25 - Moving Forward
She feels the pit of her stomach hurt as she turns to leave him and it causes her to put her hand on her stomach. “Babe, wait.” She feels Tucker grab hold of her arm. “Please just let me explain.”
She turns back to face him feeling hurt. “You lied to me.”
“No, I didn’t.” She hears honesty in his voice.
“Did you know you were coming here with a girl?”
“And did you know you were living with a girl when I asked if you were living with one of the guys from the academy?” She hears him sigh as he looks back at Julie and puts his hand up on the top of his head. She knows the answer without him saying anything as he turns back to look at her. She feels her disappointment in him grow. “Yeah, that is called lying.”
She turns to leave again but his words stop her. “Chasity, she has a girlfriend and is just a friend from the academy who had an extra room.”
“Then why lie to me?” She feels confused that if this Julie girl was a lesbian, like he says, then he would have no need to lie.
“Because I knew you wouldn’t be okay with it.”
“You don’t even think I deserved the chance or the respect to be told?” She cannot grasp what she is feeling at the moment. “What is this becoming a habit to hide things from me?”
“Tuck?” She sees Julie falling and catch herself with her hand on the wall of the building. “I really think we should get home; everyone seems so intense.”
Chasity looks back up into Tucker’s eyes and she can tell he is feeling remorseful. “You did deserve more respect than that, and I am sorry. I just knew if I told you, you would jump to conclusions and not hear me out.”
“Right, because that scenario would have been a lot more disappointing than finding you hugged up with a strange hot girl on the street.” She points to Julie with her sarcastic statement and feels tears break from her eyes.
“Chas. Think about it. You know me.” She sees the truth in his eyes as he moves closer to her and runs his fingers through her straightened hair slowly. “I would never cheat.”
“Yeah, but I never thought you would lie to me either.” She shakes her head at him and turns away from him grabbing Iris by the arm to leave.
“Are you okay?” Iris asks as they round the corner of the street and Chasity wipes her eyes.
“It is like I don’t even know him anymore.”
“He is a jerk, Chasity.” Iris sounds so angered by what just happened.
“But that is just it. He isn’t a jerk.” Chasity pulls her jacket around her tighter realizing how cold it is outside. She tries to understand why he would not just tell her.
“War changes people Chasity. You even told me he seems different than before.”
“I know. But he didn’t sound like he was lying.” She thinks about how different he looked since he came back into her life seven months ago. She knew he was different but she cannot wrap her head around him, the guy she has known since fifth grade, being so different that he would lie and cheat.
“They never do.” Iris sounds as if she is an expert on the subject. “You want to go hit a bar?”
She shakes her head at Iris. “No, I just want to go home.”
“Alright. Whatever you need.”
Chasity feels angry as she remembers seeing the same girl Tucker was just with on his phone earlier flashing when he denied the call. He could have told me then. There were so many moments he had the opportunity to tell her he was living with a girl. She stops walking and looks at Iris feeling confident. “You know what? Yes. I do want to go to a bar.” She looks around where they are and sees a bar a block away. “I want to go to that bar.” She points and sees a group of people stumbling out of the door of the bar.
“Done honey.” Iris starts leading the way boldly.
She loses track of time as she dances with strange guys and drinks, trying to forget about Tucker. “Oh, shit Chasity. We have to be to work in four hours.” Chasity pulls her phone from her purse trying to see the time but is distracted by multiple missed calls and texts from Tucker. “We need to get home. The boss will kill us if we come in hungover.”
Chasity shoves her phone back into her purse feeling the hurt of betrayal from Tucker flood back into her bones. “Yeah.”
He has been sitting in their apartment for two hours alone trying to get a hold of Chasity on her phone. He feels sick to his stomach as he paces the floor feeling a mixture of anger, worry, and regret. He suddenly hears the lock on the door turning and he is stricken with nervousness at what is about to happen. Chasity opens the door and rolls her eyes with a sigh as she sees him. He moves up closer to her as he pleads. “Please, just hear me out and then if you want to kick me out then I will go.”
“Do I have a choice?” Chasity bumps into him pushing him out of her path seeming annoyed.
“No wonder you didn’t want to leave your bags here, you had to get home to your new girlfriend.” She is moving quickly toward the bedroom so he follows.
