The next morning, it took all I had to be able to untangle from his arms and legs without waking him. I stood in the doorway going over my options and reasons to leave and reasons to stay. I sighed after a few minutes and quickly went about the task of gathering up my things.
“Make sure you take everythin’,” Tania had told me.
“I mean make sure ya leave nothin’ behind that he can get your DNA off of an’ track ya down.”
I looked at her and laughed. “Who are you?”
“I’m serious! I watch a lotta CSI. They can find someone from a cigarette filter.”
“I seriously doubt he’s gonna put a worldwide search out for me from a cigarette butt.”
“How do ya know what he does for a livin’? He could work in a CSI unit somewhere an’ use stuff to do that. He’d get your identity in no time flat.”
“That only works when you’re in the system.”
“Are ya positive about that? I mean the government’s our worst enemy when it comes to secrets. They might have some way of trackin’ ya down.”
“Okay. I’ll grab everythin’.”
I thought she was full of shit. She was just trying to make me worried. It just wasn’t possible. That is until she mentioned the government. Call me a conspiracist if you will, but I still don’t believe it was just one man who killed JFK. It was the government and they got away with it.
Enough about that, but it was the one thought that circulated through my mind as I went on a mad dash to find every piece of my DNA. I cleaned that man’s house better than his maid service. I cleaned off my fingerprints and left nothing to chance. I searched under the bed, in the shower, in the kitchen, outside on the patio and managed to grab all my cigarette butts. I felt foolish and wondered what the hell he’d think when he woke up to find that me and my DNA were gone.
I rinsed my glass in the sink and left them to soak. I bagged up the empty beer bottles and threw them in the trunk of my car. I couldn’t leave them anywhere that he could get them. Now, I knew what a thief in the night felt like. I was so exhausted, barely got any sleep, and here I had to go on a cleaning spree before leaving.
When I finished, I looked in on him one last time. Standing there, it took all I had to pry myself away from his door. I could visualize the life that he and I would have together. Being so in love, having a million kids and then grandkids, slowly rocking on the porch with gray hair, holding hands and having lived a full, loving, and productive life. I would never see him again. Just that thought caused my breath to catch in my throat. I blew him a kiss as the tears cascaded down my face.
“I love you, Corey,” I whispered, softly, finally admitting what I already knew.
I quickly left before I changed my mind and crawled back in bed with him. I got in the car and headed in the direction of the hotel. I was running late. We were just going to make the flight. Part of me hoped that I took enough time and we missed it. Everything within me told me not to leave. It was just so perfect.
It was like we were following a script for some love story with both of us playing our parts. However, I was the only one playing a part. I thought for sure that he was genuine. As I passed a dumpster, I pulled over and quickly grabbed the bag out of my trunk, tossing it in. When that was finished, I raced to the hotel, weaving in and out of traffic, passing obvious tourists.
Tania was ready, standing on the curb waiting for me. As I pulled up beside her, she looked at her watch. For a split second, I was reminded that she did that very same thing when we arrived in California. “It’s about time. What the hell took so long?”
I jumped out of the car. “I had to gather up everythin’ as you commanded an’ that took some time. Remember, I wasn’t to leave the slightest trace of DNA behind, which meant cleanin’ off fingerprints an’ basically wipin’ down the whole beach house! That takes a little bit of time.”
“Sorry, but I thought I was gonna have to go home an’ explain how an alien took ya. You know Mom would know I was lyin’. I’ve never been able to get away with any lies to her.”
I grabbed my bags, putting them in the trunk. I nodded as she continued speaking, only paying half attention what she actually said. I couldn’t get the image of Corey out of my head. I saw him in the pool, looking sexy as hell with slightly wet hair. At dinner, looking at me with those beautiful blues of his and just wanting to eat him up. Then there was the image of him leaning over me, in bed, as he took me from one heavenly delight to the next, racking up the orgasms like I had a savings account, collecting them for future uses. I knew I’d never get him out of my head.
I shrugged as the only thing I heard about her ranting was mom and her knowing. “That’s because of her ESP. I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t already know what happened here.”
Tania gasped. “Well don’t tell her! Don’t confirm or deny anythin’ that she tells ya! Just don’t!”
Furrowing my brows, I looked at her in a slightly confused manner. “What is wrong with you? Ya act like mom would ever do anythin’ to hurt us. Why can’t I tell her? What if she already knows? What harm would it do to confirm it?”
“If she knows then change the subject or somethin’!”
She shook her head. “Ya can’t tell anyone what ya did. You tell one person who tells another an’ then before ya know it, everyone knows, but no one told.”
“Well… there is one flaw to your whole DNA thin’.”
