I wake up in my bed feeling like a truck has just run over me. My eyes are swollen, and my pillow is still moist from all the tears. It takes me a half a moment, but then it all comes back to me like a tsunami of fire. Did I really just end it forever this time?
Yes, I did.
My heart feels like it’s about to implode, my stomach like it might turn itself inside out.
But then I remember why I did it. Michael and I aren’t good for each other. For starters, we both have the inability to be completely honest about things, and I can just see a future with him as a complete disaster as one lie after another slowly annihilates any and all trust between us. Around every turn I’ll always be wondering if he is cheating on me, and I’ll constantly be feeling guilty because I can’t be open with him about things I struggle with, like lying about who I am and what I did in the past. It tears me apart though, because I…fuck. I really care about this man!
But we have a truckload of issues. Another thing is, I don’t want to continue on this road I have started. I’ve lied to my father for six long months since taking the job as a stripper, and every time I see him, the guilt grows a little more, festering in my gut like a wicked little devil. I thought it would become easier to lie as time went on—but no. It has only become much harder, because, the lies keep multiplying around every turn.
Michael on the other hand, it seems this is the way he is, like it’s part of his nature. Not only is he cheating on me with…well, the stripper me, he is also lying to his dying mother just so he can get his hands on the inheritance. What I don’t understand is, he is a highly successful businessman who has everything he needs. Why does he go to such lengths to get more?
And what’s worse, he’s dragged me into this and now I’m part of that despicable deal. I actually willingly said yes to it. What does that say about me?
Well, at least I’ve never done this before, but now…since I met him, I just got deeper and deeper in this lying shit.
I have to stop this.
I have stopped this.
I ended it. I…oh, God!
I cup my hand over my mouth and let out a long sob. Catching a glimpse of the engagement ring on my finger, I pause, remembering the moment he pretend proposed to me in front of his entire family. This is so messed up. Everything is a goddamn lie! I’m glad I put an end to this madness before it completely destroyed me. It was the right thing to do.
But if ending it was the right thing to do then why is it so hard? Why does it feel as if my insides are being torn apart and my life is coming to an end?
With a heavy heart, I slide the rock off my finger and put it on top of the nightstand next to my bed. I refuse to wear something that does nothing other than remind me of how I can’t seem to make a single intelligent decision for my life.
After another twenty minutes of gut-wrenching sobs, I drag my ass out of bed and take a long, hot shower. I have got to pull myself together. I keep repeating to myself that ending it was a mature decision and I need to and am fully capable of getting a grip on these destructive emotions fast.
Once I’ve dressed in a pair of dark skinny jeans and a white sweater, I crack open my laptop to search for a cancer treatment center for my father. I don’t want to go to the one we visited before. They denied us treatment since we didn’t have the funds available, and Michael had mentioned something about another center.
While searching, an email shows up in my inbox. I click on it, and to my great dismay, I see that there’s another email from Michael to Samantha.
Does that man have nothing else on his mind other than sex? Oh, dear lord. Sex…with Michael. Just thinking about it makes my insides turn into a ball of burning desire.
Stop, Scarlett! I scold myself. I cannot and will not do this anymore. I have to get him out of my head and move on. I’m not a child anymore, just acting on the whims of my emotions isn’t an option. But his strong hands on me, his tongue, his amazing…oh…everything.
I bite my lip. It wasn’t that it was just so amazing. It was that in my entire life, I’ve never given myself to a man so completely, so fully in that way. He made me feel like the sexiest woman alive, and so wanted. He brought the confidence out in me, and every time I was around him, I felt so at ease, that I could be me, that I could give him all of me. I felt like I had come home. It was freeing and absolutely amazing to experience that, and part of me is terrified I’ll never find that again.
But, damn reason tells me that he is not the one for me. If I continue down this crazy path, and it is crazier than shit, I will only stoop lower and become a person I don’t want to be. He’s a liar. A cheater. And I can no longer pretend like he isn’t. I just need to see the deal through, and then all will be well. If I can just hang on a little longer…it’s just another few weeks and we’ll be married and divorced, and I’ll have what I need to live my life comfortably. Hell, way more than comfortably. I’ll be a billionaire.
Not wanting to read the email from the cheater to the stripper, I close the laptop.
I head downstairs and dial Anne’s number to wish her a Merry Christmas. She picks up after three rings.
“Merry Christmas, beautiful!” I say.
“Scarlett! I’m so glad to hear from you. How are you?”
Tears spring to my eyes at the sound of her voice. It’s amazing how when you have a close friend and they ask you how you’re doing you can’t just pretend everything is okay.
“I’m…okay.” I force a smile to my lips, hoping she’ll somehow notice my lips rising upward through the phone.
“Oh, no. What is it?” she asks.
Well, it was worth a try. I start to sob.
“Scarlett, sweet thing, tell me,” she pleads.
I sniffle. “I guess I just finally realized that it’s not going to work between Michael and me.”
“Oh, dear. I’m so sorry to hear that, honey.” Her voice is full of compassion. “Was it because you told him you were…you know, Samantha?”
“No, I couldn’t bring myself to.” I sniffle and wipe away the tears cascading down my face. “I need that money for my father, and if I tell Michael…” I can’t even finish the sentence.
“You think he’ll pull the deal,” she says. “Yeah. Well, you’re in a real pickle, I can tell you that.” She pauses for a second as if hesitating about telling me something. “Tell me honestly, though. Did you sleep with him?”