by Alexa Findlay
He sits at his spotless wooden desk reviewing the patient’s dental history. Perfect teeth and no cavities.
His stomach drops to his knees, as he sees the name Veronica Reeve printed at the top of the page, along with her personal information. Is it the woman he had a one-night stand with before he married his current wife? It can’t be! But she has the exact same name. It must be a coincidence.
“Dr. Moss, your patient is ready to be examined,” one of his office assistants, Debra, says peeking into his office. He smiles at Debra and gestures for her to go back to work. He gets up out of his leather chair and puts on his white lab coat.
He strolls into one of the nearest dental rooms. Lying calmly on the beige dental chair is a young woman with straight blonde hair, wearing a solid white T-shirt, blue jeans, and white converse tennis shoes. Just before approaching her, he grabs a mouth mirror, a sickle probe, and a scaler from the cabinet located behind her chair, ready to examine her mouth.
He lays out the unused tools on the tray connected to her chair. He turns around. It’s the same woman he slept with five months ago, days before his wedding. He takes a deep breath. In order to keep the peace between them, he decides to be as cordial as can be.
“Veronica, nice to see you again. How is everything?”
“Hi Stephen. Everything is going great. How about you? How are the wife and step-kids?”
“Wonderful. Thanks for asking. Now let’s take a look at your teeth,” he says trying to put an end to their conversation.
Stephen grabs a new pair of protective blue gloves from the box sitting on the countertop and slips them on. Stephen’s heart starts to race, as the memories from that night flood his mind.
5 months ago…
Stephen, a thirty-five year old handsome man, took a seat at one of the barstools at his favorite bar, Chuckie’s, located on the outskirts of San Diego, California. His wedding was just two days away. He needed to take a breather from all the wedding planning.
“Sir, what can I get you?” the bartender asked.
“Rum and Coke, please.”
“Of course, sir.”
Stephen swiped his thumb over his phone’s touchscreen, as his drink was being prepared. He checked his emails. Nothing. His text messages. Nothing.
“Here you go, Sir.” The bartender handed him the drink. Stephen slowly took individual sips, savoring it.
Suddenly, a slim blonde woman took a seat beside him, wearing a black sequined dress and black stilettos. Stephen tried to ignore her, but couldn’t. She was exhilarating. Her perfectly slim body, perky breasts, and flawless skin astounded him.
Stephen sat there observing the blonde woman call out to the bartender, but the bartender never heard her. He was preparing drinks for a group of ladies at the end of the wooden table.
“Ma’am, I don’t mean to sound creepy, but you are beautiful.”
“My, oh my. Well, thank you. You are not so bad looking yourself.”
“Thanks. So may I ask what your name is?”
“I’m Veronica Reeve. And you are?”
“I’m Stephen Moss.”
“Nice to meet you,” Veronica said holding her hand out, indicating she wanted to shake. Stephen made sure to return the favor.
The bartender eventually made his way back down the long table and asked Veronica what she wanted.
“A shot of tequila, please.”
“Of course, Ma’am.”
Stephen admired her alcoholic taste. Most women ordered the fruity drinks.
“Oh, and one for my friend as well,” she pitched to the bartender.
“No, you don’t have to do that,” Stephen quarreled back.
“It’s no problem at all.”
Before Stephen could say any more, the bartender handed them their shots of tequila. They clinked their glasses and chugged their drinks. Veronica commanded the bartender to prepare several more shots. As the alcohol got to his head, Stephen craved her body more and more. She was voluptuous. Before he knew it, he had five shots. He couldn’t think clearly. His vision became distorted. He couldn’t grasp what they were talking about. He was no longer coherent.
He woke up the next morning in an unfamiliar bed, lying next to Veronica. The room was elegantly decorated with string lights, candles, and flowers. Nothing was out of place. A flat screen TV rested high on the wall.
Somehow, he made it to her home, but he couldn’t remember how he got there. Everything was such a blur.
