Facing My Demons Ch. 01
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This is a continuation of Meeting My Angel 1-4. I felt that story line was getting a bit dry so I decided to spice things up. Please have an open mind because I have changed the whole scheme of things. The submission of the next story is subject to the feedback on this chapter so please comment.
Angie and I made our way to the grocery store one warm afternoon. We had been together for about two months and we had established a nice routine. Things had been a bit tumultuous because she still refused to tell her parents about me and that stress weighed heavily on me. It was the first thing I had told her that I couldn’t deal with when we first got together. She promised to do it but time ticked by and she hadn’t. She did other things with me, public things, to make me feel better about it, like grocery shopping.
I was standing in front of the drink isle when I heard a voice that made me drop the bottle of soda from my hands. The bottle tumbled around the ground and then rested at my feet.
“Hello cara.” I heard a sultry voice say. I knew exactly who it was without turning around although I prayed that I was wrong. Angie spun around to see our mysterious guest but she had no idea who she was. I stood still refusing to face my past. I prayed to every god I had ever heard of that I was wrong. I needed to be wrong but I knew better. I only knew one Italian who called me cara. (Cara is an italian word meaning my beloved. It’s a kind of Italian pet name.) “Come one, cara, you can’t just pretend that I’m not here.”
I forced myself to turn around and I saw before me the one person I had not wanted to see. I decided to at least pretend to be civil and I kissed my ex briefly on the cheek. I knew she would hate not getting a hug. “I thought you had gotten married and moved to away.”
At first her only response was a deep throaty laugh but then I got my answer. “I did, cara. But then I got bored and I moved on. Seems you have done the same. Aren’t you going to introduce me?” I hated the way she called me cara. It wasn’t fair. She had made it more than evident that I had never been her ‘beloved’.
“Tia this is Angela Harris, my girlfriend. Angie this is Natalia De Luca.” Tia’s name rolled off my tongue like venom. I was in no way shape or form happy to see her and I wasn’t pretending otherwise. She had ripped my heart from my chest and seeing her made me feel the same crushing pain I had years before.
“Girlfriend, huh?” Tia turned the word over and thought. “Hmmm… Anyway, how’s Roxy?” I couldn’t help but laugh. Tia was never a fan of Roxy and they hadn’t exactly ended on good terms.
“She had been staying out of trouble since you left. Although I did have to promise that I would stay away from you. She wasn’t exactly thrilled about this.” I held up my hand and showed her the scars that marked it. Angie finally realized who Tia was and she didn’t look too happy about it either.
I saw an instant look of sadness on Tia’s face but it soon vanished and a smile took its place. If I hadn’t known her as well as I did not even I would’ve been able to see it.
“I bet Roxy would try to beat me senseless if she saw me here with you. There isn’t a chance that she is here, is there?” I shook my head and Tia feigned a look of disappointment. “That’s alright. I will find her soon enough, we have some catching up to do. I always liked that she was protective of you. I never told her that but it’s true. Anyway, it is a strange coincidence that I found you here. I was planning on making my grand entrance a bit more stealthily but life has a way of always knocking you on your ass, doesn’t it?”
“That is does. So what had you planned for this grand entrance.” I don’t know why I asked but I regretted it as soon as I got my answer. I was playing with fire and I knew it would only be a matter of time before I got burned. Tia had always been good at burning my heart.
“I guess it doesn’t matter.” Tia said as she looked straight at Angie for a moment before her eyes traveled back to me. “I will see you soon, cara. I have to see Roxy first but then we will really talk. It was nice to meet you Angela.” Tia then turned and disappeared as quickly as she had shown up.
I wanted to stop her and ask her what the hell she was going to talk to Roxy about but I knew better then to chase after Tia when I was with Angie.
“What the fuck was that?” Angie asked. She was more upset that I had anticipated. I shrugged the whole situation off but I knew things were going to get rocky. It was Tia’s specialty. Angie reluctantly dropped the subject at my, very forceful, request. I however couldn’t force my own mind to drop it.
Angie went off to work the next day, Saturday, but I had the day off. At noon my doorbell rang. Thinking it was Roxy, I simply called out that it was unlocked. But it wasn’t Roxy. It was Tia.
