The Ride

The Ride

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

Houses:

Summary

When my husband left I thought my world ended.I was shattered and completely broken. I had planned to heal with xanax, alcohol, and my best friend Sarah, but life had other plans for me. I was swept off my feet by someone who I least expected. He's more than ten years younger than me, and full of the desire and drive I thought I had long lost.

can I hang on for this ride he's undoubtedly going to put me on? Will he stay with me when he finds out what I've done? my husband couldn't. I doubt he does either.
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Summary

When my husband left I thought my world ended.I was shattered and completely broken. I had planned to heal with xanax, alcohol, and my best friend Sarah, but life had other plans for me. I was swept off my feet by someone who I least expected. He's more than ten years younger than me, and full of the desire and drive I thought I had long lost.

can I hang on for this ride he's undoubtedly going to put me on? Will he stay with me when he finds out what I've done? my husband couldn't. I doubt he does either.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 24, 2017

Reads: 96

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 24, 2017

A A A

A A A

 

Rose


As I stand at our bedroom window, I can hear rustling behind me and know he's in the room, packing his clothes into a suitcase. The noise stops and I can see his reflection in the window. He's walking toward me with his arms at his side, head slumped.

I close my eyes and pray he stops and just walks away. "Please, just leave."

" I can't leave you. I won't leave you." He says with resolution.

I should push him away, but I'm becoming numb and my strength is fleeting. His long fingers tentatively touch my shoulder. I should be repulsed by him and where his hands have been, but out of habit, I nuzzle into his touch.

My small movement encourages him to take the last step forward to close the gap between us. "I've screwed up, let me stay so we can talk; figure this out. I need you." He weeps.

"But you need more than me and our marriage, don't you?" He cries harder, falling to his knees. My chest hurts with the pain and effort it's taking to hold in my screams.

The lover and wife in me wants to comfort and hold him, for him to hold me and take this pain away. For us to reassure each other it would all be okay. But it's impossible, he's made his decision and now he and I will both suffer from it. So many pieces of me are already broken and I know if I let him stay this will finish me off.

I walk around his hunched form and head to the bedroom door. I grab the cold silver handle and pull the door open. No words are needed as I look to him and lean on the door for support. He slowly stands, and then looks to me; the pain in his eyes mirrors my own.

He drops his head, grabs his suitcase and walks past me. The scent of his cologne fills my nose, causing me to shake. It's a scent I won't ever forget. A sob breaks from my throat as he crosses the threshold of our bedroom. As I push the door closed, I hear him say, "This isn't the end of us. You'll see."

I awake with a scream tearing through my chest and vibrating my ears. "No!" I shake and start to thrash around tearing the bed completely apart. I scream for so long my voice becomes raw and sore, but I can't stop, the pain hurts too much. The sides of my head are grabbed, and pushed in trying to keep the pain away from my heart.

"Rose!" A distant female voice calls out. Then I feel arms wrap around me. "Calm down!" She is more demanding as her arms fight with me to pull my hands away from my head. She quickly wins and I feel her arms wrap around me again like a vice grip, keeping my arms to my body, preventing me from hurting myself. "It's over. It's okay." The voice is soothing me, slowly loosening her hold as she sees I am calming down.

"Sarah?" I slowly peel my eyes open, trying to focus on her through the tears.

"Yes, it's me. Are you okay?” She asks, as my body shakes.

I quickly untangle myself from the sheets and run to the bathroom. I slam the door shut, and as soon as my head is over the toilet, my stomach lets loose. I expect Sarah to follow me in to make sure I'm okay, but I remain alone, the only sound in the bathroom is my heaving.

Once I've purged, I hunch over the sink and turn the cold water on, cupping my hands under it to splash some on my face. I stand completely upright and do my best to ignore my reflection in the mirror, as it will only show me someone I don’t really care to see.

I dig through my bag on the floor for my pill bottle. I stare at the label: take one pill every six hours for anxiety. I've not felt this out of control and hurt before, so I consider doubling my dose. I pop one pill into my mouth then swallow. "Honey, are you okay?" Sarah asks from the other side of the door.

"I'm fine." I call back to my lifelong friend who has been there for me before I left Ethan and after. She's holding what pieces I have left of me together. Without her and the pills I wouldn't be functioning.

"Do you want to talk about it?" She urges. My answer is clipped and dismissive. 

