Lies and Alibis – The Australian: Chapter 12

-New part begins now-

Gripping the steering wheel, heart full of hope and confusion I drove towards home. Regan, the man I had been with for years and was planning to marry would be waiting. I had just met and fallen in love with my soulmate and I had to return to the arms of another.

The darkness engulfed me as I made the long journey to my cottage’s driveway. Home at last I pulled into the garage and sat there for a moment. Four days ago I left on what was supposed to be a simple research trip. I had returned a different woman.

Was what had happened real? Already I was questioning.

The door opened and my clueless fiance came out to help bring in my luggage. He had no way of knowing my heart was heavier than all my bags combined.

“Hi, baby,” I said with what I hoped passed for a tired smile.

“Welcome home,” he said, giving me a brief peck on the cheek.

“I missed you,” I said.

“Yeah?” he quipped, “I missed you too.”

And just like that we slipped into our easy routine. Both of us came and went so often there never seemed to be much to discuss when we returned. More often we dealt with pressing issues such as what we wanted to have for dinner, or if the water bill had been paid. The stereotypical domestic rut. Sometimes I wondered if he still saw me at all.

We made love that night. Not because of any particular need, but because we always did when either of us had been gone for a few days. I clung to his back as he spilled his seed inside me and inwardly keened for Ian.

I was at my desk the next morning when the phone rang. It was my fiance.

“Wanna have lunch together?” Regan asked.

“Sure!” I lied. Why today, I wondered. I just wanted to muddle through my morning and check my email for notes from the Australian. I didn’t want to do lunch. But he so rarely asked, it would have seemed strange if I didn’t agree.

I was upbeat over the meal, talking of nothing in particular.

“You’ll be out of town for Valentine’s Day,” I observed, remembering that he was flying out the next day.

“I know,” he said, “You’ll just have to give me my present when I return.”

“Mmmm,” I replied suggestively, “It might take a while to give it to you.”

“I bet it will,” he chuckled.

As he drove me back to the office. I leaned back in the black leather seat and looked over at him. My feelings swirled. Yes, I had just met my soulmate. So who was this man that I also loved?

“Thank you for lunch,” I said as he parked the car.

“You’re welcome,” he said, his tone suddenly more serious, “I wanted to see you.”

“Yeah?” I prodded.

“I had a dream last night,” he said, looking away from me.

“But you don’t dream.”

“Nope. Not often.”

“Well, what was this mysterious dream?”

He turned in the seat to face me, looked into my eyes and said, “I dreamed you fell in love with someone else.”

Inside my heart, I felt an icy chill, which I squelched quickly.

“Oh darling,” I said, gently caressing his cheek with my hand, “I’m sorry. But if it means having lunch with you more often, then maybe a bad dream every now and then is a good thing.”

He chuckled at my lighthearted joke, reassured as I had wanted him to be. I leaned in, gave him a tender kiss and returned to my office.

Seated at my desk, head spinning from the conversation I did what any rational woman would do. I texted my best friend, the one I texted from Ian’s hotel room, who was completely up to speed on my saga.

ME: I’m freaking out a little. Regan dreamed I fell in love with someone else.
HER: Dreams rarely mean what they actually are. Dreams are never what they seem, they are deeper, based on concerns, insecurities, working problems out. He’s working out something else. Don’t worry about it.
ME: Still. It was strange. Especially when I have the odd peace that Ian and I will be together in eight to ten years.
HER: You really think so? Wow!
ME: Yes. And I have the crazy compulsion to tell Regan about it all.
HER: What? Do you think you will?
ME: No. It wouldn’t solve anything. It would only hurt him.

My fear of hurting him was one reason. But deep down, I was afraid to be honest with him. I was afraid to lose Regan. I didn’t want to be alone for the next eight to ten years while I waited for Ian.

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