Excerpt for Xtramarital Wives Vol II by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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Xtramarital Wives II©

The Annibirthary

Trial and Error

Magic Hands

The First Five Minutes

Chapter Eight

Worst Case Scenario


The Quiet One

Foul Play

The Soccer Mom

Copyright © 2015. All rights Reserved


My Love, my Life, my Only

The Annibirthary

This is the best day of the year as far as I’m concerned. It’s better than Christmas, Thanksgiving or any other day in the calendar year.  I look forward to this day every year and when it’s over, I’m already planning the festivities for next year. Everyone has a special occasion where they can celebrate life and reflect on all their accomplishments. This is my day and every year I have the honour of celebrating it with my family and closest friends. My husband and I call this day our ‘Annibirthary’.  It’s a combination of our anniversary and our daughter’s birthday which happened to land on the same day, Aug 15th. Today, my husband and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary and my daughter, Eva, is celebrating her 9th birthday. For me, it’s the day that celebrates the most important things in my life and my greatest accomplishments. I can’t imagine a more romantic way to celebrate our anniversary than sharing it on the day that we became a family.

This year, the celebration was a little more low key as Eva is at the age where she didn’t want a birthday party, but just wanted to invite a few of her friends for a sleepover.  They still brought gifts and we still had a birthday cake, but gone are the days of having twenty sticky fingered kids running all over the house. In the evening, all of our adult friends and family would come over and share in our ‘Annibirthary’ celebration with a patio barbeque and plenty of wine and spirits. Eva and her friends would join us and partake in our conversation and it was all too surreal watching her communicate on an adult level. She was so mature and had well thought out opinions of her own. It almost made me cry. She was growing up way too fast. After we had dinner, my sister Victoria, made her usual toast; “To Brad and Angie, ten down and a ways to go!”  Victoria was my younger sister by four years and we were always close. Like most sisters, we had our fair share of arguments and competed for our parents’ attention, but when they passed away, we leaned strongly on each other for support, continuing to look after each other to this very day. It was nice seeing her in a happy relationship for a change and I have Brad to thank for that.  He was the one that introduced her to his friend Terry. He was bright, kind and very romantic. I made a bet that they wouldn’t last to our ‘Annibirthary’.  So yes, I lost.  They looked really good together. They had the same smile, same dimples, even their hair matched. She had long dark auburn hair and he was blonde with dark auburn highlights. They were picture perfect.

When the party was over and everyone left, Brad and I went upstairs to leave Eva and her friends alone to watch a movie.  We locked the bedroom door behind us and immediately fell into each other’s arms. We kissed softly and nuzzled against each other while we delicately peeled off our clothes.  We stood completely naked, holding each other tightly while our hands lovingly caressed our bodies. I turned around to face the dresser mirror and Brad wrapped his arms around my waist from behind, kissing down my neck. I could feel his erection press against my ass. He held me tight as we stared at our reflection together.

“So tell me,” I asked. “Do I still look as good to you as I did ten years ago?”

“No,” he laughed.

“C’mon, I’m serious,” I smiled.

“You look even better, Angela.”

Okay, so I was fishing for compliments, but I have to admit I was feeling more insecure with each passing year. Other than a few wrinkles, a few more grey hairs and a pair of glasses, I really looked the same as I did ten years ago. I remained slender in my thirty nine years and still fit in the same clothes I wore in college. My hair is a little longer and styled quite differently, but it still remains a fiery red.

“Oh, you’re just saying that because you want to get laid,” I teased.

“I think it’s safe to say that I’m going to get laid anyways,” he laughed. “But there’s no one else I’d rather do it with.”

He scooped me up and carried me to the bed like he used to do many years ago. It was my favorite thing. He placed me gently on my back and climbed on top of me. I kissed him deeply one more time before reaching over to turn off the lamp.

The next morning, Brad quietly made us breakfast while Eva and her friends were sprawled out on the sofa and floor still sleeping. We decided not to wake them and enjoyed the little peace we rarely get.

“So, did you notice how Victoria and Terry were getting along last night?” He said.

“Yes, I noticed and yes you were right,” I reluctantly admitted.

“Looks like you lost the bet,” he winked. “When do I get to cash in?”

“After last night, consider yourself paid in full!” I said, giving him a kiss on the cheek.

