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Authors: Sierra Rose

Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary Fiction, #New Adult, #New Adult & College, #Contemporary Romance

Addictive Collision (9 page)

BOOK: Addictive Collision
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“Yes, I wanted all that, but I didn’t know who I was when I married you. I know it sounds corny, but it took me some time to find myself. I have to be true to myself, Morgan, and this is...well, it’s me—the real me.”

“But you hid it from me! Didn’t you know that would destroy me?”

“I can’t fight the feelings I have for men. I’ve always had them, but I tried to pretend they weren’t real. I married you in the hopes they would go away, but they didn’t. They just got stronger. I’m so sorry I’ve put you through all this, and it really does kill me to see you upset like this. I just—”

“You just lied! If you felt this way, you shoulda put this marriage out of its misery a long damn time ago.”

“I was fighting it. I really was, Morgan. I was trying to make it work.”

“I’m the perfect cover for your lifestyle. When you fed me all that bull about your reputation, you really meant you were worried about revealing your lifestyle. That’s the only reason you haven’t already divorced me.”

He answered with only a gentle kiss to my forehead, one that repulsed me. “I think it’s best you go,” he said as Adrian started coming down the stairs, dressed only in boxers.

“This isn’t gonna look good in court for you, Tom.”

“Morgan, please don’t go public with this. Our divorce doesn’t have to be bitter and hostile. Please don’t tell anyone. You’ll ruin everything I’ve worked so hard for, and the university will—”

Dismissing his pleas with a wave of my hand, I turned to leave.

“Morgan!” he screamed just as I reached the door. “Wait!” He chased me out of the house and all the way to the car, then began pounding on the window. “Please don’t tell anyone,” he begged. “I’ll give you whatever you want.”

I rolled my eyes and sped off, heartbroken and destroyed. Everything was a blur, and nothing made sense.

***

W
hen I finally made it back to my sister’s house, the whole sordid story tumbled out of me between sobs and pants. “Why didn’t I know?” I asked as I cried on her shoulder. “I should’ve seen it, but I didn’t. It was a complete shock.”

She stroked my hair. “None of us would have ever suspected this,” she said.

“Well, I sure as hell didn’t,” I said. “Somehow, it’s just...worse than if he was banging every one of those slutty coeds that follow him around like puppies.”

“I know, Morgan,” Alexis said. “I know. But hey, at least you know he wasn’t knocking anyone up, right? And I wonder which one of them dropped the soap before you barged in the bathroom.”

“Ew!” I said, my sniffles breaking into some halfhearted chuckles. It was a disgusting thought, but I loved that my sister could always make me laugh.

“You know what they say.”

“What?”

“Every time you find some humor in a difficult situation, you win.”

***

W
eeks passed, and Tom finally knocked on the door of my sister’s house. “Are the kids here?” he  asked bluntly when I answered.

I crossed my arms. “No. They’re at school,” I said, tapping my watch. “They’ll be home soon.”

“Good, because I need to talk to you.”

“What? Tom, I really don’t think we have anything to—”

“Morgan, just hear me out,” he said, cutting me off. “You can move back into the house. I’ve made other arrangements. I think it would be best for the girls to be at home, a more...stable environment.”

“Hmm. Moving in with your lover, are you?” I asked.

“I’ve got a house a few miles from here. I want to stay close so I can see the kids.”

“How am I supposed to make it on a receptionist’s pay, Tom?” I asked. “The mortgage alone is astronomical.”

“I’ll pay you child support. All I ask is that you keep my sexuality to yourself. I work at the university, and I can’t afford for rumors to start.”

“But it’s
not
a rumor.”

“It’ll ruin me, Morgan. Some people just won’t understand.”

“Ah, yes. Your precious reputation.”

“Please,” he implored me.

I met his gaze straight on. “Sure, Tom. I’ll keep your dirty little secret. I won’t tell anyone you’re tutoring Adrian in math
and
anatomy.”

“Thanks.”

I pondered, then said in a sad voice. “What happened to us?”

“We just got lost along the way—or at least I did.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t be who you wanted me to be.”

“It wasn’t you. You’re perfect. You’re just not perfect for me.”

