Queen of Harts: Chapter Eighteen (original)

The First Bite

“I don’t know where to start,” Mickey whispered apologetically, her breathless words strung together in desperation.

Okay. I know what you’re thinking, folks. This is her chance. And she’s blowing it, right? She really needs to grow up. He deserves so much better than this. Blah, blah, blah…

Following a controlled exhale, Cale replied flatly, “I see.”

Oh, come on now! Can you really blame the girl? How on Earth is she supposed to concentrate on a metaphorical elephant somewhere in the room when there’s a deliciously handsome and dangerously shirtless man within arms reach? How???

“Why don’t I kick off this painfully awkward conversation then?” Leaning forward, Cale set his plate and untouched pizza down onto the coffee table, before deadpanning, “Minus the whole kicking part, of course.”

“Wow.” Mickey pursed her lips in mock disapproval but couldn’t resist a giggle. “That was terrible.”

“As long as I can still make you smile.”

You can always make me smile.

“Look, Mickey…”

And just like that, he means business again.

“I owe you an apology for the other day…”

Serious business.

“Fatherhood is a bit of a sore subject for me,” his voice was perfectly composed and matter-of-fact,  “but that’s no excuse for the way that I spoke to you.”

“It’s okay, Cale…”

“No,” he insisted firmly. “It’s really not.”

With a small shrug, Mickey prodded at her cold slice of pepperoni before tossing it carelessly next to Cale’s abandoned dinner.

Who has room for pizza when there’s a whole elephant to devour?

“To be completely honest, if anyone else had said the same thing to you, I would’ve…” trailing off into a low chuckle, Cale didn’t bother to complete the sentence.

With a smile tugging at her lips, Mickey questioned innocently, “You would’ve what?”

He took a few seconds to deliberate his choice of words before replying evenly, “Taken care of the situation.”

She raised an eyebrow in amusement. “So, in other words, you would’ve beaten them to a bloody pulp?”

Breaking into a sheepish and adorably crooked grin, Cale finally conceded, “Yeah, something along those lines.”

“I think it’s sweet.”

Um, Mickey?

Sweet?” he snorted indignantly. “Maybe if I were an uncouth barbarian.”

“I quite like the uncouth barbarian in you.”

Are you flirting?

“Is that right?”

“Yep. In fact, you’re kind of dressed like one right now.”

Yep. You’re definitely flirting.

“These are sweatpants,” he reminded wryly, rolling his eyes at the ridiculous comparison. “Not a loincloth fashioned out of bear hide.”

“I’m sure we could improvise.”

Where are you going with this?

“We’d better not,” Cale teased gently. “You wouldn’t be able to keep your hands off me then.”

“To be completely honest,” Mickey reached up to tuck a stray lock of ebony hair behind her ear, shocked at her own newfound ballsiness, “I’m having trouble even without the loincloth.”

Seriously?

Cocking his head to one side, Cale seemed to be contemplating what exactly would be the appropriate response to her very uncharacteristic brazenness.

Why in the world did you say that, Mickey? Have you completely lost your mind? What exactly did you expect to happen here? Did you really think that he’d just wheel back into our life and…

“And to be completely honest, Mickey…”

And what?

“I can’t exactly think straight at the moment,” he paused momentarily, holding her eyes in a steely emerald vice grip all the while, “with how you’re taking advantage of me.”

Mickey blinked in confusion.

“I may not be able to feel that,” he admitted, breaking into a crooked grin, “but you know I’m not blind, right?”

More blinking. More confusion.

Cale’s eyebrow twitched visibly before he dropped his gaze down to his lap.

And she followed his lead…

Oh. My. God.  

With a mortified gasp, Mickey instantly jerked her hand away from its forbidden resting place on Cale’s thigh. High up on his thigh. Suggestively high…

“Mickey…”

Blushing profusely, she managed to stammer, “I-I’m so s-sorry.”

“I wasn’t complaining.”

“I-I didn’t m-mean to d-do that.”

“I see.”

“I-I really d-didn’t.”

A cloud of darkness washed over Cale’s expression that made her cringe.

That’s not a good sign.

