By the time we got up, we were both tired as hell. Only a few hours sleep at best. With Tiff gone, we had to tend to Bernie. Lori called Tiff and asked her why she left. "I need you here to distract dumb-shit while I go pick up the you know what."
Yeah, I was sitting right there in the kitchen feeding the baby. Like I couldn't hear. Dumb-shit you say?
Tiff returned, looking as broken down and tired as we probably were. She continued to be a little nervous. When she arrived, Lori was quick to grab her purse. "Be back in a couple hours." And off she went. As far as I was concerned, it was a couple hours of make out time with the sitter.
Tiff had just got done helping me to put on my clothes when she returned. Tiff ran downstairs while remained behind. Minutes later, I was called down. Jr. and his girlfriend, along with Tiff and Lori were gathered in the kitchen. She had bought a cake with a sexy brunette doll laying across it in a see through gown. It was quite erotic. For a cake. And a doll. Just saying.
She had two candles, a 2 and a 1, so I got to blow them out. Oh, and make my wish. Then she handed a few gifts over for me. Oh joy.
A couple new shirts. A new belt buckle. (I like the one I already have.) A couple new journals to write my poetry in. And a "anything goes" card for the bedroom. Who was she trying to fool? Anything was already going on.
Jr. and Becky stayed for some cake and ice cream before leaving. Tiff took off the first chance she got. Once Lori and I was alone, and Bernie in his play pen, I had a little surprise for her. You see, while she was out, I packed my bag. I had it stashed under the bed. I also took a Polaroid picture of Tiff naked. Of course, I gave my word to her I would show it to no one. Gullible girl. The world writes songs about women scorned, well, never underestimate a scorned man.
I took my new presents upstairs and placed them on the center of the bed while Lori did some dishes. I took the picture and placed them right on top of the journals. I went back downstairs to help her. When we finished, I turned to her. "Are you going upstairs?" I asked her.
"I might gather the dirty clothes." She considered.
"When you do, bring me one of my new shirts down. I want to try it on."
"I'll do it now." She whistled, and up the stairs she scooted.
I slowly followed, stopping at the top, waiting for my cue. "What in the hell?" And that was my cue.
"Find something you like?" I moseyed on through the doorway. She turned to me with extreme confusion coming from her eyes. "My cousin?"
"What's the matter, Lori? You look devastated. Kind of the way I looked last night, wouldn't you say?"
She stood there like she was trying to piece it together. "My cousin?"
"Oh, we had ourselves a good time last night. And this morning. A real good time."
Her head turned to me. Her eyes spitting fire and death. "You bastard." She softly hissed. "My cousin!" And up went the volume. She began to lose it. She started flailing her arms wildly. All the while, letting me know what she thought of me. I took a few minor blows before I was able to catch them and control her, pushing her up against the wall.
"Who the hell are you to curse me?" I mildly shouted. I didn't want to scare Bernie downstairs. "You and your new play-toy." She suddenly halted resistance and stared at me. "Yeah," I continued, "I know all about it. Paul is his name?"
Her incessant breathing began to calm down a little. Still with that death stare, "I hate you."
I was satisfied with that response. "At least we got to the truth now, didn't we?" She spat on my face. Right on my lower lip and chin. I used my tongue to lick it up. "That's it, give me your poison. Kill me some more. I'm already dead." I released her and quickly bent down to pull out my bag. I threw it around my shoulder and turned to her. "Good news for you, there's a ready made wedding taking place tomorrow, you get to take your pick of any man who will have you." Then with a hearty salute, "Have a great honeymoon."
I got downstairs and took one look at Bernie playing in his pen and for a moment, I froze dead in my tracks. I shook it off, that numbing trance, and headed to the back door for my escape. "I love you Bernie." I mumbled.
Lori must have finally caught herself, no sooner did I start my turn around the corner to go to my car, she came exploding out the back. Something hit my shoulder. "Damn it!" I yelled. "That hurt, Lori." It was a glass ashtray.
I turned around to face her. She lifted up her dukes. "Come on, bad ass. What you going to do? Hit me back? Well here I am!"
I shook my head at her. Her eyes had a crazy look in them. It actually frightened me. She glanced at her fists and saw the ring. Her eyes opened wide. She looked towards the river. Before I knew it, she darted to the edge of the pier, removing the ring and tossing it. "That's what I think of you, Carroll!"
I nodded. I have seen everything I needed to see. "At least it was cheaper than the one I was going to put on you tomorrow." And off I went. A few moments later, halfway to my car, she downshifted into psychopathic mode. "Wait! Carroll! I'm sorry. Don't go." She high tailed it straight towards me. I kicked it into another gear and quickly got into my car. "Carroll, wait!" She cried out, then dropping straight to her knees in the middle of the yard where she buried her face into her hands, sobbing.
I didn't even look behind me.
I quickly realized I had no place to go, except to the ship. I didn't feel like going there. I was homeless otherwise. I decided to go see Bonnie. The kids were with their grandparents that weekend so she and I had privacy to talk. We sat out on the front porch, her in her swing and me on a chair. After I told her what happened, she asked the obvious. "What are you going to do now?"
"I don't know." I honestly had no clue. "I guess I should call Hrisko up and let him know the show is over."
"I just bought your wedding gift yesterday too." She said, trying to cheer me up I guess. I smiled. "I'll reimburse you."
"Eh, I got the receipt."
Out of curiosity, I asked her. "What was it?"
"It was a gold plated toilet seat for the couple who had everything."
I started to laugh. "It wasn't real gold, was it?"
"Nope." She laughed back.
This is when I figured it out. "You're not going to tell me, are you?"
Still laughing. "Nope."
Man, I just love that lady.
I rushed to make the calls to everyone on my side of the party. I caught my parents just in time before they were to head out the door to the airport. They were sad to hear about the breakup. So was Hrisko.
Bonnie was gracious enough to let me crash there for the night. And Sunday night too. I got to see the kids when they showed up and I got to do my favorite thing, tuck them in and read them a story. Man, I loved those kids too.
I showed up Monday morning in time to stow my gear and make muster. I guess from here on, I would be living on the ship again. Just as well, we only had a few weeks left before deployment anyway and we had a lot of supplies for the stores coming in. We worked until the late hours humping it all into the holes. (That sounded gutter) Everyone in the division had to participate in the activity. (That sounded gutter too)
The only thing I had to look forward to was the upcoming weekend. And I wasn't even looking forward to it at that. I really felt bad about it all. I really was missing her and Bernie. I wasn't even sure if I felt that it was really over. This was bad. Real bad. I was starting to double think my behavior. Did I do the wrong thing? Should I have just asked her about it? Maybe the guy was just trying to ..... no, Carroll, stop it! She cheated on you. Just go with that. When it comes to trusting a girl, and her word, go with the the way that works best for you. Walk away. What I didn't know then, was that would become my best response. The road to my future was indeed being paved. It was being done so in every way possible too. Welcome to the winds of change.