"I want you to come and work with me," Denise
offered. But it was like she was begging him to stay now, having
dropped a hint every subtle chance she could get.
"I don't know." It was an honest reply. Sure he wanted the job. And yes, he would've accepted if she wasn't coming on so strong.
"What's wrong with you?" she demanded, annoyed
by his hesitation. "CBS is willing to pay you fifty grand a year.
I know you never got that kind of money doing those damned documentaries on the Cuban war."
"I don't think that's any of your business, Denise!"
She leaned back in her chair, staring at him
through the dim candle light. "I thought we had something here.
know I've admired you for a lot of years now." She cracked a grin. "I waited for you to break up with Kris. Then you disappeared on me. I know that WKGB doesn't pay their top anchor over forty. We're talking national media here. Won't you consider it?"
He tried to control his anger, not wanting
to hurt her. Weighing the options, he decided that he didn't
risk losing the opportunity to find Sean.
"Denise, I'm not into all that fame and
fortune stuff. It's B.S. I have responsibilities out there.
I'm sorry if
I led you on--"
She smoothed her blond hair out of her
eyes. "You gotta tell me it's because of someone else. Maybe
won't feel like what I waited for for so damned long was nothing more than you getting off."
Mike looked up to see Maggie Blodgett at his side. "Mind if we join you?"
"We?" said Denise, seeing that she was alone. "Is there a ghost, Ms. Blodgett?"
Maggie laughed, still a bit giddy from the
Chablis that Pete and Lauren had entertained them with earlier. "What's
with the formalities? Would you prefer that I call you Ms. Daltrey, the celebrity?"
Mike patted the chair next to him, happy for
the company even if she was drunk. He was sorry that she'd
overheard Denise's big mouth and hoped she wouldn't jump to conclusions. She sat down.
Denise looked at the Art Deco clock in the
far corner, figuring that there wasn't much point in staying since it
appeared that her company had used her.
"Do you want me to get you a cab back to Long
Island?" she said. "Its getting late. Some of us have a job
to in the morning."
"No. I think I can get a ride from them," he motioned to Maggie and Julie, who'd joined her.
"Denise Daltrey?" Julie said. "I've heard so much about you from Sam Yeager. How are you?"
Denise nodded, smiling, finding it hard to
believe that the woman she was talking to had been credited with so
much. "I'm sorry, Dr. Parrish. I always pictured you -- older."
"Oh," she hissed, throwing her head down against
the white linen tablecloth. "I'm so tired of hearing that.
time I'm thirty, I'm going to win a Nobel Prize."
The three chuckled at her.
Would that be for chemistry or world peace?"
Denise asked, holding out an invisible mike as Julie picked her
head up, smothering a grin.
Not for the worlds worst alcoholic beverage tolerater," she babbled, self-conciously. "I hope Hertz insures well."
"She's a bit tipsy," Maggie explained, pinching her friend.
Maggie mocked her, putting her hand to her head and laughed, asking, "How do you feel?"
"T-terrible," she squealed.
"She's usually not like this," Mike shrugged at the anchor woman, feeling embarrassed on Julie's behalf.
"Where's my damned chocolate, my love?" Julie went on, as if taking notice of him for the first time.
He didn't answer, wondering if Denise might take the dig too seriously. He received a shocked look from his date.
"Control yourself," Maggie begged.
"N-n-no. Every time he comes here, he's supposed to get me a few Hershey Bars. It's in our uh- prenuptial agreement," Julie slurred.
'Damn', Mike thought, still not acknowledging
her and shaking his head at Denise who's expression had turned to
one of disgust.
Denise looked at the clock again. "I'll
see you tomorrow, Mike. I don't guess you'll change your mind on
the count of your responsibilities and all."
"I'll call you in the morning." He stood up, giving her a peck on the cheek and whispered, "Thanks."
Denise caught Julie's horrified look.
"Nice meeting you, Denise," she blurted, getting
up and heading straight for the ladies room.
The next morning, Julie slept peacefully in
her Brook Cove cottage. Until a phone call woke her at ten a.m. sharp.
"Mike," she hollered. "CAN YOU GET THAT?!"
"I'm in the bath!" he replied.
"Where's Maggie?!" she screamed angrily but gave up, answering it on the sixth ring.
"JUST ANSWER THE DAMNED PHONE ALREADY!" Mike had replied.
"Hello?" Julie said, cradling it with her left hand.