“Mickey.”

“C-Cale…”

“Would you mind grabbing my shirt, please?”

“B-but…”

“I realize it’s nowhere near dry,” he shot her a tight smile, “but I’d rather not flash your neighbors, if possible.”

Swinging her legs to the floor and rising to her feet, Mickey whispered, “A-are you l-leaving?”

“I am.”

She stared in disbelief as he reached around the side of the couch for his wheelchair and smoothly transferred into it.

“I have an early morning tomorrow,” Cale explained coolly, his voice having settled into an eerie calmness as he deftly positioned his feet onto the footrest and readjusted his legs. “It was a pleasure to see you again, Mickey…”

“Stop it!”

Taken aback by Mickey’s sudden outburst, Cale peered up to meet her gaze with a steady resolve, his tone betraying no emotion whatsoever. “Stop what?”

That!

What?”  

“Lying.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me, Cale.”

“How am I lying, Mickey?” he asked flatly.

“You should get going,” Mickey came to the realization that the wretched stammer had actually disappeared, as she made her pointed reminder, “since you have an early morning tomorrow?”

“Mickey…”

“You don’t need to treat me with kid gloves,” she continued on boldly. “If you want to leave then just leave.”

“I never said I wanted to leave.”

“But you’re going to anyway, right?”

“We both know I shouldn’t have come here tonight.”

“Only you know that,” she retorted tersely.

“At least I know what I want,” he shot back through gritted teeth.

“Which is what, exactly?”

A long and exhausted sigh. “Just forget it.”

“But…”

“No,” he growled, shaking his head firmly. “Nothing’s changed. We’re over.”

She already knew that it was true. But they had never officially ended their relationship. And hearing the words was heartwrenching…

We’re over.

One second, she was blinking back hot tears and the next second…

“Mickey…”

Cale’s hand was on her waist, pulling her towards him.

To be continued in Chapter Nineteen…

76 thoughts on “Queen of Harts: Chapter Eighteen (original)

  1. Oooh Miss Hartmann…you gone done it !!!! Giving us a bone and then yanking it away again!!!!

    First off – it’s about time we get another installment (we were about to get out the pitchforks and axes to come after you !!!)

    Secondly – there better be a hella long Chapter 19 very, very soon !!! We need more Cale and Mickey and we need to know what’s going to happen next (jumps up and down excitedly like a 3 yrs old , throwing a tantrum !)

    Keep it coming, Missy and don’t make us wait forever and a day again …our collective hearts couldn’t take such anticipation !!!!

    And thank you, thank you for giving us another tidbit of Cale and Mickey!! You rock !!

  2. *screeches*
    *hyperventiliates*
    I … I … Was happy to see the latest chapter… but… but… That was such a tease!
    *hugs build-a-bear Cale doll*
    *siiiiiighs*
    *contemplates withholding skittles from Hartmann*
    *Hands over skittles, but keeps the red ones and saves them as a reward for a less torturous chapter*

      1. As many as I NEED.
        *pats Funko Pop Cale on head*
        *taps bobble head Cale*
        *hugs B-A-B Cale*
        *peruses the official “Cale Unlimited Collectbles by Hartmann Writes Inc” catalog, earmarking pages for possible later acquisitions*

        1. It seems that I misspelled collectibles up there. Oops. Why, oh why, does autocorrect fail when you need it and hyper correct when you don’t?!?

  3. I have been waiting for this chapter for the past 2 weeks. In my head I was expecting a resolution but this is just such a tease of a chapter. It doesn’t progress anywhere!

  4. Sprinkles Cale with salt and lays down on him myself — to keep him with Mickey — of course!! Please write again soooooon.

  5. Noooooooo !!!!!! Much too short, pleeeeze can we have some more!!!!! Cale and Mickey need to get their ish together, no more dancing around the elephant.

