Life’s Strange Turns Ch. 05-06bydeadeye_76©
When I got back to my new apartment in Chicago I paced, I cried, I got angry. I called Jennifer and left a rambling rant about her being a lying, cheating, two-faced slut. Finally, about 6am, I was exhausted and fell asleep.
Dec 18th, 2000
I woke up still on the couch, still wearing my party clothes. I walked into the bathroom to brush my teeth and was horrified by what I saw in the mirror. I looked like death warmed over. I looked at the clock. Shit, I had slept until 9am! I had to get to Chicago and see Dennis!
I finished brushing my teeth and went back into the living room. I looked at Regina, curled up in Dennis' favorite easy chair. She looked cold, so I threw a blanket over her and headed out the door.
On the drive, I tried to think of what I would say. The only solution was telling him the truth. What he had heard was not what I was trying to convey. I was being snide with my friends because they were pushing me to tell them about it. It was a stupid, stupid mistake with a stupid, stupid man. Maybe that's what hurt even more. I made this mistake with an asshole that wasn't worth anything! I had to get there and straighten this out. I pushed the accelerator down some more and hoped there were no cops out this morning.
I slowly became cognizant of a banging sound at about noon. I looked up at the clock for verification that it was no longer morning. I had hoped to sleep away the entire weekend. It was only Saturday. The pain that I felt had nothing to do with the alcohol. It was purely the betrayal of my beautiful Jennifer. She had betrayed me when we said we would be exclusive, and then I had to hear about it eight months later when she was drunk, bragging to her friends about fucking Don, a complete asshole. I rolled off the couch and approached the door, the apparent source of the banging. I looked thru the peephole. It was Jennifer. Shit! What could I do? She knew I was home because of the phone call and my car. The apartments had marked parking spots and mine was in its proper place. Fuck! I opened the door.
Jennifer looked like hell. She was rumpled, her eyes were bloodshot, her eyeliner had left tear streaks down her face, and she looked exhausted. She just stood there.
I was still angry and took the hard line. "What the fuck do you want?"
"I guess I deserve that. I'm so sorry, Dennis. It's just that...."
I cut her off. "Sorry about what? Sorry that it slipped your mind that eight months ago, when we were supposed to be exclusive, you fucked Don? Why? Was he better than me? You couldn't be without a man's dick for a week? What? Then I have to find out when you are telling your slut friends at a party how you went out and fucked another guy behind my back? Which part are you sorry about?"
She stood there dejected and defeated. She hung her head and started to cry. Between her sobs came a few words. "So sorry... I wanted to tell you... it was such a mistake... I was frightened by my feelings for you... love you so much... can't imagine being without you... please... don't turn me away...."
I just stared. I was so angry I couldn't see Jennifer any more. Just some woman who had fucked a guy I knew. "Jennifer, I don't ever want to see you again. You fucked up and you have to pay the price, now get out of my life."
She looked at me, tears streaming down her face and turned and fled. I just stood there and watched the love of my life leave. Then I went back to the couch and turned on the TV looking for college bowl games. I did do one thing right that day. I called the company I had decided to work for and accepted their offer. It meant I would start work on Monday and could get my mind off of Jennifer.
He was still so angry I fled back to my car. I sat in it for about 30 minutes, trying to compose myself. I had never seen him so angry. Of course, I had never seen anyone in this type of situation. I was freaked out. I couldn't see well enough to drive yet. I couldn't stop sobbing. Shit! How had I gone from the happiest day of my life to the most fucked up so quickly. I looked up into the mirror and yelled at myself. "Because you acted like a fucking Neanderthal 'guy' with cold feet and fucked someone else!" As soon as I said it, I looked around. I didn't see anyone and hoped that nobody heard that. I didn't realize I was yelling at myself until the end.
I finally got myself together and drove back to Champaign. When I got to my house, all my close friends were there, waiting to hear from me. When I walked in they all looked at me questioningly and when I teared up, they knew that I had been unsuccessful. They all walked over and gave me a group hug. That was good, because I was so emotionally and physically drained, I was ready to collapse. I pushed my way out of their grasp and walked to the couch and did so.
