Not knowing that Kelly was having lunch with Paula, Todd decided to take half a day off from work so he could go back to the apartment and straighten things out with Kelly. The main thing he wanted to do was to apologize for having insinuated that she would stoop so low as to cheat on him. In his heart he knew full well that that was something Kelly would never do and was angry with himself for having let his temper get the best of him.
He couldn’t even say with any conviction that he felt hurt by her not wanting to let him read the story. It wasn’t that it was so life-changing or threatening that it should have bothered him the way it had, and try as he might, he couldn’t figure out why he had had such an outburst. Whatever the reason, he wanted to apologize and make things right with her.
“Kelly,” Todd called out as soon as he entered the apartment. “Listen, I want to apologize for my remarks last night. They were way out of line and I never should have said what I did.”
He went into the bedroom and not seeing her there, checked all the other rooms calling her name as he went. It wasn’t unusual for her to be out in the afternoon, but after the past two weeks where she had hardly left the desk, it seemed strange to not see her there writing.
Without further thought, he made a coffee and stood by the kitchen counter drinking it. With cup in hand, he walked into the bedroom to look out the window at the parking lot to see if Kelly had returned. He waited a few minutes then turned to walk back to the kitchen.
On his way out the room, Todd glanced at Kelly’s desk and saw the open folder with all the pages in it. At first, he took some steps, and then stopped. Looking over his shoulder at the open folder, he spun on his heels and went over to the desk. He fingered the pages and read a few lines on each page.
Before he knew it, Todd was sitting down engrossed in the story. He wasn’t an editor or an expert in the writing field, but he knew good writing when he came upon it. He also believed that it was the best story Kelly had written and almost felt guilty for reading it without her permission. At the same time, now that he was gripped by it, he couldn’t put it down. He flipped to the back page, looked at the page number then glanced at his watch. Calculating his reading speed, Todd believed he could finish it in a relatively short period of time.
Before he started back in on the story, thoughts of how Kelly had gotten upset with his wanting to read it before it was finished sprung into his mind and he now understood why. It was a compelling story. He recalled her words that she was afraid he would jinx it and somehow it seemed right. She must have sensed that it was her best story and didn’t want anything or anyone to interfere with her creation.
Midway through the story, Todd felt a strange sensation wash over him and sat back in the chair. Almost as fast as it had come, it passed so he continued reading. He had read many stories before but none as compelling and interesting as the one he held in his hands. Not because it was written by Kelly, but genuinely a fantastic story in its own rights.
A few pages later, he felt that strange feeling and leaned back in the chair. He didn’t feel sick or anything like that just weird. He wasn’t dizzy or queasy or even lightheaded. He picked up his coffee and stared at it wondering if maybe there was something wrong with it. Lifting the cup to his lips he took a small taste and didn’t detect anything out of the ordinary with it. In fact, it tasted real good.
Once again the feeling passed and Todd began reading again. He was so amazed and so impressed with Kelly’s ability to write that he couldn’t help pause every now and again to think about her creative genius and how he had never realized it before. One thing was certain; he would do everything in his power to help her get the story published.
Todd flipped the next page and knew he was nearly finished. He glanced at the words and wondered how the story would end. He devoured and absorbed each word, letting them work there way into his mind, creating a picture and feeling so vivid, he couldn’t believe it was just a story.
He went to turn the next page and realized he couldn’t feel the paper and presumed his hand had fallen asleep. Lifting his arm, he shook it to get the blood circulating in it again, but the pins and needles sensation of returning blood didn’t happen. Todd looked at his hand as though he was staring at an alien being, and tried willing it into action. Nothing happened. It was then that the fear reared its head.