“You gotta admit, he is much better than that last guy she was with. What was his name?”

“Jake.” I quietly replied.

“Yes, Jake. He was a character.”

“More like a cartoon.”

“Yes, I suppose,” he laughed. “I’ve never seen you hate anyone so much before.”

“He made it easy.”

“Whatever happened to him?”

“I have no idea, nor do I care! I’m just glad he is out of our lives for good!”

“Well, you certainly made it clear he wasn’t welcome. Anyways, I’m gonna grab a shower before the kids wake up,” he said, giving me a kiss before heading upstairs.

I sat at the kitchen table sipping on my coffee, remembering Jake.  He was Victoria’s ex boyfriend. They broke up about three years ago after dating on and off for a year or two. She was madly in love with him. God only knows why. She kept him a secret from us for a whole year before finally making the introductions. Brad and I knew there was someone in her life because she would have these wild mood swings that only a serious relationship could spawn. One day she would be high on life, the next day she would be in tears, other days she would be angry and full of rage. I immediately knew it was an unhealthy relationship, but try telling that to someone head over heels in love or lust. She was stubborn, unreasonable and at times, manic. She wasn’t her normal, happy, approachable self. She acted like a typical teenager even though she was thirty-three. I desperately wanted to talk to her, but every time I approached her she became unwavering and distant, something that never happened between us before. Brad suggested that I be patient and wait for the right time, “She will only talk when she’s ready and all you can do is just be there when she is.” He would say.   It made sense and a week later, I found my opening. I came home one evening to find Victoria sitting at the kitchen table with her face in her hands, crying.

“You want to talk about it?” I asked, putting my hand on her shoulder.

“No, I’ll be fine, just need a moment,” she replied.

“You know, I’m always here for you Tori. You can come to me for anything.”

“I know. I’m just having a bad day.”

“You’ve been having a lot of those lately. Does this have something to do with this guy you’re seeing?”

“What guy?”

“Seriously? Victoria, you’re my sister. I know you better than anyone. Why the secret? Is he married?”

“No, of course not!” She said, defensively.

“Then why the secret? Do you remember the promise we made when Mum and Dad passed away?”

“Yes. Never to keep anything from each other,” she recited.

“So talk to me, what’s going on?” I pleaded.

She took a deep breath and slightly hesitated. I thought that she was going to change her mind and walk away, but she slowly composed herself and told me the whole story. She met Jake about a year ago at a garage where she was having some work done to her car. He was the mechanic. They were about the same age and had the same sense of humor. She was instantly attracted to him and the relationship got intense very quick. He wasn’t much for words and preferred to listen and observe. It bothered her that he wasn’t able to share his feelings and their conversations were always one sided. This left her in ‘relationship limbo’ since she never knew how he felt about her or if he even saw a future with her.  He kept his distance, and at times, he could be downright cold. Being around him was like walking on eggshells, you always had to tread cautiously. The worst part was, he seemed to enjoy the control.

“Then why are you with him?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I keep thinking he’s going to change,” she replied.

“You know better than to try to change people, Tori.”

“You don’t understand, Angie, he’s really nice and says nice things to me ...”

“He’s a control freak!” I snapped.

“You don’t know him!”

“I know the type,” I said, starting to lose control. “This is how it starts, they control you emotionally, and then they control you physically. Soon, you won’t be able to go to the corner store without his permission!”

“You’re exaggerating.”

“Am I? Let me ask you something, why didn’t you tell me about him? Did he tell you not to?”

“No, not exactly. He didn’t feel it was necessary since he wasn’t ready to meet you yet.”

“You see what I mean?”

“See what?”

“He convinced you not to tell me even though I’m your sister and we tell each other everything.”

“You don’t know him, Angie! You don’t know how he makes me feel!” She cried, before storming out of the house.

For the next few days I didn’t hear from her. I was still fuming on the inside. I was angry at my sister for being so blind and mad at Jake for treating her this way. In truth, I worried about her. I resisted every temptation to call her, in the hopes that she would understand how serious I was. The last thing I wanted to do was be supportive of a ‘controlling’ relationship, one that was bound to end disastrously. I stewed in my own misery, keeping to myself. At least, I thought I was.

