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 Post subject: To Breathe Again (Chapter 6)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:13 am
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Location: On a good day, planet Earth in NE Alabama.
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(Chapter Six)


“What are you saying?” Rick looked into Dee Dee’s eyes, feeling that he’d hear his own name in her reply. “You’re in love with someone else?”

“Yes.” She answered softly. “I don’t know if I’m supposed to be with him, or with Alex.”

Rick felt Dee Dee’s body shiver. Without a word he sat up enough to remove his jacket and place it around her shoulders, and pulled her back into his arms.

Dee Dee wasn’t sure if it was the cold or her nerves, but she welcomed the comfort of his jacket, and even more, his arms. “I can’t believe I’m finally telling you this, but I have to.” She inhaled sharply before expelling the next sentence. “I’m partly to blame for my bad marriage because of my feelings for someone else.” She pulled herself up and away from Rick’s arms. She turned to look away, but Rick placed his index finger under her chin to guide her back.

“Remember what I said,” Rick began. “You don’t ever have to feel ashamed around me.”

Dee Dee looked into his regal blue eyes which were shining brightly, even in the low light of the moon. She nervously twisted her wedding rings, knowing that just the thought of tossing them into the ocean wouldn’t mean that her marriage was over, only that she wished it was over.

“Tell me, Dee Dee.” Rick whispered gently.

She looked into his eyes…into the seductive orbs that willed her to speak from her soul. She couldn’t resist them. She spoke. “It’s because I can’t let go of you, Rick. I…I’m still…”

Rick stared into Dee Dee’s eyes…the dark pools that led to her inner peace and turmoil. He couldn’t stand to see her wrestling with the truth. He had to end her torture. “I’m still in love with you, too, Dee Dee.” He stated boldly and sure. “I’ve never stopped loving you.”

Dee Dee couldn’t believe her ears. The words she’d longed to hear him say had actually come from his own lips, and she knew he meant them. Her eyes watered as she watched puddles begin to form in Rick’s eyes. “What do we do, now?” She asked breathlessly; her lips aching to be meshed with his in a fiery kiss.

Before Rick could answer, Dee Dee’s body reacted with a shiver from another cool breeze, or the excitement of the moment.

Unsure of how to answer her question, Rick welcomed the sudden distraction. “It’s getting cool out here. Come on.” He stood and helped her to her feet. “My place isn’t too far from here. We’ll go there and talk.” (Talk. I want to do more than talk. I want to love her. I want to make love to her like she needs me to. But I can’t. She’s miserable with Alex, but I can’t have her break her vows. I won’t do it.)
Once inside the car, Rick turned on the heat to help warm Dee Dee. “If you want to talk while we ride…”

“No. I’ll wait until we’re at your place.” Dee Dee answered nervously. “I hope that’s okay.”

“Of course it is.” Rick replied. Before he knew it, he’d placed his right hand on her knee. He’d done this a million times before, but during those times, she wasn’t a married woman, struggling with such confusing emotional feelings. He felt a pang of guilt and slowly removed it to turn the radio to a soft rock station to eliminate the deafening silence. Before he could place his hand on the wheel, Dee Dee gently took that hand into her own, and guided both to rest on the seat between them. Neither made an effort to change the position. During the drive, they listened to the tunes; each wondering what the other was thinking, but didn’t dare ask.

Once inside Rick’s house, Dee Dee commented on the furnishings and décor; making small talk to avoid the major topic for the moment.

As she made herself comfortable on the sofa, Rick went into the kitchen to prepare some hot chocolate. While he leaned against the counter, he tried to mentally prepare himself for the conversation he was about to have with Dee Dee. There was no easy way to prepare. He hadn’t expected anything like this, though he’d hoped she would someday return to him. But she’s still married…expecting a baby….possibly only momentarily confused of her feelings for him, as well as for Alex. Where would they end up if her feelings changed again?

“I see you’ve taken up my old cooking habits.” Dee Dee smiled after hearing the microwave beep.

“Yeah, I have.” Rick smiled as he was shaken from him thoughts. He gathered the two cups and went into the living room. “Here ya go.” He handed a cup to Dee Dee and sat beside her.

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” Rick said after a sip from his cup. He clicked the stereo remote and tuned in to the station they’d listened to during the ride over.

“Rick…” Dee Dee began and cleared her throat. “I really appreciate you wanting to talk about it.”

“Well, it’s something that we really need to do, isn’t it?” He glanced at her to his right after sipping from his cup.

“Yes.” Dee Dee nodded. “It is.” With the first sip, she felt her body begin to warm and the tension to ease slightly.

“Where do we start, now?” Rick asked.

“With more of the truth, I suppose.” Dee Dee exhaled softly and began to explain. “Alex and I have been arguing about you. He’s been accusing me of being in love with you and that I can’t commit to my marriage because I love you.”

