A Date With John
We arrived at the restaurant. My favorite one actually. As we were led to our table by the maitre’d, I felt like all eyes were on me. Glancing around the room, I realized they really were. I cast my eyes down as my cheeks reddened and noticed my bare leg peek through the long slit on my dress. Damn, my legs look amazing. I didn’t have the guts to try to look at my chest with everyone still staring at me. That’s when I realized I might know someone here. Would they look at me and think, “Damn he’s an idiot for letting her go?” Or were they thinking that I look like a fool for going out with him again? Was it obvious I was trying to make him wish he hadn’t cheated on me?
My stomach churned and I wrung my clammy hands together. Despite my thoughts, I forced myself to hold my head up high. This had been a shitty week so and I was furious with myself for not declining this asshole who was walking with me to our table, much less sleeping with him last night. Avoiding all the stares I felt on me, I sat down in the chair the maitre’d pulled out for me and inhaled deeply to conceal the regrets I had for letting John talk me into this.
Sneaking a glance at John, his eyes roamed over me hungrily. I should have felt flattered, yet I just felt like an idiot for agreeing to this. Not to mention for dressing this way. This wasn’t me. He knew it too. He liked this “new” me that wasn’t really a representation of myself.
“God, you look so beautiful tonight.” His voice was breathless and barely audible.
“Thank you.” My voice wasn’t the same tone as his in the least. Clipped was more the term I would use. Not to mention, I didn’t bother even looking his way. I shuddered when I felt the warmth of his hand cover mine. My heart beat fast wishing that I could enjoy this feeling. Wanting us to be together again, but the vision of him with Mallory stabbed at my heart and I snatched my hand away. “Don’t,” I said through clenched teeth, the hatred for him now searing through my body.
“Dammit, Andi. Listen to me. It’s not what you think.”
“Bullshit! I saw you.”
“I thought it was you at first. I was working. Like I always do. To make sure you could have the life that you deserve. So you could have all your parties, all your charity functions.”
“So, what, now you’re going to blame me for working so hard? Me? All I wanted was you! I just wanted us to get back to…us. And instead, I walk in and find you and my best friend fucking on your desk.”
“We didn’t fuck! How many times do I have to tell you that? How many? You walked in and she was kissing me. That’s it. Nothing else. And you’re making it more than that.”
“She was in her bra and panties grinding on you, John! What else do you want me to believe? What would you believe if the whole scene were turned around?”
I watched him close his eyes and take a deep breath to calm himself. It was something he’d always done when we’ve fought and he didn’t want to say something he’d regret. I knew that look too well. Usually, we could get back to where we were. Could we do it now? No. Not when he’s cheated on me. Or did he cheat on me? Could I really believe him that she came to his office to seduce him and I walked in on what was just started?
“How do I know there weren’t other times? Times that more than just that scene occurred? What would you think in my position?”
“I’d trust you. Like you’ve always trusted me and I’ve always trusted you. I’m not saying we grew apart, Andi. I know we did before that incident.”
“Hmph. Incident? That’s what you want to call it?”
“I have to call it that because nothing else happened and you just need to believe me.”
Perfect timing, I thought as the waiter came back with our entrées.
After dinner was served, we didn’t speak. As nervous as I was, I was also starving for a good solid meal. So far since I left my husband and his money, I’ve probably consumed more crackers and Ramon noodles than I did in college. I tried my best not to act like a savage beast, but my God, the Veal Marsala was off the charts. I slowed down and realized that John was smirking.
I wiped my mouth as daintily as possible, although I was more embarrassed than anything else. “Are you laughing at me?”
“No. Not at you. It’s just nice to see you enjoying a meal. You used to eat a small amount so you wouldn’t gain weight. It used to bother me.”
“Really? I had no idea.”
He reached for my hand, his mouth showed a sorry smile. The warmth of his hand on mine reminded me of happier times until I remembered how we got here. Jerking my hand back from under his, I heard his sigh before seeing his face drop. Listening to the quiet chatter throughout the restaurant, I wondered what all the other couples were discussing. It surely wasn’t anything to do with a cheating spouse I’m sure. Especially as I looked around. Everyone smiling, laughing or their expression was more of an intimate nature.