“Why don’t you just call her?” Brad asked.

“Why should I? She doesn’t listen!” I exclaimed.

“Look at what it’s doing to you, Angela. You haven’t been the same since. Just call and apologize.”

“Apologize? For what? I didn’t do anything wrong!”

“That’s not the point.”

“Then what is the point?”

“It’s what she needs to hear. Do you want to lose her forever?”

He had a point. A very good point.  I can’t just give up on her because she fails to see the consequences of her relationship. I have to be there for her, no matter what.  I called her immediately and apologized.  She also apologized and we talked on the phone for the next hour chatting about everything, but Jake. Which was fine by me. For now.  For the next few weeks, she and Jake were on and off. They would break up one day and get back together the next. I didn’t feel the need to interfere since their relationship was already on the rocks and I knew that eventually, it was going to end. I couldn’t wait!  

For now, I was just happy that my sister was talking to me again and not holding anything back. Just like it’s suppose to be. I kept my opinions of Jake to myself and only said anything if I was asked. When Victoria called and invited me out to lunch, I knew she was going to tell me they finally split for good. I was waiting for this day for a long time, but I promised to control my jubilation in front of her. Being the good sister that I am, I prepared myself with choice phases of condolences, a shoulder to cry on and words of support and encouragement.  When I walked in the restaurant, I saw her sitting alone in a booth with her head down as she wiped the tears from her face. It honestly made me happy seeing her like this, but I quickly wiped the smile off my face and put on my concerned sister look as I sat across from her.

“Are you okay, Tori? I’m so sorry, I take it you guys broke up?” I asked.

“I guess you can say that,” she said, still hanging her head avoiding my eyes.

“Hey, it’s okay. It’s for the best. I’m here for you. Is there anything I can do?” I asked.

“Well, there is one thing you can do …”

“Sure, anything, just name it.”

“You can start by being my maid of honor!” She exclaimed, flashing her hand in my face, showing off her engagement ring.

“What are you talking about?” I asked, still not getting it.

“What do you think? I’m getting married!”

“What? No! You can’t get married!”

“Why not?”  

“Because the guy’s a total jerk! He treats you so badly!” I said, my temperature rising.

“It’s not that bad, we’ve been together for over a year.”

“No, you’ve been on and off for over a year ...”

“How can you say this? You don’t even know him?”

“That’s right, I don’t know him Tori! Hell, I haven’t even met him!”

“Good afternoon ladies! Are we ready to order?” The waiter asked, big smile and all.

“Go away!” I snapped at him.

He gave me a revolting look before turning away.

“That was rude,” Victoria said.

“Never mind that, you’re making a big mistake, the guy’s an asshole!”

“You don’t know that, Angie ...”

“Hey, I’m just describing him the way you have to me.”

“That’s different ...”

“That was just last week!”

I watched Victoria’s eyes start to well up as the conversation was taking a toll on her emotions. Was I finally getting through to her? It was hard to tell. She looked away and she remained silent. She was only at arm’s length away from me, but it felt like there were miles between us. Was I pushing too hard? Was I pushing her away? The thought scared me and I needed to bring her back, bring her close.

“Listen, I’ll make you a deal, why don’t you invite Jake over for dinner? It’ll give Brad and I a chance to meet him and get to know him. If he’s that important to you, then he’s important to us. What do you say? Will you give us a chance?”  I asked in my sincerest voice.

Her eyes instantly dried up and was replaced with a very excited smile. She was definitely back with me.

“Deal!” She said enthusiastically. “Now let’s get outta here and find someplace else to eat.”

“What’s wrong with here?”

“I don’t trust the food now that you were rude to our waiter.”

“Good point.”

We made arrangements on the following Saturday to have a date night. We would all go to dinner and then to a late movie afterwards. Eva was staying with Brad's parents for the night, so it worked out well. I was very anxious to meet this guy and find more faults to make my point with Victoria. I definitely wasn’t going into this with an open mind.

They were a half an hour late. Brad sat on the couch watching television while I stood by the window cursing Jake for his lack of consideration, reaffirming my stance on his character.

“Can you believe this guy? He’s already thirty minutes late! You would think that he’d want to make a good first impression,” I said.

