Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day
THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE
I drained the last of the burgundy from the plastic cup and set it back on the tray table. I was tired, slightly buzzed, and deeply disappointed in myself. In six hours, the man who loved me would meet me at the airport and welcome me back to our married life, the life that I had just shit on. I had crossed a line I had sworn never to trespass again. I was not the woman I thought I’d become. I had failed, and there was no excuse to relieve me of my guilt. Heaven help me, what the fuck was I going to do? What the fuck had I done?
France with Toni had been a game changer. I hadn’t had that much fun with another human being in my entire life. Jon and I were not capable of fun like that. We could have fun moments, but not, twenty-four-hour, laugh-out-loud, nonstop, fuck your brains out kind of fun. I didn’t leave France wanting Toni instead of Jon. I left France wanting fun instead of Jon.
My husband was a drag, but what he gave me was priceless. He was my rock, and I drew strength from his presence in my life. I could travel the world. I could work those twelve-hour days. I could risk a belated dance recital—and every other adventure and challenge I could imagine—because Jon had my back. We were in it together, and we’d sealed it with our wedding. In front of our friends and family Jon had promised unconditional love, and he’d delivered, again and again, which made my crime even more unforgivable. Jon didn’t deserve that. I didn’t deserve Jon.
A million years ago, I had imagined forever with Toni. I was crushed, but I recovered and went on to find a love much deeper and more realistic with Beth. That failure had ripped me up and shredded my faith in the veracity of love. But I’d been lucky, and moved on to an even richer connection with my husband. Was it just a bloody fact that love did not endure, no matter how much one grew, no matter how much one worked on it, no matter how expectations were managed? Was love always going to fool with that feeling of forever, only to expire far short of that promise?
I couldn’t leave Jon. We had a life, and we had a deal. I needed him, but I couldn’t stay after what I’d done. And there was no way I could tell my husband that I’d become terrified of our future because he was boring! I ordered another drink, and condemned myself to self-loathing. I had soiled my marriage. I’d forsaken ten years of fidelity for two weeks of temptation. Once again, I was a liar and a cheat. I hated myself.
Two days after I returned to Seattle, I called Toni. I was heartsick, and I missed her. I wanted the joy that came so easily between us, but the price was too high. I told her I couldn’t see her and I wouldn’t talk to her. I’d decided to give my marriage the attention it needed. I couldn’t take back the affair, but I did something I had never done with her—I ended it. A little late, I know. But it was significant for me. I wanted my integrity back. She and I were done.
TOMORROW: Chapter 6
Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.