Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Chapter 23: Day One

Somewhere around noon that first day in my little hotel room, the phone calls began. I hadn't counted on the depth of Reed's anger. Then again, based on experience, I hadn't no reason to.

The first call was from my sister-in-law. She attempted to shame me for running off on my boyfriend who needed a woman to guide him. She told me that it was horrible for me to just up and leave someone because of a simple argument. If she left my brother Stephen every time they argued, they never would have married. Men were like children, she lectured, they needed our guiding hands.

"Which reminds me, Meredith, how are you ever going to have children now?"

"I'll have sex," I snapped.

"Which brings me to the next issue. I hate to bring up more unpleasantness, but I simply have to. Reed told me you were having an affair with someone at work and that's the real reason you left..." There was a roaring in my ears, drowning out everything else she said.

"That poor man is beside himself with worry because he can't find you. He said you came home late a few nights and, this last time, when he confronted you about it, you admitted everything..."

A small blessing that she kept going on. I couldn't form a single word. Every precaution taken was for nothing. Reed knew. If he was calling my sister-in-law, he was calling everyone.

"Meredith, how could you? I just hope that no one hears about this. It's absolutely shameful..."

I hit the end button, wishing that I could slam the phone down instead. It would have been more satisfying.

The second phone call was my brother. He, too, launched into a tirade on my leaving a man who was so good to me and how my duty was to care for him. He tried to tear into me on the topic of an affair, but I fought back arguing that I was certainly not having an affair with anyone and that if Reed was accusing me, he had better admit to his own.

I didn't even answer the third phone call, which was from my best friend. Her husband was Reed's poker buddy, so I knew exactly where her loyalities were.

By the fourth call, another one I ignored, I turned the phone's ringer off. It was Reed himself. Foolishly, I checked the message.

"You have no right to do this! I'm calling everyone out there and telling them all about you, you bitch. Everyone's going to know about you and your boss. Deny it all you want, but no one will believe you once I'm finished! You'll be the town whore just like your mother was by next week. You think you can just take off and leave me like this? You're crazy if you think I'm going to take this without a fight! Don't think coming back to me will make it better. I don't want you back. I just want you to be miserable. I'm going to ruin your life, baby."

Shaking, I turned off the phone completely and crawled under the covers, hoping to sleep and forget the venom in Reed's voice. Surely, I told myself, he's bluffing. Too many relationships end everyday for people to worry about mine. Besides, he doesn't have any real proof. If he did, he would have used Liam's name, not the generic "boss." It had to be a shot in the dark. He was only guessing.

I rolled onto my stomach, trying to get comfortable. It was easy to push Reed from my mind, but Liam was another story.