"No."

I hear her sigh and lean her head against the bathroom door. "One of these days you're going to have to talk about it. If not to me, then someone else. You can't just keep bottling it up and trying to act like nothing has happened." I can and I will. Isn't that what these pills are for? I think to myself as I tuck them back into my bag. 

I open the door and look directly at a tired but beautiful Sarah. "What time is it?" I ask, as I pass by her really just wanting to move on.

"Eleven-thirty. Why?" Sarah sounds hurt and disappointed I'm sidestepping what she knows we need to talk about.

"Shit. I meet with my first client at one today." Being a realtor means I have flexibility, so I've pushed what showings I've had this week to the side. Now it’s the end of the week and I have been left with a handful of showings to get through.

"Okay, well I'll leave you be so you can get ready." She says looking at me, trying to gauge how okay I am. I nod, while she walks further away from me to the door. 

Sarah stops then turns to me. "Don't forget we're having dinner at Charlie's tonight. Probably around seven or so, but I'll text you a definite time later. And because you need some fun and sunlight, I'm taking you out for drinks tonight, then to an amusement park tomorrow." I start to argue with her, but she holds her hand out and speaks up. "Don't argue with me. You’ve pretty much been bedridden these past two days. I’ve had enough.”


I huff, knowing I won't win. Sarah has determination written all over her smooth face. "Fine, but I won't enjoy it."

"We'll see."  She half smiles, "Are you coming back here after your showing?" 

Two days ago, I packed a bag and left my house behind. The house is mine to stay in, but being where something so heinous happened guts me. I can't bear to be in there, let alone sleep in it. I ran to Sarah's knowing she would open her arms to me. I’ve only been here a couple of days, but I’m worried I am wearing out my welcome. Even if she says I’m not.

I want to tell her I'll be back here, but she needs her space. I've got to move forward with baby steps and slowly cutting my cord with her is a start. "I think I'll go back to the house." She looks shocked as I make my shaky declaration. "Well don't look so surprised. I have to go back there at some point."

"I agree, you do, but it's only been a couple of days honey. You can stay here." I love her more and more for wanting to take care of me, but I need to do this.

"It's okay. I'll go back after the showing and then when can meet for dinner." 


"Have it your way, but you know this room is always open to you if you need it." I nod, trying to move on quickly before I change my mind. 

Sarah leaves and I move to my duffel bag tucked into the corner of the room. As I am digging through my clothes, really not putting much effort into finding something to wear, I hear my phone chime on the nightstand. 

I scuttle to it so I can confirm what I already know. Ethan has sent another text, begging for me to speak to him. I do as I've done every other morning; I delete his message without giving a response. 

With heartbreak, still fresh, I set my phone back down, and commence with finding something presentable to wear. Having lived with Sarah for a week, the only appropriate work clothes I have to choose from are a few blouses and a cocktail dress. 

Needing something other than jeans to wear with a blouse, I decide on the dress. What I wouldn't give to be able to wear one of my concert tee's with worn out blue jeans and my TOMS. I pull the zipper of the dress up my side and smooth the front down. Stepping in front of the full-length mirror to take a good look at myself.

I cock my head to the side and look up and down my black clad body. My legs are short and slim but they lead down to feet with toes pointed out and heels pushed together. All of the dancing I had done in my younger years has ruined my stance.

Wide hips and small waist lead around to a curvy backside. My size C cup chest sits just below my long burgundy hair. Although the color of my hair is exaggerated, I am a redhead by birth.

My once bright green eyes are lifeless. To a stranger I could pass for okay, as if my life hadn't just been ripped apart. But if they were to look deep in my eyes, they would see the pain I am carrying. There isn't any pill or makeup on the planet which could cover it.

After being the center of each other's universes for ten years, and being married eight of those ten, I thought Ethan and I could survive anything. I was so wrong and feel like such an idiot. I wish I knew of a way to completely erase him from my life. 

I grab my black pumps from next to the bed and slip them on. They lift me three inches into the air causing me to stand at five foot eight inches. The height difference isn’t much, but it gives me a little much needed confidence. 

After applying a small bit of natural colored eye shadow, and loosely curling my hair, I'm ready to head downstairs and face Sarah once again. Once I reach the bottom of the stairs I pause, trying to listen to where she may be. The living room is silent, so I move forward and head to the kitchen expecting to see her there.