“The only thin’ I couldn’t find this mornin’ was my panties.” I readjusted the luggage, realizing why Mike had such an issue. They had to be put just right or none of them fit. There was always this one little bag that wouldn’t sit right.
Tania gasped and I thought she was going to choke on air. “Ya left behind your panties? What did I tell ya about DNA?”
I shook my head. “Girl, I looked everywhere for ’em! I didn’t look in his dresser though because I didn’t wanna wake him.” I sighed. “It was hard enough to leave after this week.”
“Why? I’d think you’d be anxious to get back to work an’ see what disaster Brian has left for ya.”
Work! Oh, my God, in all this time I never once called to check in about work. What if there was a problem and they couldn’t reach me since I turned off my phone? Then I realized that I was going to catch holy hell from Mike for not talking to him but one time. I also felt a little guilty that it was the first time I thought of him since meeting Corey. What excuse could I give? I just didn’t think of him at all, but I didn’t think that would go over too well.
I looked at Tania who was waiting for my reason for not wanting to leave and realized that I couldn’t tell her that I fell in love with Corey. I would never hear the end of it. I had to come up with another excuse. My mind rifled through a few ideas like a burglar searching through top secret files.
“I just didn’t wanna leave. I’ve had so much fun an’ wanted more. The thought of goin’ back to Mike is just depressin’. I thought about givin’ everythin’ up an’ just hangin’ out with him for the rest of my life.”
“On a lie? That would’ve gone over well. You explainin’ to him that ya only hooked up with him so you could have a baby with your husband.”
She made it sound horrible and then I realized, it was horrible. He would look at it as the worst thing he heard and then I really would lose him forever. “I know.” I sighed, closing the trunk. She had a point. “That’s the only reason I’m here right now.”
“Then again, after your no strings attached statement, how do ya know he wouldn’t have told ya to fuck off? Then you wouldn’t have the great memories ya have now. They’d be ruined by your confession an’ his anger.”
More valid points. I hated her at that moment. “I know! Let’s get to the airport.”
“I’m just sayin’…” She opened the door and climbed in. “Look at it this way, ya had a great time with some wonderful memories to last ya a lifetime.”
“Yeah… that’s the problem. It was the best time I’ve had in my whole life. I’m walkin’ away from the one person I think I was supposed to be with. It was so hard to leave him. I had to keep tellin’ myself that the goal was to get pregnant not fall in love.”
“…an’ go back to your husband.”
“Yes, back to my borin’ husband.”
“Ya never thought he was borin’ before.”
“Because I didn’t know he was boring. I know I’m gonna miss Corey, an’ what we could have if things were different. We have the same likes an’ dislikes, our mutual love of children, an’ the sex was just outta this world.”
“Oh man. You have to get back in your right frame of mind. Ya can’t think like that.”
“I know. I know.”
She didn’t have to keep reminding me. I knew it. I needed to find a way to get Corey out of my mind, but that wasn’t going to be easy. The moment I laid eyes on this guy it was like there was a halo over his head.
On the ride to the airport, we were quiet. I couldn’t stop thinking about Corey, and Tania couldn’t stop watching me. It’s almost like she thought I was a time bomb, ready to blow at any second. I think she expected me to make a break for it before we got on the plane… so did I.
Once we were in our seats, I looked out the window. I thought if I kept my mind off Corey, I wouldn’t bawl like a baby. It worked, but barely. I kept picturing what would happen if I just jumped off the plane, raced back to him, and jumped into his arms. Would he accept me with open arms, or would he be hurt, angry, and never want to see me again when I told him about his part in my big plans? I struggled hard within myself to stay rooted in that damn seat.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Tania asked, poking me, while relaxing in her comfy first class chair.
I sighed. Again, I had to tell someone what was going on in my mind or I was going to explode. “I’m just thinkin’ of Corey. I feel bad about not leavin’ him a note. I just left him sleepin’. I didn’t get his phone number. I have no way of trackin’ him down other than goin’ back to the beach house an’ it’s not even his.”
She stared at me with an odd look of confusion and shock. “Wasn’t that the agreement ya had with him an’ yourself? What part of no strings, attachments of any kind, or questions was confusin’ to you? I kinda think that means no long goodbyes too.”
“I know. I couldn’t help but think I should’ve at least said goodbye. He was too damn sweet. What we have is so special. To just leave without a word is just so…”
“It’s not unheard of to love two men at one time, but ya have to let go of the fantasy an’ love the man you’re with.”
I furrowed my brows, looking at her. I swore I heard that somewhere before. “Isn’t that a song?”
“Sometimes they’re more than just songs, but words of wisdom.”
It sounded like a song to me.
If ya can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.