Chapter Twenty Five
“So no more wine for you, huh?” Jenna snickers as she takes a sip of the red wine she'd ordered before learning the news about Veronica's pregnancy.
The two of them met up at their usual spot, Bistro 31, for a late lunch and to talk about the big news. Veronica takes a drink of the water and shrugs at her best friend's sense of humor about the changes she'll face. It was nothing for her to give up the wine, to deal with expected changes as such. What bothers her is the unhealthy habits of her own sexual addictions that Jenna isn't aware of and Adrian being in a dark state of mind with her. Those were the concerns that she feared the most, worrying whether or not they'll ultimately become a devastating affect on her.
“There's worse things in life than giving up wine for the next seven to eight months.” She says and Jenna can sense her distance from being in deeper thought.
“Well I'm very excited for you, and for Adrian! I'm happy the two of you have something this special to share together and to bring you closer.” She attempts to shed light on the situation.
“Yeah . . . not sure if it's bringing us closer or tearing us apart.” Veronica pushes away the plate of chicken breast salad that's in front of her, untouched since the waiter served it.
“Okay. So spill. Tell me what's going on.” Jenna leans in. “ I'm here for you Ronni and I always will be. You know you can talk to me about anything that's bothering you, right?”
“Jen there's so much I haven't told you.” She confesses.
“I've had that feeling for awhile now. It's nothing you can't share with me as long as you're comfortable. I'm open for whatever it is you need to get off your chest.”
Veronica looks around where they're sitting to make sure there's no one seated too closely to hear their conversation.
“I'm not sure where to start . . .” She makes a circle on the table with her glass. “This is harder than I thought.” She lets out a sigh of anxiety.
“Don't push it if you're not ready to talk about it.” Jenna says with a look of concern.
“No, I want to tell you. I want you to know why I've acted the way I have to you and everyone else . . . why I've been distant and secretive.”
She takes a long breath and thinks about what this may change, how it can affect their friendship. Though the fear of how Jenna will view her tries to stop her confessions, she continues on. The therapist she was seeing in Paris explained to her how important it is to have support, and being honest is the only way to get the support she needs. She takes a drink of water and gives it all she has to open Jenna's eyes to the person she really is inside.
“Since an early age I've dealt with an addiction, one I wasn't made aware of until the last few months. A sexual addiction. I lost control of everything some time back and it began to take over my entire life; from work to social, and even my own self being. I couldn't handle it on my own. I started therapy while I was away in France, but haven't tied loose ends since being back here in Dallas. I need help, in ways that not just anybody can provide, I need mental help.”
“So it's like you are addicted to having sex more than the average individual?” Jenna asks.
“It's more than that. I'm not only addicted to constant sex, but also fetishes that are consuming. Things like watching the act of male masturbation, having pain inflicted on myself and my partner during intercourse, and some other shit that I won't go too far into . . . I know this is all going to be a lot to take in at once. I laid it on Adrian before him learning about how bad my addiction is when he realized I'd slept with other people while I was alone in Paris.”
“It's cool, I can handle it. I know it had to be hard on him though, I can see why he was so overwhelmed at the time.” Jenna lets her know she's not here to judge.
“Right. So there's that . . . he's torn with the uncertainty of if this baby is his or not . . . and just knowing I was too selfish with my sexual desires to realize how I really feel about him. I didn't consider his feelings, I don't even know that I considered my own. I mean, I couldn't see that wasn't what I needed, it wasn't solving anything. I was so deep in my addictions, that I'd blinded my own self.” She sighs a mix of relief and shame.
“I'm sure dealing with something like that can be blinding. Don't beat yourself up over that, it's not your fault that you have these uncontrollable cravings embedded deep within you.”
“Damn Jen, being with Mason has really broadened your aspect on life.” She smiles.
“I still have my blonde moments.” She laughs.
“So with all that brewing in the pot, I take a piss in it by treating him like he isn't important to me – though he is, he's been the one that's out to save me from myself. I need him more than I'm willing to admit to him. I hid from the truth for so long, that I've made it natural at this point.” She pauses for a brief moment and continues, “Adrian just found out today that this isn't the first time I've ever been pregnant. Matter of fact, it's now your first time learning about it . . . which goes to show how hidden I've been to those who are the closest to me.”
