A Soft Place to Land: Chapter Twenty-Four (Part Two)

Marah slowly navigated down the hallway leading from the bathrooms.  Keeping one hand on the wall for balance she was sure she almost passed for sober.  Oh who was she kidding, she was three sheets to the wind.  But this whole endeavor was mission accomplished: She was feeling no pain.

Marah gave herself a mental fist pump as she successfully navigated her way through the throngs of people currently dancing to some old country song.  She could see the table Jonathan had commandeered for them to sit and slowly made her way towards her destination.  Judging from Jonathan’s facial expressions and copious amount of hand gesturing it seemed he and Tristan were in the middle of a discussion.  And the last thing she wanted was to discuss anything.  Besides, she was sure this was intended to be a date for the two of them, Marah’s sudden appearance probably put a big damper on that.  Tomorrow Marah was certain that she would feel bad for hijacking Jonathan’s date but tonight she really couldn’t find it in her heart to care.

Besides, maybe she was doing him a favor.  Love sucked.  It sucked you in and then inevitable spit you out.  And on that maudlin note Marah decided her brain had not been sufficiently wiped and switched directions towards the bar.  She was already going to be cursing herself tomorrow so it wasn’t like one more would hurt.

When she was feet away from the bar an energetic two-stepper bumped into her which caused her to bump into the gentleman standing in front of her.  Marah watched in horror as the drink the man was holding spilled down the front of him.  “I am so sorry.” Marah held her hands over her mouth.  The shirt the man was wearing looked expensive, which put him just as out-of-place in this hole as she was.  “I was walking and someone bumped into me and I am just sorry.”

The man turned and smiled wryly, “No worries Marah.”

As if Marah needed anything else to make her feel embarrassed.  There, dressed to the nines, was Dr. Richard Salas.

***

“I don’t like it.”

Tristan turned to face her date, her date that was currently fixating on anything but her, and lifted an eyebrow in question. “Don’t like what?”  Tristan hated this entire evening.  Here she was dressed to impress and her date was focused solely on his sister.  A sister who had become the third wheel, though considering that they had been here before she showed up maybe it was she who was the third wheel.  On that awkward note Tristan took another large drink from her beer.

“This isn’t Marah.  At least not the Marah I know.  She doesn’t drink often and never like a sailor on leave.”

“Well she does have amnesia.” When Jonathan turned his angry expression towards her Tristan held out her hands in a stopping motion, “I just mean that maybe she doesn’t remember how she used to be.  Maybe she is just trying to find her way.”

Jonathan sliced his hand through the air effectively cutting off that theory, “No something is wrong.  Maybe I should call Tony and let him know that his wife is drunk off her ass.  I doubt he knows she is here.”

Tristan put a hand on his arm halting him, “Come on Jonathan.  Your sister is a grown woman who can make her own decisions.”  Putting her bottle on the table she grabbed both his hands and stood, “Now I have the night off from the hospital so you are going to show me a good time.”

Jonathan reluctantly let her pull him to his feet, “Um, I don’t dance.  And definitely not to this mediocre version of country music.”

Tristan laughed as she pulled him towards the dance floor, “It is pretty bad isn’t it?”

Wrapping his arms around her waist he pulled her close to be heard over the music, “Terrible. But the company makes up for it.”

***

After Tony dropped off Lanie at Reva and Josh’s house he found himself driving aimlessly down the streets of Springfield.  He had even driven over to Oakdale only to receive the same answer he got over the phone.  Lisa Grimaldi herself came down from her penthouse suite to tell him that Marah had left hours before he called.

An hour later and Tony was teetering between being worried and being angry.  He was like a keg of dynamite ready to explode, all he needed was a match to light the fuse.  Though all his calls to Marah’s studio went unanswered he still decided to check it out again.  Reva had given him her key “just in case” but Tony had only driven by earlier.  The lights were out so he didn’t stop.  But perhaps Marah had left something behind, something to give him a clue to her whereabouts.

Parking on the deserted street Tony jogged to the window and peered in.  Just as he suspected, all was quiet and undisturbed.  Still he took his key and unlocked the door.  Flipping on the light switch he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.  It wasn’t until he walked up to Marah’s desk that he felt the world open under his feet.  There, in colored glory, were photographs.  Photographs of Eden and him at Towers when she had drugged him and made it look like they had slept together.  Tony rubbed his hands furiously down his face.  “Tony you are a damn idiot.  Why didn’t you just tell her?”

Marah must have seen these pictures and ran for the hills.  Picking up the box the offending book came from he noticed there was no return address.  But he knew where it came from.  Danny had told him that Carlos had given a vague threat that he wasn’t done, that he would have the last laugh.  And judging by the evidence before him, it looked like Carlos had indeed won.  Tony closed the book and tucked it under his arm. He quickly moved to the exit and closed up the shop.  He had to find Marah and explain.  Explain that it wasn’t what it looked like.  Explain like he should have done months ago like everyone had told him.  He had to explain before Marah did something she would regret.

***

Marah wasn’t sure if the room was spinning due to alcohol consumption or because Richard had spun her around the dance floor like a country version of Fred Astaire.  She was going to go with the later.  She laughed as Richard dipped her dramatically.  It felt good to laugh. And she had found out that Richard was more than what he projected to the world.  Gone was the stiff doctor with a terrible bedside manner.

It could be the alcohol masking his less desirable traits but right now, in this moment, he made her laugh. “Whew!” As the song ended Marah fanned her face in an attempt to cool off.  She was sure she looked a mess, but she didn’t care.  “I think I need a drink,”  When Richard lifted an eyebrow in question she laughed again, “Of water this time.  I think I have drunk enough alcohol for two lifetimes.”

Richard tucked a piece of hair behind her ear and smiled, “Be right back.”

Marah was wrenched from watching him walk away be a strong hand on her arm.  She whirled around and saw an angry Jonathan staring at her.

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