“Why?” It was a simple question and I hoped I said it loud enough to be heard. Staring at my water in the fine crystal glass, I tried to concentrate on not letting the tears that formed below my lids to spill over. I inhaled slow and hard hoping he couldn’t hear me sniffle.
“Why what? I didn’t do anything with her.”
“She was in her bra and panties. Red, actually. They were extremely noticeable.”
“She kissed me. I didn’t kiss her.”
“Right. That’s the reason you were in front of your desk instead…”
“I was trying to tell her she needed to leave…”
“Why? Did you have some sixth sense I was coming to do the same thing she was? To seduce you?”
“And you couldn’t ever do that at home?”
“No. I couldn’t. You were always working. It was hard to schedule time with you.”
“That’s because you were so busy with all your charitable organizations.”
“I did that for you…”
“I never asked you to! All I wanted for you was to stay at home so we could have kids, but you couldn’t…” He stopped talking and I knew what he was going to say. I was already mad to begin with that he was trying to put his cheating on to me. As if it were my fault the two of them were having sex.
“Couldn’t what, John? Finish your sentence.”
“No. I’m not going there.”
“Why not? Because you blame me, right? You blame me for not being able to get pregnant.”
“That’s not what I was going to say.”
“Yes, it was. You blame me.”
“Quit it. I don’t. I just…it was frustrating for both of us. And then you threw yourself into all this stuff…Between my work load and your events…it was just tough to connect with each other.”
“So you connected with Mallory?”
“No! Dammit, that’s not what I meant. I didn’t mean to…”
“Don’t! Please don’t. Don’t tell me that you didn’t mean to sleep with her!”
“No. When she first walked in, I thought it was you. Then I realized it was her and she opened her coat…and.”
“And you fucked her.”
“No! I didn’t sleep with her.”
“And you went out on a date with her after for what? To make sure you could fuck her that time?”
“Why do you think I went out with her?”
“Because I saw you with her. The same night you thought I screwed Mick.”
“No. I went there for a drink and she showed up and sat with me.”
“You’ll never believe me that nothing ever happened with her, will you?”
“No. Why? Do you think I should ask her? Do you think she’ll tell me everything about how you fucked her?”
I watched as he worked his jaw back and forth. That grinding thing he always did when he was upset.
“Why did you go out with her again?”
“She wanted to talk about things. She wanted to see how I was doing.”
I nodded hearing his answer. He didn’t just “bump” into her. I wanted to point that out, but for some reason, I was finished with this whole topic. He would just try to go in a circle about it anyway. I thought about calling Mallory and seeing what she had to say about all this. It had only been a couple of weeks and my whole world did a one-eighty. One scene in my husband’s office was all it took for seven years of being together. I took a drink from my water and continued to glance around the room. I couldn’t look at John if I wanted to. The tears were right at the wall, trying to break through and spill into a river down my cheek. I’d do that at home when he couldn’t see. I swallowed more water and inhaled a huge breath in.
Then I realized I couldn’t just leave right now. John drove us here and the worst part was, I couldn’t afford a taxi. I’d walk somewhere and call…who? I wasn’t sure at that point, but right then I was done with our conversation.
Standing up, I placed my napkin on the table. “Thank you for a wonderful dinner, John. I’m glad we could talk before the divorce proceedings.”
“Whoa! Andi, please. No. We’re not…I’m not going to sign divorce papers.” He stood quick and took my hand in his. “I want a second chance. I screwed up and I realize this. I’m so sorry.”
“I know you are, John. Thank you for that. Please have your attorney call mine.”
I grabbed my purse before I could change my mind and headed for the door, unsure if John would come after me. Did I want him to run after me? Probably. A little part inside of me wanted him to try to fight for me, although as I pushed the door open, I realized he had to stay and pay the bill. That made me smile.