Page 41 of The One

The man never sleeps, except when he’s in the air, but I’ve grown accustomed to my text tone going off at 4:30 am every morning with him saying the sweetest things, then more often than not, we end up in a very sexy text or voice message chat which he has me record when I come for him.

It seems my orgasms are the thing that feeds him the most and I have to say it’s not taken me long to become addicted to his filthy sweet talk which pushes me over the edge every time.

I’ve got the big tech start-up deal almost put together, and the CEO of Synergy has been by my office several times to check in and let me know how happy they are with the work I’m doing.

For the first time in my life, I feel like I’ve arrived.

Both professionally and personally.

Most days, I wake up and feel like I’m walking on clouds. Van takes every opportunity to put into words how special I am to him. How much he sees in us and the future he sees in his dreams.

And another first for me, I see it too. I’m in love.

The crazy kind.

I guess I held out for the full Monty because I almost don’t feel like I’m the Issi I used to be anymore. Who I am with Van in my life, in a way I have to admit, is the Issi I’d never dreamed I could be, but deep down wished for.

The stars are aligning, and even with our crazy work schedules, we want to find a way to be together. And in my heart, I just feel like somehow the universe will intervene and help us figure it out.

Van is still in deep with some issue with the EPA. He’s not letting on a whole lot, but I can tell it’s serious and I try to let him know I am his safe place to vent.

I look up from my laptop as I hear my mom’s voice.

“Hello.” She comes in the back door with a bag of take-out Chinese in her hand. “Hi, sweety.”

“Hi, Mom.”

Her face is tight. She flew back a week early from Aruba. Guess going on your would-be honeymoon alone didn’t turn out to be the vacation she’d needed. But, she’s tan and for the most part, seems to be bouncing back from Hamilton fairly well.

She plates up the food and comes to sit at the table with me.

“So. You know I love you, right?”

I take a bite of General Tso’s chicken and nod, feeling something coming on, and my stomach tightens.

“I want the best for you, Issi. I truly do. But, we can both agree I have far more experience with relationships, especially bad ones, than you do. Or for that matter, most people. Right?”

I swallow and bring the napkin to my lips. “What’s up, Mom? Yes, I’m seeing Van. It’s good. In fact, it’s more than good, it’s amazing.”

“I know you think that, baby. But, I just want to protect you. You’re not experienced at this. I tried to give you a heads up.”

“Mom. If you have something specific to say, do it. Otherwise, drop it. I can handle myself you know.”

“Uh huh.” She reaches over and taps the top of my laptop screen. “Open your Facebook.”

“You know I’m never on Facebook. I loathe it.”

“Just do it. You need to see something.”

“Fine, Mom.”

I open the website and log in. “Now what?”

“Search for Karolina Materska.”

“God, what is this about?”

She stands and comes over behind me, putting her hands on the keyboard to take over.

A few clicks later, her hand is on my shoulder, and my throat is closing up.

“I’m sorry, baby.”

On the screen are photos of a woman a little older than me, dark hair, a little girl on her hip. And there’s Van, standing next to her with his little dog George in one hand.

The caption below is ‘I’m so happy when my main man comes home.’

My stomach is in knots.

“It’s the only one with Van tagged, I guess he doesn’t like making this public. There’s a few more…”

She taps, and with each photo, I feel the bile tick at the back of my throat.

“They live together. I don’t know if they are married. I was going to call Hamilton, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Just, Issi, I’m so sorry, but I told you so. These guys, this is who they are. They’re bad guys. I don’t want you to get in any deeper. Especially it’s like this is your first. You had it right before, focus on your career, love only brings heartache, baby.”

There is no air in the room, and I push back my chair, knocking it over and spinning until I press my hands on the cool glass of the sliding door that leads to the patio, then my forehead, trying to stop the spinning.