SINGLE MOM NEXT DOOR*
CHAPTER 10: LEADING ME ON AND OFF.
I am confused as fuck.
I believe Laurel can take care of her mother but my problem now are my feelings for her.
She’s confusing the hell out of me.
One minute, she’s giving me the I-want-you look and the next minute…. she’s giving me the I-don’t-want-you look.
She’s leading me on and off.
I stare at the mirror,I have my hair styled nicely…. she wants to cook dinner for me.
I can just decide not to go to her apartment and stay home.
I can avoid her.
I can go out with my friends and meet new women.
New…uncomplicated women….but I want to see Laurel….I want to be around her.
I might be heading towards an heartbreak.
If I have my Goddamn heart broken again…she would have to unbreak it.
I ran the doorbell and Annie opened the door for me.
“Hi,Daddy”She replied and hugged me.
I thought the pretense was over.
“Hey Aiden”I waved at him.
He frowned and walked off.
What did I do to that kid?
“Aiden doesn’t like you”Annie said as I locked the door.
“And why is that?”
“He says you’ll beat mommy too”
Shrills ran down my spine.
Beat mommy too?
Was that why Laurel is ashamed of her ex-husband?
He had been abusing her.
I felt like killing him.
He’s a fucking asshole.
I have made a lot of mistakes in my life but the one thing I’ll never do is hit a woman.
No woman deserves that shit!
“Do you think I’m mean?”I asked her.
“Nope,your eyes don’t look mean”
I squatted in front of her.
I’m starting to like her company…. she’s the only one who has a steady sweet mood.
Laurel is sometimes sweet… like that night in my apartment…it took everything in me not to grab a condom and fuck her against the wall of the bathroom.
I don’t know if she would’ve stopped me if I tried that.
“Do you have any little girls?”
I shook my head preparing myself for a round of questions.
“I’m happy I’m the only girl you have”
I frozed…this is the result of Laurel’s show.
“You all by yourself?”
Again I nodded.
“Don’t you feel alone in your apartment?”
Now that she has mentioned it, I do feel alone.
I sometimes want to wake up in the warm arms of a woman…I want to spoon her all morning.
“I’m not completely alone,Ann. I have a mother,a step father and step sister”
“Is she mean to you?”
I had to smile, remembering how me and Kayla argue all the time.
“Aiden is mean sometimes.He calls me a dummy.”Tears filled her eyes.”I’m not dumb”
I stared at her, surprised that she was crying already.More tears ran down her angelic face.
“Now, don’t go crying on me,princess”I took out an handkerchief and dried her wet cheeks.
I have never felt so awkward and clumsy in my life as I hugged her little frame and patted her back trying to soothe her.
Children are unpredictable.
I stood in the doorway and watched the touching scene between my daughter and Nate.
Annie had never known the gentleness of a man.
Her own father had never wanted her around so I had done everything to keep her out of his way.
I was surprised that she would be all over Nate like this.
Just then,he looked up at me and our eyes locked,a spark of desire shot through me and I wondered what it would be like if I was the one in his arms instead.
Just as quickly,the moment ended.”Annie, look,your mother’s here”
She suddenly brightened up.
“I was just reporting Aiden’s behaviour to Daddy”
I saw Nate tensed.
When she told me she would call Nate ‘Daddy’ everyday,I thought she would joking but it seems she means business.
I’ll have to talk her out of it.
“Dinner’s ready”I announced.
“Yes!”Annie squealed and ran off to the dinning room.
“That was the best meal I’ve had in a long time”Nate said, scooting back from the table.
“Thank you”I replied.”Would you like some coffee?”
“That would be nice”He replied, smiling at me.
Feeling a tingle,I got up from the table and took two mugs out of the cupboard.
After filling them,I walked back to the table.”Cream or sugar?”
“No…just black”He took a sip.”Good coffee”
“Thank you”I said,again,then I was distracted when Aiden dropped his fork on his plate.
“I got homework”He stood and started out of the room.
“Aiden,you didn’t ask to be excused and I think you forgot your plate”Nate scolded.
“Can I be excused?”He came back to get his plate and all but tossed it into the sink.
I didn’t want to call my son on his rude behaviour but I wasn’t going to let him get away with it either.I’d talk to him later.
