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EC-AM=Heartbreak Chapter 19
February 20, 2010
“Mom,” I called out as Cole and I walked inside my house.
“In the living room,” she called back to me. I led Cole over to the couch where she was sitting, and as soon as Mom saw him, her eyes went wide with questioning. “Cole, what are you doing here?” she cried.
“Cole and I are back together, Mom.” I informed her.
“I thought you went to college in Michigan.” Mom said to him. She obviously wasn’t very happy to see him here in our house. I could tell by the venomous tone in her voice.
“I did, but I’ve decided to drop out.” Cole replied. He turned his head to look into my eyes. “So that I can be with your daughter,”
I couldn’t hide the smile that broke out across my face when he said that. “Kristy and I are still fighting, and I don’t want to put Cole in the middle of it, so would it be ok if he stayed here with us?” I asked her.
Her hazel eyes narrowed, and she shot me an unhappy look. “Well we’d have to discuss that with your father when he gets home.”
“Wasn’t he supposed to be home two hours ago?” I queried.
“Yes, and he told me that he’d call me if he was going to be late. But did he call? No. He never calls anymore.” The more and more Dad came home late, the farther Mom was pushed. I had a feeling that eventually, she’d snap. She talked to him about it various times, but he kept telling her that it was strictly work, and that there wasn’t anything he could do about it unless he wanted to be fired.
They’d never gone into a full out argument with screaming and shouting over this issue before, but I knew it was coming. Mom couldn’t deal with this anymore. The other day, she’d told me that she was beginning to feel like she didn’t even have a husband anymore, since he was never home. He even started working weekends.
“I’m sorry, Mom.” I said to her apologetically. My parents had been married for nineteen years. I didn’t want them to get a divorce over this. They were supposed to be happy together. Dad was supposed to be Mom’s Mr. Right.
“It’s ok, I’m sure he’ll be home soon so we can discuss everything.” she replied. I nodded and took Cole’s hand.
“Come on,” I murmured, guiding him upstairs to my room. When we reached my room, I made sure to shut the door behind us.
“Does your dad always come home late like this?” Cole wondered aloud.
“Yeah, for the last few months he has been.”
“And it just started completely out of the blue?” he asked.
“Yeah, I guess so,” I replied, wondering why he was so interested in this.
“And he called your mom to tell her he’d be late at first, but after a while he just kind of stopped?”
“Yeah, I guess so,” I repeated. He nodded, biting his lip and looking a bit wary. “What’s wrong? Why are you so curious about this?”
“Well, it’s just that my dad did the same thing.”
“Aren’t your parents divorced?” I inquired.
“Yeah, it turns out that my dad wasn’t working late all those nights. He was having an affair. He was cheating on my mom, and she ended up catching him.” he answered, glancing up at me.
“Wait a minute? Are you saying that you think my dad is cheating on my mom?” I demanded.
“I’m just warning you, because that’s what happened with my parents, and it was pretty hard. Maybe if he is and you know about it now, you can talk him out of it or something. I know it was incredibly difficult for my mom to deal with, and I don’t want you and your mom to have to go through the same thing.”
I stood there for a moment in silence, taking all of this in. Was Cole right? Was my dad cheating on Mom? No, of course not. Dad wasn’t that kind of man. Him and Mom loved each other. Neither of them would even consider having an affair behind the other’s back. They were my parents. I knew them pretty well, well enough to know that they were not the cheating types.
“Thanks for warning me, and I’m sorry for what you had to go through, but I don’t think that’s what’s going on. My dad would never cheat on my mom. He’s not that kind of person. Plus, he loves my mom, and she loves him.” I told him matter-of-factly.
“That’s exactly what I thought about my dad before it happened. When I found out, I went into a state of denial. I just couldn’t get it through my mind that my dad was having an affair behind my mom’s back. It’s pretty hard to take in.”
“I’ll think about all of this later.” I said to him, in no mood to try and process it all now. “Right now, I just want to be with you.”
He grinned, taking a step forward to fill the space between us. He snaked his arms around my waste and I placed mine around his neck. Then he looked into my eyes, bringing his face about a half inch away from mine. “I love you,” he mumbled. Then he placed his lips on mine, and engaged me in yet another breathtaking kiss.
Slowly, we made our way over to my bed and sat down. I wasn’t quite sure where we were going with this, but I knew I didn’t want to go too far. However, I wasn’t going to interrupt a perfectly amazing kiss to tell him that. So I pressed my lips a bit harder against his, and ran my hands through his dark, spiky hair.
Before I knew it, his head was propped up against my pillow and I was pretty much on top of him. But still I didn’t stop it. I was getting wrapped up in the moment, sucked in to the kiss we were sharing. I knew that things were about to take a turn for the worst, but I didn’t want to pull away just yet.
And then, I felt Cole’s rough hand on the small of my back. The camisole I was wearing beneath my cardigan was beginning to ride up a bit in the back, so he was touching my bare skin. A flash of déjà vu from the night at the Holiday Inn hotel room at Cape Cod filled my mind. But his hand didn’t seem to be going anywhere, things still seemed perfectly safe, so I still didn’t retreat.
