This story contain’s sexual content, violence, coarse language and consumption of alcohol it is rated R and 18+
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Cliché Damsel In Distress (Waking Up Jayla)
I wanted to drive away when I saw who was on my front steps. Maybe I should, but I’m not running anymore. I have to face my life, such as it is, and deal with it. Sure, I took some time to cry and get my mind back together, but I think an emotional breakdown was in order after what happened.
I sighed, got out of my car and approached Curt slowly. He held up my cellphone and smiled. He looked amazing in the tan shorts and blue t-shirt. I immediately checked my purse. It must have fallen out when I fell.
“You ran away.” He said and stood to hand it over.
“Yeah, I’m a regular cliché damsel in distress.” I put the cell in my purse.
I took out my keys and went up the porch. The house was small but perfect for me. Paul and I sold the other house and split the amount, even though I paid for it with my inheritance.
“Thank you for bringing it. You didn’t have to.”
“Yes I did.”
I looked back at his sad-ish face.
“I’m sorry you had to see all that. Um,” I looked at my keys. “Can I make you a Coffee or tea?”
“Tea would be nice.”
I nodded and opened my front door, disarmed the alarm and stepped aside to let him in. I led him to my small and tidy kitchen, filled the kettle and put it on the stove.
“Old fashioned kettle. Nice.” Curt said as he sat at the table. He waited a while to talk while I prepared the infusers. “Are you okay?” He asked quietly.
“My backside is fine and barely hurts. I didn’t fall too hard.”
“Glad to hear it, but I meant emotionally.”
“Please don’t.” I took two mugs from my cupboard and set them on the counter.
I turned around. “How do you know Paul?” I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.
“I don’t really and I generally avoid him when I can. But the man thinks we’re best pals.”
“Yes I got that, but how do you know him?”
“We sort of… work together.”
I turned back to finish putting tea in the diffusers from a canister on my counter. I liked to mix my own blends so it takes longer to prepare.
“I was…” Why did I want to explain to him? I was humiliated and it wasn’t fair. “Look Curt I’m not good at this.” I poured hot water over the infusers and brought the mugs to the table. “Milk, sugar?”
I retrieved a small carton from the fridge and set it on the table then sat.
“I knew Paul went through a divorce, he milked it for all it was worth.” Curt said as I removed the infusers and set them in a small bowl on the table. “A lot of ‘woe is me’ to get the sympathy of quite a few ladies at the office.”
I rolled my eyes. The truth was I really was over Paul. What set me off was Asha and Theo’s responses. For some reason that hurt more than Paul’s multiple betrayals.
“I’m not upset over Paul anymore.”
“I gathered that Jayla. What upset you?”
“This feels like gossip. I don’t know you that well and you clearly know Paul and Theo.” I got up to get a plate of cookies. I baked some for my neighbours kids yesterday and still had some left over.
“I do know them. I’m not asking for gossip I’m asking because you looked genuinely heartbroken today and that’s not okay with me.”
“You know when you expect people to take your side because for one, they’re family and for two, it’s the decent thing to do. It hurts when they don’t”
Curt nodded and bit into the chewy tollhouse cookie. “Mmm.”
I smiled. Paul hated everything I made. What I did not know is that was only because he already ate before he came home. Just before, he slept with his girlfriend on the side.
“What?” I said just before sipping my hot tea.
“I’m not usually a basket case. I was blindsided and shocked today. Not to mention disgusted and…”
“Hurt.” Curt nodded. “Your sister?”
I laughed. “That is actually old news.”
Curt grimaced. “How old?”
“My wedding day old.” I covered my mouth. I don’t normally talk about it. Again, Curt drew information out of me too easily.
“You’re not joking.” Curt sipped his tea and added a little more milk.
“Nope. Sorry I don’t want to drag you into this. It’s not fair.”
Curt set his mug down and tapped the rim with his finger. “Something tells me you’re told, no, you’re asked not to bring it up. That it’s not fair to make them choose a side. Am I right?”
I licked my lips, looked at my tea and nodded.
I looked up suddenly. “What?”
“That’s bullshit. Asha is your sister and Theo is your brother in law. Paul is just a friend. No contest.”
I shrugged and poked at the infusers. “Honestly I just want them to shut up about it. They keep bringing it up not me.”
“May I ask you a question Jayla?”
I looked into his warm brown eyes. “Sure.”
“Did you ever cheat on Paul?”
“He painted a pretty bad picture of his ex-wife. I’ll admit to believing what he said. But now that I know you, I can see for myself who’s the liar.” Curt laughed surprising me. “He never once called you by name. It was ‘the wife’ or ‘the ex’ or some derogatory nickname. Jayla’s not a common name. Theo only ever referred to you as the ‘sister in law’ or ‘Jay’ I assumed he meant Jamie or something. Asha only called you ‘Sis’ or ‘Jay’.
“I didn’t tell Theo your name when he asked me why I didn’t want to meet ‘Jay’ his sister in law, AKA Paul’s crazy ex. Despite his assurances, she or rather you are sweet and kind. Theo defends you against Paul. I said I was seeing someone and left it at that. Not because I didn’t want them to know, but because I’d rather them meet you than be grilled.”
I chuckled. “Well I suppose you don’t need to introduce me.”
“No. What are the odds?” His eyes widened. “Oh my God. That day in the park when you took off it’s because you saw Theo, Paul and Henry coming our way.”
“Huh. I moved here a year and a half ago. I’ve met Dee a few times, but not you. Mostly because of Theo’s connection. You are definitely the hotter sister.”
I rolled my eyes.
“There’s more to the hotness factor than looks Jayla. Dee is… Well you know her. Asha is great but she has a weird loyalty to Paul. Whom I don’t like. Even before I knew he was the shitty ex that cheated on you.”
I let out a sigh of relief.
“You didn’t think I’d…”
I looked at the dregs of my tea wobbling my cup to make them dance in the last bit of liquid.
“For the first time since meeting you I’m angry.”
I looked up at his unhappy face.
He set his tea down. “I’ve done nothing to warrant your mistrust.”
“No you haven’t. I’m just afraid is all.”
He got up and pulled me up into a hug. Lord help me; he smelled amazing.
“I can understand why.” He kissed the top of my head and held me close. “You smell like heaven.”
“Funny, I was thinking the same thing-ish.”
He moved, put his hands on my cheeks and lifted my face to kiss me. Just before our lips touched he whispered, “I wish I could stay.”
To be continued…
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