THIS IS NOT GOOD!
I stand perfectly still in my living room and try to listen . . . between my ears. The music is faint, but it’s definitely there. How bizarre is this? How scary? What a weird, weird morning this has been, and I’ve barely been out of bed five minutes.
I close my eyes. It’s a song, and it sounds familiar. I’ve definitely heard it before. For the life of me, though, I can’t put my finger on it.
Just keep quiet and keep listening, I tell myself.
But in the next second, I can do neither, as the silence in my apartment is upended by the phone ringing. It’s okay, though. It’s always okay when he calls.
“Good morning, sweetheart,” Michael whispers, “this is your phone sex wake-up call.”
I’ve heard him say the line a hundred times and still I giggle. “Good morning,” I whisper back. And now I’m smiling.
“How did you sleep, Kris?”
“Why? What’s wrong?”
“I had this horrible, horrible dream, and to top it off, my crackpot neighbor just pounded on my door and flipped out on me.”
“Let me guess,” he says. “It’s that nasty old lady from down the hall. The one out of Rosemary’s Baby.”
“Bingo. The woman’s got one foot in the grave and the other in her mouth. I swear, the things she says, she’s going to drive me crazy.” Maybe she has already.
“Even more of a reason to move, Kris.”
“I knew you were going to say that.”
“The offer still stands. It’s only what you deserve.”
“I told you, Michael, I don’t want you getting me a new place. I need to do it myself. I will. My portfolio is at the Abbott Show. I’m gonna be a star. Aren’t I?”
“Of course you are. But you’re so stubborn sometimes.”
“That’s what you love about me.”
“You’re right,” he says. “The fact that you’re smart, talented, and gorgeous has nothing to do with it.”
God, how I love him. He’s such a sweetheart!
Mind you, it doesn’t hurt that he’s also handsome, athletic, and a managing partner at Baer Stevens Asset Management. Michael could buy me ten new apartments without batting an eyelash.
“So, are you already at the office?” I ask.
“Of course. Either you eat the Baer Stevens, or the Baer Stevens —”
I chuckle. The sun’s barely up. “I don’t know how you do it.”
“Clean living, that’s how.”
“Speaking of doing it, though . . .”
“Very funny, lover boy. Just for that you’re going to have to buy me dinner first.”
“Damn, I wish I could, except I’ve got to wine and dine some important clients in town for the night. Business before pleasure, as they say. What about after dinner? You could be my dessert. Yum.”
“We’ll just see about yum.”
Of course, Michael knows that’s as good as a yes with me. All I really want to do is my photography and be with him, my almost perfect man.
“Now tell me,” I say.
His voice drops to a whisper again. “I love you, Kristin. I adore you. I can’t live without you.”
“And I love you, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I do, Michael.”
He sighs. “Such music to my ears. You really do love me, don’t you?”
I don’t respond. I can’t. The word has me momentarily frozen.
It dawns on me that since Michael called, I no longer hear the song in my head. What a relief! I’m not losing my mind after all.
“Kristin, you there?” he asks.
For a split second, I consider telling him about the music. I don’t, though. It’s a little too flaky.
“Yeah, I’m here,” I say.
“I’m fine — sorry, I was just checking the time. Don’t want to be late for work.”
“You’re right,” he says. “I’ll let you go. Lord knows you don’t want to piss off that boss of yours.”
Copyright © 2007 by James Patterson
Ilyana Kadushin's numerous credits include narration for The Discover Channel, Nickelodeon, and BBC America. She is a singer and songwriter for the duo Lythion, who currently scores music for film and television. Ilyana has also recently appeared in productions for Amnesty International and The Culture Project.
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