Chapter 9 - Joan
I wanted to scream, but I had practiced controlling my emotions for many years and couldn’t make myself let anger take over. I punched the pillow beside me on the couch with my fist, but that was the extent of my outward rage. Here I am, again. I’ve fallen into the same trap. I let myself believe I could trust a man. When would I ever learn? It was all those romance stories I’d been reading. Those people falling in love with their happy ever after endings were all make believe. Real life was different, and I knew better. I calmed myself by breathing slowly. In through the nose, out through the mouth. When I could look around without seeing red, I decided to take myself on a date. I’d treat myself the way I wanted to be treated. I didn’t need a man.
I changed into a slinky teal dress and some strappy sandals in silver. I hung large hoops in my ears and applied makeup. I pulled my hair into a chignon and added some fake pearls to my ‘do.’ I twirled before the mirror, liking what I saw.
“Take that, you moron,” I said to Price. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t hear me over the damned racket next door. I stuck my tongue out like a child and felt better for it. It was then that I missed my best friend. Make that my ex-best friend. On a night like this, we would have gone out and cheered up one another. Thinking of her on the beach in Hawaii with Fred made my blood pressure spike again.
Who am I kidding? I thought. Do I really want to go somewhere and ask for a table for one? I sat on the side of the bed and put my head in my hands. I had a party next door. What would it hurt? Why was my pride keeping me from having a good time? I could go over and flirt with Vince, the big strong deputy sheriff. And if it upset Price? All the better. I lifted my head and considered myself in the mirror. Was I really going to do this? Hell, to the yeah. I grabbed my little purse and stuck my phone inside along with the key to the house and a lipstick, bright red. A spritz of perfume, and I was out the door. I wasn’t eating humble pie. I was simply ready to party with the best of them.
When Price opened the door, his eyes almost popped out of his head.
“You invited me. I came. Can we get this party started?” I pushed past him and onto the deck. Little white lights twinkled on the railings, the music wasn’t that loud, and the people were smiling. Vince saw me and approache...