1990

Luke has been distant again. I don’t know why he does this. I think he feels tied down by having a full-time girlfriend and a kid. He feels like he’s always missing out on something. It’s always made me feel like I’m not good enough, not exciting enough. But I can’t be exciting. I’m a mom with a full-time job. I can see a breakup coming a mile away. Is my life always going to be this unstable with Luke?

Growing up I hated my step dad, Charlie. Maybe not hated. Resented I guess, is more appropriate. He has been in my life since I was two but I don’t feel like I got to know him until I became an adult. There has always been a disconnect, a division, in my house. I have always been just my mom’s kid. We aren’t a family. I like him more now than I like my mom, but back then I didn’t.

My mom, Penelope and I would go on vacation and then I would go stay with Nana and then they would go on their own vacation. My mom made the rules for me but Charlie would occasionally try and step in and tell me what to do. I would refuse. We would have a huge fight and I would usually go live with Nana for a few months. I have every materialistic thing I could ask for at my mom’s house but I spend most of my childhood sleeping on Nana’s couch. I am happier here. My aunts and uncles and cousins are always here. It is loud and busy and never spotless. It is home.

My mom’s house is spotless. Perfect. Sterile. I would never put my drink down without a coaster. As an adult I will understand why my mom is like this but as a kid I just want to take my shoes off wherever I am and not worry about water rings on the table.

My mom hates my dad. They divorced when she was pregnant with me. She says he doesn’t want to be a dad. When they divorced she says his entire family walked away from both of us. This has always made me feel less than. How can a dad not want his daughter? How can my mom look at me everyday and not hate me too? She has always made comments to me about me being so different than her. I assume she thinks I’m just like my dad so how can she totally love me? We don’t ever say I love you in my family.

I promise myself that as an adult my kids will never have a step dad. I will either stay married to the dad or be alone. I’ve promised myself this for as long as I can remember.

Luke is the only person in my life who tells me he loves me. I know my family loves me, we just don’t say it.

I go to Luke’s house. He is renting a mobile home with a friend. He tells me he isn’t happy and breaks up with me again. This time I’m just angry and resentful. He is overwhelmed with responsibility. With being a dad. He loves Beau with all his heart but I know he hates having to drag a kid everywhere. We are only 20 years old.

I know it sucks sometimes when all our friends are out partying and I can’t. I am a nanny to twins. It’s not an ideal job but I have a kid to support. I have a car payment. I pay for Beau. I don’t ask Luke for anything. This makes my mom angry but I think if I demand money from Luke that he will leave. I’ll be alone. Someday Luke and I will get married and it will be different. He will be responsible then.

But not today. Today he dumps me, us, again. I tell him he is an asshole and I leave. I cry all the way back to my mom’s. I don’t tell her, I never tell her anything. I just go to my bedroom. Beau’s sleeping. She watches him after he goes to sleep as long as I’m back by midnight. I’m 20 and a mom, but I still have a curfew.

A few days go by and I go to Luke’s to get my stereo back. I pull up and Daisy comes out. Her boyfriend is Luke’s room-mate so Daisy is always at Luke’s. As she is getting into my car, another car backs out of the lot, going way too fast. I ask Daisy what’s going on.

She tells me that the car that pulled out was Hannah’s. Hannah is one of my good friends. I’m not understanding what she is telling me. Why would Hannah leave so quickly? Daisy doesn’t say anything. It dawns on me. I know what’s going on but I am still in denial. I ask her. “Why did Hannah leave so fast? Why didn’t she come and talk to me?”

Daisy tells me that it’s because Hannah assumed I knew she was dating Luke and that I was going to walk in there and kick her ass. She is scared. Rightly so.

I am so upset at the betrayal. I know Luke loves me more than anything. I know he’s going to dump Hannah and come crawling back. I am so upset.

Months go by and Luke rarely sees Beau. Beau is three and I hope he doesn’t notice.

Austin steps in again. Like he always does when Luke bails on me. He still works with Luke everyday. They are still really good friends.

Austin is engaged to a girl and I’ve never liked her. She is a snob. He bought her an engagement ring and she went straight to the mall and exchanged it. Austin deserves better, I think. He is the only person I would ever consider dating since he’s been there for Beau since birth. Every time Luke and I break up, Austin has a girlfriend. They break up and Luke and I get back together. There has always been chemistry between us but we are never single at the same time.

Austin comes over and tells me that him and his girlfriend are moving in together. Luke is also moving in. That upsets me because I feel like I’m losing Austin also. He promises he will still be there for me.

I am a nanny at a house next door to Luke’s dad and step mom. Luke’s dad loves me. I think his step mom likes me but she likes to cause drama so I try and stay away. She loves Beau though and babysits whenever I need her. She is only 35 and Beau calls her grandma.

She came over today and asked me to come over to her house after work. I have no idea why but I know it’s not good. She’s never invited me over. She has two kids by her first husband and she has always resented Luke. I know she loves Beau but she doesn’t like Beau around Luke’s dad. It’s always been about her kids.

