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bruised love

Chapter Seven

Cause I fear
There is nothing left to say
To you
That you wanna hear
That you wanna know
I think I should go
The things I’ve done are way too shameful.
    Tangled, Maroon 5


Monday morning Jason walked into his office looking tired and worn.  He and Kyle had met at Kyle’s apartment on Saturday afternoon where they had enjoyed a long leisurely session of lovemaking.  After spending a few hours there, Jason reluctantly returned home to his wife.

As promised, he took her out to dinner and a movie.  He tried to have a good time while out with her, he really did.  But the weight of what he must do hung heavy over him.  She tried to bring him out of his shell.  She had been so hopeful the night before, thinking that maybe things were on the right track again. But seeing him tonight she realized that their marriage was not what it used to be.   She lay awake for hours after Jason fell asleep wondering how to reach him.

When Kyle walked into Jason’s office that Monday morning he was surprised at how defeated he looked.  “Jason?  Are you alright?”

“I couldn’t do it.”

Kyle let out a breath.  “It’s okay Jason.  You’ll tell her.  Give yourself time.”

“I can’t.  I’m a coward.  I always have been.”

“No you’re not and you will tell her.  Listen, you are still dealing with all this in your own head.  Give yourself a little time, okay?”

Jason finally looked up, meeting Kyle’s eyes,  “You’ll wait?”

Kyle smiled,  “Yeah, I’ll wait.”


Kyle walked over a little closer to him.  “So are you meeting me for lunch?”
That earned him a full-blown smile.  “Yeah.”


The rest of the week flew by with Jason and Kyle making time for each other on their lunch breaks.  Thursday afternoon Jason called Sara to say he would be entertaining a client that evening so that he and Kyle could go out to a club to have a couple of drinks and do a little dancing.

“So have you been to a gay bar before?”  Kyle asked on their way to the club.

“Yeah, once.”

“Jason, you said you had a boyfriend in college.  Was he your first?”

“Yeah, it was my sophomore year.  We were only together a few weeks, well, less than that actually.   I wouldn’t tell Sara and he wouldn’t be in the closet, or date anyone that was.”

“And no one since then?”

“No.  I mean an occasional blowjob in a tea room, but no, no one since then.”

Kyle winched.  He couldn’t imagine.  “Do you?”  He stopped, not sure how to ask the next question,  “You and Sara?”

Jason shook his head, thinking of their last attempt, the night before he left for Rochester and this whole thing began. “No, not in months, maybe close to a year; and not very often before.  I mean, when we were first living together I suppose it was more like a normal relationship, but for the last four or five years we’ve been more like good friends.”

“And she doesn’t complain?”  Again, Kyle couldn’t imagine people lived like this.


“Wow, no wonder you’re so insatiable. All that sexual tension pent up for years. Wow,” Kyle chuckled.

Jason couldn’t help but laugh too, “Shut up and take me dancing.”

“Then back to my place to release more of that tension you are carrying around,” Kyle said with a twinkle in his eye.


Friday afternoon Jason was getting ready to go home from the office.  He was leaving a couple hours early to try to appease Sara, who was asking why he was suddenly putting in so many hours at work.  He stuck his head in Kyle’s door.  “Will you be around this weekend?”

Kyle looked up from his desk. “Uh, yeah, should be.  What do you have planned?”

“I don’t know.  Sara is asking too many questions so I am going to spend this evening with her.  I’ll try to get away for a few hours either tomorrow or Sunday.  I’ll call you.”

“Yeah, okay.”


“It’s okay, Jason.”

“You told me to give myself some time.  I’m going to tell her, I will.  Don’t give up on me.”

Kyle nodded,  “Call me.”

“I will.”

Kyle sat at his desk after Jason left, thinking of what had just happened.  He was now looking at sitting by the phone all weekend, hoping for a call that may or may not come; hoping for a few stolen moments.  Oh Lord, he was becoming a cliché. 


That evening Jason had begged off Sara’s request to go out.  He instead talked her into renting a DVD.  She had hoped to get him out to a quiet restaurant to find out just what was going on.  She knew there was something he wasn’t telling her.  As they settled in to watch the movie she decided to try one more time to get him to open up.


He was putting the disc into the player, “Yeah?”

“Can we talk for a moment first?”

Oh, shit. “Yeah, sure.”

He sat down in the recliner, away from her.  “Sit here on the sofa with me,” she requested. 

“I’m fine here.  What’s up?”

