RECAP: Ronnie Stein is a starving website developer, three years out of college. She inadvertently landed a double job opportunity for Mayor Jonathon Steadman. But the mayor, to Ronnie’s chagrin, has more intentions for her beyond designing his website and polling young demographics. He wants a personal relationship, with sex, and he is married. Ronnie’s terribly conflicted about this situation. And so far, nothing has been finalized. We pick up the story with Jon Steadman’s home life.
PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY Will she buy it? [Part 4 of 8]
Jon’s cell phone is ringing. It lies next to his keys and wallet on a bedroom chest of drawers. Why isn’t he answering it? Because Jonathon Steadman is currently having sex in the shower, and in no way will this event clean up his act. Jonathon Steadman, a married man in his forties, is pumping a twenty year-old redhead porn queen named Lusty Charm, in a hotel bathroom.
Jon saunters into his kitchen, looking very much the confident, impeccable mayor he seems to be on TV. “Hi hon,” he says to the woman standing at the counter. She throws him a glare, then turns back to the televised evening news. Lauren Steadman, mid-forties, is well put together with dark coiffed hair, a somewhat zaftig frame and round attractive face. Jon closes in for a behind-the-waist hug. She pushes him away. “What?’ he asks, surprised.
Without turning, she coldly answers, “You were supposed to be home early today.”
“Because you missed the play.”
Lauren pivots, nose to nose, steaming. “Your son’s play!”
Jon rocks back. “Oh shit. Where is he?”
“In his room.” He heads for the door. “It’s too late, Jon!” He stops, turns to his wife. “Four hours too late!” she spits out.
“I’ll make it up to him.”
“You can’t, Jon! You missed parent’s day last month!”
“You know why that happ–”
“You promised Andy you would never do that again!”
“All right! I’m sorry!”
“Where the hell were you tonight?! I called your cell.”
“I didn’t hear it.”
“I called your office. They said you left hours ago!”
“I was with Max, going over strategy. It went long and I just–”
Jon strides back to the counter, grabs the phone and points it at her. “Call Max! No! I’ll do it.” He starts dialing.
“Put the phone down, Jon.” He keeps pressing buttons. “Put it down!” He does, grateful that she didn’t call his bluff. But Max would have covered for him anyway. He has done it before.
Jon’s shoulders drop with a tired, defeated sigh, the perfect act. He thinks a moment, then steps closer to his wife. She backs up. “Lauren. I am absolutely shit-smacked over this. I’m overwhelmed. This campaign, it’s taking me down.”
“And your wife and son.”
“You keep saying that.”
“Because I am.”
“Sometimes I wonder.”
“What was that suppose to mean?”
She moves back to him, eyes to eyes now. “Jon, you’re pulling away from me. And Andy. You never tell me what you’re doing. Where you’re going. The people you’re meeting. The city problems. Your problems. It was never that way before. But it is now. You’re starting to crack. I can see it.”
“Well I’m not! And I won’t live like this, Jon! It’s not fair to Andy either.”
“You knew what you were getting into–”
“Yes I did! And we talked about what it would be like to have children. And what did I say to you?”
“I said that I would not raise our child alone. And you agreed. And now what do we fight about all the time?”
No answer from Jon. Instead, he goes to the fridge, looks inside, retrieves a beer. Twisting off the cap, he turns back to his wife. “You know, there’s a good chance I won’t get re-elected.”
“Maybe that’s the best thing that can happen to you.”
“No. No… No.” He reopens the refrigerator, searches for something else. Maybe cheese.
“Jon, look at me.” He looks at her. “You’re not sleeping. You’re forgetting things. You’re depressed all the time.”
“I am not depressed.”
“And we haven’t made love in four months.” THE PHONE RINGS. Jon moves to the counter. “Don’t answer that,” she commands.
He reads the caller ID. “It’s Max. I have to.” He presses TALK. “Yeah, Max.”
“Bad mistake, Jon!” Jon jerks the phone away. Max is so loud, Lauren hears him from across the room. “Fucking bad move!”
“You mean 4350?”
“You voted yes on that!”
“I had to.”
“You did not have to! Goddamn it, Jon, you’ve gotta go right on something! Try school lunches. Anything! You hear me, Jon! They’re burying you! With fuckin’ bags of money, which you, my friend, have yet to raise!”
“You’re asking me to be something I’m not.”
“I am? Well you’re not gonna be mayor either if you don’t follow the fucking program! I’m ready to walk, Jon.”
“We need a turn-around speech. You’ve got four weeks to get somewhere close to the middle. Gimme your go-ahead. I’ll write the words.”
Jon sighs, something he’s been doing a lot lately. He shifts his gaze to his wife…or where she was. She’s gone. He drops his head, shaking it. Okay… Write it up. I’ll look it over.”
“Thank you!” CLICK. Max has just hung up.
Jon slowly opens the door to his son’s dark bedroom. Nestled under the covers, Andy’s looks to be asleep. Jon tip-toes in, gently sits on the bed, and stokes his ten year-old’s long curly hair. “Daddy’s sorry, Andy. Daddy’s really sorry. And Daddy loves you.” He kisses his son.
Jon steps into another dark room. This time it’s his own, and Lauren’s. Like his son, his wife is also in bed, eyes closed. He whispers. “Lauren? I’m sorry.”
“No more sorry’s,” she mutters. “Come back to us.”
“I want to.”
“Just do it.” She rolls over to face the wall, her back to him now.
He shuffles into the hallway and enters the guest bathroom, locking the door. He’s got his iPad. Raising it for viewing, he opens his email and sits on the toilet. What does he see? He sees the photo of a naked tattooed younger woman, maybe thirty. And under that picture are the words, ‘Jonny boy, cum in me now! I love the way you make me hurt!’
The mayor stares at her picture, and her sex message below it. Thirty seconds lapse. He types an answer, and drops his drawers.
To be continued…08/12/2011
Part Four is loaded with REVERSALS, which lead us to expect a result as we are taken to an entirely different outcome. This technique keeps the author ahead of his/her readers. The following are some examples. In the first scene with Jon in the shower, we expect the woman to be Ronnie. She isn’t. The second scene shows that Jon’s wife is NOT fragile as he said she was earlier in the story. In fact, Lauren is stronger than Jon. Next comes the call from Jon’s campaign manager, Max. This scene depicts the mayor as having political integrity even though he lacks it in his personal life. His behavior is both a contradiction and a reversal, and shows how some people “compartmentalize” their lives. Finally, Jon expresses remorse to his son and wife, but then continues his sex addiction. All of these plot twists help to keep the reader wondering, WHERE IS THIS GOING?
So what do your think? Just who is Jon Steadman? Where is the story going?