I'm proud to announce the creation of Another Chance Fridays. I will try to release a new chapter of "Another Chance" Cafe every Friday for your reading pleasure. This will keep me on a nice little schedule and give you readers something to look forward to at the end of your very boring and mundane week (just kidding). Hopefully it will also give you something to converse about with your friends on your way to a party Friday night, shopping Saturday afternoon or over Sundy breakfast with your significant other. So this week is episode, uh, I mean chapter 15. Enjoy!
“Are you going to answer it?” Shea called out to me.
Stumbling over my words, I tried to answer her; “Uh, yeah”. I swallowed hard and reached for the brass doorknob. I slowly turned it hoping that she would get tired of knocking, decide that no one was home and go away. But I’m sure she saw my car outside and wouldn’t let any notion other than the fact that I was indeed home into her thick skull. I knew her well, stubbornness was one of her few strong points, but not always a good one. I was surprised she didn’t have the words “Never say Die” branded on her ass. I unlocked the door and opened it.
“Hi!” she greeted.
She was standing there in a pair of sunglasses, her hair tied up into a pony tail. She was wearing a black tank top over a pair of very nice form fitting jeans. She was also carrying a plastic grocery bag. She looked good, she actually looked really good. I had a quick flashback feeling of all the times I would see her after not being around each other for a while during our time together. That feeling of “she is so pretty and she’s all mine”. I would find myself sort of mesmerized for a couple of seconds. One of those little things that really capture my attention about girls, it doesn’t necessarily have to be all about their body. Some females just have that hypnotizing beauty. She as well as Shea were two of them. Her words thankfully broke my concentration on her beauty and I snapped back into reality.
“Um, hey,” I responded with one of those “what the hell are you doing here?” expressions.
“You’re probably wondering what I’m doing here,” she guessed.
“Uh, well yeah,” I thought.
“Well I was driving by and figured I’d see if you were home. I called first but you didn’t answer so I assumed you were at work but then I saw your car. Hope you’re not mad. I brought you some food,” she explained.
“Oh, well thanks, I appreciate that but I just ate and obviously wasn’t expecting you,” I replied.
“Yeah I know, sorry. I guess I just felt like after our chat on Sunday, I thought we kind of got a little closer than we’ve been in a long while,” she said.
“Uh, Jena, to be honest, this is not really a good time right now,” I confessed.
“Oh, ok, do you have company?” she whispered.
“Yeah, actually I do,” I answered.
“Well I was hoping that maybe it would be possible if we had lunch together but I suppose that’s out of the question now,” she said.
“Yeah, pretty much,” I responded.
“Ok then, I guess I’ll just talk to you later…hopefully. If you actually answer your phone,” she said.
“I’ll consider it…maybe,” I said back.
She kind of stood there for a couple of seconds as if waiting for me to all of sudden change my mind and invite her inside. Finally, she turned around and walked back to her car. I resisted the urge to stare at her butt as she walked away. She still had an exquisite one. I mean, it was my favorite feature on a girl, so it would make sense that my ex-girlfriend had a nice ass as well as the girl that had hers on my couch right now.
I closed the door and walked past Shea as I tried to make it to the kitchen to put the food in the fridge before explaining what had just transpired. But the way she was staring at me as I crossed the living room prevented me from reaching my destination. I stopped dead in my tracks and just let everything spill out.
“Ok, her name is Jenalee and she’s my ex-girlfriend, well more like former fiancée. She’s the same one who’s been calling me. We broke up about a year ago and she’s interested in us getting back together. Something that will never ever happen,” I explained.
It all came out as if in one long sentence. I don’t even think I took a breath. I had never really taken the time to talk about her that much to anyone besides a few friends. I hoped I didn’t scare Shea in the way that I just let everything go like that. I looked at her and she was kind of smiling at me like she was about to laugh.
“What?” I asked her.
“You’re cute is all. The way how you just confessed all of that was very cute,” she said with her smile still on her face. “I was only going to ask what that was that you’re holding but you look like you’ve done something awful and you want to make amends. It’s ok, I have no reason to be upset over anything, you haven’t done anything wrong”
“I know, I know. You’re right, I guess I’ve just kept all of that bottled up so long that it all just spurted out,” I explained. “…and this is lunch that she was trying to have with me”
“She must really like you to bring you food and all,” she said. “So, how long did you guys date?”
