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21. Speaking With No Sound

You know the feeling when you’re just agitated and the presence of another person literally drives you mad?

That’s where I’m at. After the incident on the couch, I went to bed. I wanted to be alone, to sit with myself and process my emotions. Think things through and come to some sort of understanding or clarity as to why I’ve been acting the way I have, but also, why Patrick’s been acting the way he has.

It’s out of character for me to be so reckless and deceiving.

Even so, with my infidelities, I just can’t seem to stand Patrick anymore.

He followed me into the bedroom with his confident stride and that alone killed me. I’ve been with him for years. Years. And not once have I had the explosive orgasms I seem to have with Hawke. I literally came looking into his eyes.

Who the hell does that!?

I guess the part I’m struggling with most is that I so desperately want Patrick to be the one. The one that starts my insides churning at the sight of him. The one that brushes fingertips across my arm and I’m on fire. The one that lures me in with his eyes and has me smitten with his words.

But he’s just not that guy and realizing that is sending me falling through a whirlwind of confusion.

He’s comfort. He’s happiness. He’s, for the lack of a better word, easy.

Being with Patrick has truthfully been easy. We don’t fight often. We practically never yell. He does his best to make me happy. He strives for a future for us. But maybe that’s where the problem lies. Everything is brushed under the rug. The deep rooted issues, the plans for the future, the truth of the past, it’s all just lingering.

Just as I’m grabbing for my phone to do the google search for the truth I’ve been putting off, the answers to what happened to Hawke, Patrick slides his hand across my abdomen.

I lay still, not, trying to send all the signals I can. I’m not in the mood.

“That was pretty hot earlier. Did you like it?” he asks into the back of my neck.

He nuzzles into my hair, attempting to connect with my skin.

“Yeah, it was nice, just different.” I cringe while saying the words.


“Yeah, I mean, Patrick, you’ve never done that before. Why did you keep going after Hawke came out of his room? It was....awkward.”

It wasn’t that awkward, it was needed, but still, it doesn’t negate the fact that this wasn’t like him at all.

“I don’t know, I just thought maybe you wanted to try something different. I tried to switch it up for you, now I’m getting yelled at. I can’t keep you happy, just always complaining.”

“Pat, c’mon, you can’t be serious.”

“Nic I try my best to keep you happy, I do,” he says, softening his tone. “But lately I’m just tired of trying. I work so hard for us then come home to you nit picking the next thing. It should be easy between us at this stage in our relationship. You know what I expect.”

“What you mean to say is, I should listen to you by now and abide by what you want as far as relationships go and not speak up if something affects me.” My sarcasm is oozing.

“What’s gotten into you lately? Babe? I thought we had a good week?” He makes a pained face like my sarcasm hurts him.

I sigh, frustrated, not knowing what to do to make this better. Yes, we had a good week, he finally put some effort into us, but any time I try to address an issue I get treated as if I’m just nagging and complaining. How can I ever truly tell him how I’m feeling? It's like I'm speaking with no sound.

“Listen, I’m leaving tomorrow. I don’t want to do this tonight.” he says, wrapping an arm around my waist and pulling my back into him. “I don’t want to leave on a bad note.”

“Pat, I just don’t know anymore...”

“Nic, you have got to be kidding me. Do you know how lucky you are? How blessed you are to have a man who’s working his ass off to support you?”

“There’s just things we don’t talk about, things we should get to the bottom of.”

“Don’t start up with this drama again. You know who I am,” he quickly tries to shut me down.

“But I don’t. Not in the ways I should. And you don’t know me in the ways you should...” I linger there, wondering if I should just let it all out.

“I know you. I wouldn’t have had you move here if I didn’t. Now let’s stop this. I’m leaving tomorrow and not like this. This is the end of the conversation.”

He keeps doing this. Negating the fact that I’m trying to express myself. Brushing off whatever I bring to him. It’s like my feelings don’t matter. Not enough to rock the boat anyways. I can’t do this if this is how it’s always going to be.

He wraps an arm firmly around my waist, pulling me back into him. I know in his head, he planned to have sex tonight, he assumed that was what would happen after the living room incident, like I owed him that. But, I just can’t. I’m not in the right headspace. To be honest, I haven’t been since Hawke.

His hands get friendly as they start exploring my thighs, tracing his fingers up and down the length.

I turn to face him. “We should really get some sleep, we have to be up early for your flight.”

“C’mon, it won’t take long,” he says, urging me on.

Trust me, I know.

“I’m sorry Patrick, I’m just really tired,” I explain.

He huffs and rolls over to the other side of the bed. Why he’s upset, who knows. Frankly, I don’t care. It’s not like I’ve never been in his position. I literally go to bed every night after we’ve been intimate in his exact predicament.