“But you denied it.” Rick turned to face her. “You wanted him to believe that it wasn’t true, and you wanted to make yourself believe it wasn’t true.”

Dee Dee looked at him with her the intent of asking how he knew, but she didn’t need to. He knew her well enough to read many of her thoughts. “You’re right.”

He knew that Dee Dee must have never had that connection with Alex; otherwise, the communication between them might be smoother. “What started it all? I mean, how did you get on the subject and how long have you two been fighting?”

“The last time was while I was still in London and you and I spoke over the phone. We talked about you coming over for a visit. Remember?”

“Yeah.” Rick nodded. “Alex got mad about that, huh?”

“Yes. We had a big argument after I got off the phone.”

“What happened?” Rick sipped from his cup and sat back.

“Alex wanted me to stop talking to you…forever.” Dee Dee’s voice cracked with the thought. “He said my past with you is just that, a past, and that I should let go. He said that I should concentrate on all the new and positive things that are in my life.”

“I see.” Rick heaved a sigh of disappointment in Alex. “He wants you to give up our friendship…to end everything we’ve built over all these years.”

“Yes. He says he’s the only man in my life that I should depend on and confide in.” Dee Dee put her cup on the table and slid back against the sofa. “He said that since I wasn’t willing to forget you; that I must be in love with you.” She glanced at Rick from the corner of her eye.” And then…he started questioning me.”

Rick slid back and put his arm across the back of the sofa, behind Dee Dee’s head. “What did he ask you?” He saw that she was struggling with the next sentence, and he wanted to help her through it. He reached over with his left hand and took hers in his. “It’s okay. Just speak what’s on your mind. Don’t be afraid to be honest.”

Dee Dee slowly turned her gaze to Rick, but suddenly feeling uncertain if she could continue, she turned away and began to pull her hand away.

Rick held on. “No, Dee Dee. You have to talk about it.”

She turned to look into his pleading blue eyes which helped her realize she couldn’t deny him the truth any longer. “He asked me if I’d ever been in love with you. I told him I had. And then…he asked if I was still in love with you.”

Rick gently tightened his grip around her hand. “You told him that you are?”

“No. I lied and told him that I only loved you as a friend, but he didn’t buy it. I guess I didn’t give him much choice, considering how I clumsily tried to avoid the question. He asked me point blank, and I never gave him a direct answer to the question.” She lowered her head as she felt a little ashamed. “He already knew. He told me that I didn’t have to say anymore…that he knew. We argued some more and then we decided we should separate.”

Rick knew that no man could take news like that without being hurt, outraged and possibly dangerous. “Did he hurt you?” His heart began to race at the thought. “Tell me the truth.”

“No, not physically. He said some hurtful things, but I don’t guess you could blame him. I hurt him, too. I’d let him know that I was in love with you.” Dee Dee looked at her wedding rings. “We’d come close to a separation more than a year ago because we’ve never been truly happy. I knew we needed counseling, but he refused and promised to make things better on his own. For a while, it seemed we were on the right track, but with him knowing how I felt about you, it didn’t last. I’m to blame.” She added wearily.

Rick tried to imagine the pain that Dee Dee had endured, but it wasn’t easy. He hadn’t had his spouse find out he was in love with someone else. “I’m so sorry.” He pulled her into his arms. “I had no idea that you were going through so much. But to be honest, deep down I wanted you to still love me.” He felt his guilt building, but pressed on. “I never stopped loving you, and when you married Alex, it broke my heart. I wanted you to stay with me, but I knew we couldn’t see eye-to-eye when it came to marriage, family and careers, so we had to let each other go.”

“I know.” Dee Dee sighed heavily. “I wish I’d have been willing to give us a chance…to work through my fears of losing you like I lost Steve. It may never happen, but I was too scared.”

“I know.” Rick held her tighter. “Sometimes it’s impossible to control what scares us. With you losing Steve the way you did, I knew it wouldn’t have been easy for you to see me leave for work every day and wonder if I’d return.” He gently helped Dee Dee to sit up so they could look into each other’s eyes. “But, Dee Dee, we both know that I could die any number of ways that aren’t work related.”

Dee Dee pursed her lips and looked away.

“Look at me.” He gently placed his index finger under her chin. “I know you don’t like hearing that I could die in any way, but it has to happen somehow. You’d become fixated with it happening on the job. I’ve had some scary thoughts of my own…knowing that if we got married, you’d leave the force, but that I could still lose you in some way. But I would have treasured every single moment I’d have with you.”

“I feel the same way…now. I’m not afraid anymore.” Dee Dee answered with a soft smile. “After I married Alex and realized I’d made a mistake, I starting thinking of how none of know how we’ll leave this world, or when we’ll leave it. So we have to enjoy the time we have and not worry about how long that time will last.”

Rick nodded his head. “I agree with you.”