“Obviously not. If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?”

He sighed. “Morgan, let’s not do this, okay? There’s really no point.”

“C’mon. Indulge me.”

He looked away, then back at me. “I always wished you’d be more...spontaneous. Just once, you should do something wild and crazy.”

“Gee. I’m sorry I was so responsible.”

Ignoring the snide remark, he said, “I’ve had papers drawn up. All you have to do is sign them, and we’ll be able to move on with our lives.”

“I do wish you the best of luck, Tom,” I said. As he handed the documents to me, I felt numb, as if I’d somehow floated away into some thick fog.

“There’s a check in the folder, for you and your sister. You can do whatever you want with it.”

“Hush money, huh?” I asked.

“No. It’s more of...a parting gift.”

“Wow. Like on a game show. Only I had no idea what kind of game you were playing.”

He kissed me on the forehead and walked out the door.

After my ex was gone, my sister came in and wrapped her arm around me. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Our marriage was over a long time ago.”

“What was that about a check for us? Should I go buy a new bikini and hop on Travelocity to book something in the Caribbean? Man, I’d love one of those little umbrella drinks, and—”

“I don’t want anything from him.”

“Then why did you take the check anyway?”

“Because I can put it in a college trust fund, for the kids.”

“Sis, there’s over a decade before those girls will be going to college. What’s one weekend in the tropics gonna hurt? Let’s go soak up the sun and hit the waves. You deserve a wonderful weekend after all the hell he’s put you through. I’ll use my half of the check if you want.”

“No, I don’t want to waste your money like that.” I looked away as everything began to weigh heavily on me. “Right now, I just wanna be myself.”

“I understand. Take all the time you need. Auntie Alexis will go get the kids some ice cream after school.”

“Thanks,” I said.

***

A
short while later, Erin showed up. She was just as shocked as I was when I told her everything.

“I’ve gotta find some way to hold it together,” I said.

“I hereby give you the permission to have a breakdown.”

I looked at her, puzzled. “What do you mean?”

“You’re holding all that pain inside and won’t let go. Let it all out, Morgan, or it’ll eat you up.”

In that moment, as if I’d only needed someone’s permission, I broke. I started to sob

Erin, being the wonderful friend she was, pulled me close, held me, and stroked my back.

“What now?” I asked between sobs.

“From this broken place, you will become stronger, heal, and be whole again.”

“I try to put on this happy act, because I don’t want people to know how truly miserable I am.”

She gripped my hands. “Oh, honey, it’s okay to be not okay.”

“Is it...normal?”

“Hey, we’re all broken. Show me somebody who hasn’t hurt, felt pain, or isn’t damaged. We’ve all been through hell in one way or another, in some way, shape, or form.”

A tear rolled down my cheek. “Can I really survive by myself?”

“You aren’t by yourself. You have your girls, your mom, your sister, and the gang. Do you know how many doors and opportunities are just out there waiting for you? You just have to be brave enough to walk through one.”

“But I’m scared,” I confessed. “I’ve never been by myself before, and even though it’s stupid, I feel guilty just moving on.”

“You’re entitled to a life, Morgan, and it starts right now, this very second. It’s time to wake up and start living, to take responsibility for your life and go after your dreams. It’s your life, and you might as well enjoy living it. Those girls deserve a happy mama, so go after your happiness wherever you can find it.”

“I feel like I’m suffocating.”

“I know, I know. It’ll be hard for a while. Look, I’ve got a philosophy exam tomorrow. Do you know what we’ve been studying?”

“What?”

“This philosophical concept called
causality
.”

I wiped my eyes with a tissue. “What’s that?”

“It boils down to controlling the causes before you’re overcome by the effects. We either take responsibility by taking control or just live with the effects, like being extremely miserable. You’re too scared to take that step out of your comfort zone and brave new chances to make your life a whole lot happier.”

I burst into more sobs as she comforted me. I knew she was right. It was just hard to admit that my marriage was really over.

***

W
hen we told the girls, they cried, and that broke my heart; I never wanted to do anything to hurt my children. They were my world, and I had always strived to give them a good, stable, normal, happy life. Now, they had two parents who were not together, and I was almost scared to raise them alone. Next time, I would marry someone worthy of my love.