Luckily sleep takes us and before I know it I’m saying goodbye to him at the airport the following day. It’s weird between us, the energy. There’s a hesitation and it’s coming from me. He leaves with the same promises to call and text often, but I know now how it’s going to be. When he leaves, I go down on that totem pole again, lower than I should. There’s something about it that feels like a turning point in our relationship. I’m becoming aware of myself and my needs and it can only mean one thing. An ending.

The rest of the day is spent working on my laptop, catching up on manuscripts, sending in my work and editing until my brain literally tells me I need to eat. The rumbling was one thing, but this lightheadedness isn’t helping me to be productive anymore.

I reluctantly head towards the kitchen in hopes to find something quick to eat then continue working. As soon as I leave the bedroom, I lock eyes with Hawke in the living room. He turns to face me from where he’s sitting on the couch. I continue on my way towards the fridge as I see him get up and approach me from the corner of my eye.

I’m nervous. I know myself and I know I can’t resist him. Especially knowing Patrick isn’t here now. The temptations are too much for me and I need to be careful. I’m too confused, emotionally and mentally, and what I’m doing to him isn’t fair either.

“Cole?” he says softly behind me.

“Yeah?” I answer quickly, not turning.

I grab the makings for a sandwich and lay it all out on the counter.

“Any chance you can leave the house this afternoon?”

My forehead creases as I drop the butter knife. I turn to face him with a confused face. He seems anxious, just raising his brows as if waiting for me to agree.

“Leave the house?” I ask, making sure I heard him correctly.

“Yeah, like in a few minutes,” he says with zero remorse in his eyes, checking the clock on the stove then focusing back on me.

“Are you kidding me?”

He has someone coming over.

He lowers his eyebrows. “No, I just need you to leave for like an hour.”

His simple answer without a hint of empathy is crushing.

“Wow.” I scoff, putting the makings of the sandwich away.

I can’t believe the nerve of him. Asking me to leave so he can fuck around and not feel guilty? Sorry if I make it hard to being women back to your fuck shack. It didn’t matter before he screwed me but now I guess he has morals. Or maybe, it’s just that he doesn’t want the women wondering about him living with another girl, making it easier to get what he needs from them. Either way the thought bothers me.

I pack my laptop and everything into my bag to head out but stop, turning to face him in the kitchen where he’s leaning back against the counter, just watching me. “You know, that’s low. Even for you.”

He stands there with a pained face and I don’t understand it at all. Why are you hurt that I’m being forced to leave? This is such a dick move.

I pack up my stuff and spend the rest of the afternoon at a coffee shop in town with my laptop. I can’t work. I can’t think straight. I wait and watch the clock as the hours tick away knowing my night shift is coming faster than I’d hoped.

I start clicking away on my computer, hitting the google search engine on my screen. I stare at it. Then decide to start investigating.

I type the name, on my mission to start trying to get some insight into this situation around me.

Ben Collins.

Tons of articles come up with the name. It’s quite common, so I narrow my search to the town, Clarkston.

An article pops up immediately with an image attached to it. I recognize the boy, it’s the same kid that Hawke had a picture of in his shoe box. The same scruffy dirty blonde hair with a smile that could break hearts and kind eyes to match. Scrolling through the page, I find a eulogy.

“Ben Collins, loving and caring son of Darla and Jim Collins tragically left this world before his time. He was very well loved and had a passion for architecture. He loved his friends and enjoyed spending time with them at the family cabin. Blasting Phil Collins whenever near a stereo, laughing his unique and roaring laugh, and always showing up for people who needed him, are what we’ll miss most. He was our light, our happiness, our joy. He will be missed beyond words.”

I sit back in my seat, absorbing it all. Phil Collins, Hawke’s favorite tattoo. Could he have had something to do with his death or the situation surrounding it? Is this why he went to prison? What happened?

I search for the next article to find out what happened when my phone rings, making me suck in a breath. I’m hopeful it’s Patrick, maybe calling me to tell me he landed, but when I look at the screen I see 9-5 Slide.


“Nic! Hey, it’s John, sorry to bother you at home.”

Ha, if he only knew.

“It’s fine John, whatcha need?”

“Any chance you can head in a bit earlier tonight? We’ve got a wedding party coming in and if you’re available I’d love the help.” He sighs, sounding overwhelmed.

“I got you, I’ll be there soon.”

“Ah! Nic, you’re the best!” he exclaims.

I head straight to the bar from the coffee shop, wearing the ripped jeans and old tied up Kiss shirt I put on this morning. I would go home to change and freshen up but screw that. I’m not going there. I don’t want to deal with Hawke and his slew of women.

I’d rather die.

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