We stayed in this safe zone for about another ten seconds. Then oh so slowly, his hand began to work it’s way around to my stomach. It moved upwards, but didn’t go underneath my camisole. When he reached the hem of cardigan, he gradually unfastened each of the buttons, and slid it off of shoulders, gently tossing it aside on the bed. Once my cardigan was removed, I had an uneasy feeling boiling in the pit of my stomach. I had to stop, had to back out before I let him go too far. And although I knew I should’ve done this, I didn’t.
His lips planted soft, delicate kisses down my cheek, down my neck. His hands were lingering at my waste, but not for long. Soon enough, he reached for the hem of my camisole. But when he began to pull it off, I knew that this was definitely crossing the line. He was going way out of my boundaries, and I needed to put a stop to it. So I rolled away from him and stood up, no longer feeling very comfortable on the bed with him.
“What’s the matter?” he asked, completely oblivious to what was wrong.
“We’re moving a little fast, don’t you think?” I replied.
“I’m sorry. I thought that maybe since you’re eighteen now, you’d be a little more…willing.” he said, getting to his feet. He walked over to me, and placed his hands on my shoulders, pressing his forehead against mine. “I promise that I’ll take it slow for you.”
I smiled, and kissed him softly on the lips. “Thank you,” I said to him with gratitude.
“Evalynne!” Mom called out my name from downstairs.
“Coming!” I called back, pulling away from Cole. I slipped my cardigan back on and quickly fastened the buttons. “We’d better go see what she wants,” I said, walking out into the hallway. He followed me down the stairs and into the living room, where both of parents were now sitting on the couch.
“Hey, Dad,” I greeted my father. When I looked into his eyes, I tried to picture him with another woman, but I just couldn’t. Cole was definitely wrong about this one.
“Hey, Sweetheart,” he replied with a warm smile. Then he looked over at Cole and that smile disappeared instantly. “Cole,”
“Mr. Carter,” Cole responded with a subtle nod of his head.
“Let’s just pretend for a moment that I were to let you stay with us. How long would you be staying for?” Dad asked, cutting right to the chase.
“To be completely honest, I’m not exactly sure. However, I assure you it would be no longer than a month, sir.” I loved how Cole added sir at the end. He sounded so sweet and polite, like he wanted to make a good impression on my parents.
“Alright, and now we can stop pretending and go back to reality, where I really don’t want you staying in my house.” Dad remarked a bit harshly.
“Dad!” I cried. “Don’t be rude,”
“May I remind you of what happened between the two of you last summer? You know, at the hotel when you went to the beach.” he said, making Cole’s face go bright red. Cole looked at me for a moment, probably thinking that I’d been the one who told my parents what happened. But in reality, it had been Ash.
“Dad, can you please do me a favor and never bring that up again?” I pleaded, feeling my cheeks grow red.
“Well if you want Cole to stay with us, then I have to bring it up. I’m not just going to let this boy live in my house after what happened.” Dad remarked sternly, his face letting me know that he was dead serious.
“I’m very sorry about what happened, sir. But I assure you, I can definitely explain myself.” Cole told him, struggling to regain his composure.
“Fine, let’s hear it then.” Dad retorted, looking a bit amused.
“Well, Evalynne was seriously stressed, so I thought that maybe a day at the beach would help take her mind off things for a little while. It didn’t make any sense to drive to the beach and then drive back that same night, because then we’d get barely any time at the beach. So I suggested staying overnight. Of course, I asked if that was ok with her, and she said it was. I didn’t really think it was that big of a deal, and apparently, either did she. Yeah, we kissed when we were there, but we’re a teenage couple. What do you expect? And I promise you that we didn’t go any farther than kissing either.” Cole told him sincerely.
No, we hadn’t gone any farther than just kissing, but Cole had tried to. And he had just tried for a second time only a few minutes ago. I of course, didn’t point this out to my father, because I loved Cole and wanted him to stay here. But if he did end up staying here, I would have to talk to him about trying to go past kissing. If he already tried twice, he was sure to do it again. But I wasn’t ready for that yet.
“You didn’t get anywhere past kissing, because my daughter had the sense to stop you! But you tried to! I know exactly what you did. Ash told me what happened. You tried to get lucky with my daughter.” Dad shot back, the veins in his forehead bulging out in rage. My face turned an even brighter shade of red, and I was afraid that I would soon die of humiliation.
“Ash told you?” Cole demanded, his tone sounding a bit enraged.
“Yes, as a matter of fact, he did. You know, I never liked that guy very much, but at least he had some respect for my daughter.” Dad remarked bitterly. The whole time Mom and I sat back and watched this ongoing argument. I would’ve spoken up and tried to defend Cole, but my throat was too dry to let any words out.
“Respect?” Cole cried. “That guy still had a girlfriend that he hadn’t broken up with after he proposed to your daughter! He made out with my cousin while he was still dating your daughter! He’s a player!”
