“God dammit, Darrin!” I scream, placing my hands across my eyes and the top of my head. I feel erratic. I feel betrayed. I’m lost, now more than ever. “How could you?”
“It’s not what you think, Erica,” he says, calmly. “Look, you can’t think straight right now. You’re getting your information from the wrong source. I mean, come on. Wanda? She’s the queen of gossip!”
“You’re not going to do this to me this time. It’s not just Wanda telling me you’ve been sleeping around. Are you kidding me? It’s the whole damn neighborhood!” I know I shouldn’t yell. I know he’ll only use that against me right now. He’ll claim that I’m erratic and crazy. He’ll disregard the real emotions he’s causing me to feel. He cheated on me. This is the third time. How could I be so stupid?
“You need to calm down,” he says. I fall back on the bed, feeling completely hopeless. This is a battle I can’t win, but I can’t stay here to fight it out. I’m not going to be like those other women. I’m not going to stay with his lying, manipulative, sagging ass.
“It’s over, Darrin. I’m done,” I say. I even laugh a little because the whole situation feels so crazy. “Seriously, I’m done.”
“Oh, bullshit,” he laughs. “We have a house together. Two cars. We’ve built a life together, Erica. You can’t just throw that away because of one rumor. Think of all the memories.”
“Fuck the memories,” I groan. “Take the house and cars. I don’t give a shit. Take it all. Just give me enough to start a new life for myself. I can’t be with you anymore.”
“Erica, don’t talk like this,” he says, voice turning a calmer tone. “Here’s what we’ll do. We’ll go to sleep and we’ll discuss this in the morning, over coffee. We’ll go to your favorite restaurant. What was it called again?”
“You don’t even remember the name of my favorite restaurant, Darrin. This is so fucking hopeless,” I say. “For once, please, just give me what I ask for. For once.”
It’s not in a man’s bones to give you what you want. For me, it’s been a constant struggle for my own independence. Classic story, right? This time, however, is different. I’m going to do whatever the hell I want. It’s Erica’s time. I’m not going to let him waste my life. I’m only thirty-two years old.
“Go to sleep,” he tells me. “I’ll discuss this in the morning.”
He turns off the lights and gets out of his clothes. I look at his body and I just turn livid. Yet, I’m silent. I’m not going to let him use my emotions against me. Not anymore. No longer will I be his scapegoat. I go to sleep, but not without knowing that tomorrow I won’t be going into work. I won’t be staying home and chatting with my soon-to-be ex-husband about his multiple affairs. I won’t be forgiving. Tomorrow, I’ll be planning my escape.
The sun breaks in through the blinds and Darrin has a cup of coffee and plate of eggs waiting for me. He’s standing with a smile on his face, holding the food. “I’m not hungry,” I say. I stretch and stumble out of bed. I get in the shower, while he just stands there, looking sad and stupid.
“You’re not going to eat? I made this for you,” he says.
“Yeah, well. I’m proud of you, Darrin. You’re really turning yourself around,” I laugh slightly. The truth is, I sort of feel bad for the guy. We’ve been married for five years and I did love him at one point. Now, I feel like an old roommate. It’s the kind of feeling you have in college, when you realize your old friends just aren’t on the same wavelength as you anymore. It’s sad. It’s heartbreaking. At the same time, it’s life. Sometimes you just have to move on from what is hurting you.
“You can be such a bitch,” he mutters, eating the eggs himself. He shakes his head angrily and walks out of the room.
Great. I’m such a bitch. It feels wonderful to be called that by the guy who loves you. Yeah, this is finished. It’s solidified in my head now.
Cut to the thirty minutes later and I’m wearing the nicest dress I can find, lipstick to die for, and a push-up bra that does wonders for my tits. I look damn good, and I want the world to know too. Darrin, of course, shoots a double take at me, but remains silent.
“Where are you going?” he asks.
“Out,” I say. “I’m meeting Renata at the Biltmore, at noon. Then, who knows? Maybe I’ll go to a movie.”
“You have work,” he says, dumbfounded. He takes a bite of toast and sets it down, getting crumbs all over his freshly dry-cleaned suit. “Dammit,” he sighs.
“I’m not feeling well today. I called out,” I lie. “Anyway, it doesn’t matter what you think. I’m doing what I feel like. Isn’t that what you did when you stuck your little dick in that woman?”
He turns red and silent again. There’s no rebuttal, just pure anger. I grab his toast and take a bite. I walk out into the spring air and it feels good. The cold is finally starting to break. It feels like change.
