His hands are saying that he wants to hold her.
His feet are saying that he wants to chase after her…
He’s probably forgotten that I’m here, beside him.
At some point – way too soon if you asked Blaine and me – came Anastasia’s 6th birthday.
Her little brother Brendan was walking already and lucky for us, of a much sweeter disposition and a much easier child with no tantrums worth mentioning. He adored his big sister, while Anastasia still seemed torn between love and hate for him, but he was such a sweet kid that it was hard not to like him. Even for her.
Naturally it wasn’t all ponies and rainbows. Some days were better than others, some days were rough.
One of those rough days is the one that brought me to the brink of my strength.
Started out the same as always, wake the kids, breakfast, take Anya to school, Brendan was spending the day at the zoo with friends of ours and their kids, giving me time to clean up, check emails.
Ding made my phone with a message, I looked at it right away, thinking it was Blaine, who was away for his work, some collab with other artists, bringing out an album together, huge deal.
It wasn’t him, but an anonymous sender. A multimedia message.
I looked at it anyway and nearly fell over.
I felt the blood rushing in my head, thought I was going to faint or just die on the spot, as I could not stop staring at the picture, which clearly showed Blaine half-naked on a bed surrounded by nearly completely naked women.
As soon as I could move again I tried to call Blaine, but my call went straight to voicemail. I spiraled myself into a panic and could not be alone now.
I went through the entire list of friends in my head, but none felt right, except Caleb. I called him and he came over right away.
By the time I opened the door for him I was completely incoherent, a sobbing mess as I tried to explain to him what happened, then just nearly slapped my phone onto his eyeballs.
He caught my hand, took a brief look, then began to calm me. It took a long time, he proved once more how patient he could be.
“Vik, please calm down, my petal … you do not know the full story …”
“FULL STORY?!!?! FULL STORY?!!? Like what? How often he screwed which chick?!?! Thank you very much, Caleb, I do not want that full story!!!”
“Viktoria, he may not have …”
“STOP! He may not have …. are you BLIND?!”
“I see it’s not flattering, all I am saying is, let Blaine explain …”
“Explain what?! Why he is in bed with naked chicks?!? I KNOW what you do on a bed as a naked woman with a practically naked man! This hurts me, more than I can say, I am … hmph!”
In the middle of my tear-lined rant Caleb had just grabbed me and sealed my lips with his. At first I was stiff for surprise, then I tried to push him away, then I melted into it, until I reciprocated in kind.
Yeah, I was now willingly making out with Caleb Vatore in my living room. Oh, but I didn’t stop there. I do not know if it was the pain of Blaine’s betrayal or whatever there had always been budding between Caleb and me, but I kept kissing him, pulled off his shirt and began to caress his upper body. Suddenly the cold feel of his body no longer bothered me.
When I started fondling the buttons of his pants, he stopped me.
“No. Not like this, my darling.” Caleb’s voice sounded raspy.
“You don’t want me either? More rejection because I am too old, a mother?”
“Shhh! Don’t speak such nonsense! You know better than that. You are vulnerable and I am weak. This is not right. I don’t want it like this.”
“Oh God, you are right. What was I thinking. Poor Cassandra!”
“Yes, poor Cassandra indeed, and poor Blaine, innocent until confirmed guilty. I better leave now. I believe I should go before we do things we will regret and which will make us hate ourselves and each other. I could not bear to lose you from my life completely.”
Next thing I know was I was left alone to wallow in my shame. What had I done?! I was so ashamed of my transgression. This was unlike me. I didn’t kiss other men like that. No matter what Blaine did. He was a cheating ass, but that didn’t mean I should be one too. Oh man.
About an hour later Blaine came home, or tried to, but I had locked up from inside, keys stuck in the locks. When nothing else worked, he kicked in the front door, but before he could say a word I flashed the picture in his face, laying into him.
“You cheating, lying, backstabbing MANWHORE! You dirty, filthy SCUM!!!”
His reaction surprised me right away. He didn’t look like a caught cheater, but annoyed.
Then he pulled something from his bag and slammed it on the table before me. A magazine cover mock up from pre-production with the very same image on it.
“It … was … ” I mumbled deflated staring at it.
“Staged, yes, for a magazine cover of GQ magazine, to go along with my latest hit song “Sea of Girls”. Guess they couldn’t round up enough naked chicks to make a sea for me to float in, so a bed had to do. You know, that GQ, which happens to be only one of the biggest magazines worldwide. Yeah, but thanks for your confidence and trust.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about a photoshoot?”
“I did tell you about it last night, but you were too engrossed in what Brendan was babbling to Charlie, judging by the five million pictures you took while filtering out what your husband was excited about. I mean, GQ, Vik. That’s a big deal, especially for a semi-nobody as me.”
“But … but, … it … just …. it looked so real …” I stuttered. Oops, wife-hearing and mommy/puppy goggles had done me in. I now faintly remembered Blaine saying something about photos and a magazine. Ooopsie. Guilty as charged, if he only knew HOW guilty I was and of WHAT. I wanted to sink into the ground NOW.
