Elaine was still confused as to why two men were falling at her feet. She should be flattered having so much male attention but this only confused her even more. She still loved Steve and was really looking forward to marrying him. The dilemma concerning him was that she was unsure about a man who fought over a woman. What she and Mike had done was wrong but violence never solved anything, in fact it had helped to make her decisions harder because on one hand she loved Steve so much but on the other she had not liked Steve beating Mike up when it was both of them that had done wrong.
Then the dilemma led her back to Mike. There was no doubt that she had loved him heart and soul when they were dating and married but he lost her faith and trust when he raped her so why had she given in so easily and had sex with him? That Elaine could not answer and she certainly was not proud of what they had done but the third and major dilemma was which man did she want to spend her life with?
She came back to the same answers that she loved Steve; her life had changed when she met him and could not wait to marry him but the other part of her still had a soft spot for Mike. There she had thought it; she did not want to admit it but part of her loved Steve and Mike at the same time and she knew that was no way to have a relationship. This is why she needed space from men for a few days so she could sort her head out.
One person that Elaine could definitely depend upon was Charlotte and as usual they were meeting so that Elaine could confide in someone slightly neutral to her situation. She should not have to always confide in Charlotte but she was a good friend to Elaine and always willing to be that shoulder to cry on.
After general chitchat, Charlotte asked her friend what had been happening since they had last met like this. Where did Elaine start?
“Everything just seems to be a mess in my life. If it is not something to do with Mike, then it is something to do with Steve and I do not know how much I can take of it all”.
Charlotte was naturally confused because she did not know what had been happening between Elaine, Mike and Steve so it was hard for her at this moment to be able to offer any support to her best friend.
“What do you mean about Mike and Steve?”
“All I know is that everything is a mess. So much has changed since we last met. You know about my miscarriage and everything was fine with Steve and me. Like me he was naturally disappointed at losing the baby but we both had accepted what happened was meant to be. I was not meant to have another child.
I then met up with Mike. I thought I was agreeing to a catch up with him, which I thought would be nice but Mike had other things on his mind and I stupidly went with him to Blagdon Lake, where Mike kissed me. I do not know what I was thinking but again stupidly I found myself making love to him. It meant nothing of course and I confessed to Steve about what happened, which I thought he was okay with until later that evening he told me he had to work late but then he returned home with blood on his shirt. Steve had not really stayed at work late. He went round and fought with Mike.
I do not know why but I guess I could not take in why Steve had bothered to fight for me so I went around to Mike’s to clean him up. Then we started to argue before Mike tried to kiss me again, this time I slapped him around the face. I needed a few days away from men so ignored Mike and Steve, even though Steve called many times because he was naturally worried about me.
Then I realised at the beginning of this month how much I was missing Steve and how it was him I wanted to spend the rest of my life with so we made a date to meet up for a drink to discuss things and picked up where we left off so we were kissing and being close again when I realised that Mike was standing there gloating over what we were doing. I know we were showing our affections in the pub a little too much but having Mike watching us was not what I wanted so I went over to confront him as I had a suspicion Steve could easily have killed Mike, if he had confronted him again but Mike kissed me in front of Steve and that was when I decided that I needed time away again so Charlotte what am I to do?”
Charlotte was speechless trying to take in everything that he friend had told her. Life for Elaine sure did not run smoothly. Charlotte had to agree that her friend was indeed in a dilemma and for a while she remained quiet as she needed to work these situations out in her head too before she could offer any advice in the matters.
“Wow, a lot certainly has been happening to you Elaine. That you are right about”, replied Charlotte wondering where she would begin.
Elaine definitely needed help, that much Charlotte did know and she would have to try her best to help sort everything out and she had a feeling that it might take some time but as Elaine’s support she would work this out with her.
Charlotte took a deep breath before she began to speak.
“I am sorry again to hear of your miscarriage and I know you and Steve would make wonderful parents, as Becky and Oliver have turned out alright and as to not being meant to have another child. It could happen. I know you are in your forties but if the man up there decides you are to have another baby he will sanction it”.
Elaine could not help but smile. She knew that Charlotte was meaning well but since miscarrying Elaine had thought a lot about her age and how she was not sure now that she could bring up another child, especially now that Becky and Oliver were grown up now. It was really their turn and Elaine quite liked the idea of being a grandparent but maybe Charlotte was right and God would play his hand in that part if he thought she could cope with another pregnancy and bringing up a baby at her age.
“As to what happened between Mike and yourself, well, all I can say is ouch. I do not mean that in a horrible way but you have admitted yourself that having sex with Mike should never have happened and though I do not agree with violence. I can fully understand where Steve was coming from when he attacked Mike and I am sure he made up the lie of working late because he knew what he was doing was wrong because also he wanted to protect you but at the same time he did not want to hurt you by telling you his intentions towards Mike.
