Sunday, November 30, 2014

Chapter 4, Vulnerable and Pregnant

***WARNING!!! My stories often contain strong language, sensitive issues, and, at times, other content that could be construed as offensive. Beliefs and viewpoints of characters are not necessarily the beliefs and viewpoints the Author holds in true life.***

I've always been the type of person who had life mapped out to the minutest detail. I knew exactly what I wanted and went for it like a raging bull. Even when I was going through my divorce, I had a clear path to follow. I never dreamed there would be a time in my life where I was utterly confused.

That all changed when the affair with Simon started. I had every intention of keeping it just friends, and I never believed for a minute that his intentions were any different. Intentions are fine and dandy, but intentions are just that; intentions. Deeds and actual happenings were what we had to consider now.

Simon and I continued our secret affair. The next few weeks were spent with him coming over to my place every chance he could. We had to be careful to keep it from Ericka, especially due to Simon and her being in the public eye. If our trysts were ever discovered, Ericka's political career could be damaged beyond repair, and her mayoral office might be put in jeopardy. Simon's career could also suffer so much that major accounts could be lost. Then, there was, of course, myself to consider. It could mean my job, which I didn't want to lose for anything. I needed this job, so I knew we had to be extremely careful.

We were starving animals each time we went to bed together. All it took was one look and we'd be tearing each other's clothes off, both of us in desperate need for each other. We fell into bed where we went at it as though it was mating season in the jungle. We couldn't deny the passion that overtook us, nor could we resist it. It was part of us.

We always tried to be careful. I was on birth control, and Simon wore a condom most of the time. Each time after the deed was done, there was a voice in my head telling me that we were playing with fire, that it would eventually catch up to us. If I had the gift of foresight, I would have known it wasn't only the affair with Simon I'd have to worry about.

I was feeling quite proud of myself after work one day. The company was growing, and this quarter, we'd made the most profit we'd ever made. Simon called me into the office to tell me that I was being promoted and that he wanted me on the development team. We were developing a new line of cosmetics that Simon wanted me to oversee. When I got home, I did a shameless happy dance around my little house and started a new sculpture. I was hard at work when I heard someone scrabbling at the door.

I was about to yell, "Just a minute!" when the door banged open hard enough that it came off the hinges. My insides turned to jelly when I realized I hadn't locked it behind me. Sometimes I was careless about that when at home. I mean, Aurora Skies is a pretty safe place to be, and I'd never been particularly worried about someone trying to break in while I was at home. How terribly wrong and stupid I was!

"What the...?" I dropped my chisel and thought I was seeing a ghost when I turned to face my intruder.

"Hello, baby," Shane sneered at me.

I was shaking inside but didn't want him to see how unnerved I was. "What the fuck are you doing here? Get out of my house, asshole!" Every good feeling I'd ever had for Shane had evaporated a long time ago. I hated him with a passion. I had never wished anyone dead before, but Shane was the exception. I knew for certain I would dance on his grave if he ever bought it. It's awful, I know, but that man broke me. How wrong I was to think he could never hurt me any more than he'd done during our marriage and through the divorce.

"I"m not going anywhere until I'm done with you, bitch. You have a lot to answer for and I'm going to take my sweet time to see that you do," Shane said.

"You don't own me, shithead, so just leave before I call the cops," I shouted.

When I turned to glare at him, he laughed a horrible, icy laugh that made my insides squirm. "Such brave words for someone so puny," he taunted. "You won't be calling anyone, especially that idiot you've been whoring yourself to." I screamed when he grabbed my cell phone and smashed it to pieces under his foot. He tore the cord from the jack to my landline and then fixed me with a look that made me step back from him instinctively. Shane could be a dangerous man, but an angry Shane was much, much worse. I was sometimes scared of him but was never a mousy woman who cowered in the corner. Many times, I gave it back to him, which he always hated. I have a temper that sometimes could get me in trouble. In this instance, I learned too late just how far Shane would go when provoked.

The full intent of his words registered, and the only color I saw before me was red. "How DARE you! You've been spying on me!" How else could he know about Simon? "What I do is none of your fucking business!"