The two stared into each other’s eyes for several moments, both feeling the urge to engage in a kiss. They’d just expressed that their time on Earth wasn’t in their control, and that they’d made mistakes that they could have been spared of if they had lived in the moment.

Fighting the temptation as best he could, Rick leaned in and kissed Dee Dee gently on the cheek. His lips were mere centimeters from her lips, and he couldn’t bear not having his on them. “Dee Dee?” He said barely above a whisper. “What do you want me to do? What do you want to do? You have decisions to make about your marriage.”
Dee Dee wanted to choose her words carefully, but she found it hard to do. “I know that I do want to be with you, but I don’t know how to go about leaving Alex. I want to be with you, Rick. We’re still in love with each other, and I want to be happy with you again.”

Rick never intended for Dee Dee to be tempted to do anything to break her vows, but his heart and soul ached to have her. Just a kiss on the lips. Did he dare?

Before he could blink, Dee Dee placed her hands on the sides of his face and looked deeply into his eyes which spoke for his soul. She knew he wanted her, and she wanted him. They couldn’t help how they felt, and she didn’t want to try and fight it. She leaned in and kissed him ever so softly on the lips. The kiss only lasted for a second, but it sparked the old and familiar feelings of their past romance. Rick couldn’t control the urge and returned the kiss, only more passionately while pulling her into his arms. The kiss intensified as they slowly slid back to get more comfortable on the sofa. Rick stroked Dee Dee’s back with his hand, and gently moved down to her waist. As his hand traveled, Dee Dee placed her gentle, petite hand upon his and allowed it to travel with it. When their hands reached the baby bulge of Dee Dee’s stomach, they simultaneously and abruptly pulled apart.

“Dee Dee, I’m sorry. I…I can’t do this.” Rick stood up and walked to the center of the room. His heart raced with excitement, disappointment and guilt. “I can’t be a part of you breaking your vows.”

“What am I doing?” Dee Dee’s heart fluttered with guilt of her own. “I’m still married. I’m carrying Alex’s baby. I shouldn’t be…I…I have to go.” She stood in a hurry and headed for the door.

“Wait.” Rick called to her. “I’ll have to drive you home.”

“No, please. Leave me alone.” Her eyes filled with tears. “I’ll be fine. The bus stop is only a block from here.” She opened the door in a rush.

“Dee Dee, don’t. Please.” Rick pleaded with her as her grabbed her hand. “Let me take you home. It’s nearly one o’clock in the morning.”

“I don’t care.” Dee Dee pulled away from Rick as her eyes burned with tears. “Please let me go. I can’t be near you right now. I need to be alone.” She rushed out the front door with Rick hot on her heels.

“Dee Dee! Be rational! You’re upset, I know. And you find it hard to be around me right now, but I can’t let you walk to the bus stop alone at this hour. Come inside.” Rick took her by the arm. “I’ll call a taxi for you, okay?”

Dee Dee thought about the suggestion for a second. “No! I don’t know what to do! I just want to go!” She shouted in frustration and pulled her arm away. “I love you, Rick! But I’m still married and pregnant with my husband’s child! I don’t love him like I love you, but I promised to never break our vows! What’s wrong with me?! Am I cheating on my husband?! How could I do that?!”

“You’re confused, Dee Dee. You’re hurting, too.” Rick took a step toward her but she moved away. “You didn’t act on your own in this situation, you know?! I deserve half of the blame because I kissed you back! I’m sorry if I’ve made things worse, but I just couldn’t help myself!” Rick shook his head. “I just couldn’t.”

Dee Dee felt the warm tears run down her face as Rick continued in a calmer tone. “Listen. You won’t have to talk to me anymore tonight. Just please wait a few minutes for a taxi. I’ll go into my room until the taxi comes. I won’t bother you anymore tonight. Please. I just need to know you’ll be safe.”

Again, Dee Dee thought of the suggestion, and this time she agreed with a nod of her head. When Rick started to take her arm, she felt overwhelmed by the gesture and pulled away. Rick knew she needed her space so he let her go ahead of him as they walked back inside.

“I’ll be in here.” Rick started toward his room, but not before placing twenty dollars in Dee Dee’s hand for the taxi fare. “Please call me when you get home.” He said, before he shut the bedroom door. He plopped down on his bed and put his head in his hands. “How could I have done that to her? She’s confused enough as it is. I love her so much and I never want her to be hurt. What do I do?”

Within twenty minutes, the taxi arrived to take Dee Dee home. As she was about to close the front door to Rick’s house, she felt torn on what to do. Should she continue on to the taxi, or should she return inside the house and try to talk to Rick? Should she apologize for her behavior? Would they end up throwing away their sense of reasoning and take things further than a kiss?

“What do I do?” Dee Dee asked herself. “I don’t know what to do.”

=======

(Continued...)


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