“About two years,” I answered as I rubbed my face. She had no idea how much it pained me to talk about this.
“So what happened?” she continued to question.
“Long story…but I’ll try to keep it brief,” I began.
“No baby, I want you to tell me everything. I mean if you feel comfortable enough, I do. It’ll also help you get over whatever issues you may have with her, talking to someone about it,” she explained.
“I don’t know, I mean I really have major animosity towards her and whenever I even think about it, I just start to get angry. We’ve had such a wonderful day spending time together and I really don’t want to ruin it,” I responded.
“No, you won’t. I just like being around you, so it doesn’t even matter what we are doing or what we may be talking about and I won’t let you get upset. Trust me,” she assured.
“Ok…one sec,” I replied.
I completed my trip to the kitchen and put the food I had in my hand in the refrigerator. I returned to my place on the couch next to Shea and she turned to face me and began to run her fingers along my hair. I glanced out of the window. The sun was still high but you could tell that it was getting ready to begin its descent beneath the horizon. The yellowish and faint orange color shone through the living room window and bounced off of the wall. A mild breeze began to blow through the window as well. It caught a hold of Shea’s hair and gently blew a few strands of it across her face. I reached over and brushed it back over her ear.
She looked at me endearingly with her pretty brown eyes and I felt a little better about telling her about my past. I no longer felt as nervous or scared to talk about what happened between Jenalee and I. Just sitting there staring back at her, everything in life felt as if it suddenly made sense. I felt a sense of warmth and belonging as she continued to play with my hair. Where should I start exactly? Well the beginning might be a good place.
We were pretty much inseparable after that, always together. We hung out every day and when we weren’t together, we were talking to each other. Either on the phone, through text message or over e-mail. We fell pretty hard for each other or at least it seemed like it. In actuality I was the one that fell hard. She was just “in like” with the idea of me. I was different than many other guys she had known, especially the one before me. She often referred to me as her “rescuer”.
She started hanging out with her friends without me a lot more. Her friends consisted of mainly guys. Girls seem to prefer to hang out with guys as opposed to other girls. Because hanging out with other girls would just make way too much sense. But a couple of female friends of mine explained to me that girls tend to create drama, unnecessary drama and usually for no reason. As if I didn’t already know that. So to avoid that drama, they spent their time with guys who are usually capable of hanging out without starting any fussing and fighting. But they also usually aren’t capable of hanging out without wanting something a little more.
I could feel her slipping away. Slipping and sliding to a place she would much rather be. That place was anywhere that wasn’t with me. I tried my best to keep her around, prevent her from stepping out of my life. I started making more decisions that included the both of us, good ones. If I wasn’t sure, I would simply ask her opinion. I attempted to step up my confidence and rid myself of my paralyzing shyness. All things that she wanted of me. Anything to keep her even remotely interested. Sadly, although there were some very good days, the majority of them consisted of me trying to pick up broken pieces of my heart. I still don’t think I ever found all of them.
Finally, she approached me with the idea of “seeing other people”. The age old nice way of saying “I’m done with you”. But according to her, the purpose was to be apart with the possibility of getting back together. So in other words, she was no longer my girlfriend but she could call on me whenever she felt the need for some “Patrick company”. But I couldn’t get mad if she found herself around other guys. An unhappy situation to say the least. It went on for a little while but I never found any delight or satisfaction within it. It sucked a lot. But I couldn’t bring myself to simply walk away from it and from her. I loved her way too much. I was deep in it. Drowning in my own feelings for her and she didn’t feel the need to toss me a life preserver by returning those same emotions.
Eventually, after a month or two of this one-sided agreement, she broke up with me officially. We were over, done, finished and my heart was officially destroyed. I swore it would be nearly impossible for me to reassemble it. I spent a week out of work and completely detached from the world. I spent my days being shut off behind thick curtains to block out the sun and everything else that consisted of the world outside. That was quite possibly the most down and out that I have ever been in my life, or so I thought at the time. Little that I knew, I would be wrong, so wrong.
My friends all knew of the story and told me to forget about her. Let her go because she had absolutely no idea what she was giving up. I wanted to listen to them but it was hard. To my surprise her older sister was the one to tell me to not give up. She told me that she still spoke about me all the time and really wished that we had worked out. She had been doubting her decision about breaking us up but didn’t want to be the one to try to put us back together. She was afraid that she would mess it up and end up hurting me even more. I toyed with this information for a good amount of time before giving in and deciding to try once more.
