Crossing Paths Excerpt
Never had she imagined pain could be so great. If someone would have said the dreams and joys she experienced just this morning would be squashed so quickly, she would have called them a fool… laughed in their face.
She painfully looked down at the finger that was to have held her engagement ring. It was that damn ring that caused the problem, ending her dream a few hours ago...
Caitlyn Crenshaw had gone to bed last night dreaming of 'happily ever afters' with her lover, Robert 'Bobby' Manes, a fine, handsome man with all the trappings of success. A man who any woman would be glad to wrap her arms around, calling him hers forever. Just yesterday Caitlyn came across her hidden engagement ring that Bobby was planning to give to her. As she hung her suit in his bedroom closet, the bag from an expensive jewelry store got her attention, but it was snooping that made her open it.
This discovery was equal to hitting the lottery after playing and losing for many years. Their relationship had stretched over two years. And in two more weeks on their anniversary, the ring would be hers! He would finally be hers! Bobby was romantic that way.
Containing her excitement around him had been difficult that evening. She barely slept. She was so excited about her hidden treasure that she woke Bobby with early morning lovemaking. It was quick, she didn't orgasm as he had, but she knew she finally had him so it didn't really matter.
Later that morning, in her office at Designer Fashions Unlimited, her excitement bubbled to explosive levels. She just couldn't concentrate on work. Picking up the telephone, she called her sister, Christina.
She sobered enough to tell the tale. "Bobby is going to ask me to marry him!"
"Is going to?" Christina's tone held disbelief. "You've been talking to a psychic? Because it's either he asked you or he didn't."
"I found the engagement ring!!" She was floating on a cloud. "He's just romantic enough to ask me on the anniversary of our first meeting!"
"Are you sure you want to do this? I just don't think marriage can be built on the rocky past the two of you have had."
"Can you, for once, be excited about my relationship with Bobby?" "You finally sound happy now, Cait. Are you?"
Happy? The word bounced around her thoughts. Relieved was more like it. It had been too long in coming, and the time was filled with doubt. The first year couldn't really be classified as a serious relationship. They'd dated but it wasn't monogamous. Bobby had been up front about his difficult relationship with Silvia and that he was ending it. It took a year, for some reason, for him to finally break free. During that time, she too was involved with Bobby but she never confirmed or denied she had been dating him. Yet he had chosen her over Silvia to take to all the exclusive events. Caitlyn looked elegant, acted sophisticated, had a well-connected family.
Originally, she hadn't been attracted to him because of his other relationship, but her father liked Bobby immensely. Told her he was the best man for her and insisted she do what was necessary to win him.
And her father being a judge was a significant benefit to Bobby's firm that catered to lawyers and needed Daddy's connections. Marriage was the next best thing for all of them. And, of course, she had to make Daddy proud. That was most important.
It was certainly a relief having discovered the ring. It meant finally telling her father the relationship was definitely headed in the direction he wanted. It meant accomplishing her goal of starting a family, leading the life destined for her.
"Yes, I'm happy," she finally said looking out of the huge office windows at a brilliant autumn Chicago sky.
"So what does the ring look like? When will I get to see it?"
"Very nice. At least 3-carats. I'm not sure when he's going to give it to me." Caitlyn squirmed in her seat. "Finally, Christina, Daddy will be proud."
"But what will you be?"
"I will be happily married," she said, hoping she hid any doubts. Bobby, she thought wistfully, I'm going to make you happy with loving me. He'd never told her that he was in love with her, but the ring was certainly a marked, promising change.
She hung up and attempted to work, but at two o'clock she realized it wasn't going to happen. She was too busy trying to come up with ideas for a romantic, sensual interlude for this evening. She had to admit what she wanted was to make love to Bobby, this time with her having an orgasm. She reached for the telephone.
When the secretary answered, she said, "Hi Beth. It's Caitlyn. Is Bobby available?"
"No, but let me check his schedule." Beth typed efficiently on the computer. "He has back-to-back meetings until five, then a lawyer's social meeting. He even put you on his calendar for dinner tonight."
"Yes, but I wanted to talk to him before dinner."
"If you want, Caitlyn, I can call you if I catch him between his next meeting?"
"No, that's okay." Caitlyn was slightly disappointed. The social meeting meant drinking. She hated it when Bobby drank. It was always too much and he always wanted sloppy, unfulfilling sex when he did. She wanted tonight to be special. Of course, he hadn't a clue and this was all last minute. "Tell him I'll meet him at the social and we'll leave earlier, if possible, for dinner. I've changed where we are to dine tonight."
Undeterred, Caitlyn arranged to leave work early. She stopped by her place to pick up sexy lingerie to wear under her dress to dinner, to tease Bobby later, maybe during dinner. Then she grabbed the camera. She hated to admit it, but she wanted to try on the ring again. This time take a picture of it to show it off since she didn't know when he would give it to her.
She headed to his house. Pulling in the driveway, she decided to stay long enough to take the picture then go to the store to shop for dinner and develop the film. Entering the front door, she went down the hallway mentally redesigning the dining room and living room to include her furniture.
As she reached the bedroom doorway, the shocking sight of red on the bed made her stumble. Her stomach twisted in knots and she tried not to puke. Her mind went blank as she stared in horror. Bobby was grunting and humping a black woman while a blonde woman, wearing red silk bikinis was kissing his butt. It looked like Bobby had on the matching top to those bikinis.
Caitlyn, weak-kneed, fell back against the wall as if someone has punched her in the stomach, knocking all the wind out of her.
It took every ounce of strength to speak. "Bobby, you lying, cheating, freaky bastard!"
The flash in the camera accidentally went off as all three in the bed turned toward Caitlyn.
"Caity! What… What are you doing?" Bobby struggled to get off the bed but the blonde thwarted his movement.
"Leaving! You sonofabitch!"
"Wait!" Bobby called after her, running butt-naked except for the bra, down the hall. "Wait!"
"And to think I was going to marry you!"
"Baby, let me talk to you!"
Caitlyn ran, confused, head spinning, out of the wrong door. Too late she remembered she hadn't parked inside the garage like she normally did. Too bad she didn't, else she would have seen his car and been warned to expect something. Refusing to go back inside his house, she pressed the garage door opener then grabbed a hammer and smashed the windshield of his Mercedes. She needed to vent, but the shattering glass didn't feel as good as she hoped.
"Stop that, Caity!! Wait, let me talk to you."
"Go talk to your screw partners!" Caitlyn screamed as she ran under the lifting door and into the light of day. She remembered the camera and this time purposely snapped a shot of him at the doorway wearing women's lingerie.
"Come anywhere near me and the tabloids, Internet, and a few of your customers will get copies!"
"Baby, don't go like this! Baby, wait! I love you! Don't leave me like this!"
It was the first time she heard the word 'love' come out of his mouth. It sounded like filth. The massive ache in her heart was quickly replaced by anger. Remembering the hammer, she flung it at the back window of his car. A crash. Bull's eye.
Bobby was still calling to her but she couldn't hear him over the screams of pain coming from inside her crying heart.
"How could I have been so stupid…? How could I not have known…?" Tears streamed down her face, blurring the road in front of her. And it also hurt to breathe.
Thankfully, that damn ring wasn't on her finger.
Caitlyn didn't know how, but she would get over this. She had to get over this.