“Guess that was the idea, but what do I know, I am only the monkey strumming on the guitar, and doing what they tell me to. Please observe, I am clothed where it counts and none of the ladies’ lady-bits are touching me directly, except maybe some stray fake boobie on my hairy leg, but whatever. That censorship while naked was my request so the jealous wife volcano wouldn’t blow up in my face once you found out, which is why I brought home a sample of the mag before if even goes into production. See, I suck at being a man-whore too, and probably lost my man-card, I guess, can’t even get cheating right.”
“Blaine, I am so sorry.”
“You should be! And I want to hear no grief from you about the broken front door. That shit’s on you, babygirl! Locking me out of my own house for no reason at all, seriously. When has locking me out of this home ever stopped me before, huh?” Blaine was referring to a time when we were kids and teens and this was still my mother’s home. Let’s just say, he has been snuck in through windows more times then I can count.
“You still call me babygirl, so … you’re not that mad …?”
“Pissed beyond recognition, but lucky for you, you are the only wife I got, divorces are a drag and truth be told, this is kinda hot, you all jealous-like and shit. If you give your man some love, he may forget all about it.”
“Oh Blaine, I cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am! I apologize for going all ‘Karen’ on you! I should never have believed this crap. But who the heck sent me that message then and why?! And you are soo sweet for being nice about it .. and not mad and even joke and for calling me babygirl ….” I was babbling upon realizing I was more of a cheater now than he was. YIKES!
“How am I supposed to know who sent you that shit? My money would be on some reporter with inside connections, hoping to stir up some drama where there is none. I am the world’s most boring rock musician. But since you are so sorry right now, does that mean you’ll put out? Cos I may be an honorable non-cheating asshole who knows when to keep my grabby paws to myself, but spending half a day surrounded by almost naked chicks, then coming home you all red-hot, so very jealous, and now soooo very sorry and pouty, well, that got me all hot and bothered now.”
“Is that a yes? That better be a yes! Well, we’re running out of kid-free time so I’ll go with it’s a yes.”
He lifted me into his arms and carried me to the bedroom, kissing me demandingly.
We were barely done and presentable again when Anastasia came home. The greeting she gave her daddy was heartwarming and over the top, while I barely got a hello.
“Why is our door broken?”
“Daddy forgot his keys. Someone will be by to fix it later.” Blaine told her dryly.
“Daddy, will you help me with my homework?”
“Honey, I’ll help you, daddy is tired and …”
“NO! I want my DADDY to help!” she said quickly.
“Oh boy. It’s okay, I’ll help her. Might as well, while I still can. Once she’s in second grade, I’ll be useless! Yeah, sweet pea, your daddy’s dumber than a box of rocks, so you better stay in school and learn all you can.”
While our daughter had never been the easiest child, this was odd and saddened me deeply. I had always been so close with my mother, but guess that honor would elude me with my own daughter. She had always clearly preferred her dad and it was only getting more pronounced the older she got.
But this wasn’t the tip of the iceberg yet.
We were sitting at dinner when another bomb dropped. Out of nowhere Anastasia suddenly burst out with
“Mommy kissed uncle Caleb. On the mouth.”
“Oh really?!” Blaine said, while glancing at me, who had paled to white as sheet levels.
How the heck did my little girl know about that?! Only explanation was that school got out early and she saw us through a window. Oh boy!
“Yes, I saw it!” she now said gleefully.
“So? Uncle Caleb has kissed you before, many times. It’s what uncles do. They kiss everyone. Except me, he knows better. Pretty sure I saw him puckering up for Charlie before, but that dog can be fast if need by. Uncles for ya..” Blaine downplayed it casually.
“But he kisses me on the cheek or forehead, with mommy he …” Anya tried again.
“Anastasia Cameron! ENOUGH already! Eat your dinner before it gets cold! You wanted fish and chips and now they are getting cold while you flap your gums. What you saw was nothing! You heard daddy! It was nothing.” the last part I directed straight at Blaine.
What was wrong with my daughter?! Why was she so dead set on getting me into trouble with her dad?
And what was wrong with me?! What was I thinking when I kissed Caleb back!? I should have shut him down, not instilled him with false hope! And now Blaine knew. Oh, he knew. I knew him well enough to be able to tell.
The rest of dinner went by in almost complete silence, though it was overshadowed by the weight of the accusations.
When Blaine suddenly left without telling me where to, I knew he wasn’t letting it go. I could not go after him, and was distracted by the hell breaking loose with two bickering kids and a barking dog.
When Blaine arrived at Caleb’s home, Cassandra opened for him.
“Oh hi Blaine! Caleb’s in the living room. He didn’t tell me you were coming over. I’ll get the coffee going, do you want something to eat? I made cookies and …” Cassandra babbled away, but Blaine rushed right past her.
“Thanks – not now!” he growled.