“How did he find out?” She asks. “What happened when you were previously pregnant?”
“He found out in an awkward way . . . the doctor questioned me in front of him and I had no choice but to admit to it. Not that I was intentionally keeping it from him, but it just wasn't something I'd felt the need to talk to him about up until this time. So with the breaking news being put on blast without warning, we got home and it turned into an argument. It's like there's nothing I can do to make shit right, he's just going to have the lies in the back of his mind forever. I didn't even have a chance to explain to him what had happened, I just left. Another problem of mine, running and hiding when a problem arises. I can't keep putting him through this.”
“That's tough girl, I can see where the frustration comes in to play between you two.” Jenna gives Veronica a sympathetic look.
“Exactly. It's like a never ending battle. Then it all surrounds me being pregnant, the stress that I don't need to deal with during pregnancy and the worry Adrian has to cope with from my complex ass. The previous pregnancy was intense and fucked up in every sense of the phrase. I was sleeping with multiple men at the time when I found out I was about two months along. Similar to this situation, except I didn't love any of them, they were strictly sex. Also, the sex with one of them was beyond my limits, more than rough and I like it rough . . . it was borderline abusive . . .
The guy was older and got off on being overly dominant. I allowed it to continue for a while because I had a void that needed to be filled more than I could handle other ways at the time, so we fucked often. Me being pregnant wasn't my concern back then, again being selfish, and the man wasn't aware since I never let him know. Then came when he wanted to “play rape”, for lack of a better way to explain his expectations of our sexual encounter that day. Needless to say, he went too far and the baby suffered because of it. I've never forgave myself after losing that child, but I made myself suffer by keeping it all in and never letting it out to anyone – not even my own mother knows.”
Tears trace the jawline and cheekbones of Veronica's face from her confession.
Jenna hands her a napkin. “Oh love. I'm so sorry. I'm sorry for your loss and for having to cope with the pain on your own. You shouldn't punish yourself that way, never make yourself pay for mistakes you made. You've got to learn from those mistakes and let them be free from you so you can breath. No wonder you're a torn soul. Here you are looking like you're just this complicated bitch, when in the end you're tortured and battered on the inside. Damn. I'm so sorry, Ronni.”
“Thank you, for listening . . . and for caring. That means so much to me. You don't know the euphoric sense of relief it is to finally tell someone about this. I just wish I could let Adrian in enough to give him all he's asking from me, the truth.”
“It'll come, don't push it. Let it happen and I know it'll all come out when the moment's right.”
“Only thing is, I'm afraid it might be too late when that moment comes . . . what if he can't handle it and leaves before then?”
“If he's in love with you the way I know he is, he's not going anywhere. It may be tough in the meantime, and I'm sure you two are going to go through more ups and downs. Stick in there though, don't give up on something that hasn't given up on you. Adrian's not going to give up on you, even if it seems like he already has, that's just a defense mechanism if anything.”
“I'm telling you, Mason has done a job on you. You're no longer the 'Playmate' I once knew.” She laughs and lets out all of the bad through her laughter.
“It's good to see you smiling and cutting up right now. I know what you told me wasn't easy and I know it still hurts, but letting go and trying to enjoy what you have left is all you can do. Yes, Mason has brought out the side of me that was missing all my life, I owe it to him for the woman he's helped mold me into just in the last couple of months. It's amazing what love can do for you if you just let it in.” She winks and takes a drink of wine. “Lets get out of here and take a ride, I have something I need to show you.”
“A good something, I hope.” Veronica says as she follows Jenna's lead from the table and out of the bistro.