"Is this Dr. Parrish?" the woman on the other end asked.
"This is Denise. Remember, we met last night at Bella Capri?"
"I know, I wasn't myself. To tell you the truth, I don't remember much of anything. What can I help you with?"
"It's about the remark you made about Donovan?"
"I'm sorry. I just didn't know that you
and he were getting married. I just thought you should know, I mean
feel obligated to tell you, he hasn't been faithful."
Julie started to laugh incredulously. "I'm sorry. I was joking about that. Is that all?"
"Yeah. Please don't tell him I told you."
"Okay, I will," she giggled, hanging up the phone. She heard Mike scrounging around in the hallway. He quickly wrapped a towel around his waist, hearing her bedroom door open.
"Where's Maggie?" she asked again.
"Out for breakfast. She said she tried to wake you. How do you feel?" he teased.
He went into his own room, and pulled on his undergarments, seeing if she'd stay around. But she disappeared and he found himself amused at her. A few minutes later he was dressed in only a pair of jeans and a white undershirt and joined her in the kitchen as she poured herself a cup of coffee.
"That's the last time we bring you on vacation to New York with us," he told her.
"I didn't mean to make you feel awkward." She stirred in the cream and sugar and offered him a cup but he shook his head. "I'll understand if you decide to stay," she added.
"What?" he said, opting for a glass of Tetley tea instead.
"I'm really sorry I made an fool of you last night. It won't happen again."
This had gotten his attention. "Do you really think I care?!"
She shrugged. "I don't know, Mike. She obviously does."
"She's not my type, okay?"
"You slept with her."
He glared at her, not knowing what to say except for "So. And your point is?"
She swallowed her coffee, briefly closing her eyes and whispered. "I just want you to know that I'm okay with it."
"That's bull!" he yelled. "Hey, do me
a favor and try to stay sober at the party tonight so you don't go making
fool of yourself again!"
"You mean you?!" she corrected.
"Either of us."
"Do you... love her?"
He gave her one last dirty look and sauntered
out with his suede jacket slung over his shoulder and headed out to
the garage where Sari James was hoisted up on a ladder, checking the skyfighter's air pressure system.
"You might not make it back tomorrow, Mike," she said, wiping a smudge of oil from her freckled cheek.
"Have any idea when?" he grinned, trying not to show his anger.
"Anxious to get home to the California sun?" she teased, climbing down the ladder and refocusing the shop light on a nick in the ship's belly. She grabbed some white paint and touched it up.
"Denise is driving me nuts. She seems to think I need a real job or something."
"It must be hard for you to decide," she sympathized. "You could make a lot of money out here."
"My son's a prisoner out there though."
"I didn't know you had kids," she smiled. "Where's his mom?"
She frowned. "Sorry."
He watched her paint and figured 'no point
in pouting over the unwinable.' "You know you really don't have to
that," he said. "They can't tell the difference from twenty thousand feet."
"I love working on jets."
"It's not a jet."
She nodded at the red dotted insignia on the
skyfighters nose. "They're so fast. You're really lucky you
can use it
instead of a plane, Donovan. How does Maggie like it?"
"Fine. She doesn't like to go alone though."
"Is that why you both came?"
He nodded. "That, and I needed to get away from Tyler. He can be a pain."
"Do you trust him to leave him alone?"
"There you are," Maggie Blodgett came into the hangar and nodded at Mike. "I want to talk to you. It's personal."
"No," he shook his head and grabbed a flashlight, then took Sari's place on the ladder.
"You're being a jerk," Maggie analyzed.
"No," Mike disagreed.
Maggie watched him hunt for any other defects. "That wasn't a question."
Sari sighed, a little surprised to see the two pilots arguing. She shrugged at Maggie.
"Are we going to be able to fly this back tomorrow?"
Hours later, Julie Parrish was at her mothers
house in Manhattan enduring yet another conversation about how
she needed to get a real career.
"Mom, I'm doing what needs to be done!"
"Honey," said Constance Parrish, taking a seat in the tea room as her daughter grabbed an antique tray, "Your daddy and I didn't pay your tuition for you to throw it away. You're supposed to be an M.D. Who knows, maybe this Pete Forsythe can get you into Cornell --"
"I'm a biochemist."
"That wasn't your major," she argued.
