Sunday, September 23, 2007

Chapter 8: A Double Decaf and a Skin Graft

RedFoxx85: is he back from vacation yet

SugarKookie: no monday hes been gone 2 wks :(

RedFoxx85: is he takin you out when he gets back

SugarKookie: o yeah he and i have unfinished bizness ;-)

RedFoxx85: ??

SugarKookie: told him he had to wait until he got back

RedFoxx85: wait for what??

SugarKookie: O:-)

RedFoxx85: ooo, gonna give him a coming home present eh?

RedFoxx85: ur holding out a long time arent you

SugarKookie: he wanted to do it b4 he left

SugarKookie: says i am driving him crazy ;-)

RedFoxx85: isnt that the point

SugarKookie: exactly :-)

I have been sitting at my desk for two hours, watching the time change in the corner of my computer screen. I can't think about anything else besides Emily, but I'm not going to let myself cry.

Apparently, no amount of optimism, love, or dedication will stop Emily from doing what she wants to do. She is hellbent on destroying our love, on humiliating me in the worst way possible. When she finally goes through with it, it will be an agony that haunts me for the rest of my life, and she laughs with her girlfriend about it like a giddy teenager, complete with emoticons.

It's almost like there are two Emilys: The one who spent a romantic night with me two days ago, and the cock-hungry monster who hedonistically seduces men, treating her long-term boyfriend as a punchline. Sometimes I think about dumping her, but breaking up with the evil Emily would also mean losing the good one, and I can't bear the thought of that.

I wasn't a punchline the other night, when I choked her, was I? It strikes me how nonchalant she was about it afterwards; I kept apologizing, and she kept telling me not to worry about it.

It's strange. Sometimes, when walking behind her, I'll accidentally step on her shoe, and she'll scream at me. This was a hell of a lot worse, and... nothing. Makes you think, doesn't it?

My friend Stainer used to tell me that girls loved being treated like shit. I secretly laughed at him, because he didn't get it. No one liked being treated badly! Holding a door for a lady, saying "please" and "thank you"--these were things that made people feel good. Where could he have gotten such an idea?

But Stainer was with a different girl every time I saw him. A different hot girl. He'd get laid, and the next morning I'd see him on his way to the laundry room, his cum-stained bedsheets wadded into a giant ball. Hence his nickname.

On the one hand, his strategy should have failed miserably. But on the other, women were drawn to him. I never could reconcile the two. I wish I could ask him about it now--


Stainer graduated two years ago and took a job as an EMT in Norwood, a sleepy, cul-de-sac filled town about five miles from here. I'll look him up!

* * *

"Your girlfriend is doing what?" Stainer asks, his face twisted as if smelling a dirty diaper.

I watch as he stirs three sugars into his coffee, then let my eyes wander to the long line of patrons waiting for lattes. I take a deep breath and tell him the whole story. I know he's going to rip into me for being such a loser, but it was a relief to tell someone how I was feeling.

He runs a finger across the rim of his cup as I talk. "You're spying on her with your computer?" he asks, finally.

"She's cheating, bro. Which one's worse?"

"If the bitch is cheating, dump her."

"She's not a bitch, Stainer!" I shout, and the elderly couple at the next table turns to look at me.

"Yeah, she is," he smiles, showing off his angular jaw and sparkling teeth. The girls at school always used to swoon over him.

"I'm not dumping her, dude," I say.

"Why'd you call me, then?" he asks, then searches my face for an answer.

He looks older than I remember him. The waistline of his blue Chinos has creased beneath his sagging belly, and I don't recall quite so many wrinkles across his forehead. But as he fixes his brown Latino eyes on me, his face commands attention and respect. I wonder what it's like to have that kind of control over people.

"I want to... make her sweat me. Isn't that what you do? Treat 'em like crap and make them chase after you?"

"Yeah, but..."

I look at him.

"I don't really do that anymore, Eric," he laughs. "I have a girlfriend now, and--"

"I'm not asking you to do it. I'm asking you to teach me."

"It's not like a home improvement project, Eric. I can't just teach you."

"Try. Please?"

He watches the steam rise off his coffee, then takes a noisy sip. "If you love her so much, then why do you want to treat her like shit?"