I made one last phone call asking Dennis to please at least talk to me. I felt that I might at least be able to explain how I was feeling and that we might be able to get past this, but he never answered the phone and I left a short message.
They tried to console me, but I was alone with my thoughts even while they discussed possibilities. I had fucked up and I had to pay the price. His words. I knew that he was going to be angry for a while, but maybe after a week I could try again. I loved the guy. I knew that. I knew that he loved me. I just had to get past the next couple of days. I got up and all my girlfriends fell silent, staring up at me. I walked upstairs to my bedroom and collapsed on the bed, still in my clothes. I don't even remember falling asleep, but when I woke a while later my dress was gone and I was under the covers. I tried to think that tomorrow would be better and drifted back to sleep.
Dec 19th, 2000
Sunday was the worst day of my life. I had thought that Friday night and the Saturday confrontation with Jennifer were bad, but Sunday was worse. First, I had to face it alone. For the first time in a year, I woke up knowing that the woman I had loved was not going to be there. I tried to stay angry, but now I just grew morose. I got phone calls, none of which I answered, from several of her friends, telling me how bad it was for Jennifer. For her? For HER!?! My heart had been wrenched out of my chest by her betrayal and it was bad for her? That made my anger come back for a while, but I always returned to just being sad.
I tried to watch football. I tried to work on the computer. I tried to do anything, but I couldn't concentrate. About 4pm, Jennifer called again and left a message. She said that she knew she could never make it up to me, but wanted to try to explain and talk again. I never answered her call.
I woke up about 7pm, smelled food, and found my stomach was growling. I had not had anything to eat since before the party. I crawled out of bed, took off my bra, panties and stockings, and put on the robe that Dennis normally used. It was big and fluffy and smelled like him. I walked downstairs and my girlfriends were all in the kitchen making spaghetti and talking. I walked in and it went silent for just a second and then they were all over me, pampering me. They helped me to a chair, asked if I need something to drink, and served me a dish of spaghetti.
After a few bites I started to feel a little more refreshed physically. I looked up at them. "I don't suppose he called, did he? You would have awakened me for that, right?" They all nodded. I walked over to the phone and pressed the message button.
"Wait!" Regina said loudly.
I looked at her. "What?" Then the message started playing. It was from Dennis, from early yesterday morning.
"Well, that was a fucking disaster. I thought you loved me, you two-faced slut. I can't remember feeling like such an idiot. You standing there... telling your story about Don to your girlfriends... how you fucked someone behind my back... like it was nothing... we're done... I can't believe you could tell them and not me... your are such a liar... I could never trust you again." The phone clicked.
I started crying again and they all tried to console me. "I've lost him... forever."
They kept consoling me, telling me that he would get over it, but I knew better. That last part, about never trusting me again was the worst. I knew he believed in loyalty and trust. It was in his bones. I knew that he would have never done the same thing. I even knew that one of his ex-girlfriends had practically assaulted him one night trying to get him to sleep with her and he just brushed her aside. He was a really good man and I just threw him away.
I buried myself in my work for a couple of days and then went home for Christmas. My family asked what had happened between me and Jennifer twice, but they could tell by my answers that it was best to leave it alone. The holidays went slowly. It was hard to see the happy couples in my family, but it was nice to be around loved ones. When it was over I went back to work to build my career.
My girlfriends helped me put all my stuff in a U-Haul since my mother was working. We filled it up and I drove home, having finished my degree in 4-1/2 years. Well, I did change majors once. All the way home, I thought about the fact that his family only lived 25 miles away. But I never did anything about it. I knew he would be home for Christmas. They had a close family. Still, I couldn't face him.
I heard from Jennifer once a week for a few months. Each time she would leave a message on my phone just asking to talk. I couldn't do it. I was too hurt, too prideful, and too scared that the sound of her voice would lure me back against my will. The last time she sounded really strange and desperate, but once I started refusing her calls, I could never bring myself to call her accept one or call her back.