“You shouldn’t leave your door unlocked, cara, you never know who could just walk in.” Tia said smoothly, causing me to turn around sharply. I don’t know why seeing her casino oyna made me so nervous but it did. I felt the same way I had when we first met, like a nervous wreck. “This was more the type of entrance I had wanted to make. I love surprises.”
Before I had a chance to respond my phone rang. I mumbled something to Tia about needed to get it and she nodded.
“Hello” I answered. It was almost like my life was too confusing to think about and answering the phone was my only outlet.
“Guess who came to visit me.” Roxy said on the other end. I would’ve laughed if I hadn’t been so desperate.
“I think I know.” I answered coolly. I didn’t want Tia to know I was talking to Roxy. So I tried not to be obvious.
“Tell me that bitch isn’t there.” Roxy yelled into the receiver. It blared through my end I was sure Tia had heard it.
“Hello Roxy.” Tia said with a laugh, confirming my suspicions. She rolled her eyes but smiled anyways. My god she was beautiful. Beyond compare actually.
“That fucking BITCH!…” Rocky blared into the receiver.
“I’ve gotta go. I’ll call you later.” I mumbled into the phone before hanging up.
“I can tell you what she was going to say.” Tia grinned after I hung up the phone. I felt my knees get weak just at the sound of her voice. The more she was around less angry I was. Somewhere inside I still had a weak spot for her; unfortunately it was primarily located right between my legs… I refused to think about the large part of my heart that still belonged to her.
“I visited her last night at her bar. We had a not so pleasant conversation which led to this.” Tia continued speaking then lifted her shirt and showed me a large bruise on her ribs.
“Good god, Tia, what did you say?” I asked as I ran over to check on her. I still loved her no matter how badly she had broken my heart and seeing her injured caused me pain. I have to yell at Roxy for this, I made the note in my head.
“How about I give you a rundown of the night?” Tia asked. I ran my fingers over her bruise and nodded. I felt her side with my fingertips gently but she winced so I lowered her shirt and I let her get on with the story.
She took a seat at the counter and spoke. “So I walk into the bar, right, and off the bat Roxy runs around the bar and starts yelling a whole bunch of nonsense about how she is going to kick my ass for showing up there again and that I shouldn’t go near you; blah blah blah. After she calmed down a bit I was able to ask my first question. I asked how serious you were with your little girlfriend.” Tia wisely ignored the annoyed look on my face and continued unperturbed. “That got me a nice slap across the face. Then there was more threatening, on her part. I swear I never raised a hand to her though. She told me that she would break my face if I tried anything with you, as if she could, and she reminded me about… well about everything. I have to say I was pushing my luck with my next line. I turned to her and said: ‘so I guess you aren’t cool with me trying to get her back then?’ Like I said, I have to admit that I knew that was pushing it. But how was I supposed to know that she was going to knee me in the ribs. Hell I thought she had broken at least one.”
“Damn it, Tia, you can’t just do things like that.” I complained but Tia waved my comments aside.
“Relax, cara. I promised you I wouldn’t fight her again and I didn’t. I’ve been hurt worse anyway, but I have to warn you, next time Roxy gets a little too big for her britches I am going to remind her who I am.” Tia’s voice was warm and inviting, making her stinging words that much harsher. “But anyway, I came to see you not to talk about my visit with your friend. Since she didn’t answer me I guess you are going to have to. How serious are you with this girl?”
“She isn’t just a girl. She’s my girlfriend. It’s not just a game between us.” I said firmly. Probably more firmly than necessary.
“Relax, cara. Who are you trying to convince, me or you?” Once again her voice was calm and it sounded like velvet. But I tried to retain a clear mind.
“Damn it, Natalia. You can’t just come into my life and try to ruin things…” I started to yell but Tia was on her feet before I could get too far.
“Don’t start that ‘Natalia’ bullshit with me, Nikki. I came back to fix things between us and low and behold you have some girl attached to your hip. I don’t want to ruin anything but I saw how you looked at her in that store. You were hoping that she wasn’t there. I saw it in your eyes, Nikki. I know you better than anyone else. You don’t love her the way you love me.” Tia stepped closer to me but I backed up instinctually.
“You broke my heart.” I whispered. My voice cracked when I came out.
“I know I did but I did what I thought was best for you. I did what I thought you wanted.” Tia yelled with a pained look in her eyes. I had stung her with that last comment.
