By the time she closed up shop and made it to the underground metro stop, Suzan had wasted almost fifteen minutes of precious time. Oh, well. If anything, Davis was a very patient man. She had known him for three years, and lived with him for almost two. Their friends and family naturally assumed that the couple had met at some medical seminar or convention; but on a medical scale, Davis’ field of study remained on one end and Suzan’s on the other, making it a remote possibility for a professional encounter.
Actually, they met on a blind date, set up by their mutual friends, their date consisting of dinner at a Thai restaurant and then a play at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Suzan couldn’t remember which play they had seen, but she did recall the rainy, cold night and Davis’ chivalrous gesture in placing his lined Burberry coat around her bare shoulders and shivering form. Since she wore a slinky halter dress and stiletto heels with bare legs in February, Suzan figured she deserved to be cold and wet—even though she knew she looked fabulous, at least to Davis who told her in all candor: “You look fantastic, gorgeous and extremely sexy, and that’s a compliment I’ve never given any other woman. You’re simply...breathtaking!”
His honest appraisal had sold her on his impeccable character.
Now in the subway tunnel, Suzan glanced at the digital board to see how long she would have to wait for a northbound train—no more than a couple of minutes, her ETA for the restaurant about 8:20. Hopefully, Davis had ordered the appetizer to take him through his wait at the bar, although he rarely drank more than two martinis. He would probably order a carafe of wine with dinner, but again, he rarely drank more than a glass or two.
Davis Breen—the perfect guy all around, good looking with his dark blond hair, sensuous mouth, chiseled jaw and rich hazel eyes. He could be versatile when the occasion warranted, open and honest, courteous and kind, generous and affectionate, ardent and serious in bed. A well-regarded and busy orthopedic doctor and surgeon, Davis earned close to a million dollars a year. Add a couple of hundred thousand for the endorsements he made on behalf of companies who made orthopedic devices and gear, and he took in close to a million and half before taxes. He could afford a house with a lawn and garden in such upscale areas as Alexandria, but he preferred living near the heart of the city, and so bought an elegant two-story condominium, part of a newly-renovated cosmopolitan and “green” neighborhood in Bethesda.
When Suzan moved into the condo, she felt like a guest, a guest with master bedroom privileges, but in time she settled into their somewhat interesting living arrangement. She offered to pay half the monthly mortgage payment and some of the utilities, but Davis wouldn’t accept her money. As he told her, a gentleman—a true gentleman—accepted the responsibility of providing a home for his lady love. All she had to buy was her own personal items. It seemed a bit chauvinistic and old-fashioned, but Suzan accepted his arrangement, thinking that she had paid her fair share anyway when it came to emotional responsibility.
Not only did she want for nothing, but she and Davis rarely argued, in fact, agreed on many points, positions and platforms—all except the commitment factor. Yet with so many positive things in their relationship, Suzan still hesitated, perhaps waiting for something—or someone—to come into her life and offer an alternative future, one steeped in excitement, passion and love, the kind of love that came spontaneously and daring rather than routine and scheduled. Until then, she would hold on to what she had, still saving Saturday nights for their weekly lovemaking session.
Now the few passengers on the platform with Suzan had just boarded the eastbound train, leaving her to wait alone. Several of the overhead lights had gone out, casting part of the platform in veiled shadows. Suzan shrugged into her jacket and tugged at the waistband of her black denim jeans.
The whir of the nearby elevator as it descended from street level caught her attention and put her on guard. Although muggings in the subway had decreased, she still remained alert and kept her shoulder bag clutched possessively at her side. She rarely carried a briefcase, preferring electronic files on her tablet over actual paper and ink copies. More times than not, she wished she had a small case or satchel with a retractable billy club inside, or something similar to use as a weapon besides the little can of mace she kept in her purse. Suzan had taken a self-defense course. But when actually faced with a mugger or rapist, she wondered if she could remember the crucial moves necessary to disable her attacker. It always looked so easy on TV and in the movies, but in real life a person had no time to perform those slick, computer-enhanced moves.
Now Suzan breathed a sigh of relief when she spotted an elderly man coming off the elevator. With stooped shoulders and a pronounced tremor in his limbs, he shuffled slowly to the nearest bench and eased down. A few thin wisps of white hair remained on his mostly bald pate, his forehead, face and hands wrinkled extensively, his flesh pale and thin like parchment. Suzan placed him in his late eighties. Should a man his age be traveling on the Metro at this time of night? He appeared the perfect victim for a mugger. Maybe she should warn him to be extremely careful...
But Suzan tucked away these thoughts as her train approached. Yet something tugged at the back of her mind. The man’s clothing...she had seen that same jacket and slacks on another man not too long ago—the outfit Charles Lambert had worn. No, it couldn’t be, could it? It had to be a coincidence really, those same clothes available in any fine department store or online. Besides, the man wearing the outfit was far too old.
Suzan could hardly believe Charles Lambert’s crazy story. When she met him at the office, she found a man in his late fifties or early sixties, although Lambert claimed to be thirty-one. And this man...She simply couldn’t—and wouldn’t—believe that Charles Lambert had aged so considerably in just a matter of hours. That only happened in movies too.
As she stepped inside the nearest subway car, Suzan glanced back to take another quick look, but he man had disappeared from the bench.
Boy, do I need a drink, she thought as she took a seat. She would definitely welcome a hearty whiskey and soda as well as the company of her partner Davis Breen...because Dr. Suzan Dwyer had a whopper of a story to tell him.