My small heels echo off the tile as I walk in, looking from side to side trying to find Sarah. Remembering she was dressed and ready when I saw her, I'm not surprised she's not here. 


I see a note stuck to the side of the refrigerator: I had a lunch date. I'll see you tonight. Please take care of yourself. - xo Sarah

I hope she knows how much I dread having to sit down for dinner in public. I let out a frustrated growl and decide it's time I have some coffee so caffeine withdraw isn't something else I have to deal with. I pop a disposable pod into the Keurig and brew a large cup.

After I doctor my coffee, I grab my purse and keys, and then head out through the door which will lead me to the garage. I push the button to kick on the light and open the large door. My new BMW M6 is sitting on the left side of Sarah's garage, just waiting for me to drive her and give me a little piece of happy.

After selling some large commissioned homes, I had purchased this car not for myself, but as an anniversary gift for Ethan. Instead of returning it to the dealer, I decided to keep it for myself as a replacement to my little red Honda.

As my medicine kicks in, I start to put my first smile of the day on my face. I load myself into the comfortable leather seats and back out of the garage and take off to meet my client.

The drive to the vacant home is quick and I am thankful when it's an older couple who climb out of a small silver SUV. My papers show their names are Ed and Ethel. They smile as they walk to greet me at the front door. After brief introductions, they thank me profusely for taking the time out of my day to show them this home.

I apologize for rescheduling so many times, but they quickly reassure me it's okay. As we walk into the home, they explain all of their children have left the nest and have too much space for just the two of them. They need to downsize, but still need something with a large yard so their grandchildren can play.

I show them the home and they seem pleased it only has three bedrooms and two baths. The sweet woman's eyes light up when she gets a look at the kitchen for the first time. With granite countertops, built in stove, and island which wraps around the kitchen, she seems very pleased.

As her eyes are sparkling, I look to her husband and he's staring at her, observing her reaction. I can see he's not shopping for a home for him, he's buying a home his wife wants. A home where they can spend time with their grandchildren and finish their life together. I start to softly cry as I think of how sweet the gesture is. Ethel notices, so I turn away feigning interest in other parts of the home.

After they've seen every square foot,  I clear my throat and ask what they think.

"Oh Ed, it's beautiful. This kitchen is just incredible! How much did you say it was, dear?" Ethel looks to her husband and then to me, fearful of what I will say.

"It's listed at $124,999 but I am positive the seller of the home is willing to negotiate. It's been on the market for quite some time and they are eager to sell." I pause, looking back and forth between the beautiful couple. They don't seem terrified of the price, so I continue. "If you were interested, we could probably hit them with an offer of $115,000 and see what they respond with?" I say trying to reel in my seller’s voice. I feel a connection with these folks and I want them to be happy and approve of me as a realtor.

"It's whatever the wife wants." The husband says with a genuine smile. I've just met this couple and I can see their marriage is something most would strive for. The love he has pouring off of him for her is almost tangible.

"You'll be living here too. I saw you eyeing the shed in the back. You know you've wanted your own personal space for years. It can be your own man cave!" She claps her hands together, showing enough excitement for the both of them.

I'm told to move forward with an offer. I promise to prepare one today, and will be in touch with them as soon as I hear something from the seller’s realtor.

As we are walking out of the home, Ethel pulls me aside. "If he's caused your eyes to carry so much pain, he's not worth it dear. Move on and do your best to forget."

"Excuse me?" I'm caught off guard and a little taken back by her statement.

"I've raised three daughters and I know heartbreak when I see it." She looks me straight in the eye and points her slender finger at me. "Leave him be and move on. He ain't worth it. Trust me when I say boys are like a bus, if you wait long enough another one will come around." She raises her eyebrow and gives me a motherly smile.

I laugh out loud, but realize I've done so too loud when Ed turns from the road to look back at us. "Thanks, I needed that. Your girls are very lucky to have you as their mother." I say, wishing I had my own mother to help me through my hard times. Instead, I settle for Sarah and my Nana. 

"My pleasure dear. Take care of yourself and we'll speak soon." She gives me a small hug then walks away leaving me on the porch to lock up. As I am finished, I fish my phone from my purse to check any messages I may have. Being off the grid for a couple of days has put me pretty far behind with work. I'm not surprised I have follow up emails and text messages.

