I sat in Jeffery Odom, my current boss’, office waiting on him. He’d texted me this morning and asked me to come into work early and meet him here. I wasn’t sure what was wrong. A couple of weeks ago, he had started flirting with me and then we’d moved it to something more. I had worried this would be a problem. I was a waitress in his bar. I was also only here for a short time.
On this trip to find myself I was having to stop and get jobs until I had enough for another couple of weeks of traveling the road. I liked Dallas. It was fun. Jeffery was sexy and older. He made me feel special. At least when he was in town.
In the beginning he’d only been around once a week but after a few flirty moments between us he started showing up more and more. Mostly at closing time. He would wait in his car and text me to meet him outside. This secret romance was starting to get annoying though. It wasn’t as if I was taking it seriously. I needed another five hundred in tips and I was back on the road. Next stop, Las Vegas.
The door to his office finally opened and the frown on his face alerted me that this wasn’t a fun visit. I might be heading for Vegas sooner than I thought.
“I’m sorry I called you in here so early, Della,” he said, walking to the other side of his desk and sitting down. This was all very proper and cold considering I’d been taking a shower with him only three nights ago before finally giving in and having sex with him.
I didn’t respond to him. I wasn’t sure what to say.
Jeffery ran a hand through his hair. “I think it’s best if you moved on earlier rather than later. This thing with us has gotten too serious and we both know it isn’t going to last.”
Okay. So, he got what he wanted and now he wasn’t even going to let me make my last five hundred before I headed out. He knew I was close to leaving. Bastard.
“Fine,” I replied and stood up. I didn’t need this. I could stop short of Vegas and get another job.
“Della,” he said standing up with me. “I’m sorry.”
I just laughed. He was sorry. Not nearly as sorry as I was. I thought we’d become friends.
I headed for the door and realized this was another one of those experiences I was on the road to find. I’d been used. I was living life. It wasn’t such a hit to my ego if I thought of it like that.
The door swung open before I could reach it and a tall elegant redhead stepped inside with an angry snarl… directed at me.
“Is this her? Is this your whore? Figures, she looks like a fucking slut. Did you find this one at one of those disgusting strip joints you go to? She looks like a stripper. God, Jeff, how low could you stoop?”
I listened to her words but I wasn’t sure I understood what she was saying. I was confused. The only thing I was positive of was that this woman hated me. Something fierce. I wasn’t sure why but she did.
“That’s enough Frances. I’ve fired her like you requested. Let her leave. This is between you and me,” Jeffery said to the angry redhead. He glanced my way and I could see the apology in his eyes.
I looked back at her and the temper that was boiling out of control as she glared at him. “You fired her and that makes it okay?” She swung her hateful gaze back to me. “Do you even care that you were fucking the father of my unborn child? Does it bother you at all that he’s not only married but going to be a daddy soon?”
Wait… what? Did she just say married?
I stared at her and realized that this wasn’t a sick joke. Then I turned my head and looked at Jeffery. The truth was there on his face. He was married. He had made me an adulterer. Oh. Shit.
“You’re married?” My question came out as more of a roar than a question.
He nodded and his shoulders sagged as if he was defeated.I took a step toward him and stopped. If I got any closer I was going to kill him with my bare hands.“You sorry sonuvabitch! Why would you… how could you… you have a WIFE and she is pregnant! I can’t believe you did this. I’m so stupid. So incredibly stupid! All the sneaking around wasn’t because you didn’t want the other employees to know. It was because of her.” I pointed at his wife. “I hope you burn in hell,” I swore then spun around and headed for the door. Before I could open it and get the hell out of here, I stopped. There was someone else I needed to say something to. I looked back at the redhead. Her anger had faded. Her face was now streaked with tears.“I’m sorry. If I’d known he was married I wouldn’t have gone near him. I swear it.” Then I stormed out of the door and slammed it behind me.When I stepped back into the bar my eyes met Tripp’s. He shook his head and sighed, “I was afraid you’d hooked up with him but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t want to say anything in case I was wrong and ended up offending you. I’m guessing you didn’t know he was married.”I felt dirty and wrong. I walked over and sat down on the stool across from him. “I had no idea. And now I feel awful. I wanted this road trip but now I just want to go home.”Tripp was the Thursday through Sunday bartender. He was tall, lanky, and had short brown hair. He also had a little bit of a privileged look about him. It was hard to explain but something about Tripp didn’t fit in here. He seemed as out of place as I felt. We had spent many late nights talking while shutting down the bar. I didn’t know much about Tripp but he’d become my friend here.“You said you wanted to see the world. To live,” he reminded me of my words.I shrugged. “Not so much anymore.”Tripp glanced back at the door and then reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. “I tell you what. Don’t go home just yet. Give it some time to heal from this and then hit the road again. Spend some time in a small town and take things slow.”The way he explained it sounded nice but I wasn’t sure I was up for that either.“I’m going to call my cousin. He has some pull in the coastal town I grew up in. It’s small and it’s a really nice place. Nothing like Dallas. My cousin can hook you up with a job and you can decide when you’re ready to hit the road again. He has friends in high places.” Tripp winked.Before I could protest or come up with a reason why this was a bad idea Tripp was dialing his cousin’s number.“Hey, Jace.”“Yeah, I know it’s been awhile. Life gets crazy.”“No, you need to come to Dallas and tear yourself away from the girl your momma said you’re so wrapped up in you can’t see straight.”Tripp laughed and I could see the happiness in his eyes. He loved the cousin he was talking to and it looked like he might miss him too.“Listen. I need a favor. I got a friend. She’s had a hard go of things here and she needs somewhere to escape to.”“No, I know you got a girl. I’m not asking you to take her in, idiot. She can stay at my place there. Someone might as well get some use out of it. Just talk to Kerrington. Have him give her a job. She just needs some down time.”“Yeah. She is.”“I’m positive he’ll be pleased.”“Awesome. Thanks, man. I’ll call you back in a few. I’m gonna get her the info she needs and send her your way.”Tripp grinned as he slipped the phone back in his pocket. “It’s all set up. You’ll have a good paying job and you can stay in my condo there free of charge. I’ve been needing to send someone over to check on it. With you there you can take care of things. It will help me out. Then the best bonus, you’ll be living near one of the most beautiful beaches in the south. Go find yourself while in the sunshine, Della.”