“What I wanted?” I repeated. Now it was my turn to be angry and yell. “When I got back from the hospital you had already left. There canlı casino was no trace of you. Your clothes, makeup, pictures, everything was gone. I cried for weeks. I called and left messages but you never called back. Then two years later I get an invitation to your wedding. What the fuck was that?”
“I know that.” Tia sank back onto the stool she had been on. “It wasn’t easy to leave you. After the accident Roxy told me about . . . The fact is that I made some bad choices. Really bad choices. But I never stopped loving you. I invited you to that wedding praying that you would ask me to cancel it. Then I went through with it to spite you. I never wanted that life, that fake marriage. I’ve never loved anyone but you and I certainly didn’t love that guy.”
“Roxy told you what?” I asked. Out of everything she said I chose the smallest detail to pick out. The rest I just couldn’t deal with. What had Roxy said to Tia after I fell down those stairs? It couldn’t have been that bad. Back then they had cursed each other out on a daily basis. What could Tia have taken so personally?
“She told me you would be better off without me. She had never sounded so sure about it. She said you hated me for accidentally hurting you and that you would never forgive me.” I saw a tear fall from Tia’s eye but she wiped it before it got anywhere. She continued on like nothing had happened. “She said your life would be better off if I just disappeared. So I took off. I packed my shit and ran. I thought it’s what you wanted. Then when the calls came from you I got a little hopeful. And I did call back. I called and Roxy picked up. She told me that you were already back on your feet and that she had been right all along. She said you hated me. I never called back after that.”
I slumped back against the wall and I thought about what she had said. I had cried my eyes out when Tia left me. Roxy had been my only support. How could she have betrayed me in that way? I grabbed my cell phone and sent Roxy a urgent text message to get to my house immediately. As soon as the phone confirmed that the message was sent I threw it across the room. It shattered against the wall.
“Relax, cara. I am not here to bring up the past or to blame Roxy for my mistakes. I just came back to try to work things out. We were never as bad as Roxy convinced you that we were. I never really hurt you, not physically, except for the accident, and you never hurt me either. We never went to the hospital or ended up bruised or bloody or even with a scratch. We knew when to stop and we never got carried away. That night you hit me for the first time then you tripped and I have regretted that fight every night since then. I’d give anything to take it back.” Tia stood and helped me back up to my feet. “Nikki, I am sorry for the pin I have caused you the years but I want you to know that you didn’t suffer alone. I have loved you since the day I met you and I still do. I got married to someone else loving you instead and I will continue loving you until the day I die.”
“Tia, I…” in reality I had no idea what to say. Tia shrugged off my dispute.
“I know you have a lot of things to think about. Life isn’t as easy as when I left but remember that we were happy before all of the mess. We were happy before jealousy and anger took a hold of us. We could be happy again but you need to figure things out first. You know how to get a hold of me. My parent’s house is in the same spot and they miss you by the way. They still love you and I do too.” She smiled and kissed my cheek. “See you later, cara.”
Just as Tia made for the door, Roxy walked in.
“What the fuck did you do?” Roxy asked Tia after she looked at me. I really must have looked like a mess sitting on the floor crying with my shattered phone on the ground across the room.
“Me? Maybe you should look in a mirror if you want an answer to that question. I came to face my demons. Maybe it is time you do the same.” Tia grabbed her purse and made for the door once more but Roxy’s voice stopped her by pushing her shoulders.
“Listen bitch…” Roxy was silenced by a backhanded slap from Tia and in my opinion Roxy deserved it.
“I’m sure you can figure out what that’s for,” with that Tia walked towards the door intent on leaving me with the mess she had brought BACK to my door.
“Come back here.” Roxy said softly, causing Tia to freeze in her tracks. She turned around but didn’t return to where we were standing.
Roxy continued talking when Tia refused to turn around.”I assume you told her already so you might as well stay and hear this.”
Roxy rubbed at her face where Tia hit her. Maybe it had hurt more than I had assumed. Tia did as Roxy asked but she sat at the counter and stayed out of the way.
“Tell me she’s lying, Rox.” I said almost begging. I didn’t want to think that my best friend could’ve betrayed me like that. “Tell me that you didn’t tell her to leave me.”