“I should ask you the same?”

“What do you mean?”  Shit. Did she suspect something already?

“You are so distant, and so irritable with me.  I can’t seem to do anything right.  Have I done something?”

He sighed,  “No, Sara.  You haven’t done anything.”  He took in a breath to tell her the truth, but then he looked into her eyes brimming over with silent tears and he just couldn’t do it.  He just couldn’t cause her that much pain.

“Then what is it Jason?”

“It’s nothing.  I’m sorry; I’m being a lousy husband and taking you for granted.  It will be better. I’ll be better.”  He walked over and sat down next to her on the sofa, kissing her on the forehead as he brushed the tears from her cheeks.  “Don’t cry, Sara.  It will be okay.” 

She nodded as he handed her a tissue to blow her nose.  “Okay”

“You still want to watch the movie?”


Jason pushed the play button on the remote and pulled Sara over closer to him. She lay her head down in his lap.  They watched the film in silence, neither very interested in what was on the screen.  When Jason looked down at her half way into the show she was already asleep.  
After the movie was over, he slipped out from under Sara without waking her and took his cell into the bathroom.  He closed the door and turned on the shower, then began dialing Kyle’s cell number. 

“Hello.  This is Kyle; you have reached my voice mail.  Leave me a message and I’ll get back to you.”

Jason ended the call without leaving a message and dialed the number to Kyle’s apartment.   He listened as that phone rang and rang.  No one was home.  He must have gone out for the evening.  Jason sighed as he turned off the shower; he wondered if Kyle was at the same club they had gone to the night before.  Was he dancing with some beautiful man; one that was out; one that didn’t have a wife at home? Shit, he should have told Sara the truth tonight.  She had given him the opportunity and he wasn’t able to go through with it. Fuck.  He was such a coward.

“Jason?”  He jumped at the sound of Sara’s voice.

“In here.” 

She opened the door and stuck her head in.  “What are you doing?”

“Um, getting ready to take a quick shower.”

She nodded, then looked at the cell phone in his hands.  Her gaze moved slowly back to his face, questioning. Then she simply pulled her head back out of the door, pulling it closed behind her.

He turned the shower back on, slowly undressed and stood in the hot water, wondering what the fuck he was going to do.

When he came to their bed twenty minutes later she had already fallen back asleep.  He crawled in silently beside her, staring at the ceiling for what seemed like an eternity.


Saturday he awoke alone in bed.  He could hear Sara puttering around in the kitchen.  He felt a wave of despair wash over him. He wasn’t sure he had the energy to face her.  His thoughts turned to Kyle, but the happiness he felt with Kyle was tainted with the guilt of what he was doing to Sara.  He knew that he couldn’t continue this much longer, it would drive him insane.

He grabbed his cell and padded off to the bathroom.  He tried Kyle’s numbers again before he got in the shower; the results were the same.  No answer at home, and his cell was turned off.  Maybe he spent the night with someone. He wanted to think he and Kyle were monogamous, but they had never discussed it.  Finally he dialed Kyle’s cell again and left a message on his voice mail to call when he got in.

Coming out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel, cell phone still in hand, he didn’t notice Sara standing in the living room watching him.  He didn’t see the look on her face as she realized just what the problems of the last few weeks were all about.  There was someone else.  He was having an affair.


If there had been any doubt in Sara’s mind, it was completely removed by Sunday evening.  Jason had carried his cell phone off into the bathroom when he thought she wasn’t looking more times then she could count.  He had also made numerous excuses to run pointless errands.  He had claimed to go into the office both afternoons but was back home in less than an hour and a half.  Apparently who ever this woman was, Jason was not having any luck reaching her and it was driving him mad.

She had debated confronting him about her suspicions. But in the end she decided to wait.  There was a part of her that wanted to hang on to that thread of doubt, a part of her that hoped she was wrong.

Jason tossed and turned all night, finally getting out of bed an hour before the alarm was set to go off.   He arrived at the office early and tried to get some work done, but his concentration was for shit.  He kept getting up to check to see if Kyle was in yet. 

Finally, after four cups of coffee Jason noticed Kyle making his way down the hall to his office.  The fact he was a half an hour late only made Jason all the angrier when he saw him.  He followed the brunet down the hall and stepped in his office as Kyle was shedding his jacket.

Jason closed the door behind him. “What the fuck, Kyle?  Where were you all weekend?”