“But he didn’t try to stick his hand up my daughter’s shirt, like you did!” he shouted back in fury.
Cole gritted his teeth, exasperated, frustrated, infuriated. “Well he killed someone.” he said evenly. A shocked gasp escaped my throat, and my eyes went wide. “In fact, he killed his own father.”
How could Cole have said that? He knew better than to tell my dad that. That was completely uncalled for! Mad was an understatement for the way I felt at that moment. Both of my parents’ faces were completely taken aback, as if they couldn’t even process the words Cole had just said to them.
“Evalynne,” Dad began, “is this true?”
I swallowed hard, my Adam’s apple bobbing up and down. “Yes,” I said softly.
“How could you not have told us?” Mom exploded, her eyes about ready to bulge right out of their sockets.
“I’m sorry.” I stated, unable to get any other words out. This day had gone from blissful and amazing to horrible and suckish within the blink of an eye. I guess it was fair for Cole to have told them this, because Ash had leaked his secret about trying to feel me up. But I was still angry about it.
“I’m sorry, Cole, but I don’t think you should stay here. It would be better if you just stayed with your cousin.” Mom told him apologetically. Dad was still standing there, mouth agape, at a complete loss of words.
“I understand, Mrs. Carter.” Cole replied. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said to me. Then he gently kissed my lips, turned on his heel, and walked out the front door. I stood there, watching him leave, anger boiling in the pit of my stomach. This wasn’t Cole’s fault. It was my dad’s fault. If he didn’t have such a temper, he wouldn’t have upset Cole the way he did. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t all be in this situation right now.
“If you think you’re ever going to be aloud to speak to that perverted tool again, you’re crazy.” Dad hissed, deadpanning me.
“He’s a perverted tool?” I snapped, my anger rising to the surface. And without thinking, I said it. “You’re the one whose cheating on mom!”
Dad’s face went pale and he was speechless. Mom on the other hand, had a look of shock, hurt, betrayal, anger, and comprehension on her face. She looked into my dad’s eyes, tears beginning to stream down here cheeks. “She’s right, isn’t she?” Mom asked him, her voice soft and fragile, as if it were about to crack. “Coming home late every night, not calling me to say when you’ll be home, going to work on the weekends…” She shook her head, a look of pure dejection in her hazel eyes. “I should’ve known.”
“Holly, I can explain,” he began, his tone desperate. And when those words escaped his mouth, I knew that I was right. He wasn’t denying it. He was having an affair. Cole was right.
“I don’t want to hear your explanation, Richard!” she cried, fuming. “I want you out of my house! Just leave! Now!”
He stared at her for what seemed like hours, before finally turning to look at me. “How did you find out?” he asked, his voice barely audible.
I opened my mouth to respond, but no words came out. Instead, tears trickled down my face, and I felt so betrayed. “How could you?” I choked out. “Mom and I are your family! How could you betray us like that?” I shouted. He looked away from me, no longer able to meet my crestfallen eyes. “How can you even live with yourself? All this time, you’ve been lying to us! You even stopped calling us when you were coming home late! What? Is she more important to you than we are?”
“Evalynne, go upstairs please.” Mom said to me, her face red and blotchy, her mascara running down her face. “I need to talk to your father for a moment.”
“No, I’m not going upstairs. I’m eighteen years old. I’m old enough to be part of this conversation too. He’s my dad. And I want to hear the story too.” I replied.
She sighed, clearly in no mood to argue about it with me. “Who is she?” Mom inquired, turning to look at my dad. At least, he was technically my dad. But a real dad wouldn’t do this to his family, so I wasn’t quite sure what he was to me anymore.
He bit his lip, and warily met her demanding gaze. “She’s the sister of one of my colleagues.” he said. “She works at St. Edward’s Hospital as a receptionist. Her name’s Nina Porter.”
“Her name’s Nina?” I cried. He nodded in response. I couldn’t believe it. Only six days ago, I had seen her. I’d talked to her. She’d looked me right in the eyes and spoken to me. “I know her!” I told him.
“What?” he inquired. “But I told her about you. She didn’t say that she knew you.” he replied.
“Well, she does. She works at the hospital, like you said. I’ve talked to her before. She knows me. She knows my name.” I told him.
“You told her about Evalynne?” Mom demanded, before Dad got a chance to respond to me.
“Yes,” he confessed. “I told her about you too.”
“So you’re saying this Nina person knew that you had a family?” she countered. He nodded a bit shamefully. Mom bit her lip, trying unsuccessfully to hold back tears. “Well, you can let her know that you no longer have a wife. I’m filing for a divorce. I never want to see you again.”
“Holly, please, just give me another chance!” he begged pleadingly.
“Pack your bags, find a motel, and get the hell out of my house.” she said, her voice full of somberness. He didn’t argue with her either. Instead, he walked upstairs, tears rolling down his cheeks. That was the first time I’d ever seen my dad cry.