I called Dennis every week, like clockwork. I wanted him to hear my voice and know that I still loved him, no matter what. I tried to sound calm and reassuring, but it was getting difficult. The second month after we broke up, the morning sickness started. I knew immediately what it was. It had to be. It was my penance for doing what I had done. Life really had a way of getting even. I had thrown away the best man I ever knew and now I was faced with being pregnant alone. I was home and finally, after confirmation from the doctor, had to tell my mother and sister.
"Mom. I have some news." She just looked at me and waited. "I'm pregnant."
She looked at me. "You think Diane and I can't tell what morning sickness is? We've known since it started that it had to be that. "
I looked at the floor. "What do you think I should do?" When she didn't answer immediately, I looked up. Her eyes were tearing. She was Catholic and never believed in abortion, so I was surprised by her answer.
"You have to decide if you want to keep this baby. Is Dennis the father?"
"Yes, Mom, of course. I've been with only him for over a year."
"I thought you guys always used protection?"
"Mom, I was on the pill the entire time at college. You know that. I didn't go off it and I didn't forget. It just happened. Pills are not 100%."
"Well, there are plenty of people who would love to adopt a healthy child."
I looked at her. Oh. She hadn't meant abortion. But I knew in my heart that I couldn't do that, either. I said quietly. "I've thought about this and I think I'm going to keep it."
My mother stared at me. Then Diane spoke from the other side of the room. We had discussed the situation with Dennis endlessly and she knew how I felt about him. "And what about Dennis? Do you think Dennis should know about it? What will he do when he learns it's his child?"
I had been thinking about this for a while now. "I'm not going to tell him. I don't want him to feel obligated to me in any way. If he comes back to me it has to be because he loves me, not because of a child. He is such a good man that he would do it out of obligation to the child. He's very big on that and I don't want him that way. That would only lead to him hating me for it, believing that I got pregnant and kept the child to trap him. Not going to happen!"
Diane spoke, spitting out words of hate. "If he loved you, he wouldn't have let you go in the first place."
I had never told them about Don, so I did.
"But that was so long ago? Didn't you explain that you were not in love yet, you two had just started dating exclusively, and that you were just acting like a 'guy'?" Diane was a little hateful toward men right now, having had her boyfriend cheat on her.
I turned to her. "I didn't see you take back your boyfriend after he cheated on you. Why would you expect Dennis to act any differently?" She stared at me. "Look, the worst part I haven't told you yet. My girlfriends found out and were pestering me about it at a party. I had been drinking and finally just blurted out that I had gotten drunk and fucked Don." My mother glared at my use of the 'f' word. "He overheard me telling my girlfriends at a party that I had slept with Don while we were supposed to be exclusive; loyalty is something that is very big to him. He found out in the most awful way what I had done. I can't blame him now. I still want him back, but I know why he won't talk to me. It's my own damn fault." I was fighting back the tears. I kept telling myself not to cry.
It was quiet for a moment, and then my mother spoke. "Look. We don't need to decide this right now. There's always time to think about it. You might change your mind or he might change his mind."
I sighed resignedly. "No, mother. I don't think he will change his mind and I know I won't change mine. I'm going to have this child and raise it. I don't care if I have to be alone doing it. It's a part of me and it's a part of the man I still love. If Dennis ever decides to speak to me normally, then I will tell him. Otherwise, he will never know." The last few words I had to choke out while holding back the tears. I was so unsure, but tried to act as if I was strong and knew what I wanted.
Finally, my mother relented and her face softened. She turned to me and put her arm on mine. "Well, we have plenty of room here in this old house. Now we can go shopping and start getting ready." I was so thankful that she started acting upbeat and that she was trying to get behind me that I gave her a big, crushing hug. It was probably the first really hard hug I had given her in years. When I pulled back she looked up. "Diane and I will do whatever we can to help, right Diane?" She looked at Diane rather pointedly.
Diane stared for a second and I could tell mother was mentally brow-beating her into submission. She relented. "Sure. I'd love to help. Aunt Diane. I like that sound of that!"