Brad ignored my little tirade and continued to watch ‘ESPN’. How could he not be upset by this?  Suddenly, I heard the loud roar of a motorcycle and returned to the window, only to see it parked on my driveway. I watched as Victoria and Jake dismounted the bike, took off their helmets and approached the house. Brad and I opened the front door and waited for them to enter.

“You know, you might want to relax a bit,” Brad suggested.

“I am relaxed!” I snapped.

“You call that relaxed?”

“What do you mean?”

“You can start by unclenching your teeth and uncrossing your arms. And would it kill you to smile?”

He was right. I did what I was told. I put on a welcoming smile and held the door for them, inviting them in.  Victoria made the introductions and we all shook hands.

“Sorry we’re late,” Victoria said.

“You’re late? I didn’t even notice,” I replied.

Brad and Victoria shared a look that simply said, “Yeah, right.”  Jake wasn’t a bad looking guy if you’re into the grunge look.  He was about six feet, jet black hair with brown eyes that always seemed half shut.  He seemed relatively fit, but it was hard to tell under his worn out black leather jacket. He had a fair bit of stubble and wore a black printed tee shirt with matching black jeans. He definitely had that ‘cool’ image that most adolescent girls would fall for, but would eventually grow out of when they thought about their future.

“Nice to finally meet you Jake. Tori has told us so much about you,” I said.

“Likewise,” Jake replied with a nod.

“Okay, so let’s get this show on the road, shall we?” Victoria hinted, clearly anxious to get this night over and done with.

We followed them in our car and I watched in horror as Jake weaved in and out of traffic with Victoria holding on to him from behind.

“This guy’s a complete idiot! Look how he’s driving! He’s gonna get them both killed!” I yelled.

“He’s driving just fine Angie,” Brad said.

“Just because he dresses like a biker, doesn’t mean he’s good at it!”

“You’re overreacting.”

“And did you see how he’s dressed? We’re going to a nice restaurant and he wears jeans and a tee shirt?”

“There’s nothing wrong with that, Angie.”

“It’s disrespectful is all I’m saying.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Why are you defending him?”

“I’m not defending him, I’m defending Victoria.”


“Yes, Victoria. She is an adult. She has the right to choose who she dates and we have to be respectful of that.  Regardless of what you think.”

He had a point. A very good point. Yet, again. Still, I was fuming inside. Brad maybe right, but I wouldn’t be a good sister if I didn’t share my opinion, even it if wasn’t something she wanted to hear. For the rest of the drive I crossed my arms and clenched my teeth, contemplating my next move.

We arrived at the restaurant and met them in the parking lot where Brad and Jake were in deep conversation about the bike. I could tell Brad was infatuated with the bike as he traced his fingers across the ‘Harley’ emblem. While the guys were completely engrossed with the machinery, Victoria grabbed my arm and led me into the restaurant.

“Please try not to embarrass me tonight,” she politely requested.

“I would never do such a thing.” I replied. “Well, not intentionally anyways.”

“I know you don’t like him, but can we just be civil for one night?”

“Yes. Regardless of what I think, you have the right to date whoever you want and I have to be respectful of that.”

“That’s very adult of you,” she said.

“That’s very Brad of me.”

“Yeah, I figured.”

We sat in a booth waiting for the guys to join us, but they were obviously too enchanted by the bike to worry about keeping us waiting. When they finally sat down, Brad had this big grin on his face.

“Angela, I was thinking ...” he started to say.

“No, Brad. You’re not getting a bike.” I said.

“See Jake, I told you.”

They both laughed before the waitress came to take our order. They kept talking about the stupid bike as if it was the Holy Grail. I never knew Brad was so interested in motorcycles and was surprised by how much he knew about them.  Even though Jake was a jerk and we’ll probably never see him again (God willing), it was nice to see Brad get so excited, even if it was over a stupid bike. Once the food arrived, I put my foot down.

“Alright boys, that’s enough bike talk. Did you forget who you’re here with?” I reminded them.

“Yes, dear,” Brad quipped.

Tori and Jake sat across from us and I watched as Jake stood up to remove his jacket before sitting back down again. The full length of his arms were covered with tattoos. There were so many of them I couldn’t decipher what they were.  It was an overlapping mix of different designs, patterns and colours that overwhelmed the mind and turned my stomach. I seriously didn’t think I would be able to eat looking at that colouring book he calls his arms.  

