Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.
The nights are still cool; Winter takes its time melting into Spring. Like it doesn't want to leave, doesn't want to give me the warmth I crave.
Edward's around less. He spends his days painting in a friend's empty studio a few blocks away. When he's not focusing on his own work, he's sketching pages for a children's book he was asked to illustrate. He keeps himself busy. And I don't want to compete with his passion, so I give him the space he needs.
When we're together, though, he's present; attentive. He fucks me like there's no one else. Leaves notes for me in the mornings before I wake up. We kiss and laugh and he whispers words to me in the dark and holds me while we sleep. It's never been like this before, so these things make up for his absence. These moments crumble my doubt.
And then one Saturday morning he leaves to run an errand. But his phone stays.
It's not deliberate. It's an accident on his part. He never leaves without it.
I stay hidden under the blanket, expecting him to walk back in and grab what he's forgotten. But five minutes turns into forty-five, and the phone is still on the nightstand.
It taunts me with its presence, its vibrations. The screen lights up, a number with an area code I'm unfamiliar with. It's not added to his contacts; no name attached to this caller.
I reach over and rest the phone in my palm, waiting for whoever's calling to realize no one is going to answer. The buzzing dies. The screen grows dim. And then a text from the same number is received.
The scale of curiosity shifts, all its weight leaning toward suspicion. And I hate this feeling; hate the way its pressure suffocates.
I've never invaded Edward's privacy before. Never truly had a reason to doubt him. Maybe the skepticism I feel only resides in my head. But his phone isn't locked, and if he had something to hide, he'd find a way to keep out unwanted eyes.
It's wrong. I can't deny it. My pulse races. I stare at this little device that holds so much power; holds so much knowledge about who Edward is. It knows things I never will, and that's what drives me to unlocking his phone.
My thumb swipes across the screen and I immediately open the message. There are no other texts that string this conversation together, just the one that was sent two minutes ago.
I could have rescheduled the appointment. Let me know sooner than the day of next time.
Reading the words a few times, I let their meaning sink in. It probably has to do with work. That's the only thing that makes sense.
I quickly scan his other texts, but nothing is out of the ordinary. Every conversation is straightforward.
Without anything to dissect, the weight on my chest disappears. My body loses its tension. Without fear and unease, the only feeling I'm left with is shame.
I've become that woman, the one who snoops and distrusts without reason.
I've become a woman who lets insecurity rule her life.
This, along with other great stories, is up for Fic of the Week on The Lemonade Stand. If you'd like, go check them out and give 'em a vote: tehlemonadestand dot net
Thanks to Nic and Jaime for rec'ing my little story.
And thanks to Kim and Vic for just being lovely.