Blissful Aftermath [ROMANCE]

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Twenty-Six

December 28th 2018

She wanted to call him and not call him at the same time.

After the talk with Calvin, there were so many things that she wanted to talk to Joe about, but she was sure that he hated her and if not for the baby they were now forever bound them together, he wouldn’t ever want to see her again.

Instead of him trapping her, she couldn’t help but feel like she was trapping him now. While talking to Calvin and telling him how she felt about their time together, there was still so much more that she wanted to say to him but he had forced her to cut their conversation short by begging for her to take him back.

Audrey felt lighter since she had been able to vent to the man that was the root of all her problems, but there was still so much left unsaid. Now that she had experienced a taste of closure, she wanted the full thing. Just a taste was no longer enough. She needed full closure but she doubted she would be able to happen upon Calvin at the park for a second day in a row which meant that she had no choice but to take matters into her own hands.

As much as she didn’t want to see or speak to Calvin again, she owed it to her herself to see all of this through. But could she handle it?

Their last and most recent encounter had happened completely out of chance and she hadn’t been thinking straight when she chose to approach him. If she could go back and have a do-over, she probably would have turned her back on him and walked away without him realising that she was there in the first place, but that also would have meant that she wouldn’t have been able to experience the small slither of closure that she had.

Essentially, it was a double ended sword and she couldn’t decide whether it had been a good or bad thing.

Sighing dejectedly, she lay down on the bed and stared up at the ceiling, her arms and legs spread out like a star fish.

They had just had lunch and both Isaac and Claire were out getting some shopping done before the New Year’s party that they were hosting with some of their friends. They had invited her to come along, even insisting as they believed that getting out of the house and getting some fresh air would do her some good, but she had heavily refused.

She needed to face her thoughts and feelings, not run away or distract herself from them, especially since running away from her past apparently also meant running away from Joe.

To start, she needed to turn on her phone.

Turning over on the bed so she was now laying on her side, Audrey rested her head on the pillow and stared at the screen as it turned on.

Almost immediately, the screen lit up with a series of messages and missed calls, a few of them from her friends but nearly all of them from Joe.

Her heart sped up as she noted all the times that he had called her. Once every morning and then again before he went to bed, just as he had promised. Despite how difficult and completely out of order that she had been, he had still kept his promise and called her every morning and every night.

The thought of that alone was enough to spring tears to her eyes, but she was quick to blink them back.

Now was not the time for crying.

Her eyes settled on the first unread message she had received from him on Christmas day after she had sent him that spontaneous text before turning off her phone.

Merry Christmas, pretty lady

I know we’re not on the best of terms right now, but I hope you had a great day

I had a great time, but it just wasn’t the same without you

Can we please talk tonight?

Even when he was angry, he was so sweet. She had really lucked out with Joseph Darcy and now that she realised it, she just hoped she wasn’t too late.

If she was, then she had a whole lifetime ahead of her of regret and longing.

Audrey now regretted turning her phone off that day. It was a coward move but she had genuinely felt that the silence from it had given her the peace of mind to process everything and set her mind straight. So, maybe she didn’t regret it after all.

Either way, she now had all her thoughts straight and knew what she had to do.

We really need to talk

Audrey, please call me back

When you’re ready to talk, I’ll be here

She chewed on her bottom lip as she read over all of the messages, her eyes finally settling on the most recent messages which he had sent her not even an hour ago.

Audrey, please pick up

I really need to tell you something

You’re going to want to hear this

She was surprised that he was still willing to talk to her after the way she had treated him, though as selfish as it sounded, couldn’t help but feel relieved that there was still some hope.

Before she could overthink it and chicken out once again, Audrey rushed through her contacts for his number and called him. She so desperately wished that he would pick up, even though he had every right to ignore her. It had been her trying to sabotage them all along.

By the time the fifth ring sounded, she sniffled quietly and moved her thumb to hover over the red button and end the call but before she could do so, his voice filled the room.

“Audrey.” Joe exhaled in a breathy sigh; his voice sounding almost relieved, as if he too had feared that she would end the call. “Is that you, pretty lady?”

“I don’t look very pretty right now.” Audrey sniffled again and closed her eyes, placing the call on loud speaker before dropping it on the pillow, right next to her head.