I certainly am not surprised that you decided that you needed time away from Steve and Mike. Your head is a mess and I can understand you not wanting to see Mike again after he tried to kiss you and I understand why you did not want to talk to Steve either. It is certainly a lot to take in and you are definitely right in wondering why Mike cannot leave you alone but we both know he cannot let go of the past and I guess with Steve on the scene, Mike is jealous as he still wants you but knows he cannot have you but is still determined to try”.
Elaine was still confused but listened to everything that Charlotte had said to her before saying “I know I love Steve and want to marry him but then there was so many years that Mike was part of my life and I should not have any feelings for him but it is difficult for me to switch off my emotions for Mike when I still see him so often”.
“I totally understand”, agreed Charlotte. “However, you really do have to work out if you want Steve or Mike as part of your life because both will eventually get crossed messages and then you could be left alone with neither of them and live the rest of your life not taking the plunge and committing to one or the other”.
“I understand what you are saying Charlotte but me and Steve had made up and wanted to see each other again, hence our display of affections but why did Mike have to be there watching it all?”
“I can only reiterate what I said earlier Mike is jealous and will always be. What I would say is not cool it but try and keep your affections private for now until all this solves itself”.”
“The problem is I know I had to confront Mike for watching us because I did not trust myself allowing Steve to speak to him again because after the beating he gave Mike, I know second time around he could have killed him, then where would I be?”
There was a long silence again whilst Charlotte tried to piece together everything she had been told before eventually offering her thoughts and advice.
“I know this is for you to decide but if I was in your shoes I would marry Steve. I know from the first night we set eyes on him that he was special. Mike; as far as I am concerned had his chance with you and blew it when he raped you and he knows that you are with someone else and that he is still single and alone so he cannot bear to see you happy”.
Elaine thought again and realised that Charlotte as always was right and that she had to move on and marry Steve. If Mike could not move on that was nothing to do with her.
“He is still at his mum’s. I was going to ask him to move back in when we were in the pub but that idea went when things happened with Mike”.
Charlotte checked the time before saying “it is four thirty now. Why do you not go and meet Steve outside work and then do something so that you can both talk and decide what is best now?”, as always Elaine knew Charlotte was right.
“I will do that” smiled Elaine, thinking it was a wonderful idea.
“Good luck girl and tell me how it goes”, replied Charlotte before hugging her best friend goodbye. Why did Elaine feel so nervous on the walk to Steve’s office? That she did not know but she knew she had to see him.
At five past five Steve appeared and immediately noticed Elaine. Well you could hardly miss her as she was on the doorstep.
Steve smiled before saying “oh hello and to what do I owe this pleasure?”
“I thought I would surprise you for once and we need to talk”.
There was no answer until Steve commented “right we will nip for a quick drink and you can talk to me all you want”, this statement made Elaine realise even more how much she loved and wanted Steve.
When they were seated in the nearest pub Steve asked, “so what did you want to talk to me about?”
“I had a long chat with Charlotte and she has helped me see that I need to get Mike out of the picture and that it is you that I want to marry and spend the rest of my days with but having said that I agree with Charlotte’s suggestion that we keep any affection for each other private until we are married, do you agree Steve?”
“Do I agree? I would agree to anything to make my darling Elaine happy”, to this Elaine smiled and gave Steve a kiss on the cheek before saying, “oops forgot our promise”, to which Steve just laughed.
“Can we go home now?” asked Steve “that is if you still want me living with you?”
Elaine just simply replied with “yes to both”.
When Elaine and Steve were sitting on the settee together, Steve said “can I have a hug now?” This led to the hug and lots of kisses before Steve commented “I thought we were over and I could not imagine my life without you but I am so proud that once again I have you by my side”.
“Our time away made me realise how much I loved and missed you. If Mike cannot deal with the truth then I am afraid that is his problem”, Steve really liked hearing that. The couple eventually set a wedding date for June twenty-seventh.
“I would prefer it if we could go away somewhere and tie the knot and not say anything until we are man and wife but my mother would never forgive me for that but I am determined that Mike will not find out when or where and ruin our big day. I am not having him getting in the way of our celebrations”. Elaine liked what Steve had said but decided to say nothing more to him about the wedding and Mike interfering for now.
Elaine was happy; Steve was happy and happier still that Elaine had chosen him and wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. Elaine, though happy could not help but have a little bit of doubt in the back of her mind that whatever they did Mike would always be watching but he would not disrupt the wedding day would he?