“Stop,” Sarah yelled, over the roar of the motorcycle.
Tony turned to look back at her. “What?” he mouthed.
Sarah held up her hand. Tony glared and pulled over.
“Now what?” he growled.
Sarah hopped off the cycle. “I'm done, is all. I can come get my things tomorrow. But I'm done.”
“What the hell do you mean, you're done?”
“Do you not speak English?”
“Stop being such a smartass and tell me what you mean.”
“I mean I'm breaking up with you. Wow, you're a dunderhead.”
“You can't break up with me!”
“Why not? Because you're breaking up with me? I don't care. Either way, I'll get what I want. Which is rid of you.”
“Oh, come the fuck on. You can't leave me.”
“You keep saying that, but I still appear to be walking away from you.”
“After everything I've done for you! I made your career! You'd still be a lowly intern if it wasn't for me!”
“Well maybe I'll just have to go back to being an intern. Or maybe I'll leave the field completely and start my career over. Either way, it doesn't matter. Being your girlfriend may have been a good career move, but I don't need you. I've always been intelligent and motivated. I can do whatever I want.”
“You're nothing without me. And I will make sure you never work in this town again. I'll tell everyone how you got to be where you are. I'll tell everyone you slept your way to the top. You'll be such a scandal that everyone in the country will know your name and you'll be hard-pressed to find work in Alasaka.”
“I still don't care. I'm done with this. Besides, do you think anyone will be surprised when they find out that you got me this position? For fuck's sake, I'm riding with you on the back of your motorycle, in public, dressed like a college student with low self-esteem. Come on, everyone in Washington knows we're involved.”
“Just because everyone knows doesn't mean it won't be a scandal.”
“Fine, it will be a scandal. I don't care. Let there be a scandal out of it. Monica seems to have done pretty well by her scandal. I could get a book deal and invest the royalties wisely, and then I wouldn't need to worry about work anyway. I could just profit from my bad decisions.”
Tony looked hurt. “Oh come on, now. That's just not fair.”
“Well, it was a bad decision. I should have worked my way up legitimately. And if I was going to get involved with someone, I should have done so with someone who actually respected me.”
“Geez, Sarah. You really know how to hurt a guy. Wasn't I always good to you? Didn't I help you out with your career? Didn't I buy you nice things? Didn't I make sure we had some private time every day, even when my wife started getting suspicious?”
“That was my other problem; I shouldn't have gotten involved with a monogamous person.”
“I thought you loved me.”
Sarah sighed. “I did. I did. But it's hard to love someone who doesn't really love you.”
“What are you talking about?” Tony's eyes started to well, and Sarah was stunned by the show of emotion that was uncharacteristic of the senator. “I do love you. What have I done to make you think I don't?”
“Tony-” Sarah started, but then changed her mind. It was time to stop being so personal with someone with whom she should never have become so intimate in the first place. “Senator Palma-” She stopped again, choking at the pain she saw in his eyes when she chose to address him by his proper title. “Senator Palma, you don't love me, and I'm not sure you ever have, because you do not respect me. You do not see me as your equal. You're manipulative.”
“Come on, now.”
“No. I'm not making this up. You're manipulative. Look at the way I'm dressed now. I never bought these clothes. You bought them for me, and then acted offended when I didn't want to wear them. And I didn't want to hurt you, but really. You either don't know me at all, or you don't care. You either don't realize that this type of outfit isn't my style, or you want me to dress this way anyway, so you buy me the clothes and then pressure me into wearing them. Maybe it's a combination of both. But either way, it shows a lack of respect. Especially because you actually expect me to like these, or at least pretend to like them, and wear them. What's the point of giving a gift that makes me feel uncomfortable? How is it respectful for you to make me dress a certain way”
Tony shrugged. “I'm not trying to upset you. I'm trying to help you, don't you get that? How do you expect to make it anywhere if you don't dress a little sexier, especially when you're out? You want to look like a fun woman, don't you? You want to seem friendly, right? You're so frumpy and serious most of the time. You're not going to get very far in politics if you're one of those Hillary Clinton types.”
“Really? I'm not? It seems to me that Hillary Clinton got pretty far. I mean, she did wind up being Secretary of State. And she never cavorted around D.C. in thigh-high boots, a fake-fur skirt, and a sequined tube top. In fact, I'm pretty sure she got where she was because she insisted on being taken seriously.”
“Nobody took her seriously. Why do you think she didn't even get the presidential nomination?”
“There were a number of reasons, but none of them involved her dressing in a ridiculous costume that her clandestine senator paramour bought for her and then coerced her into wearing.”
“You know, you could have just not worn the clothes.”
“You could have not thrown a fit when I said I didn't feel comfortable in them.”
They glared at each other, and Sarah continued walking. Tony stared hopelessly after her, and then ran to catch up.
“Okay, okay, I screwed up with the clothes, but – Sarah, hey Sarah, slow down!”
