THE BLOG
06/27/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

A Is for Amy & Adonis: Chapter R

The maddening indifference approach has only one serious drawback - it usually doesn't work. Three days had passed, and Charlie had not so much as delivered a pizza. However.

There was a Plan B.

Solicitation. Of a non-sexual nature. To be followed by groveling, if necessary. Also, of a non-sexual nature. To be followed by mutual attraction and passion. Quite possibility of a sexual nature. However.

Decisions about sex could not be made on a contingency basis.

Passion was a face to face, moment to moment thing. The planning served only to create the opportunity for romance. But love, though it might be encouraged, could not be manufactured.

Amy stopped for a moment. The phone was in her hand and she was poised to dial. She felt a thrill run through he body. She liked this. This seeking a relationship. This being the pursuer. This role that men got to take most of the time. It was as if she had control. Clearly, she didn't. But she was the one calling, she was the one trying to make things happen, she was the one being clear about her attraction to an appealing male of the same species. No passivity. Only positivity.

God, she was disgustingly upbeat lately.

Charlie answered at the pizza number. He laughed when he heard her voice.

"What?" she said.

"I knew you'd call," he said.

"What are you talking about?"

"If I waited long enough." He laughed again. Not a mean laugh, but annoyingly superior just the same.

She'd been out-indifferenced. And it was definitely maddening.

She said nothing and waited for a whole minute with the phone pivoted away from her mouth so he couldn't even hear her breathing.

"Look, Amy," he said at last., capitulating in Round Two of the waiting game. "I'm glad you called. I wanted to tell you that my big freak-out is over. I got Caterina's number on the Internet, and I talked to her this morning. It's all OK."

"What's OK? Your child?"

"No." Charlie's voice went low. She imagined him closing his eyes the way he did when he felt self-conscious. "There isn't a kid."

Amy responded by waiting.

"Caterina said she miscarried." Charlie took a breath. Explaining the details of such a private story while standing in a takeout pizza kitchen was probably weird and awkward. Charlie carried on anyway. "It was pretty early. Second month, she said. She didn't want to tell me back then. It was too hard. Then she moved house."

"She could be lying." Amy spoke before she thought. She felt angry - though she wasn't sure why.

Charlie laughed. "I don't think so. She invited me out to Rome, that's where she lives now. She runs a nightclub there. She wanted me to be a dancer." He laughed again. In a sad way.

"Why are you laughing?"

"It's just that life's bizarre. I wanted to find out about my kid. But it turns out he never was born. I get an offer to work as a dancer. But I turn it down."

There was another silence. "Wouldn't she let you choreograph?"

"Choreography," he said. His voice was suddenly flat. "Yeah she didn't really care what I did on stage. She was more interested in how I performed between shows. Horizontal choreography, yeah, she would have given me creative control on that."

Another silence transpired. Amy could hear an impatient voice in the background and the hustle and bustle of the pizza kitchen.

"You're nice," he said.

"Thanks. Is that good or bad?"

"Good," he said. "Definitely. In X-ray we used to say it's all about the contrast. The clarity of an image depends on it. You see the negative and the positive juxtaposed. You know?"

She didn't know what he was getting at. In fact, just then, she felt lost at sea. No ship, no compass, only a lifejacket that somehow came from her heart and enveloped her chest, making her entire body buoyant - directionless and lost, but buoyant.

Was he saying she was too nice to fall for? Not sexy enough? Did he think she would judge him for being offered a job as a part-time hooker?

"You're nice, too," she said.

"That's not the point. I've seen you with your kids. You're a great mom. Sometimes, I just watch you out of the corner of my eye - how you pay attention to each of them, how you listen and love them even though you're tired. That's nice. That's good. I don't think Caterina would have done that."

Amy had just received more appreciation in 30 seconds of conversation with Charlie than she'd had in four years of marriage with Bart.

Charlie kept on talking. "Me, I'm just feeling sad now. About my kid. My might-have-been kid. My might-have-been fatherhood. I was worried about it, but I guess I was excited, too." He laughed his sad laugh.

Amy shook her head on the phone. She was trying to maintain some equilibrium, but she felt herself getting choked up.

"I bought him a present last week, you know. Pretty stupid. Those plastic cups that all fit into each other or you can stack them in a tower. And they're in different colors. When I bought the cups, I thought, Wow, it must be cool to teach your kid about that. I mean, blue is the color of the sky and the ocean. The color of a candle flame at the bottom. I always liked that blue. I decided I wanted to teach my kid about that color. I wanted to show him that."

Charlie stopped talking. She didn't say anything.

"Those cups, they're good for pouring games, too. Kids like playing with water, you know."

"I know," she said. "Those cups are great."

(more to come)

For those who are new here, A is for Amy & Adonis is a serial internet novella which tells the story of the romantic redemption of Amy Franklin. The aim is to provide a fun and fast read with characters you can connect to emotionally. And, as you probably noticed, it's all free.

The chapters are short. So it's easy to catch up.

READ EARLIER POSTS (just click on the one you want)--

Chapter A
Chapter B
Chapter C
Chapter D
Chapters E & F
Chapter G
Chapter H
Chapters I & J
Chapter K
Chapters L & M
Chapter N
Chapter O
Chapter P
Chapter Q

Nota Bene -- All the chapters will be archived on Huffpost so people will be able to catch up with the story no matter how late they come to the novella.

I have decided to post two chapters a week. So, if you like what you read here, stay tuned with Huffpost email alerts or follow me on Twitter. --Steven