They ate a silent dinner in the hotel restaurant. Tim and Marcy were no longer flirting by that time, but they sat close together, heads low over their plates as if huddled in quiet discussion. They went to the lobby, and Vincent distributed the keys for the three rooms. Before anyone could comment he put Mike and Gordon together, and told Marcy she was in her own room on another floor.
"You're with me," he told Tim, who glanced at Marcy and saw Mike looking at her also. There was no discussion, and soon they were in the elevator, and then vanishing down dark-carpeted halls.
"I'm a heavy sleeper," Vincent said as he unpacked his things around his bed. "You won't wake me up if you open the door. But make sure you're good to go for work tomorrow." Tim said nothing. He became nervous, glancing at the door and at his bags, unsure of what to do. But soon Vincent had dug himself into the sheets and switched off his table lamp. It was settled. Mike was trapped with Gordon, and Tim was free. He brushed his teeth, looked at himself in the mirror, and then walked out.
"Thanks," he said as he passed the dark lump in the bed, now almost asleep. "You're a good guy."
"No I'm not," Vincent grunted.
Tim walked back to the elevator and hit the button. He and Marcy had not talked about meeting like this, and he wasn't sure what she'd say. But she seemed upset, rattled. At least he should go back and check on her. That's what he told himself. At her door, he glanced down the hall to see if he were being watched (By whom? He didn't know.) He took deep breaths to steady himself and then knocked quietly. For awhile there was no movement. But just as he was about to knock again the door opened.
Marcy looked at him, devastated. The room was dark and her eyes were red-rimmed; she'd clearly been crying. He entered, and she closed the door without turning on the lights. Before he could say anything, she clutched at his shirt and kissed him hard on the mouth. They fumbled toward the bed, shedding clothing. They did not speak. She held him tightly, urgently, and they moved together and he had questions, but she wanted him. Now she said with her hands and her body -- Now. And he took her and didn't dare ask.
"I know you need to leave," she said at last as they lay together, their sweat cooling.
"I'm not going anywhere." She put her face to his neck and he could feel the smile.
"You didn't hear it, did you?" she asked him.
"I didn't hear anything." He wouldn't say more.
"It was a bell. The bell on a little girl's bicycle. A long time ago I hit a 10 year-old girl with my car -- she just... just came out of nowhere while I was backing out of my driveway. It was so quick. It was so quick I couldn't react, and she just -- it was over before the ambulance arrived. She was gone."
"Tonight I thought I heard that bell again. I heard it ringing in Locke Hills." He pulled her tighter to him and kissed her ear.
"I do not want to go back there," she said.
"But I need this job."
"Yes. Yes you do."
While they drifted off to sleep neither of them saw the glimmer of light coming from under the door. Or the pair of feet that eclipsed it as someone stood just outside, listening to them.
Morning Music: Mary Chapin Carpenter - Okay, let's end this week with some nice Thanksgiving-ish songs. I was going to just do the Mary Chapin Carpenter song "Thanksgiving Song." It really isn't...