Sarah slowed down for a moment, to say “You really should refer to me as Ms. Thurson now that we're not longer romantically involved. In fact, I should never have allowed you to call me by my first name in the first place.”
“Oh come on, how is this fair?”
“Senator Palma, we need to take our relationship back down to strictly a professional level. You're right, this is not fair. But it's also not fair of you to tell me how to dress. And it wasn't fair of me to get ahead by having sex with you; I should have let my own merits get me ahead. So things aren't fair now, but they never have been. And I'm sorry you're hurt, but you've been hurting me all through our relationship.” Sarah started to walk faster, beginning to worry about Tony's increasing agitation.
“Sarah, Sarah, hey Sarah!” Tony yelled. She refused to acknowledge him, requiring him to address her by her professional title. “Ms. Thurson,” he called sarcastically. She stopped and turned to recognize his presence. “Do you expect to actually have a job in my office tomorrow if you leave me?”
“I put my resignation letter on your desk this evening after you left. I wasn't planning on coming in to work tomorrow.”
“But – but – but – what?” Tony's face started to redden.
“I did not feel I could even continue working with you after our relationship. I needed to drop everything and just start over.” She could see his temper beginning to bubble over. She started to run as fast as she could in her thigh-high boots. She wished she had waited to get into the city to break up with Tony; at least then she would have had a place to go, and there would have been witnesses if he had become violent. They were close to the city at this point; she was not devoid of civilization or help, but just far enough away for comfort, especially in her shoes. She glanced over her shoulder and was surprised to see his figure diminishing; he was walking towards his motorcycle. She had expected him to chase after her, to swear at her and insult her. But instead he seemed dejected.
Sarah pulled out her cell phone and called Miriam.
“I did it.”
“And you're okay?”
“Yeah. He fought me for a little bit, but seems to have given up. He's walking back to his motorcycle now.”
“Where are you?”
“Still out in the suburbs, on Wilson. About a mile from the city proper.”
“Do you want me to come get you? I know he didn't hurt you, but I'm still concerned for your safety. He's not the only threat to you out there. Especially if you're wearing one of those outfits he gave you.”
Sarah laughed. “Yeah, I am. I would really appreciate a ride. I don't even want to get on the bus in this getup. I just want to get home and change.”
“Okay, I'm on my way. Do you want me to stay on the line with you just in case?”
“Yeah, I'd appreciate that. I'm still a little freaked out.”
“Who wouldn't be? Anyway, do you want to talk about it?”
“Yeah, I-” Sarah stopped and turned as she heard motorcycle engines running toward her. She saw Tony speeding down the road. “Miriam? He's coming after me on his bike.”
“What? I can barely hear you.”
“He's combing after me on his bike!” Sarah screamed.
“Run! But get off the road! Tell me what direction you're going so I can find you!”
“I'm cutting onto Steinmetz right now, but off the pavement, going across the church lawn.”
“Okay, I'm on Bradford.”
“Good, that's really close.” But the sound of the motorcycle hadn't stopped. Sarah turned her head to find that Tony had rounded the corner and was chasing her along the road. He flashed a sadistic grin and hopped his motorcycle up over the curb and onto the sidewalk, not close enough to hurt her, but close enough to let her know that he could.
“Miriam!” Sarah screamed. “Miriam, he's on the sidewalk.”
“Take your shoes off so you can run faster.”
“I don't have time! If I stop for a second he'll get me!”
“Then just run! I'm on Claymont now. Just keep going.”
Tony slowed down so he wouldn't run over her right away, but remained frighteningly close enough to torture her. He revved the engines and came towards her; Sarah knew she was trapped. She decided to make a run for the rec center. The lights were on; people were probably there. If nothing else, she would have witnesses. Sarah ran faster than she knew was possible towards the center's wide glass doors. The center was on the corner of Wilson and Ennis; Miriam turned off of Ellis to see Sarah heading for the opening, and Tony not far behind. “You're almost there! I can see you!” she screamed, trying to offer encouragement. Knowing that she couldn't hesitate on the street to see if Sarah was safe, she pushed her SUV up onto the center's field and drove toward the building, hoping to ward Tony off. But he saw her enormous vehicle and sped up. Sarah reached the door, and pulled on it; it was locked. However, she managed to get the attention of the desk attendant, who stood up to open it. However, even he did not make it in time. Sarah saw his eyes panic when he viewed what was behind her; he stepped away as Tony crashed his motorcycle into her body and through the door.
Miriam stopped her SUV at the entrance and raced up to the crime scene. She saw the building manager cowering behind his desk, in shock, unable to call for help. She saw Tony, face first, not dead but in pain, groaning amidst the broken glass; his motorcycle just inside the doorway, glittering with transparent shards. And then she looked down at Sarah, face up, not breathing, blood tricking out of her body and into the ocean of destruction.
“I'll get help,” she called to the attendant. Shaking, she walked back to her SUV, picked up the phone she dropped on the seat, and called the police.