Chapter 1: Circumstances
Six years it’s been since I’ve been home. I never thought I would be back, or at least not under the circumstances that have lead me to be here now. If my dad hadn’t suddenly died of a heart attack I probably wouldn’t have. Now, I must face my biggest heartache, the man who was once my everything. The man who tore out my heart like I meant nothing, because it was in my father's will to do so. Why? Because Dean Grim was like a son to my father.
I have ran this moment through my head a hundred times. Practiced in front of a mirror a dozen more. Calm, and collected. Now that I am here, I am anything but calm and collected. Like a deer caught in head lights, I am frozen. Drowning in a stormy sea of emotions. Unable to breathe as my heart pounds against my chest, my every nerve twitching, and muscles cramping like being tased with a stun gun. The memories begin to pour in.
Dean Grim's dad, Aron Grim, and my dad, Flint Wade, served in the army together, so essentially we had been friends practically from birth, though he’s a year older. When Dean was 9 his dad died in the Gulf War. His alcoholic mess of a mother, Angie, became an even bigger mess and just up and left one day on the back of some drifter's hog.
My dad took him in as a promise to Dean's dad. My parents did the best they could 'til my mom, Evelyn, got sick and died of cancer. Luckily my dad had the Raptors, his MC who was always there to step in, especially Lurch. He was dad's VP and managed the bar.
For years Dean and I were almost more like brother and sister. Which meant if you messed with me, you messed with Dean. Apparently Ralph Perez didn’t get the memo. I had just started the 7th grade. Ralph was an eighth grader and apparently had held the mile run record in PE. That is until I beat his record. He got hazed about it quite a bit, so he thought he’d get even by tripping me as I was rushing out of last period. My left knee took the brunt of the impact. Dean's last period was across campus, yet somehow he was there to kick Ralph's ass. Two of Ralph's friends jumped Dean, and that’s when new kid, Bryan Jackson from Arizona, jumped in. The three of us became nearly inseparable after that.
Bryan was cute, with his messy longer brown hair and hazel eyes, but he was no Dean. They were about the same height and build, but suddenly at 17 and a junior in high school with his short black faux hawk hair cut and bright blue eyes Dean Grim became my heart's only desire. Bryan had admitted he liked me in my freshman year, but I was in love with Dean, and Dean... well he knew, and I knew in my heart he felt it. That special spark two people destined to be have, but he was afraid. Afraid of hurting me and losing me. Afraid of becoming his mother. So it shouldn’t have been a shock to see him date other girls, but seeing him with Candice Brinks! The biggest two faced, pathological liar and slut in all of Post Falls, Idaho had me beyond jealous. Granted she was pretty, had the perfect cheerleader body, typical blond wavy hair and dark blue eyes. It shouldn’t have bothered me seeing Dean making out with Candice, but it did, and when I showed up with Mark Homer to the same party he was at, I could see the jealousy in his eyes.
I was a sophomore, Mark was a senior and the track team's captain. It’s how we knew each other. He was tall and lean with thick wavy blond hair and average blue eyes. He was shorter and not nearly as built as Dean had become. I didn’t want to drink. I had made a secret self promise to Dean to never drink, to never give Dean any reason to compare me to his mother, but for some stupid reason that night I broke my promise. Watching Dean making out with Candice while watching me over her shoulder was confusing as hell. I could see the anger in his eyes when I took the drink Mark offered me. As if we were both purposely trying to torment one another I downed the drink and grabbed Mark's face to kiss him.
I still remember the song that was playing. It was too perfect and yet pissed me off even more. (You Drive Me) Crazy by Britney Spears. And right now, that is exactly what he was doing.
Mark took this as a sign thinking he could get more out of me than just a kiss, but that wasn’t happening. I was saving myself for Dean; for the day he would realize we were meant to be together.
A few more drinks of whatever concoction he was handing me and I could barely walk. Mark took this opportunity and led me to a back room. I was drunk, but I still had enough wit to know what was happening. I told him I wouldn’t go all the way with him. He promised he wouldn’t, but he too broke his promise. The second he tried pulling down my pants I yelled for him to stop.
Mark: You’re such a fucking tease Bailey. You know you want this.
Bailey: Get the fuck off me!