As he took a peek under the silky white sheets, his nude body said it all. They had sex, and there was nothing he could do to change that. If his fiancé found out, she would kill him. He decided to steadily inch his way off the bed, in hopes of not waking her up. He found his white button up shirt, his black dress pants, and black leather loafers sprawled across the wooden floor. Veronica’s black sequined dress, pink lacey bra, and underwear were lying just beside his.
As he stepped into his pants, his phone began to beep. It rested on the white painted nightstand beside Veronica’s queen-sized bed. It was probably Janet, his fiancé. He restlessly tried to make his way to the nightstand, but tripped and plummeted onto the hardwood floor. Luckily, he put his hands out in front of him, which saved him from seriously injuring himself. His loud fall immediately woke up Veronica. Stephen pulled himself together and got up from the floor.
“Baby, where are you going?”
“I have to get back home to my fiancé and my kids.” Stephen grabbed his phone off the nightstand and noticed that Janet had texted him. She wanted to know where he was. He replied back letting her know that he went to the bar and had a few drinks, so he decided to stay the night at his friend Jason’s house, since he lived close to Chuckie’s.
“You are engaged?! You have kids?!”
“Yes and yes. They are my fiancé’s kids, but I consider them my own. Listen, I’m so sorry. I drank too much. I didn’t even know what I was doing. This shouldn’t have happened.” Stephen continued to dress himself and buttoned up his shirt.
“What are you saying? I thought we were going to be together forever?”
“No, Veronica. This was ALL a mistake.”
“No, it wasn’t! I refuse to believe it. We are meant to be together, baby,” Veronica said crawling across the bed, seductively. When she finally reached him, she wrapped her arms around his neck, trying to pull him back into bed.
“VERONICA, STOP! This is insanity,” Stephen hollered. Veronica untangled her arms from his neck, startled. He slipped his feet into his loafers.
“What does your fiancé have that I don’t have? I’m perfect for you. I can give you everything you’ve ever wanted. You don’t need her!”
“Veronica you are perfect, but not perfect for me.”
“Of course, I am. You just don’t see it now. You will someday.”
“There isn’t ever going to be a someday! You need to get that through your head! We are not meant to be together, EVER! I have a woman for me. That’s my fiancé. NOT YOU. Got it?”
Veronica screeched like a barn owl. She grabbed the pillows off her bed and threw them at him. “LEAVE! NOW!” she screamed. Stephen slipped his phone into his pocket, grabbed his keys, and bolted out of her room, exiting her apartment.
Stephen stands beside the dental chair, positioning it with several buttons until it’s perfect. He grabs the set of tools from the tray and tells Veronica to open her mouth wide. He examines her teeth with the dental mirror. Other than the plaque clinging to her teeth like glue, everything looks perfect. As he begins scraping the plaque off of her teeth, Veronica mumbles unfamiliar words.
“Yes, Ms. Reeve?” Stephen says removing the tools from her mouth.
“Stephen, I miss you. I need you. It’s been too long without you. I’m sorry I threw the pillows at you. I was just angry.”
“Ms. Reeve, I accept your apology. But I think it’s best after this visit, that you don’t come back. I can refer you to several other dentists. I apologize for any trouble that I have caused you. I wish you the best,” Stephen says firmly.
“You are going to regret this!”
“Listen Ms. Reeve, I need to clean your teeth, so if you could please stop talking, that would be great.”
“Fine,” Veronica says pouting like a child.
As Stephen cleans the remainder of Veronica’s teeth, he notices that tears are falling from her eyes. He ignores them, hoping that maybe his sternness will make her stop. Once complete, he shakes her hand and exits before she can say anything else.
One week later…
Stephen sits at his spotless desk, with only a picture frame of his wife resting near the edge, his laptop, a business phone, and a desk plant. He contemplates whether he should reiterate to his office assistants that Veronica Reeve will not be scheduling any more appointments with them. He wanted nothing to do with her, especially around his practice.