As I walk toward my parked car, I have an uneasy feeling. Fear starts to swathe me, as the hair on my arms begins to stand at full attention. I start to walk faster, staggering on the cracks within the walk. My pace quickens even further as I feel someone approach me.

Not being too familiar with this neighborhood, I’m unsure of who frequents this area and what types of people have taken up residence. While on my drive in, the houses were nice and well kept, but this says nothing for who may live within them.

My lungs ache from my shallow, rapid breaths, and my legs are strained but relieved as I approach the car. I reach for the handle which will lead me to safety, when my shoulder is grabbed and I’m spun around.

My vision becomes blurry as I start to scream and beat against the person who has ahold of me. I scream louder until a hand is placed over my mouth. I bite at the flesh, and push against a solid chest. It’s no use. This person has a firm grip of me.

“Sshhh!” The male voice spits out. “Stop it!” I do my best to focus through the tears, and I can slowly make out a male face. 

My heart rate continues to pound through my chest, and I work hard to control my breathing. My fight dies down and my capture takes note. He sees I’m no longer fighting against him, so he slowly removes his hand from my face. I blink, trying to work out how he’s right in front of me.

My tear stained face looks from side to side. If someone has caught site of my struggle they were sure to have called for help. As I scan my surroundings, something black and shiny stands out. It’s a car, but not just any car, but a car I remember seeing parked outside of Sarah’s.

My glassy green eyes swing to the cold, ice blue eyes of Ethan. He’s put some distance between our bodies, but remains close enough to touch me. His face shows remorse, but his stance shows confidence. Why he feels confident is beyond me.

“You’re following me?” I sniffle, trying to back further away, but am stopped by my car. 

“I had to see you. You don’t understand the hell I’ve been through.” He throws his slim arms into the air, losing some of his composure.

I blink, while opening and closing my mouth like a fish. “The hell you’ve been through?” I quietly question, while fumbling behind my back for my door handle. He inches closer and I stick my hands out in protest. “Don’t even think about touching me again.”

“Why won’t you take my calls?” He can’t be serious.

“I don’t have time for this.” I turn, and pull the handle of the car door. “Don’t follow me. Don’t call me. Don’t think of me. Better yet, just don’t even stay in the same damn state as me!” I sit in my soft seat, and try to pull the door shut, but Ethan’s soft, hair clad hand stops it.

“Please, just hear me out. One minute is all I need. Just one.” He begs, not letting go of the door.

I ponder my options. I could let him speak. There isn’t anything he could possibly say to me to make me change my mind. He’s broken a vow he made to me with no regard of what it would do to me and our marriage. He’s even more of an idiot than I thought if he’s thought he can beg his way back into my life.

My eyes peruse over his body. This past week hasn’t done either of us any favors. Ethan has always been slender, but even more so now. His once fresh kept face now is the home to a dark blonde beard. Dark circles surround his blue eyes, and his hair is disheveled. 

The clothes he once wore with pride are wrinkled and misbuttoned. The confident stance he possessed just minutes before is gone. He’s now slouched over and visibly shaking. The man looks how I feel on the inside. He doesn’t deserve my pity, but I’ll give it to him.

“One minute is all you get, then I’m driving away. Got it?” I put the key into the ignition and turn so I can prove my point.

“I’m done with that woman.” He starts, then takes a big, shaky breath in. “I thought our marriage was over. We barely spoke, you barely looked at me, and neither of us said I love you. She was a poor substitute for you.” I said one minute, but I can’t take any more of this. I’m done.

“Enough. I don’t need to hear about you trying to justify fucking another woman.” I try to pull the door shut again but his grip is tight and strength strong. 

“Listen to me. Through all of this I’ve realized I can’t live without you. Jesus Christ, look at me!” He yells, “I look like fucking hell! I can’t eat or sleep. I can barely work, and it’s all because I don’t have my wife by my side every night. I need you.”

I needed him too, but he should have thought about that when he decided to be with that other woman. Instead of jumping into bed with her, he should have talked to me. We could have gone to counseling. I would have even preferred a separation instead of what he’s put me through.

“Goodbye, Ethan.” This time I succeed in pulling the door shut. No sooner after metal hits metal, the car is in drive and I am speeding off down the road. I look in the rearview and see both of his hands buried into his too long hair. He spins around in circles, seeming to weigh his options. I see him dart for his car, so I push my foot down further onto the pedal.