With a renewed vigor, I jumped back into the never-ending puzzle that was Jenalee. That I shouldn’t give up on us. I still spent time with her in moderation. I never let her forget who I was or who I was to her. Even though we still saw each other from time to time, I never pushed her into getting back together with me. I didn’t surrender how I still felt about her either. I played it cool. Until, I made the major decision to try to make her my wife. Taking in all of my friends and family’s opinions about the decision, most of them advising me not to do it, I bought a ring and surprised her with it. Pretty confident in her saying yes, I got down on one knee and put my last hopes of us being together into one question, “Will you marry me?”
Thankfully, she said yes. Actually, she screamed it at me. Her enthusiasm about our engagement instantly reconstructed my shattered heart and I felt renewed and whole again. Rejuvenated to have my girl back in my life for good and forever this time. I felt like I was literally on cloud 9. Like whenever I walked, I was floating. Nothing could bring me back down to Earth. Nothing and no one. Nothing and no one except for one thing.
A couple of months into our engagement she began to doubt her wanting to be with me once again. It was like a bad re-run of a terrible show. I really felt like just giving up but I didn’t want to. I loved her and I needed her in my life. Unfortunately it just seemed as if she did not need me. I tried everything; I was there for her whenever she had a bad day. I was there whenever she had a good day. I took her out, we went on trips together. I spent time with her parents, I defended her against my own family who sometimes felt like she wasn’t the one for me. It’s an understatement, a major one to say that I should have listened to them. Even if just for a little bit, I should have listened. But I was young and very dangerously in love. I thought I knew everything there was to know about well, everything.
I assumed this must have scared her somehow because she decided against the second time-out. Instead of breaking up with me for a second time, she merely decided to sleep with someone else. I had a feeling that she had done something with someone else and I even knew who but I thought I should give her the benefit of the doubt. Let her tell me instead of accusing her and possibly being wrong and showing my paranoia. I hinted around the subject for some time before she finally admitted it. That was when that shovel to the chest feeling I had happened. Hearing that someone else shared something as personal and intimate as sex with the love of my life was crippling. I felt like taking my own life to try to stop the constant pain. But in the dust cloud of all of that, I remained with her.
I ensured her that I was willing to get past it if she was. Deep down, I wondered just how I was going to do something like that. Getting over the fact that someone else had been inside my fiancée made me want to hunt that person down and kill them, literally. Never before had I felt such hatred for anyone. Especially someone that I didn’t even know very well. I tried to push those feelings to the back of my mind and instead tried to concentrate on resuscitating our flailing relationship. When I wasn’t with her, my heart ached with the pain as freshly as when she first told me. But it all melted away whenever I looked into her eyes. My love for her overrode any of that and for however long that I was staring into her big browns, everything was right with the world again.
Even though it was tough, the pain eventually began to subside and it didn’t bother me as much. She was being uncharacteristically nice to me, very loving, showing concern, making me lunch and cooking me dinner. Many of her complaints about me had ceased and we seemed to be making really good progress. That is until she expressed her want to continue hanging out with her cheating partner. At first I couldn’t believe just what I was hearing from her, but after thinking about it, it made sense. She wanted to be with him. She must, if she didn’t then she wouldn’t fight me so much about it. I mean correct me if I’m wrong, but why would you insist on spending time with someone your future husband has a major issue with and for very good reason. It didn’t make any other sort of sense to me except that.
I was too afraid to simply come out and ask her about it for fear that she would agree with me. I kept my thoughts to myself and hoped that if enough time went by then she would drop it and her feelings would change about him. Not the best route to take given our past and her indecisiveness and not to mention the obvious signs screaming out at me to drop her immediately. But still I couldn’t, my heart prevented me. There’s a thin line between love and hate but an even thinner line between love and pure stupidity. I was tight rope walking that very line. Not only was I walking on it, but I had made several round trips over the course of our relationship. If it was possible to earn frequent traveler miles by way of the thin line of stupidity, I could travel to the moon and back and not have to pay a single dime.