“Impossible.” He chuckled lightly. “I refuse to believe that.”

Audrey closed her eyes and sighed in bliss, having not realised how much she had truly missed him until she heard his voice sound on the other end of the line.

“Why are you not angry at me?” She asked quietly, her tone wary.

Joe sighed and she could imagine him running a hand through his hair, gripping on the ends of it tightly like he did when he was frustrated and stumped. She wished she was there with him in person to soothe him, but it would take a couple of hours for that to happen, and it was much more reasonable to sort out all their problems and issues on the phone during that time.

“I am, but I also don’t want to fight with you anymore.”

“I don’t want to fight with you either.” She was quick to say, wanting to push the words out of her mouth before that something inside of her forced her to cave in again. “I’m so sorry, Joe.”

“I know, lady.” He started, but she was quick to stop him before he could continue.

“No, let me finish.” She pouted and dabbed at her nose with a tissue. “I’m so sorry for accusing you of trying to get me on pregnant on purpose. I was so out of order and I see how wrong I am now. I can’t believe I accused you of that but I promise I’ll make up for it.”

“Audrey, you have nothing to make up for.” He assured him and she could hear the smile in his voice.

“What do you mean? Of course, I do.” She insisted. “That was so stupid of me to claim that you tried to get me pregnant to trap me, and I know how conceited that sounds, and I’m so sorry. I need you to know that I’m not normally like that and that it was a one off. I don’t want you think that I’m crazy or something, because I promise that I’m not. I just got so scared when I found out that I was pregnant. I know that doesn’t make or excuse anything, but please, I need you to know that.”

Audrey only stopped her rambling when she heard a light, thought-provoking chuckle sound from his end of the line. Her lips tugged down into a small frown as she waited for him to explain himself.

“Are you finished?”

She frowned further and murmured a yes.

“It turns out that it was the condoms that were faulty.”

Her breath hitched in her throat and she sat up in bed, almost as if it would help her come to terms with everything better.

“What do you mean the condoms were faulty?”

Joe sighed but chuckled. If he was still chuckling, it couldn’t all be bad, right?

“It’s a long story but a couple weeks ago, I was playing hide and seek with my nephew. He was hiding in my room and I found him, but what I hadn’t realised that while he was in there, he had found my condoms and thought they were water balloons or something.” He paused when she laughed, happy to hear that free, light-hearted sound again. “Well, when I found him, I saw that he’d spilled the whole box on the floor, but what I hadn’t realised that he had poked holes into some of them.”

“No!” She exclaimed in disbelief; her eyes wide and her mouth agape.

“Yes.” He chuckled.

“So, I’m pregnant because your nephew poked holes into all the condoms we used?” She asked, unable to hold back the laugh that threatened to bubble to the surface at the absolute craziness that was the situation that they were in.

“Yes.”

Audrey fell back on the bed, threw her head back and laughed. She hadn’t done much laughing in the past week but fine minutes on the phone with Joe and she was crying with laugher. By the time she had calmed down, her stomach hurt and she was panting heavily, still giggling quietly.

“You know, if I was there with you right now, I could get you to pant more than that.” Joe teased, his voice dropping a few octaves and since they were separated, she could only imagine the dark, hungry look in his eyes.

“Oh, I have no doubt about that.” She grinned, but it soon slipped off her face. “I’m still sorry I accused you.”

“I know, Audrey.” He chuckled. “We’re going to have to work on that, pretty lady. I can’t have you screaming and running away from me every time you get scared.”

“I know.” She sighed softly and pouted. “I’m working on it and you’ll be happy to hear that I’ve actually made some progress on this lately.”

“Oh, what kind of progress?” He asked curiously.

“I was out for a walk yesterday,” she began to explain, but was quickly cut off by Joe’s frantic voice, dripping with worry and concern.

“But it was snowing yesterday.”

She rolled her eyes but couldn’t keep the grin off her face. “I was careful, I promise.”

“Did you wrap up warm?”

“As snug as a bug.”

“That doesn’t sound very warm.” She could practically hear the frown in his voice. “A bug doesn’t need anything to keep warm, the same cannot be said about people, especially a pregnant woman.”