Janet sometimes came to visit, out of the blue. She would prepare him his favorite meal: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, and several of her famous oatmeal cookies. The last thing he wants is to have Janet and Veronica cross paths. He never told Janet about “them.” It would have ended their marriage. He made a dumb mistake and doesn’t want Janet or her kids to suffer from it.
He packs what he needs into his briefcase and locks up his office as well as the remainder of the building. He saunters to his car, just feet away from the building’s front door. He steps into his 2015 Cadillac Escalade, placing his brief case in the passenger seat beside him. He starts his car, relieved after a long day taking care of patient’s teeth and makes his way back home.
As Stephen walks through the door of his home, he notices that no one is anywhere to be found. He calls for Janet, his step-daughter Rebecca, and his step-son Tyler. Finally, Janet yells for Stephen to come into the kitchen.
As Stephen walks into the kitchen, he notices Janet sitting beside Veronica at the dinner table. How did this happen? How did they meet? What is she doing here? Stephen’s heart begins to thump. His body starts to quiver as they lock eyes.
“So, sweetheart. You know how I’m going to be working full time as an Accountant?”
“Well someone is going to need to take care of the kids while you and I both work.”
“So, my parents or your parents could watch the kids.”
“No, honey. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Our parents are too old to watch the kids. They need someone younger. So, I think Veronica is perfect for the job.”
“Excuse me, who?”
“Stephen, this is Veronica. She is going to be our new nanny.”
“Our what? We don’t need a nanny.”
“Yes we do.”
“No we don’t. And may I ask how you two met?” Veronica smirks at him as he tries to get to the bottom of their unnecessary meeting.
“Well honey, I was taking a jog at the park earlier today. As I was changing to a new song on my playlist, I wasn’t looking where I was going, so then I literally bumped into Veronica. After we did plenty of talking, I came to find out that she is a nanny. She has watched over ten kids in the last few years.”
“And you know this how? Do you have any proof that she is an actual nanny?”
“Stephen, how dare you be so rude,” Janet says infuriated.
“I’m sorry, where are my manners? It’s been a pleasure meeting you Veronica, but I think it’s best you go.”
“Stephen, may I have a word with you in the living room, please?” Janet says livid.
Stephen follows Janet into the living room, bewildered by Veronica’s presence.
“Stephen, what is wrong with you? How dare you be rude to the poor girl. She wants to watch our children while we are working. What more could we ask for? You go in there and apologize to the poor girl.”
“Fine. Your wish is my command,” Stephen says sarcastically. Unable to deny Janet, he does as she asks. He saunters into the kitchen, ready to apologize to his ex-lover.
“Veronica, I apologize for my behavior. We are thrilled to have you work for us,” Stephen says trying to be nice.
“Oh, thank you so much, Mr. Moss. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. When do I start?” Veronica says putting on an act.
“Tomorrow would be great,” Janet pitches in.
“Perfect. Is that okay with you Mr. Moss?”
“It’s fine. Now if you will both excuse me, I’m going to be heading upstairs.”
“Okay, sweetheart. Me and Veronica will just be down here chatting.”
Stephen leaves them to talk while he climbs the stairs to take a long nap.
2 weeks later…
Since his last two appointments cancel for the day, Stephen decides he is going to come home early for a change.
He pulls into the driveway, but instead of using the front entrance, he decides to use the back door that leads to the kitchen, to avoid seeing Veronica. He steps in, setting his briefcase on the kitchen table. Veronica is no where to be found. He breathes a sigh of relief and pours himself a cup of coffee from the carafe that Janet made earlier that day. Just as he is about to place his coffee mug in the microwave, he hears Veronica’s voice. He places the coffee mug on the granite table and follows the voice. It’s coming from the living room. He rests his ear against the door and overhears Veronica asking Rebecca about her new step-dad.
“Becca, do you like your new step-dad?”
“You mean my daddy? Of course, I do,” Rebecca says cheerfully.
