A/N: A big warning for this chapter because shit hits the fan.
What have I done? WhathaveIdone? I thought in near-panic as I drove home from Shirley’s house. I had never meant to sleep with her. I couldn’t even say for certain how it happened. One minute we were laughing on the sofa, the next we were under the covers. Watcher, how had I allowed this to happen? As if my marriage needed any extra help in failing, I had to go and give it the last shove. No way would Huy forgive me a second time for cheating.
I parked outside and went inside. Huy jumped to his feet when he saw me. “Where the fuck have you been, Camille? I have been worried sick.”
A lie jumped into my throat, but I quashed it down. I had to accept the consequences of what I’d done. “I was at Shirley’s. I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it to – “
The smack! registered in my ears before the blinding pain hit me. I reeled back and my hand came up to cover my stinging cheek protectively. I couldn’t even say anything, I was so shocked. Not ever – not in a hundred lifetimes – would I have thought Huy would strike me.
“If you want to be a dyke, go be one! Go on! Get the hell out of this house!”
Fiery anger replaced my shock. “You get out, Huy. This is my house. I bought the land. I worked my ass off to afford to build it. So you pack your stuff and don’t ever come back.” He raised his hand to me again, but I got up in his face. “Only the first one was free. If you ever lay a hand on me again, you’re going to rot in jail.”
He paced away from me, his eyes spitting venom my way. “You’re the unfaithful slut. It’s my right to stay.”
“This isn’t an argument.” I kept my voice low, even. I would not sink to his level again by screaming at him. “The only name on this house is mine. Leave before I call the police.”
He glared and threw a few more creative curses at me before finally storming out of the house.
I ran to the door and locked it, then went to Loralee’s nursery and locked myself in there for good measure. I dropped down shakily on the bed. Shock rushed in as the adrenaline high tapered off and I just stared at the blue wall over Loralee’s crib. Huy had been the one to insist on having a boy’s nursery. He’d been insistent that that was what we were going to have.
My fingers tripped over themselves as they clambered for my pocket. I checked my phone. I hardly had any battery left, but it was enough to place a call. I dialed a number.
“Camille? Thank Watcher you called! Is everything okay?”
The relief when I heard Shirley’s voice was palpable. I reached up to touch my throbbing cheek. “Could you come over? Please?”
The line went quiet. Was my voice shaking? It had sounded a little off. “I’m on my way. Do you want me to call the cops?”
I swallowed thickly. “No…No, I’m alright. I think my phone is going to die, though. I’ll see you when you get here.” I hung up and dropped the phone onto the bed.
I just sat there for a few minutes. My brain felt sluggish. The front door, I thought slowly. I have to unlock it. I didn’t want to take my eyes off of Loralee, but Huy was hardly going to climb in a window. Stiffly, I unlocked the door and went out to the living room to wait for Shirley.
It felt like an eternity that I sat facing the door. I rushed to my feet when I saw Shirley’s familiar red shock of hair coming up the stairs. I clumsily unlocked the front door, rushed outside, and threw myself into her arms.
I held on to a shaking Camille and wondered just what had happened to put her in a state like this. Camille had always erred on the reserved side of things, even when she was confiding in me, as she had been doing of late. Yet here she was, clinging to me on her front porch.
I hugged her and gently set her back from me after a minute. That’s when I got a good look at her face. “That bastard!”
Camille titled her face away from me and pulled me inside, locking the door behind us. “He’s gone. It’s over now. I just want to forget it happened.”
I herded her onto the couch. “Camille, you have to press charges.”
“No,” she said emphatically. “I just want it to be over. I want a quiet, quick divorce. Not the circus that would happen with a court case or anything like that. As long as he’s gone for good, I’ll be happy.”
“At least get a restraining order.”
She sighed. “Okay. But not today.”
I put my arm around her and petted her hair. “Watcher, I can’t believe he did that.”
“Me either. I never dreamed he’d hit me. I guess at least he gave me the incentive to finally divorce him.”
I huffed softly and kissed her hair. “This really isn’t a glass-half-full kind of moment.” We both laughed weakly.
We sat on the sofa for a long time. I turned on the tv and let it play, so we didn’t have to listen to the silent house. When I heard Loralee start to cry, I made Camille stay where she was while I went to see to her. When I went back into the living room, I found Camille curled up and resting. I stood there for a while, watching the rise and fall of her chest and my thoughts drifted.
I had never intended for last night to happen. I had known since the first day at the park that I wasn’t over my feelings for Camille, but I had valued the new friendship I had found with her more than those old feelings. I couldn’t help feeling that this was my fault. Looking back, ending up in bed seemed like a sort of natural evolution, that neither of us had been the one to push the other into it. But what if I had said something or done something to push her? Everything I felt for her was so confused.
I turned away and went to the refrigerator. I’d busy myself with making something for Camille to eat when she got up. It could keep warm in the oven. After cooking, I cleaned up around the kitchen.
I had just mopped the floor when I heard the soft padding of Camille’s feet. “You’re still here.”
“Of course. You asked me to come over.”
She smiled a little and hopped up onto a bar stool. “Shirley, would you stay tonight?” She cleared her throat. “I mean, you can stay in one of the guest rooms. I just…I’d like to not be alone in the house.”
“You’d have to physically drag me to get me out of here. Now, how about something to eat?”
A/N: So long and good riddance, Huy.