I nervously approached Hadley’s door, mulling over what I was going to say to her. So Hads, you remember Camille. Well, we’re dating again. She was going to freak out. And she was sort of within her right to; Camille had broken my heart, but she was a different person now. We had begun dating over two months ago when she kicked Huy to the curb and we’d taken it very slowly. Though I’d spent the night, it was always in a guest room.
I knocked at the front door, smiling as I saw my very pregnant sister waddle over from the living room to let me in. With any luck, the miracle of life would have her in a good mood.
“Hey, Shirl. Come on in. How are things at the hospital?”
We took a seat in the living room. “Things are good. Lots of the usual, really.” I fidgeted, worrying my lower lip with my teeth. “Okay, Hads, I need to tell you something and you’re probably not going to like it…”
Hadley straightened up. “What is it?”
“I’m dating Camille.”
She stared at me for a long moment then burst up from the couch. “You’re what? Have you lost your mind, Shirley?”
I sighed. So much for the miracle of life. “No, I haven’t. You don’t know her, Hads. She’s different than she used to be.”
Hadley paced the living room. “Wasn’t she married? You told me before that she was married.”
“Yeah, she was, but he was abusive. She kicked him out a couple of months ago, and we started seeing each other.”
“Oh, so she just jumps from relationship to relationship. You’re her rebound, Shirley.”
I glared at her. “I am not her rebound! It’s real this time.”
She rolled her eyes. “You thought it was real last time. Why don’t you just move on already and find someone who will actually love you?”
I got to my feet. “Camille does love me and I love her. Can’t you try to see that?”
“How can I? I’ve never even met this woman.”
“Would you even give her a chance if I did bring her over?”
“No!” Hadley pursed her lips and took a slow breath. “No, I would not, because, unlike you, I actually remember what it was like in this house after you two broke up. It was like somebody died. I will never forgive her for the way she hurt you. Once a cheater, always a cheater.”
I wanted to throw Houston in her face, but it was apparently up to me to be the bigger person. “It was my heart she broke, Hadley. If I can forgive her, you should, too. I’m gonna go back to Camille’s now. I get to play with Loralee while she’s at work.” I walked out of the house at a clip; I needed to be away from my sister in the right now sort of way.
I sat, staring at my easel, willing inspiration to come to me. Lately, even painting, my solace, had eluded me. I didn’t have much time to paint, given that I had Joshua running around and a second baby on the way. In the past, though, it had always been time I lacked, not inspiration.
You know why things are different, a voice at the back of my mind chided me. I didn’t listen to that voice. It told me things I didn’t want to hear. Things about my husband, my marriage.
Like tonight, Houston hadn’t come home yet. It would be the second night this week that he got home late. He said he was out at with some friends from work. I believed him. Why shouldn’t I? He had never given me a reason not to.
No, but he didn’t give Kelsey any either, I bet.
Tears sprang to my eyes, and I rubbed my hands over my face. “It’s not the same,” I muttered aloud to myself. What Houston and I have is real. It’s forever. And he’s such an amazing father! He’s always playing with Joshua. It’s obvious how much he adores our son.
Once a cheater, always a cheater. I had said that to Shirley when she told me about her and Camille just a few days ago. She had been kind enough not to throw it back in my face, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it anyway.
He couldn’t be cheating on me. Could he?
Shirley and I sat down at the dining table for dinner. I fidgeted a little nervously in my chair. I was ready to move forward in our relationship. I didn’t want her spending another night in a guest room. I just wasn’t sure if she felt the same.
“How’s Witchly III coming?”
I blinked at her, coming out of my thoughts. “Hmm?”
She smiled at me. “Witchly III. I asked how it was coming along.”
“Oh, right. It’s going well. I’ll probably be working on it a while longer, though.”
“Where’s your head at?”
Just spit it out. The worst thing she can do is say no. “Well, actually, I was thinking about us. I’d like you to stop having sleep-overs in the guest room.”
Shirley smiled slowly and got up, pulling me to my feet. “Really?”
I smiled, holding on to her hands. “Yeah.”
She laughed and pulled me into her arms. “I was going to bring that up tonight, too.”
“Great minds, you know.” I pulled her into a kiss and then we found our way upstairs to the bedroom, our dinner forgotten.