Updated chapter2.txt

Ahelmic6 authored
revision 74ce4de560517c99d8cfb92dca3adb43d0793292
chapter2
Nolen awoke the next morning in a daze. A dull headache disoriented him as his eyes adjusted to the sun-filled room, he noticed that his bed was empty. He was alone, his guest had all but vanished. He wondered if the events of last night had even transpired, perhaps, it had merely been a dream his mind conjured to torment him.

As he crawled out of bed, he took stock of his apartment. There were no hints strewn about the room, at least none that he could immediately decipher. The only abnormality was the misplacement of his Blackberry. His nightly routine involved placing it on the dresser beside his bed to charge it, but at first glance, he found that it was not there.

Upon further inspection of the room, he discovered the blue Blackberry Curve sitting on his desk, forlorn. Glancing at the screen, he noticed that he had missed three phone calls, and had received quite a few emails and texts the previous night. The battery was all but drained from it. He must have forgotten to plug it into the micro-USB cable. Considering how much he depended on the delicate device, he would have never disregarded his routine and ignored it. Without the mobile he would be lost. It was his lifeblood, he depended on it for nearly everything.

"So why did I leave you here?" He asked himself out loud, scrolling through the messages as he went.

The emails he had received contained mostly job-related information. Two of the messages had been sent by Rory, reminding him of his upcoming travel plans. A third email was from the company that had hired him, M.T. Pockets. The company had emailed to thank him for accepting their business offer on such short notice. The email also contained further instructions on his impending business trip to Canada. They had requested to meet with him the day before his flight was scheduled to meet.

After reading the handful of emails he had received, he turned his attention to the missed calls and unread text messages. One of the missed calls was from Rory, who Nolen assumed must have been anxious to talk to him. He made a mental note to call him after his shower. The other call was from a number he did not recognize. A text message had also been sent to him from the same number. Reading the text, he realized that it had been sent by Emily, the girl who had made her way home with him.

In the message, she thanked him for the lunch, and for the events of the previous evening. The message did not specifically mention what had happened the previous night, but at the end of the message was a semicolon and a parenthesis, which he assumed could only mean a winking face. Closing his eyes, he strained to recall what had transpired the night before. Taking a second glance around the apartment, he noticed a dark bottle with a starch white label and long neck. Two small glasses had been neatly placed next to it, the contents having already been consumed. Upon inspecting the bottle, he discovered it was a bottle of cheap wine. An empty bottle of cheap wine.

Nolen was not much of a drinker. In college, he had avoided alcohol like it was the plague. There was no moral reason behind it, he just detested the smell, and loathed the taste. Nevermind the fact that he had seen quite a few idiotic decisions made from people who became ensnared in the dangerous web of liquor. He was not overly fond of alcohol being used as a medium for socializing. He would much rather enjoy a quiet meal, or a nice cup of tea. Rory would often tease that Nolen must have been a red coat in a past life.

Thinking back, Nolen could recall passing a small wine store on the way back to his apartment. The name was unrecognizable in the breifly recalled memory. Emily must have persuaded him to purchase a bottle of wine for the evening. The only other image that was conjured in his mind was of Emily's warm body laying next to his in bed, her soft hair flowing down her back, tickling his throat. He imagined the smell of lilac filling his nostrils. Nolen was unsure of whether or not these images belonged to his imagination, or perhaps, reality.

As a general rule, Nolen made it a point to refrain from seeing clients outside of work. Nolen had learned a lot through watching others. He had witnessed firsthand what could happen when a business relationship turned into something more, and then fizzled out, becoming sour. He could recall how much Rory had been affected when his marraige fell apart. One woman had cost him his wife and children, practically taking his business right along with them. Nolen, who had been college roommates with Rory, stood next to him during the entire debacle, while everyone else who had claimed to care about him, discarded when the initial story first broke.

Technically speaking, Emily was not actually his client. The theater company, Pandora's Box, had hired Nolen to photograph the theater personnel, as well as create an assortment of advertisements and posters for the various performances. It was during his first job that he had been introduced to Emily. She had been cast as the lead female in the company's rendition of 'Les Miserables', Fantine. From the first moment he laid eyes on her, he could not help but to admire how stunning she looked, her beauty remained intact, the character she played had no affect on her attractiveness.

Following the session, Emily had approached him, inquiring about the types of jobs he usually accepted. It was she who had suggested he become a photographer for the theater. Emily had even gone so far as to discuss the idea with the management of Pandora's. This opportunity gave Nolen the chance to continuously spend time with the girl who had captivated him upon first glance. At the same time, it also provided him a somewhat steady income. Granted, it was a miniscule amount compared to other jobs, such as weddings, but he was free to express the creativity that had been left dormant in him for so long.

A loud buzzing forced him back into the present, the pleasant memories fading into the dark abyss of his mind. Jumping up, he retrieved the phone, anxiousness quickly building inside of him. His heart sank however, as he glanced at the phone, the name Rodderic illuminated upon the screen. He let out a long sigh as he pressed the green button to answer.

"Rodderic?" Nolen asked, quizically.

"Nolen! I've been trying to reach you all morning! Where the hell have you been?!" He heard over the phone, a strange, unrecognizable noise wailing in the background.

"Yeah...sorry about that. I just got up. What's wrong? Where are you?" Nolen asked, the curiosity in him becoming uncontrollable.

