What do you do when the thing you want the most is the very thing destroying you?
I could’ve stayed in bed a lot longer if it wasn’t for my phone ringing off the damn hook. I rolled over on to the edge of my king sized bed and made a blind grab for the phone. Maybe if I kept my eyes closed I could go right back to sleep.
“Who the hell is this?” I asked. I lost the fight to keep my eyes closed and looked at the clock. It was only four a.m. This had better be good.
“I’m sorry, baby. I didn’t mean to wake you. Can we talk for a minute?”
I was instantly awakened by the small, sultry voice on the other end of the receiver. It was a voice I had grown to love and hate all at the same time. It was Chloe Childs, the woman who had broken my heart.
I sat up in the bed and rubbed the sleep from my eyes, allowing myself to wake up a little more than my body really wanted to. “What’s up? What’s the matter?”
“Nothing is wrong, Richie. I just couldn’t sleep. I’m missing you so much right now. I just needed to hear your voice for a minute.”
A little warmth seeped into my heart. She wanted to hear my voice? She missed me? Chloe was never the type to miss anybody. To hear her say that to me was just like hearing a mother tell her long lost son that she had always loved him.
I fought the urge to tell her that I had missed her too. Lord knows wanted her with me something fierce, but I wouldn’t allow myself to be sucked back into her drama again. So, instead of getting sentimental, I got angry.
“Even if you missed me, you still could’ve called me after the sun came up. What are you thinking calling my phone in the middle of the night like we talk all the time? You lost that privilege a year ago.”
“Richie, how many times do I have to apologize for that? I know I fucked up but I never meant to hurt you. I’m sorry! I made my share of mistakes, and believe me, I‘m still paying for them today.”
The heat around my heart intensified, but this time it was genuine anger. During our three year relationship, I spent more than enough time hearing her apologies and this was no different. How often did I hear “I’m sorry, Richie” before she went right back to the same shit that hurt me in the first place? How often did I ache for this woman’s touch knowing she spent time with other men? How often did I end up feeling like a fuck buddy instead of her fiancé?
Too many times to count.
Something in me snapped as I gripped the phone tightly in my hand as I laid her out. I don’t know if it was the constant “I’m sorry” that made me go off or the fact that I had just been dragged out of a heavy sleep after getting off of work only three hours prior.
“You didn’t mean to? You’re sorry? Wait. So, you didn’t mean to have an affair with three other men and then lie about it? You’re sorry for milking me for my money and connections and basically ruining the relationship that we had built together? You didn’t mean to run to a clinic and abort what could’ve been my child without even having the decency to tell me you were pregnant? That’s bullshit, Chloe, and you know it. I‘m not trying to hear that shit right now.”
“Richie, I am sorry. I know you don’t believe me but it’s true. I know I messed up. What more can I say? I let the best thing that ever happened to me just walk away. Please tell me that I can rectify that. Give me a chance to fix it. Please, Richie. I’m begging.”
Chloe sounded tearful. She wasn’t arguing or cursing like a sailor the way she normally did when she wanted to get her way. This time, I couldn’t help but feel a little bad for the way I spoke. Maybe she was hurting from our breakup the same way that I had been. Even though we had been apart for the better part of a year, in my heart she was still the woman for me.
“You spent so much time treating me like shit, Chloe. I don’t know what to say to you.”
“Tell me that you still love me.”
I sighed. “You know I do.”
“Then come downstairs and open the door. Please. Give me a chance.”
I heard the click in my ear as my ex hung up the phone. I dragged my weary body out of bed and hesitantly left my bedroom. My townhouse was dark except for the small air freshener/night light at the foot of the stairs. I walked down to the front door in nothing but some old sweatpants. Looking through the door’s small window panes, I could see Chloe waiting to be let it, shivering as though she was cold. God, she was gorgeous, even while standing in the dark, looking like a sad puppy on my doorstep. Everything in me said to keep the door closed, but by the time my hand found the doorknob, the battle was already lost. I let her in.
*This is an except from my upcoming debut novel What A Person Wants. Stay tuned for details!