He meets her in a bar, not because he's there to hit on women, but because he just went through some stuff, some pretty painful stuff, but whatever—she doesn’t want to hear about that.
And she tells him, no, no, go on.
Well, he just lost his girlfriend, well not lost, really—she left him. And maybe not just, and his laugh is filled with self-deprecation. A couple months ago, and he’s over her for the most part, but sometimes, when he’s lying there in his cold bed, and it just doesn’t seem to warm up, no matter what, it’s then that he can’t stand to be alone in his empty apartment. And that’s what he’s doing here.
Because sometimes you just can’t turn on the radio, for fear that they’ll play a song you heard when you were with her; you can’t turn on the TV because it might be something you watched together. And you sure as hell can’t drink alone, because that just makes everything worse.
She tells him she knows exactly what he means—she recently lost someone close.
Oh yeah? Does she want to talk about it?
And she laughs a sad laugh and says it doesn’t matter—they’re gone. And she says her name is Andy. Andrea, really, but nobody calls her that. Andy.
Donald, and as much as he hates it, everybody calls him that. No matter that he tries to get them to call him Don or Donny or Heavy D or anything other than Donald.
She laughs, and he laughs, and when the bartender comes and asks if they would like another drink, they both say yes.
They spend the lonely night together in the bar, being not so lonely, and when it’s time to go, neither of them bring up the idea of spending the rest of the night together.
Thank you, he says, and goes on to tell her that she has made a painful night so much easier to bear.
And she tells him that she should be the one saying thanks, and they both laugh nervous laughs, and then there is silence.
He explains that he doesn’t want to be forward—he understands if it’s way too soon, but would she like to have dinner with him. Maybe Saturday? Or, you know, whenever it’s convenient.
She says that Saturday is fine, and they exchange information, like accident victims trading insurance information, but before the accident, and without any insurance whatsoever.
Saturday goes well—they skip over the awkwardness, because they covered that at the bar the other night—and when the date is over, they arrange to meet again. On Monday, flowers arrive at her office. He doesn’t want to come on too strong, he explains on the card, but he was feeling ridiculously happy, and since she was responsible, he felt like he should try to infect her with it.
It works, and she spends the rest of the afternoon grinning stupidly.
Friday night, they see a movie, and as they laugh at Jack Black as a fat panda, their hands end up entwined. And stay that way as they leave the theater, as they take a walk, as they talk and laugh and share lives.
I’m not stupid, he tells her. She’s about to hail a cab, and they’re both wondering if there will be a goodnight kiss. I know that life is a complicated thing. That’s what he tells her. He also tells her that he doesn’t fall in love with everyone he meets. Hell, he doesn’t fall in love with anyone he meets, really. But…well, how many dates have they been on? Nine?
Eight, she corrects him.
Eight? That doesn’t seem right.
That time he picked her up for lunch, but she had to hurry back, so they didn’t get to really talk, that time doesn’t count.
Oh yes it does, and plus there was that time when he thought he was supposed to pick her up on Tuesday evening instead of Wednesday, and he showed up at her house with roses and she was in a robe. That counts, too, because he really feels like they bonded as she told him to go away, she wasn’t presentable. That counts, so it’s actually ten.
They laugh the laughs of the comfortable. Not quite in love, but it’s a one-way street at this point, and they’re headed that way.
He’s not trying to hurry things, he tells her, but he’d be lying if he said there weren’t strong feelings. And she’d be lying if she said there weren’t.
She licks her lips, not intending to be sexual, but it’s arousing nonetheless, and she tells him that yes, she has strong feelings for him.
He stammers a bit, and then reiterates that he has no intention of trying to rush things.
She tells him it isn’t rushing things when everyone’s ready. She tells him be at her place on Friday. And then she hails a cab. It’s just starting to rain as the yellow vehicle pulls to the curb. Before she climbs into the cab, she leans close to him, gives him a slight kiss on the edge of his mouth, and then whispers into his ear:
And then she’s gone, leaving him dizzy and smiling in the rain. He feels light-headed and goofy, and although it probably isn’t love, it’s close enough for him.