He whirled like a dervish and slapped me so hard I literally saw stars. Pain radiated through my jaw and I thought I was going to pass out. "It IS my business every time you spread it for anyone other than me, bitch, so don't you forget it!"

"Go fuck yourself, Shane, because nobody else in their right mind would!" I hollered back.

He slapped me again and again while I called him every filthy name in the book, to which he replied in kind. "How many times did you lay down for him, slut?"

"More than I ever did with you!" I fired at him.

I was slapped again. "Wrong answer, whore. How many?"

"More times than I care to count, and they were all better than any one time it ever was with you!"

I pushed him too far and realized it a split second too late. Shane's eyes narrowed dangerously, and there was an insane gleam in them that I didn't recognize. Before I could even scream, I was on my back and pinned to the floor with Shane's weight on me. "Get off me! Get the fuck off me!"

"Not until I'm finished!" he hissed in my ear. My clothes were ripped from my body, and he took me savagely. I screamed every time he moved, feeling pain roar through me. Something tore deep inside, and I cried out desperately. I screamed and screamed. I screamed until I thought I could never stop screaming.

Afterward, I barely heard the door slam as Shane left. I don't know how long I lay there crying hysterically. I was bleeding, and it hurt so bad that I could barely move. I finally crawled into the bathroom where I was violently sick. I hurled until there was nothing left. Then, I heaved until there wasn't even bile to come up. The world swam before me, focused, then blurred. I collapsed bonelessly onto the floor, my last thought being that I wished I could just die.

I awoke hours later on the bathroom floor, bloody and sore. I groaned as I tried to move. My head felt like an army of sledgehammers were pounding inside my brain, and I hurt in places I never thought existed. I retched again, and again, there was nothing there to come up.

I managed to get myself into the shower and turned the hot water up as hot as I could stand it. Even then, I winced when it hit me. As the scalding water pounded on my bruised flesh, I let loose with a sound that seemed impossible for a human to make. My soul cried out in agony and torment, and tears mingled with the water that was already bathing my face.

"Why! Someone tell me why!" I ground out as I scrubbed and scrubbed, trying to rid myself of Shane's unspeakable filth.

The song, "As Tears Go By" by the Rolling Stones kept running over and over in my head. I'm not much of a singer, so my mind just spoke the words. "I sit and watch as tears go by..." That was a common phrase in all the verses, and oh, how I could relate to that. Life passed me by, and all I did was watch as children grew up, people aged, and seasons changed. I was detached from most of it, focusing solely on my career. Then, everything caught up to me in a flash, Shane's attack making me realize that I could be vulnerable. I was vulnerable but didn't realize just how vulnerable I was until the world as I knew it came crashing down around me.

Over the next few weeks, I felt awful. I was more nauseous than I'd ever been in my life and sometimes could barely get out of bed. Simon was concerned and said he'd come over, but I told him not to. I just couldn't bring myself to tell him what Shane had done. He would have asked me if I'd gone to the police and insisted on taking me to the hospital. I didn't want that. I just wanted to forget and just try to put it behind me. After all, I'd pushed Shane too far and knew it. I should have tried to run for it instead of provoking him and trying to show what a tough girl I could be. I found out the hard way that tough girls can and do get their asses kicked.

I finally convinced Simon I would be okay. However, I continued to feel awful and had no choice but to ask for a week's leave of absence. With my promotion, I'd racked up some vacation time and used it. It got to the point where I had no choice but to see a doctor. I never imagined things could get any worse, but when the doctor told me I was pregnant, I knew I was so wrong. I had finally been entrapped in a situation I fervently went out of my way to avoid. I didn't want to have kids now, possibly ever. However, here I was, single and pregnant. To make matters even worse, I didn't even know for sure who the father was.

I sank into a deep depression. I took an extended leave from work, much to Simon's dismay, and made my escape into the world of books. I read everything I could get my hands on. I ordered ridiculous amounts of both fiction and nonfiction from Amazon and read like a woman possessed.