They end up at an adult store. Veronica can't help but wonder where this is going. Leave it to Jenna to bring her somewhere like this place . . . but after the talk they just had, she questions the motives behind it. They get out of the car and she follows her inside of the small building that sits on the corner of a rugged part of downtown. Unsure of the sanitary state of the door handle, Veronica uses her blouse to cover her hand before touching it. Sure, she's a sex addict and has had a lot of sex with a lot of men, but there's something about this place that screams filth. They walk in and the scent of the shop is as unpleasant as the sight. Musty and sweaty mixed with a wretched floral fragrance that fails to cover up the disgusting odors. Veronica's stomach takes a spin and she suddenly feels ill.
“Jen I don't want to discriminate or anything, but I don't know how long I can last in this place.”
Jenna takes her by the arm and pulls her towards the back. “Just hang in with me for a moment.”
They walk through a curtain that's hiding an entrance to what looks like a movie theater when they walk in. It's dark and empty, with echos of whatever film had just stopped playing before they entered the abandoned room. There are rows of seats lined along the sticky floors and the smell was even more pungent then the shop itself. Veronica's not only unsure of what Jenna's point is, but worried she won't be able to hold her vomit in much longer, and it already smells of regurgitation in the salty air of the room. It could be the morning sickness kicking in, though it's late afternoon, she knows it can happen any time of the day. The nausea and sensitivity of her senses tells her that it's a high chance that's what's making her feel so uncomfortable. Jenna pulls her to a seat and practically forces her to sit.
“What the hell?” Veronica asks with wide eyes.
“Just wait.” Jenna signs with her hands as if to say simmer down.
Right then a motion picture fades in and lights up the big screen. The noise of the putrid music playing in the background nearly causes Veronica to lose it and uncontrollably hurl. Considering she hadn't ate the lunch she ordered back at the bistro, it shouldn't be as horrible as this situation she's currently dealing with. She questions Jenna's sanity, bringing a pregnant woman to such a place. Eager to figure it all out and remove herself from the building to get some fresh air, Veronica nudges her with her elbow.
“Just watch.” Jenna insists.
“You're seriously wanting me to watch this crap?” Veronica asks a loud then whispers to herself, “You've got to be joking.”
The movie starts out with ridiculous amateur porn star actors that don't take long at all to get to the point of action. The fake moaning matches the unrealistic breasts and mustaches of the people. Veronica wants to bolt out of the scenario but tries to hang in as long as she can to give Jenna the benefit of the doubt that there's a moral to all of this. After the first scene fades to black, Jenna gives Veronica a look of sincerity before the next scene begins.
“This is where I met Mason.”
“What?!” Veronica belts out in the empty room, her voice echoing through the seats and bouncing off the walls, leaving Jenna in an awkward state of being.
“I'm serious.” She shifts in her seat, uncomfortably. “I was curious one day, so I came in to watch. Mason was working here at the time and it's like he spotted me right away. He came over to where I was sitting, right here where we are now, and asked what a pretty lady like me was doing all alone in a porno theater. I didn't really have an explanation that was worth giving, so I was honest with him. I could have said it was for research or something, but who knows where we'd be now had I lied. He liked that I was adventurous enough to come into a place like this just to check it out. He also liked that I was able to be upfront when confronted about it.”
“Okay . . .” Veronica trails off, trying to grasp what the point is, all while taking in that this very spot is where the two love-birds met.
“I brought you here to show you that we all have secrets, things we don't tell everyone, and things that we may feel ashamed of. I wanted to show you that we all have odd behavior. I wanted you to know that you're not alone in your crazy life, I'm right here with you. I know this may not add up to all that you confessed to me, but it's just one thing that I could show you to prove that there's always more to people than they show. This is something I haven't admitted to anyone besides Mason himself. Other than that, I'd be too embarrassed to tell anyone else. When you told me what you told me today, I had to clue you in on this. I just need you to know that I'm not perfect, nobody is, and I'm here for you through it all . . . no matter what it is, you can come to me.”
Veronica takes a deep breath and lets it out in relief of the moment. The fact that Jenna could bring her to such a place, somewhere that most would be too ashamed to admit that they come to, it meant a lot. It meant exactly what Jenna was trying to get across to her. This moment brought them together in a way they've never been. Who would think a disgusting pornographic theater would be what set their friendship in a mold that can't be broken? What a way to show her the things she could have simply spoken . . . but showing her is what made it real, it's what made Veronica know that she means what she says and it's not something you say when you just want to try to make someone feel better about a situation.