  6. Hartmann does it again…..Leaves us in the edge of our seats. Theses two need to get the shit together and figure this out already!! Write Hartmann Write!! 🙂

  7. Hartmann…. Really?!? It’s been so long): and you just HAD to stop there. But I loved it! Your writing seems to be getting better and better(:
    Side note: where the heck is Braced?? We’ve been waiting for his next chapter for AGES!! Please tell him to hurry):

  8. O my goodness, the wait for this chapter was agonizingly long…….and now you tease us with this painfully short tantalizing tid bit that totally captures our curiosity and desire for more……….the anticipation you built for the next part feels endless!!!!!! Thank you so much for writing, I absolutely cannot wait for the next update!!

  9. First of all, thanks for the new chapters. Second of all, nooooooo!!! Don’t stop!!!!! I love roller coasters but this is getting crazy!!!

  10. Love this story! I finally have weaned myself down to checking for new chapters once every few days instead of many times each day… But I too would love to see a glimpse of this elephant too! Or at least some naked Cale. Thank you for updating, Hartmann!

  11. Was quite excited to see that there were new chapters. Not quite as excited with their length, but was pleasantly surprised that they weren’t quick get-it-over-with resolution type chapters. Looking forward to more, perhaps another Mel appearance. Definitely my favorite character.

  12. Ugghh. I’ve actually been trying not to re-read because then it just makes me hungrier for more! But today I slipped. I need more Cale!

      1. Hartmann, while you and I share many similarities (mostly I like the stories you write so I assume we’re kindred spirits), I feel like maybe your definition of “soon” and mine are not quite the same thing. As in Chapter 19 is “coming soon”.

        I’m subscribed to the emails but I still have to keep checking (multiple times a day) to make sure I haven’t missed anything. Sigh.

  13. Dear Ladies (and the occasional gentleman),

    Please do not give up hope. I have not forgotten about you. Nor would I ever.

    Confession time:
    I had a loose game plan for the conclusion when I started this story. However, the characters of Cale and Mickey have since then evolved into something much more than I had anticipated. I’m struggling like crazy to do their relationship justice. I know that all of you have been so incredibly patient with me but I must tell you that I am currently rewriting Chapters 17 and 18… *dodges tomatoes, daggers, and the odd Skittle* Seriously though, I apologize for the wait, as well as changing my mind on the ending.

    Sincerely,
    Hartmann

    XOXOXO

    P.S. – If anyone has insight, ideas, suggestions, please feel free to share. That is how the “Zoo Visit” came to be, after all 😉

    1. I can see why you would want to rewrite chapters 17 and 18……..but before this story wraps up we have to know the deal with Mickey’s issues and both her and Cale have to have a real heart to heart letting it all out and they should probably do this right where it all started, back at his condo.

      Sending you positive vibes so that you can come up with some great dialogue, we are dying here!!!!!!!lol

      1. Ah, yes…I like this idea of being back at his condo. Thank you, Arrow! And yes, I promise all the issues will be aired out in the open, so don’t worry about that 😉

    2. Ehemmmm, if you rewrite the pizza scene, could we have a bit more up the stairs with the pizza near calamity description.

  14. Could you write how Cale and Mickey first met? The mystery behind that was never explained,just hinted. And i doooont want this story to end.

  15. Maybe if Cale really did slip down those stairs (okay maybe just a few steps) Mickey will feel sorry and finally realise this elephant is doing nobody no good… maybe she would open up then? I think Mickey is a softie just pretending to me oh mighty tough…. let Cale break that!!

  16. *dangles bag of skittles*
    *looks around for hartmann*
    *leaves skittles trail to page in a manner similar to what I’d do to get my kitty to come back inside*
    *sighs*

  17. Hartmann, until now I’ve waited quietly for another visit from Cale and Mickey. I keep reminding myself that you’re sharing their story with us out of the goodness of your heart, and I sincerely appreciate it. Patience has never been a strength for me, though. I’m completely out at this point, but I’m not too proud to beg. Please, PLEASE, ***PLEASE*** post an update soon! It’s been almost two months since the last new chapters, and I am going through serious withdrawal. 🙁

  18. OMG! I just made this page live again, for anyone who wanted to go back and see the original chapter before it was rewritten…
    And realized that I missed these last few comments!!! I’m so sorry for ignoring you guys!!! Love you tons!

    And hope you enjoyed the next chapter months ago LOL

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