Kyle had his back to the door and visibly slumped when he heard Jason’s voice, “I was at my mother’s.”

“Why did you have your cell off?  Did you not check your voice mail? Why didn’t you call me?  I needed you.  Sara confronted me.  I couldn’t tell her.  I needed to talk to you and when I couldn’t find you I started getting scared. I was worried sick.” It all came pouring out of him, disconnected, and disjointed as he relived the days before.

Kyle sat down at his desk. “Sit down Jason.”

The blond stood staring at him for a few moments, trying to calm himself down, then took a seat across from the desk.

Kyle took a deep breath and began.  “I went home Friday night realizing I would be sitting by the phone, waiting for your call all weekend.  I guess it just sort of hit home what is going on here; that you are married.  That up until a few weeks ago you were telling yourself you were straight.  It all sort of freaked me out.  I’m not sure I can handle being the ‘other woman’.  I’m not sure I am strong enough to be there for you while you come out -- if you come out.  And I’m not sure I am strong enough to be there for you if you don’t come out, if you decide to stay with your wife.  So I turned off my cell phone and went to my mother’s.   I spent the weekend thinking…  about us… about me.”

Jason was quiet.  He was suddenly back in college again, being told that if he couldn’t come out, the relationship was over.  But this time was different.  This time he would not let his lover walk away.  “What are you saying?”  It was barely a whisper.

Kyle shrugged,  “That I’m scared. I’m scared of what I feel for you and the power that gives you.  I just had to get away and think.  I’m sorry that I disappeared like that. I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me.”

“Don’t give up on me Kyle.  I will tell her.  I promise.”

Kyle only nodded.  “So what happened?  She confronted you?”

“Not really, I mean, she asked me what was going on.  I was going to tell her.  I was.  But then I looked at her, and I just couldn’t.  Shit.  Kyle, I’ll tell her I promise.”

Again Kyle only nodded.

Jason got up and walked over to where Kyle sat.  He squatted down so that their faces were level.  “So do you still want to see me?”  Jason’s greatest fear, even more than Sara finding out, was for Kyle to reject him, to tell him they were through.

Kyle sighed, then reached out and cupped Jason’s cheek.  “I can’t ‘not’ see you, Jason.”

“So, you’ll wait?”

“Yeah,” He leaned over and kissed Jason on the forehead.  “Just, please, don’t ask me to wait too long.”


Sara awoke that morning with a feeling of dread.  Was Jason really having an affair?  Was she just jumping to conclusions, borrowing trouble?  She decided she needed a second opinion.


“Hey, Sara.  What’s up?” 

Sara had met Kathy when they  first moved to the city.  She was recently divorced and living a few floors above them in the same building.  They had hit it off from the start and remained close since.

“I need a friend.”

“Sara?  What’s going on?” She heard Sara sigh heavily.

“Can we go somewhere for coffee?  I need to get away from these walls for awhile.”

“Sure, sure.  Come on up.  You want me to just fix some coffee here?  That way we can talk in private.”

“Yeah, sure that would be great.  Are you sure I’m not imposing?”

“Sara.  No, you’re not imposing. Come on up.”


A few minutes later Sara sat at Kathy’s kitchen table with a mug of coffee in her hands.  “How do you know if there is someone else?”

“Someone else?  You think Jason is having an affair?”

Sara looked down at her hands.  “I don’t know.”

“Well, tell me why you think he might be.”

“I don’t know, it’s just… well, he has been so distant, and irritable.  I can’t do anything right anymore.  Then when I ask him, he gets all apologetic and tells me that it’s nothing. He is spending more time away from home.  He says he is at work, maybe he is, I don’t know.”  She took a sip of coffee before going on,  “Then this weekend he kept carrying his cell phone with him into the other room.  He was trying to reach someone and apparently not able to get them.  As the weekend went on he became more agitated.  I don’t think he slept at all last night.”  The tears were silently streaking down her cheeks.

“Did you ask him who he was trying to call?” Kathy reached over pushed Sara’s hair off her shoulders

Sara shook her head.  “I asked him Friday night what was wrong; if I had done anything.  For a minute I thought he was going to say something, but then he just gave me the same answer he always gives, ‘it’s nothing, its stress from work, I’ll do better.’  Am I making too much of this Kathy?”

“Oh honey, only you know that.  Listen, I know you and Jason really love each other.  Lots of marriages get past an affair.  You need to sit him down and ask him point blank.”

