Friday, October 29, 2010

"Another Chance" Cafe...chapter 16

I was the first one awake again the next morning. I forgot to pull the shades completely closed the night before so the sun lighting up the entire living room was the reason my sleep was disturbed. Shea was lying on top of me probably peacefully dreaming about something. Hopefully it was me. I was holding her close and could feel air hit my t-shirt every time she took a breath. I looked over at the digital clock on my cable box and saw it was still kind of early. We must have fallen asleep early because I felt pretty rested to be up this early. Maybe I was the one who fell asleep early because Shea must have turned off the television. I laid there holding her and stroking her skin back and forth for quite some time before trying to move. Seems like that has become my new favorite thing to do.

I gently slid her off of me and made my way to the bathroom. After that, I went into the kitchen to prepare some breakfast that I could surprise her with. I know, great thinking. The smell of freshly toasted waffles must have woken her up because I heard the bathroom door close and a couple of minutes late she walked into the kitchen and presented me with a rather big hug. I squeezed her back tightly and we shared a kiss.

“Good morning boyfriend,” she greeted. I had almost forgotten that we had made it official last night. We awoke this morning an actual couple. I couldn’t hold back a smile. Apparently neither could she.

“Good morning to you too, girlfriend,” I greeted back. We just stood there looking at each other smiling for about a minute before letting go. We ate breakfast and shared our thoughts of sadness about our little mini personal holiday coming to an end and having to return to work. We joked about ditching work for a second day and how upset our bosses might be. After breakfast, she gathered all of her things, some of which I had to help her find within the rubble that we made two nights ago.

“You should let me help you clean this up,” she offered. “This mess is partly my fault”

“Nah, it’s cool, I needed to clean up this room anyways. Plus, this was one mess that I really enjoyed making,” I joked.

“Oh, well then maybe I can help you make another mess just like it real soon. Perhaps at my place this time. I figure it’s only fair. Plus I don’t think my walls are as hard as yours. I think I got a knot on the back of my head,” she said with a smile.

“Do you really? Let me see,” I said as I turned her around and tried to sort through her hair to find the bump. I couldn’t see it but I could feel a small lump at the very back of her head. I kissed it and then added another one on the back her neck. “Does that feel any better?” I asked.

“Yes, yes it does,” she answered.

We rounded up the last of her things and I walked her to the front door. I suffered a quick flashback of Jenalee standing on the other side of the door as I reached for the handle. That would really suck if it suddenly turned into a reality. Luckily my exaggerated imagination didn’t have the power to bring my thoughts of paranoia to life. I opened the door and we walked out to her car. I opened the door and she stopped short for a second. She took hold of my hand and looked up at me.

“Thank you Patrick, for everything. The night we spent together, breakfast…and breakfast,” She giggled.

“…and for playing hooky with me, I only wish this could last longer,” she confessed again.

“Yeah, me too. Can’t wait to see you later,” I responded.

“Oh yes, definitely,” she said. “Ok, well have a good day baby; I’ll call you later on.”

“Ok,” I replied as we kissed each other goodbye. She got in the car, started it and drove off. I watched her white car intently until it disappeared around the corner.

I almost couldn’t believe that I had a girlfriend once again. It almost felt surreal to actually feel this way about someone and have them feel the same way about me in return. It had been a while and this time it felt real. Unforced, genuine and completely natural. I didn’t feel like the rebound guy. I didn’t feel as if my feelings were deeper than hers were. I was eager to find out how this fresh relationship would play out. How it would affect the two of us, for the better I hoped. My heart swelled with a new lease on life, like and potentially maybe even love. But that was later, way later. For a brief moment as I walked back to my apartment, I could remember what that feeling of being in love was like. But before I could pick out a specific instant when it had made me feel good, my memory was dashed away by the hurt and anguish that certainly outweighed it. However, now was not the time to try to retrace the path that I lost on the way to true love. Now was the time to embrace this second opportunity and maybe instead of seeking that same path, I’ll stumble onto another road. This time to a much happier place.


The next couple of weeks with Shea were incredible. They flew by at moments but also contained those special times that seemed to flow past us in slow motion. We became even closer. We learned things about each other that neither of us had told anyone else for quite some time. Some surprising and funny like when she told me she drag raced some guy one night and actually won. Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either. She won a hundred dollars. Mine was about the time a friend of mine dared me to go bungee jumping. I won two hundred dollars for that one. Scariest two hundred dollars I ever made.