“You're the realest friend I've ever had and could ever ask for. I appreciate you, Jen.” She says and glances at the screen with a squint. “This on the other hand, has to be stopped.” They both fill the room with laughter before getting up to leave.
“I meant what I said.” Jenna says on their drive to drop off Veronica at home.
“I know.” Veronica replies and gives a smile. For once, someone who can truly understand her and not judge. That was the best feeling in the world after all she's been through with fighting emotions and battling feelings inside of herself.
They hug before Veronica gets out of the car to go inside. A feeling of dread washes over her, fear of Adrian's reaction to her being gone since their argument earlier in the day. She takes small steps, trying to avoid getting in the house any faster than she needs to. Her adrenaline begins to rush as she reaches the front steps. In all the bonding her and Jenna discovered since lunch, she felt as though days had passed, but it's only been hours. His car is parked in behind hers and she cringes at the sight of it, it'd have been nice if he'd left for the night to give her time to think alone when she got home. She walks the rest of the way to the door and turns the knob to go in.
“So is this it?” Adrian steps in from the living room to the entrance where Veronica had just came in.
“Is what it?” She asks, not ready for the talk they're about to have.
“This is how it's going to be as long as we stay together? You leaving every time there's any sort of confrontation, you bailing on me when I need answers . . . you hiding every little thing from me?”
“Adrian.” She shakes her head. “You have to understand.”
“I've tried understanding with you, Veronica, it's useless!” His anger flares. She senses he's used the time since she's been gone today to over-think things and is feeling irate.
“You know . . . some things in life are unexplained. Sometimes the moment needs to be right. You always assume I'm hiding from you. You never stop to think that the things you think are being hidden, are things that haven't had the time to be exposed. Not everything can be told at once, shown at once, and explained at once. Damn Adrian, get a grip! You're losing it! Can't you give me a fucking chance to redeem myself?!” She yells out with a quiver in her voice and drops to the floor. Tears begin to flow without hesitation and her head falls into her hands.
Adrian rushes over to her side and wraps his arms around her, bringing her into him as closely as their bodies will allow. He can smell her, the scent that drives him wild. Her hair brushes his cheek and his hand runs along her back, giving them both a sensation of comfort in the moment of defeat. There's nothing he can say that will make up for the way he's been acting, so he decides to remain silent as he cradles her in his apologetic hold. She sobs into her hands and turns her face to his shoulder, smothering herself in his grip.
“Don't let go. You promised.” She whimpers.
“I'm not. I'm never letting go.” He whispers into her ear, giving his soul in the words he speaks.
They don't move. The embrace is enough, it's what they've needed for a long time now; to truly blend with one another on a level beyond sex, beyond friendship, beyond themselves. They needed this moment to really feel.
“I'm making pancakes.” Adrian says after he comes from their morning session of love-making.
“Oh you are?” She grins as she rubs her belly.
“Yes. You just rest and let me take care of you. You're the mother of my child, I can't have you working the way you normally do. You need to learn to let others do for you for once.” He winks and she practically mauls him with kisses.
“So now it's your child?” She smiles wide with her arms wrapped around his neck.
He briefly pauses and shrugs. “There's nothing in the world that could change how I feel about you, or the baby that you're carrying . . . I love you both. I'm not questioning anything, I'm just taking what I've been blessed with in life and giving it all my love. Life's too short, I don't want to spend it worrying anymore. I want to make you happy, I want to feel happy again, and I want to be there for you the way I should through it all. I'm here to stay, if you'll have me.” He leans in for a long kiss and she tightens her lock around him.
“I'm in love with you, Adrian. I have been for longer than I can say, I've just been too afraid to let myself believe it.” She goes in for another kiss, this one shorter but still as meaningful.
“You don't know how that makes me feel inside to hear those words.” He lets out a sigh of fulfillment. “I'm in love with you, Veronica, madly in love with you.”