Authors: Kate Stewart
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Coming of Age, #Romance, #Contemporary
“Seth, what do you want, sex?”
“No, Laura, I—“
“Just shut up.” I opened my car door. “You shut up, too!” Tetris was still barking at Seth and quickly jumped out of the car and ran toward the field.
“DAMN IT!” I chased after Tetris who took off with his leash. I ran all over the field trying to catch him, not realizing Seth was doing the same until I turned around and we collided. We went down hard, both of us laughing.
“I didn’t see you.”
“I was right behind you, idiot,” he whispered into my ear as he wrapped his arms around me. I tried my best to stifle the tears I felt coming. The fact that the word idiot brought them to me made me laugh through them, but it still hurt.
“You’re hurting me.”
“Oh? Sorry,” he said loosening his grip.
“No Seth, you are hurting me.” I turned to him, my eyes pleading with him to stop. I saw his face fall when he read my eyes.
“Laura, if you will just let me talk to you.”
He dipped in again to kiss me and I landed on Tetris just as he was about to fly past us. “Gotcha, you little shit.”
I left Seth on the field kissing air and then calling my name. I didn’t look back.
“It’s the end of the world bitches!”
I heard the rest of Callie’s crew screaming as we entered the Haunted New Year’s Eve party hosted by my brother at club Dawn downtown. The Lemon was closed for the holiday due to Gary getting old. I was surrounded by beautiful lesbians and I couldn’t have been safer. That is, until Paul saw me. I was wearing a short black miniskirt with black knee-high tights, pumps, and glittered pink top. Paul roved over my appearance with a lusty eye.
“So you’re playing with the fun team,” he shouted at me over the loud bass. He had come into the bar a few times keeping me company over the past few months, begging me for a date. I had held off, hoping for Seth to come back. It had been a little over two weeks since our encounter at the park and I had faced the fact that he wasn’t coming. Paul was starting to tear down my walls. Even if he was a notorious player, he was doing an awfully good job of trying to woo me. He was way too persistent for a guy who had his pick of any woman at any time. His dark hair and eyes were dangerously sexy to me tonight. I had to work at maintaining the distance now.
“Yep, I’m a total lesbian now. I’m waiting on my lover.”
“I told you not to call me that.”
“Sorry. You look beautiful.”
“Thanks.” I studied him. He was in his usual hotter than hell attire and smelled like expensive cologne he couldn’t afford. “You do, too.”
“Dance with me.”
“Laura, just let it go.”
“I already have. I’m good.”
“How about a party favor?” It was the infamous Scooby Snack I had been searching high and low for. I shook my head no and went to find a drink. I was at the bar about to spit off my order when I saw Seth and his petite arm candy kissing across from me on the other side of the bar. I saw Seth pull out of the kiss as he shook his head no and took her hands away from his face. I immediately turned around to look for Paul and found him where I left him, talking to David and Allen.
“Hey, hot shit!”
“Hey, Allen.” I gave his arm a squeeze and quickly turned to Paul.
“Do you still have it?”
I saw the look of satisfaction cross his face as I took the pill and handed him my keys. “Take care of me, it’s been a while. You could have told me he was here.”
“I was hoping he would leave.”
I went straight for the dance floor. Seth had to know my brother was hosting this party. I hated him all over again. I danced until my pill kicked in and took a break to find some water. Paul was waiting on the side of the floor with two of them ready for me.
“Thanks,” I said breathless, downing every drop of both glasses.
“God, the way you dance, I could watch you all night.”
He seemed so genuine. I had no choice but to drag him back onto the floor with me. We let the trance music take us away. I felt incredible. Every part of my body was firing and pulsating with pleasure. I reached for the first thing I could touch: Paul. I brought him to me by his shirt and kissed his lips. He seemed shocked, but quickly stoked the fire and lifted me off of my feet. I wrapped my legs around him as he walked me off the floor. He found a dark corner and explored my mouth with his tongue. I loved kissing him. It felt so natural, so good. There was no pain or guilt with him, I just let myself go. My legs still wrapped around him, he ground his hips into me. I gasped in both pleasure and excitement.
