Two years later, my parents’ divorce was finalized. My mother would take permanent residency in Manhattan; my father would station himself in Boston. No battle for custody—I was already of age. My parents decided to give the house to me instead of selling it and dividing the profits between them.
I was angry. My parents had decided to abandon the house…the happy house where Thomas and I had grown up! Where they last saw Tom! I refused to let the memories go. They could divide all their properties except this house…I could not believe they were walking away from it and all the memories it had.
I was in my room, and as always, I decided to channel my emotions onto the canvas. I didn’t know what I was painting. But it was a mixture of dark blues, blacks, violets, swirling around in angry patterns. I was on the brink of crying. That day marked the end, not just of a chapter of my life, but of a whole story.
I swirled the violet paint
Wednesday, I surprised Chris by showing up in his office. He was having a chat with one of his lady colleagues. He was surprised when he saw me at the door of his office.“Brianne!” he beamed. He came to me and gave me a kiss. “I thought we weren’t meeting until seven.”“I thought I should pick you up for a change,” I said. “I hope it’s not a bad time.”He shook his head. “It’s perfect!” He turned to the blonde sitting in his office. “Alana, this is my girlfriend, Brianne.”Alana was a beautiful blonde with startling blue eyes. She was wearing a pencil-cut suit that hugged her body to perfection. She smiled at me brightly. “It’s nice to finally put a face to the name. I’ve heard so much about you.”She extended her hand to me and I shook it. Standing beside Alana made me feel out of place. I was wearing a pair of skin-tight jeans and an
We had a dance show the next day. Before going to the theater, I dropped by Chris’s apartment to pick up some of my stuff. I’d left some of my dance clothes at his place.He wasn’t there, but the girl named Alana was. I was tempted to ask her what she was doing in Chris’s apartment, but I guess I didn’t have to be a genius to guess that.I was even more heartbroken than I was before. We’d been broken up less than twenty-four hours, and there was already another woman in his house.Sarah was close to berating me for showing up a few minutes late.“I dropped by Chris’s apartment to get my stuff,” I said, motioning at the box on the floor.“Wow! That does not look good!”I laughed humorlessly. “It doesn’t. But I can’t think of that now! I need to dress up!”I focused on my dance pieces. I had one with Sarah and some guys. It was a contemporary piece
When we got back to the hotel, Travis and I sat on the bed and talked. We were…well, basically planning our future. Although we were not lovers, we were betrothed and whether we liked it or not, we had lives that we would live together, for the next two years, minimum.“You said you were thinking of moving cities,” he said.“Yes.”“Then come to Manhattan with me,” he said. “You can manage your gallery there instead. You can paint all you want. I’m pretty sure there are dance studios that would be happy to accommodate you.”“That sounds like a plan.” I smiled. I found that proposal interesting.“I have an apartment there. You can move in with me.”“Why? Can’t I rent my own?”“Useless,” Travis replied. His tone told me that he thought my idea was ridiculous. “When do you intend to get married anyway? You’re appr
In the mornings, I made sure I was up to make coffee for Travis before he left for work. I did his tie and helped him put on his suit.He smiled at me. “You’ll do a good job at being Mrs. Cross,” he teased. “I’m beginning to get used to this.”I laughed. “And who said you were difficult to live with?”Travis rarely came home at eleven in the evenings anymore. Most of the time, it was earlier than that, and we had dinner together.One night, he came home late and I had fallen asleep on the living room couch waiting for him. When I woke up again, I was already back in the bed with Travis snoring quietly on the couch.I had a chat on the phone with Karl one Friday night. He warned me that Travis was in a foul mood. He’d had a meeting with his father, and it didn’t go well.“Like how bad?”“Really bad. Travis was pushing his father to the wall, making him realiz
The next Friday night, I was having coffee with Eric. He was on a business trip in Manhattan. He figured he’d see me first before he went back to Connecticut.We were interrupted when my phone rang. My heart pounded when I saw Chris’s number on the screen.“Chris. What’s he calling me for?”“Realizing what a big fool he’s been?” Eric suggested.I answered the call. “What?”I heard Chris’s intake of breath on the other line. “Brianne…” His voice was sober. “I’ve been waiting for you in your apartment.”“What? Who told you to go there? I should have changed the locks! I cannot believe you had the nerve to actually use your keys!”He didn’t say anything for a while. He took another deep breath. “Are you coming home anytime soon? It’s been nearly two weeks now. And I see no signs of you. I dropped by the dan
I went to Travis’s office on Monday. Since Karl wouldn’t be in, I volunteered to help him out in case he needed assistance. But when I got there, I was the one surprised. There was an easel at one corner of his office, and the coffee table had a box of Godiva chocolates and a bouquet of roses on top of it.“Is it always like this?” I asked him, looking at the lovely roses.He stood behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. “I have a special visitor today. I thought she’d like to indulge in a box of sweets.”I laughed and turned around so I could face him. “And the easel is for?”He smiled and wrapped his arms around my waist again. “So you can paint or draw and leave me alone to my work.”“I can paint at home—why did you agree that I come here if you weren’t going to need me anyway?”He shrugged. “I just want you to be here.” He hugged
I had my bachelorette party back home. Friends from college and from the dance club and a couple of my relatives were there. We had it at a little resort. Somebody actually rented a stripper.I was extremely embarrassed when the stripper danced for me. I was pushing Sarah to take my seat at the center of the room.“Come on, Brianne! You’re not getting any from your fiancé—why not just have no-strings-attached fun with that cutie?” Sarah asked.“Because I don’t want my other cousins to think that I’m not faithful to Travis!” I argued. But honestly, had I only slept with two men in my life. One was my boyfriend of two years. And I was marrying the other one in a couple of days.“For someone who’s not really in a relationship with your fiancé, you’re pretty damn loyal!”“If you do this, I’ll do anything you want!” I begged her.“Okay, f
For once, my parents decided to behave in front of each other as they walked me down the aisle.I was nervous as hell, my palms were sweating, and my heart was pounding wildly inside my chest. Did every bride feel like this? I felt scared…terrified. I felt self-conscious that every eye was on me.But when I raised my face toward the altar, I saw Travis standing there, looking magnificent in a tux. He was looking at me intensely…as if he couldn’t take his eyes off me…as if I were the only woman in the room. He was looking at me the way I wanted my real groom to look at me. Tears welled up in my eyes.He looked down to me as he took my hand from my father. He gave me a crooked smile that made my heart stop beating altogether.“Hello, beautiful,” he whispered.“Hey,” I managed to say.He raised my hand to his lips and gave it a kiss. Then he guided me toward the altar.Travis held my han