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Cherry Popper by River Laurent (1)

Chapter 1

Mia

My head knew, and maybe my heart always knew, but my body stood there like a damn fool.

Shocked to see the two of them like this. Going at it like wild animals! The world outside ground to a screeching halt. I stared at them in astonishment. Really, Mark? You picked Bella. Of all our friends, you choose her, the girl you insisted more than once had less sex appeal than a park bench on a Monday afternoon.

Less than five minutes ago, I had walked in through the front door of our apartment, a big cake precariously balanced on the palm of my left hand, so I could reach for my keys. A big-ass smile was plastered all over my face because I was really pleased with myself.

I had to travel all the way across town to a specialist bakery to find the perfect cake for the surprise birthday party I was throwing for Mark that evening, but I just knew he would adore the red velvet and butter cream treat I chose. True, as a rule he didn’t eat junk food. I should know, it’d been months since we ordered in pizza and just kicked back to enjoy ourselves, but surely, even he would allow himself to have a slice, or maybe even two of this delicious dream of a concoction.

My plan was to drop the cake off before heading out to pick up the booze I’d ordered. My intention was to have it free-flowing all evening long. Usually, with alcohol in his system, Mark loosened up, and hopefully we could have some fun times later in the night. Not that I was saying we never had sex anymore without the help of lots of alcohol, or that he wasn’t fun. It was not really his fault he’d been so uptight. He had a very stressful job. If I had a job like his I would be murder to deal with too. His boss was a real psychopath.

I had just got the door open when I heard the noise. It sounded like a grunt. What a pig or a wild boar would make.

I froze on the spot. What the hell would a pig or wild boar be doing in my apartment? My head whirled around as my ears zeroed in on the location of the sound. It took me a good few seconds to figure out where it was coming from. I located the place where the sounds had come from just as my eyes fell onto a trail of clothes on the floor, one that led a messy path to the bedroom.

An idiot could have figured out the scene, but at that moment, my pride simply refused to believe it. It couldn’t be. I mean, this scenario was just so cliché. Something you saw in movies, for God’s sake.

I put the cake down carefully on the table as I’d put a lot of effort into getting it. Then I followed the clothes.

A scarf: Hmm…

A tie: Okay. But still not conclusive. Not really.

A shirt I purchased for him a couple of Christmases ago: Well, it was summer and it was hot. Very hot. Even I was in a tank top.

A pair of slutty leopard print thongs with white slime on the crotch string: Ugh…Oh God!

The penny finally dropped, but to be honest I felt surprisingly calm in the face of what was happening. Maybe because none of it seemed real. I wasn’t meant to be back here, and some part of me felt as if I wasn’t. Like I was drifting in and watching someone else sneaking around our apartment. The sounds got louder even as the carpet muted my footsteps.

I arrived at our bedroom door and stopped in my tracks.

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