Monday, January 16, 2012

Without A Trace

Without A Trace
by Lisa McCourt Hollar

Kayla kissed Edward goodbye at her door.

"Are you sure I can't come in?" Edward asked. "I promise, I don't bite."

"Edward, I would love for you to come in, but I'm not ready for you to meet my kids yet. Not this way at least."

"But I will get to meet them?"

"Most definetly," Kayla said, kissing him one last time. "Now go. I'll see you in the morning."

Kayla watched Edward walk down the hall, untlil he entered the elevator. Turning to enter her apartment, she heard the door across the hall creak. Turning, she frowned, looking at the door opposite her own.
Shivering, Kayla imagining her creepy neighbor watching her through his peephole. She stood there a few more seconds, but she didn't hear anything else. Desiding she must have imagined it, Kayla gave the door one last look before entering her apartment and shutting the door behind her.
Jason stared at Kayla's door long after she had disappeared inside. His eye, pressed against the peephole, continued to see her kissing the enemy, over and over. This wasn't her first date with this guy and from the sounds of it, wouldn't be her last.
She was going to let him meet the kids. He had heard it with his own ears.

She had never dated one guy long enough for them to meet her kids. Kayla was very particular about that. She didn't want her kids to become attached to someone and then have their hearts broken if it didn't work out.

At least that was the excuse she always gave. Jason knew the truth though. It was because they weren't right for her. How could they be? He was the one she was meant for.

His heart leaped when she had stopped before entering her apartment and looked right at him. He knew they were connected, had known since the day they had met. He'd had his moments of doubt, like the time she had told him to stay away from her children, or she would call the police, but that was a misunderstanding. She had only been frightened because Lily had screamed when he talked to her. She shouldn't have screamed. When he married Kayla, he would have to be stern with that one.

Kayla's words echoed inside of Jason's head. "I'll see you in the morning."

"No you won't." Lifting his keys off the hook, Jason decided it was time to intervene.
The day seemed surreal. Kayla passed most of it in a fog. She had started the morning excited to see Edward. Then when he wasn't there to pick her up, confused. She tried to call him, but he didn't answer his phone. She ended up walking to work, which infuriated her. On the way there, she imagined the things she would say when she saw him. At least she found out now how unreliable he was. At least she hadn't introduced him to her kids yet. At least she hadn't slept with him yet. Oh God, and she had been thinking about it. She'd planned on sending the girls to spend the night with their grandmother. Then she could take that next step with Edward.

"Why do they always have to turn out to be jerks?"

Smiling at her secretary, she glanced ruefully at the clock and arched her eyebrow. "Good thing I can't fire myself."

"I gather things went well last night?"

"I thought so. Not the first time I've been wrong. Call Edward and tell him I want to see him."

"Didn't he drive in with you?"

"No," Kayla said, storming into her office.

Loretta jumped when her boss slammed her office door. "Probably a good thing she can't fire Edward either."
Kayla and Edward had been car pooling for a while now. He had to pass her apartment building on the way into work and it had seemed like a reasonable arrangement. When he asked her out, she had decided to throw caution to the wind. The last thing Kayla had expected, was for Edward to turn out to be just as shallow as the other men she had dated. She'd thought that at least he would be mature enough to end things in an adult way. However, when he didn't show up for work and continued avoiding her phone calls, she had to admit that he was behaving suspiciously like all the others.

To be fair, not all of them had run off. Ben had been killed in that freak car accident and William had hung himself. One could argue that they had killed themselves to get away from her, still... she supposed she did owe Edward the benefit of offering an explenation. Maybe something was wrong. Kayla began to be so sure of this that she decided to go by his apartment after work.

"What do you mean, he moved?" Kayla couldn't...didn't believe it.

Edward's neighbor shrugged. "I don't know what else to tell you. He had movers here all day. He got a job offer and had to leave immediatly."

"Why didn't he tell me?"

"I don't know." The woman sounded like a broken record.

"I can't believe this. He didn't just dump me. He moved away. This is unbelievable."

"Umm...I'm sorry," the woman said, as Kayla walked away.
Jason was watching through the peephole when Kayla came home. She was late. From the tears and the puffiness in her face, Jason could tell she had gone to see Edward. He hated to see her so distraught, but this was the best way. A clean break and no long goodbyes. He had explained it to Edward, but of course he hadn't agreed. They never did. He didn't blame them. Kayla was after all, a remarkable woman. But she was his, so they had to go.

When Kayla disappeared into her apartment, Jason went back to his task. Picking up his saw, he cut off Edward's arm. It was long, gruelling work making Kayla's boyfriends vanish without a trace.

Word Count: 1,000

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