BLAME IT ON THE PAIN : EPISODE 61 – 70
By Authoress Zion
“Ex-wife,” she informs me. “Well, thanks to you.”
She frowns and begins setting up the supplies to start my IV. “Save it. You can’t apologize for ruining someone’s marriage, it’s unforgivable.”
Jackson points a finger at her. “Look, if you think I’m letting you stick a needle in her arm after you’ve just verbally attacked her, think again. I want another nurse.”
“Jackson, give us a minute.”
When he begins to protest, I add, “Please.”
He ksses my forehead. “I’ll be right outside that door.” He looks at Penelope. “And so will my Momma.”
I sit up in bed and look at Penelope. “You’re right. I can’t ever apologize for something like that. It is unforgivable. But I will tell you that I’m not proud of myself. And I will tell you that woman to woman, I’m the lowest of the low and I’m ashamed of myself for that.”
Her cold demeanor shifts a little and she takes a deep breath. “It wasn’t all your fault.” She closes her eyes. “In fact, I’d say that a lot of it wasn’t your fault. Especially when it started.”
She wipes a tear from her eye and looks down. “I don’t think you were really old enough to make the adult decision to be involved with a married man back then…were you?”
“I- um,” I stall, because being an actual adult now, I’m not entirely sure.
“I mean, what were you, like 16?”
I fidget with my hands. “It was within hours of 17th birthday. I begged him to see me for my birthday, though. Let’s just say that I was with him when the clock struck 12. I felt like Cinderella at that moment. But looking back now, it was never a fairytale. It was a nightmare.”
I look her in the eyes and hold out my arm. “But that’s still no excuse for my part in hurting you, because I didn’t stay 17 forever, Penelope. And although I only had actual sx with him once and hated myself right after. I still wanted it beforehand…and I was 21 years old when it happened.”
Another tear falls down her cheek as she puts the tourniquet on and inserts the needle.
“And if I’m really being honest, Ford and I always had an inappropriate relationship. I should have kicked him out of my life a lot sooner than I did. I was too codependent on him…and it was toxic. He was toxic.”
She sniffles and I wish I could hug her. I hate that he took down another woman. And I hate that I played a part in it.
She reaches for a tissue and wipes her face. “He is. I realize that now. I think I finally got it when our divorce was finalized a little over three months ago. After I discovered everything about the two of you. But he has this way about him, you know? And it’s more than just his good looks…it’s this way he has of just sucking you in. He tells you what you want to hear. Then he fks up, you call him on it, and he apologizes and treats you like you’re the most important thing in the world again. Until you’re not anymore. It’s a never ending cycle. Sometimes all in the same night.”
She worries her bottom lip between her teeth. “And this whole time…you know he’s just working his magic. You know he’s altering your psyche in some way that you can’t explain. But every time you reach to turn that light on…and you get that much closer to realizing it. Bam…he’s onto you…and he’s ready to strike again and lure you into his trap. The worst part is, you don’t even realize how much damage he’s caused until it’s too late.”
I nod my head, knowing all too well what she means. “He’s a master manipulator. He’s the human version of snake oil. Pretty package, and he’ll sell you anything you want…but in the end…you realize that the real snake was him.”
“Yeah, that sums it up perfectly. Look, I’m sorry for calling you a whore. I’m a 34-year-old woman. No matter how upset I am, it doesn’t give me a right to sIut-shame another female. And I should have left him a long time ago. Hell, I should have figured it out right when you called that night. I was so excited to get married to him, though. I thought we would have the picture perfect life. The nurse and FBI agent and our 2.5 beautiful children.”
I reach for her hand and she lets me. “Hey. It’s not too late to have that. You’re nice, sweet, accomplished, and 34 is still young. I would call you beautiful but I’m afraid you would think I’m conceited.”
She laughs and I feel a weight lift off my chest. “It is a little strange, huh? I mean, even with the dark hair you have now, we still look a lot alike. Obviously, you’re younger and your t its don’t sag quite like mine yet…but being in the same room with you is like being in the twilight zone.”
I think back to all those times when I wished that I was the one Ford chose instead of her.
Oddly enough, I feel relieved because this is like a glimpse into the future of what it would have been like. There’s no doubt in my mind now that he would have done the same thing to me and I would have ended up heartbroken like Penelope.
I give her a small smile. “Well, Ford might be the world’s biggest as sh ole, but at least he has good taste.” I look down. “And your t its don’t sag. You’re still rocking it. I can only hope to look as good as you do when I’m 34.”
Then she does something that I definitely wasn’t expecting. She pulls me in for a hug. “I didn’t like you when I first walked in here. But now, I’m really glad we had this conversation.”
I hug her tighter and I feel the tears start falling. “Me too. And for the record, I really am sorry. I wish I could take it all back and I wish you never got hurt in any of this.”
She pulls away and pats my cheek. “Me too…but I also see now that I wasn’t the only one who got hurt. Take care of yourself, Alyssa. Despite what I thought earlier, you’re a good person. A good woman.”
“Uh. Everything okay here?” Jackson questions, his eyes darting back and forth between us cautiously.
Penelope squeezes my hand. “Yeah, everything’s okay. You got a good girl, here. Take care of her.” She looks at me. “Maybe one day I’ll find my own handsome knight in shining armor like you have.”
“I hope so. Because you deserve that, Penelope.”
She wipes her eyes and heads for the door. “I’ll be back to check on you in a little while.”
Jackson stuffs his hands in his pockets. “I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say right now.”
“That makes two of us. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m glad I met her. I’m happy I got a chance to have that conversation with her.”
“It’s fking weird how much you look alike, though, huh?”
“Can you blame the man for having good taste?”
He walks over to me and puts his arms around me. He looks like he’s about to say something, but Tyrone, Ricardo, and Momma walk into the room.
Ricardo whistles. “Did you guys see that smokin’ hot nurse walking down the hall.”
Jackson grunts but I put a hand on his arm. “You should get her number, Ricardo. I happen to know for a fact that she’s single.” He looks excited, until I add. “However, she’s not a ‘hit it and quit it’. So if you pursue her you better be serious. She’s been through enough.”
“Nah. I already learned my lesson when it comes to broken and damaged girls.”
Jackson and Tyrone look at him but he averts his gaze and rubs his neck. “I’ll meet you guys in the car.”
“I knew he had it bad for Lou-Lou but dmn,” Tyrone declares after Ricardo walks out.
“There’s definitely a story there,” Momma says. “Poor guy is all kinds of hurtin’.”
Jackson nods but turns to look at me. “I’m gonna ask Shane to bring some of your clothes to my apartment, okay?”
“Are you sure? I really don’t want to impose.”
He lifts my chin. “Alyssa, I take care of what’s mine and what I love. Don’t you ever forget that.”
BLAME IT ON THE PAIN : EPISODE 61 – 70
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