To Get the most out of this story, please start with the Prologue Entry.
Why is it that I don’t feel forty-two? I mean, how am I supposed to feel? At some point shouldn’t I feel like an adult and not some lost, love-starved nineteen-year-old girl? I should have matured in the love department, gained some wisdom over the years. But I haven’t. I don’t think so anyway. My name is Tessa Bloom and I am a professional single person.
By that, I don’t mean that I am a professional person who is single but a person who is a professional at being single. This is not by choice, but by destiny it seems. I am a woman who can attract a man, but can’t keep a man. Oh, they say they have fallen in love with me. They say that I am perfect for them. They say I am beautiful, smart, funny, bubbly, and intelligent. I have heard it all. But one thing that they can all agree on is that they can’t commit to me. So, you are probably wondering why? Well…so am I.
Do I want to be single? Well, no. As long as I can remember I have always wanted to be married. I had the same dream every young girl has. You know the one, meet the perfect guy, have a beautiful wedding, get the house with the white picket fence, have a few kids while keeping the perfect body and live happily-ever-after because you would never, ever get divorced the way your parents did.
When did I finally realize that wasn’t going to happen? Maybe two hours after my marriage to Nickolas (Nicky) Bloom began or maybe the day after I filed for divorce, one year later, because I couldn’t compete with a woman named Hope and I wanted to live to see our daughter grow into a woman. Or, maybe I realized I was meant to be single after the six years it took me to meet husband number two, David Sooner. Or maybe it was a year into that marriage when I realized that Davey was a sex addict who spent more time on the internet porn sites than with his wife or the two years later that when again, I was forced to file for divorce because while I was on a school trip with my daughter, Davey was on a field trip in our bed with a woman named Kathy. It could have been a year into an on-again-off-again relationship with Waylon Baxter that spanned six wasted years. But more than likely it was at the end of that six-year-relationship when I found out that the one man that I thought would never cheat me had been talking and texting with a woman named Breena for the last two years. He said she was just a “friend” that he knew from school. They must have been really good friends. Maybe it was the men I dated in between those relationships who tried to “fix” me for being overweight or not being like their exes…who knows.
But then I met Tommy. Tommy Monroe is my tree. So if I couldn’t make it with Tommy, maybe I was destined to be single. Because my branches are all twined around him and he isn’t standing next to me anymore.
For years I settled. I settled for mediocre. Not necessarily mediocre for someone else, just for me. I just think I wasted a lot of years convincing myself that the man that was in front of me was the man that I was supposed to be with. I was so afraid of being alone, that I just settled. Don’t get me wrong, on some level I loved them all, in some strange way. But Tommy wasn’t a “right now love”, or “a good love”, he was a “great love.” You know the one that when you close your eyes and try to imagine your life without them, it hurts to the core? Yeah, it’s that kind of love.
Nicky was cute. I mean really cute. We were in our early twenties and we were both a little wild. He likes to tell people another story, that I was the only wild one in our relationship but I sat back and watched him party hard many, many times. You see we met where no two people should ever find a potential husband or wife…in a bar. Like I said we were both young, hot and liked to dance. Every weekend my two friends, Marta and Laura and I would head out to a local dance club called The Homerun and that is just what every single (and some not-so-single) girl or guy would try to find: someone to hit that homerun with. It was the place to be on a Saturday night and we three girls were the hot regulars that the bartenders knew by name and who never permitted to pay for drinks. Either the cute bartenders offered them to us or a guy would send the drinks to our table. I left the house with a twenty dollar bill and I came home with a twenty dollar bill, unless it was my turn to pay for gas and back then that was a mere five dollars.