"Sorry! I'm on a train at the moment. Headed to Boston actually. I'm coming to see you!" Rory replied, his voice barely audiuble over the noises in the background.

"What? But, I'm leaving for Lewiston in another day, I won't be here!" Nolen said, confused by his friend's words.

"I know, and neither will I! I'm coming with you! It'll be just like the good old days!" His friend replied, some his words sounded unintelligible from the confusion in the background.

"I'll be there soo-" Rodderic started, as his phone disconnected midsentence.

Nolen shook his head, canceling the callback feature on his phone. Rory was always surprising him this way. He was the only person Nolen had ever worked with that would follow him anywhere, even going so far as to aid him in his work on a few occassions.

Glancing around the apartment, Nolen took a moment to consider what the arrival of his impending guest would mean. His apartment was small. Without rearranging the furniture in the room, he had just enough room for his couch to fold out into a bed. He hardly ever used his apartment for anything but sleep and work, so there was not much to do. Food however, would be an issue. Nolen's diet consisted of mostly rice and chicken, with an occasional piece of fruit or vegetable thrown in. Rory however, could be considered a snob when it came to food. He always had three meals a day that consisted of grains, protein, fruits and vegetables. Nolen was lucky if he remembered to eat twice a day.

He decided that before he did anything, he would need a shower. Rory lived in New York, which means that the train would take four and a half hours to get to Boston. Nolen however, had no idea when his friend actually left. He could be arriving at any moment. Weighing his options, Nolen decided that he had enough time to run out and pick up a few things, after he took a nice long shower to help soothe his headache.

After his shower, he gathered up his sling bag and wallet, then headed down to the garage where he stored his Trek bike. The bike was secured behind a small gated area. It was protected from the elements, which greatly improved its lifespan. So far, the bike had been his most reliable means of getting around the city for five years. Unlocking the gate to his storage area, he retrieved the bike from its cage. The glossy charcoal paint glimmered under the florescent lights of the garage. The bike looked as if it were brand new, save for a few scratches on one of the bars. From the gray storage bag on the side, he removed a black riding helmet, placing it on his head. The box was used to carry groceries and other purchases. There was one on each side, which was more than enough space for him.

Climbing onto the bike, he began to pedal, making his way out from the garage, and onto the street. It was still early, which meant that the lunch hour traffic had not yet started. He was not headed very far, the grocery chain he frequented was only a few blocks away. There he would pick up a few supplies for today and tomorrow, possibly a few snacks to take along for his trip to Lewiston.

***

Returning home, he returned his bike to the garage, replacing his helmet in one of the bags. He removed three grocery bags from the bike's cargo bags, then used the elevator to return to his fifth floor apartment.

Once he was inside, he removed his sling bag, placing it next to the door. He then placed his groceries on the small island-like table of his even smaller kitchen. He emptied the contents of the bag, placing the fruit and vegetables he had purchased in the fridge. The rest of the items were placed in the poor excuse of a pantry that was next to the counter.

Glancing at his phone, he noticed only forty-five minutes had gone by since his phone call with Rory. He decided to send him a quick message, in the hope that Rory would have a better idea of when he would be arriving. Impatiently, he waited ten minutes before giving up.

He left the kitchen and headed to his desk, grabbing his sling bag as he went. Removing a memory card from the bag, he inserted it into an SD card reader. As he watched the photos scanning onto his computer, his phone rang.

"Rory? Did you finally make it?" He asked, standing up from his desk. Before he could take his first step, the voice on the other line made him pause.

"Rory? Who is that?" The caller asked. The voice belonged to a woman, and sounded familiar to him.

Glancing at his phone, he realized that the caller was not one of his saved contacts. Confused, he asked, "Sorry...who is this?"

"It's Emily! Did you forget about last night already?" She teased, hinting about the events that had transpired the day before, events he could not be sure were real.

"Oh, Emmie I'm sorry, no I didn't...forget. Is this your phone number?" He asked, trying to convince her that he knew what she was referring to.

"I guess I never did give you my number, did I? You always contacted me through the theater! And you don't sound so sure of yourself. I could help you remember, tonight maybe?" She said, in a flirtatious voice.

Nolen pondered how to resond. Butterflies began to grow in his stomach. He would do anything to be able to see Emily again, especially now that he knew the feelings he felt for her were mutually returned. The only obstacle standing in their way was Rory, who had made a spontaneous trip to Boston in order to see Nolen.

"I'm sorry Em, I have company coming in from New York. I think it was a spur of the moment thing. Tonight is just no good." He said, disappointed in himself for not being able to see her again.

"Oh. Well...what about tomorrow night?" She said, giving Nolen a few moments to consider his options.

"Tomorrow night would be much better." He lied, hoping he could find a way to make it work.

"Great! I guess I'll see you tomorrow then. Have fun with your friend." She replied excitedly, before disconnecting the call.

Nolen sank in his chair, leaning back to stare at the ceiling as he worked through what had just happened. Emily wanted to see him again. She wanted to see him tonight. He hated himself for not being able to see her that evening, but he would not abandon Rory on his first night in Boston. He would spend the day with Rory, then let him know about his plans for the evening. Rory would understand. Nolen just had to make sure he left out the part about Emily being a client. He jerked himself upright as he remembered the meeting he had tomorrow with

Sighing, he turned his attention