“Hey, cool tats!” Brad exclaimed. “I’ve always wanted to get one.”

“Then why don’t you?” Jake replied. “I know a guy.”

“He’s not getting a tattoo,” I clarified.

“What’s wrong with getting a tattoo?” Tori asked.

It wasn’t so much why she asked, but how she asked that raised my suspicion.

“Oh Tori, please don’t tell me you got one,” I said.

“Just a little one,” she innocently replied.

“Why would you do such a thing?”

“Well, I wasn’t going to, but …”

“Jake knew a guy, right?” I said, finishing her sentence.

I gave a dirty look to Jake, knowing now more than ever how manipulating he could be.

“Angie, it’s not that bad,” explained Victoria. “You can barely see it!”

“Dare I ask, what it is?” I asked.

“Well, I wanted something unique and different. Something that people never saw before ...”

“You’re stalling, Tori. What did you get?” I impatiently asked.

“A blue canary!”

“A blue canary? There’s no such thing as a blue canary.” I said, totally baffled.

“Exactly! That’s why I got it.”

They all began to laugh. I didn’t think it was so funny. Jake obviously manipulated her into getting one and it royally pissed me off!  He’s making her into something she’s not and thinks he’s going to get away with it!  Every time I looked at him I hated him a little more, but I bit my tongue and just focused on my food, trying to ignore his stupid face. All through dinner we had great conversation, except for Jake who never said much at all. It didn’t surprise me though. If we weren’t talking about motorcycles, tattoos or the color black, he had nothing worthwhile to say. It was time to put him on the spot.

“So Jake, you’re awfully quiet,” I said. “Why don’t you tell us a little more about yourself?”

“What’s to say?” He replied, shrugging his shoulders.

“Well, he’s a mechanic and restores cars and motorcycles ...” Victoria said, coming to his rescue.

“I was asking him, Tori!” I snapped, then returned my gaze at Jake, “Please, continue Jake.”

“What she said,” Jake replied, giving me a little attitude.

He was trying to stare me down, but I held my own and stared right back at him. I was about to rip into him and give him a piece of my mind when Tori came to his rescue again.

“Hey, look at the time! We better get outta here if we want to catch the movie,” Victoria suggested.

“That’s a good idea, Tori! Let me get the check,” Brad agreed, wanting to break the tense standoff.

Jake and I simultaneously broke our death stares and we proceeded to the parking lot. We followed them to the theater and I couldn’t be happier getting a break from his presence, but I knew Brad wasn’t overly thrilled to be alone in the car with me. He knew what was going to happen.

“Thanks for defending me back there,” I said sarcastically.

“I should be defending him,” Brad replied.

“Excuse me?”

“Do you have to be so hard on him?”

“Oh, please! The guy’s a loser and the faster Tori realizes it the better.”

“Says you.”

“Are you saying she can’t do better than Jake?”

“It’s not our call, Angie …”

“He barely said anything during dinner …”

“So he’s not a talker, big deal! Is that a crime?”

“No, but those tattoos should be! It’s embarrassing.”

“Don’t judge a book by its cover, Angie.”

“I’m not! I’m just saying it’s one ugly cover.”

By the time we got to the theater, I relaxed quite a bit. I took solace in the fact that the night was soon going to be over and all that remained was a two hour movie in which I wouldn’t have to talk to him or look at his irritating face. We decided to watch “War Gods,” which was some action flick that Tori said had gotten good reviews. It didn’t matter to me. Anything that takes my mind off of Tori ruining her life was a good thing.

The theater wasn’t very busy and we had no problem finding four seats together. Tori and I sat in the middle while our respective mates sat on either end. We kept silent as soon as we sat down. It was a little uncomfortable, but we had the ads and previews to occupy our thoughts. The movie was just about to start when three guys entered the theater being overly loud and laughing hysterically at something only they knew. I figured they must be drunk.  They walked in single file, following who I assumed was their leader. The two guys trailing wore their college hoodies; one wore black, the other wore red while the leader wore a college baseball cap that was overly tilted to one side. They weren’t exactly the ‘poster boys’ a college would want representing them.  I watched them walking up the stairs, passing row after row, hoping that they would choose something far away from us. Naturally, they sat directly behind us.

