The second time I met Rick was in Jacksonville. My company sent me for training, which was long and boring. The hotel I was staying smelled like the combination of laundry detergent and pool chlorine. The guests next door were drunk and loud. As soon as I opened the door to the terrace, the smell of weed hit me in the face. The thought of staying in through the evening was horrifying. I recalled Rick had a house in Jacksonville. Our first meeting was bad. He freaked me out with his weird statements about knocking me up, and I ran away. I was scared, Greg was pissed. Rick was his friend, and I was rude and hysterical. I should have called the receptionist and complained about bad smells and partying behind the wall; but I figured having dinner with Greg’s friend would be more fun. That psychiatrist was nuts during that fishing tournament in Saint Pete, but I decided to give him a second chance. Actually, I decided to give myself a second chance, I needed a company for that evening, I felt tired, forgotten, and lonely.
He immediately responded to my “Hey, how are you doing?” and said he was glad I gave him a call.
– Vixen, I thought you forgot about me and moved on, where are you?
We chatted about heavy Friday traffic, work stress, and weather. He seemed to be happy I had no plans for the evening and invited me to dinner. I gave him the address of the hotel, and met him in the lobby.
– Vixen, I am glad you are here. You have been on my mind since that tournament, sorry I was busy, I did not get a chance to call you, long hours, I was swamped – I quietly smiled to his blah, blah, blah. He did not call, because he was not interested. Obviously, something went wrong for him that Friday night, and I was his chance to get lucky at the end of the day.
He was polite and pleasant at the dinner table. He did not not sound like nuts, not at all. He talked about research and his postdoc students, I pretended I was interested.
When the dinner was over, he asked about my plans for the rest of the evening. I shrugged my shoulders. He had dark eyes and a white smile. He was very tall, athletic and knowledgeable of statistics. I was planning to go back to my room and run SPSS for my research proposal. Multiple regression and boy push-ups, packing the suitcase and trying to get some sleep prior going back home was on my to-do list.
– My house is not far from here, would you like to come over?
I suddenly remembered Jim’s words, “this guy is weird, his obsession with knocking up women is freaking dangerous, stay away” and thought Jim was jealous. He hated losing, and he was losing me to Greg all the time. Rick was Greg’s friend, no wonder why he could not stand the guy.
– Do you want to come to my place? – Rick got persistent, I was ready to return to the hotel.
– I do not think it is a good idea
– Why? – he had something in common with Jim, same deep penetrating look, same hypnotic demeanor, same reluctance to accept no. Guys like this turned me on.
– Because I do not know you, going to a stranger may be dangerous. You work with severe mental cases, you should know better.
– I am not a stranger to you, we saw each other before. You know Greg and Emy, actually, they are my best friends.
– I am tired, – I was not into going to his place. Sending mixed signals and giving fake hopes to fuck was fun, but I was not going to get laid after flirting.
– Come on, your hotel stinks, we will chat, and I will take you back
– I do not fuck on a first date
– As you wish, – suddenly, his voice got carelessly sexless. His hotness was gone, I felt like I was speaking to a girlfriend.
– What shall we do if we do not fuck?
– I will show you my new house, Greg said you like fish tanks, I have homegrown coral reefs.
His vehicle was new and expensive. I complimented his driving, he laughed and put his hand on my knee. Of course he lied about living close to the hotel. After 30 minutes of driving, we finally turned into his driveway. I got out shivering; it was chilly, dark, and late. I knew there were no fish tanks as soon as I saw the outside of his house. The house looked dark, very dark. Red sea coral reefs require lighting that I would see from the street. He lied again.
“He is a psycho, it is not normal to tell a girl you just met you want to knock her up. If you can’t see that then you have issues ”. Jim’s words in my heard got louder as I came to the front door.
He let me in and turned on the light in the living room. I slightly nodded to his “I gotta make a phone call, make yourself comfortable”, he went upstairs, I looked around. The house was new, huge, and inhospitable, I felt lost trying to find a restroom when I saw that door. I lost count of rooms, everything looked, felt, and smelled new, brand spanking new, dark, and demonic; everything about that place seemed to be reflective of Rick’s gloomily polite personality. That door I ran into flipping switches and not seeing any fish tanks (Rick was a liar, which did not surprise me much at that point), but that door freaked me out. It was almost destroyed, ripped like a feathered pillow. It looked like someone repeatedly stabbed it with a knife. I shuddered at the contrast between the quiet cleanliness of the house and the badly damaged plywood and hurried back turning the lights off on my way to the living-room.
Rick was still upstairs when I reached out for my iPhone. “Hey Emy, what is Rick’s address in Jacksonville? I may stop by to say hi” She responded almost immediately, I knew she was hopeful I will hook up with that psycho and forget about Greg. As soon as I had the address, I contacted taxi services, and slid the iPhone into my handbag.
He finally got off the phone, came downstairs, and handed me water with ice.
– I see no fish tanks here, – I still saw that stabbed door in front of me as I was talking to him; my voice was surprisingly dispassionate, I felt weird.
– I forgot, I have them in Boca.
– I should go than. There is no point for me to be here.
– Why? Greg said you are fun and submissive
– Greg lied, – I shifted my gaze to the front door and saw the taxi lights through the fiberglass. – I gotta go, my taxi is here.
– What happened when I was on the phone? – he looked surprised and disappointed.
– I did not see any fish tanks, there is no point for me to stay here
– You know, – the tone of his voice froze me as I was pushing the heavy front door. – I never understood Greg. You are very averagely looking and anorexic. Bye slut, – he flipped from calm to hysterical within seconds. I felt happy the cab was waiting outside.
I entered my hotel room and broke in tears; coming into a stranger’s household was carelessly stupid. The torn-up door was still on my mind, it was still freaking me out. Whoever ripped it had issues, serious mental issues.
The next morning started with a text from Emy. She was curious if I was with Rick the night before. I responded “it went well” and started packing my suitcase getting ready to leave.