Tricking Astrid

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Chapter 19

* The Next Day *

The next morning Remy cooked Astrid breakfast, and they sat in the kitchen talking like they used to do. She felt calmer about what transpired the previous night.

Afterward, she showered, glad no visible bruising marked her face, but her throat looked odd with three noticeable finger marks. Shrugging it off because Remy promised he’d never lose control again, no matter how excited he became, she put on makeup to cover them.

Remy invited her to his place, and she declined before he asked if she’d come over for a small get-together Arlo was throwing later that night. She hesitated before agreeing since she once begged to see where he lived and felt like a hypocrite when he offered for her to meet his friends.

He kissed her sweetly, then left. Astrid relaxed on her couch for a while, thinking. The house was so quiet she wanted doze.

Why couldn’t Remy make love to her? Would she even want him if he were a gentle lover? She remembered when he turned tender, after roughing her up the first time. The sex lacked something until he added pain. She unwittingly unleashed the beast, having no clue there would be such confusing consequences.

Her last boyfriend, Abner, didn’t bother to pay attention to what Astrid preferred. He was a self-indulgent asshole who’d expected Astrid fuck him whenever and wherever. Was Remy any better? Was Calder? Abner never once told her she meant anything to him. She never understood why the hell she’d allowed him to play her.

Why did these gorgeous men pursue her when Abner hadn’t?

Astrid stretched lazily on the worn sofa, her thoughts unsettled. The question of why a red-neck maintenance supervisor let her go when the other two refused, made it difficult for her mind to shut off to nap.

Abner lived a few blocks away. They never ran into each other. He worked at a hotel in the city, wincing at a memory of when he snuck her into a suite for a quickie. He had the sexual drive of a nymphomaniac. Maybe that was why, after she’d caught him with another woman, he didn’t care she disappeared from his life. He couldn’t keep it in his pants long enough to apologize.

Astrid groaned, sat up and decided to visit her ex. To ask why he cheated on her. Why he never tried to repair the damage? He tore their relationship to shreds without a backward glance. If Calder and Remy cared for her so much, what caused him to treat her differently?

She dressed in a light blue dress since the weather was warm and after slipping on shoes and applying lipstick, hit the sidewalk hoping he hadn’t moved. He resided in a townhouse, his neighbors an elderly couple with dogs that barked constantly. Abner used to threaten to feed them poisoned treats when they kept him up at night.

She smiled as she neared the cream-painted duplex, noting his beat-up Chevy Nova parked in the driveway. Luck was with her this bright afternoon. Checking her watch, she noted it was nearing four. She didn’t stop to reconsider her uninvited visit. After rapping her knuckles on the door, she stood back.

Abner yanked the front door wide, not expecting his ex-girlfriend to be on the other side. He looked thinner, brown hair cut to frame his face, wearing a pair of sweats. His eyes widened as if seeing a ghost.

“Hey, Abe,” she awkwardly smiled, “I thought I’d say hello to an old pal.”

“Astrid,” he gruffly responded, “What a surprise, come inside.”

He held the door open for her and she edged past him while he checked her out. She didn’t care, going through to the dining/living area. Everything was the same, and she cringed, remembering cleaning for him out of pity because he never dusted.

Rubbing his hands together, a dry sound filled the space before he said, “It’s good to see you, Astrid. Have a seat.”

She gingerly perched on the black sofa where they had sex many times. She also found him reaming the ass of a younger girl on it. Instead of sitting in the blue recliner, he sat next to her.

She sighed, “So, how’s life? Still at the hotel?”

Abner relaxed, crossing a leg at the knee, “Yup. You still working for the three C’s?”

“Nope,” she tugged at the hem of her dress, “I quit when I started screwing the fourth C.”

He raised an eyebrow, “Really? How long?”

“A few weeks,” she laughed.

“Um, Tom told me you were already with some dude. We talk sometimes at the club,” he added quickly, “I don’t go there as much. I spotted you there a few months ago. After… well… after we stopped dating.”

“Is that what you call it?” she sneered.

He squirmed under her glare, “Erm… did you come here to fight?”

“I’ll get to the point,” she shifted, so they were facing each other, “I’m seeing two men.”

Abner swallowed, listening. At least he was giving her respect now! She spoke bluntly and asked for his honesty.

“These guys are gorgeous and rich,” she kept her eyes on his to gauge his reaction, “and they both want me. I rehashed our relationship, and it made no sense. I need you to explain how you could have been so heartless when these men, for the first time in my life, make me feel irreplaceable.”

Abner let out a deep breath, “Damn, I can tell you one thing. You’ve changed.”

Blinking in surprise, she muttered, “Okay?”

He softly smiled, leaning forward, “You were a fantastic screw, the best I’d ever had at blowjobs,” he gave her a lewd wink, “but you lacked a backbone. Geez, I mean… look at you!” he waved his hands at her as if she should know what the hell he meant, “You’ve been running more, haven’t you? Your body looks hot. Plus, you’re looking into my eyes. You were so shy. So easy to manipulate into doing whatever I wanted.”

“You used me?” she snapped, “For what? Sex? How many times did you cheat on me?”

His face turned crimson, “You want the truth, right? Well, yeah, I used you for sex! Even if I saw other women, you were my steady. The one I chose at the end of the day.”

“Lies,” Astrid felt so much worse after hearing his side, “I caught you on this couch screwing another girl. Shit, I’m only twenty-three! How old was she, sixteen or seventeen?”

“Does it fucking matter? Why are you upset? You’ve grown a pair for sure because you never talked to me like this before.” he retorted.

“Maybe I have,” she frowned back at him, “Why didn’t you track me down? You see, that always bothered me. I never even heard from you when I ran off. Tell me why?”

Abner shook his head, rubbing his palms on his sweats, “I guess… I just didn’t care for you enough to apologize.”

His inconsiderate words hit home. No one cared for her before, so why should he? The facts were, he treated her shitty because he could, and she allowed his disrespect because she had no spine.

No, she scolded herself, remembering how Remy chided her for self-accusing, you’re strong and good.

Abner was a manwhore who never deserved her attention.

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