“Slow Exit” – Chapter 12A – Panooksa

Idea by Tom Austin                                            Written by Tom Austin

                                    Revised by Tom Austin

The day after the dinner Milly and Brad had planned to start moving their things into boxes which would be then be taken to their house in the Second Realm. They did not wish to leave moving to the last minute.

At least that had been the plan. But the dinner the night before with BB and Mike had more tiring than either had expected.

When the alarm rang Milly crawled out of bed and put her robe on. Brad was still comatose enjoying his first night in a real bed in months.

Milly tried shaking him.

“Have you no respect for the dead woman?” he said still in the bed.

She replied thinking out loud.

“You know this would be a perfect opportunity to have my way with you.”

No reaction. Just mild, but not ear shattering snoring.

“Alright. Consider yourself warned. I’m really going to do it.”

She took her robe off and let it drop to the ground.

Milly pulled the sheets down and straddled Brad. The touch of her skin against his did nothing to arouse Brad. Milly took his hand and put it on her breasts. Still no reaction. She didn’t know if she should be insulted or concerned. Milly got out of bed, put her hands on her hips, and issued her final decree.

“Get out of bed this instant, or I won’t make breakfast!”

There was a little movement, but mostly unintelligible grumbling.

“I’ll make my own.”

“Not in my kitchen buster. You’re the only person I know who does three-minute eggs in four hours”

It was then Milly had a sneaky, almost crazed, smile on her face. She went and got an old Westclox wind-up alarm clock she had in med school. She set it for two minutes from now. She then went to Brads side of the bed.

“Poor baby. Last night must have been really tiring. I’ll make us some breakfast in bed. You stay right there. I’ll make you comfy.” She shoved the alarm clock under Brad’s pillow but pretended to adjust it. She went into the sitting room and cuddled Quincy. She looked at her watch.

10, 9, 8, 7, …

The clock went off with a noise that could be heard three counties away followed by a blood-curdling scream which was followed by some very creative cursing. Brad stood in the doorway. “OK, you win.”

After getting the shock of his life Brad got up and got dressed. Still a bit uneasy having a man nearby as she dressed, she closed the bedroom door. When she emerged she was wearing a ratty old tee shirt and some jeans. She was ready to do battle with the bookshelves. She went back into the sitting room and surveyed the situation. At five foot two inches there was no way she could reach the top shelf.  So she went into the coat closet and pulled out an old, wooden, seldom used step-ladder. At the other end of the bookshelves stood six foot tall Brad. He had no trouble reaching the top shelf.

“Let’s start from the top, and we can work our way down from there,” she suggested.

There was a mild grunt of agreement from the aggrieved fiancé.

As Milly went to the uppermost rung in the ladder it started to sway a bit. Brad grabbed the ladder and steadied it.

“I think I better stay here. This thing may start to sway again. Besides I like the view from down here.”

Milly thought about what Brad had said and tried to figure out what Brad meant. Nothing came to her.

Curious she gripped both sides of the ladder, looked down at him, and asked: “Now I’m suspicious. Just what is going on in that wicked mind of yours?”

“I’ve discovered I love looking at your fanny. It’s so firm, yet soft at the same time. And this is the perfect vantage point for doing just that. Plus I just can’t help wondering what color they are.” 

She struggled to reach a book. Her tee shirt came out of her jeans.

“You’re wondering about the color of my behind? Earth to Brad…you are a doctor!”

“I’m not talking about your beautiful behind. I was just wondering what color your panties are today.”

“Ye gods, I think I’ve created a sex fiend. What’s with your sudden interest in my undies? Are you going kinky on me?”

“I’m just a growing boy with active glands.”

“Oh, I know what’s growing you dirty old man.”

As Milly collected the books she handed them to Brad to put in boxes she started muttering to herself.

“Well, what color are they?”

Milly rolled her eyes in frustration, blew some hair out of her face, and wiped the sweat from her forehead.

“My panties are Fire Engine Red just like the car. Now if you’re finished leering at my behind I’d really like to finish these bookshelves today.”

