The rain had finally stopped. It didn’t matter much to Lein or Perion. They had both gotten soaked, and it took awhile for them to struggle into their equally soaked clothes. They took their time. Neither was in a hurry to get back. Once they had themselves put back together, they began walking back toward the house.
Perion stopped Lein once they had made it to the duck pond. She placed her hand on the side of his cheek and gently ran her thumb over the cut in the corner of his mouth. “What happened,” she asked.
He smiled a little. “I tripped over an end table.”
She returned his smile, but didn’t quite believe his story. They shared a brief kiss and then walked slowly back toward the house.
When Perion and Lein reached the house, they saw Marilinn standing out in the backyard with Blaine. As they drew closer to them, Perion could see bruises, cuts, and bandages on Blaine’s face. She took a quick sideways glance at Lein’s face then looked back at Blaine’s.
“Oh God, you fought,” Perion whispered.
Lein looked down at Perion and sighed. “He sucker punched me the night you left town. There were some punches thrown,” he admitted.
“Some? It looks more like you guys beat the living shit out of each other.”
When only a few feet separated them, Blaine made a lunge for Lein, but Marilinn grabbed onto him and held him back the best she could. Lein made his own lunge, but Perion’s touch on his shoulder stopped him.
“Knock it off, Blaine,” Perion said calmly.
Blaine was still tussling with Marilinn. “Fuck you, bitch!”
At that, Lein made another lunge toward Blaine. Perion had to grab onto him that time.
“That’s why she left you, that’s why she had to run away,” Lein shouted.
“Fuck you, too.” He made a hard, jerking motion and was free of Marilinn’s grip. “For God’s sake, Mari, let me go!” He approached his wife and her lover. He stopped when mere inches separated them. “Why are you here with him, Perion? Why can’t you see what this guy is really about?”
“He came after me, Blaine, and I have no trouble seeing what he is all about. I had trouble seeing you, but not anymore. Nothing I decided before I left has changed. Even if Lein hadn’t come after me, I would still want out. All you have to do is let me go,” she told him quietly.
“I’m not letting you go until I’m done with you. See ya around, Lein,” Blaine said sweetly, then walked away from them.
“I’m sorry, I tried to make him leave, but he wouldn’t budge,” Marilinn told them.
“It’s okay, Mom, at least he’s gone now,” Perion said, sighing in relief.
“Oh Lord, look at you two,” Marilinn said after she got over the shock of Blaine’s visit. She was, after all, a mother. “You’re both soaked to the bone. Get on inside before you both catch your deaths.”
Later that night, Perion and Lein were crowded together in Perion’s small childhood bed.
“All he wants from me is money, when he gets what he perceives to be his fair share, he’ll be done with me,” Perion whispered.
“I’ll give him anything he wants if he’ll just disappear, buzz off, go away, do something,” Lein said.
“He’d probably take it.” She sighed. “Blaine won’t make it easy on us, you know. I don’t think he’s going to let go without a fight.”
“I think you’re right about that. He was close to insane when he punched me.” He laughed ruefully. “I think I was more insane than he was.”
She leaned over him a moment and kissed him briefly. “I’m tired of talking about Blaine.”
She then laid her cheek against his chest. “If you hadn’t come, I don’t know what I would have done, but I do know I wouldn’t have gone back.”
“I know, but I couldn’t let you go. If I had, I never would have forgiven myself. I’ll say it again, Perion, I should have spoken sooner. I never wanted to make you feel as if you were nothing more than a toy for my amusement.”
She leaned over him again to look into his eyes. “Don’t,” she said. “It’s okay. I understand.”
He kissed her, and then made love to her. Their lovemaking that night was gentle and tentative, almost prissy. After it was over, neither could explain the difference right away. It didn’t take long for them to figure it out, though. It was the first night that they would actually spend together, the first time they’d actually wake up the next morning in each other’s arms. They didn’t have to rush or worry about Blaine. All they had to worry about was themselves, and that worry was just fine with them both.