Love in Disguise Ch. 3

Ashley Williams

I could have come home early that night – right after the fireworks – to kiss Danny good night and to catch Michael in front of the TV or somewhere else in the house – awake. I could have come home early to sit down on the sofa and snuggle up to him in order to relive that warm feeling I had experienced on the field earlier. I could have come home early to make love to this incredible sensible and attractive man who started to get under my skin. But I didn’t go home early. Instead, I walked around town after the fireworks, looked into shop windows, got a drink at a bar on Main Street, talked to some casual friends I had not seen in a while, and finally drove home at 3am.

I tried to be as quiet as can be. The house was dark except for the kitchen light, and there was a good chance that even Michael was asleep, but I did not want to risk it. I felt so vulnerable at this point that I was afraid I would give in to my emotions and seduce Michael right there and then if I saw the slightest chance. And the chance I had as I tiptoed up the front steps to get onto the dark porch. I saw the shadow in the dim light coming from the street lamp across the street, and yet it made me jump a little to see someone sitting on the steps just a few feet away. Even though I realized in a second that it was Michael, I instinctively reached down my left side to get a hold of my pistol – which wasn’t there. I let out a deep breath as I relaxed and sat down next to him.

Something was up; I could tell by the way he sat on the steps, a bottle of Heineken in one hand, looking straight ahead. I felt like reaching out to touch him on his shoulder, to push my face into his side so that he would put his arm around me once more. But I refrained. Instead, I leant back until the weight of my upper body rested on my arms and I could look up into the starry night. The crickets were singing, and the warm summer air felt so good. I closed my eyes.

‘When were you going to tell me that you are moving out?’ he asked suddenly, and I wondered how much it took him to make his voice sound so calm. I could sense the anger underneath. I kept my eyes closed and waited. ‘You have a message on the answering machine. It’s a guy who wants to show you his apartment tomorrow. And he is looking for you to move in on the 1st of August.’ I did not say anything; but I opened my eyes. ‘When were you gonna tell me? A day before you move?’ Michael had turned around to face me now, his hands closed to fists.

We stared at each other for what seemed an eternity. Then some of the tension disappeared from his face as he relaxed his hands and opened his mouth. ‘I told you I don’t want you to move,’ he said, his voice shaking just a little.

‘That decision is not up to you,’ I said as calmly as I could but it did not have the desired effect.

Michael’s anger skyrocketed: ‘Oh, but you can avoid telling me about your plans and leave me totally in the dark.’ I was about to say something but he interrupted me. ‘This is not just about you, you know. We have been living here together for so long. We are like a family. You cannot just go and tear us all apart.’ He had gotten up to walk around as his voice grew louder.

‘I agree, we get along great. But we are not family. You will have your own family soon.’ And suddenly, out of the blue, I started to cry. Tears ran down my face silently as I watched Michael pace the ground in front of the porch. Yes, he would have a family, and there wasn’t any room for me.

‘I don’t know what I want,’ he said, coming to an abrupt halt in front of me, making his hands disappear in the front pockets of his shorts. ‘I don’t know if I want Melissa to move in with me; I cannot even imagine getting married to her or having more kids. But I do know that I don’t want you to leave this house.’ He looked at me directly now, and I prayed that he would not see my tears, but of course he did. ‘What’s the matter, baby?’ he asked, making a step forward before he put a finger underneath my chin to lift my face up to where he could see it better. ‘Sweetie, why are you crying?’ he inquired as he kneeled down in front of me and brushed a few strings of hair out of my face. The question as the worried expression on his face right in front of mine made the tears run even more, and he reached out and wiped them away.

And then, without any warning or any more words, his hand reached around my neck, and he pulled my face closer to his until his lips touched my face. He placed light kisses all over my face, my chin, cheeks, eyes, and forehead, until his lips finally met mine. The kiss, meant to calm me down and make me feel better, transformed slowly into passion. Neither him nor I had noticed, but suddenly he stood up and pulled me up with him. Standing in front of him, he pulled me closer, right into his body as he still had his hands wrapped around my head. He could not let go, and neither could I. I wrapped my arms around Michael’s waist, pulling his hips against me where I could feel his escort kartal hardening cock. I needed to feel him kissing me deep, exploring his mouth, feeling his tongue; but it was him who explored my lower lip with his tongue, teasing me, making me moan for his touch as I opened my mouth slightly to allow him to deepen our kiss. And then, as his tongue entered my mouth and started to play with mine, something inside me snapped. I was so turned on that I could not grasp what had happened right away, but I knew that I had to end this kiss right away.