“I wore a coat.”

He sighed. “Wear a scarf next time, too, okay?”

“I promise.” She smiled sweetly. “You’re too sweet to me.”

“I just don’t want you to get a cold.” He chuckled quietly. “So, what did you do on your walk yesterday?”

Audrey’s mood dimmed a little, a little worried with how he would take the news but she was actively trying to be better and that included being truthful and opening up to him more.

“I ran into Calvin yesterday.”

“Calvin?” He asked, genuinely surprised.

“Yes.”

“Your scumbag, cheating, ex-husband, Calvin?”

“Yes, unfortunately.”

“What happened?” He asked, genuinely curious though he couldn’t deny that there was a part of him that was afraid of her answer.

“I approached him and we talked for a bit. I finally got the chance to let him know exactly how I feel.” Audrey explained with a large grin on her face, excited to share this with someone. “I sat down next to him and poured my heart out and he had no choice but to listen to what I had to say.”

“What did you say to him exactly?” He asked, genuinely curious.

The woman that he was speaking to on the phone sounded absolutely fierce and he loved that for her. He especially loved that she had gotten the chance to speak to her ex-husband. Despite how slimy and vile he was, Audrey deserved some closure to truly be able to move on with her life. She may physically be in a different place and away from him, both mind and body, but her soul was tainted with her despicable past and the horrid way that he had treated her, a way that no man should ever treat a woman and vice versa.

Just thinking of her ex had her blood boiling.

“I never thought I would see Calvin again and when I ran into him today, I don’t know what came over me. I just felt this overwhelming need to talk to him, to tell him everything that I couldn’t tell him before.” Audrey paused to catch her breath from having rushed to tell him everything. “Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand him for putting me through everything that he had, but I was so relieved to see him. I just can’t believe that he sat there and took everything that I had to say.”

“What happened next?” Joe asked, sensing that there was more to the conversation.

“He asked me to get back together with him. He said that we could try fertility treatments and if that didn’t work, we could always adopt. As if I hadn’t said that to him the entire time that we were married!” She huffed in annoyance, really appreciating being able to rant to Joe as a form of releasing her frustration.

As much as she loved her brother, she didn’t want to tell him that she had seen Calvin as she was certain that he would react very negatively, and she didn’t trust Claire either as she was sure that she would just end up telling Isaac.

“Can you believe the nerve of the man?” Audrey asked rhetorically as she rolled her eyes, still in complete disbelief that Calvin had actually been able to ask something as absurd as that from her. It was almost as if everything that she had said to him, revealed to him, shared with him, meant absolutely nothing. Almost as if it had gone into one ear and come out the other.

He hadn’t changed at all.

“Joe?” She called out to him after he hadn’t spoken for a considerable amount of time and she could only hear his breathing on the other end. “Babe, are you still there?”

“I’m still here.” He replied in a quiet whisper.

“What’s wrong?” She asked, concerned.

“Do you want to get back together with him?”

“What did you just say?”

“No, forget what I just said.” Joe inhaled sharply. “That’s so stupid. I shouldn’t have asked that.”

“What? You really thought that he would ask for me to go back to him and I would go running back into his arms?” She snorted at the absurdity of it, though she didn’t completely blame him for fearing the worst. She hadn’t been the most reliable girlfriend as of late, but she was determined to change that. “You have to give me more credit than that, Joe. There’s no way I’d ever go back to him. Plus, I’m pregnant with your baby.”

That must have cheered him up for when he next spoke, she could hear the smile in his voice.

“I can’t wait to see you.”

Her lips turned up into a grin. “I can’t wait to see you either.” She admitted honestly.

“Do you know when you’re going to be back?”

Audrey pursed her lips and thought for a second before she answered, her mind not completely made up yet.

“I’m not sure.” She replied. “Maybe the day after tomorrow, but definitely before New Year’s.”

“What’s keeping you there?” He asked, and she understood that he wasn’t referring to either Isaac or Claire. “Do you have some unfinished business?”

She grinned and nodded, but then realised that he couldn’t see her through the phone.

“I’m going to pay Calvin a little visit.”

-

Next chapter will be up on Tuesday!

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Layla Knight

09.07.2020

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