Happy Never Ever After

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Chapter 15

"Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them." -Bruce Lee

It was now approaching May and I wasn’t sure of anything anymore. So many things had rapidly changed over the course of three months.

Three months, I repeated. How do I even begin to explain?

My eyes glanced up from the ground over to the rippling lake out in the distance. Curling my legs to my chest more, I tried to breathe and clear my puzzled mind. But the knowledge I had just learned peck at my raw heart.

Recently, Oliver had gone for his annual camping/hiking excursion with his three brothers to the Grand Canyon and as soon as he left, I immediately jumped off the health wagon by eating junk food, horrible but delicious burgers and planted my ass on the couch watch marathons of television episodes I had missed. I was in such a great mood, I even started to work on Peter’s project for one glorious week.

And I thought with my mother, Dalia, coming in this last week would continue my fun, but I was wrong.

I un-crumbled the note my father gave to me at the funeral and I now understood what it meant. A few tear drops hit the paper as I thought back to my mother’s last day of her visit.

My mother had all her bags packed in the living room and I walked in to find her sitting on the couch still.

I said slightly perplexed by her off demeanor. “Mom, you’re going to want to get to the airport earlier.”

She never was the type to get upset.

Her hazel eyes glanced up to me timidly and she clenched onto a paper. My eyes focused on the paper realizing it wasn’t the newspaper or her ticket. It was the note my father left me.

“Mom?”

“He didn’t tell you did he?”

I slowly sat on the floor next to her and asked confused, “Tell me what?”

She bit her lip to stop its quivering and whispered, “He’s always been a good man.”

Good man? I question her in my thoughts.

My mother glanced back to me and said, “Alexia, you know I love you so so so much, right?”

I nodded my head waiting for the other shoe to drop. “Yes.”

Her hand cupped my cheek and she softly responded, “You deserve to know the truth. I just hope you don’t hate me after.”

“Mom, I could never hate you,” I said shocked and my mother strained to smile.

Wiping her eyes, my mother added, “The reason why your father and I split up wasn’t because he left or found another person; it was because of me. It’s my fault.”

The only thought that dropped into my mind was, What was she talking about?

I stared at her watery eyes and handed a tissue. Dalia was thankful for it and she said choked up, “Your father is a very good man. And when we were younger I thought he was perfect. Ryan was sweet, charming, loving and ambitious. He had a great job; we got along, he had a good family and so on."

She shifted in her seat, "It was just as time went on in our marriage I realized,” she said quietly, “he just wasn’t perfect for me. We clashed on different views and personality. I thought maybe if we tried to have a child maybe that missing piece I need would appear. But,” my mom sighed sadly, “I just ended up loving you.”

Trying to swallow my mother apologized, “I’m so sorry Alexia.” Dalia glanced up trying to explain why she made such a mistake, “Sometimes what seems good in your mind just isn’t in person.”

I was still confused with many questions and I responded, “I don’t see how this is your fault. Even if you guys fought, he shouldn’t have left….”

Left me.

Pushing a hair away from my face my mother added, “He had every right too. I broke his heart. I, I” she glanced at my eyes and finally said, “I cheated on him.”

“With Cory,” I burst out.

“No sweetie, that was long before I met Cory.” My mother answered.

I covered my open mouth from deep shock. She glanced down at her fingers, “That’s why we argued. Why he ignored me. Why he left.”

I tried choking back a sob as I argued, “But he abandoned me too.”

Dalia eyes slowly landed on me and responded, “He never abandon you baby. He’s helped support you financially for schooling to Christmas presents. And even though you think he never showed up for anything; he did."

She added, "He went to all the plays to see you usher to sitting in the stands as you graduated. I’m pretty sure he's kept every letter I sent him of you.” My mother wiped her runny nose, “Your father was being kind to my selfishness. He knew I would have died if he fought custody for you or worse….”

Her shaking hand grasped my hand, “if you found out the truth about me.”

I wiped my hand over my worried expression and stood up suddenly. I had the urge to run away from my problems and I started to sprint out to the far lake. I could feel my heart race in my chest. My burning lungs craving for more air as I felt the cool wind hitting my sweaty skin. As I bent over at the edge of water on the dock, I was not sure if I would heave or just pass out. All I knew was that I felt empty.

My legs gave out and I fell on my knees crying. “Why, why would they do this?” I seemed to pull my hair out in anger as I hissed, “All these years of hating him and now….”

I glanced down at my reflection bouncing in the small ripples only to picture my father’s broken face after telling him I never wanted to see him again.

I was such an asshole.

Without a thought I fell off the dock and plumage into the lake water. Just floating under the surface, I closed my eyes trying to block out everything in my life.

It was so quiet, I thought.

It seemed like minutes when the sensation of my lungs started to ache for oxygen. But yet, I wished I could just stay in the cold numbing water forever.

Of course, Dana’s voice surfaced my mind. Promise me you will never try to hurt yourself again!

Swimming up to the surface, I sucked my first breath of air again and swam to the shoreline. Lying on the ground shivering, I finally thought.