Laura was the first to notice Nicky. He was sitting at the table behind us with his friend Chuck, a short, pudgy guy who still had acne and wore thick glasses; but Chuck had a great smile and an awesome sense of humor, he could make any woman laugh and blush. Nicky was tall, blond and tan. He had perfect white teeth and he was dressed better than most of the woman in the club. He was an Adonis and he knew it. The night Laura caught sight of him I wasn’t paying much attention to anyone, let alone any man. I had spent a few weeks in the hospital receiving treatment for an eating disorder that I had been suffering from for several years. While there I was made to gain fifteen pounds to my one hundred five pound frame five foot four inch frame before I was allowed to go home. I did so, but not pleased about it. I knew that the weight loss was getting out of control, but I was still not over being ridiculed in school as being a chubby girl at one hundred twenty pounds and over a guy I had dated that kept telling me, “You know if you just lost fifteen more pounds, you would be perfect.” I look back at pictures now and wonder what in the hell was I thinking? I was so thin! But that evening I was not in the mood to be on the hunt for men, I was feeling sorry for myself and feeling fat (I would love to go back in time and smack myself and then smack that guy who wanted me to lose fifteen pounds!).
After several drinks Laura decided to make her move on Nicky and Marta and I had bets on whether he would take her bait. I thought absolutely, Laura was beautiful and she had a domineering personality that most men were afraid to say “no” to. Marta thought that Nicky would say no thanks and that Chuck would make his move on her then. Let’s just say I went home with twenty-five dollars that night. It looked like Nicky and Laura only had eyes for each other, and the night ended with them exchanging numbers and a brief but intimate kiss outside the car. As the designated driver I tapped the steering wheel impatiently ready to head home to my nice warm bed and Marta sat in the back sighing at another night of not meeting her knight in shining armor.
The following Saturday evening we made plans to meet Nicky, Chuck and Chuck’s sister Sarah at the club. Nicky and Laura danced a few fast ones and then a slow one came on and it looked like things were getting pretty cozy. Suddenly Laura looked over at our table. Laura’s head went back in a “what?!” at something that Nicky had said to her. In two seconds she had stepped back, looked at him in disgust, looked at our table and back then back at him again. She walked away from him and back to our table mid song and flung herself into her chair.
“What the hell happened? Did he say something offensive?” I asked her completely concerned that my friend had been offended by some sex-craved insensitive jerk. Marta leaned in curious as I was. Laura’s facial expression was calm, but her eyes looked intensely wild.
“He wanted to know if my friend was single.” I looked over at Marta. He was interested in Marta? Well good for Marta! Not to be mean, but when Marta went out on the town with Laura she usually ended up being the third wheel. This should help boost Marta’s self-confidence, she could use a little.
Marta was a very pretty girl, but next to Laura with her perfect blond hair, perfect body and witty personality, Marta’s dirty blond hair, small breasts and shyness didn’t really attract the men that hung out at the club. Marta would do better to find her future husband at a church event, sporting event or a party at a friend’s house.
“Marta!” I whispered at my shy friend, “Did you hear that? He wants to know if you are single!” It may seem insensitive that I would dismiss Laura’s obvious disgruntlement of the situation; but Laura had had her fair share of men. It was only fair that Marta got her chance at a good looking guy.
“No you dimwit! Not Marta! You!” She whispered louder than necessary. Me? He was asking about me? I turned and scanned the room. I saw Nicky standing at the bar talking to Jason, the bartender on duty. Just before I turned back to my friends he looked my direction, smiled and lifted his to me. What an ass, I thought to myself. I hadn’t given him any reason to even look my direction.
“Well, forget it.” I said folding the corner of my cocktail napkin, then quickly using it to wipe up the condensation that was dripping from my bottle of beer. “What happened with you two? Things looked like they were going really well. What did you say to him?” I said almost angrily.
“I didn’t say a damn thing Tess. I guess I just assumed that he was really into me. I guess bringing you into every conversation we had on the phone this week should have clued me in. I mean that kiss last weekend seemed to say, ‘I really like you’.” Laura actually looked lost for a moment. She wasn’t used to rejection. I hate to admit it, but got a little satisfaction from this.
“Are you mad at me?” It occurred to me at that moment that she could be, “I honestly had no idea Laura, I swear!”
“I know! I know! No, it’s okay. God, this sucks!” Laura reached into her purse and pulled out her lipstick and quickly retouched her lips.
“Sucks for whom, Laura?” Marta spat out suddenly. She had been so quiet the last ten minutes I had forgotten that she might have had her hopes up that it was finally her night. “I mean seriously Laura? It must really suck for someone like you, who walks into a room and every man within a fifty-foot radius drops at your feet like your some freaking goddess?” Oh shit. Marta was mad!