“I can’t do that, Nik.” Roxy face was one of pure sadness. She looked at me almost like it hurt her. “I always knew she would kaçak casino come back and I always knew she would tell you the truth. I can’t tell you that I didn’t do it but I can tell you why I did it. Nikki, you have to remember how the two of you were together. I had never seen anything like it before and it scared me. When you got hurt it scared me. I knew you loved her but a love like the one between you guys was something from another world. It was like you two were different sides of the same coin. When she hurt, you hurt and I was scared to death for you. Remember that you ended up on my doorstep every time you two fought? Remember how broken up you were? So I put her to the test. I asked her to leave. I told her that if she ever loved you that she would pack her shit and go. She did and seeing you crushed the way you were proved that I had been right. You were a kid, hell we all were. I didn’t think that you could keep going on with her and I did something that I thought was best for you. But I knew you would find out one day. I am truly sorry for the pain you went through but I am not sorry that I tried to protect you.” Roxy stood silent for a moment as if waiting for me answer her but I didn’t know what to say. It wasn’t until I looked at Tia that the words came to me.
“You convinced me that she never loved me.” I whispered. “I let you convince me that she never loved me. How could you do that to me? If you knew how much I loved her then why would you hurt me like that? Did you do that to protect me too?” I was much calmer than I should’ve been.
“I’m sorry, Nikki.” was all Roxy could say. I don’t know what I had expected but I wanted something more than ‘I’m sorry’. Sensing my dislike of her answer she gave me one more. “I did it for you.” She added.
That made me angrier then I had ever been at her. I walked over to her and slapped her hard across the face, the same way Tia had. It was the first time I had ever hit her and I didn’t do it to hurt her. I did it to show her how disgusted I was with her. How hurt. How betrayed. How angry.
“Nikki, relax.” Tia called from her barstool. I had almost forgotten that she was there. Her simple words caused my entire demeanor to change. I felt more relaxed. She was back. She had loved me. It was all a mistake. Everything could be alright again, she DID love me. As I thought all of this an image popped into my mind, an image of Angie. What would all of that do to her? As if on cue Angie walked through the door next. I looked over at the clock and she was right on time. Had Tia really been there for three hours? Time seemed to have flown by.
“I’m sorry. I just can’t…” I said to the three women that surrounded me. I was sorry for hitting Roxy. I was sorry for believing that Tia never loved me and I was sorry for dragging Angie into all of it. My thoughts started to overwhelm me so I grabbed my keys. I hadn’t needed to say anything. Tia knew me better than anyone else. She tossed me hers before I could find mine in the bottom of my infernal bag.
“Take mine, cara.” she said in her sultry velvet voice. I caught the keys and left. I had no idea where I was going or when I was coming back but I knew I couldn’t deal with it all at that moment so I ran; as fast as Tia’s Ferrari would take me, I ran.
This is where I will take over the story. Most of you think I am the big bad wolf come to disturb the peace but in reality I wanted no such thing. I had no idea Nikki would have a girlfriend. It broke my heart to see it but I got over it. After all, a history like ours isn’t easily silenced. Let me pick off where Nikki left off…
Nikki dashed out the front door with my keys in her hands. Roxy stood ten feet from me with tears in her eyes, whether from Nikki’s slap or her own feelings I will never know. Angela stood by the door with the most pathetic lost look on her face. She truly had no idea what was going on. I sighed and hopped down from the bar and went to fix myself a drink. I knew Nikki always kept liquor around and I knew exactly where, it had been my home too once upon a time. I stayed in the kitchen silently as Roxy filled Angela in as to what had happened. Roxy did a good job of stating the facts in an unbiased way. She didn’t make herself out to be the victim or me out to be the villain. I was surprised. She made our story out to be one of lost love and misguided attempts to prevent the pain of our loved ones. Angela sat and listened. She seemed to understand and she didn’t seem too upset. I was slightly shocked by how accepting she was of the whole thing, it seemed too easy for her to take. I was really shocked when she walked over to the kitchen and handed me a folded piece of paper.
“There is a lot that you and Nikki need to figure out. Give this to her please and tell her I am not angry with her.” Angela forced a smile then walked out the door.
I was left in silence with the one person who hated me most in the world, although I didn’t know why she disliked me so. We had never been friends, that’s true, but I had never caused her insult so great that I couldn’t be forgiven, I never caused her insult at all actually. I had done as she had asked. I had left. I broke the heart of the one woman who loved me and whom I loved in return.
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