Toxic – Part 5

Josh hadn’t spoken to me for the rest of the time we were at the house. Avoiding my touch, my gaze and any interaction with me. It hurt, but I was aware of what I had done the night before and forced any type of pity deep within myself. We drove to his parent house in silence, not even the radio could drown out the awkward tension between us. I could tell Josh didn’t believe everything I had said to him back at the house, but the mere thought that his wife could have slept with her best friend or his brother was probably too much to bare, so silence was his only option.

He’d wore a nice grey snug knitted jumper, with dark black jeans and dessert boots. I’d worn a presentable dress, that came down to my calves and plain black ballerinas. My intention was not to stand out this evening, my plan was to be as invisible as possible. Say my ‘hi’s’ and remain quiet, I had already made a fool of myself today, there was no need for me to do anymore.
Josh had parked outside of his parents home and took a deep breath. He looked at me as if wanting to say something but thought better of it. He turned his gaze away from me and proceeded to get out of the car, without saying a word to me. Tears welled up in my eyes, but knowing I didn’t have the right or time to be emotional, I wiped the strayed tears that had fallen out of my eyes and composed myself.

I stepped out of the car and waited for Josh to lock it before following his lead. Before we’d gotten to the door, Josh had grabbed my hand with such force that it hurt. There was no affection in the way he took my hand, if anything the force of his hand crushed into my wedding ring finger, which pressed into my other fingers, squeezing them tightly till they rubbed on each other, rubbing onto the bone. With a little wince, he knocked on the door and before a second went by, the door swung open and there stood his sister, Anabelle.

“Joshie!”
Josh threw my hand backwards as he embraced his younger sister. Ana was only 23 and was one of my bridesmaid at our wedding. She always seemed to make me laugh and understand me in a way that always shrouded her true age – almost making her a chameleon to anyone she came into contact with.
“Anabelle, how you been?”
He swung her around lovingly.
“Great! Hi Sash!”
She jumped off of her older brother and gave me a tight squeeze. She stepped back and allowed us to enter. The house was modern. Wooden floor boards surrounded by cream walls with family photos hung chronologically on the wall gave the house the ambience of love and warmth. It was what defined it from a standard house to a loving home. We entered the living room, and out bursted a room full of people. Young and old, everyone sat mingling with each other.

“Josh how have you been?”
His mother kissed his cheek twice affectionately whilst his father made his way to me, giving me a bear hug.
“Good to see the lovely Mrs Fletcher again.”
With a tight lipped smile, I hug his mother who welcomes me just as warm as her husband. For a long time after our little greeting with Josh’s parents, I simply follow Josh. I watch him greet his family that he hasn’t seen in a long time and others he barely recognises. Soon it’s dinner and we’re all packed around his dining table that has been extended, so that everyone is able to have a seat. I sit between Josh and Anabelle, and find myself staring at the empty plate on the table in front of me because it seems Josh has, when possible, ignored me and placed all his attention on his family at each opportunity given to him. The door bell rings and Anabelle rushes to open the door. Moments later, we’re all welcomed by the sight of Mike, who has managed to find my gaze before anyone else’s.

Stood confidently at the doorway of the kitchen, wearing a plain white shirt, tight enough to show off his physique with smart black trousers, sends images of my hands trailing over his chest the night before. I looked back at the empty plate before me whilst Mike walked round greeting everyone. I tried to ignore the tingle I felt deep within myself, but the closer Mike was getting to me, the more I felt my heart race and my legs tightened shut together. I felt Josh’s chair scrape out as he rose to hug his brother. They both gave each other a firm pat on the back, which didn’t last enough for me to compose myself. So I decided staying seated was my best option. Mike bent down to hug me, wrapping his strong arm around my neck as our cheeks touched each other briefly – but enough to spark a flame within me. I made sure my face didn’t replicate the feelings I felt within me. The tension that was becoming almost too much for me to bare, the way in which my insides had tightened to a tight ball waiting for Mike’s touch to unravel it. I took a deep breath as his arm unwrapped from my neck and he moved to the next family relative.