“Mommy,I ate all my green beans,can I be excused?”She flashed a bright smile at Nate.”I’m going to do my homework too”
“That’s nice, princess”Nate replied.
Again,Annie smiled.If I didn’t know better,I’d say my daughter was flirting with Nate.
“Just remember that your bedtime is in one hour and you still need a bath”
“Can I have a bubble bath?”
I was too tired.”Not tonight,honey.Mommy has to do the dishes”
“Why don’t you go on with Ann.I’ll clean up”Nate suggested.
I shook my head.
“No. I can’t ask…”
“You didn’t ask,I offered.”He got up and carried his plate to the sink.
I got up too.”Ann,Go to your room,I’ll be there in a while”
Annie nodded and took off.
I wanted Nate to leave…so I can think less of him…so I can breath well again.
It’s so hard to see him and not crave for more of him.
“You don’t really have to…”
“I want to”He cut in and closed the drain in the sink and began running water,he grabbed the bottle of liquid soap and squirted a generous amount of soap in the water, creating bubbles.
“I guess Ann could have helped me and played in bubbles here”
I laughed.”The operative word is play.She would make a mess”
I tried to scoot in front of the basin so he would move but he didn’t budge at all.I wasn’t comfortable standing so close to him so I stepped back.
“You mean like this”He slashed bubbles at me.
I gasped.”Nate,Stop that!”
He cocked an eyebrow looking far too handsome and dangerous.
A warning went off.
I didn’t like the feelings he created in me.
“If you don’t want more of the same,I suggest you go and help your daughter.Don’t worry,Laurel.I can manage a few dishes but you have a lot more to handle”He stared at me for a moment,then said.”Your ex-husband,even if he gets out of prison someday,you won’t go back to him, right?”
“Of course not”
He’s going to be locked up for years but sometimes I do have nightmares about him coming back soon.
There’s no way he’ll break out of prison, right?
I felt my anger building and I took a calming breath.
Why did Nate had to remind me of him?
“I’ll go upstairs and help Ann with her bath”I turned and walked out.
Nearly running was more like it.
I never had much experience with men and definitely not men like Nate.
I have to stay away from him.
After two bedtime stories and a back rub,Annie finally went to sleep.
Aiden had slept earlier while doing his homework.
Coming down to the living room,I brushed a tear from my eye recalling those years of pain.
I knew I had done the right thing leaving Eugene.
His abuse had gotten out of control.
Although,I had protected the kids most of the time,I couldn’t stay and watch as Aiden turned into the same type of person.
All he ever saw from his father had been his cruel and abusive behaviour, especially to me.
Worse,I knew if I stayed,Eugene would someday kill me and the kids would be left alone so I had to do something,even if it meant turning my husband in to the police.
I walked into the kitchen and gasped when I saw Nate sitting on a chair seeming lost in thoughts.
“I didn’t realize you were still here”
He smiled at me.”I was having another cup of coffee”He stood and offered me a chair.”Care to join me?”
So polite….but so had Eugene been at first.
“I really should get to bed”
“I know but I only want a few minutes”
I made my way to the table and sat down.
“Is there a problem?”
“That’s what I want to know, Laurel.Did I do something to upset you?I mean,if it bothers you that I’m coming over for dinner for the rest of the week then I will stop coming”
“I had just wanted to repay….”
He shook his head,eyes piercing into mine.”It’s fine.”He took a deep breath.”I don’t want to pry but it’s obvious you’ve had some hard times with your ex-husband and you might’ve noticed that I like you but I can really stay away from you if that’s what you want”He stared at me for a while waiting for my response.
I really do like being around him.
No one’s talking about marriage.
I can just have a good time with him.
But can I be intimate with a man and not fall in love with him?
I don’t want to drag him into my mess of a life any longer.
He should really stay away from me.
Someday,he’d marry a beautiful woman who didn’t have a past with an ex-husband who was set on getting even.
When he didn’t get any reply from me,the chair scooted against the floor when he stood up.
Then he left.
I wanted to call after him…tell him my fears.
But I couldn’t.
I still had a long way to go before I trusted a man.
SINGLE MOM NEXT DOOR*