I grip the steering wheel tight and try to push my anxiety away. It’s fueling my heartache and is desperate to make an appearance again. My grip becomes tighter, like my life and sanity depend on it. It’s a trick I’ve carried with me ever since an old therapist suggested the idea. Often times it works, but this time I’m not so lucky.

I reach for my bag laying in the empty passenger seat, and fumble for my pill bottle. Steering with my knee, I open the orange bottle and shake one into my mouth. I swallow, and wait for the medicine to cloud my crippling obsessive thoughts.

I knew I couldn’t avoid him for forever, but for him to stalk me and virtually attack me at one of my showings? It’s low. Even for a desperate, depressed man. I can only hope he’s suffering just as much as I am. I pray our encounter leaves him in a worse state. I know without my medicine and Sarah I would be on my way to insanity.

As I drive, I worry he will try to intersect me at our home. I zig zag around and head to my office. I need to prepare and send off Ed and Ethel’s offer anyway. 

I sneak into the office, going unnoticed by the other realtors. My boss, Mel, tries to engage me, but I am quick to deflect him, saying I have too much work to get done. I had to explain to him my shit show of a life when I had asked for some sporadic time off. I have no doubt he’s just wanting to check to make sure I’m okay, but right now I can’t handle casual chatter.

The offer is quickly prepared and sent off to the other realtor. It won’t be long before I get a response. I make a mental note to check my email off and on this weekend. I want to help the kind, older couple get into their new home as soon as possible.

Once I’m done, I cautiously scurry back to my car. I worry Ethan has figured out where I ran to and is waiting on me in the lot. As I practically run, I don’t see him or his car anywhere. I hope he’s given up.

I start to drive to Sarah’s, but I swiftly remember it’s not her house I am going to. I’m going home. What was I thinking when I said I could go back there? The thought of being near my old sleeping quarters nearly sends me into a tailspin. I think of calling Sarah to say I’m coming back over, but I remember my vow to separate myself from her. 

I park at the curb, not wanting to park it in the drive. I briefly think of hiding my car in the garage, but I don’t. If he really wants to find me here, he can. The locks haven’t been changed, and he has a key. 

With shaky fingers, I push the key into the lock and turn, gently pushing on the door as I do. My body becomes cold and heavy, preparing itself to shut down. One step at a time I walk in, avoiding looking to the stairs. This feels familiar yet distant. I know I can handle this down here, it’s upstairs I’m afraid of. 

With the couch in my peripheral vision, I walk out of my shoes and gently lay myself down, not having the energy to do anything more. I close my eyes and count backward from one hundred, needing sleep to take me. 

I hear loud and shrill ringing in the distance. I just want to sleep, so I roll to my stomach, trying to ignore the awful noise. The ringing briefly subsides, but moments later the horrid noise starts again.

"Answer the damn phone!" I yell to Ethan, as the ringing continues. I try to burrow myself further into the couch, but after several seconds I’ve had enough. I decide to shut down the noise for good. I sit up and look around at my empty room. “Fuck.”

I bend, putting my head between my knees trying to control my breathing. Reaching my hands up to my head, I grab fistfuls of hair and tug while trying not to think of how alone I am. "Please just let this all end." I cry to myself as my legs bounce up and down causing me to pull my hair harder.

I muster some strength and stand, walking to retrieve my bag from the table by the entry. After swallowing the little white pill, I dig for my phone. It's Sarah who has called, so I quickly call her back. Looking at the clock on the wall, I notice I am thirty minutes late for dinner. "Fuck fuck fuck!"

"Yes, Fuck! Where are you?" Sarah’s quick greeting sounds frantic.

"I'm so sorry. I'm at home. I can meet." I'm cut off as she lets me have it.

"There isn't any sorry to it!  Do you know how terrified I have been? I've been calling, and calling, and haven't gotten any type of response from you. Not a text, not a call, fucking nothing! After seeing you the way I have this week, I thought something had happened!" She growls down the line at me. I am a shit friend for making her worry as I have.

Any reason I give won't excuse me from falling asleep and missing our dinner date, but I try to calm her down by letting her know I'm okay. "I came back here from my showing this afternoon and I fell asleep. I didn't think I was going to sleep so long, otherwise I would have set an alarm." She huffs at me from the other end of the phone, but I carry on. "Are you still at Charlie’s? I can be there in fifteen." I get up and walk to the bathroom to check to see how much damage I have done.