I opened my eyes to find Seth standing a few feet away watching us intently. I let my eyes close as another wave of pleasure washed over me and opened them quickly to see him still standing there. Annoyed, I left Paul’s grip and tore myself away from him and saw the confusion on his face.
“Hold that thought, Paul.”
I had finally had it. I wanted no more of Seth and his bullshit. He had broken my heart and screwed with me after the fact. I had never been anything but good to him and it was time this damn, whatever the hell it was, ended.
“What, Seth! What is it?”
“Why, Laura… Why him?”
“Why me? Why do you insist that I stay away from Paul? He wants to be with me, he likes me. He is not standing on some stupid principal like you are. Enough of this shit, leave me alone. I don’t want to see you, ever again. Why are you here?”
“I thought you would be working.”
“So you brought your girlfriend to a party my brother is hosting?”
“I didn’t think you would be here and Rebecca and I didn’t come here together.”
“I saw you kiss her, the way you kiss me.”
“I have never kissed anyone the way I kiss you.”
“Enough! You selfish bastard, you can’t have us both!” I felt Paul come up behind me and slowly stretch his arms around my waist. “You and me, we are done, you made sure of it. We are done!”
The minute I told Seth that, the song he sang to me at The Circus came on. I looked up at the DJ booth and glared at my brother. He was talking to his promoter and completely ignored my glare. Seth recognized it instantly. I raised my hands palms up and repeated Paul’s words from months ago.
“You did this to yourself.” As soon as those words left my mouth Rebecca was by his side.
“Hi, I’m Rebecca and you are?”
“Leaving.” I grabbed Paul’s hand and we left the party. We ended up at his apartment and I let him have his way with me. I thought I wanted him, until I was naked beneath him. It was too late to stop him. I had saved myself for a man who was never coming for me and it was time to let him go. I was thankful for the drug coursing through my veins. I knew now it was truly over with Seth and I had to make sure he never hurt me again. Paul was the way. I knew it was unforgivable, he had basically told me so.
I heard Paul’s front door open as I started to close my eyes to finally drift off. I heard voices and was instantly awake again. I wasn’t comfortable enough in his loft to be naked in his bed when he wasn’t in it and there was a crowd of people beneath us. I covered myself with his sheet and peeked into his living room from the balcony to find Seth with Rebecca and the large group that came with them. Seth stood in the middle of the laughing crowd and saw me. He stood frozen and mouth gaping at me, hate in his eyes. I glared back at him as I felt Paul approach me from behind and kiss the top of my head. I grabbed his hand and led him back to bed.
I woke to the smell of pot smoke and the sound of guys cursing each other. The open floor plan made it impossible not to hear everything going on in the loft. I quickly dressed and checked myself in the bathroom. I found some toothpaste and brushed my teeth with my finger. I left my knee-highs and black pumps off, carrying them in my hands, and headed downstairs to the living room to retrieve my keys. They were playing video games and talking shit amongst themselves. Seth had a controller in hand and was putting a beating on Allen. When I entered the living room everything stopped and all eyes were on me. Fucking pink glittery top! Paul was in the kitchen so I quickly headed in his direction.
“Where are my keys?”
“Right here, but your car is at the club. Let me get dressed and I can take you, but why don’t you stay? The girls went to get breakfast. We can hang out today.”
“No, I need to get home. My dog is probably going crazy.”
“Okay, give me a minute to get dressed.”
I stood at the counter, pretending to be busy rummaging through my purse, checking my pager. I picked up the phone and called Callie to ask her to walk Tetris. She was home, thank God.
“What the hell happened to you?”
“I left with someone.”
“Well you could have told me. I was worried sick.”