“Oh Mike why don’t you sit next to mum!”
Anabelle offered as there was no other available seat apart from the one opposite my seat. Mike was going to decline, but when he realised he had no option, he gave Anabelle a small smile and pulled the seat beside his mother out and took his position. I looked back at the only place I seemed to have found solace today, wishing I was anywhere but here when Josh randomly reached for my hand and this time, with more care, started to caress my skin gently, ever so slightly rolling his finger across my wedding ring as he watched Mike greet his father.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

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Toxic – Part 4

“What’s wrong baby, did someone hurt you?”
Why did men think all signs of emotion from women meant we were hurt? It was me who had caused pain. If only Josh knew, I’m sure his anger would dissipate. I shake my head, throwing tears left and right.
“Then why are you crying?”

I took a deep breath, in attempt to inhale the overflowing emotions that threatened to show itself.
“I just…I’m sorry.” Sorry for going out yesterday, sorry for making him scared and definitely sorry for being intimate with his brother – all the things I wanted to say but kept it trapped within the deepest depths within myself.
“Sasha…what happened last night? Where were you?”
God, here it comes. The fabricated truth, the story smeared with hazy lies. I fear to look him in the eyes, so I keep my gaze to our feet and take a deep breath in.

“I drank too much,” Lie. “Then I saw Mike,” Truth. “I’m not sure how, but he was worried…I think.” More lies. “So he took me home and then I woke up this morning embarrassed and left to go home.” It was more or less what had happened. The bare outlines of yesterdays events. I look at Josh through my wet eyelashes and see the concern in his facial expression.
“Why didn’t you go home with Clarissa?” It was then I remembered Clarissa had lied I was with her. I needed to explain why Clarissa would have lied without mentioning that I was aware I knew she tried to make an excuse for me.
“I think I wondered away from the group a little…”
“WHAT THE FUCK WAS YOU THINKING?!”
His outburst made me jump. I didn’t expect this from Josh. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that I had said that had caused his reaction.
“Sasha you’re acting stupid! I knew Clarissa was bad influence – what if Mike wasn’t there to help you?”
My lip trembled as I couldn’t quite fathom a response. I had been more than stupid – in fact I had been out right brain dead. But I was prepared to take stupid over him knowing the truth.
“Never, you’re never going out with her again!” Something bubbled in me, who was Josh to tell me who I could and couldn’t see.
“She’s my best friend!” I said through tears, from both sadness and a slight hint of anger.
“I don’t care Sasha! What if something happened to you?”
“Nothing –”
“Wait,” He interrupted me, looking at me like something didn’t add up. “When did you drink that you’re that out of your mind that you can’t even get yourself home?”

I shrugged, not having the brain power to think of a response. I wiped my tears with the back of my hand and internally told myself to control my emotions. Stop the tears that continued to be rebellious and show itself even though I fought so hard to keep them at bay. Stop trying to defend Clarissa, there was a time and place that I would be able to bring justice to Clarissa’s name and today was not the day. For now, I just needed to accept that I was wrong and then clear the grey areas at a later stage.

“Something’s not right Sasha, why didn’t Mike let me know you were with him?” Because we were fucking on the floor and then on his couch and then literally on every appliance until we reached his bedroom. My insides flare up with small voices reminding me how good it was with Mike. How he made me scream, how I grabbed him with passion leaving scratch marks on his body as he plunged deeper and deeper. God, the thoughts were so real, I could feel myself tensing up. My core tightening and slowly getting moist as I thought about our passion.
“I was scared you’d be upset, I was a mess.”
My voice came out huskier than necessary – thicker almost with Mike still on my tongue. Just as Josh was about to say more, his phone rang, pausing him in his tracks. He gave me another glare and reached for his phone.
“Mike…” My eyes dropped to the ground, what if our lies hadn’t matched? We didn’t thoroughly think this through. I looked back at Josh who had me under strict scrutiny whilst speaking to Mike. “Yeah she’s home safe…thanks for your help Mike…fuck I forgot about that. We’ll see you at mums.”

The phone was off. He gave me one last look and then left. But before he was out of ear reach he shouted, “It’s my grandfathers anniversary, we’re going to my parents. Get cleaned up.”
I rushed to the shower and took a long bath. I thought things were already difficult, but now we had to play happy family in front of his actual family was really not ideal or even part of the plan. This was going to be one extended day.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun