Allie, the reluctant truth
“Just got back from Dubai. Soooooo jetlagged. You have to go, Knox, I’m telling you. Weirdest high end parties you’ll ever go to, and I can tell you’ve been to some weird high end parties before.”
I was enthralled. Allie lived harder, more successfully than any woman I’d ever met before. The third date we’d ever been on, she put four bottles of wine on her corporate card and then, in the middle of dinner at a four-star restaurant, she slit a giant cut down her palm and insisted I do the same.
“C’mon. Let’s be blood lovers. Put the shocked look away. I’m clean.”
The next morning, we both called in sick and hitchhiked up to her grandpa’s old farm in New England. Maybe some white drugs were brought out. Maybe some glassware and/or rare American folk art was smashed to bits. Maybe the cops were called on suspicion of a home invasion, but were sweet-talked out of snooping around by Allie, even though we could conjure no proof that we had any right to be there. Truth is, it’s all a blur.
Allie disappeared for a week after we got back. I didn’t care. Her absence fueled my imagination. ‘Where’d Allie sneak off to this time,” I’d daydream as I sleepwalked through work. She showed up at my office with two first class plane tickets to Mexico City. “There’s a conference this weekend and I’d rather not go to alone.”
“You know, I still don’t even know what you do,” I said.
“I don’t know why that matters. Get your shit. Plane’s in 90 minutes.”
Allie disappeared again almost as soon we got to Mexico. I visited some old friends then bought my own plane ticket home. Coach.
I should have written her off. Obviously. But I staked out the bars I knew she haunted. Two weeks I made the rounds, to the point where I got to know the regulars. A couple had said they’d seen her before. One warned me of her. “Seen her drink a couple marks under the table, then make off with their wallets.”
I couldn’t believe that I’d just been a sucker who could only hold his liquor.
We caught up with each other around happy hour. She was drinking a dirty martini with a sweaty adman, who guffawed at his own jokes. When porky went to relieve himself, I had the bartender pass her a note scribbled on a cocktail napkin.
“The Bruise. 9:30. Knox.”
She showed up slurry, but still composed. “So you caught me, Knox. Congratulations.”
“Yeah, well, I figured I’d already lost too damn many women in Mexico to do it again. So what was it? Did you get my social? Do you have a credit card in my name? Are you taking out other blood lovers to dine on it?” I was doing my best to feign anger but I couldn’t succumb to it. Deep down I was actually really glad to see her.
She shook her head and showed me her palms. No new scars.
“I’ll be honest,” I said. “I don’t care. You’re a smart, beautiful woman who does what she damn well pleases. Sure you screw people over, but fuck it. You’re good at it. Hell, we broke into that farmhouse and you made the police think it was yours. I was still under your spell at the time, but that was bloody masterful.”
Allie grimaced. “The house was my husband’s Knox. Same with the credit card. I’m not a con artist. I’m married. With two kids. Maybe I let strangers buy me drinks, but I don’t steal identities.”
Of course not, I thought. She already has plenty of her own.
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