The project I was working on was moving along well. I had gotten my graduate degree in computer science, so I knew several computer languages, had done coding, even taken database classes, so I felt well prepared for work. It was only three months in and the small project was doing well enough that we all went out for drinks the last Friday in March. There were only 10 people on the project, but we had another 10 from elsewhere in the company. We were young and excited about making our way in life, so we tended to congregate on Fridays.
I was talking to a young woman named Mary. She was small, only about 5'2", with a slightly plump body. I had heard her say that she had been a cheerleader in college, but she explained that that was 20 pounds ago; like she had to explain that she used to be really fit, but no longer was. It didn't matter to me. I liked her as a person and she was fun to be with.
She looked up at me as we worked on our third margaritas. "You ever had a serious relationship?"
The question was somewhat out of the blue, so I looked at her questioningly. "Where did that come from?"
"I broke up with my boyfriend of 2 years. I thought we might move to a more permanent relationship, but we both realized that we didn't want to be married. I just wondered if you had been in anything like that."
I thought it over briefly while she explained. "Yes, I was."
She waited for a response. "And...?"
"I don't like to talk about it."
She shrugged. "Sorry, didn't mean to pry. I'm just not very good at making conversation right now. I always get morose when I drink. I guess I'm not over him yet."
"I'm not over her, either."
Her eyebrows went up at that. "Really? I thought you guys immediately moved on and were able to put it behind you."
"I don't know about that; I still think about her way too much."
She stared up at me for a few minutes. "Want to go back to your place... and talk about it?"
I knew what she meant. She was pretty bold and straightforward about it. Since she was on another project, I supposed if we slept together it wouldn't get in the way at work. "Sure."
We made our excuses about 5 minutes apart. She went out first and then I followed, hoping nobody connected us. I headed towards my car and I saw some lights flash to my right. She was sitting in hers, waiting. I got in and she followed me back to my apartment. She met me as we headed into the building.
"Look. No strings, no requirement to entertain me. I just want to sit and talk to someone."
I looked at her. "Agreed."
We got up to my apartment and I asked if she wanted something to drink. She opted for just water. I pulled out my one extravagance for myself, a bottle of nice scotch, and poured it over ice.
She sat on the couch and I sat next to her.
"Nice place. I guess with that Master's degree they pay you better than me. Most of us couldn't afford this neighborhood."
"I got a good deal by signing a long lease."
The talk died for a second while we each took a drink and thought about where this was headed. "I lied when I said my boyfriend and I broke up because 'we' decided 'we' didn't want to be married. I actually found out he slept with an old girlfriend after we had been living together for a year. What a jerk!"
I looked at her. Oh, what the fuck! "That's what happened with my girlfriend and me."
"You cheated on her?"
"No, she cheated on me. That's not the worst part. The worst part is that I found out about it at a Christmas party when I overheard her bragging about it to her girlfriends."
"Ouch! So you guys broke up right then?"
"Oh, yeah. I left and have never spoken to her again. Oh, except for when she came to the apartment here and tried to explain it. What's to explain? She fucked another guy. Period. End of story."
Mary looked up at me. "Dennis? You know the real reason why I wanted to come to your apartment?"
She was looking up at me with her big brown eyes. "You want to sleep with me?" I wasn't normally this forward, but she was and the alcohol was loosening my tongue.
"Yes. Is that bad?"
"Why? We're consenting adults. We've both been hurt. How long has it been since you had sex?"
"Two long months."
I smiled. "Hmmm. It's been three for me." I leaned down and kissed her. She tasted like strawberry margaritas. I liked it.
She moaned into my mouth and then pulled away. "God, I'm horny. I was used to having sex every day before I broke up with Mark." She leaned back in and started kissing me again.
I reached up and squeezed her tits. They were soft and fleshy under her sweater and bra. She moaned again, so I broke off the kiss and reached for the bottom of her sweater. She knew what I was going for and stood up off the couch. She reached down for the sweater and ripped it off in one move. She was definitely the voluptuous type. She looked around and then headed for the bedroom. She kicked off her heels and had her bra off before she disappeared into the room, I was right behind her.