Caleb saw him coming and was greeted by a hard punch, stumbled backwards but caught himself.
Cassandra screamed, Lilith arrived and managed to separate the men before it turned into true violence.
“Are you two insane?! This is a home, ladies and a child live here!” she hissed at both men.
Blaine stopped, let go of Caleb who had barely fought back, if at all.
“Lilith is right. Let’s go buddy, we’re going to have a talk! Outside. NOW!” Blaine growled at Caleb.
“I think not, Blaine. I have a feeling I know what this is about and you might as well talk freely, doubtful it is truly news to anyone here anyway. Plus, it saves me from having to try to explain your outburst later. And it relieves me of a lie I have been living.” Caleb’s voice was low and resigned.
“Fine. What the FUCK are you doing sticking your tongue down MY wife’s throat?! I knew you were hot for her, but she is MINE, I will not let anyone take her from me, especially not what is supposed to be a friend. My wife is not something for you to scratch an itch with!”
“Of course she is not. I know that. I would never.”
“Then what the fuck, man!? WHAT the FUCK?!”
“I don’t know what to tell you, Blaine, other than I am sorry and it will never happen again.”
“Damn skippy it won’t! You are lucky I like you, still, for whatever fucked up reason in my fucked up brain, but I do, otherwise your wife and sister would have to puzzle you back together, you asshole!”
“Ok?! OKAY!? Nah, not good enough. Try again! I need more than that! TALK!” Blaine roared at Caleb.
“What do you want to hear now, Blaine, that you don’t already know? That I had a weak moment when I saw her so sad and vulnerable, sobbing her heart out, thinking you betrayed her, I truly wasn’t sure you hadn’t, but she had come to me for comfort, ME, not any of her other friends, no, me. Do you want to hear that when I held her in my arms, felt her so close, her warmth, the soft skin, that I forgot myself, my manners and that you were my best friend? Do you want to hear that I wanted what I knew I could never have, if only for a moment? Do you want me to admit before my wife, my sister and my best friend that I am in love with his wife? Fine, I love her! Truly, deeply and eternally! Always have, always will. There, is that what you wanted, Blaine?” Caleb nearly spat out the words from the bottom of his soul, clearly painful for him to be so candid.
Cassandra ran out of the room and up the stairs, Lilith followed her.
“What the FUCK, dude?! Have you lost your mind?!” Blaine muttered.
Caleb said no more, Blaine banged his fists against one of the walls repeatedly, while cursing, before he turned back around.
“You know Caleb, maybe I did know this, but didn’t want to acknowledge it, because I have no fucking clue how to handle this. I love you man, but I love my babygirl more and I don’t want to have to choose. I get it, unrequited love happens and is the pits, the pain makes you do crazy shit, I would know, I lived it for many years, or at least I thought it was unrequited, same girl as you even. I have all the understanding in the world for it and would probably just try to let it go and move on, but you dragged my little girl into this shit, and that is where I absolutely draw the line. I know first hand how much bad shit happening to you as a child can fuck you up for life, I will be damned if I let that happen to my kids. So, I need you to stay away from my family from here on out. Don’t come over, don’t invite anyone over and don’t run into my wife and kids anywhere. Am I clear?” Blaine’s voice sounded firm, but there was a sense of melancholy in it.
“Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck!” Blaine said, then left, slamming the door, shortly after that Caleb heard the engine of Blaine’s motorcycle roar.
Suddenly Cassandra appeared in the doorway to the living room, a suitcase by her side. She looked sad, but there were no tears.
Caleb only closed his eyes, frowned. He knew what would come next.
“You left me no choice, Caleb. I was able to ignore it when it was just a suspicion, but now, with it out in the open, I cannot continue hoping that one day you will feel for me what you feel for her. I am done being invisible to you, done pretending, cannot keep trying to fool myself and others without losing all respect for myself. I am moving back in with my parents, please don’t contact me.”
Headlights painted patterns on the wall, they belonged to the taxi cab pulling up that she must have called.
“Goodbye Caleb. Hopefully one day we both will find happiness, even if it couldn’t be with each other. Despite of it all, you are a wonderful man and deserve it, even though you are blind and a little misguided, so laser-focused on what you can’t have, that you overlook what you already had. I deserve someone who sees me and truly wants me, to whom love isn’t just a word you exchange routinely.” she said, then opened the door for the cab driver who took her suitcase, without another look back Cassandra left, pulling the door shut behind her, the sound echoing like an audible ending to a chapter in Caleb and Cassandra’s life.
Caleb felt a hand on his arm, then his sister lean her head gently against his shoulder, as they both stared at the front door.
“On the bright side at least there will be no costly and messy divorce like mortals would have to deal with now, since you never officially were married, right? But damn, Caleb, you really screwed the pooch this time. Everyone knows I don’t have a quarter of your self-control, but even I would have never touched Blaine. Going after Vik could never have ended well. And you are supposed to be the older and wiser one.” Lilith told her brother dryly.