He decides not to get a cab. He’ll need one for sure—he lives miles and miles away, and he doesn’t feel like being sucked underground by the subways—but he wants to walk a ways first.
He doesn’t know what to bring. Loud music plays in his apartment, and he dances around, wasting time, being dumb. As he dances, he grabs random things—condoms, Altoids, candles. Whatever. It’s not important, really.
She’s the one!
That’s what’s important. He grabs a romantic CD from the stereo, and a knife from the kitchen drawer, and continues to dance through the apartment.
The buzzer sounds two minutes early, but she has come to expect that from him—after all, she knows him. She smiles—tonight is the night.
He’s the one!
She can’t believe it, not really. She’s giddy at the idea. She pushes the button to buzz him in, and then rushes to the bedroom to double-check everything.
Perfect. She checks her reflection in the mirror, straightens her hair, and adjusts her breasts in her bra. It doesn’t matter of course, but she still wants to look her best.
She rushes back to the kitchen, and has just enough time to stir the pasta before he knocks on the door.
They’re on the couch, dinner consumed, relaxing in the company of each other. His arm is around her, and she is cuddled up against him, her eyes fluttering as she fights to stay awake.
He tells her that she looks tired, and she giggles a bit. The wine, that’s what’s making her giggly, she tells him. That’s why she looks tired, is the wine.
He tells her she needs to go to bed.
She asks is he going to tuck her in?
Be careful, he tells her, or he’ll have no choice but to take advantage of the situation.
She giggles again, and he could almost swear that it’s more seductive this time.
She wants to tell him something, she says. Come to the bedroom, she wants to show him something.
He says, he’ll meet her there. He just has to take care of a little business.
She walks to the bedroom and he walks to the bathroom, and they both prepare.
It sings to him, his blade. And it smiles. It tells him that it wants to cut. It wants to bathe in blood, it wants to shine through red and taste escaping life.
He rubs the knife against his cheek, against his chest, against his cock. He kisses it. He licks it, and ejaculates.
He washes his hands, and the blade smiles on, ready to kill once more.
She’s waiting in bed when he opens the door. He waits for his eyes to adjust, and she says that it took him long enough. She moves underneath the sheet, gyrates, practically. She tells him she thought he’d never get through in there.
He tells her that he…well, he had to make sure everything was perfect.
She understands completely, she tells him. She has been doing much the same in here. Does he want to see?
He steps forward, saying he sure does, he sure does want to see.
I had to make sure, she tells him as he approaches. I had to know.
He asks her what she had to know.
I had to know about you. I had to know that you were the one.
And am I?
She tells him that he for sure is, she knows it.
He’s on her now, spreading himself out on the mattress, only the sheet dividing them. He tells her that she’s the one, too. He moves to reach into his back pocket, to reach for the knife.
But right then, that’s when she moves, that’s when he feels the prick. Like a wasp sting, right under his chin.
She tells him once again that he’s the one.
He wants to return the sentiment, but his tongue is too numb. He tumbles to the floor, unable to move, unable to cry out as his skull crashes against the hardwood.
She’s standing over him, still telling him about how she knows he’s the one. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go.
She tells him how she knows. He’s the one. The one who killed her sister. The perfect guy. Like a fishing lure. Bait.
He brought her in, brought her close, and then killed her.
How many times? That’s what she asks as she stands over him. How many times have you done it?
He can’t answer—every part of him is numb. But he wouldn’t tell her anyway. Bitch. Twelve. Twelve times, he has tricked women to the utmost, made them fall in love, and then killed them.
He would like to explain it’s nothing personal. He would like to explain that he’s just like one of those flowers that eats flies. But he can’t move.
She kicks him over, sees the gleaming knife, and laughs. Tonight, then, that’s when you knew I was the one, as well?
She rolls him back over, and he finds himself looking at his own smiling knife. And although it still looks hungry, it no longer appears to be smiling. And the song it sings is not for him. He hopes whatever drug she has given him will numb the pain, but after the first slash, he realizes that this will not be the case.