There was no question that they were drinking as I could smell the alcohol on their breaths between the seats. Who gets drunk before watching a movie? We thought that they would settle down once they sat down, but they got worse.  Without getting into too much detail, they remained loud and obnoxious, slurring profanity mixed with vulgarity.  We kept seated, fighting our annoyance and remained hopeful that they would stop, but it became more disgusting and repulsive. They would talk about any woman that appeared on the screen asking each other if they would ‘do them’. Then it became progressively worse and they would ask if they would ‘fist them up the ass.’ And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, they asked if they would let them ‘shit on their face’. After every question and answer they would laugh hysterically and kick the back of our chairs. I know I’ve done a lot of questionable things when I was their age, but I was never so blatantly disrespectful, even when I was drunk.  Their lousy parents must be so proud. The rest of the movie patrons looked back in disgust, giving them all dirty looks, but none of them said anything. We looked at each other trying to decide what we should do, except for Jake who remained calm and continued watching the screen while eating his popcorn. Surprisingly, it was Tori who suddenly turned around to face their leader.

“Excuse me guys,” she said politely. “Would you mind keeping it down, please?”

“Just turn around and shut the fuck up, bitch!” The leader said.

“Yeah, we ain’t hurtin’ nobody!”  Red hoodie added.

“Yeah, fuck off!” Black hoodie yelled before kicking her chair hard.

Jake casually placed his popcorn on the seat beside him and was about to get up, when Tori placed a hand on his arm, shaking her head. He obeyed, but you could tell by the fury in his eyes that he didn’t want to comply. Brad, being the most reasonable out of all of us, pointed at some seats near the front, suggesting that we should just move seats.  We nodded in agreement and got up to move seats.

“That’s right! You better fuckin’ move bitches!” The leader yelled.

“Yeah, and hurry it up assholes! You’re disturbing us!” Red hoodie yelled.

“Fucking pussies!” Black hoodie shouted while laughing uncontrollably.

They continued to yell and taunt us, but we ignored them and found seats far enough away from them. Or at least I thought it was. We could still hear them snickering while calling us every name in the book. They were relentless. Most people found their behavior overly annoying and left the theater, but we still stayed.

“Does anyone want to leave?” Brad asked. “We could always find something else to do.”

“No! No one is leaving!” I exclaimed. “We’re not going to give them the satisfaction.”

They all smiled at that, even Jake. So we stayed. I was hoping that once the alcohol left their system, their mouths would dry up and they would eventually stop, but I was wrong. They continued right where they left off and we took the verbal abuse for the next two hours. Only Jake seemed to be able to ignore them enough to enjoy the movie, while the rest of us stared at the screen wondering what insults they would come up with next. As soon as the credits started to roll, we got up and left without looking back. We were out in the parking lot, heading to our vehicles when we heard the guys hollering behind us.

“Hey, I hope you pussies enjoyed the movie? We weren’t too loud for you, were we?” The leader said.

“Next time just mind your own business, if you know what’s good for you!” Black hoodie said.

They were about twenty feet away and continued to follow us, shouting obscenities, trying to intimidate us. Tori, turned around to look at them ready to shout something back, but before she could, Brad grabbed her arm.

“Just ignore them, Tori. Saying anything will only encourage them,” Brad said.

I agreed with Brad. It was the sensible thing to do. They were young and drunk. Who knows what they were capable of, so why aggravate the situation? Besides, we were almost at our car anyways. Unfortunately, they caught Tori’s brief death glare, adding fuel to their fire.

“What the fuck you looking at you stupid cunt?” the leader yelled. “You got something to say, bitch?”

Jake clearly had enough and began to approach them. Tori grabbed his arm, but he pulled it away and headed in their direction. We all stood still and watched, not knowing what was going to happen. The three guys stood in place, waiting for Jake to come closer. They had these grins on their faces, like hyenas hiding in the bush. They raised their chins and stuck out their chests. I held on to Brad’s arm, holding him back, not wanting him to get involved, but I really didn’t need to. Brad had no intention of going anywhere. I turned my attention back to Jake and once he was face to face with them, everything happened so fast.     

