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Two for the road

The call came out of the blue, and the voice was all but a distant memory."Hi Mark, it's Jenny.""Jenny?"Mark couldn't believe it was her.They hadn't spoken in years, but here she was calling him up as...


The call came out of the blue, and the voice was all but a distant memory.

“Hi Mark, it’s Jenny.”

“Jenny?”

Mark couldn’t believe it was her.

They hadn’t spoken in years, but here she was calling him up as if they talked every week. Unbelievable.

Mark pulled Mother Load onto the shoulder of the highway and parked it, just to be safe.

“Yeah, it’s me, Jenny. How’s it goin’?”

How’s it going’?

Was that the best she could do? Why not, “I was thinking about you,” or “I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch.” Christ, he would have even been happy with,

“What are you wearing?”

He looked down the asphalt strip in front of him and said, “South. It’s going south.” Mark cracked a little smile at that.

If Jenny was calling, he was headed south in more ways than one. “What’s up with you?”

“Well, I was thinkin’…”

“Yeah.”

“I was thinkin’ that maybe we could try and, you know, get back together again.”

Mark felt as if the world had been pulled out from under him. Back together again.

To be honest, it had been one of the furthest things from his mind these past few years.

Why in the world would he think there was a chance of them getting back together?

Why would he even want to get back together?

He’d been working as a private investigator, making a good living videotaping men who spent three-hour lunches with their secretaries and women who spent more time with their personal trainers than they did in the gym.

The money had been good, but the work had taken up a lot of his time, especially nights and weekends.

That became obvious to him when he set up his camera one night outside a motel room on the Scarborough strip and discovered that the woman he was taping having sex just happened to be having sex with his wife.

His wife, Jenny.

At the time all he’d wanted to do was get away, and that’s just what he did.

As soon as the divorce was finalized he sold off everything he owned, bought a Peterbilt 379, and headed out onto the open road, leaving all thoughts of Jenny behind.

And now, here she was, wanting to get back together again.

“Gee, I don’t know Jenny. I’m driving my own truck now and, to be honest, I’m kind of enjoying being out on my own.”

“Awe, c’mon Mark,” her voice was low, soft and seductive, like there was honey dripping out of the phone.

“You’re not even going to give me a chance.”

‘A chance?’ he thought. A chance was something she could have asked for years ago, not now. Now it just seemed, well, wrong.

“Kind of late for a second chance, isn’t it?”

“But there’s something…missing from my life and I didn’t know what it was for the longest time. And then it sort of hit me all at once.”

“What did?”

“You! You were the thing that was missing from my life.”

She sounded convincing, but Mark still didn’t believe it.

She’d never even talked this way before, even when they’d been dating.

The things she was saying now sounded, well, crazy coming from her.

“You didn’t seem to have any trouble finding other people to fill in for me whenever the mood struck you.”

It was a bit of a low blow, but it was something they needed to talk about.

And hell, she was the one who called him.

She would have to expect that he’d still be sore.

“I was wrong to do what I did to you, and I’m sorry. You were a wonderful lover, the best I’ve ever had…”

Hearing those words, Mark sat up a bit straighter in his seat.

“…and I didn’t know what I had until it was gone.”

“That’s nice to know,” he said, feeling his resolve to tell her “No” melting away like a pad of butter in August.

“If there’s any way I could make it up to you, I’d be willing to do it.”

“Anything?”

“Anything.”

The word came out in a whisper, caressing his ear like a slip of silk.

The cab of Mother Load suddenly seemed uncomfortably hot to Mark.

He said nothing for a count of 10, waiting for the temptation to say “Yes” to run its course.

“It sounds really good, Jenny. And I’d really like to get back with you, but the truth is, I don’t want to give up what I’m doing right now.”

“Who says you have to give up driving?”

“What?”

It didn’t seem like her to say something like that.

She was either a totally different person, or she was out to get something from him.

He hoped it was the former.

“I wouldn’t ask you to give up driving for me,” she said, “especially if it’s something you enjoy.”

Mark did enjoy being on the road.

Sure, he could get a job making deliveries for some company, battling city traffic and being home every night, but that wasn’t the kind of driving he wanted to do.

He liked working for himself.

He could work as much or as little as he wanted, where and when he wanted too.

And most important of all, he only had himself to worry about, and even that seemed like one too many at times.

“I don’t even want to settle down.”

“Of course not,” she said, her voice still sounding wet and sexy. “If we got back together, I could even go out on the road with you.”

“You’d be willing to do that?” Mark was amazed.

Maybe she really had changed.

“Of course, Mark. It would be a great way to spend some time with you, and learn what you’ve been doing with your life lately…” she laughed softly under her breath.

“And our nights together would be pretty hot, don’t you think?”

Mark thought about it.

The sex with Jenny had been great, although he couldn’t help thinking that it was good because she’d had so much practice…with other people.

“You’d want to come on the road with me?”

“Yes,” she said, a little annoyed that he was having trouble believing her.

“Couples do that all the time, don’t they?”

Yeah, husbands and wives drove as teams all the time.

Even boyfriends and girlfriends. But it took a special kind of couple to make the arrangement work.

They had to be able to say “f— off” to each other, almost in the same breath as “I love you,” because inside the cab of a truck there was nowhere to run if you got upset with the person in the other seat.

Sure you could always stop the truck and get out, but taxis weren’t always available in the middle of nowhere and thousands of miles from home.

If you went on a ride, you were there for the long-haul.

Still, it was a tempting offer.

Mark had often wished he had a partner, someone…anyone to talk to that would make the seemingly endless hours pass a little more quickly.

His ex-wife wasn’t exactly the most engaging conversationalist, but she did have her charm, and they did have a lot of catching up to do.

And who knows?

Maybe he still loved her.

He could feel it in his heart, a yearning hope that perhaps things could somehow get back to the way they’d once been between them.

Those happy years in the middle after they’d settled in and before things had begun to fall apart.

If he could recapture a bit of that joy, he’d do it in a second.

And yet…something in the back of Mark’s mind was telling him to be cautious and careful.

“I don’t know, Jenny,” he said. “This is all so sudden. Maybe I should think about it.”

“Think about this,” she whispered breathily.

“I’ll make it worth your while.”

Her voice trailed off in a slight moan and Mark was reminded of a very different Jenny, lying next to him naked and damp with sweat and saying such sweet and sexy things in his ear.

The decision was made.

His head was telling him “No” but his heart and his other head were saying “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

“Maybe we could give it a try,” he said at last.

“Great,” she said.

“I could be packed and ready tomorrow if you like.”

“Packed?”

“Yeah, what time can you pick me up?”

“Uh, after noon, I guess.”

“Great, just enough time for me to pick up something special just for you. Which do you prefer, white or black?”

“Black.”

“Okay, see you tomorrow.”

She hung up the phone.

Mark closed up his cell phone and stared out at the highway in front of him.

He wondered what exactly had just happened.

As best he could figure he’d either just started onto the road to greater happiness, or he’d just made one of the biggest mistakes in his life.

-Edo van Belkom’s latest book is Be Very
Afraid!To order it, or any of his other titles, visit www.vanbelkom.com. Meanwhile, Mark Dalton returns next month in Part 2 of Two for the Road.


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