Out of breath, I made a step back, shaking my head as he tried to pull me back against his body. With the back of my hand I wiped over my lips, still feeling his kiss. My body wanted to make love, my mouth, skin, nipples, and pussy all ached for his touch. But I could not do it; could not do what I knew would only hurt me afterwards. I saw it all clearly now. ‘I want you so much, Michael,’ I said, ‘but I can’t do it.’ I looked at him as he tried to regain his composure and obviously tried to say something calm and logical. But he gave up. ‘I want you too, baby.’ There was a slight pause. ‘Hell, I wanted you ever since I first laid eyes on you. But there never was the right moment. And I was with Melissa…’ His voice trailed off and he was lost in thought.

There was lightening in the sky and I grabbed Michael by his right arm and pulled him up the porch and into the house. ‘You know, a few years ago I had a friend who I trusted a lot. He was great; we could talk about almost everything; we gave each other massages, went out dancing or to the movies; and one night we ended up having sex. And what was to me a terrific night was a mistake to him that he wanted to forget as soon as possible – because he had a girlfriend.’ I looked at Michael as I turned on the light in the hallway. ‘I felt used, abandoned, and so hurt,’ I continued, starting to walk up the stairs but then coming back down again to say one more thing. ‘I will move out because I have to do the right thing – for me,’ I said, standing on tiptoes in front of Michael and giving him a kiss on his mouth. And with that, I went upstairs and to bed.

I dreaded moving but of whatever I anticipated, the actual moving process turned out to be the easiest. I had rented the moving truck on a weekend Michael was at work. A bunch of good friends had come over to help me move, but Danny had locked himself in his room, and Briana had gone off to a friend’s house out of protest. I had to drag Danny outside and into the truck thinking he would cheer up being in a big truck like that, but he screamed and cried all the way over to our new place. We had worked out a new schedule that seemed to make things easier on the kids but in reality, Danny cried himself to sleep many times with me holding him; and I cried right along with him.

Michael and I had agreed on helping each other out on the weekends and keeping the same babysitter. This way, the kids would still see each other. However, it was not enough. Several times a day I wondered why this whole situation felt like divorce and a messy breakup. I was totally stressed out over it, worrying about Danny and even considering sending him to therapy once a week. Don’t you think this is hard on me, I felt like yelling at him whenever we sat at the dinner table and he started to tell me how great it was to be at the old house. I had just come home from work, picking up Danny on the way, and having spaghetti sauce on the stove, as the doorbell rang. Danny stopped reminding me of how much he missed Michael and Briana, jumped up and ran out into the hallway.

‘It’s Briana!’ he yelled excitedly just a second later, and I wondered if I had the days of the week mixed up. Was it my evenings to have Briana over? But as soon as she entered the kitchen with a happy Daniel dancing around her, I realized that this was an out of line visit. She was so out of breath that she must have run the whole way from her house over to ours, and she had obviously cried a lot. Her makeup, usually applied with great care, was running down her cheeks now, and it was the first time in a long time that I saw her not caring about her looks. ‘Sit down,’ I simply said, realizing that it was not the time to ask questions just now. ‘Have some spaghetti!’

And so we ate, Danny happily talking about school and bombarding Briana with questions now and then. And as Danny got ready for bed afterwards and I read him a story on his bed, Briana went into the bathroom to take a shower before she joined us on Danny’s bed, curling up like a kitten by my feet and hugging Danny’s favorite teddy bear. As the story was finished, Danny curled up next to Briana, and even before I turned off the light, they were both fast asleep.