“She isn’t my girlfriend, I told you she is just a friend. She is a lesbian and nothing ever happened between us.” She turns abruptly facing him and he makes sure to look her square in the eye. “I swear.”
“Then why lie?” She looks pissed off but hurt at the same time and it scares him because he had never seen her this way.
“Because I am an idiot and thought you wouldn’t believe me.”
He watches her move to the closet and take her heels off throwing them angrily inside. “So, much for you opening up and being honest with me.”
“I am sorry. I was going to tell you.”
“Really?” She looks at him as she throws her coat on the bed. “When? Because the perfect opportunity would have been before I ran into the two of you hugging on the street.”
“We weren’t hugging. She was drunk and tripped coming out of the bar. I caught her and then helped her put her shoe back on. That is all that was happening.”
“Hmm.” She walks toward the bathroom looking unsure of his honesty. He reels through what he could say or do to make her believe him. Then he remembers his bag and looks over by the door were he placed it when he had come back earlier.
“My bag. You want to know why I wouldn’t leave my bag?” He follows her towards the bathroom. “I didn’t want you to see what was inside.”
She turns back toward him mad. “Oh? What are her panties in the freaking bag?”
“What? No.” He tries not to get mad but he knows his tone is laced with anger. He runs over to his bag and digs for the small box. He pulls out the ring box and opens it so she can see the diamond ring inside. “It’s an engagement ring.”
“You were going to propose to her!” She seems more upset turning away from him going into the bathroom.
“No? That is not what I am saying at all.” She slams the bathroom door and he is getting pissed off she will not believe him. He hears the bathroom door lock and her crying inside as he gets up closer. He places his hand on the door wishing the night had never happened and that he would have just stayed here in bed with her. He feels his anger disappear thinking about how much he loves her and softens his tone. “The ring is for you Chasity.” He waits to see if she will respond but still hears her crying. “I bought it in October before everything. I even called your dad to ask permission.” He hears her moving inside the bathroom as he continues. “I carry it around with me because I don’t want to leave it at Julie’s house. I don’t know her or her girlfriend and friends that well and I didn’t want to have it stolen.” He hears her unlock the door and it makes his heart feel hopeful. “I didn’t want you to see it yet.” The door slowly opens and her red teary face makes him sigh a bit in relief seeing that she does not look hurt or angry anymore. He feels his heart beating quickly as he watches her wondering what she is thinking. He is not sure if she believes him or not so he thinks of some evidence. “The receipt is over there in the back of the drawer of my bedside table if you don’t believe me.” He points to the table and her eyes follow before she looks back at him. She looks to be thinking for what seems like an eternity and he feels her silence eating his insides.
Finally, she speaks and her tone sounds loving toward him. “You called my dad?”
He smiles in relief as he answers realizing she believes him. “Yes.”
She smiles slightly. “What did he say?”
“That there was no one he would trust his daughter with more.” He looks down at the ring sadly closing the box and puts it on the desk next to him. “But he would probably never say that to me now.”
“I never told anyone.” He is not sure if her not telling her parents he tried to strangle her makes him feel better or not.
He looks up into her eyes and steps closer to her. She does not move away so he reaches for her right hand, which feels cold against his own hand. “I am really sorry. I should have told you about Julie.”
“Yes, that would have been better.”
“I will never lie to you again.” He searches her eyes for forgiveness.
“Good.” She wipes her teary cheek with her left hand. “Because it hurts when you do.”
“So, am I forgiven?” He asks nervously.
She nods her head wrapping her arms around his neck and he feels the pain of betraying her lessen in his chest.
“You still want me to move in? Because if you don’t, I understand.”
“Um.” She moves out of his arms and talks sternly to him. “You better be moving in because I don’t want you living with some other girl. I don’t care if she likes men or not.”
He tries not to smile as he quickly responds. “Okay.”
She looks over at the ring box next to them. “So, you are kind of fond of me huh?”
He looks over at the box feeling unsure what she is thinking about it. He wanted to propose properly and never planned on her finding out the way she did. He just felt it was the only way he could get her attention and trust. “Uh.” He wraps his arms around her waist pulling her up against him. “I really had planned something a little bit more romantic when the time came. I just kind of blew that though didn’t I.” She shrugs her shoulders at him nodding her head. “Is there anyway you could just forget everything that happened tonight and seeing the ring?”
“No.” She moves her lips closer to his. “I don’t think so.”