Learning to Love

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Bedroom Ceiling

The rest of the time in NY I tried the best I could to just not be a nuisance. I wanted to know what was going on, but was afraid to bring it up while I was still in this strange city thousands of miles from home. So instead I just continued to pretend nothing was wrong.

Everyone else flew back to the original date, but Adrian insisted that he wanted some alone time with us. Just a couple days, we would fly back Thursday. He had already bought first class tickets. I surprised myself by not feeling threatened. Even with knowing he lied to me, I also knew he wouldn’t hurt us.

“What is wrong?” He asked as we climbed in the car outside SeaTac airport. “You haven’t spoken sense we got on the plane, and you have been acting weird since we had sex. Did you not want that or something?”

“No, I just…” I paused thinking over what to say. “Why did we go to New York?”

“I had business there.” He responded looking thoroughly confused.

“Why did we stay longer?”

“What do you mean Jess? What’s wrong?” He asked, turning to face me at a red light.

Suddenly my pain and anger erupted.

“I heard you on the phone.” I snapped, not caring that my voice was breaking. “You were doing a favor for Drew…”

He was stunned into silence for a long time. I tried to hide my burning tears of betrayal that rolled down my cheeks. When we pulled up in front of my apartment complex he turned slowly to look at me.

“It’s not what you think.” He said lamely.

“What is it then?” I fought to keep my voice low not wanting to wake up Aaliyah. “Because it seems like maybe Drew needed a break from me and asked you to babysit. If that’s not what it is, please tell me. What is it?”

“No, that’s not even close.” He insisted, while I watched him expectantly. “I can’t tell you, I promised Drew.”

I laughed without humor. “Then maybe you should date him.” I snapped before climbing out and slamming the door. I grabbed Ally and my bag and walked past the car just in time to see him shake his head in frustration and climb out.

“You are not being fair Jess. Haven’t I earned a little trust here? Don’t you know by now that I’m not against you, that Drew is not against you?” He snapped, irritated.

“Then why are you lying to me?!” I yelled.

Ally started crying and I bit my lip bouncing her lightly. Adrian closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

“I’m trying to help you Jessica.” He said stubbornly.

“Then leave me alone. I don’t need anyone else in my life who is lying to me and tearing me down.” I snapped.

“Jess-”

“No, I’m going to put my daughter to bed and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Don’t come in.” I blinked back tears and turned to walk away.

I went to Simon’s place and cried to Balissa while Simon put Ally to bed. They said I could stay the night with them. The next day I went to work not sure if I wanted Adrian to listen to me or not.

Part of me was relieved as the time passed by and he still wasn’t there. However, when I took a break I went into the back room and sobbed the entire fifteen minutes. I came out looking horrible and Sarah just about had a heart attack. She gave me a free coffee and sent me home.

Simon had talked to Drew about switching rooms with Balissa for a while and I was grateful to feel free to go back to my own room. Since Ally was still at daycare with Balissa I allowed myself to ball up on the bed and cry some more.

I typed one message after another. Apologizing, demanding an explanation, asking to meet some where, but I sent none of them. Instead a sat staring at my ceiling trying desperately to make sense of what had happened.

Over a week passed in much the same way. The Friday before the Christmas party Drew came in looking exhausted. He looked as if he hadn’t slept in weeks. I knew he had been busy at work which had made avoiding him even easier.

“We need to talk. Jess.” He said with a sigh.

“I have nothing to say.” I said quietly as I wiped down the counter.

“Well I do.” He insisted. “Listen, taking you to New York was Adrian’s idea. He didn’t feel comfortable leaving you alone after figuring out why I was really at your work that day. I told him before we came in and dealt with that jerk, but I got too distracted to tell you after what happened.”

“And what was so important that you both lied to me?” I snapped angrily.

“When I found out you had agreed to go with him I asked him not to tell you unless I couldn’t deal with the situation before you got home. I didn’t want to scare you.” He continued desperately.

“What was it?”

“You know for not having anything to say you are interrupting a lot.” He deflected.

I crossed my arms and glared at him until he sighed in resignation.

“Garret broke Charlie out of jail while he was being transferred.” He admitted.

My stomach jumped into my throat and I couldn’t breathe. Charlie was free and they didn’t tell me? Was he on his way here right now? Was he on his way to get Aaliyah?

“Ally?!” I squeaked desperately.

“He’s dead Jess. They both are. Adrian took you both to New York so I could get things taken care of.” He looked sheepish.

“You killed them?” I asked, awestruck and stund. If Charlie and Garrett were dead, then I was safe. Ally was safe.

“They were both killed, suicide by cop. Dick shot Garrett and I killed Charlie.” He looked tentative, as if not sure how I was going to react to this news.

“He’s dead…” I tested the words and tears stung my eyes.

I rounded the counter and wrapped my arms around Drew’s neck crying. After a minute I pulled back and smacked him.

“What the hell Jess?”

“You should have told me!” I snapped wiping at my eyes. “But I’m too relieved to stay mad.”

He rolled his eyes, “We are leaving for the party tomorrow at two. You get off at noon, that’ll give you plenty of time.”

“I don’t kn-” I started but he cut me off.

“You said you were going, everyone is looking forward to seeing you, you have to be there.”

“Fine.” I threw up my hands in surrender.

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