I didn’t expect to hear from Tyler but that didn’t stop me feeling disappointed and even a little abandoned each time I checked my email and found nothing. I guessed he had seen the truth in my words, realised I wasn’t worth his time, had nothing of value to offer. I considered asking if I could go along to the soccer match but to what end? To prove what?
As they left, the man I married said, “I’ll say hi to your friend if I see him.”
My boys smiled and waved, not hearing the poison in their father’s comment.
They would be gone for hours, the game alone took a couple of hours. After that they would go out for something to eat or to visit their grandparents. The routine I was never part of, their bonding boy time. When it started I had appreciated the quiet time, it hadn’t occurred to me I was being excluded. I hadn’t known it would become a routine set in stone. Then had come the cold shoulder from the other parents, the looks while I sat alone at training. Was it something that had been said by my husband or just the fact that I never went to a game. I never had the courage to ask, I just endured the judgement and pretended I didn’t care.
The day loomed before me. I had no friends to visit and even if I did, no way to get there. One car had always been sufficient since he worked from home as a freelance graphic artist, and we did everything else as a family. I could watch a movie or read a book. Pamper myself with a bubble bath. Check my email? No! I should go for a walk, away from the temptation of the computer.
I left a note on the whiteboard on the fridge, tucked my cell into a pocket, grabbed my keys and opened the door. Was I hallucinating? I closed me eyes, counted to five. He was still there, leather jacket, dark glasses, grim expression.
“You never emailed me,” I blurted as we stared at each other through the security screen.
“I thought it would be better to talk in person.” His shoulders moved in a shrug.
As I waited for him to say something more, a fissure of unease moved through me. Was this a trap? Had the man I married somehow organised this whole … thing? To prove what an unfit parent I was? Yeah, that was the level of my paranoia and doubt. Really, why would this man be interested in me otherwise? I had seen for myself at soccer training the way women reacted to him.
Nervously I asked, “How did you find me?”
“Soccer contact list,” he said with a small smile. “It wasn’t hard to figure out who you were.” Right. Because I was probably the only parent who didn’t turn up. “I have to admit I didn’t really notice your family all those times but they were vaguely familiar. Now I know why.”
“Oh.” Good work Lillian, way to sound intelligent! But my mind was racing, filled with doubt and despair. “So you’re missing the game.” Stating the obvious, not much improvement there!
“Yeah.” He nodded. “Can we talk? Were you heading out?” He reached up and pulled his sunglasses off, his eyes intent on me.
Honest, pure … worried? Staring into those green eyes that had captured me from the start, thoughts of a trap melted away. I didn’t really understand why he was here, but I wanted to know.
“I was just going for a walk.” But now … I licked my lips nervously. “Did you want to come in?”
“Are you going to be comfortable with me in his house?” Tyler said bluntly and I guess the look on my face answered for me as he sighed. “I’m pushing all of my boundaries being here Lily, give me something, please.” His voice was gruff.
“Tyler I don’t know … ” I unlatched the security door and he stepped back so I could open it. “I don’t know what to do.” I admitted.
“Talk to me, that’s all I’m asking for.” He held his hand out to me in invitation.
I grabbed his hand like it was a lifeline and he pulled me out of the house. I made sure to lock up behind me then I actually followed Tyler to a motorbike, let him put a helmet on me and climbed behind him.
“Hold on.” He grabbed my hands and pulled them around his waist so I held on. He was warm, even through his leather jacket, his back firm against my front, and between my thighs? Hard, firm, throbbing.
My first ride was over far too soon as about ten minutes later he pulled into the driveway of a sprawling house. The garage door opened and he drove in, the door closing as he turned off the beast and silence settled upon us. I waited as he swung his leg over the front then helped me stand and remove the helmet.
“Okay?” He asked quietly and I nodded but grabbed his hand again. “Come on,” he said gruffly and I followed where he led. Through a doorway and into a sleek looking kitchen.
I looked around, taking in the timber floors, the white cupboards, granite benchtop. “Is this your home?”
“It is.” His hand squeezed mine for a second then he let go. “Can I get you anything?”
Just you I wanted to say but I shook my head and said, “No thank you.”
“Can we talk then?”
Again I followed, this time into a room with a comfy looking couch and big screen TV. I sat on the couch while Tyler sat opposite on a sturdy looking coffee table, his knees bracketed mine.
“I’m sorry,” I blurted as I stared down at his boots.
“For what part?” His voice was lazy, curious.
My eyes jerked up in surprise. “For, all of it?” I sounded confused because he was smiling at me.
“Maybe I should go first,” he suggested and I nodded eagerly. “I don’t usually … ” He paused and frowned. “Marriage is deal breaker for me.”
I nodded when he paused again.
“I don’t know why … what … ” He broke off again. “Your marriage is really over, that’s not just … a line?”
“God no,” I said with probably a little bit too much feeling.
“Then?” Tyler spread his hands wide. “Was I reading things wrong? The first time I saw you, after I stopped drooling,” he said with a smirk. “I saw your family but I also saw how sad you looked.”
He noticed that, no one else had? I nodded in agreement.
“So I thought that was it. I have a … thing. About rescuing people and I told myself that was it, that was why I couldn’t stop thinking about you. So I came back the next week and you didn’t look so sad. But there was a different tension?”
“We’d had another talk about the divorce. He is … he’s waiting for me to change my mind. To come to my senses as he put it.” Once I started, it all just wanted to come out. “Then recently he pointed out that I had nothing. No job, no money, no way to support myself, no hope of getting custody of my boys.” I stopped, waited for Tyler to nod and agree.
“What an asshole,” he muttered, reaching out to grab my hands that I hadn’t realised I had clenched together so tightly.
“He’s right though, I have nothing, no job prospects. I’m worthless,” I finished on a whisper.
“Lily that’s bullshit,” he disagreed.
I shook my head. I don’t know why I was so determined to make him see the truth. “I haven’t worked in over a decade. I’ve just been at home with the kids. Paul handles all the finances, everything.”
There, that would do it. He’d see that he was wasting his time with me.
“lily stop, you are not worthless,” he snapped, his hands tightening on mine. “I can’t even …” he shook his head. “I can’t deal with that right now, with his words spewing from your mouth.”
Quietly I said, “I’m sorry.” I seemed to be saying that to him a lot.
He sighed deeply then said, “You never let me finish before. As I was saying, the second time I saw you, things had changed. You weren’t sad, you were maybe angry?” I nodded and he gave a nod of satisfaction. “So I had to face my truth. You didn’t need saving. I couldn’t stop thinking about you because I wanted you.”
I couldn’t look away from his eyes, so intense, so honest. There was no derision, no deception, nothing that I was accustomed to. He looked down at our clasped hands and his thumb rubbed my wedding band.
“But this … I tried to stay away,” he said roughly.
Three weeks, I had noticed. The week after that when he showed up again I made my decision to try to talk to him. The week after that was the week I had followed him into that closet. We hadn’t talked but we had communicated.
“I’m glad you didn’t,” I whispered.
“I couldn’t. I want to know you Lily, everything about you.” His eyes dropped as he lifted my hands to his mouth, pressed his lips to them and I shuddered. “And the things I want to do to you baby.”
“Tyler.” I waited for him to meet my eyes. “I don’t want to talk any more.”
(to be continued …)