The Ballad of Jaimie and Vera Ch. 08

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On the road home, Vera was very quiet. At first, I thought she was watching the views, but as the hours rolled on, it seemed more and more like she was just looking at nothing. I was pleased with the footage we’d gotten, and I knew Vera was too. This melancholy spell was out of character for her. I tried engaging her a few times, but I didn’t push it when she gave me basically nothing in return.

We stopped at a motel for the night when we were halfway home. I thought I might try and seduce her to get her to open up, but as soon as we were in the room, she hit the bed and turned away. The next day was even quieter. I had a hard time not pushing her, but I managed. Just barely.

We got back to my apartment and unpacked the car without hardly saying a word beyond “hold the door.” Once everything was inside, Vera sat down at the kitchen table. I nervously bustled around, moving things to the areas they were going to go to, if not exactly unpacking.

“Jaimie?”

My face pinches in, having dreaded her calling me like that. The tone is… ominous. I stop what I’m doing and went to the kitchen.

“Yeah?”

“Sit down.” Her face looks like death. I sit down across from her. My mind is racing. What had I done?

“Jaimie, I…” She trails off, and I can see her eyes well up just a little. She shakes her head vigorously and continues. “Do you remember, when we were at the coffee shop, when you told me about the void?” She almost breaks down saying the word void. I nod. “You said, ‘Something had always been missing. It felt like an itch no one could scratch.’ Remember?”

“Yeah, I remember.” I’m confused, and the knot in my stomach is getting to epic proportions.

“I don’t know what to do, J. I’m trying, but…” Now she’s starting to cry.

“Is it me?” The panic is causing bile to rise up in my throat. I had just gotten her back! I couldn’t lose her now!!

“NO! Jaimie, no, I…”

“Am I not enough?” My eyes sting.

“You know that I love you! You have to know that!” She cries, pushing her open hands across the table to me. I just stare at them, unmoving. I can’t think at all.

“Jaimie, please! You have no idea how much I want to be with you and only you, but I can’t fill the hole…” She sobs hysterically at the end. While she’s breaking down completely, I begin to calm down. I’d come so close to where I wanted to be, and now I was going to be back at square one…No way.

“It’s been so hard,” she sobs, “watching you be fulfilled, and hiding that I’m not. I can’t do it anymore, J.” She breaks down again for a few seconds, and she puts her head down into her hands. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Why can’t I just be happy with what I have?” As my own panic settles down, I begin to think back. To times when we’d start to cuddle, and she’d fidget like it wasn’t right. To the times during sex when she didn’t want to look me in the eye.

“Sometimes, I think that no one could fill it.” Suddenly, I stand up. “Jaimie?!”

“I have to go.” I can’t bring myself to look at her as I turn. I can’t believe I’m gonna doing this.

“Jaimie?!?! Jaimie Stop!” I don’t. I know, way down in my heart, in my soul, that this is something I have to do. I know it right away “JAIMIE?!” She shrieks behind me. I can’t let her stop me.

If I tried, I could win her back. I could keep her in my arms. She would do it for me if I begged. If I told her how much I needed her. But I can’t let her settle like that. I start running once I get through the front door. My eyes tear up again as I get down the steps. Only 10 more feet until I’m in the car, and I can cry all I want there where she won’t see. Keep it together. It doesn’t sound like Vera’s following me, but she’s hysterical again as I slide into the drivers seat and shut the door.

I can’t believe I’m doing this.

She’s standing at the front door when I back out of the driveway. Her face is bright red and she’s screaming so hard she’s practically doubled over. I crank the radio, shift from reverse to drive, and the tires make a chirping sound.

I can’t believe I’m doing this.

My phone lights up before I’ve made it around 2 corners. I just glance at it at first. Shit, made a wrong turn. I’m way out on the edge of a shaky limb right now, but I know it’s what I have to do. I keep hearing my phone buzz as it vibrates against the leather with each new text. When I finally hear her ring tone fire off, I open the window and chuck it out.

I can’t believe I’m doing this.

I drive all night. 80 miles an hour from interstate to interstate, for 19 hours straight. I stop only long enough to piss and load up on Red Bulls. Every time I stop and think about what I’m doing, it makes me want to cry, so I try to just focus on the destination. Just worry about where I’m going. Get there first. Deal with this later. Still, I can’t tell if the bloodshot eyes in the mirror are from the lack of sleep or the tears. Probably both.

When I finally cross the Washington state line, the real dread begins to settle in. I’m behind enemy lines now. üvey kız kardeş porno I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be here. I can’t believe I’m doing this. What the fuck am I doing?