"Don't bother. I am about five minutes from you." She hangs up and I hope the short drive will give her enough time to cool off.

Forgoing the bathroom, I decide I need to change clothes. Taking deep breaths to prepare myself to face this cavern of lies, I walk toward the stairs, afraid of the memories I may produce once I reach them.

I cast my eyes down, and count the steps as I ascend them. I know these stairs by heart, so once I’ve counted fifteen, I know there is only one more. One last step and I’ll head left to hit the entry to the room I shared with Ethan.

My nose is hit with the scent of a stranger’s perfume, and I hear noises. Noises I know aren’t there, but they still fill my ears from the inside out. My eyes fill with warm tears as I think of anything I can to eliminate the thoughts. Nothing works. Not even golden retriever puppies running through a meadow of daisies. 

As time passes, tears are a steady stream down my face. My breaths are coming in short, rapid bursts causing me to feel dizzy. I grip the door frame to keep myself from falling over. I don’t know how long I can tolerate this, but I can’t seem to move. I’m frozen.

"Where the fuck is the wine? I need a drink." Sarah slams the door, and I hear her heavy bag drop onto the table.

"Sarah." I softly cry out, wanting to yell to her but my throat is too tight. 

I can hear her feet pound up the stairs as my vision starts to become black. "Oh honey." Her arms envelop me from the side. "Why didn't you wait for me?" 

"I wanted to change. All of my clothes are in here." I weep, as my vision goes in and out. I'm drug backwards across the hall and propped up against the wall.

"I'll grab you something. You'll be okay?" Sarah's palm pushes the hair from my face as I reach up to wipe my face of the tears. I nod, mimicking the actions of a child as I pull my knees to my chest. 

Sarah brings me a pair of warm, comfortable clothes, then leads me down the stairs and into the kitchen. My head is feeling less fuzzy and I can breathe a bit easier. "Thank you." I offer, as I walk to the cabinet to grab a small tumbler and liquor bottle. I hold them both up in a silent question.

"Babe, you know the way to my heart." She smiles as she walks to me holding back her questions. It’s only a matter of time before she lets out what she wants to say. For now I’m grateful she’s keeping everything to herself.

We each down our drink, and pour ourselves another as we sit down at the breakfast nook. "Are you hungry? I've ruined our dinner out." If I'm going to drink like this I need to eat something. 

"Sure." She sips on the amber liquid as I stand and head to the cupboard to grab whatever I can find that's edible.

After an hour, we've each eaten a can of tuna with crackers, and have nearly polished off the rest of the liquor. We're both on our way to being drunk and a pile of giggles on the living room floor. Each bad moment I've had today is becoming more and more of a distant memory. My body is limp for completely different reasons.

"Oh, my god, do you remember when you got naked the one time at a frat party and started running through the house yelling your hair was on fire? I was so confused until you started pointing at your crotch." Sarah says through a whole new fit of laughter.

"I am pretty sure I ended up a legend there. Last I heard my picture was framed and hanging proudly in their stairwell," I snort, "Those were the days.” The days before Ethan, I think. The days when things were simple and carefree. 

"Yes they were.” Sarah agrees, knowing where my thoughts are headed. She’s seen every bad thing happen to me over the years. After each one she’s been my rock and exactly what I’ve needed.

I pull myself up, wanting to carry on with the fun, and not get lost in my head. Didn't Sarah mention something about going out tonight? I'm not sure I'm entirely ready to go out and socialize, but I do know it's not healthy for me to lock myself in for another night, even if I do feel like I deserve it. "Are you still wanting to go out tonight?"

I reach my hand down to help her up to her feet. "I wanted to, but honey, I don't think you're ready." 

"I'm not, but I need to do this. I need to try and move on." I walk back to the kitchen to retrieve a bottle of wine. "I'll go without you," Oh please God don't call me on my bullshit, "But you know I need my girl with me." I do my best to give her my puppy dog eyes as I turn to look at her.

"You're ridiculous, you know that?"

"I do, but you love me." I push my lips together and walk toward her like I'm going to give her a big kiss.

"Fine, stop it! I'll go! I'll go." The laughter we had just lost is starting to return.