I didn’t fight it this time, I just left. We had been living together in her apartment since we got engaged so I gathered up the small amount of things that I had brought with me and left. I stayed with a friend until I was able to get my own place. The only reason why she knew where I lived is because she had something of mine that I had her drop off once. But I wished I hadn’t allowed her to discover my address. Then she wouldn’t have been able to just show up here today unannounced. I moved out of her place nearly a year ago and just recently she has developed a seemingly random urge to try to get me back.
“Don’t you feel a lot better now?” she asked still gazing into my eyes. I didn’t even want to answer, I just wanted to sit there and stare back into hers. But I responded.
“I guess so. I feel a little better now that you know the deal and what happened,” I said. “I don’t care for her, well it’s a much stronger dislike than that, but I don’t want to sound mean at the moment. That is why I ignore her calls”
“Well according to her, you guys had a nice little chat a couple of days ago,” she added.
“Oh, well yeah we did, guess you heard that. She kept calling and I gave in and answered and we wound up talking for a while. A lot longer than I had intended,” I explained.
“See, there you go again, explaining yourself. You don’t have to do that. I mean I appreciate it. I really appreciate it, not too many men are considerate enough to even want to consider sharing what they do or giving reasons for doing whatever it is that they are doing. But we aren’t exactly long time boyfriend/girlfriend right now, so you don’t owe me anything. Especially not a conversation with your ex-girlfriend,” she replied back.
“Sorry, reflex I suppose. I did a lot of that with her,” I said.
“I can tell,” she replied. “So it sounds like she hurt you pretty bad. I’m sorry you had to go through that. You don’t deserve that kind of hurt, ever,” she said.
“Well it’s in the past now and that’s where I intend for it to stay”
“But she’s trying to find her way back into your life now, right?”
“She sure is, she seems quite convinced that I am the one for her,” I responded.
“What happened between her and the other guy?”
“Honestly, I couldn’t tell you, I never asked. Never wanted to know, don’t really care,” I answered.
“I don’t blame you. Not at all,” she said. “But I can tell you one thing for sure, she won’t like me when I’m angry, so if she’s smart, she’d back off and find someone else’s life to screw up,” she stated.
“Wow, ok, easy there killer. Where did that come from?” I asked.
“Well, I’m still not sure what we are exactly but I am starting to feel more and more like your girlfriend whenever I spend time with you,” she explained. “So there’s only room for one of us in that light. I mean if you want to be her friend, then that’s your choice and I would respect it but I doubt you’ll be doing that”
“Nope, not at all. Never ever. Won’t happen. I’d walk around outside naked before I’d do that,” I joked.
“Wait, no, can’t do that either. I don’t want any other girls to see what goodies you got. Those are for my pleasure only,” she instructed.
She kind of caught me by surprise with that statement. I hadn’t expected her to actually be the one to bring it up. I figured I’d eventually give in to my feelings and try my luck but she beat me to it. Although I was surprised, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t very happy. But I didn’t want to seem super eager so I took my time responding back.
“Girlfriend, really? Are you sure?” I asked.
“You feel ok about this and it’s not just because of last night and our time together today?”
“No Patrick, it’s not. I mean it does help, yeah but I’ve been thinking about it for a couple days now and I decided it was time to stop being so scared and just go for it,” she said. “I have no reason to be scared, especially with you. I remember things that you say, whether they were by accident or on purpose, I know that you would never hurt me and that you would always take care of me. I have no doubt that you will stand by what you said and I trust you completely. I also want to be those things for you. So I want to try with you and I have no uncertainties right now. I’m still a little apprehensive, yes, but I feel very comfortable with you and that nervousness fades away whenever I am with you. So I’m following my instinct and I’m saying that I want to be with you”
“Well sounds like you really have this thought through. I…feel the same way about you and I think it’s a good idea,” I replied.
“Great, now come here boyfriend,” she demanded.
She held my cheek and pulled me towards her for a kiss. We laid back down on the couch and snuggled up together. Now it was full on night time and the moon was shining brightly in the night sky. The street lamps were on and lighting up the entire parking lot. I got up to switch off the lights and cuddled back up with Shea as we returned to watching television together. It was great, I had told her just about everything and she understood. Having someone that you can actually converse with and not be judged or condemned felt wonderful. We spent the rest of the evening on the couch and eventually drifted back off to sleep, holding each other as if we never wanted to let go.
To be continued...