A Clean Slate (2)

Steve:  Natalie doesn't want to see me again until her divorce is final.

Cy:  Is that so, Nat?

Natalie:  Yes, Cy. I think it would be less complicated if we wait. (She starts crying and runs to her bedroom.)

Steve:  I can't believe this! (He sinks into the closest chair.) What am I going to do? I don't want to lose her.

Cy:  I think you should tell her how you feel, but respect her wishes.

Steve:  I was hoping we could fly home together and talk about the future, but now…

Cy:  Maybe this isn't all bad.

Steve:  How can you say that?

Cy:  Hear me out, Steve. You've got some problems to solve, too. Think how much happier you both will be when all of them are behind you.

Steve:  I guess there is something to be said for that logic. (He reaches for the phone.) The sooner I get started on problem solving, the quicker we can get together again. (He looks at a business card, and then dials.)

Steve is anxiously waiting for a phone call. He paces up and down the hall, and then sits down in the living room. His fingers are drumming rapidly on the end table. Natalie and Cy watch his impatient actions.

Cy:  Steve, I'm sure Agent Dawson will call you back today.

Steve:  I wish I could be sure of that; I really need to get a flight back to San Francisco! (He stands up and walks around again.)

Cy:  I know. From what you told me, it sounds like there is big trouble in the company.

Steve:  I can't even make a plane reservation until the DEA says I can leave town!

Natalie:  What about making a reservation on the "Red Eye" then canceling it if you aren't allowed to leave?

Steve:  (He stops walking and looks at Natalie) That's a good idea! If I leave late tonight, I can be there early in the morning. Actually, with the time difference…

Cy:  (finishing his sentence) You could arrive before you leave! (laughing.)

Natalie:  Steve, would you like me to make the reservation while you wait for Dawson's call? I can use the other line in the bedroom?

Steve:  That would really help me… (The phone rings, and Steve grabs it.) Hello? Yes, this is Steve (long pause)… Just a minute, let me write the name. (He grabs paper and pencil.) David Olson… and the number is 916-340-1430… Yes; as soon as I arrive… I don't know what time I can get a flight… all right… within 24 hours. Thank you, so much! (He hangs up the phone.)

Cy:  Is it good news?

Steve:  Yes, I can leave today. But have to contact another agent when I arrive or within 24 hours. If it is after 6:00 p.m., I can even leave a voice message. (He gives a big sigh.) Well that's one problem solved, now for the others! (He looks longingly at Natalie.)

Natalie:  (blushing) Steve, do you still want me to call the airport?

Steve:  I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner, but my reservation can be made on this computer. (He walks over to the computer and sits down.) Let's see… flights to San Francisco… not that one… too late… couldn't make that one on time….wait! Here's one… leaves at 2:00… that means I need to be at the airport by 12:00 Rats! There's a lay-over in St. Louis… That means I won't get into San Francisco until tonight. (He keeps looking) Nothing else! I'll have to take that one (enters credit card number and presses key.) There it's confirmed. (He turns around to face them.)

Cy:  So you won't be able to go to the meeting with us?

Steve:  Sorry, but it's urgent that I get back to San Francisco as soon as possible. You and Natalie can stay here as long as you want. I know it will be all right with Webb. I'd better go pack my clothes. It could take an hour to get to the airport, depending on traffic. I'll call the chauffer. (He walks down the hall.)
Author: Torsten Daerr