The morning hit me like a wall full of heavy bricks. I sit up and look to my dresser to see a bottle of water, two pills a note.
Went into work. Wish me luck. Rest today. I texted Alex so he may show up to check on you.
"Shit," I cursed and grip my head. “What happened last night? I don't want him to come over."
I get up and wince from the pain. I’m still wearing my clothing from the bar. My phone beeps to show low battery and I plug in to charge it before checking it.
There’s a phone call to Alex and a couple of texts. All of those texts are of photos.
My eyes grow wide.
Alex has now seen me riding a bull, in mini jean shorts, and seen my hip after I got drenched from a water bucket that Megan thought could make me less drunk. Yap, everything just came back to me. I zoom into the photo of my jeans that slipped a little to reveal my scar on my hip. Darn! I didn’t want him to see my scar from that attack.
An image of that man comes to my mind and I drop my phone. I haven’t thought about the attack in ages. Quickly, I take the pills and text Alex not to come.
After shower, I took a cab to the massage parlor and took my last lesson with Nadine who had a cheesy smile throughout the lesson. It didn’t help my mood so I decided to go get my eyebrows done and wax my legs, arms… everything because I knew for tomorrow I had to look perfect when I didn’t feel that way.
My bag had my dark glasses which covered my reddened eyebrows and the rest was covered by my clothing. After that was done, I’ve gone back to Megan’s to take a bath. My nails were still in perfect condition so I didn’t need to worry about them. I laid under the bubbles, thinking that it was a first time for me to have someone wax me. I guess women did that for weddings and big occasions so it wasn’t supposed to feel violating, but it still did.
The water hurt my bruises, but helped my tired bones. I still had an hour before Megan would show up and grill me on my hair. I remember her telling me that she wanted to play around with styles and I don’t her that I just wanted to keep my hair down. Apparently, there are pretty hot hairstyles for having hair down. Thoughts of running away lingered in my mind, especially because of my scar. I hope that Alex didn’t notice it on the photo, however I know Alex to be observant like me so there’s little chance.
I put on my old sundress just in time because the doorbell rings. I come up to the door and call out for the person to name himself.
“Your husband,” Alex called back. “Bringing cheese pizza and lemonade.”
I open the door and grin, but then remember last night. “I’m thinking about letting you in.”
He tilts his head. “Hope you make up your mind soon. The aroma is killing me.”
I laugh. “You’re lucky that it isn’t meat or else I wouldn’t invite you in.”
“What’s wrong with meat?” Alex asked.
“I’m vegetarian. Though I eat salmon or tilapia on occasion,” I told him. “Come in.”
Something flashes behind his beautiful eyes and he walks into the house. I follow him into the kitchen and sit down next to him at the bar table after getting plates and glasses. He opens the pizza box and I pour the lemonade. He then slides his finger against my thigh making me shiver and smiles.
“Soft skin,” he said.
“Th… thanks,” I replied and quickly grab a slice. After finishing it, I say, “I just have one question.”
“Yes,” Alex replied simply.
“Did I call you last night or did Megan?” I asked.
He laughs in response and I glare at him. “It was Megan.”
“Oh, good because if I called you, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself,” I told him.
“Now, I have a question,” Alex said. “We’re you drenched with water or beer and why?”
“Water,” I said while laughing. “Stupid Megan. She thought it could help me sober up.”
Alex smiles but then that smile disappears. He touches my hip and his fingers linger there.
I look to a painting and say, “You’re going to laugh at me, but I don’t remember what happened.”
“Nothing?” He sounded disbelieving.
“Sometimes I think it involved a sick man. What I do remember is excruciating pain. My aunt told me that she heard me scream. She didn’t think kids could scream like that. When she got to where I was, she screamed herself and cops came, medics came. No one knew what happened to me. They said a dog attackand no one believed me that there was a man. A man couldn’t have done that. Sometimes I believe them, but most of the time, I believe that hazy image of him. Helps me keep myself sane. I was five.”
“I’m sorry,” he said.
I looked away from the painting to him. I thought that he would sound disgusted. Break off our agreement because he would need a fake wife with a perfect body for photo shoots and showing off. But, he actually sounded compassionate and he only said those two words.
I’m seriously living a dream.
“Want to know a secret?” Alex’s lips near my ear surprised me. When did he move and so fast?
“Yes,” I whispered back.
“I was jealous of Mr. West. He got a chance to dance with you,” Alex whispered.
I blush. “Then, maybe we can go dancing…”
Alex gets up, pulls out his cell phone, and in the next seconds, classical musical starts playing.
I laugh and allow him to lead me into a slow dance. “You surprise me.”
“In a good way?” He asked.
“Thank you for cheering me up. So, what will happen tomorrow? What kind of poses will they ask for?”
“They will tell us to kiss, hug, touch, and dance. They will tell us where to look and how. For our private photoshoot, we can do anything, though. We can dance like this. We can fall onto a bed and ruin our clothing. We can run around wild if you want,” Alex said.
I laugh. “You’re too much, but I think that I will be really be bad at it. So much pressure.”
“Just have fun,” Alex told me.
“All right,” I said and allow him to spin me. When I return back into his arms, I smile and say, “Kiss me.”
He smiles and pulls me in closer. This kiss is different, more real if you will. I feel on fire and can’t believe that I am kissing the man of my dreams. Now, I need to become the woman of his. A small growl escapes from him and I wrap my arms around his neck. He picks me up and sets me down on the counter, next to the pizza.
The kiss is interrupted by the front door and voices coming through.
“She’s home. Let me get her,” Megan said.
We pull apart to see her walk in with James. She looks at us, the pizza, and lemonade.
“Shit,” she cursed.
I roll my eyes and jump off the counter while Alex turns off the music. “James? How did you find me?”
“I got my ways,” he replied and glared at Alex. “You shouldn’t be here, especially after cheating on your wife last night.”
I gasp and step away from Alex. He looks angry.
“You followed me?” Alex asked. “I guess being in love with my wife makes a man crazy. Both of us know that I went to a business meeting and nothing more. I didn’t stay long either.”
“Yeah, I followed you because I trust you as a friend, not as a husband to my best friend,” James snarled.
“I wouldn’t hurt Amy,” Alex said.
“Really?” James laughs. “You aren’t capable. She will get hurt and I will be left to pick up the pieces.”
I look at Megan who looks like I feel. I have no idea what’s going on but James’s behavior is out of line. I mean, I know that Alex and I have a fake marriage and that he probably has lovers. I grip my chest after feeling a pang of pain, but we never signed a contract that we would only see each other while this lie is in motion.
“Amy is a lot stronger than you give her credit for,” Alex growled. “And another thing. Why would a man cheat on a woman like her? She looks like a supermodel and is not superficial.”
“That’s it!” Megan erupted. “Take this fight somewhere else.”
Alex looks at me. “Can you meet me at the hotel at 8:50 AM? I have a surprise for you. Megan, it would nice if you can join her.”
“Of course,” I told him. After what he said, I would follow him anywhere.
The men leave.
“Pizza?” I asked Megan.