Memories of Our Past

*Okay another one. Enjoy!”

Chapter 5

J.J. sat in the front room, nervously rubbing his forehead.

Now would be a great time for the gaps to fill in, he thought to himself. It truly sucked to have shit hit the fan and not having a clue how of how you started it in the first place.

J.J. had managed to get Leanne and himself back to house. He was able to get her to calm down enough to call work and tell them that she wasn’t feeling well so she would be out the rest of the day. However, after that call she stomped to their room and has been in there the past 2 hours.

And J.J. has been sitting on the couch trying to figure out how to start even putting things together.

‘So obviously the big elephant in the room is that I’ve definitely cheated on Leanne’. Letting that thought run through his mind made him feel even worse. He took a breath and tried to gather more details.

‘I’m sure I know this Amber chick from my gambling spot, which only adds insult to injury. I get how the gambling came about, but why would I cheat?’ he questioned himself.

As he was thinking, he finally heard the creak of the door open.

He looked over cautiously as Leanne approached the living room. She walked straight through to the kitchen to the refrigerator where she proceeded to grab some ice cream.

“Leanne?” J.J. approached gently like she was a wild animal.

She had grabbed a spoon and was standing at the counter in the middle of the kitchen eating straight from the ice cream box.

Her eyes were bloodshot red, face tear stained and slightly swollen from all of her crying. She had changed into what looked like sweatpants and a white tank top.

J.J. slowly walked closer toward her until she leveled him with stare that made him stop in his tracks.

“Baby please…” he pleaded. He may not have had the right words right now, but all he wanted was to comfort her in any way he could.

He saw her wiping the tears from her eyes as she concentrated on looking at her ice cream as if it was the most interesting thing she’d ever come across.

“I wasn’t supposed to know,” she said so softly that J.J. had to strain to hear.

“I overheard you talking to Shane on the phone. I think you thought I was taking a nap with Carrie, but I wasn’t,” she recalled. Now she was staring off into space retelling her story.

“I was going to come ask if you guys wanted a beer or some food, something like that, but I saw Shane looking at you with anger. I could tell he was trying to be quiet, but I could hear him clear as day.”

‘What the hell J.J., how can you be cheating on her! She has been pulling you through your gambling bullshit, why would you do this!’ I heard him say as clear as day.

“My heart stopped in that moment. I just thought I was hearing things, but nope I knew exactly what I heard. I walked away after that. I couldn’t hear anymore,” she said as the tears started anew.

J.J. started to walk toward her but saw her tense up so he decided to go to the other side of the counter and let her keep speaking.

“I was in such denial I thought I could prove that it was all in my head, so I heard someone to follow you. Wow, how pathetic was that? The workings of a desperate woman,” she said with a hollow, harsh laugh.

“It wasn’t even 2 days after you left, the man sent me tons of photos of you and ‘her’ going out together, making out together, having sex in “hidden places. I was devastated, but I felt stuck. I wasn’t working, my family is far off. But most of all I was embarrassed and felt betrayed. I didn’t want to face my family after being the ‘dream couple’. I still loved you and I just didn’t want them to hate you, so I called your mom,” she said looking up at him.

“I knew that I didn’t have to pretend with her. It felt good to have somebody to talk to, but I never thought it would be us, our relationship,” she explained truthfully.

“I tried to put it to the back of my mind, but I could not stop thinking about why this happened? Was it the baby weight? Was I being too annoying? Did you want to leave me? I had so many questions, but I never really wanted an answer. I just wanted you back. Now, when I finally have hope of getting you back, she shows up. It’s just too much,” Leanne said as fresh tears started.

J.J. couldn’t take it anymore. He would rather her beat on his chest and scream at him instead of being so …broken. He walked over and wrapped her in his arms. He was relieved when she allowed him to hold her.

“Baby, I’m, I’m so sorry that I hurt you this way. I don’t even understand why I did such a thing. You are amazing, beautiful, kind, smart… You’re amazing for even putting up with this bullshit I was taking you through.” J.J. went on trying to pour all of his love and adoration into his words.

She gently pushed away from him and looked up at him.

“I was angry J.J. and I wanted to hurt you back. I wanted to make you feel as betrayed as I did,” she said looking at him with a look of anguish.

