Quench Me by Amy – Chapter 20

Republisher’s Note: Danny seems changed since his business trip out of town.

Quench Me by Amy – Chapter 20

It’s almost 9:30 p.m. Rick is not working tonight, so I’ve been stirring  around the house, keeping myself busy, so that he won’t see that something  is wrong with me. I’ve cleaned the refrigerator. I’ve vacuumed every stitch  of carpet and washed every dish in the house. When Rick asked me about my  sudden cleaning bug, I told him that I’d spent so much time studying during  the last couple of weeks that I needed some other sort of
“outlet”.

Thankfully, he hasn’t asked me if Danny’s back in town. I don’t know how I’d  answer him if he did. “Yeah, he’s back in town, but he acts like I don’t exist anymore,” is not a phrase that I want to say to my brother tonight.

I’m sitting in the floor of the kitchen, rearranging the pots and pans, when  I hear the phone ring. “Can you get that, Rick?” I yell toward the living  room. If it’s Danny, I don’t want to seem over anxious, and besides, at this  point, I kind of like the thought of him squirming on the other end of the  phone while he talks to my brother.

I cease the noise I’m making with the pots and listen intently to my  brother’s end of the conversation. “Danny… Yes, Michelle’s here… How was  your trip?… When did you get back in town?… Let me take the phone to  Michelle… I’m sure she’s very anxious to talk to you.”

“Dammit, Rick,” I whisper to myself. “Why did you have to tell him that I’m  ‘anxious’ to talk to him?”

He hands the phone to me and I give him a dirty look. He can tell that I’m  displeased, and this amuses him even more.

“Danny,” I say into the receiver.

“Hi, Michelle,” he says quietly. “How are you?”

I lie to him. “I’m great, actually. My finals are over, and I feel great.”

“Good,” he says. “I’m glad.”

“So, did you get that report finished?” I ask.

“Yeah, it all worked out, and my meeting went fine.”

“That’s good,” I say, as I put a non-stick skillet back in the cabinet.

“What’s that noise?” he asks.

“Well, I’m sitting in the kitchen floor, rearranging the cabinets,” I  answer, giving him the same excuse I gave Rick. “I’ve studied so much, and  now that it’s over, I just can’t be still.”

He laughs softly, and for the first time I feel a small sense of hope.

“I’d like to see you sitting on the kitchen floor,” he says jokingly.

I’m about to suggest that he come over when he interrupts my train of  thought. “But, I’m afraid I have another early meeting. I have to meet with  Phillip at seven o’clock in the morning, so I should probably stay home  tonight.”

“Whatever,” I say. “I know you’re busy.”

“What are you doing Friday?” he asks.

“I don’t know,” I say. “Why?”

“Well, I’m taking the day off, and I’d like to have lunch with you.”

“Why are you taking the day off?” I ask, trying in vain to sound totally  disinterested in seeing him.

“I think I deserve it after the last week,” he answers. “And Phillip agreed  with me.”

“O.K.,” I reply. “Do you want me to meet you somewhere?”

“No,” he says. “I’ll pick you up, if that’s all right.”

“That’s fine. What time?”

“A little before noon,” he says.

“Fine,” I say.

“Michelle…” he says questioningly.

“What?”

“Is something wrong?”

“Why would you think something’s wrong?” I ask.

“Because you don’t seem like yourself,” he says.

“Well, that makes two of us, doesn’t it?” I retort.

He sighs heavily into the phone. The fleeting second of silence seems like a  lifetime. “I’m sorry I was so abrupt with you this afternoon. It wasn’t  intentional, and I realized after you left that I probably upset you.”

“You didn’t upset me, Danny. You just confused me.”

“Well, I’m sorry about that,” he says. “Despite the way I acted, I was glad  to see you.”

“You were?” I ask, hopeful once again.

“Of course,” he says. “I’m afraid tomorrow will be another day from hell,  which is why I’d like to see you on Friday, when I won’t have work to  contend with.”

I begin to let my guard down, just a little bit, as I say, “I’m looking  forward to it.”

“Me too,” he answers. “And Michelle, I missed you.”

“I missed you, Danny,” I say, as I hang up the phone, my fears not totally  put to rest, but certainly not as strong as they were.

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