Chapter 2

Fast forward almost a year. Don't worry, nothing of importance happened. Our dear beloved Anne had one relationship that lasted six months, and a measly crush on a new employee, Max. Oh, Max. What can be said about Anne's crush? Well, he was a crush, and crushed her silently. It's not his fault, so don't go blaming him, for he never knew. And it wasn't even his fault that he crushed her. Many of Anne's co-workers had a thing for him, and she didn't want to break any friendships with them. So she prevented herself from letting him know her feelings. A funny thing: had she been more vocal about her feelings, our round two and three could have never happened with the infamous John Doe. Not that they would have dated (actually, it might have been an awkward match, resulting in more harm than good), but she would have been focusing on Max instead of the bastard who moved away.

Max was a tall, slightly built man with thick unruly hair and a personality that was something else. How shall we try to describe it? He was sarcastic in every way imaginable. He had a slap-stick humor about him that took a certain kind of person to find humorous. If he had a problem with someone, he wasn't afraid to tell them to their face. At first Anne thought he was sort of shallow, tending to sway to the obviously pretty girls. When Anne had confronted him on this, he denied it, just stating that the obviously pretty girls were attracted to him, not the other way around. Turned out, he later fell for Anne's friend Mandy (who knew that Anne had crushed on him). But that's a whole different story. Max turned out to be one of Anne's best guy friends despite everything.

Anne was sick with a horrible cold, and had to call out sick for nearly three days. She did as much work as she could from home, and tried to relax as much as she could. On Wednesday, the day of her recovery and the eve of going back to work, Anne had an idea. She had been wanting to dearly to go to the UMass Hockey game, but had no one to go with. As she scanned her cell phone, a familiar name popped up: John Doe.

Someone (or something) should have screamed to her not to dial that number. But alas, she did. And just as she thought that no one would answer, his familiar voice drifted over the receiver.

"Hello?" Ah, so dreamy thought Anne. This was a disaster from the beginning.

"Hey, you free this Friday?" No need to waste time on petty small talk. Maybe she should have. Maybe he would have hung up the phone in boredom like an ass should.

"Yeah, I think so, why?"

"You like hockey, right?" Oh no, here we go.

"Yeah, sure. What's up?"

"Would you like to go to the UMass Hockey game this Friday? I know you are out of town…"

Oh, for the luck of it all, turned out Mister Doe was actually in town. IN town! Can you believe it? And of course he would love to go to the hockey game with Anne. So after the two settled on that she would pick him up at 6:30, they stayed on the phone talking. She asked him where he had gone; he answered that he moved back to New York with his father. He wanted to make sure he was doing alright. She then asked him what he was up to; he answered how he was planning on going back to school to study criminal justice. "Never too late to switch careers!" he said. Bastard John wanted to become a police officer to serve the public.

Anne was careful with her words. She never brought up the last time they talked. But inside, her stomach was flipping and her heart ached. She wanted desperately to try again, a second chance. The two flirted into the night, and just when it seemed her night couldn't get better, he said a very peculiar thing.

"I want a hug." Um, does anyone else see the red flags here?

But Anne fell for it head over heels. She flirted back, agreeing. Then, the impossible happened. He had the nerve to ask if she wanted to watch a movie. "Now?!" Anne's heart jumped to her throat. "Well yeah, why not?" I could tell you why not! But Anne didn't disagree or argue. And before either of them knew it, he was over her house at ten o'clock at night. Both had to wake up early in the morning, but neither seemed to take notice.

They popped in the movie, Saw II, and cuddled up together. Little bastard John was cringing at every grotesque scene, while Anne laughed at him. But his cringing was an excuse for them to get closer and closer. Before she knew it, his lips were right next to her ear; his breaths were low, and warm, sending chills down Anne's back. She turned to face him as the credits rolled across her TV. He leaned in closer, letting his nose brush against hers. Anne swore that her heart could be heard from miles away, but if Doe heard it, he said nothing.

The TV lit their faces softly as the credits returned back to the menu and that's when it happened. That bastard moved in for the kill, and kissed her. Their lips touched softly at first, but then moved closer and faster. Each exploring the other, fluctuating their rhythm from fast to slow. Mister Doe too the liberty to explore other areas, and innocent Anne allowed it. But before John was able to move under any article of clothing, Anne broke away.

Her eyes were cloudy and her breath was heavy. The kiss was only a few minutes long, but it worked its magic on them both. For Anne, it rekindled all feelings towards him. For John, it was a possible conquest. (Well, that might be harsh. At this point, he too could have seen a relationship.)

