PCA Vote Drabble #3
Y'all can blame @bawsanity for thisI hate my life
Hold on to me
And if you ever decide to leave
Then I’ll go
Ginny’s French-braiding her hair when the doorbell rings. She pushes off the couch and goes to answer it, wondering who’s so bold as to drop by unannounced. She’s had her fair share of visitors since It happened, but she’s managed just enough vitriol to make herself a recluse for the past week. She’s not surprised to find Mike on the other side. He’s the only person who won’t leave her alone. He won’t let her settle into bitterness no matter how much she wants to.
He’s dressed for once, that tattered leather jacket of his still around despite popular demand to the contrary. And carrying a big leather duffel bag. His face is its usual unsmiling self and Ginny can’t help but grin at him. She doesn’t smile much these days but the sight of him does it for her. “Hey old man. You didn’t bring me anything to eat?”
He shakes his head, gestures to come inside. “I just stopped by to tell you goodbye.”
“Somebody shipping you off to the old folks’ home?” She jokes to keep her stomach from digesting itself. He’s been officially retired since It happened and she’s teased him about stealing her thunder.
He shakes his head, smirking only briefly before his expression returns to its usual seriousness. “No, Gin. Listen to me. I’m leaving. I can’t do this anymore, be here. And don’t tell me I’m quitting because I gave this town almost two decades of my life. The rest is mine.”
Ginny looks at the bag again. “What do you mean by leaving? Where are you going?”
He shrugs. “First stop is Jamaica. After that, I don’t know.”
Her eyes dart to the bag once more then back to his face. He hasn’t cracked a smile yet. “You’re serious.”
He nods. “It’s time for something different, Baker. I don’t know what but…”
Ginny moves around him and shuts the door. “When are you leaving?”
“Flight’s at 6. I just wanted to tell you goodbye. I texted Blip that I was taking off for a while, but I wanted to tell you in person since…”
He can’t go without letting her know. He thought about it, but after everything that had happened between him, he needs to see those eyes just one more time. Ginny nods then turns and heads into her bedroom. He drops his bag and follows without a thought, hoping she isn’t going to cry. He’ll never be able to leave her if she cries.
But she’s not thrown across her bed sobbing. He finds her in her closet, pulling things off her clothing rack. In an open suitcase on the floor are her favorite trainers. She tosses clothes on top of them then moves to a chest of drawers and begins removing underwear. “Baker, what are you doing?”
“I’m coming with you,” she answers as if it’s that simple.
She stops, turns to look at him.
“I’m done, Mike. Baseball’s the only thing I’ve ever known how to do and I can’t even do it anymore. What am I supposed to do? Take a pity position at ESPN? Spend the rest of my life being a trivia question? Maybe do a stint on Dancing with the Stars? I can’t go out like that.” She shakes her head, goes back to packing. “Besides, if we were somewhere else…”
She doesn’t have to finish. It’s been on his mind since he called to tell her he wouldn’t be back and she quietly admitted the same. She wasn’t sure what hurt more: her arm or the knowledge that her groundbreaking career was bookended by a lackluster start and Tommy Johns surgery. And this thing–this strange, intense almost–has been lingering between them since his trade fell through. Somewhere else–somewhere on a beach where no one knew them–their almost could become a definitely.
So Ginny throws everything she needs into a bag and changes out of her sweats into jeans and leather jacket of her own. She undoes her half a braid and pulls her hair into a loose topknot then slips on wayfarers not unlike Mike’s trademark pair. Mike watches all of this from her bed until she turns to look at him. “Shouldn’t you call and get me a ticket?”
He shakes his head. “I’ve got two first class seats.”
“I hate sitting beside people,” he replies with a shrug. He smiles. “Present company excluded.”
She closes her suitcase, sends Evelyn a quick text about sneaking away to clear her head, and they leave her hotel through the service entrance in the back of the kitchen. Ginny hands the cook who lets them out a twenty. “You didn’t see us.”
He nods and shuts the door behind them. Ginny doesn’t know that he’s fresh off the boat from Puerto Rico, isn’t even entirely sure who they are. They drive to the airport and Mike uses a little charm to change the name on one of his seats for Ginny. Ginny’s relieved when the use of their full first names inexplicably prevents the airport employee from making the connection.
Eight hours later, they’re lying on a blindingly white beach, using the setting sun to dry them from their dip in the ocean. It was their first stop, their luggage still untouched in their tiny bungalow. Mike reaches over, traces the almost invisible surgical star. “I can’t believe you’re here.”
“Me either,” she replies.
He frowns. “Do you wanna go back?”
She shakes her head, a smile spreading across her face. “Never.”