For those of you who have just tuned in, I’m running a sort of “choose your own romance” story this week for the Love, Lust and Lipstick Stains Blog Hop. You can read Part One here and Part Two here. Also, remember to enter the Giveaway here.
You guys made it hard on me tonight by having a tie. I decided the important part seemed to be to know what her ex-husband wanted. I hope you enjoy how I wrote the compromise. Please vote at the end, and please pass the link on to anyone you think might have fun with the story!
April Showers Part 3
by Evelyn Aster
Tessa let go of Mark and placed her hands together on top of the table before looking up at Rick. His eyes had the puppy dog look that always made her cave, but not today. “Quit being rude to Mark. If you want to talk to me, just call me. I’m busy right now.”
“Mark’s been screening my calls and you got a new number.”
Tessa tried to stay stoic when he said Mark had been screening his calls. She hadn’t told him to do that. “There’s always Facebook,” she said.
Rick glanced around the table; everyone had fallen silent. “All right then.”
To Tessa’s surprise, he walked away. It wasn’t like him to give up without getting his way. Maybe something was really wrong, but there was no reason he should come to her about it. They had pretty much severed everything about their relationship, and without kids, they never had to see each other again—ever.
People at the table tried to make small talk, but she felt their eyes on her. Her knuckles were white. The waitress came by, and Tessa managed to order a round of beer.
Mark shifted so his arm was stretched out on the top of the booth behind her, but not touching her. “Are you okay?” he whispered.
She took a deep breath and relaxed her hands. “How many times did he call?” she asked in a low voice.
“Once a day since Monday. I’m sorry. I know I was out of line.”
She caught a joke somebody made and laughed at it but was really trying to figure out how she felt about Mark not telling her Rick had called. She needed to have a talk with Mark. Whatever his intentions were, he still should’ve told her Rick had called—in the very least so she wouldn’t be sitting here feeling like someone had slammed a filing cabinet into her.
The waitress arrived with the beers and put a glass of red wine in front of Tessa. “From the gentleman over there,” she said.
Tessa didn’t need to follow where the waitress pointed to know that Rick had sent it, or to taste it to know that it was Merlot. Damn it. She said, “Excuse me,” to Mark but he didn’t get up.
“Don’t go,” he said. “What could he possibly have to say to you that would be to your benefit?”
“I don’t know. Maybe if you hadn’t been screening my calls he wouldn’t be here at all.”
Mark set he’s jaw as if he wouldn’t let her go. “Come to dinner with me tonight.”
“What? I’m sure you realize I’m not happy with you right now. So get up.”
“You deserve so much better than him. Don’t cave into whatever it is he wants.” Mark stood and Tessa scooted by him without replying.
Rick sat alone at a table on the other side of the bar. She rolled her shoulders back and marched over. “What happened to the woman?” she asked.
“The woman I saw you with when I first entered.”
He shrugged. “I have no idea. I didn’t come with her. She had just sat down when you arrived.”
Tessa rolled her eyes—women always flocked to him. “What do you want?”
“Could you please sit down?”
“No. We’re divo–”
“I think I made a huge mistake divorcing you.”
The world fell away—no bar noise or sights. Just his sincere blue eyes remained. She’d cried herself to sleep many nights wishing he would say those words, but now that he had, the flood of forgiveness she’d planned didn’t pour out—it didn’t even trickle. The sincerity in his eyes masked an underlying confidence that she would take him back, and it grated on her.
“That’s it? No apology? Just that you’ve made a mistake? How about, ‘I’m sorry for blaming the miscarriage on you,’ or ‘I’m sorry for demanding ten thousand dollars from you in the divorce proceedings.’ How did your lawyer put it? Something like ‘wasted fertility money because she ultimately rejected the baby.’”
Rick jumped up and tried to take her hands, but she snatched them away. “Tessa, please. I was getting to that. I’m really, really sorry about all of it. I was a world class dick. But it was like you didn’t think the miscarriage affected me at all—it was just you.”
Her body shook in rage. She wanted to punch him. Instead, she said, “You refused to say anything about it. Whenever I brought it up, you changed the topic.”
“Because I couldn’t deal with it. It was so unexpected after everything we’d done to get you pregnant. I was an asshole, and I realize that now. Please give me a second chance. I won’t screw it up.”
The moment surrounded her like a bubble and made her feel suspended out of time. He wanted her back, finally. She’d just been daydreaming about snuggling with him while it rained outside. And now she could have it.
She shook her head and the bubble popped. She could never have the imagined life. To much sadness and pain pushed them apart. “No,” she said. “You’re about six months too late on the apology. And I didn’t deserve the treatment I got in the divorce. We’re through.”
She turned on her heel and walked straight out of the bar and into the rain. She realized for the first time that she still had Mark’s coat on her shoulders. She put her arms through the sleeves and started walking—to where, she had no idea.
Before she reached the light, a hand fell on her shoulder and turned her around.
Who do you want it to be: Mark to console her, or Rick to beg for forgiveness some more?