I knew this was coming, and I have an answer ready. "If it's between losing her and this, then I'll--"

"You don't want to be alone," he interrupts, smiling and nodding.

Maybe I don't. But what's so bad about wanting to be in a relationship with someone special? Who doesn't want that? Go to any bookstore, and the shelves will be lined with books about romance. How to find a relationship. How to improve a relationship. How to get more sex. How to get better sex. But how many books are there about friendship, or about being alone? Almost none, because those subjects are far less important to people. And what's so horrible about wanting to fix my relationship, about standing by the one I love?

"Do you like being alone?" I ask, careful to maintain eye contact.

"No, I don't. But you'd rather be miserable than alone."

I dislike Stainer's arrogance. He thinks he can figure me out over a cup of coffee, solve me as if I were a grade school crossword puzzle. He isn't even listening to me; he's just spitting out opinions, not considering for a single second that he might be wrong.

He annoyed me when we were in school. I remember now. I am a year older than him, and yet he talked down to me, the way you would to a nephew or grandson. Come to think of it, a lot of people speak to me that way. I'm tired of it.

The anger comes back. I can feel it as it descends on me, filling my body like an evil spirit.

I wonder what would happen if I snatched that bucket-sized cup out of his hand and tossed scalding coffee into his face. Would his skin blister and melt, like cheese on a grilled burger?

Unlike Doug, Stainer is here, right in front of me. I could actually do it this time. He probably doesn't think I'm capable. He isn't afraid of me. Well, maybe it's time for him to be.

Why couldn't I do it? Why couldn't I throw that coffee in his face, right this second? Yes, there would be consequences. But I guarantee you he'd respect me from now on.

"Eric? Eric!"


"You're not pissed at me, are you? You look pretty mad."

Then it hits me. Yes, Stainer is an arrogant son of a bitch. Yes, he annoys me. But evidently, he has something I lack. So does Doug.

I said before that I wanted to learn from Doug, to capture whatever it is that he's using to lure Emily away from me. But I've never met Doug, and probably never will, so Stainer is the next best thing. He's got something I need, so I will try to tolerate him.

I wonder how long I'll be able to.

Next... Chapter 9: Neither Hair nor There

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chapter 7: "It'll Be Over Soon"


"Happy anniversary, sweetie!" Emily says, bursting through my front door with a heavy-duty paper bag in hand.

Emily and I don't mark anniversaries like most couples do. We celebrate ours on October 12, the first day I helped her study. Every year on that date, we order Chinese food, just like we did that night. Of course, we didn't start dating until long after our study session, but we agree that our relationship never would have happened without it.

I love when Emily visits me. Lately, it's the only time I can relax. I don't have to worry about where she's going, or what she's talking to Renee about, because she's right here with me. And, best of all, it's a chance to show her a good time, to prove that she doesn't need anyone but me.

I'm horrible with chopsticks. I drop the same piece of General Gao's chicken three times, then look up to see her standing over me. "You just want me to feed you, don't you?" she smiles.

"You're on to me," I flirt back.

"Can we watch this?" she asks, pulling a video from my shelf, and I agree before I even see what she's picked. I don't care if it's the most boring piece of Hollywood crap ever committed to film; as long as Emily curls up underneath my arm to watch it, I don't care. And sure enough, as soon as I hit "Play", that's exactly what she does.

The plot slowly unfurls. A 1950s detective is hired by a shady character to find a missing man. He questions a series of people, most of whom wind up laying lifeless in a puddle of their own blood soon after meeting him.

According to the digital readout, 63:42 has elapsed. I am interested in the movie, but far more concerned with the suddenly very clingy woman attached to my side.

86:27. The detective and a young woman dance, then kiss, then fall into bed, naked--and something goes horribly wrong. Their sex turns from passionate to intense to violent. She screams. There is blood--

Emily gets up to use the bathroom. When she comes back, she remains standing.

She's going to leave for home. Why else wouldn't she be sitting down?

It's after 11, and far too late to go see him. But then again, Doug and Emily don't exactly have a romance for the ages. It's pure lust, as far as I can tell, and I guess late at night is as good a time as any to have sex. Maybe she texted him from the bathroom to tell him she's on her way. Maybe he's growing harder by the second as he waits in horny anticipation for her.

