Ben’s gift of flowers makes Saige cry. She wonders again if breaking up with him is a mistake. Should she get back together with him? Or should she take up one of the many other offers she’s had in the last couple of days?
“Honey, is it really worth all this? Would it be better to move on?”
“I don’t know, Mom. He’s got so much stress, so many issues. It isn’t just about the job. It’s more and he won’t tell me. It’s been months since we made love, unless he was apologizing for something. That’s the only time, after we argue. It’s like he’s not interested in me anymore.”
“I’m sure that’s not the case.”
“I’ve got men dropping like flies around me at work and the one man who’s supposed to love me and lust after me can’t get it up unless he’s yelled at me first. Does that sound normal?”
“No, honey. It doesn’t. Do you think he’d talk to Father Flaherty?”
“What does a priest know about sexual problems?”
“I’m thinking that the sexual aspect stems from something else. You’ve been the main bread winner for nearly two years.”
“But he was fine with it before. I think he’s jealous of Brodie.”
“Does he have reason to be?”
“God, no, Mom! Well, he didn’t until all this happened. Now I don’t know. If I thought Ben and I would never get back together, I’d take on Brodie in a heartbeat. He’s incredible.”
“Brodie has that thing about not dating co-workers.”
“If it meant keeping him, I’d quit my job. On his recommendation, I could get a new job anywhere in the city.”
“Would you quit the job for Ben?”
Saige sighed heavily, holding her head that had suddenly started spinning. “I don’t know if I could.”
“You’d give it up for Brodie and not Ben? Why?”
“Because I have a sure thing with Brodie. Who knows with Ben? He could tell me he wants me to quit and then not take me back. How does that make sense?”
Blair threw up her hands helplessly. “I’m asking, that’s all. If you love him as much as you say, giving up your job is a little thing. If he feels insecure having you work for someone
as great as Brodie, the small assurance that you’d give up a lucrative job to be with him would go a long way.”
“And what do I get in return? I give up a good job for a terrific boss and then what? I go live in a hovel with Ben? I can’t do that, Mom.”
“You’re the stubbornest girl in the world, Saige Ingalls.”
“Yeah? No shit. Guess who I got it from.” She stormed out of the house and drove into town. She didn’t have a clear goal in mind, but found herself heading to Brodie’s apartment.
“I can’t do this,” she thought, gripping the steering wheel until her fingers ached. “I have to do something else, call someone else.”
She pulled over a few blocks from Brodie’s and thought about calling Stan. That was just as destructive a thought. It would give a sweet, caring man false hopes. She wasn’t going to do that to another guy she worked with, liked and respected.
“I need an asshole, besides Ben. I need someone I can go to bed with who won’t care if I love him or not.”
Did she know anyone like that? She couldn’t think of a single man she could use that way and not feel horrible about it later. She sat there a long time trying to make up her mind. A gentle tap on her window startled her so much, she screamed. When she looked up and saw a familiar face, she relaxed, but her heart pounded.
“Romy! You scared me to death!”
“Not quite.” He chuckled as he folded his lanky body into her tiny car. “You’re still breathing, eh? What are you doing in these parts?”
“I might ask you the same thing.”
“I’m doing a bit of business.” He looked secretive. “Got a meeting in about half an hour. I like being early, me.”
“What exactly do you do for a living?”
“I can’t tell you that, love, or I’d have to kill ya.”
She started to laugh, but his somber expression made her stop. “You are kidding, right?”
“Not really, love.” His straight face cracked into a smile. “Yeah, I’m having you on. I still can’t tell you everything.” His accent got less and he sounded more like he was a native of the city rather than a Manchester immigrant. “I’m not supposed to talk about what I do. I work undercover a lot.” He smiled and lit a cigarette. “Oops, sorry. I forgot you hate that.” He tossed the cigarette in the gutter.
“You a cop?”
He nodded, smiling. “Something like that. Seriously, you need to move on, love. There’s a deal about to go down. This is not a nice neighborhood and you need to be elsewhere. Give us a kiss then, make it look like you’re my bird and no one will get suspicious.” His accent came back stronger than ever.
“Romy, are you playing with me?”
“The only place I’d do that is between the sheets, love.” His eyes dark brown eyes grew serious. “I’m not playing.” He leaned over, his long, lean body looming over her. “Give me a kiss. Say, tata and leave fast. My contact is due in few minutes and the bastard is usually early.”
Saige kissed him, placing her hand on his cheek. He might have taken slight advantage, fingers brushing her breast, lips parting, tongue probing, but she enjoyed it. He was nearly as good a kisser as Brodie, though his was tinged with urgency, not lust.
“I’ll call you later, baby.” He said loudly as he got out of the car.
“I can’t wait, honey! I love you!” She improvised just as loudly.
© 2012 Dellani Oakes