Second Thoughts

Five years after a spectacular night of passion, Kevin has settled into a life in Toronto. Having been wrapped up in his career as a journalist and his fiancee, Kevin pushes memories of that night to the back of his mind. But when the past comes knocking in the form of a phone call, Kevin is thrust into a web of lies and deceit as he finds himself falling for his old flame, April. Now, days away from tying the knot with his fiancee, Kevin must make the decision between what is right and true... and what is safe and easy...

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2. The Bonus

 

The subway was packed as I sprinted for the exit that would lead me to King Street and my office. My suit, which I had not changed out of in a day and a half, was tattered and dirty. I had been chasing a story through the streets of Toronto, literally. As a freelance journalist I had received a tip two days earlier of a subway stabbing.

Naturally I chased the story throughout the streets of Toronto, interviewing and investigating like I had always wanted to growing up. Now I had a top notch story, and what I was sure was the first to break the story, and I was now rushing to the office to hand it in before the editors went home. I sprinted onto King Street, then into the Toronto Sun headquarters.

Up the stairs I flew, my head reeling and my heart beating against the skin of my chest. My shirt was soaked with sweat and it stuck to me, making breathing difficult. Taking the stairs two at a time I rushed into the newsroom with five minutes to spare. The editor in chief sat at his desk, and stared at me with a look of straight amusement as I threw the story onto the table.

It landed with a thud, even though it was only three standard printing pages. He slid his glasses on and they immediately fell to the end of his nose. He began to read, line by line, critically analyzing what I knew to be my first big story. Five years had led up to this moment, and I was a twenty five year old journalist writing for the domineering Toronto newspaper.

After a few minutes he rose from his newsroom desk and directed me to his office. I straightened my tie and headed into his office, my heart beating fast, unaware of the response I was going to get. I settled into a plush leather desk chair and he sunk his morbidly obese body into his easy chair. He poured me a drink of brandy, and I sipped it, glad that my thirst was quenched.

He took a long sip of his brandy then turned to me and said, “You are a very good writer. I have never seen someone rip up such a good story in that period of time.”

“Thank you sir,” I said with my head down so he would not see my beaming smile of pride.

“Here is what I am going to do. I am going to print this on the front page of the newspaper. This is industry gold and bloody controversial. I can’t remember the last time I read an article where the information was gathered from a primary source and not another journalist.”

I looked up now, unable to contain my happiness, and said “Thank you very much sir. That means so much to me.”

I stood up and shook his hand, then made for the door, my legs like globs of jelly. He stopped me moments before I reached the heavy glass doors separating his office from the hectic nature of the newsroom. I spun on my heel and saw him throw down a heavy envelope onto the desk.

“It is a bonus. I have had it written for a few months, when you started publishing more meaningful articles. You deserve it.”

I opened the envelope, a feeling of bliss sweeping through me. Inside was a check for 10,000 dollars. Behind that was a slip of paper that informed me I had received my own office and a raise in salary from 40,000 to 57,000. A wide grin swept across my face, I couldn’t remember the last time I had been that happy.

I rushed into the newsroom, eager to dance with joy, and flicked out my IPhone. I had to call my fiancée Jessica and my roommate Luke. I dialled Luke first, leaning against the radiator in the stairwell to catch my breath as it rung. On the third ring, the line connected and I heard a groan of pleasure and the squeaking of bed springs.

“Hello?” said Luke gruffly.

He was no doubt making love to his girlfriend and so I responded, “I know your… busy, but I have news. I just got a raise, a front page article, and a 10,000 dollar bonus at work.”

I heard him get out of bed, almost in cohesion with a groan of annoyance from his lady friend, and say, “That is awesome. Listen, Jessica called and asked if you wanted to grab dinner by the harbor tonight?”

“Alright I will call her. See you then.”

As the line disconnected, I dialled Jessica’s number and headed out into King Street, now bathed in the magenta glow of a setting Toronto sun. My phone fell out of service for a moment and by the time the call began, I was already halfway to the subway station. On the third ring, I heard a cool female voice.

The female voice said seductively, “Hey you. Any reason you are calling me?”

I responded, “Yes actually. I got a raise and a space on the front page of tomorrow’s paper and I was wondering if you wanted to grab dinner in the harbor?”

“Oh my God I knew you’d break out of your shell eventually and that shithead editor of yours would come to his senses. Yes dinner sounds incredible.”