She'll probably tell me she's tired, that she's got a lot to do tomorrow, that she can barely keep her eyes open. I'll offer to let her sleep here, and she'll refuse. "I'm okay," she'll say, and I'll watch from the front window as her taillights fade out of sight.

This is our anniversary. She's supposed to be thinking about me, me and only me! It's unfair! How could she bring herself to share a romantic dinner with her boyfriend, on our most special of days together, only to go to her boss's house for cheap sex afterwards?

I look down. Her cellphone is on the floor. She couldn't have texted Doug from the bathroom.

"Do you wanna come lay down with me?" she asks, sweetly, and I go stiff under my boxers. "Come lay down with me" has always meant the same thing.

This will be the first time we have made love since I found out. I'd like to say that it will be a relaxed, sexy romp between two long-time lovers, but it won't. This is the Super Bowl of sex, a pressure-packed test of my ability to please her. Whether I like it or not, I am competing against someone else now, someone who is almost definitely more experienced than me.

I stare at her face in the half light of my bedroom, watching her white teeth as she whispers to me, smiling like a little girl.

"Why have you been so sad lately?" she asks softly, tracing swirls on my bare chest with her finger.

"I miss you. I'm miserable when you're not with me."

"Yeah right, you probably have another girlfriend," she giggles.

"How could you say that, Emily? How could you say that to me?" I ask, sharply. We have been whispering up to this point; it seems like I was shouting, though I wasn't.

"I was just kidding!"

"I don't like the way you kid!

"Then I won't kid with you anymore! I'm sorry you can't take a joke!"

"Are you cheating, Emily? Do you have another boyfriend?"

Shock flashes across her face, then disappears so quickly that I might have been imagining it. "No!" she shrieks. "Should I be mad at you for asking?"

I shake my head no, and let silence fill the room.

She takes a deep breath. "I don't want to fight with you. It's our anniversary!"

"I don't want to fight either."

"You're so good to me. You make me feel special. You're the only one who's ever made me feel that way."

"Then why--"

"Why what?"

I have to ask her. Now seems like the wrong time, but there is really no right time for something like this. She's opened up to me now, maybe enough to be totally honest about everything.

"Then why don't I see you more often?"

I couldn't bring myself to say it. If I did, she'd come up with an excuse that somehow explained everything, then she'd rip into me for spying, and I'd have to suck up to her for months to make up for it.

"It's our busy time of year at work. It'll be over soon."

"Do you promise it'll be over soon?"


We kiss. All at once, I am on top of her, and our eyes close as I feel her tongue slip slowly into my mouth.

I pull away and watch in slow motion as I slide down her lacy pink panties. My eyes scan upward and stop between her legs, where I see...

She definitely has not shaved recently. Emily has a thick bush, straight out of a 70's porn film, and it's just as full as ever.

"Haven't you ever seen a naked girl before?" she chuckles, as I stare at her.

Doug will not go near her unless she shaves, and she hasn't shaved, which means she has not cheated on me. This is ironclad proof. I wish I could shove those black curlicues in the face of everyone who tried to break us up. I knew I could count on her!

She hugs me with her arms and legs, pulling me tightly against her, burying her mouth in the spot where shoulder meets neck. I am almost outside myself, watching as our bodies mingle together, and out of nowhere the realization hits me.

This is all Doug's fault.

Emily loves me. She always has. But then Doug came along, with his powerful job and fat wallet, and convinced her that she was missing something.

She must have told him that she had a boyfriend, and he didn't care. He just dismissed me, cast me aside as if I were an annoying kid. I was someone in the way of what he wanted, and he thought he could just crush me under the weight of his huge ego. But he doesn't even know me! Clearly Doug has grown far too confident, and even if he lives to be 100, he will never respect someone like me.

But for all Doug knows, I could be a black belt. Or a gun nut, with an assortment of loaded rifles under my bed. Or, I could have a nine-inch hunting knife in my glove box. How can he be so nonchalant about this?

Yes, I'm being territorial, and I don't care. He is trying to take what is mine, and it's awakened several million years' worth of evolution in me.

I'm too passive about a lot of things. I've always been an easy mark because I didn't fight back. But what if I finally did?

I am just angry enough to hurt Doug right now. Maybe angry enough to kill him. If he were here, maybe I could rip his insides out and watch as buckets of blood gush out of him, just like those victims in the movie.

In my mind's eye, I see myself grabbing Doug from behind, clutching a handful of his well-coiffed hair and yanking his head violently back as I slit his throat from one side to the other, feeling the warm rush of blood over my forearms, hearing the wet gurgle as he strains to draw a final breath.

Reality comes flooding back to me and suddenly I am back in my room. I can hear the grunts, which I barely recognize, though they come from my own throat, can hear the bed creak and groan frantically, like an old amusement park ride; and I can see my forearm across Emily's neck and her pained grimace as she tries desperately to breathe.

"Holy shit!" I say, pulling my arm off of her neck. "Are you okay?"

"Don't worry about it," she says, pressing our lips back together.

Could it be she enjoyed that?

Next... Chapter 8: A double decaf and a skin graft

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


You knew it was gonna happen eventually... no, not OJ being arrested again or Britney getting unhot.

I kept this blog secret from my family for three years, that's right, three, before I finally broke down and told my brother Greg. Why? Well, I was bored, and there was nothing good on TV...

The truth is, Greg reads a lot of books, and, no offense to you fuckers, but I wanted some feedback from somebody whose sanity I could verify. So, I gave him the link, and he looked around a bit.

I think he likes what he saw. Or, at least he didn't demand that I undergo psychiatric evaluation.

Greg just sent me a comment. Guess I'll post it here, since he's family and all... I asked him to send me a post every so often as well!

PS Keep readin', chapter 7 is on the way dawgs!


Hey Stevie Yo what up bro- I have never posted before but figured I should drop in and say nice work, good stuff..... Greg

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chapter 6: Working for a Living


You'd think a 25-year-old guy would love the independence of living alone. But lately, I hate it.

Anything more than 30 minutes in front of the TV makes me question the intelligence of the human race, so I usually wind up at my computer. Of course, these days, surfing the internet only leads me to one place.

It doesn't matter how hot the porn video, or how addicting the game. Regardless of what I am doing, my eyes flit nervously back and forth to that little icon in the bottom right corner of my screen, the one which tells me everything Emily said online that day.

I curse my lack of will power and tell myself that I don't care what her IMs say, but all the while I know I will fail. I will watch as my right hand, acting on its own, slides the mouse over and clicks twice, and my eyes will open wider and my mouth will go dry as I eagerly read, then re-read, every line of every conversation. And, depending on what words are on the screen, I will either soar with relief or wallow in agony.

I wake up earlier each day. After showering, I wander the apartment, cleaning sinks, toilets and windows that are already spotless, then stare longingly at my PC before forcing myself into the car and on the road to the office. My job has been the one thing keeping me from insanity since this happened.

After arriving at work today, I sat at my desk and looked out the window. It was still dark.

My company, High-Grade Temps, places construction workers and factory laborers in short-term assignments around Boston. Todd, who runs the company with his wife, Sheila, hired me as an account manager after I graduated three years ago. I majored in marketing, and this was really more of a sales job, but I saw the potential right away. Everywhere you look in downtown Boston, there is a huge, expensive, complicated construction project going on, and there are not nearly enough workers to go around. I was no salesman, but I didn't need to be. I never had to call around looking for business. Construction firms found me and begged for workers, sometimes telling me to name my price.

I had been with High-Grade for about a year when AtlantiCorps, one of the biggest placement firms in the country, opened an office ten miles from ours. Though they are based in Dallas, AtlantiCorps smelled the ripe Boston market half a country away.

Jared, one of my fellow account reps, was the first to quit. He refused to say where he was going, but we all suspected it was AtlantiCorps. Then, one employee after another followed suit, each submitting a formally-worded resignation letter that looked suspiciously like the one before.

I walked into the office one cold April morning, and the emptiness of the place hit me like a two by four. We had ten employees left, down from a high of 35. Atlantic had pulled our workforce out from under us.

Todd called me into his office. "Eric, we've lost a lot of good people. We need to recruit more account managers, fast. Neither Sheila nor I have time to run the day-to-day business here anymore, so we want to promote you to General Manager."

"Me? What about Gordy?" I said, instinctively.

The GM position would be challenging. Some problems would be out of my control. I'd be blamed for things I could do nothing about, and--

"Gordy's been here five months, Eric. We think you're the best candidate. And, of course, there would be a raise in it for you..."

AtlantiCorps did not offer me a job. They didn't even contact me. Slam-dunk promotions did not come along every day; I had no logical choice but to take it. Still, I waited almost a week to formally accept, and I only did it then because Todd threatened to look elsewhere. But I'm really glad I took the job.

I've learned a lot, and have served the company well. Show me a form, and I can fill it out in my sleep. Ask me a question, and I can answer it while doing three other things. My inbox is constantly filled with problems that others could not solve, and I love being the guy who can take care of them.

We're back up to 15 employees now, and yes, our overhead is a lot lower than it was when we had 35. But AtlantiCorps has taken a lot of our business away, too, so there's also a lot less money. Todd has been stressing about that quite a bit lately.

He continually reminds me that our account managers should average one placement per day, and that more than half of them do not. I reply that we're all working as hard as we can, that we're not out there partying. "I'm aware," he'll say.

I always thought Todd was exaggerating. But, last week, I realized just how bad things have gotten. "If the next six weeks don't pick up, we're gonna have to start layoffs," he said.

Summer is long gone, and that was our busy season. How the hell were we going to find new business now, in the middle of fall?

"We better find it somewhere," he said, and I noticed he wouldn't look me in the eye.

After all I've done for him, it would really suck if Todd fired me.

Next... Chapter 7: "It'll Be Over Soon"

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Chapter 5: A Dyslexic Love Story


"I found this on the printer. Is it yours?" Michelle says, placing two pages of song lyrics on my desk.

"Yeah, I made a mix CD for Emily and I was just... printing out the lyrics."

"Eric, can I talk to you for a second?" she asks, sitting across from me before I can answer.

I brace myself. She is going to give me an earful about Emily, as she occasionally does. She can be annoying, but I'm flattered that she wants to help.

"Eric, sometimes girls don't like so much attention--"

"I know you mean well," I say. "But you don't know the story."

"That's the problem. There's always a story. You're always... sucking up to her for some reason."

Michelle always seems to get away with her attitude. No one ever gets angry with her. In a way, I can understand it--Michelle is beautiful. How can I possibly raise my voice to her as I admire her flawlessly straight blonde hair, and her smooth skin, which manages a healthy glow without a speck of makeup? It's as if someone plucked her off a midwestern farm and dropped her into our office.

"Michelle, you don't understand."

"Explain it to me."

I don't know why she cares. The cynic in me wants to believe that she's just nosy, that she wants scoopage to share with her coworkers. But it doesn't matter, anyway. I have nothing to hide. I am proud that I found Emily. Why wouldn't I want to share our story?

I was Emily's RA in college. She came to me crying one day because she had a huge history exam and she couldn't get through her reading. So I sat down to study with her.

She would read the same sentence five times and completely forget it a minute later. I had her read it out loud, and she kept losing her place on the page. Finally, I read a few pages to her, and she picked right up on it. She actually had an amazing memory.

After that, I helped her study all the time. She would draw little pictures in her notebook while I read to help her comprehend things. I even read into a tape recorder for her sometimes, so she could play it back later.

Most of Emily's issues are workable when we put our heads together. I always try to think of things from her perspective, and act accordingly. One example is the CD I just made: It's a lot easier for her to read when she can hear the words at the same time. She loves music, so listening to a song while reading the words is a great way to sharpen her skills. Hence, my printout of the lyrics.

Michelle looks at me, expressionless. Clearly, she had no idea about this side of Emily.

"Did she end up graduating?" she asks.

"With honors. We found a method that worked, and that was all she needed. All throughout school, no one tried to help her. They just said she had ADD and put her on drugs. She told me I was the only one in her whole life who cared if she did well or not."

I wait for a response. I'm pleased with myself, because it's not often that Michelle is speechless.

"So then you guys hooked up?" she manages, finally.

But it didn't happen that way. Emily and I did not get together until after I graduated.

I was driving to work on an icy road one January morning, and the driver in the next lane lost control of his rented truck. He rolled it, and the truck landed right on top of my car. The airbag didn't deploy, and I got crushed against the steering wheel, breaking my sternum, along with eight ribs.

After a few days, the doctors and nurses tried to get me out of bed, but I wouldn't budge. They can't put a cast on broken ribs, obviously, and I was scared to death one of them would snap loose and puncture my lung or something.

Emily found out about the accident and drove to the hospital in a snowstorm to see me. She said, "I'm not leaving this hospital until you get up and walk," and then she smiled at me. I can still see her face now, her nose and cheeks red from the cold, her teeth just as white as the snow on the windowsill.

That smile was more powerful than any drug they could have pumped into me. Suddenly, I forgot all about the pain. I stuck out my arm, and she held it tight as I wobbled uneasily to my feet. "You did it!" Emily said.

A nurse stuck her head in the door, then ran to the nurses' station, shouting, "His girlfriend got him out of bed!", and the thought of Emily as my girlfriend made it a lot harder to stay standing.

Emily said she knew she loved me the minute I got out of bed and stood up. We've been together ever since.

I helped Emily when no one else would, not even her teachers or her family. I made her a priority, and she did the same for me when I really needed someone. She would not have done that if she did not care for me.

Michelle didn't know the story, and now that she does, maybe she will understand. But even if she doesn't, I don't care. I don't care if every single person I know hates Emily. I love her. And I am going to work just as hard as I did before to prove it.

"That's sweet," Michelle says. "I'm sure she cares about you, but--"

"But what?"

"She doesn't appreciate you."

"I should probably get back to work," I say.

Next... Chapter 6: Working for a Living

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Chapter 4: An Insufficient Gift


"What's this for?" Emily says, as I hand her an oversized gift bag.

"Last week you said you still had the same beach bag from high school, so I thought it was time for a new one."

"Oh, it's an L.L. Bean! And what did you put in here?"

"What's a beach bag without towels and sunblock?"

"You got me a bathing suit, too?" she says, pulling a black bikini out of the bag.

"Do you like it?"

"I love it!"

She twirls her long, black hair with two fingers, then slides it smoothly behind her ear. Her big eyes turn up to me with a flicker, and my knees go weak. She beams at me with the warm smile of a happy girl who knows she is truly loved, and I know right away that this was all I had to do; I just had to give her the attention she deserved. It's different now, I can feel it. Could it really have been this easy?

"I suppose you want me to model this for you," she says, holding the bikini against her torso.

"I thought you'd never ask."

* * *

I haven't checked her IMs in a couple of days. I don't much care what they say, anyhow.

I have forgiven Emily for whatever she did with Doug, if she did anything at all. I screwed up, but from now on I am going to give her so much love that she couldn't possibly want it from anyone else. Isn't that what monogamy is all about? Being with the person who treats you the best?

The phone rings, and my blood goes cold.

It's 7:30 at night. The only person who could be calling me at this hour is Emily, and she never calls for idle chit-chat. Maybe she's going out with him this weekend, and she's calling to make up an excuse for why she won't be able to see me. Maybe everything I did for her was not enough. Maybe Doug's expensive car and fancy clothes excite her in a way I never could. Maybe he makes her laugh louder than I do, impresses her more than I do, makes her lip quiver harder than I do when they are in bed together.

At last, I force myself to pick up the phone. "Did you call that landlord yet?" Mom says.

I burst out laughing. I've never been so glad to get bitched out in my life.

I fall asleep in front of the TV and awaken to the phone ringing at 9:30.

"I'm going to Renee's house. We're having girls' movie night," Emily says.


"You've been calling to say goodnight lately, so I just wanted to let you know I was going over there."

"I'll just call your cell," I say, more to hear her reponse than anything else.

"We're gonna be watching a movie," she says. "Plus Renee's having some problems and she's probably gonna be pretty chatty. So..."

"I can't even call you to say goodnight?"

"What's the big deal?" she snaps.

Her tone sets my anger ablaze; my fist closes tightly around the receiver and my ears burn with rage. I know I shouldn't do this, but...

"The big deal is that you are pretty unfair to me sometimes. I bend over backwards for you and you don't even appreciate it!"

"I thanked you for the beach bag!" she shouts.

"This is about more than a stupid beach bag, Emily!"

"Whatever. I'm hanging up. I'll call you tomorrow."

This was a huge mistake. I should not have let my anger get in the way; now, things are more complicated than before.

"I'm sorry I yelled. I love you, Emily."


* * *

RedFoxx85: why does he want you to shave?

SugarKookie: he hates hair down there. I dunno why but it freaks him out, he won't go near it unless i shave

RedFoxx85: so hes holding out on you? maybe he found out about your crabs :-D

SugarKookie: stfu lol

RedFoxx85: maybe he likes the preteen look. if he starts talking like elmo, run

SugarKookie: seriously i dunno what to do, eric asked me to shave one time and i said no

RedFoxx85: ohhhh, so now hes gonna wonder why you did it

SugarKookie: well ya...

RedFoxx85: didn't he just get you a bikini

SugarKookie: o yea!!! ill just tell him i shaved so i could wear the bikini

SugarKookie: i already put it on for him but it wasnt on long ;-)

RedFoxx85: u r so evil lol

Next...Chapter 5: A Dyslexic Love Story

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Chapter 3: Stretch Goals


SugarKookie: Good morning :-D :-D

RedFoxx85: how was it??????

SugarKookie: took me to his friends 40th bday party

RedFoxx85: hung with the old dudes eh

SugarKookie: i swear i was the oldest girl there

RedFoxx85: lol

SugarKookie: huge buffet, chinese food, sushi, open bar

SugarKookie: he got drunk, i had to drive him home

SugarKookie: in his lincoln navigator :-)

RedFoxx85: nfw

SugarKookie: way

SugarKookie: felt like i was driving a tank

RedFoxx85: so you drove him home...

RedFoxx85: and?!

SugarKookie: so how was your night O:-)

RedFoxx85: what happened????!!!

I can't read any more. All I want is to walk into the middle of that party and look at her, stare at her face endlessly until she realizes what she is doing. If I could just see her, talk to her, I know she would come to her senses. But I am powerless to stop any of this. It's in the past.

Now, I can only sit passively and experience every excruciating second of her betrayal, knowing that, although the pain is fresh, whatever has happened is done and over with. I can't change it any more than I can change yesterday's weather.

I sleepwalk through my day at work, watching myself like a disinterested third party as the hours melt away in a blur of phone calls and meetings. I go through the motions, say all the proper things at the correct times, but none of it affects me whatsoever. It's like eating a meal that I cannot taste.

"You still here?" Todd asks at 6:30.

"Yep," I sigh.

"What's wrong, Eric?"

I want to tell him. I want to open myself up and pour out every ounce of pain in my body. I want to scream aloud that I do not deserve this, and then I want to collapse into a blob on the floor, sobbing like a widow. I've been bottling this up for too long. I need to talk to someone.

But Todd is my boss. What would he think of me if he knew how upset I was? Would I seem like the kind of person who cannot keep his personal life under control?

"Nothing. Good night, Todd."

* * *

If I go home, I'm just going to end up checking Emily's IMs. I'd rather be anywhere else.

I drive aimlessly, angrily changing the radio station every time a love song comes on, until my car finds its way to my mother's house.

"Oh good. You can help me hang a picture," she says.

"Did you call the landlord to have that carpet stretched in your living room?" she asks as I hammer a picture hook into the wall.

"Not yet."

"You really should call. That carpet is buckled. Buckled!" she hisses, showing two rows of beaver-like teeth.

"I know, mom."

"Ugh. It's horrible! I don't know how you can stand that gigantic... bump in the floor," she says, running her hand over an imaginary mountain.

The bump is half an inch high. Actually, half an inch would be a lot. Coming over here was a mistake. Mom does not have much to do these days, so every mundane issue is magnified to 10,000 times its normal size.

In a way, it's good that the Emily thing is happening, because serious problems make me see just how insignificant the buckled carpets of the world truly are. If I can just resolve this, somehow, I'll be the most nauseatingly happy guy you've ever met.

"That picture is crooked! Look at it, it's all cockeyed!"

I push up on the bottom right corner. The picture moves a millimeter or two.


"It's all wrong. It's all wrong there. We've got to move it, honey."

Suddenly it hits me. I'll win Emily over. I'll woo her, just like I did when we first met. I'll surprise her with no-reason gifts, take her on romantic getaways, and lavish her with fawning attention. Why didn't I think of this before?