"I don't want to go back to college for three more years. I got my Ph.D for biochemistry last year. I'm fine with--"
"You're okay with it?" she said in disbelief. "How can you be okay with something that's useless. You're a damned rebel, not a scientist, honey. Is that what you want -- to go on fighting when you can live here in a safe area?"
"You're free because of what I and my fellow
fighters did for you," she said truthfully. "Without that red dust,
New York would be a war zone too, Mom."
"I don't understand. You were responsible for that awful stuff? Don't you know what it did to Niagara Falls or --"
Julie swung around, slamming the tray on the
table. "Science isn't perfect. I know the world's paying for
mistakes. That's why I went back to school and got on with Science Frontiers in L.A."
"But you don't work there anymore. And
that's another bone I have to pick with you. How could you work for
Julie squinted through her glasses, trying
to read the days paper. She tried to distract herself, almost regretting
coming back to New York, period. Oddly enough, she found herself looking in the want ads and found Brook Cove's plea for dedicated researchers. The ad promised a five thousand dollar sign on bonus and a thirty thousand dollar a year salary to the 'right' person.
"Julie, I'm talking to you!"
"Sorry, Mom. I didn't know Hannah had an ad in here."
"My idol, Dr. Donnenfield. She won the Nobel prize in '76 for --"
"Are you considering staying here after all, darling?" Her mother's tone had changed to pure sweetness.
"I don't know. Hey, they're having a party at Brook Cove tonight. You should come back and meet my friends from Los Angeles."
"Good. Maybe I can convince them you need to stay with your family."
"I want to go get something to wear.
Get my hair cut short again. I want to impress her."
At the party that evening in the big tudor mansion looking over Long Island Sound, Mike Donovan sat on Hannah's deck watching as sea gulls swooped down, ripping a pile of kelp into shreds. He wondered what it would be like to live here. Then, put the thought out of his mind as Denise came out and joined him. She wore a slinky, black dress and had her hair drawn up in a bun.
"I'm sorry about last night," she said softly.
'Here I go again', he thought.
"Julie apologized, more or less. She
explained that she was joking. I guess a part of me wanted to believe
the reason. But now I know, you didn't love me in the first place. To think it was because of some younger
woman. I guess you're just really good friends and you can make jokes like that without meaning --"
"We were engaged a long time ago," he said truthfully, just to see how she would react.
"Oh." She plopped down next to him. "Boy, do I really know when to stick my foot in my mouth! Maybe she still has feelings for you. I shouldn't have told her --" she broke off. "No hard feelings. I took her seriously."
"It's been over for a long time," he added,
sipping some champagne. "Denise, I feel bad about what I did to you.
wasn't trying to make her jealous. I had no idea she still felt that way."
"Are you still in love with her?"
He hesitated to answer. "She's not the
person you saw last night. She's more uh... mature. Or how
shall I say
She nodded. "Well the plane's broke. You can't leave for a few days. Maybe you should marry her if she still means that much."
He laughed off the suggestion. "No.
We can't do that in our line of work. Its hard to watch her go out
risk her butt as it is. I try not to control her, but I guess I see her different than she sees me. I never could
get a straight answer from her as far as setting a date anyways. So then I thought she wasn't serious. I just let
her go. I had to."
He looked over at her. "So you can see
why I thought about staying. And I hoped that I could feel for you
"On the rebound," she said. "How long has it been that you think she might still care?"
"Last fall, maybe six months."
Inside the mansion, Julie Parrish shoved today's
edition of the New York Times under Hannah Donnenfields nose.
"What qualifications are you seeking for the position in the classifieds?"
"Know somebody who might be interested?" Sari James smiled knowingly. "We're looking. Who'd you bring?"
"My Mom," Julie nodded at Constance who had become enchanted with Sam Yeager's tales of fighting in the Sahara.
"You going to hire my baby in?" Constance said to Hannah. "Can I do anything to bribe you?"
"Not necessary," Hannah laughed. "I have
been begging this girl to work for us for the past two years. She
very stubborn. Did you tell your friends you were considering it?"
Julie shook her head. "I don't feel like lighting that fire."
"Donovan's going to miss you?" Hannah guessed. "Where's the dear lad anyways? Sari said that the jet couldn't be fixed till she got the part in two days. Is he still out there working --?"
"I don't know," Julie sighed. "Funny, they didn't tell me. Well, I guess I've been busy."
Her mother gave her a hug. "I am so glad to have you back, honey. When do you want to move in? I'll have Pierre share a room with Jeff."