I go over there after work and sit on the couch. She tells me Luke is getting married to Hannah. Just like that. She doesn’t try to soften the blow. She is watching for my reaction. She tells me that Hannah’s dad bought the engagement ring and Luke was going to pay him back. I know Luke well enough to know that will never happen. She tells me that they have a date set for the wedding and that Hannah’s grandma is giving them a house. Luke always wants more than he has and I know this is a huge incentive for him to get married.

I’ve been wanting to get married for three years. He has told me for three years that we were too young. And now he is marrying Hannah.

I act like I don’t care but I am dying inside.

She tells me that he took Hannah to his dad’s family for Christmas and his grandma called her Alabama all night. Good.

I felt the same when Austin and I were at a party last month and someone asked me if my sister worked at the ice cream shop. Hannah works at an ice cream shop. Hannah and I look alike.

Has she figured out yet that Luke likes her because she looks just like me? She is me without the responsibilities. If she hasn’t realized it, she will. I’m sure of that.

I go home and cry all night. I am upset but I’m also furious at them both.

Four months in and there are already cracks in their relationship. Daisy is around Luke and Hannah all the time and tells me that they constantly fight. And they are fighting over me.

Luke and Hannah and Daisy and her boyfriend went on a day trip. Daisy and her boyfriend were in the back seat of Hannah’s car and Daisy told her boyfriend that I had gotten in a car accident the night before. It was a minor fender bender but Luke didn’t know that. She spoke loud enough for Luke to hear and he was really upset. He was asking Daisy what happened and if I was alright or if I was hurt and if I needed to go to the doctors. Hannah got really upset with Luke and was asking him why he cared. He said I was the mother of his son and always would be and she needed to get over it. They got in a raging fight. I thought it was funny.

Daisy said they were at Luke’s and she heard them yelling at each other. The fight carried over into the living room where Daisy was. Apparently, Luke still had all my lingerie in his top drawer. Hannah asked him to throw it away and he refused. Hannah was yelling and crying. Daisy said Luke kept telling her to get over it.

Austin and Luke are now roommates. I’ve missed Austin. I know Luke and Hannah are gone so I go over to see if Austin is home. He isn’t, but his girlfriend is. I just walk in and she is sitting on their bed crying. I don’t really like her but she is bawling so I feel obligated to ask her what’s wrong. She tells me that she is still in love with her ex boyfriend. She cheated on him and he found out and dumped her and he won’t take her back. He has no idea that she lives with Austin but she goes and sees him all the time and tries to get back together with him. She asks me not to tell Austin.

That night Austin calls me. He is down the street at his dads and invites me over. I go over with every intention of telling him what his girlfriend told me. His parents are sleeping.

We sit in the den on the floor and lean up against the couch. He puts a movie on while we talk. There is this crazy chemistry between us. He kisses me. Everything rushes through my head. Luke and Hannah, Austin’s girlfriend, our friendship.

And I tell myself, fuck it. Austin’s fiance doesn’t love him and I don’t owe any loyalty to Luke.

We end up half naked on the floor of the den. I’ve never been with anyone other than Luke. I am angry at Luke and I’ve always been attracted to Austin. I have no inhibitions with Austin. He has his hand over my mouth the entire time, laughing, telling me to be quiet but I don’t care. I feel free and I know he wants me. I’m on my back and we somehow make it down the hallway and finish in his bedroom. It was wild and I was happy. And I felt powerful.

I didn’t tell Austin what his girlfriend told me. They were both cheaters so why should I tell him?

A few days later I brought Beau over to see Luke. I walked up to the door and I could hear Luke on the phone, yelling. I stood there and listened. He was talking to Hannah and I could tell from Luke’s side of the conversation that Hannah was telling him that she didn’t want him to be around me. He said that wasn’t ever going to happen and to ”cry me river”.

I walked in and he hung up. I smirked at him because I knew that he knew he messed up.

I left but we ended up back together a few weeks later. I didn’t want to be alone and I knew Austin would never be loyal.

Luke and I were in bed one night right after we got back together. He looked at me and said he said he was so glad that I had never slept with anyone else. I have never lied to Luke so I didn’t say anything at all. He looked at me and said “you didn’t sleep with anyone, right? ”

I told him that it was none of his business since he almost got married. He looked at me and said “you slept with Austin”. My mouth dropped open. He told me that he saw Austin’s girlfriend one night stopped on the side of the road by Austins parents house. He thought she was broke down so he stopped to see if she was OK. He asked her what she was doing and she said ”Alabama is in there fucking Austin ” Luke told her she was crazy and drove away. He never thought I would do that.

He was so angry he told me to go in their bedroom where they were in bed and tell Austin that he knew what we had done. I told him that his girlfriend was in there so no, I would not. He demanded that I do it. That pissed me off so bad that I got out of bed in my t-shirt and underwear and flung Austin’s door wide open without knocking. They were both sitting up in bed and looked at me. I know Austin knew what happened. I saw panic on his face. Luke dragged me back into the bedroom before I could say anything. They broke up a week later.

Luke never slept with anyone but me again.

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