I sit back down, completely unable to believe that I just said what I said. Out loud and to all of the strangers in this room. I can't believe I cried. Not when I swore to myself that I would never waste another tear on my divorce.
I don't look up again, not even when others stand and speak. I hear them – their words and stories resting somewhere on the periphery of my mind – but I keep my head down. I watch my hands as they fist and grip the soft, woven knit of my sweater. I ignore the slight indentation that still remains on my left ring finger. It's still there…after all this time. Serving as nothing more than a reminder of what I've lost. What I guess I never should've had to begin with.
When the session is over, people stand and begin to move around. The smell of coffee fills the room and I hear some of them laughing and talking and making polite conversation. I should stay. The healthy thing to do would be to stay.
Yeah, fuck that.
Picking up my purse, I stand, looking around to find the door. I really need to get the fuck out of here. I mean, there's no way I'm staying for small talk. Not when everyone here has already heard my real story. How does one talk about the weather when your whole life story has already been laid out and placed on display? Like the saddest, most pathetic painting ever.
Well, not this one anyway.
Just as I'm about to reach the door, I hear a voice behind me. It's soft and male, smooth and deep.
"You're not staying for coffee and donuts, Bella?"
How the fuck does he know my name?
Oh, right…because I announced it like I was at some fucking AA meeting.
"Does it look like I need any donuts?" I ask, wincing at the sharp tone of my voice…and the way my jeans are tighter than they used to be. So, maybe I haven't been eating Lean Cuisines all that much. Maybe I've been eating bags of Oreos and crappy takeout.
The door is right there. I was so close to making my escape.
"Ummm…y-yeah…" he stammers, not sounding as smooth as before. But his voice is still soft. Still masculine. "You ummm….you look fine. To me."
"I look fine," I say, turning around…as much as I don't want to. "Now, there's a ringing endorse…"
My words catch in my throat the moment I see him. Everything about him matches his voice. Handsome and tall, with hard angles…yet everything about him seems smooth. From the bronze hair (that's better than mine) to the piercing green eyes that are looking straight at me. Not through me – but at me. He's wearing low-slung jeans and a sweater and everything about him looks easy. Effortless.
I immediately want to run away.
"That didn't come out right," he says. "I mean…I just…it's not like I could say I thought you were pretty."
"Because that would be a lie?" I quip, not caring that I'm coming off as defensive. Not caring about anything other than the fact that I need to get the fuck out of here.
"No," he says. "Because that would have been inappropriate."
His eyes hold mine and I can't look away. They're soft and non-threatening. Wide and open. Well, that's bullshit. I've seen eyes like his before. Maybe not exactly like his. His have to be contacts. Seriously. They're like fucking emeralds. But regardless, I've seen eyes that were warm and full of laughter. Eyes that looked into mine and made the world go away.
Well, fuck that.
That didn't work out so well before.
Eyes can change. Just like people. Well, people with dicks.
Shaking my head, I look back down. "Yeah…I need to go. Okay then. Bye."
"Bella," he says my name and I feel this tingling. It makes me angry. Who is he to make me fucking tingle? And who the fuck am I to let him? "It's okay that you're nervous. Sharing – especially the first time – is hard."
I look back up, my cheeks flushing with anger and embarrassment.
"Don't pretend to know what is and isn't hard for me. You don't know anything about me at all," I say quietly, not wanting to draw any attention to myself. "And for the record, I didn't see you standing up and sharing anything…you know, personal and private tonight."
"What do you want to know?" he asks. His voice is soft, and he's smiling.
"I don't want to know anything."
"Come on," he presses. "You can ask me one question and I'll tell you the truth. Anything."
I stare at him for a moment, trying to figure out if he's serious. Trying to figure out why he's even talking to me. Nothing about me can possibly read as warm and inviting. Nothing about me should hold his interest at all. I mean, he's gorgeous, obviously. And for whatever reason, he seems nice.
They all seem nice in the beginning.
So, I do the one thing I know will shut him up. The one thing that will make him leave me alone so I can leave like I want to.
"Why are you here…yeah, sorry. I don't know your name."
"I'm Edward," he offers.
"Okay, Edward," I say. "Why are you here?"
His smile falters, and I feel just like the bitch I know I am. My misery doesn't give me the right to make anyone else feel bad. I'm about to apologize, when he speaks.
"The same reason as you, Bella," he says. "I'm here because I'm divorced."
And before I can stop myself, I hear me asking, "Yeah…but why?"
His face is serious, and he steps in closer. Too close. So close I can feel the heat emanating from his stupid, perfect body. I hear him breathe – I feel his breath across my face. And my whole body warms from the almost-contact. And I don't fucking move. I stand there frozen like a statue in the park.
"I'm divorced because…" he sighs loudly, leaning in to whisper in my ear. "My wife left me because my cock was too big for her tiny vagina."
Reviews are love.
Please leave me some.
Thank you for the wonderful response to chapter 1. It means a lot that so many of my readers are willing to embrace this story. Especially given the context.
As always, Marvar is amazing. And the reason that anything I write is readable. She truly is a beta-goddess. Or a sex goddess. (If you're talking to Rob.)
Thank you to my pre-readers: Raina, jaimearkin, Kourt17 and laura_1025. I love them more than Phoebe loves smelly cat.
See you in the morning!