We agreed to meet at home and with that we disconnected. I knew if I had kept on talking to her I would begin crying with joy. I remained solemn until I entered the subway station. As I slid onto the subway that would take me back to the loft, I updated my Facebook status.

As I refreshed the page and watched the likes roll in, I noticed one that stood out from the others. April Cooper. The name resounded in the back of my head but I couldn’t remember her for the life of me. Perhaps I had forgotten on purpose, perhaps not. Curious as to the identity of this girl, I decided to check her profile.

As the page came to load, revealing more and more of her profile, my jaw dropped. This was April, the girl I had been in love with. This was the April that had taken my virginity five years earlier, before I had moved to Toronto. This was the April I had lost touch with after promising I’d stay with her. This was the April that had gotten away, or that I had let go. In that moment on the subway, I couldn’t really tell.

I thought about it for a moment, and then decided to bite the bullet: I had to message her. I wrote a ridiculously long message which took the entirety of the subway ride to complete. As I stepped off the subway, I read over it. It was a message of heartfelt apology. Apology for everything I had done, everything I hadn’t done, everything.

I apologized for walking away, for not calling, for leaving her waiting. The message was truly well written and emotional, though I felt it didn’t show her how sorry I truly was. I had to send it, I knew, but still my finger struggled on the send button. Every fiber of my being didn’t want to send it, I had to apologize in person or I would be moving backwards.

So I didn’t send it. Even if she had responded I couldn’t face it. I had walked out of her life, broken a promise and a heart, and I knew I would have to walk back into her life if I wanted any chance at redemption with the first girl I ever loved. I pondered how to approach the situation in a mature manner and by the time I had reached the loft, I still had no idea.

I let myself into the loft and nearly dropped my keys in surprise. Sitting on the couch, kissing heavily with Luke, was his girlfriend, whose name I took to be Kitty. He had really outdone himself this time and I wondered how in the hell he managed to bed a girl as beautiful as Kitty, whose full breasts bounced against Luke’s face as they kissed.

I walked up to him, smacked him in the side of the head and said, “Shithead! I am home and bringing in the bacon!!”

Luke stood up, rubbing his head, and he and Kitty both hugged me. After a short conversation, I realized the shower was running and knew Jessica was showering. We have a large steam shower and so I decided to join her. I bid Luke farewell and stripped down as I rushed up the stairs that led to the bathroom.

Entering the bathroom, I was blinded by billows of steam. I groped in all the steam for the shower door. Pulling it open, I cleared the steam slightly with my hand and soon found Jessica’s soapy, naked body standing beneath the shower head.

I grabbed her by the waist and said, “I missed you.”

“I missed you too babe,” came Jessica’s soft voice.

After fifteen minutes of steamy showering and heavy kissing, we towelled off and headed into the loft bedroom. I pulled on my pants; she pulled on panties and a bra, and then turned to me. She was beautiful, perched on the edge of the king sized bed emanating sexual appeal.

I moved toward her slowly, leaning in to kiss her. She lay down on the bed, and I joined her. I stripped her panties off and slowly but surely we began to make love. Five minutes after we had begun, we came to an earth shattering climax. I breathed heavily, staring into Jessica’s eyes. But as I did, a split second found me staring into the eyes of April.

I blinked once, and April’s eyes were gone. Perhaps the brandy had been playing a trick on my eyes, perhaps I had April on my mind. Whatever the reason, she was gone and I pushed the thought from my head and walked over to the dresser. I knew the dinner demanded fine attire and so I settled on a Harry Rosen suit I had not worn in over six months.

As I straightened my tie, put on aftershave, and slid on cufflinks and my silver watch that I cherished I heard the door slide open behind me. I spun around and my legs liquidized. Jessica looked absolutely breathtaking. She wore a sharp blue dress that complimented her periwinkle blue eyes, two inch wedge heels, and bushy brown hair that fell to her shoulders.

“You look absolutely stunning. Dinner is at 7:30, shall we go?”

“Yes we shall.”

I passed her coat to her from its place on the rack, took my own, and made for the stairs. However, the moment I took the first step down the stairs, the phone began to ring. I stared at it, wondering who would be calling.

“Just leave it baby, let the machine get it.”

The phone rang again. I looked at it, then back at Jessica, then back at the phone. Something within me wanted to answer it, as if it was the one phone call that would never again be redialled. So, going against all logic and superstition, I answered it.

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