I often fell asleep in the rocking chair, not realizing I'd nodded off. I'd awaken to a stiff neck or a sore back and then start reading until I nodded off again. I hardly slept through the night. When I tried to eat, it would always come back up. I was on a slow road to destruction and barely gave a thought to the baby I was carrying. I just didn't care. I didn't care about anything.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chapter 3, An Irrevocable Deed

***WARNING!!! My stories often contain strong language, sensitive issues, and, at times, other content that could be construed as offensive. Beliefs and viewpoints of characters are not necessarily the beliefs and viewpoints the Author holds in true life.***

As I settled in Aurora Skies, my life took on an almost regimented routine. I got up in plenty of time to get myself to work on time, sometimes even a little early. I put in my greatest efforts each day and was exhausted by the time I got home.

In the evenings, I'd put together some dinner and do some work I usually brought home from the office. The only person I still really knew was Simon. My priorities didn't involve getting out much and snapping up friends right and left. I didn't have time for that. Sometimes it would give me a pang because I missed having a true friend. For years, it seemed my work was my only friend, but I secretly wanted something more.

At times when I just couldn't hack it, I turned on some TV and searched for something good to watch. I hate to admit it, but I'm an avid watcher of "The One," which is this Reality TV dating show. I always loved the show, but I was completely hooked during two consecutive seasons. My favorite bachelor was Caleb McIntyre, who found what he was looking for in this woman named Hope. I heard through the grapevine that they live right here in Aurora Skies. I hadn't met them yet but with my busy work schedule, I didn't hold out much hope for a lot of socializing.

I was also totally addicted when Lenora Atherton was on the show. She was a contestant during Caleb's season but then got her own season after that. Being a shameless bookworm, I've read every once of her books and loved them all. Being one of my favorite authors, I always followed her and was so upset when she'd lost her husband and son in a plane crash. I met her once at a book signing, and Dr. Atherton and their son had been with her. I loved how loving her husband had been to her, and I'm not proud to admit I felt a stab of envy at the relationship. It was something Shane and I never had, but it was something I'd always wanted. She was crazy about her little boy, and I could see the feeling was mutual. I laughed when Lenora told me they were referred to as "The L Train" because all their names started with the letter "L." She was a cheerful and funny woman with this lovely Irish lilt I loved listening to. When she autographed my books, she made me feel like a friend instead of just a fan, which was refreshing.

Her work after her husband and son's deaths changed. Oh, she could always spin a wonderful yarn, and there was grit to her stories, but after dealing with such a tragedy, the tales held a bit of darkness while the couple struggled to finally unite in the end. Some character or another would also experience a devastating loss, and I could tell she knew how it felt by the way she wrote the scenes. I can honestly say I cried a lake of tears every time I read her later work.

As Lenora went through her season, I silently rooted for her to find what she was looking for. Apparently she did when she chose Tyrone Landgraab as "The One." My heart went all soft when I saw them together. He was truly gone over her, and it seemed she felt the same but couldn't admit it until the end since she had to keep things fair. Their wedding was televised, and I blubbered all the way through the whole thing, especially when they spoke their vows. I had a sense it was some sort of ritual, but then, I'm no expert in the paranormal. I'm just a regular woman trying to make her way in life. Still, it grabbed me and I couldn't forget it, nor could I forget the beautiful music they made together.

I heard they, too, live in Aurora Skies, but I don't hold out much hope in ever running into them. Tyrone, being the son of the legendary Wolfie Landgraab and Lenora being who she is, would  certainly be bookended by bodyguards if they went anywhere. Still, it was rather interesting to know there were very famous people living in the same town as me.

A few weeks into my new job, I was elated when I could finally afford to buy a sculpting bench. I'd had to sell my old one after my divorce from Shane was done because I needed the money. I screamed in joy when it was all set up, and I got right to work. It had been a while since I'd done any sculpting whatsoever, so I started off in clay to see if I still had the knack. As it turned out, it was like riding a bike, and I found I hadn't lost my touch in the least.

When I next looked at my watch, I couldn't believe how much time passed while I sculpted. I grinned at my current project, did a little dance around the room, and grabbed some beer. I wanted to celebrate, but I sure hated to celebrate alone.

I knew I probably should have left well enough alone, but I couldn't resist calling Simon and telling him my exciting news. "Hey, kid, that's great! Did you start banging something out yet?"