Other stories were sad and a little scary. She told me more about her relationship with Xander. They had gotten into a couple of fights that became physical. She said they would argue and he would start drinking and take things to the next level. Luckily nothing serious ever happened and eventually she left and went to stay with her parents. They aren’t too accepting of him anymore to say the least and she informed me that they aren’t very trusting of guys in general anymore either. She confessed that sooner or later she wanted to introduce me to them but she was pretty nervous about it. Although she feels that they would eventually like me and trust me around her, that it would take some time, and effort. I reassured her that I completely understood. I would feel the same way if it were my daughter. Knowing that she had come out of a rough relationship, I probably wouldn’t want her around anyone with a penis ever again. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have wanted her around guys in the first place if I were a father but that’s being pretty unrealistic.

I shared a couple of my relationship stories that also led to violence. I wasn’t too proud of some of my actions against Jenalee, but I had felt trapped and alone during those times. I didn’t know what to do. There were instances when one of us would truly wind up hurt and then others when it was the both of us who became injured. In the past, I wanted to blame everything on her but I never said that she deserved it. Regret would fill my heart after every battle we had even if the outcome yielded me as the one with battle scars. I wish I could go back and try to figure out another way of dealing with situations such as those. But being a guy and always being told never to put your hands on a woman with the intent to physically harm her, what are you supposed to do if you are the one in danger of being harmed? What do you do when she just won’t stop? To this day, I still do not have the answer to those epic questions. I’m sure plenty of males and perhaps even females would like to discover those magical solutions as well.

I made sure to disclose all of this to Shea so she was able to make her own decision about me. So she could come up with her own personal opinion about our current and hopefully future situations. To my surprise, she never even flinched once at any of my details. She acted as if she had not only heard occurrences like those before but had been a part of much, much worse. In fact, she had. She, herself, had been through a couple of terrible times but somehow, again always managed to find herself a way out relatively unscathed. She shared stories about her parents and a couple of her friends who also had been involved in similar circumstances. It was another point about life we found a connection on. Needless to say, she didn’t see me as a threat. She felt safe around me and I intended on keeping it that way.

As time went by, spending it with her was truly a dream come true. She was literally on my mind during every waking moment of the day. I swear there were times when I’d wake up in the morning and felt her hair blowing against my skin. Other times I thought I heard her voice, “Patrick, wake up”, but it always turned out to be either my imagination or my dreams. Except for the times that it really was her. I lost count of how many times we’ve spent the night together. Some over-nighters were filled with us simply relaxing, conversing and cuddling until we fell asleep. Others consisted of another type of activity that had us exerting a lot more energy. Regardless of which type of evening it turned out to be, it was always a good one if she was with me.

I was at work one day, one dull, mundane day of the same thing trying my best to keep my mind focused on the pointless work that I was doing. Well, at least I felt it was pointless. Anyways, I was at work and my office phone rang. Figuring it to simply be another call that I was to going to regret answering, I ignored it. Generally, no I’m not supposed to just let calls at work just ring out but it was about that time in the afternoon when you’d rather stick a fork in your eye instead of sitting at a desk. Not even thoughts of Shea and knowing that I would see her later cured my ever dragging on case of “not wanting to be here”. Finally it stopped and I returned to my still dull, mundane work.

Without warning, it began to ring once more. My head instantly collided with my desk as I had had enough. I let out a very deep sigh and slowly reached to answer it figuring it to be my boss. As much as I didn’t feel like talking to him either, it might be in my best interest to not ignore another phone call at work if I wanted to keep my job. I picked up the receiver and brought it over to my head which was still resting itself upon my desk.

“Hel-lo,” I answered.

“Hey baby,” Shea responded. My head instantly perked back upward with a smile upon its face.

“Why hello there,” I said.

“What’s up?”

“Eh, nothing good”

“You don’t sound like you are having such a good day,” she said.

“Nah, not really, just extra ready to get out of here today. I feel like running up and down the cubicle aisles and throwing pencils at random people,” I joked.

“Hahaha, you’re silly, but I think they frown upon acts such as those in the work place,” she reasoned.

“Well I don’t care, it will keep me from hanging myself…and be pretty entertaining at the same time,” I said.

“You are so stupid,” she joked back. “But anyway, I have a question for you…”

“Which is?”

“Are you going to be busy tonight?”

“Well that depends”


“…what color underwear you’ll be wearing to bed tonight. You know red is my favorite,” I said.

