When I land in New Orleans, I rent a car and head for Fort Polk. It’s about a three hour drive from the airport but I should arrive before dinnertime. There was a slight delay leaving O’Hare this morning thanks to a nasty thunderstorm rolling through. I couldn’t help but wonder if that was an omen of some kind. I believe in signs and that was a big one. For a minute I thought about canceling my flight but I decided not to. I need to just get this over with.
Trey has no idea I’m coming. I’m not certain that I’m going to breakup with him, but we need to talk face to face. Face to face over Skype doesn’t count.
I stop once for coffee about halfway there because driving long distances always makes me a little sleepy. The rest of the drive is smooth sailing and by the time I reach his house just off the base, I’m no closer to knowing what I’m going to do. I want to hear him out before I make a decision and I’m going to tell him the truth about everything. He deserves to know it and I deserve whatever judgment I get from him for doing it.
I pull into the driveway and his truck isn’t there, but there’s a cute little Honda CR-V in the driveway with tinted windows and a little decal on the back window with a man, woman, two kids and a dog stick figures. I find that odd but assume maybe he’s hired a housekeeper or something. The military has turned him into a big time neat freak. I can always tell when he’s been at my place because everything is perfectly squared, centered or straight.
All the same, I park in the driveway and go to the trunk to get my bag. The last time I was here was last summer and it was only for a long weekend. Trey had to go back to Kentucky to visit his family for part of his leave, but it was a nice few days. Technically, I stayed in a hotel because he told me it got kind of loud around there with the rifle ranges and whatnot, but I did spend some time at the house. I roll my bag along behind me and walk up to the front door.
I ring the bell and wait for someone to come to the door, whether it’s Trey or the housekeeper. Maybe his sister is visiting or something. Who knows.
It takes a minute or so before a woman around my age opens the door. She has dark hair, blue eyes and she’s clearly pregnant.
“Can I help you?” she asks, closing the door some behind her to block whatever is inside.
“Yeah, I’m looking for Trey Dawson,” I tell her. “This is 74 Pendleton Court, right?”
“It is, he’s not home right now. I’m his wife, is there anything I can do for you?”
His… his what?
“His what? No, no, no, Trey isn’t married,” I say in disbelief. “I’ve been dating him for ten… his wife?!”
How the hell is he married?!
The woman looks just as surprised as I am.
“I assure you, I’ve been Trey Dawson’s wife for the last fifteen years,” she tells me, wrapping her hands protectively around her belly.
What. The. Actual. Fuck?
“I… you… how? I’ve been seeing him for over ten years. I would know if he was–” Would I really know if he was married? Now that I think about it, he’s had plenty of chances to keep it hidden from me. His Skype conversations are always from base. He seems to call me when he’s on his way to or from work.
I’m a fucking idiot.
“Ten years?” she replies. Her eyes are wide and she glances back into the house before she steps out and closes the door. “What do you mean you’ve been dating my husband for ten years?”
“We met at Mardi Gras ten years ago,” I tell her. I tell her the story of how we met in the French Quarter and she stops me right before I can tell her we hooked up the night we met.
She has tears threatening to spill over but she takes a deep breath and stammers, “I’m not sure… I was… I’m going to kill him.”
“I’m so sorry,” I say sincerely. “I had no idea he was married. If I had known I wouldn’t have gotten involved with him.”
I realize how that probably sounds to her and I’m sure she doesn’t believe me, but I’m completely stunned by this.
“He’s… Good at getting his way,” she says angrily. She looks down to see my bag and says, “I’m sorry you flew all the way here, but–” She stops when a car pulls up behind me. The look on her face tells me it’s Trey. “That motherfucker…”
A few seconds later I hear his feet on the pavement behind me.
“Janella… Oh shit,” he whispers.
I turn to look at Trey and say, “Surprise, motherfucker.”
The look on his face says it all. He’s been cheating on his wife with me and he’s been lying to me about being married and having kids for the entirety of our relationship.
“You’re pregnant. I’ll kill him,” I tell his wife.
“Sookie, I… Janel–” He’s cut short when a ring goes flying at his head.
“I’m done with your shit, Trey!” she yells at him. She slams the door, leaving me with Trey on the front porch.
“Sookie, I’m sorry,” he sighs.
“You’re sorry?! Ten years of stringing me along, and you’re sorry? Fuck you and your apology! I was coming here to try and make things work and you already have a wife and what… how many kids are you hiding Trey? You’ve been married fifteen years. I’m sure this isn’t your first,” I glare at him. “You know what? Fuck this. Enjoy your divorce.”
“Sookie, no, don’t go. I’m sure we can–”
“I’ve been fucking someone else!” I reveal. “The night you canceled my last trip, probably because you remembered it was your wife’s birthday or your anniversary or one of your kids had some school play you had to go to, I fucked someone else! Then I did it again at Freyda’s wedding. Then again and again and again for weeks. How does that feel? Or do you not even care?”
“It’s fair. I don’t like it, but it’s fair. I do love you, Sookie. That’s not a lie.”
My hand flies up and I slap him across his lying, cheating face.
“Bullshit! If you loved me, you would have told me all about this from the beginning and you didn’t! You used me and you used your wife. You’re a selfish little shit and I never want to see or hear you again, do you understand? This is over. Over.” I’m shaking, I’m so mad at him.
“Contrary to what you might believe, I have bigger fish to fry,” he growls and pushes past me.
“Yeah, yeah go deal with your wife.”
“You should’ve called, Sookie.”
