Falling into Exposure

By: A. Zavarelli

Falling Series Volume Two


Chapter One

Victoria





Slipping out the front door, I scroll through my iPod and pop in some earphones. I have exactly fifteen minutes to get to the courier’s office, and I need some hustle music.

I’m running late because Alanna insisted I give her all the gory details of my night with Gabriel. I gave her as brief a rundown as I could manage without giving too much away. Like the part where I told Gabriel to use me as he pleases, for example.

The morning goes by quickly with only a couple of deliveries to be made. After work, I walk around the city snapping some photos, and I’m reminded how much I wish that I could stay. I like New York. This place makes me feel alive. With the exception of my paranoia on the street that fateful day, I feel safe here. There are always people milling about, and it really is the city that never sleeps.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part, but it gives me a sense of security to know that there are always people around me. I know that Alanna likes it here too. She’s going on her third date with the financier tonight, and that’s a record for her. She actually seems happy. We have friends here, and somewhat decent jobs. It just feels right.

But at the end of the day, it’s just a dream, and that’s all it will ever be. I know we can’t stay on the run forever, but I also know we can’t stop now. It’s too dangerous. We have a plan, long term. We’ll save up enough cash to leave the country for good. We haven’t really decided on a place yet, we’re still trying to work all of that out. But even as I think about it, the idea doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as staying right where I am. I squash down the anger that threatens to ruin my bubble of happiness and change the lens on my camera.



***



I make it to Doctor Sherry’s office at exactly four. The receptionist has me fill out an entire questionnaire of my life’s history before I go in.

Dr. Sherry is a nice woman in her mid-forties with red hair and glasses. She sits me down and goes over my medical history with a fine-toothed comb before turning her gaze to me. And I have to admit, she looks a little surprised for some odd reason. She starts yattering off some standard run of the mill questions about my history first. But when she asks how long Gabriel and I have been together, I’m a little taken aback.

“Do you know him?” I ask.

She cringes as though she’s been busted, and I realize what I probably look like to her.

“Oh God,” I mutter. “This is so embarrassing. He probably has a whole train of women come through this office, doesn’t he? Sends them all to you for the same thing.”

I feel sick, and I’m sure I look it too. Dr. Sherry gives me a sympathetic glance before releasing a long sigh.

“Well, if that were the case,” she says softly, “I wouldn’t be able to tell you due to doctor-patient confidentiality. But that isn’t the case, so that rule doesn’t apply.”

I stare at her in confusion, trying to figure out what she’s saying.

“So you mean I’m the first he’s sent to you?”

She gives a stiff nod as though she’s given away too much already before sliding some paperwork across the desk.

“Here are Mr. Maddox’s test results. He wanted me to provide them to you so you can rest assured he’s clean. I’ll send yours off today and they’ll be expedited, so you should hear back soon.”

I stare at the paper which is just a jumble of words to me, noting that everything says negative. Dr. Sherry snaps on some gloves and sits me up on the table to give me the shot. She’s fast and efficient, I’ll give her that much.

When I leave the office, I stick my ear buds in and walk around the city for another hour trying to figure out what all of this means. I guess I can’t really read too deeply into it. I mean, for all I know he could have sent all of the other women to any old doctor who was available. But Dr. Sherry seemed to know him personally, which I find strange. I make a mental note to ask him about it the next time I see him.

That evening as I lay in bed, I can’t help but think of Gabriel. His gorgeous smile, that deep sexy voice, and the unique scent of him that I wish I could bottle. I curl into my pillow, inhaling the lingering notes of his cologne. As I drift off to sleep, I do so with a smile on my face.



***

Eleanor invited my friends over again. They came, of course because they think she’s so much fun. She talks to them about grown up things and acts like a kid around them. They all think I’m crazy for not liking her. But they can’t see what I see.

She tells them that we should play a game, and they all agree. Then she whispers something to them, something I can’t hear. They giggle and stare at me nervously before shrugging their shoulders. And then they pounce. Hands on me everywhere. I kick and scream and panic as they pick me up and drag me down the hall.

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