“Is your top the same color?” Milly rolled her eyes again and chose to ignore the question.

Milly stretched to reach a copy of War And Peace. She reached as far as she could. As she did Brad peeked under her tee shirt.

“Yup, they are too.”

Milly caught Brad peeking.

“Oh my lord you’re a peeping Tom too. AGH! You’re impossible!”

Milly came down the ladder, stood in front of Brad, took off her tee shirt, undid the button on her jeans, and let them fall to the floor.

She stood in the middle of the sitting room floor, arms outstretched wearing only a bra and panties.

“Is there anything else you want to know?” she screamed at him.

Milly picked up her clothes from the floor, stormed into the bedroom, and slammed the door shut.

“Now what was all that all about?” was all Brad could say.

With the bedroom now out of bounds, Brad continued to gather up the remaining books, and there were quite a few. There wasn’t anything special about them. Some were fiction, a large number were non-fiction, and a handful were biographies. One shelf was devoted to medical journals. But he couldn’t concentrate. He had to think. So he wrote Milly a note telling her he needed to think and where he’d be. He left the apartment and got in his red Mustang. He just drove trying to figure out what had gone wrong, if anything. His cell phone buzzed. It was Milly. He wasn’t prepared to listen to her.

“Listen, for once in your life just listen. I’m in the car driving. I need to figure out exactly where this relationship is going. You’ve been sending me mixed messages. First, you asked me to wait until our wedding night. That I can understand. But then you complain I’m not paying enough attention to you. Then when I do pay attention to you get all flustered and hysterical. It’s time to really figure out what you want. I’m going to turn the cell off now.”

With the press of a tiny button, his connection to Milly was cut off. She tried to reconnect but with Brads phone turned off she didn’t have a chance.

The air smelled of diesel fuel and airplanes screamed overhead. Only then did Brad discover he had driven to the airport. With gas running low he checked into a no-tell motel. He rented a room and immediately regretted his decision. There was a couple going at it hot and heavy in the next room, and they didn’t seem the least bit concerned how much noise they made. After two hours of moaning and groaning, Brad figured they must be going for some endurance record. He felt sorry for the guy.

He didn’t care much for this reality. The only good thing about it was Milly, and her desire one day to be a mother. But he didn’t feel comfortable about fathering kids in a world that could blow itself to smithereens in a matter of seconds. He wanted to only father children with Milly in the Second Realm. And working in the hospital here in the city was basically a dead end job. In The Town, there was room for advancement, and a chance to really make a difference. It seemed the only solution was to move to the Second Realm as soon as possible. That would mean dropping all plans for a wedding in this reality. Milly might not go for that. But that was a chance Brad was prepared to gamble on.

He tried sleeping. That didn’t work at all. Then he inspected the furniture. The light fixtures on the wall looked like they were made before he was born. The pictures looked like a kindergarten class really had a ball finger painting, and the paintings themselves were bolted to the wall.  The mandatory copy of the Bible was nowhere to be seen, but menus for a number of eating establishments were in every nook and cranny. The thrust and grunt event was added to the sexual Olympics going on next door as was headboard banging. It was then Brad decided that something had to be done. He checked out and filled the gas tank. Only then did he turn on his phone. Almost immediately it began to ring. It was Milly.

“I’m coming home, and we need to have a really long talk.” There an authority in Brad’s voice she had not heard before and was unsure of what it meant.

To Milly, those words only meant one thing: the engagement was off. She was convinced Brad was going to say he’d had enough of her dramatics, and that he wanted out. And to a certain degree, he’d be well within his rights to say just that. Milly did admit she overreacted over the panty affair. She also admitted that she had been sending mixed messages. But Brad said something that gave her hope, that all they had experienced had not been a waste of time. “I’m coming home.”

When he arrived he unlocked the door. Milly was behind the door wearing only a tee shirt and a pair of panties. 

“Oh thank god you’re alright”. She wrapped her arms around Brads neck as she hugged him.

But she noticed Brad did not return the hug. And she shivered.

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