"Oh, definitely," I said, laughing. "Feel like coming over for a beer and some friend time?"

"You bet. I'll be right over."

As I waited for Simon's arrival, I recklessly gulped down some more beer and was on my way to being quite plowed by the time my doorbell rang. He came inside and greeted me with a bouquet of yellow roses. "I stopped at the florist's and got these. I thought they would look nice on your table," he said, grinning at me.

"They're lovely. Thank you," I said. I sniffed deeply of their fragrance, hugged him hard, kissed his cheek, and then found a vase to put them in.

"So, show me this work in progress, kid," he said when I came back into the living room.

I grinned like a kid who'd had twenty straight days of Christmas and pointed. "It's not much right now, but it's coming along."

"You've got real talent, Debbie," Simon said seriously. "I'm impressed."

I blushed and smiled a little shyly. "It was always a hobby, a way for me to let off steam."

"You ought to think about maybe selling some of your pieces," he replied.

I blushed again and ducked my head. "Oh, I don't know about that, but I thank you for the compliment."

Simon let it drop, and we moved on to other things. "So, how about another dance lesson?" I asked him.

"Works for me," he said.

I was proud of how much he improved since our last lesson. "You're doing great, Simon," I encouraged. He still stepped on my toes once in a while, but he was definitely getting better.

Before I knew what was happening, Simon's lips were on mine, and we were kissing. My first instinct was to pull away, but I just couldn't. My arms held him tighter, and I responded to his kiss, parting my lips to give him further access.

It was Simon who pulled away, causing the fireworks to abruptly cease. He stepped away from me as if my very presence burned him. "Debbie, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that."

I turned away to hide my own embarrassment. "It's okay, and you're right. It shouldn't have happened."

"I should leave," he said, but there was no conviction in his voice. It was as if we were magnets irresistibly being pulled together. His lips claimed mine again, and I wrapped my arms around his neck, holding him desperately to me.

I honestly can't recall us going into the bedroom, but that was definitely our next stop. Simon took me with such a fiery passion I had never known before, and I returned fire with fire. I cried his name as we came together, our desires no longer able to be held back. He was like a drug to which I constantly needed a fix. When it was over, I drowsed in his arms, feeling completely sated. At the time, neither of us considered any kind of consequences to our actions. We just knew we needed each other, and coming together was unavoidable.

Some time later, I felt him stir. I cried out when he moved to get out of bed. "Debbie, I've got to go," he said.

I sighed in regret, threw the covers back, and got up to stand in front of him. "Simon, I know what you're thinking, and...I take full responsibility. If I hadn't guzzled so much beer and invited you over, this wouldn't have happened. I..."

He put a finger over my lips. "It's not your fault alone. I'm partially to blame too. What we've got to try to do is put this behind us and keep our relationship strictly platonic."

"Yes...yes, of course," I said.

Promises of being platonic went out the window when we leaned in for another kiss. I was a moth drawn to the flame that was Simon. This time, it was I who pulled away. "Listen. I'll make you something to eat real quick and then maybe you'd better go."

"Okay, yeah, you're right," Simon said.

We were silent as we sat at the table with our food. Simon ate thoughtfully while I picked at my food, feeling like the lowest form of life ever to exist. Simon was involved in a relationship and had a child on the way. We shouldn't be doing what we did. I know I'm not exactly the nicest person in the world, but there are things I swore I'd never do. One of them was to have an affair with my boss and another was not to be a home wrecker. I couldn't believe I'd gotten myself into such a predicament. Yet, now that I was there, part of me didn't want to extricate myself from it even though I knew what we were doing was terribly wrong.

We held hands and kissed again after we cleaned up the dishes. "I really should go, Debbie. I'm sorry." He hurried to his car, and I felt utterly bereft. I wanted nothing more than to just throw myself on my bed and weep endlessly.

I knew sleep was out of the question, so I took a shower and went back to work on my sculpture. I went at it like a woman possessed, trying to forget the irrevocable deed Simon and I had done.
Author's Note - Debbie is still at level 2 of her business career and will be ready for a promotion when she goes to work next.