"Don't be ridiculous," said Hannah. "Julie, you should stay here. You can help our resistance network too."
Mike Donovan and Maggie Blodgett walked over and joined the group and Hannah put a finger to her lips. "The bobbsey twins return at last."
Julie looked up, seeing that Denise was standing behind Maggie, but she didn't make eye contact with Mike.
"Well," Constance patted Julie's back.
"Anything's better than on the front lines. At least I'll have you
"Yes, Mother," she said sounding glum and folding up the newspaper.
"Home?" Maggie smiled. "You've been conspiring behind our backs, Julie. I thought Mike was the one betraying us."
"I failed to persuade him," Denise said to Hannah. "What tactics did you use?"
The old woman laughed. "She saw our ad in the paper. And I think her Mommy helped. Thank you, Mrs. Parrish. You have no idea how much this means to us."
Mike Donovan couldn't contain his jealousy. "Julie, we need to talk."
She disengaged herself from her mother and slowly walked away with him to the dance floor.
"I'm sorry. Everything's so sudden," she said, looking down at the floor.
He ran a hand through her now shortened and
highlighted hair. "You don't have to stay just because you're mad
She jerked her head back, uncertain if he was
actually coming onto her. "It has nothing to do with you. How
that fancy your damned ego, Mike?"
He smiled again, pressing a kiss to her forehead.
"I'm sorry for what happened. Are you sure I can't persuade
you to come back?"
"No," she pushed his hand away from her shoulder as he went to grab her. "Excuse me." She headed back over to the table and her mother gave her a look of amazement as Donovan made his way back, following her.
"I don't believe we've met," Constance extended her hand, "Mr. Donovan."
Mike wondered if Julie's mom ever knew about their prior engagement. He shook her hand. "It's Mike. Hey, you don't really think we'd let her go so easily, do you?" he looked down at Hannah. "We need a Doctor. Maybe we can trade for Pete. Not a fair exchange though. I'll need a bandaid till my heart heals."
Julie looked up at him from her sitting position mouthing "knock it off!"
Hannah laughed at the thought of Pete Forsythe
joining the resistance in California. "I'm sorry about the loss.
guess we didn't take that into consideration. I keep forgetting about her medical training. She's such a bright
"Sorry, I don't exactly agree with you at this point. I don't mean to --"
"Cause a problem," Julie glared up at him, watching her mother's expressions go from shocked to angry. "How much have you had to drink tonight, Mike? And how come it was okay for you to consider a job here, but I can't?"
"You're more valuable to the resistance." He sat down beside her. "Besides, I didn't know then what I know now."
"You were running away," Denise guessed.
Julie looked up at her and nodded. "That he was. And no, Mike, I'm not 'more' valuable. You know that. Nobody's forcing you to go back. You're just jealous because I have the guts to stay and you don't." She thought for a second and realized, "or is it because of Sean?....I'm sorry. I didn't mean that. And I don't think that this is a good way to say goodbye. I don't want you to leave thinking that I'm angry at you. I just want you to go back and do your best. I'll work for the resistance from this end."
He nodded. "Looks like I better go find Pete then." He got up and walked off.
Julie winked at Hannah, "He didn't mean that."
The old woman touched her hand. "I'm sorry. I didn't know that he would take it so badly."
Julie got up too, seeing that Mike had headed
for the front door. She guessed that he was going back to the
"Mom, I need to straighten this out," she said.
"I'll call you after they leave. Sam will take you back home."
She dismissed herself and headed back to the cottage alone. Mike
sat in his bedroom dismayed. Julie opened the
door, stood there and looked at him, her eyes watery.
"Why are you doing this to me? You weren't supposed to care."
"Sorry to disappoint you," he stared at her.
"Mike, I asked you this morning if you loved
Denise. I thought the fact that you didn't say anything meant yes.
Why am I supposed to feel guilty for wanting to start my life over?" She was now crying. "Please tell me you
don't hate me." She came over to him and he pulled her down, kissing her forcefully. She pulled back, starting to gag on her sobs. "You don't have to prove otherwise."
She wiped her face with her hand, mascara running down her cheeks, but he moved it away, trying to steal another kiss. She tasted the cola he'd been drinking on his tongue and wondered why he was so adamant. Did he think that his behaviour would change her mind? Again she pulled away, but not too far away this time, grabbing hold of his right shoulder for balance as he grinned up at her.