They say that men cheat for sex, and women cheat for love. After three years, maybe I'm taking her for granted. Maybe she's had one too many drive-thru dinners, and she's frustrated. I've been busy at work lately, but if I'm going to be serious about my relationship, I need to make it more of a priority. That's just what I'm going to do. Maybe this will work, and maybe it won't, but if we break up, I don't want it to be because of mistakes I made.

"Higher. Higher, Eric!" mom is screaming. "Hello! You're a million miles away!"

"Sorry, I was just--"

"Give me that," she snaps, snatching the picture out of my hand. "Never mind. I'll handle it."

"I think I'm gonna take off, mom."

"Damn carpet is two feet off the ground," she mutters to herself as the door closes behind me.

Next...Chapter 4: An Insufficient Gift

Monday, September 03, 2007

Chapter 2: "Kiss kiss" My Ass


RedFoxx85: u still at the office?

SugarKookie: no he told me to go home and he would come by around 6:30ish

RedFoxx85: hes late...typical man lol

There's nothing for me to wonder about anymore. Emily is cheating. It must be a guy she works with, but I have no idea which one. I don't know her coworkers.

I want to talk to her, hear her say my name, listen to her voice to find out if it sounds different somehow. I want to tell her I am amazed by her, that she inspires me, that she has done so since the moment I first saw her on that Tuesday morning three years ago.

All Emily's ever had to do was tell me what she wanted, and I have gotten it for her. I want to make every single one of her dreams come true. Maybe all I have to do is remind her of that.

I call her. "Hi, gorgeous," I say.

"I'm really busy. I have this huge project to do for work. I'm probably gonna be up late."

My heart gallops, and I swallow hard against the lump in my throat. She's lying to me, right this very second. Obviously, there is no project, and yet she said so with frightening ease. If I hadn't known better, I'd have believed her in a second. Since when does dishonesty come so easily to her?

For a frantic moment I can't think of anything at all to say, but then I catch my breath and realize that this is my chance to tell her exactly how much she means to me. I need to--


"Yeah. I'm here. I just wanted to tell you you're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen."

"You're sweet. But I really gotta go."

I should hang up, but there is a question that I need to ask, one that I probably don't want to know the answer to.

"Who's the project for?"

"Doug Barrett, the CFO. I'll call you tomorrow, 'kay?"

"I love you, Emily."

"Me too. Kiss kiss."

I check back an hour later, and her screensaver has kicked in. She's gone.

So much for my plan.

While she's away, I set up an IM archive on her computer. Now, all I have to do is connect to her PC every night and download a file, and I can read every line of every IM conversation she's had that day.

Underhanded, you say? So is cheating.

* * *
I guess I know who the guy is now. And, contrary to what you might think, I don't want to run him over with a cement truck.

Though I've never met Doug, my imagination draws an exquisitely detailed picture of him. If I close my eyes I can see him, standing easily over six feet tall, with chestnut brown hair parted and combed perfectly, as if he had spent hours on it.

In my mind's eye, he wears an expensive olive green suit. With the way it is cut, and how it hangs on his lanky frame, it makes him look like an executive before he even says a word. Guys like me go to discount stores and congratulate ourselves for buying a perfectly good suit for $119.95, and we get by well enough with it until a guy like Doug comes along and exposes us for the wannabes that we are. We would look good in Doug's suit, too, but we either don't have the cojones to run up such a big credit card bill, or don't think we're important enough to need it.

I want to know everything about Doug. I want to know what kind of cologne he wears and where he takes his drycleaning. How does he answer his phone? Does he say, "This is Doug" with a helpful lilt, or does he spit out a harsh "Doug Barrett" which, just with its tone, tells the caller to get to the point, quickly?

I want to know how he caught Emily's attention. Was it just the suit and the cologne, or was it more? Was it the way that conversations fall silent as he walks by, the way that grown men smile fakely and make bad jokes to impress him? How did he make her overlook a serious relationship, a bond that we've built over three long years? How did he make her forget that trip to the water park last summer, when we rode the rides until dark, then giggled all the way home, exhausted, soaked and happy?

And dammit, how the hell did he make her lie to me?

I don't hate Doug. I want to learn from him. I want to know how he took Emily from me, and I want to do the same things he did, so I can win her back.

Next...Chapter 3: Stretch goals