“That fat fucking bitch!”
I pulled my phone away from my ear, wincing, “Charlotte-”
“That dirty hoebag!”
“I am going to come there and find her! I am going to fuck. Her. Up! Fucking slut! Ohhh, she’s a fucking dead sewer rat! I’m going to rip her-”
“I’m in a diner, and the people around can probably hear you cursing, Jesus.”
“I don’t care! How dare she! On your anniversary?! I swear CJ, if you get back with her I will fucking lose it.”
“We’re just talking, Charlotte. I have no intention of getting back with her.” I sighed, fiddling with the corner of the menu. “Not after that.”
“Good. I mean it, CJ. Don’t let her try to guilt you into being with her, she’s not good enough for you.”
“I know.” I smiled softly, “You and dad have both said that numerous times.”
“Well- shit. I just got paged.”
I looked at the door to see Cleo walk into the diner and look around, giving a small smile when she saw me.
“Yeah, go. She’s coming in now.”
“Fucking whore!” Charlotte hissed.
“Bye, CJ. Remember, be strong!”
I hung up my phone as Cleo sat down in the seat across from me and gave me a smile. After an awkward few minutes of silence, Cleo cleared her throat.
“Hi.” She said softly.
“Hi.” I responded with a nod.
“Thanks for agreeing to meet with me.”
I gave her a straight-lipped smile.
“How are you?” She asked.
“Fine. How are you?”
She sighed and ran her hand through her hair, “Honestly? Pretty shitty. I-”
“How long, Cleo. How long have you been cheating on me?” I folded my hands in front of me.
“CJ... I-” She sighed, folding her hands on the table, looked down at her hands and spoke softly, “Not long.”
“Stop saying that and tell me the fucking truth.” I spat.
She looked at me, biting her lip. “Two months.”
I let out a sharp laugh, shaking my head. “You think two months is ‘not long’?”
She looked down at her hands, turning the engagement ring around on her finger.
“I’m sorry.” She said softly.
“I find that hard to believe.”
“Chris...” she sighed, “It’s the truth.”
“How the hell could you be sorry for something you’ve been doing for months?”
“I never meant for it— I never meant to hurt you.”
“Sure.” I nodded sarcastically, “You never meant to hurt me by sleeping with someone else.” I eyed her “Was it with more than one?”
“This... I thought it was me. I thought you wouldn’t fuck me because you were pissed off by how much I’d been working, but the whole time it was because you were fucking someone else. Wasn’t it?”
She nodded her head. “Yeah.”
“You were fucking him while you were fucking me, while you were loving me... Did you love me?”
“Yes!” She gasped, “Yes, I loved — love you.”
“Then why?” I asked softly, “Why did you cheat on me?”
“I don’t know!” She sighed, running a hand through her hair, “I just… I met him. I met him at work… He’s a delivery guy - he works the restaurant that brings the bagels in every morning at work… He’s…” She sighed, shaking her head, “He’s funny, and actually wanted to talk to me, and hear from me, and how my day was…”
I narrowed my eyes at her, “What?”
Cleo bit her lip, “You weren’t home often.” She said softly, “When I was home, you were at the hospital, and when you were home I was at the lab…”
“How many times-” I looked around and leaned forward, lowering my voice, “How many times did I try to initiate sex with you, Cleo? How many times, after working a fourteen hour shift, did I come home and try to get you to talk to me? I’d try to talk to you and you’d just… Blow me off. Ignore me. Remember when I made room in my shifts so that we’d be able to have lunch or dinner… Who was the one who didn’t show up? No matter what I did to try to make it work, to try to keep our relationship going, you turned me down every damn time. This-”
“Are ya’ll ready to order?”
I looked up to see the redheaded waitress smiling at us and cleared my throat.
“Coffee.” I sighed, “and a blueberry muffin, please.”
“That’s all?” The waitress cocked an eyebrow at me.
“Cleo? What do you want?” I asked.
She shrugged, shaking her head, “The same.”
The waitress stared at us and rolled her eyes, muttering under her breath as she walked away.
“CJ, I’m so sorry.” Cleo said softly, “I never meant for this to happen.”
I nodded and pinched the bridge of my nose.
“How late did you work?” She asked me softly.
“I got off shift at seven. Worked all night.” I answered.
“I’m sorry… We could have talked later, I didn’t know you worked all night. Have you even been…” She chuckled, shaking her head, “I was going to say home… Have you even been… Wherever you’re staying?”
I stared at her, “I’m staying in a motel.”
The waitress came by and rudely slammed our coffee mugs down onto the table, practically slid the plates with the muffins in front of us, and stomped off.
“Rude.” I muttered.
“You’re in… a motel? You’ve been in a motel for a week?”
I nodded, looking through the bowl on the table for creamers, “Yeah. I’m not there often, it seems like a waste to get a room in a hotel.”
I poured two creamers into my coffee, and then three into Cleo’s.
I took a sip of coffee and winced, grimacing as I pushed the mug away. “That… is very burnt, old coffee.”
“Oh.” Cleo grimaced, picking at the muffin in front of her.
“Can I ask you a question, Cleo?”
“When we first… Is that all you wanted? Sex? Did you want a relationship with me, or was it strictly physical?”
She bit her lip. “Honestly? At that time… It was just sex. I… I was curious and I wanted to see if I’d like it.”
I nodded, “Yeah, that’s what I kind of thought.”
“But I did have feelings for you!” She nodded, “I was a kid you know? We both were. I was a dumb kid and I knew you liked me…”
“You knew when you were going to my treehouse that all you wanted was to sleep with me.”
“Yeah… But then you poured your heart out to me… I think I fell in love with you right then and there.”
I pulled a piece off of my muffin and popped it into my mouth.
“Are we going to work this out?” She asked softly, “Or are we over? We’ve been together since we were fifteen… We can’t just throw twelve years away.” Her eyes started to water, “Can we?”
I felt my own eyes start to well up and clenched my jaw. “Cleo… You slept with someone else. When I walked in and saw you… When we had sex, you were never that…” I closed my eyes, “Was I just not good enough? Because you were riding him like you’ve never done to me.”
“Chris…” She reached across the table and gently took my hand, “You didn’t answer me.”
I laced my fingers through hers, feeling the warmth of her soft hand and looked at her.
“I don’t want to.” I said honestly, “I don’t want to, because I love you.”
“Aw come on, man!”
We both turned to see a group of teenage skaters sitting in a booth, gawking at us.
“She fucked someone else!” One of them said.
“Dump her mother-fucking cheating ass!”
“You deserve better, my man.”
“That ass though…”
I furrowed my brow and looked back at Cleo.
“You love me. You love me, and I love you.” Cleo said with a small smile, “We can work this out, baby.”
“I want to.” I nodded, pulling my hand away from hers, “But I can’t.”
“Chris?” She looked at me sadly.
“I can’t trust you. I can never… trust you again. I don’t believe you when you say it was only one guy.”
“It was! It was just-”
“We went to different universities, Cleo. I was here in California, and you were in Washington.” I eyed her, “Did you sleep with anyone there?”
“Just tell me. We’re over, might as well get it all out. We had a very basic sex life before we went to college, and on those breaks when we were together… You were… very adventurous.”
The group of teenagers chuckled to themselves and I shot them a death glare before looking at Cleo, who was looking at her hands.
“Yes.” She said softly, looking up at me. “I slept with a couple of guys.”
I drew in a deep breath and nodded.
“But not after! When we were finished school I never cheated on you until…”
“You must have slept with other girls, Chris. You had to have.”
I shook my head, “Nope. I never cheated on you, Cleo. I believe in the value and sanctity of a relationship. I have never slept with anyone else, I never even wanted to sleep with anyone else. You were it, the only one I wanted.” I closed my eyes, and softy added, “You were the only one I ever wanted. You were everything to me.”
She stared at me sadly and nodded. “I’m so sorry, Chris. Really, I am.”
I took another sip of the burnt coffee and sighed, “If I hadn’t come home would you have told me? Or would you have stopped?”
“I wouldn’t have told you… I-I’d like to think I’d stop, but I don’t know.”
I stared at her for a long moment before I held my hand out.
“The ring.” I said, “Give me the ring, it’s a family heirloom.”
She nodded sadly and slowly slipped the ring off of her finger and gave it to me. I looked at the gold ring with sapphires encrusted in the band and the single diamond in the middle for a long moment before slipping it into my coat pocket.
“I love you.” She said softly.
“I love you, too.” I sighed.
She stood up and kissed my cheek before she left the diner and I stared at the seat she had been sitting in. Everything was different now. I lost her, but I didn’t feel the pain that I thought I would from losing my Bonded Soul, which made me question if she was my Bonded Soul. Everyone told me she wasn’t, but I was so sure that she was. I felt embarrassed more than anything. Embarrassed that I was so confident about it. About her.
I sighed and stood up, pulled out a twenty and put it on the table, and walked out of the diner. I got to my car and froze, eyes wide.
My heart raced in my chest, and I braced a hand on the door of my car, panting as warmth flooded through me and my vision blurred, everything darkened around me as a blurry, vision of a dark haired woman appeared in my head. I couldn’t see her face, but I could hear her laughing somewhere deep in my head, almost inaudible. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.
I groaned, grabbing chest and felt my knees buckle and let out a grunt as I felt my cock harden against my jeans.
I panted loudly as she disappeared, bracing both hands on my car door and looked around, sweat beading on my forehead. I fumbled with my keys and quickly got into my car, and gripped the steering wheel.
“Holy shit.” I panted.
I’d had the premonition. The vision that vampire get when their soul is close to their Bonded Soul for the first time. I’d never had that with Cleo, that’s why nobody believed me when I said she was mine, and… Clearly she wasn’t, because my heart now belonged to someone else. I just had no fucking idea who.