“What?” Laura put her hand to her chest and put on her best ‘who me?’ look she could muster.
“It must be so hard for you to have men throwing themselves at you left and right! Is it so hard for you to see that maybe, just maybe some hot guy might actually think that Tessa or even I could be attractive enough?” Marta was tearing up her napkin as she talked, tearing and tearing into teeny tiny pieces.
“It’s okay Marta, I’m not interes…” I began to say I wasn’t interested in being sloppy seconds, but reconsidered that I might actually hurt Laura’s feelings if I finished that sentence. Luckily, Marta cut me off mid-way.
“No, Tess! Laura has to be told that she isn’t the only goddess at this table.” With that Marta stood up, grabbed her drink and walked over to Chuck and his sister. “Chuck? Would you like to dance with me?”
Chuck flashed his smile, handed his beer to his sister and led Marta to the dance floor. Laura and I just stared blankly in their direction trying to put together the pieces of what we had just witnessed. Laura looked back down at the table, than calmly spoke to me.
“Tessa,” she said without looking at me, “I knew last weekend that he was interested in you. I just chose to not see it. I really wanted him to like me. So I ignored him when he first asked me about you.”
“It’s really okay Laura, I wouldn’t want to be with someone who used my friend to get to me anyway”
“That’s not what he did. When I went over to ask him to dance and he said yes, he asked about you right away. I told him that you had just broken up with your boyfriend and you were kind of on this whole ‘I hate men’ roll right now” She looked up at me sheepishly knowing that what she told his was not true, and she waiting to see if smoke would roll out of my ears. I chuckled.
“Really?” I looked over at Chuck and Marta who had finished their dance and were now leaning in to one another at his table talking back and forth. “Well, that’s… well, that just kind of sad Laura.”
“Are you mad at me?” Laura looked so pathetic and beautiful at the same time. She really did make me sick sometimes.
“No, but this does mean one thing.” I said pulling my compact out of my purse and checking my face and hair.
“What’s that?” Laura asked.
“It means I am going over there and letting him buy me a drink.”
“Hey Jace.” I smiled at the bartender.
“Hiya Tess, what can I get you?” Jason asked as he took money from a tall red headed girl sitting at the bar.
“Whatever he is buying me” I turned and flashed a smile at Nicky.
“Are you absolutely sure?” Nicky asked sitting on the couch. I sat on the floor, my face red from crying. We had been dating for four months and had started talking about moving into an apartment together; but this was something that we hadn’t planned so soon into the relationship.
“Yes” I croaked out the word in a hoarse whisper.
“Let me see it” He said taking the stick from me and staring at it like the pink line would magically disappear if he stared at it long enough.
The next few months were a blur. I went from being crazy about this guy to wondering what in the heck I was doing with him. And I had agreed to marry him. It wasn’t your traditional marriage proposal. It wasn’t the romantic proposal every woman dreams of.
“Well, I guess we have to get married.” he said as he took a bite of his pizza. It was so matter-of-fact to him. He was more engrossed in the slice of pizza his was consuming then of the life changing decision we were making.
“I guess.” I looked around the restaurant to see if anyone was aware of what was happening at our table. “We don’t have to I guess. If you don’t want to I mean, we can just get the apartment we looked at and live together,” He stopped eating and looked at me like I had sprouted an extra eye.
“Yes we do! What will people think? Seriously, my parents would just crap. We are getting married. Case closed.” He said ‘case closed’ so that meant ‘case closed’.
“All right. So when?” I put my half eaten piece of pizza down, I had lost my appetite. His attitude took on a different form, he perked up and smiled.
“Anytime you want sweetie. How about an outdoor wedding? Wouldn’t that be nice? Something small and simple. Claire can make the wedding cake and Donna and James can sing. The minister that married my parents can marry us. Won’t that be great?”
To be continued…will Tessa go through with wedding? What will marriage to Nicky be like? Is he her tree? Will he give her what she needs to let her branches grow?
CLICK HERE to continue Touching Trees ~ Part 2 Chapter 1
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© 2013 Copyright Tracy L Lady, Touching Trees. Includes all pictures and text within.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.