The Apartment (Chapter 38, Lou Grant)

22 09 2009

Chapter 38

The Apartment

Mary stepped out of the shower and unraveled the towel she’d wrapped around her head. She shook her hair out, grabbed a brush, and began dragging it through her locks. She checked the watch that lay on the bureau then examined herself in the mirror. She smiled at the dozen roses on the bureau. She checked the card again. No name. A smile flickered across her face as she dried herself then pulled on her bathrobe. Her stomach began to rumble. She headed for the kitchen. Walking across the living room Mary was overcome by the brightness of the setting sun. She stopped and looked at the open curtains. There was a smell of cigarette smoke in the air. She did not scream when she saw him.

MARY: Michael?

MICHAEL: You shouldn’t leave your balcony doors unlocked. Anyone could walk in.

Michael sat in a chair in the corner of the room, smoking.


MICHAEL: Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you.

Michael stepped over to the bar.

MARY: You can’t stay here. You shouldn’t be here at all.

MICHAEL: Can I pour you a drink?


MICHAEL: A glass of white wine?

MARY: Why are you here?

Michael reached into the small refrigerator under her bar and took out a half full bottle of wine.

MICHAEL: I chilled some wine I brought. While you were showering.

MARY: I’d appreciate it, Michael, if you’d leave right now! I don’t want to get you into trouble…

Michael returned to the couch, put the two drinks he’d poured on the coffee table and patted the couch beside him.

MICHAEL: I don’t like to drink alone, Mary. They say it’s the first sign of alcoholism. You don’t want me to become an alcoholic, do you?

MARY: I can’t drink.

Mary tightened the straps of her bathrobe.

MARY: I’m expecting someone at any moment. You’d better leave before he shows up.

Michael laughed.

MICHAEL: Did you like the roses?

MARY: You sent the roses?

Michael smiled.

MARY: I’m going to call security.

Mary stepped across the room.

MICHAEL: We aren’t going to go through this again, are we?

MARY: Through what?

MICHAEL: Through the offended damsel routine.

MARY: You come sneaking into my apartment and you have the gall to think that this is a date. You must be out of your mind.

MICHAEL: You’re afraid of me.

Mary laughed haughtily.

MARY: Afraid of you?

Mary took a seat in a chair opposite me. She picked up her glass of wine and took a sip.

MARY: You see. I am not afraid.

MICHAEL: God, you are incredibly beautiful. I apologize if I keep repeating myself but when one is in love…

MARY: You are not in love!

MICHAEL: But I am.

Mary began to laugh and threw her hair, still wet, back.

MARY: You are incredible!

MICHAEL: You’re not falling for it then.

Mary shook her head. There was a faint smile on her lips.

MICHAEL: And I rehearsed the speech for hours last night.

MARY: You’re outrageous!

Mary laughed, taking another sip of her wine.

MICHAEL: I know your kind.

MARY: My kind!

MICHAEL: Only child. Born to upper middle class parents in a small university town. Your father is a professor of history. Your mother… runs the bridge club and several charity organizations. You were an A student in college. Anthropology perhaps. Your boyfriend was the quarterback of the football team. The backup to the quarterback. After college your father got you a good job in a small accounting firm but you got bored and decided that journalism might be more exciting. How am I doing?

Mary shook her head.

MARY: My father was the college chaplain and I hate football.

MICHAEL: But you’ve come to despise the safe life and now you want to find out what’s it’s like to make it in the hard cruel world. But, you’re afraid.

MARY: I’m certainly not afraid of you.

MICHAEL: You should be. Perhaps I should go.

Michael put down his drink and rose to leave. As he passed her chair Mary reached out and touched his hand.

MARY: Wait!



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