“Hitting on bartenders now? That’s a new level of pathetic…” says a woman behind us.
I turn around and there she is, in all her bitchy blonde skanky glory, her arm around Donovan like she’s afraid he’ll run away if she lets go. He has the decency to give her an unimpressed look while I just stare down the whore who stole my sex buddy.
“Naomi…” he sighs, trying to pull her away but she won’t budge.
“Yes, Nay-o-mee,” London mimics, taking one step in her direction and making a walking away gesture with her fingers. “Time to go. Buh-bye.”
“You don’t scare me,” the stick insect replies and oh boy, was that the wrong thing to say. And Donovan knows it because he drags her away without a word while she starts yelling at him to let her go.
“Well that was fun,” Lacey says, giving me a hug and I just shrug.
“It is what is is,” I say, feeling my exhaustion come back and a headache starting to develop. That bitch took the fun out of my day in two sentences.
We pay and manage to get Chris and Lacey to exchange phone numbers and a promise from him to contact her with a time for their date before we leave.
By some miracle the carpark is empty of nasty jealous blonde women when we get out there and after more hugs we go our separate ways.
I make myself a cup of tea when I get home and go straight into my office. It’s been too long since I had free time to design things for fun and I had forgotten how much I enjoy it.
I decide to make one of the designs my tired brain came up with and start drafting my pattern. I’m cutting pattern paper when I hear the doorbell. I check the time on my phone.
5.30pm. Wow times does fly when you’re having fun, the last hour and a half went past way too fast.
Donovan is the last person I expected to see on my doorstep and I stand by the open front door staring at him. Maybe it’s my sex-starved brain but he looks good enough to eat.
“Can I come in?” he asks and that shocks me out of my daydream of him taking me up against the wall with the door wide open. He’s never asked to come in before, not since the first time he came to my house years ago.
I nod and move out of the way, starting down the hall to the kitchen. I hear him come in and close the door. I have butterflies in my tummy and to stop myself from doing or saying something stupid I grab the jug, fill it with fresh water and turn it on.
I know a cuppa won’t magically fix everything but I need one.
Donovan comes in the room, walking across my small kitchen in three steps and wrapping his arms around me in a huge hug I wasn’t aware I badly needed.
As we stand in my kitchen with our arms around each other, my face pressed against his chest, his delicious scent making my knees weak as usual, I make the terrifying discovery that I have lost what I never knew I truly wanted.
My mum and the girls were right. I am in love with this man and my heart breaks when I realise that I can’t have him. How terminally stupid have I been? Fuck!
“I miss you,” Donovan says over the racket of the boiling water. “We never hang out anymore.”
“Whose fault is that?” I ask him, pulling out of the hug to get two mugs out of the cupboards. I need to keep busy, I can’t break down in front of him, not now. “I was quite happy with the way things were but clearly I was the only one, since you felt the need to get yourself a proper girlfriend.”
“Don’t be like that.”
Ooh, hit a nerve, did I? Tough.
“In case you hadn’t noticed, your precious girlfriend hates me.”
Don’t turn around, just pour that boiling water.
“She doesn’t hate yo—”
“I’m sorry, were you not there earlier today when she called me a pathetic slut?” I ask him, turning around to look at him and he is not even looking at me.
Well this is going great…
I walk around him and over to the fridge to get the milk. “How did you meet her anyway?” I ask because, as much as I don’t like thinking about them together, I have been wondering.
He sighs and I know I’m not gonna like the answer.
“I needed a +1 for Jordan’s sister’s wedding last month. She’s his cousin.”
You know, I did wonder why he was wearing a suit when he showed up that night we had sex in the shower after the wedding expo. I see red.
“I guess that explains why this skank I’ve only met twice thinks I’m a slut.” Jordan’s cousin. Well…. Considering what he thinks of me, no wonder that bitch hates me. God knows what bullshit he’s been feeding her.
Donovan takes exception to the word I used. I don’t let him finish because fuck this crap. I’ve known him ten years, he’s known her ten minutes and he takes her side? She must be really good at sucking dick because that’s the one thing I don’t really do (weak jaw, don’t judge).
“Are you actually really standing here telling me you took your friend’s cousin to his sister’s wedding then came here and fucked me in the shower and woke up the next morning thinking, hey, I think I’ll ask the stick insect out on a date?”
“It wasn’t like that…”
“Oh?” This I have to hear.