“That’s good. But can I tell you a secret?”
“Sure,” Rebecca says jumping up and down like a kangaroo.
“Okay, can you promise not to tell anyone?”
“Of course. Pinky swear!” Becca says holding out her pinkie. Veronica returns the favor.
“So, your daddy doesn’t like you,” Veronica says mimicking the child’s tone.
“He doesn’t?” Becca says heartbroken.
Before Veronica can say another word, Stephen bursts through the kitchen door into the living room.
“Veronica, may I have a word with you, please?” Stephen says enraged. He notices Rebecca discreetly crying.
“Of course, Mr. Moss.” Veronica follows him into the kitchen with a smirk on her face. Stephen closes the kitchen door shut, so Rebecca can’t hear.
“Veronica, what in the hell are you doing? How dare you tell Rebecca I don’t like her.”
“I told you, you were going to regret this.”
“Veronica, you need help. This isn’t normal behavior. You need to tell Rebecca what you said isn’t true.”
“I can’t do that.”
“And why not?”
“You hurt me, so you are going to pay.”
Before Stephen can say any more, Veronica bolts out of the room. Stephen takes a seat at the kitchen table, appalled by her behavior. He places his head in his hands, uncertain about what to do.
1 month later…
Stephen awakes from a deep sleep when he hears Veronica and Janet laughing uncontrollably in the kitchen. It’s 3:15 P.M on a Sunday. Just when he questions Veronica’s presence, he reminds himself that this is the usual time that his wife and ex-lover “hang out.” It has been going on for the past month now. This friendship of theirs started immediately after they hired her as their nanny. Janet seemed to just adore Veronica, and Stephen couldn’t figure out why.
He forces himself off the couch and just as he is about to open the kitchen door, he hears his name.
“So tell me. How’s your sex life with Stephen?”
“I don’t really feel comfortable talking about this,” Janet says nervously.
“Oh, come on, Jan. We are good friends, aren’t we?”
“Yeah of course.”
“So, then you should feel comfortable telling me anything.”
“Alright, alright. Well honestly, not that great, because of our busy lifestyle.”
“Jan, have you ever considered the fact that Stephen may be cheating on you?”
“Cheating on me? No way!”
“Are you sure?”
“Didn’t you say that he comes home late, even though the office closes at six?”
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean he is cheating.”
“Well Jan, you don’t know that. He could be going to a bar after work, having some drinks, and banging a woman, while you stay at home taking care of Rebecca and Tyler.”
Within a matter of seconds, he can hear Janet whimpering.
“Oh Jan. Don’t worry. How inconsiderate of me. I’m sure everything is fine.”
Stephen steams with anger. How dare she convince Janet that he may be cheating? Veronica has crossed the line, but he can’t just storm in there and start yelling. Veronica and Janet will team up and start accusing him of cheating. He takes a deep breath and decides to let them be. Hopefully Janet will calm down and Veronica will leave.
Stephen sits at his desk, skimming through several of his patients’ file folders preparing himself for the remainder of the day. As he goes to grab his lunch that he prepared for himself earlier that morning, he realizes that he left it in the fridge at home.
He places his head in his hands, frustrated with his life. He can hear a knock on his office door. He looks up and notices it’s Debra.
“Dr. Moss, your wife is here to see you.”
“Oh, bring her in.” Debra disappears to get his wife.
Before he knows it, Janet walks in.
“Janet! How are you?”
“Hi Stephen. I’ve brought your lunch.”
“Oh, thank you. For some reason, I left it in the fridge. I must have not been thinking.”
Janet smiles and looks about the room, as if searching for cheating clues.
“It’s fine, dear.”
“So how are you, honey?”
“Honey, take a seat. Just relax. It’s my lunch break.”
“Okay.” Janet takes a seat and glares at her husband as if doing so, will make him confess to his cheating habits.
“What Janet? What’s wrong?”
“Have you been cheating on me?”
