Friends with Benefits Ch. 02byPurpleButterfly©
With a quick wave, Jenna hiked up her skirt a bit and slid into the drivers' seat of her cherry red Beretta. Slipping the key in the ignition, the car roared to life. Smiling to herself, she knew she had just set her life on a new course. Her hand didn't even shake when she wrote out the cheques for the damage deposit and the first months' rent. Now she had to go and tell Josh she was leaving.
As Jenna got closer to the house she shared with Josh the more anxiety worked at her stomach. "What am I going to say?" she asked herself over and over. Decided that she would just tell him flat out she was leaving. Pulling the car into the driveway, she got out and strode in the back door. Dropping her purse and keys on the counter and stopping at the hall closet she pulled out her suitcases. She often wondered why she had never taken them to storage, now she believed it was because deep down inside she expected this day to come.
"What are you doing with those?" His voice startled her.
"Where are you going?" She couldn't believe he was being so dense.
"Anywhere you aren't," she replied hoisting the suitcase up on the bed, opening it and pulling out the one nested inside. Placing them side by side, she methodically went through the drawers and closet and laying them neatly in the gaping cases.
"What is that supposed to mean?" He was now leaning against the door frame of the bedroom they had shared for the last few years. His hair rumpled and his favourite pants hanging loosely from his hips.
"I'm done Josh. We are over." Turning to him to face him and she said the last few words looking directly in his eyes. His casual appearance would have done nasty things to her insides a few months ago, now it just turned her stomach.
"You can't leave." The tone in his voice told her he didn't believe she was leaving.
"Oh yes I can, I already have a new place." She tossed over her shoulder as she disappeared into the bathroom, coming back with a load of toiletries, a hair dryer and a flat iron. "I don't want to be here anymore, I gave you a chance to get your shit together and you wasted it, now I'm moving on. Get used to it."
"What's his name?" Josh shot back; she could see the rage building behind his eyes.
"What is whose name?" She knew he was accusing her of fooling around. "There is no one else. I am just tired of your lazy ass not doing anything and expecting me to take care of you." Taking a last look around to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything, she grabbed the alarm clock off the night stand and tossed it into the larger suitcase before zipping it closed and pulling it to the floor. Closing the second suitcase she set it on the floor as well.
Pushing past him into the hallway, she wheeled the luggage back to the kitchen stopping only long enough pick up her purse and keys.
"Who's going to pay the rent?" The whine in his voice grated on her last nerve.
"Maybe you'll have to get a job." Yanking the door open a little harder than necessary, she lifted the heavy cases over the threshold and slammed the door in his face. Struggling to get both down the driveway to her car, she heard the door open again behind her.
"Where will you be?" he sounded like a little boy.
"I'll be back for the rest of my things. Please make sure you aren't here when I do." She hissed at him, pushing the second case into the trunk before slamming the lid.
Leaving him standing barefoot and dishevelled in the driveway, she reversed hard and with a screech of tires she was gone.
Jenna got all the way back to her new home on the adrenaline pumping through her body. Pulling into the driveway beside the pickup with Harrison Construction on the door, she cut the engine, leaned her head back against the seat and closed her eyes.
A light tap on the window beside her startled her out of her reverie. She opened the door and got out, smoothing her skirt down her thighs.
"Hi, do you need any help?" Jenna fought hard to hold back the tears welling in her eyes.
"Thank you," she said popping the trunk. "That would be wonderful." Jenna busied herself with the bags so he wouldn't see the tears glistening in her eyes.
"Is this all you have?" Ben said.
"For now, I'll go back and get the rest in a day or two."
Jenna followed as she watched Ben easily carrying both cases through the garage door and into her new room.
"Where would you like them?"
"On the bed please."
"I hope you will be comfortable here." He set the cases on the bed and stepping back.
"Thank you," Jenna replied sinking onto the bed next to the luggage.
Pushing herself off the bed, Jenna opened the cases and started to unpack. Putting things in drawers and in the bathroom, it didn't take long for her to empty both cases, nesting the smaller one inside the big one she zipped them closed.
"Dinner's ready, if you're hungry?" Ben appeared around the door.
"You didn't have to cook for me."
"I didn't," his laugh brought sunshine into the room. "I cooked for me, but there is enough for two."
Following him back into the kitchen, he had set the table and laid out a meal any mother would have been proud of. Settling in the chair she had sat in earlier, she reached for the glass at her place, he had thoughtfully filled with ice water.
"This looks delicious and smells heavenly. Where did you learn to cook like this?" Jenna said placing a helping of the casserole on her plate.
"My mother made sure all us kids could cook. She said it was as important for a man to know how to cook as it was for a woman to swing a hammer. My sister can keep pace with any man on a construction site." Ben's smile told her just how proud he was of his family.
"How many kids are there?"
"There are three of us; I'm the oldest, then my brother Jon, and our sister Patty. How about you, do you have siblings?"
"Just my brother, Matthew. He's older than me, married, with 2 kids. They live a couple of hours from here." Absently picking up a dinner bun she pulled it apart and popped a bite into her mouth.
"And your parents, where are they?"
"My dad died when I was a little girl, my mom never remarried; now she's gone too. We lost her to cancer a year ago." Jenna swiped at the renegade tear slipping silently down her cheek.
"Thank you," Jenna said barely above a whisper.
Finishing dinner in an awkward silence, Ben got up and started clearing the table.
"No," Jenna said rising and taking the plates from his hands. "Let me do this, it's the least I can do after you cooked."
Ben sat back down, while Jenna cleared and wiped the table, rinsed the dishes and loaded the dishwasher.
"I'm going to watch some TV, if you want to join me?" Ben asked as Jenna switched to dishwasher to on.
"Thank you, no, it's been a hard day, I think I'm going to turn in." She wondered why he was trying so hard to make her comfortable. It was nice to have someone around who wasn't laid out on the couch like so much house dust, but he didn't have to go to so much trouble.
"Sleep well; if you need anything, extra towels or blankets, they are in the closet at the end of the hall."
"Thank you, I'll be fine." Jenna closed the bedroom door behind her, sat down in the overstuffed chair beside the window, pulled her knees up to her chest, buried her face against them and cried.