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The Wild Side


Page 36


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I should not have been so shocked to wake up and find her gone. Not just her. All trace of her. Even her toothbrush was absent.
I knew, just knew right away that it was more than her usual vanishing. She would not be reappearing somewhere, as though nothing had changed.
I was so certain, in fact, that I went immediately to her slum apartment, seeking out any trace of her, intent on making her face me before she walked out of my life.
I was horrified to find that all trace of her had been erased even from that awful room she was renting, which was easy to deduce, as I found the place unlocked, keys on the kitchen counter, as though she'd left them there for her landlord, whom I promptly tracked down.
He was a grumpy white man in his sixties, missing a leg and sporting a bad attitude. He was forthcoming, but unhelpful, as all he could tell me was that she'd moved out mere hours before, with no notice and no forwarding address.
I was at a loss, and I wasn't handling it well.
I found myself pounding on the front of the neighboring frat house until some hungover kid answered, shirtless and looking confused.
He gave me one brief glance before saying, "Hey, dude, we don't want to buy anything." He tried to shut the door.
I moved my foot inside to stop it. "Wait," I said loudly.
He just raised a brow and opened the door wide again. "Whassup?"
"I'm looking for a girl. She was living in the crappy duplex next door. Her name was Iris."
His expression perked up at that. "That smokin hot blonde?" He whistled
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. "She is highly bangable, dude."
I closed my eyes and counted to ten. "Yes, that one. Have you seen her?"
He shrugged. "Saw her coming home yesterday, looking f**khot, but she was in too much of a hurry to talk. You should have seen what she was wearing, though, bro. Fuuuck."
I turned around and left, because if I didn't, I was almost positive I was going to deck some stupid frat boy.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN
I didn't give up there.
I kept searching, not sleeping, barely eating, too consumed with finding her again.
I did this for days, to no avail.
Inside of every man lived an ass**le, and that ass**le had a strong dose of 'I don't give a damn.' I honestly believed that. I'd written several male characters based on those simple principles. I'd thought it was fairly irrefutable.
Even when I'd caught my wife of twenty years with another man in my own home, my outrage had been followed pretty damn quickly by, 'Well, f**k her, I'm better off.'
While the ass**le inside of me was obviously alive and healthy, all of his doses of I don't give a damn had clearly worn off.
I didn't care for that.
I wanted my emotional numbness back. Badly.
Instead, in its place, I felt. I missed. I craved. I yearned.
But it didn't matter what I felt, or how I suffered.
She was gone, and she'd left behind nothing to indicate that she ever intended to come back.
As though I'd dreamed her up, Iris had vanished from my life.

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