I’m not losing her. That’s what I’m doing.

The last 5% of the drive is the hardest part. She only brought me up to this area once, back in college, and I didn’t do much of the driving. Plus, it’s been almost 5 years since then. Shit’s changed. I zig zag back and forth around her hometown, sometimes thinking I’m almost there, sometimes feeling completely lost, sometimes thinking this is the worst idea I’ve ever had.

Suddenly, there it is. I park in front of Vera’s dads house and take stock. It’s 4 in the morning. I’m completely exhausted, but I’m here. I didn’t stop, and I didn’t turn around. I’m proud of myself. That’s the last thing I remember…

until there’s a knock on my window. The sun is obnoxiously bright, and recoiling from the burning in my eyes tells me I’ve slept in a horrible position and my neck is angry with me. After a few seconds, the fog clears and I roll down the window. Vera’s father is hunched over, looking very concerned.

“Jaimie?”

“Hey Mr. Stone,” I say weakly. “Surprise!” I stretch as much as I’m able to while still sitting in the drivers seat.

“Jaimie, Vera called me last night sounding awful. I’ve never heard her so…deflated.” Two sentences before he worked in a sports metaphor. Good ol Mr. Stone.

“Yeah, that’s kind of why I’m here.”

“Did you two have a fight?”

“Not exactly. Mr. Stone, I need a huge favor from you, and I need you to keep it a secret from Vera. At least for a little while” He doesn’t nod or say anything, but the slight tensing of his eyes says ‘no promises’.

He insists on me taking a shower, and he finds some of my clothes I’d accidentally left here the last time I visited. My relationship with Vera wasn’t news to him. She didn’t visit much, but Vera talked to her dad all the time. They were very close. He hesitates when I finally press him for what I came for, but not for very long. Her happiness is just as important to him as it is to me even if what I’m asking for is a little left of center.

I was wrong. The last 0.01% of the trip is the hardest part. I really have to dig down deep to find the strength to go the last 10 yards, up the concrete walkway to a pretty white and blue rancher 5 blocks away from Vera’s childhood home. I can’t believe I’m doing this.

“God damnit, Jaimie. Get up there and ring that bell,” I say. It’s been a while since I talked in the third person. The shock of it snaps me out of my stupor, and I get up there one step at a time. My finger hovers over the doorbell for few seconds. My arm doesn’t want to move, so I lean forward and my finger falls into the button. I can’t believe I’m doing this.

Ding dong!

After about a minute, I begin to feel a little crestfallen. It had taken an enormous amount of courage to come this far, and to have it fall flat feels sooo anti-climactic. With a sigh, I drop down into one of the porch chairs, and throw my head into my hands.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this!!” I shout into my palms. Suddenly, the door opens.

“I can’t believe you’re doing this either,” says the man in the door.

My fingers drag down my face as I look up, mortified. My legs feel wobbly and weak as I stand up. “How long have you been watching?”

“Since you pulled up.”

I take a few steadying breaths. “Ok. Hi… Um… You don’t know me, but,”

“You’re Jaimie Bradley.” I’m a little shocked at being cut off, and extra shocked that he knows who I am.

“Y-y-yeah. And you’re Roy Detweiler, right? I didn’t just drive 19 hours and make a complete ass out of myself at the wrong door, did I?”

“I don’t know about the second part yet, but yeah, I’m Roy. What do you want?”

“Roy, can I come inside?” He stands there in the doorway glaring down at me. He’s holding both the doorframe and the door, blocking me off with his body language, and his eyes are on fire.

“Why would I do that?”

“Because…” God, give me strength. “I need your help.” He stares at me for a long, long minute before turning around and walking back into his kitchen. He leaves the door open behind him though. With a deep breath, I follow him inside.

“You’ve got some balls, you know that?”

“So you know who I am, huh?”

“Yeah. I’ve checked her facebook a few times over the years. You’re the other woman,” he says, chuckling morbidly. I sit down at the table and nod.

“Vera and I sorta dated in college, and we’ve been sorta seeing each other again this past 6 months.”

“I know all of this.” He’s annoyed. No, he’s furious.

“Roy, can I ask you a question?”

“You can try,” He says. He’s not sitting down. He’s five feet past the table, leaning back against the counter with his arms crossed tightly over his chest. Closed off.