How was I going to make amends now? How do I gain back years I’ve missed.

Shaking my head, I pulled my phone out of my pocket and was happy to see my water proof case held up its bargain. I had a few texts in my in-box.

Hey baby. I’m sorry again about dinner, but I got called in for an emergency. Love you. –Oliver

I rolled my eyes feeling more fed up than usual. I know Oliver's job was stressful. I know it would take most of his life away from me. And I knew it was an important part of him to save lives.

But inside I didn’t want him to be gone all the time. I craved for someone to cuddle me at night for bedtime. Have normal days of kicking back and relax on a sofa. Or better yet to not get ready for three hours to find out dinner plans have been canceled.

My green eyes stared at the white clouds above as I whispered, “It doesn’t seem to bother you though.” I could affirm that with the recent date Oliver took me on.

I remember sitting across from Oliver eating his food blissfully and him saying, “Isn’t it great that we can be so happy and close with not seeing each other for awhile.” He wiped his mouth with a napkin, “I can do my hectic work schedule and you can focus on your hobbies, and still we’re a content couple.”

I smiled as I nodded my head. But inside I was disappointed. He was alright with our separate lives and yet, I was drowning in loneliness.

Scrolling to my other messages, I read:

Please stop ignoring me Lex.

So I’m sorry about before. I didn’t mean to react that way. You just caught me off guard.

P.s. Just got the save the date cards and they look amazing. Did you make these?

Lex?

So that was the other dilemma I had been trying to figure out. Did I just screw up my long time friendship with Peter? Or scarier thought. Was I falling for Peter, the boy who irritated me as a child?

Let me explain, it had been sometime in March and we were working diligently on finding a grand scale DJ to rock Dana and Jason’s wedding. I can’t phantom how many places I had called for prices, experience, packages and ask for a consultation. But finally we narrowed it down to two.

I glanced up from my morning tea, to observe Peter’s tussle hair and sleepy expression as he gulped down his coffee in hopes to wake him up. He gave a pleasing sigh as he finished the last sip and then glanced up to me with a smile.

“Morning.”

A short laugh escaped my lips, “Good Morning. How did you sleep?”

He stretched his back and said, “Not too bad with being on your crap of a couch.”

My lips pulled a bit knowing I really didn’t have the best furniture, “At least I have a couch.”

Peter nodded his head, “True. Very true.” His brown eyes glanced over to me and he asked, “So what are your plans today?”

I shrugged my shoulders, “I’m not sure.” I mutter more to myself as I placed my cup into the sink, “I’m never sure with Oliver.”

Peter cleared his throat and asked, “Does he ever come around?”

My eyes dropped to the dish I was washing by hand, “He does. It’s just he has a very busy schedule.” Even as I said this my voice seemed sad.

“Do you at least have a good time when he comes around?” Peter asked hesitant.

Stopping my motion I tried saying a little upbeat, “Yeah. We go to new restaurants, go on hikes through the woods, we even done white water rafting. It’s always new things I never dare to do.” My mind argued, because they are things you don’t want to do.

“But,” Peter placed his dish into the sink and I smiled up to him and replied, “No, no buts. He’s a good man and he treats me really good. On Valentine’s day he surprised me with a trip to Paris.”

Was it the ideal trip? Yes. Who wouldn’t think it be romantic to be swept off to Paris for a day. And I was surprised with chocolates and a big bouquet of flowers. But by the time, we spent about an hour he had to go to a conference meeting. So instead I ended up going to the Louvre to admire works of art that whole day.

“Wow,” Peter said shocked as he turned to the living room.

I lied a little as I finished cleaning his cup, “I know, he really knows how to sweep a girl off her feet.”

“I’m just glad you’re happy Lex.” Peter said softly.

I quickly turned to watch him walk into the other room and something in my heart burst. I wasn’t happy. And I felt guilty because I should. Oliver was the prince I had been waiting for. He was charming, smart, and could help support and care for me; especially after losing my cooking job, which Peter still didn’t know about.

Peter called out excited, “The DJ from that radio station you like just contacted me. He said he’s setting up his equipment in Dallas, we can come over and check him out.”

“Okay, let me just get changed.” I announced as I turned to my room to get presentable for the day as well try to keep my feelings in check.

Quickly I threw on a sweater dress, leggings and a light jacket and slipped my feet into my black flats. Placing my hair up in a messy bun, I stepped back out into the living room to find Peter already dressed. He smiled up at me and tried to hold back something.

I asked, “What?”

He shook his head and replied, “Nothing. Ready to go?”

I walked over to the mirror trying to see if my hair looked misplaced, but I actually did a great job for not looking. I pivot around with my arms crossed, “Why are you smiling like that Peter? Is something funny?”

He sighed at my defensive demeanor, “I’m not laughing at you, Lex. I’m just laugh at the thought that popped in my head.” His cheeks burned slightly red and he waved me to leave.

As we walked to his car, I asked, “What thought?”