“But what if I’m wrong?  What if it is just work and stuff?”

“Then he will know that he needs to shape up and start paying more attention to you.”

Sara nodded, “Thanks Kathy.  Thanks for listening to me.”


By that evening Sara had convinced herself to ask Jason flat out if he was having an affair.  If there wasn’t someone else, then she wanted to know just what the fuck was going on.  She was tired of wondering and worrying. 

She was taking a roast out of the oven when Jason came walking in the apartment.  “Hi, honey, I’m home.” he singsonged, obviously in a better mood.

“In here,” she singsonged back.  “Are you hungry?”  She asked as he walked into the kitchen.

“Famished.  It smells great.”

“So how was your day?”  Sara asked as they sat down to eat.

“Good.  I had a good day.”  Jason’s thoughts turned to the hot and passionate sex he and Kyle shared over their lunch break.

Sara debated waiting until the meal was over.  Let the dying man have his last supper she thought to herself.  But she had his attention now, and he was in a pretty good mood.  More than that, she was afraid she would lose her nerve.

“Jason?  What has happened to us?”  That wasn’t they way she had planned to start out, but the words were out of her mouth before she had time to think.

Oh, fuck. “To us?  What do you mean?”  He sat down his fork, his appetite suddenly gone.

“I don’t know.  I just feel so empty.  You are working so many hours, and I can’t find a teaching job.  Maybe it’s time to start a family.”


Sara surprised even herself.  Sure, she had thought about it, maybe more so the last few weeks, but she really hadn’t planned to ask him for a baby tonight.  “We always said that we’d have a family someday.  Maybe that someday is now.”

Jason sat in silence.  Of all the things he thought would come from her mouth, this was nowhere to be found.  He wasn’t prepared to deal with this.  A baby?  She wanted them to have a baby?  Did she really not see what was happening?  He had thought for sure she was finally going to confront him, not ask him to start a family. What the fuck?  “Um, I um, I can’t talk about this.”  He stood up from the table.

“Jason?”  Sara rose and followed him out of the kitchen.

“Not now Sara.  You know I am under a lot of stress right now.  I can’t deal with this right now.”

She watched as he grabbed his coat and fled out the door.   “That went well,” she sighed.


Kyle was getting out of a long hot shower when he heard the buzz of the intercom.  He wrapped the towel around his waist and walked over to the offending machine.  “Yes.”

“Kyle let me in.  I need to see you.”  Jason sounded upset, frantic even.

“Yeah, okay.”  He buzzed Jason in, unlocked the front door, then headed back to the bedroom to get dressed.  What ever was going on, being naked probably wouldn’t help.  Then again maybe it would.

“Kyle?”  Jason closed the door behind him.

“Right here.”  Kyle came walking out of the bedroom in his usual jeans and t-shirt. 

Jason stood there for a moment looking around like he was suddenly uncomfortable being in Kyle’s apartment.  “I shouldn’t have just dropped in should I?  I’m sorry, I should have called first.”  He was babbling on until Kyle’s voice stopped him.

“Jason,” Kyle walked over and put his arms around him.  “It’s okay.  Now tell me what’s going on.”   He couldn’t help but hope that this was it, that he had finally came out to Sara, but Kyle didn’t think Jason seemed upset enough for it to be that.

He walked the blond over to the sofa.  “Now spill.”

Jason sat looking at his feet, trying to figure what had just happened over at his apartment.  “She wants a baby,” he finally said.

Kyle snorted,  “She what?”

“She wants to start a family.”

“What did you say?”

“I didn’t say anything.  I got up and left.”

They sat in silence as they both mulled it over. 

Jason was the first to speak up. “Why now?  Why, when our marriage is going to shit, does she want a family?”

“Because she doesn’t know what else to do.  She is trying to find a way to hang on to you, to get your attention.  You have to be honest with her Jason. You have to tell her the truth.”

He sighed, “I know.  I just don’t know how.  Fuck, Kyle, what am I going to do?”


After Jason walked out the door, Sara cleaned up the kitchen and then took a long relaxing bubble bath.  She thought she would have been more upset.  She hadn’t really planned to ask him to start a family, and looking back she knew it was one last desperate attempt to reach him.  But now she just felt cold and empty. 

She was in bed when she heard Jason let himself in.  She heard him make his way to the bathroom and heard him start the shower.  She was still awake when he tiptoed into their room and got into bed.  He had come back home to her, This time. She guessed that was something. Or was it?

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