So with a quick hug and kiss good-bye, the two parted at one o'clock in the morning. But Anne couldn't sleep. Her heart was filled with hope and other emotions she could never describe. The next morning at work, everyone noticed that she seemed just a tad bit too happy at returning to work. However, no one approached her. Maybe her friend Max would have, but he was out of town on an assignment.

The next couple of days, the two talked for hours using the phone or computer. Finally, Friday rolled around and Anne was soon picking Mister Doe up. He had been staying at his cousin's house, apparently looking for a new place to live. That's right, out little bastard was moving back to Palmer. He had some friends who were in the police force in many of the local towns. So he wanted to take advantage of their advice and possible references to future careers. The commute to the local community college would be easier if he was living in the town with the turn pike exit. Bah! That's what I say!

As John and Anne were walking into the stadium, they ran into old high school friends. It was Dustin, Victoria, and her high school sweetheart Rick. They had all attended the University of Massachusetts and were taking advantage of their alumni status. So the group all sat together during the game and cheered the team on with excited enthusiasm. During the game, John would squeeze Anne's leg and the two would share a quick glance. Bastard John seemed a little annoyed with the added company, but said nothing and welcomed their old friends. It was a great game, resulting in overtime. Unfortunately, UMass lost the game, bringing a small downer on everyone's attitude.

At the end of the game, everyone parted and said their good-byes, promising to keep in touch. As Anne drove back to Palmer with Mister Doe in the passenger seat, the two talked about the future. They decided that they wouldn't start anything due to the long distance until they were both sure of their feelings. Anne was sure. She was absolutely willing to try and make the relationship work. But bastard John didn't seem too sure. So she went along with it.

When she dropped him off, he gave her a small kiss on the cheek and said that they would talk every day. And they kept their promise, talking for hours each night. When Monday came, Max was back from his assignment and could immediately tell that something was up. At lunch, Max stole Anne away and made her spill the news. Anne made John Doe out to be a great person, who wasn't to be blamed for the last time they tried to have a relationship. Max seemed unfazed by the weird break-up and focused on the present.

"So he came over…" he looked expectantly at her. "Well, what did you guys do?" Anne blushed and before she could say something Max told her what they did: "You had sex with him !" Oh, he thought he was so funny.

Anne went bug-eyed. "NO! Of course not!" Max just smiled and said that he knows and was just kidding. "We did kiss though."

"Oh my God! How exciting!" he said it like it was the biggest news to hit the world.

Anne just blushed and glared at him. "Jerk."

But in all seriousness, Max was about the only person who had given her support. When Anne finally worked up the nerve to tell Mandy, the news was about a week old. Mandy was mad that Anne had waited in telling her. They were best friends, she should be able to tell her things like that, Mandy had exclaimed. But Mandy wasn't excited over the possibility of the "Anne and John" couple.

"He's a bad egg, I'm telling you." Mandy gave a stern look to Anne. "Did you know that he tried dating my sister, and was a jerk to her?" Ah, yes. Bastard John did dote on Mandy's older sister. They had a fling that lasted a week or so. Anne saw the red flags here and when the two talked later that evening, she asked him about Mandy's sister.

His story: "She was the jerk. I took her out on a date after we both expressed an interest in each other. Afterwards, I never heard from her again. The next week I heard she was dating someone else. So I moved on as well."

So who should Anne believe? Bastard John or best friend Mandy? The way Anne saw it was this: Mandy was biased. She saw that Mister Doe took her sister out, never called her back, and started dating someone new. Both stories had someone not calling back and each moving on. So Anne decided that it was a mutual "break-up" and would resume having feelings to John.

Max seemed to agree with her decision, and that's all she needed. After a few weeks of spending countless hours talking, the bastard John wanted to visit her. Oh how carelessly in love she was, even at this point. She had no idea how deep she was into the relationship with him. He wanted to visit her in only two more weeks! John was looking at an apartment and was pretty sure he was going to buy it. But he wanted to check it out; basically, he needed an outside excuse to make his three hour away travel a good reason. I'm sure we'll agree that he wanted a bit more than a tour of the apartment.

Once the date was settled, Anne could hardly wait. It would be a weekend of him staying with her, in her house! When Anne told Max the good news (well, she thought it was good), Max looked disappointed.

"You're telling me that he's coming up this weekend?" Max had managed not to put any sarcasm into what he said. "Man, I'll be out of town that weekend. I'm going to visit an old friend." Anne was disappointed too. She had wanted Max to meet the Mister Doe. But her sadness did not last long, for then Max added, "You're going to have sex!"