"What are you trying to do?" she asked as he grabbed her wrist, pecking it gently, and making her fall against him.
"Persuasion," he held her tightly. She
tried to get up, but he didn't let her and forced another kiss. "How'm
"Uh," she gasped. "I can't make any promises. And you're not being fair to me either."
"Oh, yeah," he laughed, rolling her over on her back. She held her face off to the left so he couldn't kiss her again.
"Don't make me want you. It isn't fair. You know how long its been. And I already promised Hannah and my Mom. Please?"
"I'll let you go on one condition," he moved his legs off of hers, careful not to crush her.
"Let me?!" she screamed.
"Shh, shh, shh" he kissed her again.
This time she co-operated fully and he continued, until he was thoroughly
convinced. "Marry me."
"Oh, stop," she begged, putting her arms against
his chest, but he wouldn't budge. "Unless you come to work here
I mean. It could work you know."
"No," he said, smoothing away her tears.
"I have to go back until the war ends. I just have to be sure that
don't lose you. And there's no good reason why you can't marry me now. So what's your excuse?" He let go of her, giving her a chance to think it over.
She sat up. "I don't know. It's just odd."
"Julie, I think you know that I still love you. I'm not convinced you love me though."
She gasped. "Why?'
"Because, I'm doing the only thing I can to keep you, and you won't cooperate."
She put her hands to her eyes and rubbed them again. "Everything's happening so fast, you know. You're supposed to leave in two days. That doesn't give us much time."
"We'll find a Judge. I'll ask Lauren. We can postpone the trip for another day. Please say you will."
She laid back, finding the buttons on his shirt and undoing them.
"No," he said, grinning and redoing his shirt. "You don't need anymore persuading. If you want me, then you can wait till our wedding night."
"Stop teasing!" she grabbed his wrist, not letting him escape. "You're a horrible person. This is sheer bribery."
"Only difference is, I'm going to go so slow
you'll want to go back to L.A. with me. You're waiting. Or
getting it at all. Either you say yes, or we end it. I'm not coming back to New York anymore, if you don't want to
be my wife."
"Ugh," she grunted, tossing her head back on
his pillow. "Okay, you win." She unbuttoned her blouse exposing
herself. He thought he heard the front door slam and got up to close his bedroom door.
"You're going to make me look bad," he turned off the light switch and joined her in the bed. "Promise me something else," he whispered, pulling her near.
"I didn't tell you to go to bed with Denise,"
she said defensively, then kissed him. "You were supposed to save
"For forever?" he whispered. "Come here, you --"
"Julie --" Maggie was calling her from outside the hall. "Your Mom's here."
"No," she hissed from under Mike. "Get rid of her?" she begged him.
"Julie, are you here?" Maggie called again.
Donovan rolled over, letting her go. She dressed quickly, and Maggie glanced at her as she came out of his room and went into the living room looking a little pale and her clothing dismantled.
Constance was in the kitchen leaning against the stove. "You forgot your purse, DEAR!"
Julie grabbed it from her.
"What's going on?" Constance continued. "You're still staying aren't you?"
"Uh-huh," she answered. "I came to terms with Donovan though. I told him I'd marry him before he left."
She nodded. "I guess there's some things that I forgot to tell you. I don't feel like getting into it now."
"What happened to Dennis Lowell?" She was referring to her prior beau.
"We went our separate ways. I never said I was going to marry him."
"Why this one? Isn't he a bit too..."
Her mother shrugged, "You've got it.
Why didn't you tell me about it, honey? Maybe deep down you know
it's wrong. Maybe you ought to rethink it. Julie, I want you to pack your things and come home with me tonight. I don't want you to go back in there and do what you'll regret tomorrow."
"No." She went to hug her but her mom backed away as Sam honked his horn outside.
Constance turned to the door, barely avoiding slamming into Maggie who jumped out of the way. The older woman opened the door and exited without so much as a simple goodbye to her daughter who hung her head and muttered, "Damn."
Maggie closed the door and asked a simple question. "What are you doing?"
Julie shrugged off the remark and went back
to Mike's room, flipping on the light again. He was still where she'd
left him. And she was crying again, climbing into bed, looking for consolation.
"I can't do this," he said.
"You have to. I already made a fool of myself."
"That isn't a logical reason."
"I don't want to argue with you, stupid.
You made up my mind and you're not talking me out of it."
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