He wasn’t going to take no for an answer, and I wasn’t the kind of girl to surrender myself to anyone other than Dean. Somehow I managed to draw up my knee making contact with Mark's not so big erect penis and shoved him off of me. Suddenly the door flew open with such force it cracked at the hinges. Dean took the briefest second to assess the situation. I can only imagine what it must have looked liked to him. Mark on the floor holding his nuts, me adjusting my shirt and pants. With fire in his eyes he made a beeline to Mark who was trying to stand and smashed his fist into his face over and over again.
I spoke his name calmly and gently grabbed his drawn back arm. It was in that moment, as his eyes made contact with mine, that the world seemed to just evaporate. All of Dean's walls came crashing down. He cupped my cheek with a gentle hand, staring into my eyes with his glossy blues.
Dean: Did he...
I shook my head no.
He pulls me up with him, tucking me into his side. I kept my face buried in his black cotton shirt, but I could feel Candice’s eyes burning into me. I could hear her annoying high pitch conniving voice start to squawk, but Dean walked right past her without a word. I was confused at first why he didn’t just take us home. He drove us through our favorite burger place before driving up to Old Creek Bridge. As Red Hot Chili Peppers “Scar tissue” played on the radio. It was a place we went often to find a moment of peace. He drags me out of the car leading us to our spot on the ledge at the center, where we get a perfect view of the full moon's blue glow dancing off the running water below.
He demanded handing me a fat greasy bacon cheese burger.
Bailey: I’m not hungry.
Dean: I’m not asking Baileys.
Bailey: Seriously Dean I’m not..
He cuts me off with his “I am fucking serious” death glare.
Dean: I need you sober, so just eat the damn burger.
I grab the burger and take a few bites. God it was good. He throws a few fries in his mouth and sucks down half of his soda.
Bailey: I’m sorry Dean.
Dean: For what?
Bailey: For drinking, and ruining your date with Candice.
The corner of his lip curled up as he let out a half chuckle.
Dean: Baileys, you don’t ever have to apologize to me for anything, you know that.
Bailey: But I made a promise to you...(hiccup)
Did I say that out loud. Oh lovely. I am buzzed and now I have the hiccups.
Dean: What promise?
I stuff my mouth with more burger to avoid what I was I about to say. Of course I hiccup again and swallow wrong. Dean quickly reaches an arm across my front to keep me from falling forward off the ledge as I finish my cough attack. It’s a 15 foot drop, and the water is always ice cold, even in spring. He holds up his soda for me to take a sip, and when I do I catch him looking at me with a look I have never seen before. It caused my heart to palpitate, my stomach to flutter. When he draws his drink away and takes a another sip my eyes are glued to his lips. How I have longed to feel them against mine.
Dean: What promise Baileys?
I breathe in turning my attention back down to the moon's reflection.
Bailey: That I would never drink, or give you any reason to ever compare me to your mother.
Dean: Are you shitting me B? You actually thought that I could....
He lets out a frustrated huff and reaches over grabbing my chin forcing me to look at him.
Dean: I could never compare you to her. You are an exact opposite of her. You have a heart bigger than anyone I know. You’re my best friend B. Since you didn’t actually make the promise to me. There was no promise to be broken.
Bailey: Then why do you care if I’m sober right now?
Dean: So I could do this.
His eyes darken, his grip on my chin tightens as he pulls me to him. The moment I’ve dreamed of for so long. My entire body trembles as his lips press against mine causing me to gasp. His tongue darts into my mouth, as his hand slides to the back of my neck deepening the mind blowing kiss. My heart is pounding like I’m running a marathon. My hands are sweating, but I find myself clutching his shirt in my grip 'til I can feel my knuckles turn white.
Dean pulls back, but his smile has turned into a grimacing sneer. We are no longer on the bridge. My memories skip to the night I was finally confronting him. After two months of recovering from an accident that took our best friend and landed me in the hospital it was time to face Dean. The man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. The man I caught getting his cock sucked by his ex at a party.
I was leaving in two days for San Diego University, but I needed to know why Dean never visited me in the hospital, why he was with Candice that night. We had both lost a best friend that night, but I had lost so much more. He was at my dad's bike shop making out with god damn fucking Candice. I was going to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe what I had seen at the party was a misconception, but now I knew it was true. He had left me for her. When his eyes caught mine over her shoulder they were conflicted. Something was off.
Bailey: How could you!
Candice turned looking at me with a triumphant smirk.
Dean: How could I?
He yelled jumping off his stool nearly knocking Candice on her ass, making no attempt to save her. This almost seemed like an act. Though now I see hurt in his beautiful blue eyes.
