The irony of the situation hadn’t escaped her: the one person who could help her get through this situation was the same person who put her in the situation to begin with. She hated Vegas. Brad was energized by parties and people while Ava avoided them like the plague. But Ava decided to come as gift for his birthday. Her decision to accompany him to Vegas was also an attempt to ensure she would not lose him altogether.
Brad refused to be, as he would say, “brought down” by her often somber mood. Most weekends, he went out at night as she sat in the apartment alone with her thoughts. But she waited for him, night-after-night, because his touch calmed her mind. Although, laying in his arms frequently required waiting until 3:30am when he’d stumble in from an evening of drinking.
She would help undress him as he slurred “I love you so much, you’re the best.” Those clothes would occasionally have the scent of perfume embedded in them. But she’d ignore the smells. She ignored the late nights, and the neglect so she could be held by him like a child holds his blankey. Brad’s touch could get rid of all the bad thoughts. Thoughts of how unwanted, unworthy and unloved she was. Thoughts of no longer wanting to live. It was in him she found her peace.
She eagerly looked out into the crowd for the one person she knew could calm her mind. She walked around the circular overlook hoping the elevated viewpoint would help her spot him. Although she didn’t see him, she did find some relief in the open space, darkened area and reduced noise. The bar on this floor had long been closed so she had the whole floor to herself. Leaving the anxiety of being in the large group made her more aware of the throbbing pain her feet were in. Ava never wore heels and after four plus hours in them, she was ready to collapse. She saw a chair back in a darkened corner and decided to go rest her feet for a minute before returning to look for her boyfriend. She sat down, took off her shoes and rubbed the soles of her feet. A faint yet distinct sound just behind her grabbed her attention. The sound of slurping and moaning from someone giving and someone appreciating oral service.
She shook her head, repulsed more by the environment that encouraged that behavior than by the act itself. A pillar blocked her view of the couple just feet away. The identity of the couple did not interest her so she picked up her shoes and started to walk away. Then, the words, “That’s it,” came out of the man’s mouth and a chill ran down her spine. She knew that voice.
“It’s just another one of my bad thoughts,” she convinced herself, “Brad would never do something like that.” She laughed at the ridiculousness of the idea.
Before she step onto the escalator, she turned back to the pillar. Her curiosity was too strong. Ava had to see for herself. She moved toward them with her shoes in one hand and her dress slightly pulled up in the other to avoid making any noise as she moved. A large, round pillar hid her approach as she tip-toed carefully toward them. Her heart throbbed so hard she felt like they would hear it and it would give her position away. She pressed against the pillar and crept along it’s smooth surface.
Ava continued to slowly creep along the pillar until a woman on her knees came into view. The hallway wall supported the man as he leaned back. The woman’s black hair swayed back and forth from the bobbing of her head. A faint voice in her head whispered to her to walk away. She ignored the voice. She kept creeping around the corner until her suspicions were confirmed.
Brad enjoyed the pleasure of the moment so much he did not even see Ava. She had walked from around the pillar and was staring right at him.
In an instant, the air had been vacuumed out of her lungs.
Her stomach sank.
Her soul evaporated in that moment, leaving an empty shell.
She watched as the man she loved be pleasured by another woman. She watched, as he casually leaned against the wall, smiled, and rubbed his fingers through her hair. Then, like a puppet being manipulated by it’s puppeteer, she lost control over her body and had the uncontrollable urge to run. Without saying a word, she dropped her shoes and ran away as fast as she could.