Best Laid Plans

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Chapter 20

Dominic is picking me up at seven tonight, but after my lunch with Cora today I have been in a slump. I am no longer excited about our date night and am feeling more anxious than anything. I ended up leaving work early today and sulking on my couch. Dominic and Kingsley have really hit it off and have become friends outside of me and Cora. They love to golf together. Cora had told me that one day, Kingsley came home from golf a little moody. When she pried him for information, he finally told her what was bothering him. Apparently, Dominic cheated on me. The night we ran into each other at Quench, he was there to meet his “side hussy,” as Cora called her.

I have been crying all afternoon with no one to call. I normally would call Ellie, but because of current circumstances I don’t think my call will be well received. My heart is completely shattered. I need to confront Dominic about this tonight. There’s a teensy, tiny chance that Kingsley is mistaken and got the facts wrong. At least, that’s how I have been comforting myself. I’m holding my breath for this. At 7:00 p.m. on the dot, I hear a knock on the door. “Here we go,” I whisper to myself as I get up to let him in.

Dominic’s smile drops when he sees my face, “You’re crying, what’s wrong? Are you okay? Let’s sit down. Tell me how I can help.” I burst into tears unable to form a coherent sentence. He escorts me to my couch and we both sit down. I shake off his hand from my shoulder. As I realize I’m not ready to have this conversation and I’m not ready to hear the truth, I tell Dominic I’m okay and ask that he leaves and we can talk in the morning. “I’m not comfortable leaving you like this, especially not knowing what’s going on. Please, please tell me, Lucy.”

I sniff, “Fine,” sniff, “did you,” sniff, “di-di- did you,” I stutter as I try to formulate my question. I’m sick to my stomach.

“Did I what? Come on, Lucy, did I what?” His voice is raising in concern.

“Did you cheat on me?” I finally spit the words out.

“That’s insane! Where did you get that idea?” he sounds shocked and utterly appalled by my question. Earlier today, Cora shared her experience with a cheating boyfriend. She said all men are the same when backed into a corner. She said they will deny, deny, deny until their faces turn blue. I find it difficult to keep eye contact with him. He hurt me, he broke my trust and shattered my heart. I am completely devastated. “You need to trust me, Luce! I have never and would never cheat on you. I’ve never cheated in my life, for that matter. Please, you know me. You have to believe me,” he begs. I can see tears forming in his eyes.

“I’m not sure what I believe right now,” I say. I look down at my feet and realize my body feels numb. I’m about to have a panic attack. With that, he gets to his feet and starts pacing the room. He covers his face with his hands and throws his head back. He stops pacing and looks at me dead in the eye.

“My loyalty is what makes me who I am. It is something I value the most in myself and other people. I pride myself on it. The mere fact that it is in question right now blows my mind. When I say I love you, I mean I love you, no one else. You, which means I am not out messing around behind your back. If you don’t trust me, then what do we have?”

I know I should say something, anything, but I am tongue-tied. I simply sit there and stare past him. I do not want to look into his sad eyes. He came over here anticipating a fun, romantic evening, and I turn it into this. Wait, am I blaming myself for his infidelity ruining our date night? I need to gather my thoughts.

“Lucy, please, you know me. I would never do anything to risk what we have,” he cries.

“Why were you at Quench?” I finally manage to ask.

“Quench? What? That was so long ago, why are you bringing it up?”

“Just answer my question, Dominic,” my voice is more stern than I intend. “Why were you there that night and why did you hightail it out like you did?”

He stops and thinks for a moment, “I was meeting someone there, a friend. I was not cheating on you. I never cheated.”

“A friend? Is that all? Why didn’t you tell me that night? Why did you leave? Did you and your ‘friend’ meet somewhere else once you realized we were at the same bar?” I surprise myself with my myriad of questions.

“Uh,” he rubs the back of his head and I can see his body tensing up. “Yes, I was shocked to see you there, and yes, I did text my friend from outside the bar to meet me elsewhere. I didn’t want to infringe on your girls’ night. I thought if I stayed there, I would have been a distraction.”

“Oh, okay.” I start to accept his reasoning, but then something hits me and I have to ask, “Who was the friend you were meeting that night?”

His eyes widen and he begins pacing the room again. I’m losing patience with him right now. Why won’t he just answer the damn question? He stops pacing and sits down beside me on the couch. “I’m sorry, I was meeting my friend, Aubrey. She and I tried dating, but that was years ago. We discovered that we make better friends. I swear, it was nothing.” “Get out. Now. Leave,” I command.

“She’s a friend, Lucy! I swear, nothing happened.”

“If she was a friend and nothing happened, you would have told me the truth about meeting up with her that night. You

would never have left the bar to meet her elsewhere. In fact, you would have introduced her to me and all of my friends, too. So stop with your lies and your crocodile tears, and get the hell out of my apartment. I hope the door hits you on the way out!”

Dominic stops begging me and turns to leave. We have nothing left to say to each other. I bury my head into a couch pillow and scream. I stand up and throw the pillow at the wall. I run into my room and pull a love letter Dominic had written to me from my nightstand and I tear it to pieces. Eventually, I succumb to my broken heart and I fall onto my bed.

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