A Clean Slate (1)

Usually during the early morning shower, Steve had his most creative ideas. The continuous flow of hot water seemed to relax him enough to solve business problems. Today was an exception. His mind seemed to be a jumble of thoughts, with one idea intruding on the other.

Steve:  (thinking to himself) Natalie. Sweet, wonderful Natalie. Maybe there will be a future for us after all. I know it isn't her fault that Heather talked her into deceiving me. Oh,no! (he groans) I forgot to call the dress shop! Well, I know there's a good manager running it… I don't know if Heather told her how long she would be in Chicago, or even if she knows… Later, Steve. Now you need to think about getting back to San Francisco. I need to call one of the agents… what was his name? …I put his card in my wallet… If I can just leave today… maybe take a flight on the "Red Eye"… (There is a knock on the door.)

Cy:  Hey, Steve, are you going to be in there much longer? Everyone's awake and Linda is leaving soon.

Steve:  I'll be out in a minute. (He shuts off the shower, grabs a towel to dry off, and then puts on his robe. He walks into the kitchen.) Good morning, everyone! I'll get dressed fast and join you for coffee. (He hurries down the hall.)

Natalie:  It was a pleasure meeting you, Linda. Last night was a lot of fun!

Linda:  Thank you, Natalie. I feel the same way. Will I see you later at the stockholder's meeting?

Natalie:  I'm not sure. I'm thinking about taking a flight home today.

Cy:  Really?

Natalie:  Yes. I was thinking about it most of the night. I really should go home and start planning my future.

Cy:  I hate to see you leave already. Maybe we could all go to the meeting and Then you could fly home tomorrow? I'll treat everyone to lunch at the Palmer House. Please?

Natalie:  (laughing) Cy, you are so persuasive! All right, I'll go to the meeting and Check on a flight for tomorrow. (Steve runs hurries down the hallway pulling a sweater over his head.) That was fast!

Steve:  (grinning) I didn't want to miss anything. Cy, here's the code for the safe. I put your notebook inside. (Hands him paper.)

Linda:  Steve, thank you so much for including me in your plans last night; I had a Wonderful time! (She smiles at Cy.)

Cy:  Me, too! I'll walk you downstairs and wait until your cab arrives.

Linda:  Goodbye, everyone. (They go out the door.)

Natalie:  I think I'll finish getting dressed. (She starts going down the hall to her room.)

Steve:  Natalie, could we talk first? (She turns around and walks back into the living room.)

Natalie:  Yes? What do you want to discuss?

Steve:  I'd like to talk to you about us. Can I call you in San Francisco? I really want to spend time together.

Natalie:  I'd like that, Steve, but…

Steve:  But, what?

Natalie:  I'm just feeling very confused about the last few days. Call me "old fashioned" but I'm still married. I don't think we should see each other until I'm divorced.

Steve:  That could take months!

Natalie:  I know. But if we are seeing each other before the divorce, I'd feel unfaithful.

Steve:  How can you even think that? You're not the one who has been unfaithful!

Natalie:  I know, but…

Steve:  Are you still in love with your husband?

Natalie:  No, it isn't that. I would just like tabula rasa before we start seeing each other.

Steve:  (stunned) I hope I can change your mind. (Cy returns.)

Cy:  Linda is going to meet us at the Hilton. I said we'll wait by the entrance doors. (looks at Steve and Natalie) What's wrong?
Author: Torsten Daerr