I smile at her, happy I'm getting my way, but terrified I am about to go out and socialize as a single woman for the first time in ten years.

"You know, before we head out for the evening, we need to figure tomorrow out. Are we still going to the park?" I ask, nearly forgetting Sarah promised an amusement park. I haven't been to one of those in years, and I'm grateful she's thought of going. 

Sarah looks at me, not acknowledging what I’ve just asked. "We need to sort you out before we go anywhere. You look hideous in those clothes." She ignores me further as I feign being offended by her remark. I love my worn-out clothes, and I'd wear them everywhere if it were socially acceptable. Besides, she picked them out.

"Fine, we'll do that too, but are we or aren't we going tomorrow? And if we are, are we staying up there tomorrow night?" My need to regain some control is getting in the way of my having fun, but it's small details I need to have worked out right now. They'll keep my mind from the anxiety it's wanting to produce about my upcoming night out. 

"Yes, tomorrow is still on. I asked Kate and Rosalind if they wanted to come, but both are busy and can't make it." This just comes to show how much of a shitty friend I really am. I've been so wrapped up in my head I haven't even spoken to my other two closest friends since Ethan and I split. I don't even know if they are aware what's happened. I know I certainly haven't told them.

"Do they know what happened? Between Ethan and I?" I look to Sarah, almost hoping she's told them so I don't have to.

"I've not told a soul what happened. It just isn't my place to tell people your business, even if it would be telling our friends. That one's on you babe." Sarah says as she folds her legs up under her to sit on the couch. She pats the cushion next to her, silently asking me to have a seat. Fearing she's going to get into something serious, I reluctantly take my seat.

I wait for what feels like forever, just staring at her, becoming more scared by the second of what she's about to say. She said she's not told anyone about it, but I guess this doesn't mean people haven't heard. Oh god, what has she heard about me and my failed marriage? 

"Well, what is it you've got to say to me?" I ask, demanding she spill whatever it is.

"Let's be fancy and stay at the Marriott tomorrow." She ducks out of the way just as my hand swings out to slap her. She laughs as I try my hardest to not join her.

"You're such a bitch." I finally do laugh, and she tries her best to return the puppy eyes I had tried to use on her. "I swore you were going to say something I wasn't going to like. We can stay fancy, but because of what you just did, it's going on your card." I pull my phone from my pocket to pull up my travel app. 

As I look at my phone it takes all of my strength not to let it crash to the floor. Why can’t he leave me alone? 

Ethan: Please let me see you again. I need you to breathe. You’re my everything.

I do what I know I shouldn’t, I emotionally respond.

Me: Why don’t you go back to your whore? I’m sure she’s missing you and wondering where you are. 

Sarah notices my change in demeanor. “What’s going on?”

 “He found me.” I say it like I am a criminal on the run.

“Who found you? Ethan?” She scoots closer to me, ready to grab hold of me if she needs to.

I nod, “Yes. He’s gotten himself a new car. It’s been sitting outside of your place. He followed me to a showing today.”
 
Her eyes enlarge, “I’ll kill him. I’ll fucking kill him.” Sarah jumps up and heads for the door. I shoot up after her.

“No, don’t!” I give a wicked laugh. It’s ridiculous for her to even entertain those thoughts. “We don’t know where he is, and we shouldn’t care either. He’s not worth it.”

My phone buzzes in my hand again, and I know it’s another message from him.

Ethan: I’ve told you, I’m done with her. I want my wife back and I’ll do anything to get her. Anything.

He’s trying to break me down, and I can’t let him do it. “Here, take my phone.” I throw it to Sarah. “He’s texting me, and like an idiot I’m responding.” 

Sarah takes the phone and reads through his current messages, and old ones. “He’s desperate, isn’t he?” I nod my head in agreement. “Have you thought of blocking his number?” I shake my head no, ashamed that I haven’t already. Sarah fumbles around with the phone and states, “Done. You won’t hear from him again.”

Sarah tosses my phone back to me, and I’m feeling relieved I won’t have any more messages from him.

While reserving a room for tomorrow night, Sarah breezes past me to head up the stairs, but she stops before she takes her first step. I look away, still wanting to stay away from the upper level of the house. “If I find out he’s come around you again? You won’t be able to keep me away from him. I’ll cut his dick off with a dull butter knife, then shove it down is lying two-timing throat. Got it?” 

