned, but her anger was fast dissolving – as was the hurt. She had been thrilled the moment he had admitted that he had wanted to call her. 'What would I want time and space for?' she asked, already calming down, which left him thrilled – because, obviously, she wasn't interested in either of them.
He shrugged. 'I'm not sure... to mull things over?'
'Mull things over?' she repeated.
'Yeah well, that's what you usually do, isn't it?'
Maddie put down the pencil and folded her hands in a slow, deliberate gesture that gave her a few seconds of time to choose the following words thoughtfully: 'I guess it is,' she agreed. 'But nothing that happened last weekend is what I usually do.' She lifted her gaze and looked directly at him.
'That's true...' he replied as slowly and carefully as her. 'And what does that mean?'
'Well, I don't need time and space, and I don't need to mull things over.' She took a deep breath and quickly, before her courage left her, voiced her fears: 'Do you?'
David was taken aback. 'Do I what?'
'Need to mull things over? I mean, I figured you maybe had second thoughts about...' she paused, feeling a little awkward for exposing herself that much, blushing slightly. '...dating,' she finished the sentence.
David raised a mocking eyebrow. 'You figured, huh?'
She shifted in her seat a little nervously. 'Yes.'
'Well,' he replied smoothly, 'although there's nothing wrong with your figure, you certainly figured that wrong.'
Suddenly, Maddie was really embarrassed and overwhelmed by mixed feelings – on the one hand, she was happy that her worries had no reason, but on the other hand, she realized that she was in the 'dating situation' (with all of its angst and sexual tension again). 'I did?' she asked feebly.
'You did,' he confirmed.
She cleared her throat. 'Well, then let's see what you got.' David smirked, and her eyes widened when she realized what she just had said. Quickly, blushing, she added: 'On your mind!'
When David's grin only widened further, she knew she hadn't made it any better, and she just wished for an escape route to appear out of thin air. In a last attempt to save herself from David's leg-pulling, she hastily clarified: 'For our date!'
David pursed his lips into his half-smile. 'What I got in my mind, huh?' In one smooth move, he got out of the chair, walked around her desk, and placed himself on the edge of it, not more than maybe a foot and a half of distance from her, so that she had to look up to him. 'Let's see...'
Maddie swallowed hard, very aware of his nearness. Suddenly, she realized that she could smell him – that very special mix of his cologne and his very own scent that somehow seemed to fog her brain and shoot right into her knees. She was glad that she was sitting in her chair; on the other hand, she felt slightly trapped – the feeling frightened her, but she was also thrilled.
David was purring now, slowly, deeply. 'I'm thinking cozy... I'm thinking wine...'
She was hypnotized by his caramel voice and felt a hot knot deep down inside her.
'Feasting,' he paused and licked his lips.
Maddie was literally squirming in her seat, writhing under the emotions that were just overriding her. Her brain had nothing to do with it.
'Dessert,' he finished in a guttural drawl.
She made a little, involuntary noise in her throat.
David snapped his fingers in front of her hypnotized eyes, and she blinked. 'Yo! I'm talking about dinner, of course.' He winked at her, immensely enjoying the effect he obviously had on her. It surprised and pleased him at the same time.
Maddie shook her head and almost gasped. Her breath was shaky when she replied in a hoarse whisper: 'Of course...'
He decided to give the girl a break – after all, the last thing he was aiming at was to scare her off. 'Two blocks from here a new Italian restaurant has opened, and I've heard they make a pretty good Piccata Milanese.' He smiled almost innocently. 'We could go there straight after work today, what do you say?'
Maddie gladly jumped on the opportunity to leave the dangerous waters. She took a deep breath. 'Um... that sounds good, but... if it's a new place we'll probably need a reservation?'
'Probably,' he replied with a solemn nod. 'That's why I made one Sunday afternoon.'
Her eyes widened in surprise. 'You did?'
He nodded again, more smugly this time, pleased with himself and happy to have surprised her. 'Right after getting home,' he confirmed.
A genuine smile lightened up her face even more, if that was possible. 'I'm impressed.'
He raised a mocking eyebrow and pursed his lips. 'Don't be. You ain't seen nothing yet.'
She blushed at his suggestive remark and opened her mouth to say something, obviously looking for words, and he slid off of the table, taking literally and figuratively one step back – he didn't want to overbid his hand and risk making her feel uncomfortable. 'So – do we have a date?'
He was rewarded with a shy, girlish smile; her answer came without hesitation. 'Yes, we have a date,' she confirmed.
'Good.' He started to walk away from her desk again, slowly, backwards, in the direction of the office door. 'I guess now I better get going to write down the report about that stakeout.' He touched two fingers to his lips, turned around, walked to the door, and stopped there, turning back to face her once more. 'Oh, and about the other things I got – in my mind, I mean...' Again, that trademark lopsided smile of his curled his lips. 'I think I'll keep them to myself until the time is right.' He paused shortly before he went on: 'But I have a feeling that they're not so far apart from the things you have in your mind.' He winked at her.
Maddie cleared her throat as if she wanted to say now – back to business and nodded. Then she said: 'I'd like to keep them to myself too until the time is right...' She blushed slightly, but then, boldly, she added: 'Maybe then we could swap ideas.'
'Swap ideas?' he echoed in an incredulous voice. He was beyond thrilled and impressed that she was playing along. 'I like that...'
And with that last remark, he left, left her alone with her fluttering stomach and her damp palms.
To be continued...
"Swinging on a Star" by Bing Crosby
"Love Sneakin' Up on You" by Bonnie Raitt
"Boom Boom" by John Lee Hooker