“Oh my…”

“Oh my indeed”

She giggled. “I’ll have to go home and change then before going to your house,” she responded. “Hmmm, now you got me all hot and bothered, and I almost forgot what I wanted to ask you”

“Well, I often have that kind of effect on women,” I stated.

“Oh, do you really, and just what women are you referring to?” she asked.

“Oh, a few here and there. So many of them command my time. You’re just lucky that I like you, so I decide to spend much of that time with you. You should feel very privileged, a lot of hearts are broken because of you”

“Well they can find someone else to help them pick up the pieces, ok? Haha,” she joked back. “Now back to what I was saying before you make me forget again”

“Ok, go ahead”

“Well, I was thinking we’ve been together for a while now and although I was pretty nervous about it at first, I feel a lot better about you finally meeting my parents now,” she confessed.

“Um, now as in tonight?” I asked.

“If it’s ok with you. I mean if you don’t feel comfortable about it yet, then it’s fine. I didn’t already tell them, I figured I would ask you first,” she said.

“Uh…yeah, that’s fine, I’m cool with meeting them,” I hesitantly agreed.

“Are you sure, there’s no pressure, I swear. I just felt like it would be a good time, that’s all,” she explained.

“No, it’s fine, I promise. I would love to finally meet them. What time?” I asked.

“Ok, great, you’re the best. Um, I guess around 8ish. I’ll come get you at like seven-thirty,” she said.

“Ok, cool, I’ll be waiting,” I responded.

“Perfect, thanks again. This really means a lot to me,” she said.

“I know it does, it means a lot to me too. I’m looking forward to it,” I replied.

“I don’t know if you’ll feel the same way after my Dad asks you your life story,” she said.

“I think I’ll be alright, not the first time I’ve met parents before. Besides, I already got my parents thinking I’m something special, so another set should be easy,” I joked.

“Ha-ha funny man, let’s see if you’re singing the same jokes afterwards,” she said.

“I’m sure I will”

“Yeah right. But anyways, I got to go, but I’ll see ya later, ok? Bye baby,”


She hung up the phone and I just sat there with the receiver in my hand. I was meeting her parents…tonight. Sure I said that I was fine with it but obviously I had just lied. Maybe even trying to not just convince her but also myself that I was completely cool and calm about this. I had no time to prepare myself or get used to the idea that I was going to actually meet the two people that brought that angel into this world.

After work was finally over with, I got into my car to drive home but still didn’t know how to get myself ready for this impromptu occasion. When I arrived home, I made a B-line to my closet to find something respectable enough to wear. Something that would impress but won’t seem like I’m trying to kiss up. Realizing that I forgot to ask Shea where exactly we were meeting, I grabbed my phone and shot her a text:

Where are we meeting at?

Perhaps she had planned it at a restaurant, that way everyone would feel at ease and comfortable being in a neutral sort of setting.

At their house, my dad likes 2 feel in control…but no worries, u’ll do just fine :)

Ok, so I was way off. At their house, huh? Great, that really did put her father in control. But I didn’t blame him, I would probably have it the same exact way if I were him. But whatever, it is what it is. I found a cream colored long-sleeve button down shirt with thin red stripes and matched it up with a light colored pair of slacks. I jumped in the shower after giving myself a fresh shave. Donning the outfit that I had picked out, I took a look in the mirror to check myself over before leaving. I thought I looked pretty ok, very presentable, like I could be trusted with a father’s beautiful daughter. Yeah, I thought that much of myself at that moment. I took my shirt off and laid it on the couch next to me as I sat down. I wanted to keep it fresh and wrinkle free as long as possible.

I switched on the television to try to take my mind off of the impending task at hand; impressing Shea’s parents. How I should greet them? What should I talk about? Should I answer any personal questions they ask me? I decided that although it is much better to be prepared, some situations simply call for effects as the cause happens. In other words, my favorite thing to do; playing it by ear. I’ll just wing it instead of racking my brain worrying about whether or not they will like me or not. Jenalee’s parents wound up loving me. I was upfront, very honest and very myself with them. They seemed to like that. How they felt about me now, I had no idea. It suddenly hit me that I hadn’t spoken to them ever since we broke up. True, there was no reason for us to ever speak again but I wondered what they thought about me. Even more so, I wondered what she had told them about me. About just what had had happened between us. I wondered if their opinion about me had changed. I know it shouldn’t matter to me anymore but all of sudden, I found myself caring.