The phone rang as soon as I stepped out of Danny’s room. It took a while to locate the portable phone. At last, and 4 rings later, I found it in the bathroom. ‘Hello?’ I said, out of breath, sitting down on the closed toilet lid. ‘It’s maltepe escort me,’ came Michael’s voice and I could tell that he was worried. ‘She’s here,’ I replied, hearing him let out a sigh of relief. I could just picture him leaning with his forehead against the doorframe in the kitchen. ‘I’ll be there in a minute,’ he said and hung up before I could say another word.

It had been a month now; a month of living alone with Daniel. After my husband had died just a little after Danny was born, I had lived like this for years, and now I found that it was a life hard going back to. I had half forgotten how hard it was to not having much support from the people around you. I had forgotten how stressful it was to carry all the responsibility and not having any time off. How much easier had it been to not live alone, to just get up and go to work without having to bring Danny to other people’s houses. How great it had been just to trust and rely on roommates to fill in. Friends like that were rare, and even though I was convinced that moving out was the best thing to do considering my entanglement and the kiss in front of the house that promised to make matters even more difficult, I missed my old life in Michael’s house so much. And most of all, I missed Michael.

As I opened the door and let Michael in, I could not help but smile. He appeared to be in much the same state as Briana had been a few hours earlier. ‘Did you run, too?’ I asked, letting him catch his breath while pouring him a glass of water. ‘I needed the exercise,’ he replied, looking around. ‘Where is she?’ Pointing to the chair closest to him, I sat down across from him. ‘She is sleeping. After crying and running here all the way, she fell asleep in Danny’s bed when I read him a story.’ For a second, he pondered what to do; then, he sat down, burying his face in his hands. It must be pretty bad, I suspected, and I almost reached over to touch his hair.

‘I am an idiot,’ he said finally, sitting up and looking straight at me. ‘All these years I have been blind to all these things happening right in front of me.’ I had no idea what he was talking about. ‘Briana doesn’t want Melissa to move in,’ he said, trying to make some light of the situation. ‘And most of all, I don’t want her to move in!’ He looked at me for a second longer, then he hit the top of the table with his right fist. ‘Damn it, Melissa came over earlier, went right upstairs, stood in Danny’s room and told us in a loud happy voice how she is going to throw all your stuff out to make two more kids rooms out of them.’ He paused, obviously reliving the situation because he had a painful look on his face. ‘And Briana went nuts. She pushed Melissa out of Danny’s room, slammed the door shut and yelled at Melissa that she could not touch any of Danny’s or your things.’

‘And you yelled at Briana,’ I tried to help, but the painful expression on Michael’s face became more apparent now. ‘Yes,’ he nodded. ‘I told her to apologize at once, and she started to cry, ran down the stairs, and out of the house.’ I waited for him to continue. ‘And then what happened?’ I tried to prod him on, but he was lost in thought. ‘Did you tell Melissa to move in and promised her that everything will be okay?’ I inquired, but he shook his head. ‘No, I didn’t,’ he said, ‘this has been going on long enough. Because I am too much of a coward to figure out what I really want, you have moved out and Briana won’t talk to me.’

‘So what did you tell her, then?’ I asked, not being able to keep my voice from sounding impatient. ‘I told her that I could not be with her any longer.’ He looked at me again when he said it, and I could not believe what I heard. ‘I broke up with her right there and then.’

I got a week just to myself when Michael took Danny on vacation to North Carolina to visit his parents on the way. I had to work most of that week but it was like a vacation not having to think about babysitters and other kid-related things. Apart from the pick-up and drop-off times, I got to see Michael at Danny’s and then Briana’s birthday party. Briana did not mind being the oldest girl in the birthday bunch at Danny’s party, and Michael gave Danny the greatest present of them all – a skateboard. Danny was beside himself and could not wait to try it out.

And so I got to see Michael on occasion when he and Danny went out to practice. Then, at Briana’s party, I got to see why exactly Michael was so worried about his teenage daughter. Or should I say, I realized that he had reason to be worried? Briana and her friends were dressed in tank tops and shorts that revealed much of what was underneath, and the boys that were invited enjoyed the attention they were getting very much. Briana liked one boy especially. Michael signaled that he was not happy, and I pointed out to him that he should talk about contraception with her, soon.