“You’re not going to let this go are you?” Peter asked adjusting his review mirror.

“No,” I replied, “Please just tell me?”

Pulling out onto the road, Peter responded, “I just had a flash back to when we were getting our attire for the wedding.”

I blurted out by accident, “Oh, the day you slipped out I was beautiful,” I pause realizing what I was saying and I lamely tact on, “in that dress.”

I bit my lip at the truth. Oliver and other guys I’ve dated have complimented me on how I look; stunning, pretty, beautiful, and even cute.

But there was just something about Peter in the way he looked at me when he said those words. It meant more. I could literally sense what he was thinking. He thought I was beautiful. Not looked beautiful.

Peter smiled, “There was more to that day if I recalled.” He added to his defense, “Like you sneaking ogling peeks at me.”

“I did not,” I countered as I turned my faint blushing face to the window.

He noticed. Crap. I swear I didn’t mean to keep looking at Peter in that way, but he looked so damn good in his tux. And instead of looking at him showing me the pink vest that match my dress, I focused on how his dress shirt sleeves were rolled up revealing some strong arms, I might add.

It kind of made my heart flutter just at the thought of it.

Finally, we had made it to small, yet beautiful reception area called the AppleTree Terrace and stepped inside in searched for our hopeful DJ. Seeing the DJ equipment, I walked over and called out to the guy, “Are you Jeff?”

Like I didn’t know being a huge fan of his, I thought flustered.

“Yeah,” he said with a smile and glanced at us more. “Are you the wedding couple that wanted to observe my handy work?”

“Ah,” I said and Peter cut in, “Yes. Can we see a portfolio maybe?”

Jeff searched his bag and pulled out a small lap top, “I’ll do you one better.” He clicked on a file and added, “Here are some videos of my work.”

I sat in a chair next to Peter as Jeff left us to set up more. Leaning in I asked, “Wedding couple?”

Peter smirked, “I thought it be fun.” I rolled my eyes and started to watch the videos of fun receptions, the couple’s first dance to finally a bride having a father and daughter dance.

My eyes dropped away from the screen and Peter had suddenly grasped my hand in comfort. Smiling in appreciation, Jeff walked back and asked, “What do you think?”

“It looked like a lot of fun,” I said still slightly star struck.

Peter added, “Well it’s one thing to hear on video, but in real life it’s another story. Could you play us a song right now?”

My eyes shot over bewildered at Peter’s request, “Oh, he doesn’t have to do that.” I directed my attention to Jeff, “Your credentials are practically enough.”

“No, no, no. It’s fine.” Jeff smiled at us and started to find a song. Jeff whispered to himself, “Cute couple.”

Jeff Walker thought we made a cute couple! I squealed inside.

Peter lend me his hand and walked us over to the dance floor. “What are you doing?” I asked baffled and yet intriguingly amused.

Peter smiled down at me as he place his one hand on my hip and the other holding my hand out. “I just wanted to dance to test out the music.”

When the music began to play, he began to move us around the dance floor very slowly. I glided with his smooth motions at ease and as we started to turn into another circle, Peter spun me out and back in.

I giggled at how much fun I was having and being completely amazed at his dancing. I asked still in awe, “How do you know how to dance?”

Peter gave a smirk, “Would you believe me if I told you my mother forced me to take a few dancing lesson when I was younger.”

I nodded my head as we turned again, “By the way we're dancing I say yes. You’re very smooth.”

As the song began to end, Peter dipped me down and pulled me up close to his face. Suddenly my insides melted and I could only focus on his smirking lips. In reaction our eyes connected and I swiftly kissed his tender lips.

And bam.

I was on the floor.

I guess using the word smooth was too early to use, sarcastically I thought.

Glancing at my phone, I battled in thought, But seriously, you wouldn’t see one of the fairy tale princes drop their woman on the floor. Then again Peter just never seemed to fit my idea of a prince charming.

Another thought crept into my mind. Did I care? That kiss, whether being short, just seemed to haunt me.

Finally puckering up the courage to text Peter, I wrote

It’s okay. Let’s just forget about it. Thanks. And yes, I did. Dana was very specific as to how she wanted these save the date cards and it would have cost a fortune to have them printed her way.

I stared at my text already feeling there was tension in my words. Our friendship was doom.

Deleting the first part I just left,

Thanks. And yes, I did. Dana was very specific as to how she wanted these save the date cards and it would have cost a fortune to have them printed her way.

And I hit send. Ignoring the dilemma always works too.

Getting back up I started to walk away from the park grounds and type my location for a Lyft. I could feel my phone buzz as I was finishing up my request . Checking it out it said,

Good job saving money. Are you busy tonight?

Taking a deep sigh, I responded back,

Actually yes. I have to straighten out the final touches on Dana's co-ed bridal shower.

After a few minutes, I climbed in the backseat when my ride arrived. Sitting back in my seat shivering, my phone chimed at me and I glanced unwillingly down'

Oh, okay. Have fun. I’ll see you there real soon.

Hint. Hint. You can’t really avoid me forever.

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