“So I promised him I wouldn’t say anything, but I want you to know. For a while I was seeing Taylor.”

J.J. gave his mind time to catch up. Taylor? His best friend? Nope, he wouldn’t even… would he?

“My Taylor?” J.J. asked.

Leanne simply nodded her head.

J.J. could feel the confusion and anger rising up in him.

“What, how…when did this happen? You were using him to get to me?” he finally got out.

“Initially, yes, he was a means to an end. However, he turned out to be someone I became really close with. When you would be gone on your trips, he was here with me helping me with Carrie. He was the one I would call at night when I couldn’t get you. He made me feel loved and appreciated and happy…We started going on little outings together, and it became something more than I had anticipated,” she shared honestly.

“But none of this is on him.” She stated.

The hell it isn’t that’s supposed to be his boy. J.J. thought to himself.

“It’s not going on anymore. He even said he felt guilty for doing this to you. He cares about you, but you burned a lot of bridges, even with your close friends” she finished.

J.J. was still trying hard to process this. J.J. knew he probably deserved everything that had happened, but the person he was now could not align himself to the jerk person she was describing. He tried hard to put himself in the position of his friend, but it only made him feel even more upset.

Now it made sense that he hadn’t seen Taylor since he got out of the hospital. He may have gotten a text or two from him checking in, but no actual visit.

‘Well I will deal with that later.’ J.J. thought.

J.J. sighed, “ I really don’t know what to say or do right now, but I will let you lead. Do you want me to stay or go? I could sleep in the guestroom if you need time to think.” J.J. tried making suggestions as to give Leanne some time.

“I don’t want you to leave. It’s been nice having your presence here. I know you didn’t actually do anything. That whole scene today just brought up all the bullshit that we never sorted out. Maybe sleeping in the guestroom isn’t a bad idea though. I just want time to think,” she said, looking up at him with tired eyes.

J.J. nodded in agreement. He can stomach a few days in the guestroom. Heck to be honest, he needed the time to process the information he got too.

Leanne walked to him and kissed him on the side of his mouth. “I still love you babe. I’m glad to have you back,” then she walked back into their room.

J.J. just stood where he was in the kitchen for a moment. He took a few deep breaths. He decided to call up his mom to see if she could grab Carrie today and keep her until tomorrow.

Afterwards he took his time to watch some more mind numbing television, ordered a pizza and let himself eventually doze off on the couch for the night, hoping tomorrow would bring about a better day.

Leanne woke up the next day feeling somewhat rested. She knew she didn’t get the best night’s sleep, but having talked some of her feelings out with J.J. had actually helped.

She went into work as usual. Many wanted to question her, but the look on her face must have put them at bay. When it was time for lunch Leanne decided to take a detour to settle something.

She knocked on the door before her.

“I knew you would come” said the overly confident voice she hated.

Amber opened the door clearly shocked to see Leanne instead of J.J.

“Oh well, wifey pays a visit, this should be interesting, “she says as she stands in the door with her arms crossed and a raised eyebrow.

“Look, I don’t know what you’re here for, but whatever mission you were on, it’s done. My husband is not that man you remembered months ago.” Leanne said pointing at Amber.

Amber just smirked at her.

“How cute? You think a little memory loss will keep him from coming back to the Boyas? To me? Yeah, I was originally a ploy to keep him coming back to give us his money, but your husband means more to me. Sorry sweety, but I’m nowhere near done.” Amber said sending a challenging glare at Leanne.

“If I see you anywhere near him again, I won’t have words to trade with you. Don’t test me! I’m sure you have a pool of other men you could tempt, keep your paws off mine.” Leanne said about to turn around to leave, but not before Amber spoke.

“Say what you will, but he will come back to me on his own. He loves me you know. He whispered it enough times when I was riding him.” Amber mentally celebrated her victory. She knew she was pushing  at a sore spot for Leanne.

Leanne stopped for a moment upon hearing the words, clearly Amber had made her upset, but then she gathered herself and left. Leanne was thankful she had about 20 minutes before she had to be back to work. She stopped by a little bagel shop to gather herself and get a quick bite.

She had spent the past 8 months letting her life unravel without intervening; she refused to not do anything when her life was just getting back on track. This time she would fight. This time she would speak. This time she would be a force to be reckoned with.