Dean: How could you!!
He yelled louder taking two long strides 'til he was towering over me.
Dean: I loved you, gave you all that I had to give and you fucking betrayed me.
Dean: You broke your promise Bailey. You gave me a reason to compare you to my mother.
Bailey: I have done nothing but love you.
Dean: Guess we have different interpretations of what love is.
Bailey: What is that supposed to mean?
Dean: You tell me? Why the fuck were you on Bryan's bike?
Bailey: Are you for real right now? Why the fuck was that tart's mouth on your cock at Reaper's party?
Candice: What did you just call me?
Bailey: Not like you would understand what it means anyway.
I snapped at her. She takes a step towards me squawking. I mean literally squawking. She sounded like the teacher in Charlie Brown. I only managed to grasp a couple of words. Something about me being a biker whore.
Dean: Shut the fuck up Candice.
Dean's voice booms over her.
Candice: But she...
Dean growls at her like a mad man.
Candice: You can’t be serious.
His fingers curl into fists, his jaw muscles twitch. He would never hit a woman but, right now for a split second he is my Dean. The one who was always there to protect me, even against bitches like her. This brings even more confusion to how he’s acting. Why was he with her, why did he never come to see me at the hospital?
Candice storms back over to the stool and shuffles through her purse for something. Dean's demeanor doesn’t change. He’s looking at me with the same pissed off look he was giving her, his fists balled tight at his sides.
Bailey: What has gotten into you? What made you leave me for her?
His brows furrowed like he had no clue what I was talking about, but his face turned more red as his eyes grew darker.
Dean: When were you going to tell me you got knocked up? Was it Bryan's? Or maybe it was Reaper's.
I felt my face drop. Ice water shot through my veins. How the fuck did he know, but worst of all, how could he actually think the baby I lost in the accident wasn’t his. I felt my heart tear from my chest. I watched as he threw it on the ground and shattered it right then and there. It wasn’t I who had become like his mother. His own fear of becoming like her was coming through. I was at a loss for words. If he really truly believed that, then how could our love have ever been real. On the verge of a complete emotional meltdown I quickly spin on my heels.
Bailey: Goodbye Dean.
I barely managed to whisper over my shoulder not really looking at him and walked away before drowning in my tears.
Dean: Bailey..... Bailey!
His voice echoes and suddenly changes.
John's voice breaks through my memory.
John: Bailey, you sure you want to do this alone?
I look into his loving brown eyes, his handsome perfectly smooth shaven face. My boyfriend of two years. The only other man who has come close to holding what was left of my shattered heart. I run a hand through his perfectly combed blond hair and close my eyes.
Bailey: I’m sure.
He places a palm on my cheek and kisses my forehead. I met John Smith at college in San Diego. He had just started his first year teaching Psych 101. I was in my fourth year. I know it’s a little cliche, the student and professor. The difference is I wasn’t in his class since it was a freshman’s beginner course, and he was only 7 years older. So not the typical stereotype of professor/student relationship. Our story is a little more simple.
We met at the local coffee shop. I had seen him in there religiously every Monday at 7 am for weeks. He was handsome in his everyday black suit, pants that hugged his tight jogger's ass, and expensive business shirt usually long sleeve grey or black. Apparently he had noticed me, too because one day as I went to place my usual order of a tall Caramel Macchiato the barista informed me it was ready. John was sitting in his usual spot near the back of the shop at the window that held the best view of campus. He smiled a mega watt smile, flashing perfect pearly whites and gestured toward the coffee across from him.
Right the present.
John: Maybe tomorrow would be better. Perhaps the jet lag is catching up to you or the lack of food. You’ve barely slept or ate in the last few days and we haven’t even checked into the hotel room.
Bailey: I need to do this now. The service is in two days and I need to make sure Lurch has everything he needs for the after-party.
John chuckles sincerely.
John: Your father was a cool guy. I’m glad I had the chance to meet him.
My father was Irish so it was custom to throw an after-party where friends and family drink in the deceased’s honor sending them off to their final resting place.
Bailey: I’m glad too.
I hadn’t been back here since I was 18, but every year at Christmas, my father came down to San Diego. It was my mom's favorite holiday and her birthday. We also talked on the phone every Sunday at 6 pm on the dot. Which is what time the after-party was set for. I closed my eyes and sucked in a deep breath before exiting the car.