“Paul I love you too and all, but what are you doing here?”
“You gave me a key... Did you not hear what I just said to you? They dropped all the evidence in pretrial. I’m about to be free.”
“Holy shit that’s awesome! You should go in the kitchen and make us a drink.”
“Yeah, what do you ha-”
“Is there someone in your bathroom?”
Before I could rethink it, Will walked out of the bathroom in a towel with sad glare upon his face. I stared at Erin who had a buried her face in her palm. I immediately turned around and walked back out of the room. She ran out behind me, grabbed my arm and said:
“Tell yourself that next time.”
“What was I supposed to do?”
“Don't worry about it, I'm gone anyway.”
I kept walking out of the apartment without looking back. I was coming to tell her I was leaving for Miami in a couple days. But now all I could tell her is leave me alone forever.
I made it back home as the sun sat just over the horizon. I dragged myself quietly into the house and up the stairs. I removed my tie and draped it over the banister as I progressed up to my bedroom. I immediately walked in and stripped off my suit. I heard my phone ring but couldn't bring myself to grab it as I unbuttoned my shirt.
I laid in the bed and stared blankly at the ceiling. My black Volvo wagon disappeared as the horizon went dark. My life in Charlotte was over and I was ready to move on. I drifted off sleep thinking fondly of Miami. As I awoke in the afternoon, I could hear my iPhone blaring on the floor. I picked it up to see it was Liz calling. I answered half awake:
“Paul, I heard the news! I tried calling you all night last night.”
“Yeah I went to bed early.”
“Do you need anything from me today?”
“Yeah, move some money for me. That special account I gave you. I need about half a mil. Use my instructions precisely, okay?”
“Of course. Anything else?”
“Get me a plane.”
“I thought that wouldn't be for another couple weeks?”
“Well the plan changed.”
I hung up immediately and walked to the bathroom. I started the shower and turned around to stare in the mirror. I wasn’t even embarrassed or ashamed, I was annoyed. In the same breath that she told me she loved me, she was plotting on sleeping with another man. I know we didn’t have a defined relationship, but the sheer lack of respect for our friendship was too much. I just wish I didn’t have to find everything out this way.
I walked into the shower and sat on the floor as the water washed over me. I just couldn’t grasp why she would hide anything from me. Where both of us were in our lives it just made no sense. It was the last sign I needed to receive that it was my time to leave Charlotte. I shut off the shower and walked back into the bedroom
I heard my phone buzz on the bed and grabbed it. It was a text from Liz “There will be a plane waiting for you at Wilson Air Center at 6pm tonight. Have a safe trip.” I called Ho Ho Cherry House and ordered some food to be delivered. I walked into the closet and put clothes into my black Chanel barrel bags. I slipped into a pair of sweatpants and a tshirt then walked downstairs to find a drink.
The delivery man showed up at my at my door as I poured my third tall glass of Jameson. I stumbled to the door and handed over a $100 bill and slammed the door before the delivery man could offer me change. I briefly glanced at my phone it was already 4:17. I took some bites from my crispy scallion chicken as I requested an black sedan on the Uber app. I went upstairs to my closet and grabbed a grey Hart Schaffner Marx suit and a white Ike Behar oxford. I quickly dressed myself and as I was slipping on my Sandro Moscoloni loafers my phone buzzed.
I grabbed my bags and walked out to my awaiting ride. I placed my bags in the trunk of the Mercedes S550 and quickly got inside. I sat quietly in the back of the big German sedan, as I watched the city I called my own pass by. We pulled in front of Wilson Air Center and I quickly grabbed my bags and walked in. I got led to the lounge where I waited for my plane to be ready to board. My breath smelled of alcohol as I asked the concierge for a glass of champagne. As I relaxed myself in the chair I heard it:
“I'm not going to turn around. Why are you here, Erin?”
“I had to call your assistant to see if you had done something stupid. I find out you're leaving for Miami already.”
“I'm sorry, I don't know what I was thinking.”
The concierge walked over with my champagne, I thanked her as Erin sat down across from me.
“Paul I lo-”
“Erin. Please. Not now.”
“Fine, I'll go. But I'll always be here for you if you need me. Always.”
I stood up and grabbed my bags and was led out to the ramp to the plane. I didn't look back.