“I'm sorry I didn't hear that.” said Shara looking expectantly up at Brian
Not sure what she was expecting, not sure what she wanted. The sound of the rain outside had intruded again and Brian looked at her. His face was a bronze cast, a statue in profile. Scarred with something, an emotion she couldn't quite identify, was it grief, determination or something else? some strange mixture of things she couldn't guess at and was too tired of trying to, too tired of relying on body language because if that could be trusted this night was long overdue. No. She needed words tonight, clear and concise and the thunder had taken that away. And now she looked at him as he took another deep breath, moments that seem momentously long.
Brian considered what he had told her. The weather had saved him given him another chance, he could change the path of his life now.. The thunder had swallowed up one betrayal giving him a reprieve, a moment to think things through once again. he could trade one betrayal for another now, make a different choice, hurt a different person sure that no matter what he would be hurt too. He had another reprieve, an extra moment to think. To think about himself, to think about...
“no he hasn't been unfaithful, he wouldn't do that.”
“and ...you wouldn't lie to me............would you?”
Well enough with the lies, he thought, here's a question he could finally answer, and answer truthfully.
“no more that he'd cheat.”
Was that irony? He wasn't sure, close enough anyway. What was he thinking of right now, this wasn't the time for thoughts of irony, not now when he had sealed his fate. He looked at Shara, she seemed jittery now, the pain hadn't all drained from her face, there was some there if he looked at her. It signified a chance, a chance to correct what he had done, to tell her the truth but he couldn't. Instead he looked away playing the part of a guilty lover now.
“I have something to tell you then” said Shara. And now there were the beginnings of a smile on her face a real smile if that was possible. Not a joyful one, a resigned one. He could imagine a French revolutionary from some long ago history smiling the same smile. Smiling it as she took a cigarette in her mouth and dared the firing squad to do their worst. He could see the mademoiselle continuing to smile as she lit the cigarette and keep this grotesque feature on her face until the last possible moment when the bullet struck her in her stomach and tore through all that was her, as the momentum slammed against her and made her spit out the cigarette, he could imagine that woman of yore smiling even then. A look of anguish finally replacing it as the life went out of her eyes. He looked at Shara now and her eyes were so full of life, full of zest. He knew this wouldn’t last, everyone finds out and the bullet would hit her and that would be it and in a big way it would be his fault.
“Ian asked me to marry him. That's why I had to know and now that I do am going to say yes.”
now he was the one facing death, a deer caught in the headlights, he had no idea where that had come from and now that it loomed before him large and luminous he couldn't bring himself to think of ought else. He forced himself to go through the motions. He smiled, a crinkly smile, one that tugged at his skin like it had always been stretched taut. The skin felt like it would break right then stretched too taut for a wink and now he was using all those muscles to smile. What if his face tore open right then. It could his heart had. He hugged her just so he wouldn't have to look at her and begged speechlessness,a second titbit of honesty he wryly thought.
“am so glad for you, he'll be a little pissed he wasn't the one to tell me though.”
“yer well, any wine? Liquor hardly seems celebratory.”
“none, but I do have these cigarettes.”
he popped one in his mouth and she did the same, he lit them both and stood back to regard this scene, too uncomfortably like what he had thought of before. His hands shook. If only he had met her first.
If only you had met me first thought Shara but only because it hurt her to admit the truth you did you drunken asshole you did meet me first. How could you forget. She couldn't. That night was all too clear, a party and a conversation with this guy, this guy standing right in front of her because he was shitfaced(then) and it amused her to play with drunks, especially the ones who were too drunk to remember the next day. He had been going through something. That was the problem with the 2 men in her life always going through something,never just being. But he was funny nonetheless. Charming, witty and above all stumbling. She had ended up talking to him for a very long time, she thought he had sobered up but..
Well she had gotten progressively more drunk,concentric inebriation. And at a point she was drunk enough to give herself an excuse for a kiss. She gathered her courage just as he gathered his guts and spilled them, all over the floor And that was that, except not really.
Ian had come flying across the room, the very picture of concern, worried for his friend. Desperate to make sure he hadn't made a horrible impression on the beautiful lady. Caring, bending , wiping, talking, charming. And when he asked for help to put Brian to sleep in a bed upstairs, it seemed the most natural thing. They laughed as they lugged their log of a friend up the stairs. He lurched awake once and saw her, he smiled and muttered to himself “I won't forget”
but you did, completely. It had been Ian who remembered, Ian who called ,who took her out, who she fell in love with(well both really), Ian who asked her to marry him. Ian who she would say yes to. If Ian was a cheat Brian was a liar this was her rock and her hard place. A part of her knew the truth but another part was too scared of being dashed to pieces between these 2 heartbreaks to take note. So she decided to believe. But you did see me first you drunken bastard.
Nagging doubts were no way to start a marriage but a hard slap to the butt was no way to start a life and yet that's what always happened. “my fiancée will be wondering where I got to,” she grabbed her car keys as she said this and headed out the door.
Brian watched from the doorway, lighting another cigarette. Sad that the two most important people in his life would be in the middle of so much joy and that this brought a feeling in the pit of his stomach, a horrid feeling. The kind of feeling that you get when you've been drinking too much and your stomach refuses all remedies. This was the thing about choices though, they left you cast in stone. He let the door shut itself,he needed to drink.