“I’m sorry. Please just go let Tetris out.”
“On my way girl, love you, and please don’t do that shit again.”
“I won’t. I love you.” I saw Seth’s head snap to me as I told Callie I loved her. He had assumed I was talking to a guy? I couldn’t help but smirk a little. His eyes narrowed and he gave his controller to Dave who gladly took it over. They seemed oblivious to Seth making a beeline for me, fury on his face.
“So exactly how many men are you fucking and lying to?”
I rolled my eyes and prayed for Paul to hurry.
“I knew you were fucking Paul.”
“No, I wasn’t, until last night.” I smiled at him and he grabbed my arms, pinning me to the refrigerator. I let out a slow wicked smile as if it didn’t bother me. Inside I was dying. The look in his eye told me first what he said to me next.
“I hate you now. Just know that I hate you.”
“Good,” I snapped, ripping my arms free, “now you know how it feels.”
“Why do you think I broke up with Rebecca?”
“I don’t know and I don’t give a shit.”
“She slept with Paul.”
“Oh she slept with her ex-boyfriend? You mean she did with him what we almost did a few weeks ago?”
“I hate you now, and you did that.”
“I wasn’t holding my breath for you, Seth.” I refused to meet his eyes as he dug into me.
“I broke up with her yesterday and was going to come to beg you back. We were at the damn club together because I didn’t want to leave her stranded last minute on New Year’s without a date. I thought it was the least I could do. I never wanted to break up with you, Laura. I shouldn’t have done it. I was wrong, so wrong about her, and everything else. I thought if I… It doesn’t matter.” I whipped my head from studying the kitchen tiles and studied him and knew he was serious. “I could never touch you now. You disgust me.” He walked off and left me with my heart falling in pieces around me. Paul walked up just as my face fell.
“What did you do, Seth?” Paul snapped at his back.
“Seth?” I heard my voice croak.
He refused to acknowledge me and turned to face Paul. “Hey, she’s all yours now. ‘It ain’t no fun if your friends don’t get none’, right?” He smiled spitefully and slammed the door behind him.
I let the darkness swallow me as we headed to Paul’s car. He begged me for my number, but I told him it would never happen again. I could tell he was genuinely interested, but I had no heart left to give. I went home, packed my apartment, emptied my savings account, gave Tetris to Callie, and crossed the Texas state line.
I sat in my rose garden admiring the ridiculous amount of work I had done with a glass of red. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. I took in the scent of the mixture of my roses, thankful for the sunset that finally graced my skin with a break. I had forgotten sun block again. I winced at the throbbing in my hands, but as I took in the scenery around me, it was all worth it. The first thing I did when my mother died was dig up her rose bushes and take them home with me. She would be proud. A small pang of guilt hit me as I quickly realized she would never know I had taken up her hobby. I guess I could tell her when I saw her again, or would she already know?
“I did good, Mom, with all of it. I did what you told me to do, but I’m still a brat.” I chuckled to myself in remembrance of the day she told me so. “I miss you, Mom.”
I felt the familiar tightening in my chest as I walked around my garden. “Now what, Mom?”
A car wreck had taken both of my parents and the drunk driver who hit them. I had a piece of them both in the garden, I thought, as I looked at my dad’s fountain. I chuckled at the fact that he had taken up collecting fountains to intrude on my mother’s refuge of her garden. They were together for thirty-three years before they died. I found it almost romantic that they left the world together. The most painful experience of my life had been the most eye opening. If I had only once chance to do this life, I wanted more, so much more.
I felt my stomach rumble, but stayed out as long as I could to watch the sunset. I loved days like this. Especially with the feeling that I had done something so beautiful on my own with not a damn bit of help from anyone else. Self-made were my new favorite words. They helped to replace the ever present karma. I already had my fair share of karma and was doing my best not to piss off fate any more than I already had. I even got the impression that once in a while, God was smiling down on me. I looked up and gave him a wink.