‘Are you kidding? She is only thirteen!’ he said while getting the ice-cream cake out of the freezer. I made a face at him pendik escort bayan and handed him 14 candles. ‘Come on, 13 is young but definitely not impossible. When was your first time anyway?’ Michael was very indecisive when it came to positioning the candles, so he handed me half and watched me for a second. ‘I was much older,’ he said, getting the matches. ‘I was 15.’ I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. ‘Yeah, that sure is a hell of a lot older,’ I said and received a gentle punch on the shoulder.

We finished the cake in silence. Then, ‘I don’t know what to tell her about contraception.’ I looked at him, honestly surprised. ‘Mike, you are a doctor. Doesn’t that take much of the weird feeling out of talking about stuff like that? It’s a matter of fact thing: When you have sex you have to protect yourself and there are several options…’ Michael raised his hands in an attempt to come up with as many options as possible. ‘The pill,’ he said. I shook my head. ‘Easy for the boy and simple if she remembers to take them, but not good for her body at this age.’ I looked at Michael from the side. ‘What do you learn in medical school anyway?’

We were interrupted by Briana and had the cake before Danny and I took off to meet some other friends of ours at a restaurant. And then I did not hear from Michael until a few weeks afterwards. When I got home from work one night, I found a card from the hospital he worked for in the mail box. It was an invitation. He had accepted the promotion and the hospital threw him a big party. After dinner and bringing Danny to bed, I sat down in the living room with that card in my hand. It was a fancy card with gold lettering and I had to smile when I thought about his good luck. From what I knew it was rare for a physician his age to be made senior physician. This was what he had always hoped for.

The day of the big celebration was a Saturday. The hospital had rented a banquet hall at the Hilton on the other side of the river, and I was sure that over a hundred people were expected to come. On occasion, I had seen Michael dressed for a big event like this but as I looked in my bedroom closet I could not find anything fitting for me to wear. Five hours before the official beginning, I decided that I should spend the remaining time shopping for a new dress. So after dropping off Danny at Debra’s place for the night, I went to the mall and walked into a fancy and elegant store I had not been in all my life. I felt awkward to say the least and half suspected to be thrown out after being spotted but I was welcomed instead and left the store almost broke but with a beautiful dress half an hour later.

After spending more money on shoes, I drove to the Hilton, walked into the restrooms with two shopping bags, and changed there. When I stepped in front of that huge mirror by the door 10 minutes later, my blue jeans and shirt in hand, I was not sure what to make of it. I could not even remember when I had last worn a dress, and now I seemed completely transformed. I felt so strange that I almost laughed out loud. Then, I decided to not worry about my hair and face but to practice walking in those high heeled shoes instead. On the way back to the car to deposit my jeans and shirt, I almost broke my neck when I skidded off the curb fumbling for my keys. On the way back, I realized that I did not have a pocket to put my car keys in.

The invitation in one hand and my keys in the other, I finally arrived on time. As I entered the hall, I marveled at the beautiful decorations and the pompous lights and flower arrangements, and I wondered if they would make Michael work over time to pay for all this. I made my way through the crowd over to the buffet and hesitated. I wanted to find Michael to congratulate him, first. So I walked around and took a glass of champagne from the tray that was put right in front of my eyes by a very elegant looking waiter. After what must have been ten minutes, I finally got a glimpse of him. He was standing with a group of older people and chatted politely.

I decided to just stand and watch him from a distance since I did not want to interrupt their conversation. Even though I felt strange in this crowd of obviously successful and rich people, I had to admit that Michael looked more attractive than ever in his black tuxedo. He looked so elegant, so charming, and so successful that I had trouble remembering him as a man who left his room a mess and would laugh himself silly watching a Naked Gun movie. Here, he had just reached a new height in his career, and it was all business-like.

Holding my glass of champagne, I watched as Michael’s boss Paul said a toast. In the crowd I could make out a few of Michael’s friends from the hospital but none from the bar he played pool at with older buddies or any other person connected to his private life. I took a sip of the champagne when everybody did, and then the band started playing and the buffet was officially opened. I turned around and walked over to the huge glass windows and looked out onto the neatly trimmed lawn. I wondered why Michael had invited me and nobody else from the old days. It occurred to me that the reason might be the upper class pomp and the therefore required manners. But I felt out of place myself.

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