“I didn’t think I needed to,” I snicker. “Maybe you shouldn’t have brought your mistress to your wife’s home, jackass. This is no one’s fault but yours and fuck you very much for trying to blame me for this shitstorm.”
I grab my suitcase and start to walk away. I don’t need to hear whatever other bullshit he’s planning on telling me. I will, however, be in contact with his wife because whatever evidence she needs that he’s been cheating on her for the last ten years, I will be more than happy to give to her. If I have to face the consequences of what I did, then so does he.
A week later I’m back in Chicago. I took a few days off just to get my head together. I called Jason to tell him about Trey and he offered to come down to Louisiana to be with me, but I needed the space. So now I’m standing outside Terminal 1, waiting for my brother to come pick me up. His truck is easy to spot since it’s got neon flames on the side panels, plus the horn on that thing is obnoxiously loud. Sounds like a goddamn train whistle and he scares the entire platform shitless when he lays on it.
I guess it’s better than the pornstar moaning he originally wanted to have installed.
Jase pulls into the pickup lane and hops down from his truck with a shit eating grin on his face. He loves scaring people with that fucking horn.
“You know one of these days someone is going to shoot you because of that stupid horn,” I warn for the millionth time.
“Nah, I’m too pretty,” he winks as he comes over to take my bag.
“You won’t be with a gunshot wound to your face,” I snicker.
“Hush it, woman. How are you doing?”
“Been better, but considering the circumstances, I’m good. At least I’m not his wife,” I shrug. “I met her for coffee yesterday. She’s actually a very nice woman.” Jason’s looking at me like I’m nuts. “What? Her husband fucked us both over.”
“Women are nuts,” he chuckles. “Your friend Jessica just told me she’s still seeing that Hoyt guy.”
“At least she was honest. Besides, isn’t it a little soon to be talking about getting exclusive with each other? You’ve only gone out with her twice, as far as I know.” Jason’s generally not the kind of guy that wants a girlfriend at all, so the fact that he’s even considering a future with Jessica means he must really like her. That means I, as his baby sister, must tease him mercilessly. “Ooooh you like her! Jason and Jessica sittin’ in a tree–”
“Shut up,” he says and smacks me in the arm. “I just don’t see the point of her dating him when we have chemistry.”
“Maybe they have chemistry too,” I point out as I climb up in the truck.
Jason’s also not used to competition where ladies are concerned. He’s used to flashing his charming smile, saying a few kind words and buying just enough drinks to grease the wheels.
He shrugs and asks, “What about Eric? Are you going to tell him about Trey or just it blow over like it didn’t happen?”
“He’s seeing someone,” I tell him. “At least I’m pretty sure he is. Remember that girl Aude I was sort of seeing back in college?” Jason knows about that stuff. Not all the details of it, but he knows that Aude and I were… involved. Our parents, however, have no idea. I don’t see the point in bringing that up.
“Are they dating or just fucking? And are you okay with that?”
“I don’t know if they’re dating. I haven’t talked to Aude about it. Honestly? I don’t feel like I have a right to be upset about it. I’m not thrilled about it, but Eric could do way worse than Aude.”
Jason slams on the brakes and throws his arm out in a soccer mom fashion, despite the seatbelt I have on. Then he lays on his horn again and scares everyone at Terminal 3.
“You have every right to be upset,” he says like he didn’t just mow down three cars. “You introduced them. He was your thing, she should know all about the girl code or whatever that shit is that made Summer say no to me.”
“But he wasn’t my boyfriend at the time. Besides, he made it clear that he’s not interested in seeing me anymore and it would probably be better for me to spend some time alone. If I’m meant to end up with him, I will.” I believe in fate, too.
“Why the hell wouldn’t he want to see you still? You’re a great catch,” Jason growls.
“I’m also a liar and a cheater,” I point out. “I concealed Trey and didn’t tell him that he was the other man, just that I didn’t want a relationship. I fucked up, Jase, not him.”
“I guess I’m a different kind of man. I wouldn’t have given a fuck,” he sighs. “It was just sex. He wasn’t hurting anyone.”
“He said he didn’t want to be a part of me cheating.”
“I guess. I’m sure you’ll meet someone soon enough.”
“Maybe. Mostly I think I should take some time, get my head on straight and then try again. Regardless of how it ended, I really did love Trey. I believed all the things he told me and it’s making me question myself. Ten years, Jason. For ten years he managed to fool me. I never thought I was stupid, but–”
“You’re not stupid. He was a lying, conniving jackass. Manipulative sons of bitches like him always prey on sweet, honest girls. Don’t ever think this was your fault.”
“I should have known. There were signs.”
“You loved him, Sook. It doesn’t matter what signs there were. It will never be your fault.”
“It’s going to take some time for that to sink in, but I appreciate you saying it,” I say sincerely. “Right now, I just want to go home and drown my sorrows in deep dish pizza and slasher flicks.”
“If you want some company I’m not busy,” he offers.
“You’re welcome to stay. I’ve been meaning to watch that copy of Evil Dead you gave me anyway.”
Jason manages to scare a few hundred more people on the drive back to my apartment in the city. I know he’ll be dragging me to the gym tomorrow to work off that pizza if he stays over. He’s way more body conscious than I am, but he’s just looking out for me. I love him for that.
My thoughts turn to Eric briefly but I push them away. Now’s not the time to worry about getting back into a relationship. I would just be using him like I was before and that’s not fair to him at all. He deserves better and so do I. Besides, I don’t even know if I would want to pursue a real relationship with him and until I know for sure, its best that I leave him be.