I hope she doesn’t expect me to argue, because I won’t. 

As I'm trying to relax on the couch, Sarah comes barreling down the stairs with her arms full of clothes. "Where did you find all of those?" I crane my neck around as she swiftly walks past me and into another guest room.

I'm up and letting my short legs make quick work of following her. "Sarah?" I question, really wondering where she's found all these clothes and what she's doing with them.

"Where are all of your clothes?” She asks, picking through what she's managed to scrounge up.

I shrug, "I haven't done much laundry this week." It makes perfect sense to me why I haven't, but Sarah doesn't get it. To her, clothes are a thing to be cherished and never left dirty. To me, they're just pieces of fabric which keep my naked body from the eyes of others.

"I'm not letting you wear," She picks up one of my black t-shirts by the hem, "A Chevelle t-shirt to a nightclub. Looks like you're going to be wearing something of mine."

"The hell I am! Your taste in clothes is completely different than mine." I screech at her, "Besides, you don't have any clothes here, so it looks like I will be wearing that." I try to snatch the thin fabric from her, but she's too quick.

"I know. My taste in clothes is better. Hang on." She jogs away from me. I hear the front door open then close. What's she doing?

Within minutes she's back and slinging a full bag onto the bed. "I had a feeling you wouldn't have anything to wear, so I brought these." She unzips the giant thing and starts to neatly pull clothes out. 

Of course I fight and argue with her, but I don't prevail. She's won like she always does, and has me dressed in skinny jeans, an off the shoulder top, and jewelry to match it all. I walk to the shoe rack by the front door, so I can grab my TOMS. Sarah gasps then yells at me to throw the nasty things down.

"They aren't nasty, they're comfortable!" I almost add how fashionable they are, but I have no doubt the statement would send my poor friend into cardiac arrest.

"You've had that exact pair of shoes since we left college. I can't even begin to imagine the fungus growing inside of them." She tries to grab my TOMS from me, but I hold them close like they are my security blanket.

"They're clean!" I lie and she catches on. She knows I've never washed them. "But they match, see?" I put on my brightest smile and hold the shoes up higher so she can see the colors match.

"Black matches everything even if it is mixed with dirt! You're not wearing those." She turns and digs a pair of shoes from the monstrosity of a bag. She's got another thing coming if she thinks I'm wearing a pair of her shoes. "Here." She thrusts a pair of suede five-inch black ankle boot heels into my chest.

I jump back like they are going to bite me, then bend over laughing at the whole idea. "You're fucking nuts if you think I'm wearing those!"

"You will wear them, because I know even though you hate to wear heels, you love how they make your ass look. Here." She pushes them to my chest again, and this time I don't argue. She's right, I do like the way they make me look.

I slip them on and walk to the mirror, turning to the side to check out my unwanted ensemble. I'll admit, I do look good, but these clothes just aren't me. I want the loose jeans, Chevelle shirt, and my TOMS. I'm not going out to find a man any way. I'm going out because my soul needs a little bit of freedom.

"You're almost ready. Now we need to do something with your makeup. Your hair looks better down, by far, but with this outfit you need a messy bun" Exasperated, I turn to follow her into the bathroom.

"Now sit down, be still, and shut up." She spits out as I am pushed down onto the top of the closed toilet seat. I patiently sit there as Sarah sings One Direction and smears eye shadow across my eyes.

In no time, Sarah has finished her self-assigned task, and I am standing in front of the mirror so I can have a look. I'll give her credit, she does know how to doll me up. My eyes are smoky, and she's added false lashes to exaggerate the darkness of the makeup, and the green of my eyes. My freckles are still standing proud on my nose, but my cheeks now have a slight blush to them. To finish it off, she's added a deep red lipstick to my naturally plump lips.

This is definitely a look I wouldn't give myself, but I'll agree, it's working for me and giving me more confidence and less anxiety by the minute. "Thank you." I say to Sarah, genuinely meaning it.

She smiles back at me then finishes getting herself ready. After she's finished up, we call for a cab so we can get on with our night. The night I am starting to dread less and less. Who knows? Maybe this will be fun. 

As we walk out of the door and pile into the cab, I try my best not to think about the little white pills I have inadvertently left behind.


© Copyright 2017 Alexandra Dee. All rights reserved.

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