It was baffling to me that Adrian actually thought I was going to wait around for him while he served a sentence in federal prison.
Like… real ass prison.
He had to be kidding. I could accept that I’d committed my life to a man who was — without question — not my “soul mate”.
I could not accept that I’d married a criminal.
Until they started showing up at the house, and freezing our accounts, and news vans started showing up in the front yard. Couldn’t really be in denial after that, which is why I was preparing to sublet an apartment thousands of miles away, where hardly anybody knew Adrian’s name. Here I was, leaving in disgrace, to go back home.
Guess how I left home in the first place?
Yep…. in disgrace.
I didn’t want to go home. What I wanted to do was throw a fit.
You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.
I had no idea why that kept coming to the forefront of my mind, because if anybody deserved to be throwing a fit… I deserved to be throwing a fit. And I don’t mean sitting around pouting for a few hours with ice cream and a glass of wine. I mean a snotty-nosed crying, rolling around on the floor, black auntie at a funeral kind of fit.
FBI, SEC, IRS… I’d dealt with enough abbreviated agencies to make my head spin by the time they were done tearing our life apart, but once I finally got the news that I had been cleared of any wrongdoing… only one acronym mattered.
No, not that one, even though as of late, Adrian was frequently a piece of shit in my thoughts… and words, and emails, and texts, etc. No, the POS I refer to is the cute little saying I’d run across in various groups online: peeing on a stick.
I had to make sure that bastard hadn’t gotten me pregnant.
Please God, don’t let me be pregnant.
That sentiment was a big difference from six or seven months ago, when I actually wanted a little blue plus sign to pop up on a plastic stick. Now, as I stood in the bathroom, furiously washing my hands to pass the time, I wanted nothing more than a big, fat, minus.
If Adrian had finally succeeded at getting me pregnant… I was gonna throw that fit.
I somehow found the self-control to not look at the test until the two minutes had passed, then I snatched it from the counter and held it in front of my eyes.
My heart slammed to the front of my chest.
I tossed the little plastic stick into the trash can with a flourish, and pranced into the bedroom I’d shared with Adrian for the last three years. Before all of the bullshit, this had been a beautiful room, decorated in lush summer blue, gray, and white. Now, all the accessories I’d painstakingly chosen, the gorgeous bed linens I’d ordered from Paris, the one-of-a-kind paintings I’d commissioned from black artists… everything was packed away in boxes. One set that went into the storage building I couldn’t really afford, one set marked as “evidence”, and one set tagged for auction — to pay restitution to Adrian’s victims.
I’d married a man who had victims.
Kelis’ Caught Out There cycled through the speakers I’d connected to my phone, and I cranked it up louder. “I hate you so much right now” was a more than appropriate sentiment for the onerous task of clearing out the house — to be sold as well.
“I can’t believe you’re bailing on me Charlie. I thought we were in this thing together— forever.”
The look on Adrian’s face when I had to explain that he’d thought wrong was comical. This entire thing was. I almost laughed as I pulled the boxes of ovulation prediction kits from under the bathroom counter, tossing them into the bin marked “purge”.
Because it wasn’t funny, not even a little, that instead of planning a baby with my husband, I was packing the wreckage of my life into as few boxes as I could. There was nothing amusing about the hassle of settling massive bills, talking to lawyers, and keeping a tenuous hold on the only thing I had left.
It was fucked up.
I was fucked up.
Maybe I should be sticking by my husband.
So what that he was kinda… vanilla. He was good to me, and he made me laugh. So what that his body was… unexciting. He was an incredibly unselfish lover. In general, he was a little on the quiet side, but so what? When prodded, the man could talk people, politics, and pop culture, so we were never hard up for conversation. So maybe… maybe I did love him a little. It probably wasn’t possible to live with someone for three years and not develop a certain level of fondness. Over and over, the thought that I could really use one of Adrian’s firm, delicious-smelling hugs ran through my mind… but, oh, yeah.
Adrian is a POS.
Yeah. That kind.
His pleas of innocence meant nothing to me when I — and my clients, and my friends, and the mailman — were watching dateline-esque probes by the local new station, with my husband’s face — and sometimes mine — constantly flashed across the screen. No. No. He could talk to me when he’d won an appeal.
My music stopped.
The stream was interrupted by a text message notification, and I pulled the last of the things under the cabinet out, dumping them in the trash before I went to collect my phone. When I saw the name of the person who’d sent the message, I lifted an eyebrow. When I read the message, I played Caught Out There again. It was even more appropriate for lost his mind negro number two, on the other end of this text.
I took a deep breath, and ignored his message. His nonsense could be dealt with later. For now, my priorities were getting this house cleared, and not missing my flight.