“You were stuck at the wedding expo all weekend and I needed a +1 and—”
“You didn’t even ask me! I’ve been your +1 at every fucking wedding since day fucking one! That’s how we roll!”
He looks at me, the shock on his face no doubt mirroring mine, I have never asked him to leave my house before, let alone demanded he leave.
“You need to leave. You made it clear who you wanted in your life and I think you should leave. Wouldn’t want you to get in trouble with the missus, after all I’m pretty sure you didn’t tell her you were coming here.”
“Let me explain.”
Explain what? Why I feel like there’s a knife in my back? Why my heart is suddenly in a million pieces? Why I can’t look at you without wanting to cry? No. This is not happening.
I can’t look at his handsome face anymore, his expressive brown eyes pleading with me to let him explain the unexplainable.
I don’t want to hear it, besides, I know the tears I’ve been fighting are threatening so I make a hasty exit and run to my office.
I close the door and collapse against it, sliding to the floor in a heap. I hear the front door close and a car driving away. I feel the tears come and I let them.
I can’t seem to stop crying and when I start hearing the same song over and over it takes me a few minutes to realise it’s my phone ringing.
I crawl over to my desk on all fours and pick up my phone, answering it without bothering to look who’s calling me, while hoping it’s not Donovan.
“Hello?” I try not to sniffle and look around for the box of tissues I keep in my office. Where did the damn thing get to?
“Are you still home?” my mum asks and that’s when I remember I’m supposed to have dinner with my parents at 6pm.
“Yeah, sorry, Mum. I got stuck in some work and forgot the time.”
“Are you ok, honey? You sound a bit off.” Good old Mum and her spidey sense…
“I’m fine, just tired. Probably coming down with something from sitting in the sun for the first time in 6 weeks this afternoon,” I joke, trying to throw her off the scent.
I think it’s working because she laughs.
“Good catch up with the girls today then?”
“Yes. Do you need me to get anything on my way over?” I ask her, getting off the floor and walking to my bedroom. I can smell Donovan on me and I need to get changed.
“Just some cream, honey, please. The small bottle should be fine.”
“Ok, mum, I’ll be there soon.”
“Thanks, honey. See you in a bit. Love you.”
“Love you too, Mum,” I reply and we hang up.
I quickly get changed and head off, stopping at the dairy down the street from Mum & Dad’s to get the cream.
I hear message alerts on my phone as I drive as well as Whatsapp notifications but whoever it is can wait. If it’s Donovan, I don’t want to hear it. If it’s Lace or London, I’ll probably start bawling.
I take a deep breath as I park outside my parents’ house and manage to find a smile before I walk in the front door.
“Honey, is that you?” my mum calls out and I roll my eyes.
“Who else could it be, Mum?” I joke as I close the door behind me. My brother lives in London, I don’t think he’d show up unannounced.
I find Mum in the kitchen, slicing the roast pork we’re having for tea and I give her a kiss.
“Thanks for the cream,” Mum says with a smile, not looking up at me as she is concentrating. I put the cream in the fridge and fill the jug.
Getting a mug from the cupboard gives me a weird sense of déjà-vu and suddenly l’m back in my kitchen arguing with Donovan.
I take a few deep breaths, glad the noise of the jug is hiding any noise Mum could hear. I never did drink that cup of tea I made earlier when…
I blink away the tears threatening again as my brain decides to replay the scene over and over. I feel Mum’s hands pry mine away from the mug I’m clenching and let her lead me to the lounge and the couch.
The moment her arms close around me I start bawling again. She rubs my back and makes soothing noises and I. Just. Can’t. Stop. Crying.
“What happened? Is she ok?” my dad asks, alarmed, after he rushes into the room. I feel Mum shrug, because she doesn’t know why I’m such a mess. I need to tell them.
“Mum, I’ve been so stupid and now it’s too late and that bitch hates me and it’s not fair and he should be mine, not hers and he came to my house and we had a fight and I told him to leave and now I can’t stop crying and it hurts so much…” I stop to take a shaky breath, all this crying and rambling getting to me.
“Oh, honey…” Mum has no words and I can’t blame her. She’s been warning me this could and would happen for years and I’m waiting for the ‘I told you so’ that strangely isn’t forthcoming.
She just hugs me as I cry and Dad hands me some tissues when I finally stop.
“Darling, your phone is ringing,” Dad says, heading to the kitchen to retrieve my bag for me.
I find my phone at the same time the ringing stops but still have time to see the caller ID.
*Part 4, Thank God for friends, is right here*
*ICYMI Part 2, Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, is here*