“The fuck you gonna do, asshole! Don’t make us beat your ass in front of …”

That was all the leader was able to say before Jake slapped him hard across the face, knocking the cap off his head and sending him a few steps back. Black hoodie threw a wild punch, hoping to catch him off guard, but Jake ducked and countered with a quick left hook followed by a hard right that hit him square in the mouth. He went down instantly, spitting out broken teeth from his bloody mouth.

Red hoodie lunged at Jake, trying to grab him, but Jake sidestepped him and then delivered solid uppercut to his stomach. Red hoodie bent over holding his stomach, gasping for breath before Jake thrusted his knee up into his chin. Jake connected so hard that Red Hoodie’s feet left the ground before he fell backwards, hitting the pavement with a loud thud. He was out cold. The leader approached Jake in a boxing stance with his fists raised in front of his face. Jake just smiled at him and encouraged him to approach. He threw a few punches that Jake easily avoided and when he threw a hard right hook, Jake caught his arm mid flight, twisting and bending it until he dropped to the ground. Jake held his wrist tight, twisting his arm while bending the leaders elbow backwards in a way not humanly possible. The leader was screaming in pain and Jake dug his knee into his ribs, giving him more leverage and causing more agony.

The shrieks coming from the leader were sounds I never thought a human could make. The whole thing was hard to watch, but more painful to hear. Jake finally decided to end his misery by driving his elbow hard into the leader’s nose. There was an immediate crack, before the leader began rolling on the pavement, holding his nose while blood poured out through his fingers.

Jake took one final look at them sprawled on the pavement before quickly returning.

“Time to go!” He said, grabbing Tori’s arm, hurrying her to the bike.

“Wait! Shouldn’t we call the police?” I asked.

“Probably not a good idea,” he said, before revving the bike and taking off.

“He’s right Angie, let’s just get outta here!” Brad said.

When we drove away, Brad was quiet. Not because he had nothing to say, but because he knew I did. Like always, he gave me all the time I needed to collect my thoughts and recall all the facts before I gave him my professional opinion.

“What a fuckin’ asshole!” I blurted out. “Did you see what he did?”

“Yes, I was there Angie.” Brad patiently replied.

“He didn’t have to hurt them like that! They were only kids!”

“They weren’t kids, Angie.”

“Yes they were!”

“They were a bunch of drunk college guys who …”

“The guy’s a maniac, a loose cannon! Can you imagine what he would do to Tori?”

“He wouldn’t do anything to Tori. He did it for her.”

“Oh please! Practically killing three guys isn’t a sign of affection Brad!”

“I’m not saying it is ...”

“What if they had a knife or a gun? He would have put us all in danger!”

“They didn’t have any of those things.”

“But they could have! Are you actually saying he did the right thing?”

“I’m just saying I understand why he did it. Those guys deserved it.”

“Nobody deserves that!”

Brad didn’t say anything after that and I couldn’t blame him. I was filled with so much anger and I was taking it out on him.  By the time we got home and got ready for bed, cooler heads prevailed.

“I’m sorry,” I said, giving him a kiss on the cheek.

“I know sweetheart, it’s okay,” he replied.

“I just don’t think it’s a good idea for Tori to be dating anyone with a bad temper.”

“I agree, but you have to admit it was pretty cool seeing him kick their asses!” He said, while mimicking a few karate chops in my face.

“Oh God! You’re such a tool Brad!” I yelled, as I grabbed my pillow and headed for the couch.

“What? What did I say?” Brad asked before I slammed the door behind me.

He didn’t give chase. I made myself comfortable on the couch willing myself to calm down in order to sleep, but it wasn’t going to be easy. I kept replaying the fight in my head, making me even more furious. I still couldn’t make any sense of it. Violence never solved anything, even if they did deserve it. So what if they called us names throughout the movie, big deal! Sticks and stones, right? Why didn’t he just walk away? We were already at the car!  I can understand that he was defending us, more so Tori, but did he have to do that much damage to them? Couldn’t he have just kicked them in the balls or something? He fought with such precision, without fear, easily manhandling three guys. It was raw, aggressive and reasonably honourable. I could understand why Tori was attracted to him. You would always feel secure and protected when you were around him. He would defend you and make sure that no harm would ever come to you. He fought without feeling or remorse. He simply did what he felt like because he could.  It was wrong on so many levels!  Then why did I find it strangely arousing? I shook the thought out of my head and went to sleep.

