Then, October 12th occurred. Our little family’s version of Armageddon – a disaster of epic proportions. I was taken to doctors. a slew of them. Dr. F was the face that stuck. A constant presence in the carousel of different tests and meds. He was a psychologist, asked questions, examined experiences. Tried to sort through the kaleidoscope of my mind and understand its structure and balance. I told him a hundred stories, walked him through every piece of my past. Everything except what happened on October 12th. On that subject, on that date, I remained mute. It wasn’t a conscious decision, I wasn’t being stubborn or secretive. I didn’t tell him because I didn’t know what happened. It was as simple as that. I couldn’t remember. Or my subconscious wouldn’t let me remember.
Eventually, life took on a new reality: Jillian and I against the world. I built computers, she brokered deals, and we redefined success. Any deceit we orchestrated… it didn’t seem to matter. Money was rolling in, I was well-adjusted, and my parents believed anything we said.
I lied for almost a decade, Jillian covering my sins with a smile and words so smooth that I almost believed them myself. Then, the lies stopped, medication fixing all of my problems.
It’d been 27 years since October 12th.
And I was now in control. I was in love. I would convince her to be my wife.
1 WEEK BEFORE
The crash of a plate cut deep to my spine, Lee’s arms sweeping everything off the table in one angry sweep. He was drunk, his eyes bleary, his announcement made by a steady and consistent lean on the doorbell between the guest house and main home. I had pulled on a robe and taken the elevator, the incessant buzz of the bell ringing through the elevator, the only foreshadowing of the train wreck that greeted me.
“I never wanted this! You wormed your way in my f**king life and now that you have me, you don’t want me!” Lee breathed hard, his chest rising and falling, eyes wide, the hurt twisting his features.
“Of course I want you. I love you.”
“But you’re still with him! What kind of sick twisted girl are you? I swear to God, I can’t… I can’t take this. I can’t know that you’re going back and f**king him. It is killing me. I can’t think of him touching you.” He stared at me, his eyes pools of hurt, so much emotion swirling through them. His chest shook when he gasped, and he exhaled hard, his fingers shaking as he reached out, pulled me to him and looked into my eyes. “Tell me you love me.”
“I love you.” I met his stare and wished that he understood, my own eyes filling with tears.
“Tell me again.”
“I love you.”
He ripped at my pants, pulling the material down with one hand while the other gripped my neck so hard that it hurt. He was frantic, he was needy, and when he pushed inside of me I was not ready, and he was so hard, and I gasped for a different reason but ohmygod I did love this man.
“I can’t,” he gasped, pulling me to the edge of the table, the edge biting into my ass as his hands held me in place, and his hips started to move. “I can’t lose you, Lana. You are my everything.” His mouth shuddered against my collarbone as he dropped his head, the soft touch of his lips on that skin different than every other piece in this equation and I arched underneath his hands, pushed against his c**k and pulled his head against my neck, his mouth following suit, kissing and biting the skin, making a possessive trail and he pulled and pushed and branded me with his cock, the rhythm increasing and I moaned, my hands holding onto his skin, the muscles under my fingers flexing as he f**ked me with his feelings.
Then his mouth opened against my skin and he cried out, a moan of my name, his thrusts slowing as he emptied himself inside of me. Our bodies slowed, his final thrusts hard and deep, and then he stopped. Stayed inside of me while he gasped against my neck. “Tell me.”
“I love you.”
Then he picked me up and carried me to our bed. Laid me down and rolled me, so my back was against his chest, his arm wrapped around me, pulling me tightly in. He was so much larger, the tuck of my body putting his mouth against the top of my head.
“I don’t know what to do.” His voice was blurry and soft in the dark room, words almost lost in the hum of the fan. “I love you too much to leave you. But I can’t do this. It is killing me.” Then he said the words I dreaded, the ones I never wanted to hear but that had stalked me in my dreams. “You have to choose. You have to.”
Ten minutes later, his breath evened out. I laid there, his arms relaxing around me, and began to cry. Sometimes getting everything you ever wanted sucked.
It had been long enough. Any love there was would have to be strong enough. It was time. I needed to rip the roof off all of our lies.
It was time to pull the roof off of all our lies.
2 YEARS, 4 MONTHS AGO
The moment Brant turned, in that Belize hotel bar, at 1:43 AM, I knew something was wrong. I just couldn’t place what. Couldn’t figure out why the hairs on my arm stood up. Couldn’t figure out why the noise of the bar suddenly seemed to fade. I stood there, stared at him, and tried to place the problem.
“Hey.” He grinned. A wide grin that showed his dimple and white teeth and carefree games of football on Saturday nights. When he smiled his eyes carried the gesture, crinkling at the edges, the total effect one of a man who knew his charm and carried it easily. “You look lost sweetheart.” His hand reached forward, cupped the edge of my elbow and tugged me closer, my hand reaching out and touching his shirt. Pushing on it without any force. Just trying to stop my forward motion while allowing my mind to sort out what about this situation felt wrong. My eyes flicked right, to a polo-wearing blonde perched on the closest stool, whose outfit screamed resort employee, her hand gripped around the neck of a beer that I’m pretty sure she wasn’t old enough to drink. His other hand, the one not dragging me into his space, was resting on her bare thigh. I stared at that hand and wondered why he didn’t move it.
“Honey.” A call of a name designed to get attention. My eyes snapped up to his face, that wide smile still there, his eyes on me. He had been talking to me. Called me honey. Honey. That was a word I’d never heard roll off his lips. I looked back at his hand. Watched it as his fingers moved. Caressed the skin of her thigh. As I f**king watched.
I ripped my eyes from the sight, plastering them back to him, my eyes raping every surface of his face, looking for clues. Was he high? Pupils normal. Drunk? Didn’t really look it. He looked normal. If normal had a face that looked nothing like Brant. If normal looked flirtatious and easy-going. Like a man who had friends and watched sports. Like a man whose hand was moving further up blonde tennis chick’s leg.