"Well, I hope that's all he is."
"Whoa, wait a minute," interjected Ray. "I thought you two had something going on. Like a thing between you. Didn't he dance the hula for you in a grass skirt?"
"We missed out on the window of opportunity to do a hula dance," Beth sighed.
"No! That's the whole reason you couldn't post more pictures on Connections!" Ray shouted.
Beth's head was hurting. She had to get rid of her family. "It didn't work out. In fact, nothing worked out and we are very simply coworkers."
Her mother sniffed. "Well, thank the heavens you didn't sleep with him."
"You didn't get to sleep with him?" Ray asked, disappointed.
"Ray! At your age!" Joyce snapped.
"We're not talking about me, we're talking about Beth!"
"Actually, Mom, now that you mention it—" Beth said.
"At least you are still taking your marriage vows seriously," Joyce said, patting Beth's arm. "Explain this to Brian, talk to him, and it will help heal the tree of your marriage immensely."
"I wasn't finished talking," Beth said.
"I'm sure there were some difficult moments when you felt weak or tempted, but what's important is that things stayed nonphysical."
"Are you ready to listen to me, Mom?"
"Sweetheart, I am always ready to listen to you. You two are the most important people in the world and I love you so much," Joyce said.
"You might want to plug your ears, Ray," Beth warned her sister.
"Why?" Ray asked, holding her pointer fingers out.
"Because I'm about to tell Mom what happened during my week in Hawaii."
"Tell me about what?" Joyce asked.
"About all the wild sex I had with Russell over the last couple of days."
"Oh! I'm not listening!" Ray shouted, shoving her fingers in her ears and singing, "La, la, la, la, la!"
Joyce's mouth flew open in shock. "Bethany Jo! Why on earth would you sleep him? Is one time with a strange man worth destroying everything you tried to build with Brian?"
"Well, it wasn't exactly one time, Mother. And yes, it was worth it."
"How is that possible? What on earth were you thinking?"
"Well, first I thought he was an incredibly great kisser and dancer and I wanted to see what kinds of things he would do if we were naked on the beach."
Ray snorted. "On the beach?"
"Young lady, get in the kitchen and stop listening!" Joyce shouted.
"Yes, on the beach," Beth continued. "Then we went back to the tent where things got hot again."
"I've heard enough."
"But I'm not done, Mother, because then he grabbed me and carried me off into the bushes after we finished camping"
"All right, we are going. Get your things, Rachel."
"Of course, once we were at the bungalow, we had to take advantage of the bed, you know what I mean?" Beth said, following them in the hallway.
"Ah!" her mother shouted. "I'm not listening!"
"Put your fingers in your ears and sing, that works great," Ray advised her while she put her boots and jacket on.
"You see how these things turn out, I hope, Rachel. Affairs ruin marriages. I'm sorry, Beth, but from now on you will simply have to learn from your own mistakes. Brian told me he is coming over later to see you when I said you would fly in today. He was really ready to figure things out and be with you again."
"Wait, plug your ears, Ray, I haven't said it all," Beth said.
"Beach, tent, bushes, bungalow? What more could there possibly be?" her mother asked.
"The airplane," Beth said. "On the flight home, we had sex in the bathroom. I'll let Brian know all about it."
"You had sex on the airplane?" Ray and Joyce shouted at the same time.
Joyce turned to her younger daughter. "I thought you were supposed to have your ears plugged!"
"How am I supposed to learn from her mistakes if I can't listen?" Ray asked, all innocence.
"Out! We are going! I am furious. Do not call me when your life goes up in flames, Beth, unless it is to apologize for this outrageous behavior!" Joyce snapped on her way out the door.
"Call me!" Ray yelled over her shoulder. "And post pictures! Love ya!"
Beth closed the door and sank to the floor with a sigh of relief. She thought her mother would never leave. She would call in a day or two and say she was sorry, because she was sorry that she had gotten angry. She was not sorry for her behavior, though, nor would she call when her life went up in flames. It was too late for that. Her life was smoking pile of charred toast.
Speaking of which...
For the first time in days, she turned on her phone and watched in dismay as missed calls and messages crowded onto the tiny screen.
Brian, her mom, her sister, Brian, Jerry, her mom, Susan and Debbie from work, Jerry, and a last one from Brian.
Jerry's messages were short and to the point. Basically, management was going to announce they were letting her go and he had done all he could.
Brian's were incomprehensible: I luv u we need 2 talk. Or: I will take u 2 a cabin and make luv 2 u (was he a cave man?), Will be @ yur place.
No, she didn't need this. First, she was going to be fired by Jerry and then kidnapped by Brian so he could prove his luv. No, no, no. If she had known, she would have stayed in Hawaii to become a beach bum/barmaid.
She crawled on all fours to the sofa and wrapped up in her fuzzy blanket. Wishing she could tell the whole world to shove it, she buried her face to hide, and fell asleep embracing a pillow.
A car door slamming in her drive way jerked her from her sleep a few hours later.
"Brian!" she said. "The papers! Where are the papers?"
He wasn't taking her to any cabins; she had some divorce papers to fill out and give back to him, instead.
She stood up and promptly tripped, falling on the floor when one of her legs gave out. She must have cut the circulation when she was curled up. She hobbled to the kitchen for the papers. There! Brian rang the doorbell and knocked loudly at the same time.
Pen, pen! Ha, ha, ha! All right. Oh, look at that, he's already filled in pretty much all the blanks. This looks right. I hope I didn't just hand over the rights to the house to him, but there's no time to read the fine print. Use the same post-it to write, 'my pleasure, dickhead' fold everything, put this baby in the envelope and go!
Brian was pounding on the door.
"Beth! Please open!" he called. He sounded awful, his voice was rough and hoarse as though he had been crying or screaming all afternoon.
Good, she thought. Serves him right.
She reached the door, yanked it open and threw the envelope with the divorce papers in his astonished face. Then she slammed the door shut and locked it.
Something wasn't right.
She unlocked the door and cracked it open to peek out.
Brown-haired Russell was standing on her doorstep, haggard with fatigue and confusion written across his face.
*** Hugs to everyone who has come this far, we are almost to the end! So Russell is on Beth's doorstep! What does this mean?! Thanks so much for reading, be sure to share to twitter and FB if you enjoy and want your friends to find the story. :-) Vote or drop me a comment, I love hearing from you. ***
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Two Tickets to ParadiseRomance
***Wattpad Featured Story and included in the Wattpad Block Party Winter 2017, hosted by @KellyAnneBlount !!!!*** He keeps to himself and doesn't date anyone from the office. She has free tickets to Hawaii and a plan. Sort of. When heart-broken Beth...