Page 17


I pulled up outside the clubhouse and sat in my car for a couple of minutes, processing some of the stuff my Mum had told me.  She had willingly married a man who cheated on her.  I was having trouble getting past that; it wasn’t something I could do.  My thoughts moved to J and our relationship.  I trusted him.  He’d proven himself and I truly believed he wouldn’t cheat on me.
I was startled out of my thoughts when someone tapped on the window of my car.  Looking up, I saw it was J.  “Hey, baby,” I greeted him, as I got out of the car.
He brushed his lips across mine and asked, “You okay?”
“Yeah.  Kind of.”  I wasn't sure what I was feeling.
“What does kind of mean?”
I sighed.  I wasn’t sure why I’d come here after Mum’s.  Looking up at J though, I realised that I’d come for him.  “It means that just being here with you is making me feel better already.”
His eyebrows pinched together and he frowned.  “Babe, I’m a man.  I need it spelt out for me sometimes.  What the fuck’s wrong?”
“J, you don’t have the time to listen to all the shit swimming around in my head.  I think I just needed to be near you.”
“For the love of God, tell me what’s wrong.”
I searched his eyes; he had that concerned look he got when I was distressed.  So, I decided to share.  “I just spent some time with my Mum and she told me that she married my father knowing that he’d cheated on her.  And she accepted it.”
He didn’t blink; didn’t say or do anything.  Just stood there, watching me and listening.  When I didn’t say anything else, he murmured, “It happens.”
“It shouldn’t!” I burst out.
“Madison, you know it happens.”
“Yeah, well I’m stunned that my own mother put up with that shit.”
“I’m not.”
I didn’t like the way this conversation was going.  “Did you know about my father before it all came out?”
Again, he took his time, and when he finally answered me, he spoke slowly, deliberately.  “I didn’t know about Blade and his mother.”  He paused.  “But I did know that Marcus liked to screw around.”
My heart started beating faster.  I didn’t like what I was hearing.  “What?  You mean with other women besides Blade’s mother?”
He nodded.  “Yeah, with other women.  He didn’t hide it and I’m sure your mother knew.  Babe, a lot of the guys fuck around; it’s just up to the old ladies whether they turn a blind eye or move on.”
“I know!” I puffed out a long breath.  I knew all this shit, and normally I didn’t even think about it, but this was my Mum we were talking about.  “I fucking hate it, J, and if you do it, I’m not staying.”
His nostrils flared and his tone hardened when he spoke.  “Have I ever given you cause to think I’d cheat?”
Normally I’d pay attention to the tone he’d taken, but today I was focused solely on my mother and my feelings about her situation, so I missed the cues.  “No, but I’m just saying, I won’t stand for it.”
Anger seeped into his voice.  “And I’m just saying, don’t fucking lump me in with your father.  I haven’t cheated on you and have no intention of ever doing it, so I don’t fucking appreciate the attitude about it.”  He raked his fingers through his hair, shaking his head while he did it.  And then he added, “I’m not your fucking father and I never will be.”
I took a step back.  J was furious and I wasn’t sure where it had come from.  He stood glaring at me.  I madly tried to process what he’d said; it felt like there was something important here.  “I know you’re not, J.  And I know you haven’t cheated on me; I trust you.”
He continued to glare at me, the vein in his neck pulsing.  I had no idea what he was thinking so I waited, and didn’t say a word.  “Fuck,” he muttered, and dropped his gaze to the ground.  “This is fucking bullshit.”  It was like he was talking to himself so I still didn’t say anything.  He raised his face back to mine and I was stunned to see the anger had drained out of him, and instead he had an agonised look on his face.  Something was tormenting him.
“What, baby?” I asked softly.
“I’m sorry,” he said, and lightly grasped my cheek, rubbing his thumb back and forth over it.
I moved into him and put my hand on his chest.  “What’s going on, J?  I know there’s something bugging you, and I wish you’d talk to me.”
His eyes searched mine; it was like he was weighing up whether to start talking or not.  His chest heaved and he grabbed my hand off his chest, gave it a quick squeeze, and then said, “Nothing, babe.  It’s just club stuff.”
Letting my hand go, he stepped back and said, “I have to get back to it.  I’ll see you at home tonight.”
I was upset that he had again chosen not to confide in me, but I nodded and agreed, “Okay, I’ll see you then.”
He scrubbed a hand over his face, and nodded once before turning and walking back into the clubhouse with slumped shoulders and a downcast face.
I watched him go, with a heavy heart.