Before I knew it, my thoughts had taken me into the night. It was now almost a quarter to eight and no word from Shea. I tried calling her but got her voice mail. I don’t think she was ever late for anything before. At least anything that concerned the two of us. I waited a little while longer but still nothing. I tried her phone again but once more was instructed to leave a message by her voicemail. I took a peak out the window as if it would magically make her suddenly appear pulling into the parking lot in her car. That didn’t happen. I even decided to go outside and take a little stroll around my complex, taking my phone and grabbing my shirt just in case I ran into her. I locked my front door behind me and stepped out into the cool air. The moon was full and lit up the sky like a gigantic night light. A slight breeze swirled about but did not produce a chill. It provided a nice compliment to the clear weathered evening.

The nice night was almost reassuring. It made me feel as though I had nothing to worry about. Either my phone was about to ring or she would come speeding around the corner and I would tease her about it not being another drag race at the moment. I continued to wait, but nothing. Not a text, call, nothing. I returned to my apartment around what was now eight-thirty. It really wasn’t like her at all. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something might possibly be wrong but I refused to give into that emotion. I didn’t want to overreact. I had done that before in the past with the last one and it only made matters worse. I decided that I wouldn’t catch an attitude with her whenever I did see her again. I would simply allow her to explain herself. That’s all.

I micro-waved a frozen dinner, figuring by now grabbing something to eat with her was out of the question. I ate my excuse for a dinner and stretched out on the couch. Before I knew it, I was knocked out. I didn’t even realize that I had fallen asleep so when I awoke I was surprised to see the time. It was just after midnight and some old movie was playing on T.V. now. It looked familiar but I couldn’t remember the title. My mind immediately refocused to exactly where it was before my eyes closed. I checked my phone but still nothing. I called her again, figuring this time for sure to get an answer. I figured wrong. No Shea, only her beautiful voice from her voicemail.

I decided to call it a night and retired to bed. With all sorts of thoughts running through my head, there was one in particular that I couldn’t keep from standing out. Although I didn’t want to continue to return my mind to comparison to my last disaster of a relationship, I was suffering a very familiar feeling. The feeling that maybe she was with someone else. No contact for the entire night, I knew that situation all too well. This wasn’t the first time I found myself in it. It was a helpless feeling actually. Not knowing where she was or what she was doing. Whether she was safe or not and worse of all, knowing there wasn’t anything you could do about it. I thought about driving over to her place to see if she was there but instead I calmed myself. If she couldn’t make it tonight, then she must have a really good excuse. I left it as that and went to bed.

My sleep was filled with uneasiness which resulted in me tossing and turning but I eventually found rest as I drifted off. It didn’t feel like too long before my phone rang waking me up. But when I glanced at the clock on the nightstand beside my bed, I had actually slept for about an hour and a half. It was almost three in the morning now. The guitar solo played on as I fumbled for it in my groggy state. I got hold of it and answered it without even checking the caller I.D. first.

“He-, hello,” I answered.

“Paat-trrick,” Shea answered. She sounded as if she had been crying. I could hear her sniffling and her voice was very low and quiet.

“Hey, what’s up? What happened?” I asked. “Are you ok?”

“Um, yes, I’m ok, I guess,” she answered.

“Are you crying? What’s going on?” I continued to ask.

“Uh, *sniffle* there’s something I have to tell you,” she said. Her voice trembled on every word as if she about to lose it at any second.

“What’s the matter Shea, what’s wrong?”

“I-,” she continued to stumble over her words, really struggling to get out whatever it was that she was trying to tell me. I began to feel my stomach tighten up bracing myself for anything that she may say. But all in all, I just hoped that she was ok, that nothing had happened to her. She began to cry full out now.

“I-I was with Xander tonight,” she finished.

“Huh, wait, who?” I asked.

“Xander,” she repeated. My mind instantly shot back to the stories she had told me about them while they were together. How many of their fights had become physical. I hoped that was not case this time. If it was, I surely wasn’t going to sit idly by and accept it. He was bigger than me, yeah, but I could care less at this very moment.

“Why?” I asked her.

“It’s a long story but I have to tell you something. It’s important,” she added.

“Well, what is it?” As soon the last syllable of my question left my lips, she started to cry hysterically on the other end. I’ll kill himI will kill him I thought to myself. What did he do to her? By this time I was sitting up in bed staring into the darkness of my bedroom.

“We, um, we did something,” she said with tears in her voice.

“Oh…k, what did you do?”

“We slept together…”

To be continued…

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