I glance back before shutting the door. “Have a good day,” I say, meaning it. There might be malice, but at the end of the day, I don’t hate the man. I just want to live a separate life. Thank God, we don’t have any kids…
A ten minute drive and a few cigarettes at the stop light, I’m blasting the top 40’s and I’m singing loud. I never do this because I can’t sing worth a damn. Today is different. I’ve got an hour and a half to spare and I want to feel something real for once.
The song’s long crescendo extends out into a synthesizer-fueled pop hit. I know this one. It’s just about to go into a heavy “drop,” straight into the smashing chorus, when… Smack!
…a fucking car smashes into the back of my bumper. I hear it crunch, like a bag of potato chips. Only, this is metal and this will cost thousands of dollars. I get out of my once-polished Corolla and glance at the damage.
“Oh, no,” I sigh. “Fuck.” Darrin is going to kill me. Not only that, but this gives him a leg up in the argument right now.
It doesn’t look good. The whole bumper is just hanging off the back end. When I drive away, it’ll drag across the street. It would be comical if it wasn’t me who’s going through this.
“Are you alright?” I hear a deep voice ask me. I feel the touch of a heavy hand against my forearm. “Miss?” There’s a slight accent to his voice, but it’s not heavy. British. I look to my left and recoil when I realize this guy just ruined my car and gave my husband a leg up on me.
“You hit me!” I blurt out the obvious. “I can’t believe you hit my car.”
“I’m really sorry,” he says. I get a better look at him. He’s hot. No, he’s perfectly chiseled, like an old painting. No, like James Dean. Oh, he’s better than James Dean, dammit. He’s wearing a blue button down and it’s barely even buttoned. His chest and abs peek out from the center and I cannot stop staring. Quickly, I remove my ring and put it in my pocket.
“I’ll pay, obviously,” he says. “I’m kind of a moron today. I haven’t been thinking straight.”
“I, uh,” I start stuttering. I can’t form any damn sentences. What the hell is wrong with me? He’s just a man. He’s just a smoking hot, hunk of a man, who’s perfect in every damn way. Okay, I’ve got to get myself together!
“You’re in shock. I’ve really done myself in this time, haven’t I?” he smiles and I nearly faint. His smile is so cute, yet there’s a dark side to it. He looks like he might turn on you at any second, like he’ll pick you up, throw you around, and fuck the life out of you. It’s exactly what Darrin doesn’t do for me.
“No, you’re fine.” I smile. I shake myself out of my lustful behavior. “But it’s pretty bad. I’m going to have to replace the whole bumper.”
“An easy fix, no doubt,” he says. I look at his car. It’s a Bentley, or one of those Rolls Royce. I really don’t know my cars, but it’s obvious he has some extra money. “Don’t worry. I’ll pay for everything. Every little scratch. How do you want to do this? I’d rather not call the police.”
“No, I guess we shouldn’t. My insurance doesn’t need any extra ticks,” I sigh. “I don’t know. How can I get ahold of you?”
“I have a business card,” he smiles and reaches into his wallet. “It’s my direct number. It has my address on it too, in case you’re worried I’ll skip out on paying you back.”
He hands me his card. It reads: THE BOYFRIEND EXPERIENCE: WALKER HAMBELL. I don’t question him about it, but it seems a bit weird. The boyfriend experience? Is that some sort of music project? “I’ll call you,” I say, staring at the card with a slight curiosity.
“Please do,” he says. “Call me tomorrow if you’d like. I’m expecting a paycheck and I’m free all day.”
“Will do,” I smile.
“Well, goodbye,” he says. We’re standing so close that I can smell his cologne. I can feel the warmth from his body. I gulp down awkwardly and try to breathe without rushing it. There is a split second when I start to wonder if we’re going to start making out passionately in the middle of the intersection.
“Hey lady! Get out of the fucking road!” someone yells as they angrily speed around us.
“Oh,” I hesitate and realize this Walker guy is already walking back to his car. I turn around and get in mine, starting my engine. I finish the drive, but I don’t get out of the car just yet. Renata can wait.
I feel… horny as fuck. It’s crazy to even say that. Me, a married woman. But Darrin treats me like shit and it’s just about to be over. That man. Walker Hambell. I look at his card again and feel my heart start to pound.
The boyfriend experience? This is something I both want to know about and stay away from. It’s only when I lift up the center of my dress that I realize my panties are soaking wet. Dear lord.