All I want for Christmas

(Part 8 of the Ordinary series)

by EvelynC January 2005

Busted. Send your comments to evecho@netscape.net.

All the way back to the apartment, Dee kept casting worried glances at her girlfriend. When she tried to talk Ella into seeing a doctor, Ella nearly snapped her head off. Dee wondered if it was that time of the month.

Ella kept her gaze on the blurred scenery. Familiar streets might as well have been foreign lands. Her mind kept repeating Brian's words, "the client has been all over Dee". She started picking up little oddities, like the phone calls that went unanswered and the private phone conversations, not to mention the long absences. A part of her sanity said they were merely coincidences. There was absolutely no proof that Dee was having an affair. Then why did Brian insinuate that there was? Because he's a guy and guys get jealous if the new girl isn't interested. But he's married! So?

Her head was aching. She wasn't even aware when they reached home. The path from the car park to her apartment was accomplished on rote, actions familiar from overuse allowed Ella to move without thought. Her mind kept bouncing the awful suspicion against a withering defence. It's not like it hasn't happened before. Why didn't I see the signs?

"Why don't you lie down, El?" Dee said as she guided her into the bedroom. She removed Ella's shoes and helped her undress because her movements were slow and clumsy. Ella was still pale and her skin felt clammy, although, her eyes gleamed with a feverish glow.

Then, she spoke for the first time since they arrived home, "You should go to work, you have a lot to do." Her eyes followed Dee's movements intently. Dee was not looking at her and Ella didn't miss it when she bit her lip before saying, "Are you sure you'll be alright? I can always go in later."

"I'll be just fine." Ella insisted calmly. The sound of the front door shutting was like an axe splitting the foundation of her perfect life.

After Dee left, she lay staring at the ceiling of her bedroom. Her brain felt detached from her body and her eyes were darting all over the place. The voices arguing in her head had been deadened by the crushing numbness that enveloped her body. It was the suffocating, heavy silence she had never wanted to feel again.

She was confused, left with her doubts she started to get angry at her paranoia. A few words from Brian surely could not have set her on this path? Wasn't she overreacting? What kind of friend was he to put her in such a situation?

You knew she would do it again. Why didn't you learn after the last time?

But she promised

Hah! Fat lot of good that did you.

It can't be true, it just can't.

Then why don't you find out?

Ella turned her head towards the window. Her eyes slowly focused on the green numbers of her bedside clock. She had been alone for less than an hour. Determined to do something, she redressed and grabbed her car keys. I need proof, or someone to talk to. First place she would go to would be Dee's apartment.

****************

Ella let herself into the apartment. She had knocked but no one answered, it looked like Billy was either working this weekend or staying at his girlfriend's place. The apartment had small messes all over the minimal furniture. There was a smell of combined body odour mixed with fresh laundry. Normally, Ella would pick at cleaning up or straightening the main areas of the apartment, but the mess this time seemed indicative of the careless regard Dee had for their relationship.

She noticed a pair of heels by the couch. She approached them and kicked them with her right foot. They weren't hers. No! Wetting her dry lips, she dragged her gaze over the floor towards Dee's closed bedroom door. To her eyes, it flashed red. Red for danger. Red for heat. Red for lust. Red for pain.

She padded slowly over to it, her sneakers silent on the carpet. A few feet from the door, she saw it wasn't closed all the way. There was a slight gap, a gap that allowed unintelligible sounds through. Please let that be the television. Her heart prayed. But if Dee's at work, who would be in there? Her mind reasoned.

The wood of the door felt slippery at the tip of her fingers. With the slightest push, it moved inward to reveal the room lit from one corner by the warm glow of a standing lamp. It was one of Ella's presents to cosy up Dee's bedroom.

The door kept moving and the sounds became clearer. Ella had a side view of Dee's beautiful body sitting on the edge of the bed, her legs parted to accommodate a smaller woman who was kneeling in front of her with her face buried in Dee's crotch. Her "girlfriend" was holding on to the woman's hair and panting encouraging words. The service must have been good because as Ella watched, Dee's hips jerked and she came with a short cry that Ella was intimately familiar with. It was usually the first of many.

The woman lifted her head and even the low light could not hide the sheen on her cheeks. She licked her lips with a pointed tongue all the while gazing adoringly at Dee. Tenderly, Dee brought the woman's face closer and they kissed, at first lightly to recover their breaths, then, more urgently when the next wave rose upon them. Dee moved the woman onto the bed and turned to open the bedside drawer. Fumbling, she drew out a strap-on and a condom, which fell out of her hands. As she reached down to pick it up, she turned to face the open door, and Ella's stony visage.

Even in Dee's shocked state, the deadness in Ella's eyes stabbed her with guilt and she flinched. Ella had an expressionless look that held so many emotions. Lilian's moans in the background were a crude soundtrack to the clash of emotions shooting between Ella and Dee. It was almost comical.

Softly, Ella closed the bedroom door and walked out of the apartment. The truth had been revealed because she sought it out. In her heart, she already knew the answer but to see the actual proof with her own eyes, instigated by a friend who had let them both down, was damning.On her way out, she dropped Dee's apartment keys on the table.

Dee still stood immobilised by shock, her lover forgotten.

"Mmm Dee, baby. Hurry." Lilian was unaware of the events she had catalysed.

Dee's libido raged that she should finish the job, after all, it wouldn't change anything, but her conscience had belatedly kicked in. The denial she had embraced for weeks had finally fled, leaving her pride in pieces. She had failed as a lover and a partner. It wasn't supposed to end like this. She was the one who called the shots, she was the one the ladies came for. Nobody was supposed to get hurt.

Ella had just walked out of her life without a word and all she could think about was herself. It was easier than thinking about what she had done to Ella and their relationship.

Continued in part 8a

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