I’ve decided to post the first chapter of each of the four Waiting Game books this month, one per week. So here’s Chapter One of Book One.
I heaved a sigh as I dropped my bags on the living room floor. It had been a long day of cross-country travel. After I got fed up with visiting my mom and stepdad in San Francisco, I’d finagled an earlier flight, ready to get away from the familial infighting. I was glad to be back in Washington, D.C., ready to get back to my normal life. It had been the kind of family time that left someone glad to return to work.
My fiancé too, I was glad to return to him. It wasn’t often that Kyle Spencer and I spent more than a day apart, let alone nearly a week. And I had just enough time to shower and change before he’d be home from work.
I kicked my shoes off in the hall. As I pushed open the bedroom door, I pulled my sweatshirt over my head. My head popped free with a jerk, I was left staring at my bed, the bed I shared with the man I was going to marry.
And the bare back of a slim woman with cascading brown curls as she bounced up and down. She let out a moan as she moved, and I wrenched my shirt back over my head, preparing for the battle I knew was coming.
I could hear Kyle now, the familiar noises that he’d made so many times with me. I still couldn’t see him, trapped, as he was, under the bouncing brunette. I was shaking, stunned, and I couldn’t even think of what to do with myself. I stood, listening to them, watching the girl writhe on top of my fiancé. My mouth hung open, and tears streamed down my cheeks.
Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned to go back to the living room, either to wait them out or to figure out somewhere else to go.
I shook my head, and turned back to the bed.
They both gasped, and the brunette gathered the blankets around her as she slid from on top of my fiancé. Kyle jerked upright, his green eyes wide at the sight of me, his blonde hair disheveled, his face and chest flushed.
“Alex. You’re home early.”
His voice was calm, even. As if he hadn’t just ruined my life.
“I am,” I replied, trying to also keep my voice calm. I didn’t want to come off like the crazy girlfriend.
“I can explain.”
“I don’t think you can.”
“I should go,” the brunette said.
“No, you’re welcome to stay,” I replied. “I’m going to go.”
“Can we talk?” Kyle asked.
“Are you serious?”
“No, you asshole, we can’t talk. I need to leave, before I murder you and your whore.”
“Right. Okay. Another time.”
“You think I’m joking.”
“Not exactly, no. I’m hoping I can calm you down before anyone gets hurt.”
“I’m hurt, Kyle.” I held his gaze, then shook my head slowly. “I’m going.”
I was gathering up my bags in the hall when I realized I was still wearing the massive lie of a diamond ring that he’d given me. Well, that wasn’t coming with me.
I went into the bedroom, where Kyle and his girl were hastily dressing, not looking at or talking to each other.
“This is yours,” I said, heaving the ring at him. It hit his bare chest, and he winced, whether from pain or the gesture itself I didn’t care. Kyle and I locked eyes as the sound of the ring bouncing on the hardwood floor filled the room. Such a small sound that meant so much. Once the ring stopped moving, the silence became too much, and I turned on my heel.
All right. I’m out of here.
“He was in bed with some bimbo,” I sobbed as my best friend handed me a box of tissues.
“Are you sure she was a bimbo?”
“I’m trying to cheer you up,” he replied. “Go on.”
“I’m not sure there’s any more to the story.”
“What about the part where you murder them both, and then come to me for help hiding the bodies?”
“That didn’t happen.”
“We were supposed to get married,” I wailed, tears streaming down my face. “How could he do this to me?”
“Did you ask him?”
“How was I supposed to talk to him? He was in bed with–”
“Some bimbo, right.”
“Can I stay here?”
I’d immediately done what anyone would do in a crisis: run to my best friend’s house to cry on his shoulder. After much crying, I’d realized that I was in a tricky situation. I couldn’t go home again. Kyle and I had been living together for over a year. I couldn’t go back to that house now, not after seeing him with, you know, some bimbo. I needed a place to stay. And getting my ducks in a row to make that happen was going to take some time.
“Just while I figure out where to go,” I said, pleading with my already red and teary eyes. “I can’t go back to Kyle. I don’t have anywhere else to go. Please, David.”
“Like for a few weeks, or like forever?”
“Ugh, fine, for a few weeks. I’ll start looking for a new place tomorrow, I swear it.”
“Weird how I don’t think that’s true.”
“So you want me to go back to living with Kyle?”
“Jesus, no. But you can’t live here forever.”
“Afraid I’ll cramp your style?”
“What little style I have, yes.”
I put my head in my hands and began crying anew. How could this have happened? What had I done wrong that Kyle had done this to me?
“Of course you can stay here,” David said. “As long as you need, but do not take advantage of me on that.”
“What am I supposed to do now?”
“I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out.”
“Promise me that you’re not dying to say you told me so.”
David laughed. “A little bit, yeah. You know I’ve never liked Kyle.”
Kyle and I started dating in high school, so we’d already been together for three years by the time I met David Yearly when we were in college. David and I hit it off immediately – but only as friends! Because I was already in a relationship, it had never occurred to me to think of him as anything else. Kyle had never seen it that way, though, and the two of them had bickered back and forth for years now.
They were such opposites, David and Kyle. Kyle was blonde and excessively tall, and smarter than average. David was…kind of nerdy. He had dark hair and glasses, and couldn’t seem to talk to girls without embarrassing himself. It was endearing, but it didn’t exactly set my loins on fire. And for some reason, I could never convince Kyle of that.
Kyle always seemed to find a way to throw backhanded comments David’s way, and it hadn’t exactly made him likeable. But I’d always made excuses for Kyle. Of course he didn’t like that I spent a lot of time with another guy! It made sense, even if nothing was ever going to happen with David. Now I was seeing that perhaps Kyle wasn’t the person I thought he was. I should have turned on him years ago.
Of course, it wasn’t the same. Being territorial wasn’t cheating on the person you were supposed to marry.
“I never liked him,” David repeated. “But I also never thought he’d do something like this. I’m as shocked as you are.”
“That’s impossible. You didn’t have to see them.”
“Why didn’t you tell him that you were coming home early?”
“Because surprises are supposed to be fun, David. And might I add, way to blame the victim.”
“I think we’d all like to spare you having to see that. I’m sure it only makes this whole thing worse.”
It certainly did. If I closed my eyes, I saw them together. I could hear their moans ringing in my ears still. Oh, God, I was going to be sick.
I bolted down the hall, stumbling for the bathroom, willing myself not to puke on my best friend’s floor. He was going above and beyond right now, and I owed him that much.
David followed me at a slower pace, and as I knelt beside the toilet, he knelt beside me, gathering my hair back in classic best friend mode. Tears streamed down my face as I puked, and I felt like I couldn’t control anything that was happening with my body. I’d lost control of my life, and now I’d lost control of my body.
This was shaping up to be a great day.