“Do you still love her?” That takes some of the starch xnxx porno out of his shirt, for a moment anyway. He doesn’t say anything, but the way his teeth clench says I’ve hit a nerve. “I’m sorry. I’m not here to rub it in. I’m doing this badly. I drove nonstop to get here, and I’m exhausted, and I’m tired, and I just want to crawl in a hole.” My head feels really heavy. It falls into my palm. I try to pinch the bridge of my nose to snap out of it, but it isn’t working. I hear a clinking sound, and then a faucet turning on and off. Roy sets a glass of water down in front of me and returns to the counter. Arms still folded, but the posture is different.

“Thanks,” I half-cry, taking a sip. The water feels like nirvana. Thinking back, I haven’t had anything to drink besides Red Bull for almost a full day. No wonder I’m so loopy. I take another longer sip and set the glass down.

“Vera always said you were really kind. She wasn’t wrong.”

“Why are you here?” He says, enunciating clearly.

“She left me yesterday.”

“So you decided to drive halfway across the US and throw a pity party with me?” He’s understandably incredulous. I shake my head, but he scoffs anyway. “Did she tell you I proposed to her?”

“No. She did not.”

“Yup. Told me No. Flat out. Said she couldn’t do that to me.”

“Thats what she told me too. Said I wasn’t enough. No, that’s not right. Said that she wasn’t fulfilled…”

“Well why haven’t we gotten matching BFF tattoos yet?!”

“Roy, please…”

“No, you don’t get to come here to my house and complain that Vera Fucking Stone gave you the ‘It’s not you it’s me’ speech!”

“Roy,” My head falls back down into my hands. I’m doing this all wrong. I can’t keep beating around the bush. I have to just say it.

“I will not be a charter member of the “We got dumped by Vera Stone” club! She ruined me, you know!?!”

“Roy, I want to share her.” There. Muffled, but out in the world. Roy stops talking. “God help me.”

It feels like hours go by before Roy walks across the kitchen and sits down across from me. My eyes teared up again. I try to hide it behind my hands, but I’m sure he can tell. You breathe differently when you’re crying. It’s one thing to know you don’t fulfill your partner. It’s another to admit it out loud. A box of Kleenex slides across the table.

“Tell me what happened.”

I start by telling him about our college arrangement. In the long drive, it had made so much sense. She’d needed to not be tied to a relationship because her heart couldn’t take it, that much was true, but it was also true that she’d needed something more. The reason we’d lasted for three years was because she could get what she could from me, and then get whatever else she needed from whoever else she was dating at the time.

I told him about how she kept everything behind that cool mask, and he nodded understandingly. She’d perfected that while she was with him, during her junior and senior years of high school.

I told him about our messy breakup, and how I’d spent a lot of the three years apart wishing I could do it over again. Wishing I could get her back. Vera was something very, very special. Again, Roy nodded. He understood. When she’d returned to Washington for her final semester, she sought him out. He took her back, and he tried to fix all the things he thought he’d done wrong. It wasn’t enough to keep her in Washington.

I told him how she fulfilled me. How she challenged me. How she pushed me. I told him I’d gone to great lengths this time around to try and do the same for her. I told him about all the tiny things I’d recognized on the long drive. All the little signals that I’d ignored, or tried to forget about. I told him that I’d done everything I could to make her happy.

It wasn’t enough.

Roy didn’t talk much during my exposition. I already knew a lot about their relationship. It wasn’t a favored topic of conversation with Vera, but we were close and she didn’t hide much from me. After I finish, Roy is silent for a while.

“Does she know you’re here?” He says, eventually.

“Vera would kill me if she knew I was doing this,” I say, laughing darkly. “No, that’s not right. She would kick my ass and leave me. She’d say this was pathetic.”

“The old her would say that. I’m not so sure about now.”

“No, but she’ll be mad.”

Roy gets up, walks over to his freezer, and pulls out a giant bottle of vodka. On his way back to his chair, he snags two shot glasses from the top of his microwave.

“Roy, it’s 10 in the morning…” Undaunted, Roy sits back down, pours two shots, and slides one across to me.

“Nostrovia.” He’s faster than me. His finishes his shot and slams it back down on the table just as the vodka hits my tongue. The burn is awful, but I push the glass halfway across the table for a refill. This time, we clink the shots before finishing them together.

“You know,” Roy says, pouring out a third round of shots, “sometimes, I think to myself, She is not worth carrying zenci porno this torch. It gets heavy, and it burns my hand.”

“Nostrovia.” Clink.

“Ack. It never lasts. I’ve dated a lot of girls, and it’s not the same. She’s like one of those….ugh, what are they called? Manic Pixie Dream Girls?”