“What in God’s name are you talking about? Why would you say that?”
Janet starts to sob.
“Janet, why would you say such a thing? Who did you hear that from? Veronica?”
“Oh, so now you are blaming the nanny for your mistakes, because it’s just easier. You are a piece of work.” Janet storms out of his office, before he can get any words in. Stephen places his head into his hands once again.
After a long day at work, Stephen decides to stop at the grocery store to grab a few items. He needs to prepare himself before he confronts Janet about what happened earlier that day. He grabs a grocery cart, and strolls along the dairy aisle, looking for non-fat milk, because Rebecca drank the whole bottle.
As he strolls along the aisle, his eyes fixate on all the sliding doors that contain the various products. All of a sudden, his cart smashes into another individual’s cart. It’s Veronica.
“What the hell was that for?”
“I told you before, you are going to pay.”
“For what? What the hell are you trying to do to me?”
“If you don’t tell your wife about us, I’m going to make your life a living hell. Worse than it already is. Got it? You can either play this the easy way or the hard way. Which do you choose?”
“You are fucking insane.”
“Which do you choose?”
“The hard way. I’m not going to let you get away with this.”
“You already have,” Veronica says chuckling. She waves goodbye, leaving him to wallow in his own lonesome.
1 hour later…
Stephen pulls into the driveway, feeling drained from his unpleasant day with his wife and Veronica. As he grabs the grocery bags from the backseat of his car, he decides that he is just going to tell his wife the truth about that night. He can’t let this go on any longer than it has. He walks up to the front door, unlocking the door with his key. As he switches the lights on with his index finger, he stumbles. The groceries plummet onto the tile floor, making a mess. He gathers the food, placing them back into their bags. He stands up, the bags dangling like ornaments from his arms. As he walks into the kitchen, he notices splatters of red like juice all over the light tile floor, creating what seems to be a line. He drops the grocery bags onto the tile floor and follows the splatters of red. As he turns around the corner of the butcherblock, he witnesses Janet’s bloody body lying lifeless on the floor. He drops down beside Janet’s body, yelping. He places his ear on top of her chest, in hopes of hearing a heartbeat, but there is none. He wails at the thought of never hearing her voice again.
He lets go of Janet’s body and considers the lives of Rebecca and Tyler. As he moves away from Janet’s body, he continues to follow the trail of blood, which leads into the backyard. He notices Rebecca and Tyler’s bloody bodies lying beside each other. He shrieks at the sight of their innocent lifeless bodies.
In complete shock and full of rage, Stephen races around the side of his house, until he reaches his car in the driveway. He hops in, and heads straight for Veronica’s apartment.
Once he finally reaches Veronica’s apartment complex, he parks his car and races up the stairs. He finally reaches the second floor. He violently knocks on Veronica’s red apartment door with the #302 mounted in gold.
The door opens. As Stephen takes one step in, he gets a strong whiff of a chemical like substance and then everything turns black.
Stephen slowly opens his eyes. As he adjusts his eyes to the brightness in the room, he realizes he is back in Veronica’s bedroom. He tries to get off the bed, but realizes he can’t. His hands have been handcuffed to the bed’s headboard. What in the hell? He squirms, but is unable to break free.
Suddenly Veronica walks in.
“Stephen. Stephen. Stephen. You’ve been a bad boy. Didn’t I tell you, you could play this the easy way?”
About the Author:
Alexa Findlay is an Undergraduate Creative Writing Major. She has an Associate of Arts Degree in English from El Camino College. She spends most of her time writing fiction and poetry. She aspires to receive her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing with a Specialization in Poetry. She hopes to one day become a Professor, and write books in the process. She is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Mystic Blue Review and Cadaverous Magazine. Her work has appeared in El Camino College’s Literary Arts Journal: Myriad, See Beyond Magazine, Pomona Valley Review, Better than Starbucks Magazine, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Halcyon Days and forthcoming in Sick Lit Magazine and Quail Bell Magazine.