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Riding Red(45)

By:Alexa Riley

It makes me wonder if how he acts with me during sex is how he acts with every woman. I’m new to this. Maybe he’s just always this intense. Maybe he likes talking dirty, and I’m just one in a long line of many.

I jump when I see the door handle wiggle. “Megan, unlock the door.”

I wipe the tears from my eyes, not sure what to say. I don’t want him to know I’m crying.

“I’ll be out in a minute. I’m just going to jump in the shower…” I pause for a second to steady my voice so it won’t crack. “Why don’t you go take care of your—” I stop because I don’t know what to call her.

“All right, baby. Don’t leave this room, you hear me?” His voice is stern and not to be questioned.

“Okay,” is all I can manage, thankful the one word is all I need. A minute later I hear his footsteps leave the room. Releasing a breath I didn’t realize I was holding, I seize the opportunity. Slipping from the bathroom, I peek out the window that overlooks the front yard.

Shit. We’re in the middle of nowhere. No way could I walk. I see Chris’s pants on the floor so I go over and pull out his keys.

Now I just have to get out of here without being noticed. As I sneak down the stairs, I pause when I hear the woman say, “We were going to get married. You said you wanted babies, and I’m ready for that.”

It takes everything in me to hold back the sob that wants to escape. I feel like I’m about to vomit. I can’t listen to any more of this. I sneak around to the garage, and it’s then I see how the woman got inside. Chris had left the garage door open. Sliding into his SUV, I text my mom.

Megan: Pick me up at the school

Mom: Be there in ten

I start the car and pull out of the driveway. I have to beat my mom to the school. I don’t want her to see me driving Chris’s car.

When I get there, I pull the car into the backlot, dropping the keys into the side panel of the door. Pulling my phone from my purse, I see a ton of missed calls and texts from Chris. Without reading them I type out a message as I head to the front of the school to wait for my mom.

Megan: Sorry I took your car but I left it at the school in the staff parking lot. Keys are in the side door. I need time to think. Please give it to me.

When my mom pulls up to the curb, I jump into her car. My distress is clearly showing.

“Baby?” she whispers, and the floodgates open. Tears stream down my face, and I no longer try to fight what I’m feeling.

“Home, Mom, please,” I beg, looking out the window. I know if I look at her, I’ll just cry harder.

“Megan, you have to tell me if someone hurt you. You’re scaring me. I’ve never seen you like this,” she pleads with me.

Looking over at her I reassure her. “Just my heart, Mom.”

Her eyes soften at my words. “Ice cream and shopping it is.”

We pull away from the school, and a silent breath leaves my lungs, thankful that Chris didn’t make it there before we left.

“I don’t think I’m up for it.” I stare out the window, wiping tears from my eyes.

“They opened a new vintage game shop in the shopping center by the lakes.” I look back over at her and see she has a soft smile on her face. “If he made you cry and isn’t chasing you down, he’s not worth it, baby. They should always chase.”

“I just have no idea what I’m doing, Mom. I’ve never been—”

“In love?” she finishes for me, and I just nod my head. I’m totally clueless. Part of me thinks I’m overreacting, that I should sit down with Chris and talk this out, but the other part of me is telling me to run scared. I don’t know if I can’t handle what he might have to say.

“Then we’ll talk it out,” she says, like it’s that simple.

“I don’t think I can with you, Mom. It’s, well, awkward.” The idea of talking to my mom about boys seems weird, but maybe because I’ve never done it before. There was never anyone else. Only him.

“Megan, you’re eighteen years old. I know what your father and I were doing when I was eighteen. You’re a woman, I’m a woman. It’s only awkward if you let it be.”

“Ice cream it is,” I say.

She smiles and nods, heading in the direction of the ice cream shop.

* * *

Lying in bed, I stare up at the ceiling. I told my mom as much as I could without giving away who I was crying over. We spent the day shopping and talking, I texted Croy to let him know I wasn’t going to the dance, and I felt a little better about everything.

My mom was right. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. It just crushes me to think that Chris might have had what we shared with someone else at one time. That he considered having a baby with another woman eats me alive. I felt so special when I thought of this being something we only felt for each other. This need to be together clawing at both of us was special. Uncontrollable and unexplainable, it was just there. How things were supposed to be.