Chapter 1

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2011

The day I found out about her was the day my life turned upside-down.

Two years ago, I was sitting on the blue floral couch at home, happily playing a game on my boyfriend's tablet, when a message notification popped up. Normally, I would have dismissed it and gone back to my game, but as soon as I clicked "close," the word "Hon" suddenly caught my eye. I immediately closed the game with a swipe of my finger and clicked on the Messages icon on the home screen. I was caught off guard by the number of messages there from "Hon Lexie Venezuela," whose icon photo definitely did not look like me. No chance of mistaken identity then.

In a daze, I read all the messages, all damning proof that Tom Patrias, my boyfriend of five years, had been cheating on me for a few months now. Wow, he was good. Really good. Despite all the time we spent together (we didn't live together, though) and the frequency of our messages, I never thought he'd have enough time, let alone money, to spend on another woman. But here, on this eight-inch slab, was the undeniable proof.

The latest message was: Thanks for last night, Hon. It was incredible. I can't wait to do it again on Sunday night. Just got home from my family dinner. It was great! I'm off to bed. Wish you were here with me!

Who was this fucking Lexie who was able to snare my sweet, thoughtful, and previously loyal boyfriend away from me? I thought he was the one for me and we were going to get married and have ridiculously cute babies and grow old together.

I was so absorbed with reading their messages that I forgot all about Tom, until I heard the clanking of dishes. He offered to wash them after I cooked lunch—a chore he'd been doing for a few months now. When he started it, I thought it was really sweet of him, but now maybe it was just his way of trying to assuage his guilt. I looked at him, there in the kitchen, looking so innocent and adorable, wiping our cream-colored countertops dry. But then I saw the tablet and I contemplated chucking it at his head and then throwing him out on his ass, right after I smashed his balls.

I was already standing up to do just that when a thought suddenly occurred to me. What if I was the one he really wanted to be with after all? Maybe he was just using this other woman for sex, since that was all that was lacking in our relationship. We have a deep connection. I mean we've been together for five years! We've talked about settling down, and our plans with each other. Maybe I should just let this pass after we have a huge row and I'll make him grovel for a couple of months.

I was still standing there, staring off into the space, mulling things over, when the tablet was suddenly snatched from my hands. I was jolted out of my reverie. "Hey!"

Tom was holding the tablet precariously. Belatedly, I realized I didn't close the messaging app so he caught me reading them. His face was white as bond paper. He ran his fingers through his hair nervously. "Babe, I can explain," he started.

I didn't speak. What could I have said that wouldn't sound like me threatening to feed him his newly mutilated balls?

When he finally figured I wouldn't say anything, he continued, "We've been meeting for a few months. Just sex, babe."

"What is this bitch's name?" I seethed.

"Oh babe, don't do anything to her. I'll break it off, I swear." Tom had his palms up, as if trying to placate me.

I wanted to gut him. "WHAT IS HER NAME!" I screamed. Thank God my parents weren't home that day.

"Lexie. Lexie Venezuela. Come on, Adria. I have my needs, and you said you wanted to wait until marriage. I swear I don't love her. It's always just been you, babe." He took a tentative step toward me, and hugged me when I didn't make a move to slap him. I was just too flabbergasted that sex was the reason for all this. That he was like other men who just wanted sex, after all.

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