The next day I called Tori. I was hoping to have an enlightening conversation with her about last night. I figured I had enough evidence on Jake to make her come to her senses and end it with him.  I planned to be tactful and not judgemental, but after a few pleasantries things got heated pretty quickly.  She had a ‘smart ass’ answer for everything and it wasn’t long before things got confrontational.

“What he did was wrong, Tori.” I said.

“He did what he felt was right,” she replied.

“What if they had a knife or a gun?”

“They were college kids, not gang members!”

“He’s supposed to keep you out of danger, not get you into it.”

“Hey, it was your idea to stay and watch the movie!”

“Tori, you shouldn’t be with someone who has a temper.”

“He doesn’t! He may be cold and even emotionally withdrawn sometimes, but he does not have a temper!”

“He could have just walked away. He didn’t have to resort to violence.”

“We tried that, remember? We moved seats, we headed to the car …”

“Why can’t you just find someone a little more mature?” I interrupted.

“Oh, you mean someone like Brad? No offence, I love Brad, but he has a spine of a gummy bear.”

“Hey, don’t you insult him! He’s got more sense than any of us!”

“Yeah, like a pincushion!”

“Look who’s talking! You’re a fucking doormat!” I barked.

“Whatever! This conversation is over!”

“Good!  And just for the record, I’d take a pin cushion, over a loser douche bag any day!”

And then I hung up. And then I cried. It took three days before she called to apologize. I would have called her myself, but she crossed the line when she insulted Brad. Brad was family. I quickly forgave her and apologized myself. To be honest, I was sick of fighting with her. It was draining. At that moment I gave up my quest to break them up. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t interfere anymore and would just remain ‘the shoulder to cry on.’ Don’t get me wrong, I would learn to respect my sister’s decision, but that didn’t mean I had to respect Jake.  

For the next few Saturdays, Brad would invite Victoria and Jake over for dinner. It was his way of trying to make peace between Jake and I. It didn’t work. We wouldn’t say a word to each other, not even a ‘hello’ or a ‘goodbye’. I could tell he didn’t want be there and was only doing it to satisfy Tori. Not that I was any better. I was only doing it to satisfy Brad. We kept apart throughout the night.  I would be talking with Tori and Eva while Brad would be laughing it up with Jake.  It pissed me off that they were getting along so well. They even made plans to go to a ballgame together! At first I tried to keep Eva away from Jake. Partly because I didn’t want her to get too close to someone who probably wasn’t going be around much longer, but mostly because Jake was a manipulative ass who was better to be forgotten than remembered. But truth be told, Jake was really good with her.  

Brad and Tori tried on numerous occasions to bring us together by playing cards or including us in conversation during dinner, but we still never talked to each other, let alone make eye contact.  At the end of each night, Brad and Tori always made a point to say, “See you next Saturday!” It was a subtle warning that these dinners would continue until we got along.

The following Saturday was our seven year ‘Annibirthary’ and although I was excited, I knew Jake was going to be there.  I put him out of my mind and concentrated on my daughter and husband. This was our special day as a family and I wasn’t going to let him ruin it.  Eva was five at the time so we had a birthday party for her during the day and then in the evening, our adult friends would come over to celebrate our anniversary. There was a lot of overlapping of guests, but no one seemed to mind.  Even a few of Eva’s friends and parents stayed until the late evening. We didn’t mind.  Everyone there had special place in our family and were free to stay however long they liked.  There were plenty of people in attendance, enough that I could easily avoid any interaction with Jake.  All our guests looked wonderful. Most of the women, including myself, wore light summer dresses, while most of the men wore casual dress pants with collared golf shirts. By the time Tori and Jake showed up, the party was already in full swing. I watched as they made their way through the crowd, heading in our direction.

“Hey, Tori and Jake are finally here!” Brad exclaimed.

“Yay,” I said sarcastically.

“Be nice, Angie.” Brad said, holding my hand preventing me from running away.

“Oh my God! Do you see what he’s wearing?” I said.

“What’s wrong with what he’s wearing?”

“Seriously? He’s wearing ripped jeans and a tee shirt!” I said fuming.

“It doesn’t matter ...”

“The disrespectful shit!”

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