Wil looked disbelieving. She felt stupid and sick and wondered if he was going to treat it like a joke, but he swallowed and with a slow smile said, “I’m glad you told me that.”
He kissed her for the first time that night. He drove her home, putting a hand on her shoulder just as she was about to leave the car. “I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said seriously, “but for right now I want to kiss you.”
She should have known; should have heard only the first sentence and leaned away, demanded that he tie up his loose ends, end his failing marriage and come to her as unencumbered as he could. But she stared into his dark eyes and heard only that he wanted her and so they kissed.
Wil didn’t want an ‘official’ relationship until he’d left his wife but he told Wren things were delicate and convoluted. Amie was stonewalling his efforts to discuss custody, money and possessions. He was afraid he’d lose all but the most limited access to his son if he rushed into a separation. He asked Wren to be patient, to help him through it and give him a safe haven.
So she allowed their time together to be clandestine and hidden. A few hours here and there at her apartment, lust-driven visits that ended all too soon with a feeling of disappointment when he was gone. Her bed seemed large and lonely on those nights but she tried to bide her time. She believed him when he described how uncomfortable it was to sleep on the pull-out sofa every night. She empathized with his stories about how Amie was furtively using online dating sites and she shook her head over Amie’s petty behavior toward him regarding their son.
After a few months he got a new job that involved convoluted shift work, making his previously steady work schedule a sudden mystery to her. She’d go days with nothing but a couple of texts from him or a call here and there while he was on his way to pick his son up from school or running other errands.
She felt neglected. They were only seeing each other in person once or twice every few weeks. His excuses became predictable; long hours at the new job, watching his son while Amie worked or just no good excuse to get a few hours away from home without making Amie angry. Wren made herself believe he was working toward being with her, that he simply needed some more time.
She began her habit of long walks in the evening just to get out of the apartment. Impatiently waiting at home was making her crazy so she headed out into the dark and walked briskly, creating a route for herself that took about an hour. She held her phone on those walks, though, waiting for the buzz of an incoming text that might just be him. What she was trying to escape on those walks followed her, drew her reluctantly back to the apartment where she checked her email and home phone messages as soon as she got in the door.
Her few close friendships eroded. Even though she had convinced herself that what she was doing wasn’t exactly wrong (he said his relationship was over, after all) it still was not something she was proud of. He was still technically married, still living with his wife and son and not telling anyone about their romance. She didn’t feel she could confide in anyone and so spoke less and less to those who knew her best. In time her somewhat socially dry existence became more or less solitary apart from her mother, brother and Wil.
The sting of that was keen now that Wil was maintaining radio silence. She had no one to turn to.
Tags: Chapter Four