“Ugh. She’s definitely all of those words…” Pour. Pour.

“It’s like she just walks into the room and turns everything purple.”

“Get out of my head, man. I can’t believe you just said that. Nostrovia.” This time, I keep my hand on the glass when I put it down. “I should have eaten something first.”

“Why? That would just make this harder.”

“Point.”

“What are we even talking about? I mean really? Share her? Like shared custody? I get her on weekends and holidays?”

“No, no no no no no no no.” Lengthy pause. It occurs to me that the vodka is working. “No, I mean…Polyglot.” Blink. “Polygon.” Try again. “Poly…poly…amorous.” Pause. Is that right? “Polyamorous. She left both of us because… she cares about us enough not to cheat on us, even though we’re not enough on our own. To her, a relationship is two people, and she doesn’t know how to make that work.”

“Are you two gonna move up here or something?”

“Don’t focus on that part. The problem will solve itself, I think.”

“So you want to be in a three way relationship with me and her?”

“Roy, I only just met you. You seem like a nice guy and all, but I don’t know. I just know that I need her, and she needs more than me. Maybe you need her too.” My head is starting to feel heavy again.

Pour. Pour. Clink. Slam.

“Well what would that make us?”

“I don’t know. I think that would… depend on how well we get along.”

“She won’t go for this.” Pour. Pour.

“She will if you and I are together on it. Roy, you know how… guarded she is. Trying to get her to talk about you was twice as hard as anything else. She still loves you.” Clink. Slam.

“That took balls to say out loud.”

“Ugh, you have no idea.” I groaned.

“So this is partly the vodka, but mostly truth here. I,” he says, pointing at himself and speaking in a slightly grandiose fashion. It’s only slightly diminished by impaired speech. “I have a type. My type is thin, athletic, with short dark hair. It’s what I like, but you… You are very pretty.”

“You’re not so bad yourself, Tall dark and handsome.” I say, with one eyebrow raised and in my best Groucho Marx voice

“No no. That came out wrong. What I meant to say is…What do you get out of this?”

“I think you’ve had too much…”

“Damnit…Words…I mean, like, are you just a lesbian, or are you bi like Vera?”

“Oooooooh.” I stare up at the ceiling for a second. “Yes. I mean no. Wait. Yes, I’m bi. No, I’m not bi like Vera. It’s not like you’re either into dudes, or into chicks, or both, all black and white and checkered. There’s gray.”

“Huh?”

“Vera…she’s….uh…what’s the word? Pansexual?”

“You mean she’d have sex with dogs and stuff?”

“NO! No, uh…I just mean, she’s pretty much down the middle,” I say, making a slicing motion with my hand. “She likes both. Equally.” I put my both hands out, palms up, held at even levels.

“Oooooh, and you…”

“Lean a little.” I lower my left hand and raise the right. “I have no problem with dudes, but it’s not the same.”

Bright. Very bright. I throw my arm up over my eyes, tossing back a thick white blanket. I try to crack my eyes as little as possible, and I see that I’m surrounded by white. White pillows, white sheets, white blankets, white walls, white curtains. Where the fuck…

Some of last night starts to come back to me. I bolt upright. The headache and dizziness are worth it for the piece of mind I get when I see that I’m still wearing what I wore yesterday. Nothing happened. Ok.

It takes me a few minutes to get up on my feet. I feel like I’m making a lot of noise as I make my way out into the hall. Left is…the bathroom. That makes right… yes. Ok. I take off my heeled boots, toss them down on the carpet, and do my best to walk silently through the house. Roy is passed out on the couch, legs sticking out from under the blanket and over the armrest. I continue on to the kitchen. I have to root around for a minute before I find his coffee.

I slump down in a chair and wait. Roy continues sawing away unabated. Once the pot starts trickling, I lumber over to his cabinets. Third door’s the charm. I pull out a couple mugs and fill them without waiting for the coffee maker to be done. Several drops sizzle angrily on the heating plate, but I can’t wait any longer. I take a few sips from my cup for a jump start, walk into his living room, and sit down on the coffee table.

“Roy.”

He grunts.

“Roy, wake up.”

He peeks one eye open tentatively. His brow furrows while he takes in that he’s on his couch, in his living room, and that I’m sitting there.

“I made you coffee. Black.” I hand it to him, and he rotates around to sit up. Then I get up and start lowering blinds and closing curtains. Roy takes a sip, followed by panicked sucking and blowing to cool his burned tongue. Then he does it again. Once I get the room down to a more comfortable level of darkness, I sit back down on the coffee table and take another few sips.