My lungs constricted. I was absolutely heart broken. I detested giving my kids the bad news but I knew it couldn’t be avoided. It was just as hard on me to break the news as it was for them to receive the news. It was the worst thing I’ve ever had to do. They both cried but I assured them that they were the most important people in our lives. I was grief-stricken by their reaction. It literally tore me apart watching them suffer the way they did. It took everything I had not to leave some bridge-burning remarks to Tom afterward. 

The next few weeks were uneventful, and I spent lots of time with the kids. Foster had no idea what I was going through, but he could tell I was stressed and going through something traumatic. He generously gave me plenty of time and space, and I actually worried that it was his subtle way of letting go. My thoughts were all over the place, and I had really developed some major trust issues because of my deceitful ex.

I married him. I took an oath. And now he was walking away. I could see my world falling apart and I completely panicked.

I moved back into the house, and Tom came over every day. It was still painful to see him, but our separation was official. I felt numb and very alone. I had poured everything into my marriage, tried so hard to make it work. Now, even though he was out of my life as a romantic interest, he was still my friend and the father of my children. I often wondered if I’d made the right decision in leaving him. We had married young and had planned out a beautiful life, but now all of that was in shambles. He was a good father, and he would have supported me financially forever, and I desperately missed the man I’d walked down the aisle to marry. Coming home to an empty house was so unsettling.

Still, as I considered it, I knew I had made the right choice. It wasn’t healthy to stay in a marriage that was so far off track, and now that I knew he was attracted to men, it was evidently clear that he would never have touched me again. That didn’t make things any easier though. Every time I thought I was okay and that I was going to make it after all, some ridiculous love song would play on the radio, or a happy, hand-holding couple would walk by, and I would break down all over again; it paralyzed me, and I could hardly breathe. I didn’t love Tom anymore. I knew that. I just missed my best friend and grieved his loss. I was in pain and everything was spinning out of control. I let the pain and suffering out because I needed an emotional cleansing.

You’re the master of your fate. Keep going. Push through it. It’ll get easier.

Why didn’t those words soothe me?

I went to the bathroom.
His
stuff wasn’t there hogging up the sink area. There was only
one
toothbrush...mine. It was the loneliest moment ever, because it represented the death of our relationship, the death of our dreams, hopes, and plans together. Lingering sadness gripped me tightly. I was a complete train wreck, crying my eyes out. Could I get over the pain of a failed marriage? I seemed so far from the path to healing.

Hurt. Confusion. Betrayal. I’m devastated. Divorce was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I felt like a failure. I was stuck in this numb fog. It was like a death. I needed time to mourn. My foundation had been shaken, the walls crumbled. I was scared to be single again. Could I rebuild? I was sobbing and felt like somebody whacked me over the head with a humongous grief club. Would I ever be that same girl again?

I really didn’t know what to do, and my whole life seemed to flash before my eyes. I felt for my missing wedding band. My ring finger felt so empty. It missed having a gold ring placed there. My tissue box became my best friend as I moved from room to room crying.
How did I end up here?
I had gone from my parents’ house to his, and I’d never lived alone before. It was terrifying for me, being the only adult in the house. The thought of sleeping in that cold, king-sized bed by myself gave me nightmares. I was also overcome by worries of the normal, mundane, everyday things that my husband used to take care of:
How will I fix the garbage disposal, since it breaks all the time? I don’t even know how to mow the lawn, use the weed-whacker, or change a flat on the damn car. My gosh. I can’t even change the oil. Where’s he even keep the toolbox?
I had never been entirely in charge of the household finances either.

He had left me, and now I had to pick up the pieces and carry on. I felt like I’d been hit by a whirlwind. I only hoped my friend Erin was right, that in the end, it would all make me a stronger, more independent woman. I refused to be a damsel in distress. I knew I’d get through it, especially when there was so much possibility just waiting for me on the other side.

I thought about my daffodils I planted outside. If those bulbs had the strength to make it through the harsh winter and fight their way through the cold, dark muddy earth to find the sun to grow and bloom, then surely I could too.

BOOK: Addictive Collision
10.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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