When Love Takes Over Ch. 03

Big Tits

Author’s Note:

It’s so easy to become what you despise.

Over the years that I’ve read stories at various websites, one thing I’ve learned to hate is when I start reading a story, especially one that hooks me, only to have it stop suddenly. I recently started one that I was really enjoying, only to be horrified that it ended so abruptly. And it was one of the rare stories that I both really connected with and couldn’t predict the ending to, so I felt horribly…betrayed is really the only word I can come up with. When I decided to start writing, I vowed to never be that author.

I originally intended to complete the story, When Love Takes Over before posting, but after starting writing again and spending so much time thinking and daydreaming about this story, I was too excited to wait and posted Chapter 1 soon after beginning Chapter 2. Besides, I reasoned, I did have the whole story outlined. What could go wrong?

Obviously a couple of things. One was a personal issue, the sudden illness and death of a family member. Another was something I had heard of, but didn’t really believe until I had personal experience. I had heard authors talk about how characters they thought they had completely decided on can morph and change during writing, sometimes to the point of pushing against the original plotline. I am ashamed to admit that I thought that just meant they were undisciplined. “That wouldn’t happen to me,: I thought smugly (and incorrectly as it turns out). At any rate, Brandon and Reed didn’t behave exactly as I had planned, and it has taken me more time than I realized to reconcile their unexpectedly independent behavior with the story I had planned to tell. The intriguing thing is that though I’ve reconciled their personalities with my original storyline, I’m no longer 100% sure how it’s all going to pan out.

I am sorry for the delay in Chapter 2, and I will endeavor to do my best to furnish the remaining chapters in a timely manner.

*****

I made my way through the tortuous maze of one way streets that make up New Orleans’ Garden District, a labyrinth made even worse by the proliferation of pot holes (some large enough to swallow small cars whole) and the never ending street construction. My friends all tease me about driving like a little old man, but even I was impatient with the snail’s pace I had been forced into by the various obstacles.

If I didn’t get home soon, Reed would already have left for the airport, even though his flight wasn’t until several hours. I’ve personally never been one of those waiting to the last minute, rushing through the airport types, but he had even me beat. I’d leave for the airport two hours before the flight. He wanted to actually be at the airport at the 2 hour point. In fact one of our few really major fights had occurred early in our relationship when I had offered to take him to the airport on a trip home to see his family. I had been held up at work and got to his house late; he was already pissed and upset, but then when we hit bad traffic, he lost his shit. I still made well before the 45 minute cut off, but he was furious, and threw himself out of the car without even a “goodbye” the moment I came to a stop. He called immediately upon landing to apologize and even sent flowers to me at work to say he was sorry, but I made sure never be in charge of his airport travel again.

After what seemed like an eternity, I finally dodged the final traffic hurdle, one of the many college aged students on bikes that blanket Uptown, one (without a helmet, of course) that was texting, wearing earbuds, and seemingly unaware that she was on an actual street and not one of the bike paths in Audubon Park, and pulled into a parking spot on the street in front of the house. Like many of the houses in this older part of town, it didn’t have a separate garage, and we parked in the street or the circular brick paved drive in front of the house.

Reed’s car, a black Mercedes convertible was parked there, as was the small black Mercedes SUV I normally drove (I was torn about the matching cars-with my eye for design detail, I had to admit the two black cars looked great in front of the red brick house with traditional white trim and matched the black front door and shutters, but I couldn’t get past thinking they were pretentious at the same time). Today though, since I had been delivering some tile and various other supplies to the jobsite, I had been in my trusty old pickup, the same one I had had since first dating Reed and usually parked on the street. In addition to our cars in the drive, though, was a third car, also a black Mercedes, but this time a sedan (“God,” I thought rolling my eyes at the row of similar cars as I got out of the truck and walked bursa escort bayan to the front door, “could Uptown people be anymore like sheep.” Then it occurred to me that I was one now, and I promptly stopped the eye rolling)

Our house wasn’t on St. Charles, but had a desirable spot a block or two from it. It wasn’t one of the great mansions or antebellum gems that line much of that street, but being built in the 1920s, its red brick facade had a lovely patina, and it was graciously proportioned, though far too big for just the two of us. It was handsome, though, I had to admit as I walked to the leaded glass front door. Built in the Neoclassical style popular in the twenties and thirties, it had a perfectly symmetrical facade.

It was a center hall style, with a hall wide enough for a seating area across from the staircase, and the french doors that opened to the back yard were positioned so that you had a direct view of the courtyard, pool, and pool house from the front entrance. To the right, an opening led to the huge dining room that had a table that could accommodate sixteen. Beyond that was a butler’s pantry, a large kitchen, and a breakfast area.

To the left was a large room, that I had reconfigured into a library/office, with floor to ceiling bookshelves. Behind it was tucked the graceful stairs that curved to the second floor; I had replaced the bulky wooden railing with a much more refined metal one that had been silver leafed and glazed (by yours truly) to a soft silver gilt. The back of the house had an enormous sunken living room with a built in bar tucked into one corner. All the rooms were decorated in the approved Uptown style-polished pale marble floors, creamy neutral wall colors except for the library which had been lacquered in a deep blue-green, a mix of antique furniture and plush upholstery which had been slipcovered in Belgian linen, all mixed with contemporary art and accessories.

It was beautiful, but honestly, I found it all a bit cold. I had much preferred the BoHo comfort of our first house, but I had agreed with Reed that our house’s decor needed to reflect the kind of interiors our potential clients wanted, and this was it. The bedrooms upstairs were more of the same, except for the pair of battered brown leather armchairs (they had been my first purchase for my apartment after Katrina and my first major furniture purchase ever) tucked into the guestroom. The sinfully comfortable chairs were about the only furniture that had survived the various moves over the years.

The best part of the house though, and the only part I truly loved, was the courtyard. Except for the perimeter planting beds, it was paved in red brick that had been bleached by 100 years of sun. The same brick made up the walls that surrounded it, but they had been covered by vines of creeping fig. The same creeping fig crept up the small pool house that served as our primary guest quarters since it contained a small kitchen and full bath in addition to a large bedroom/ sitting area. But the best part was the the small, but serviceable pool. Here was where I spent much of my time, either in the pool or lounging in the shaded porch off the guest house.

Today, though, I wasn’t spending much time thinking about the decor. I was anxious to see if Reed was still here (he sometimes took cabs to the airport, so his car still being in the drive was no indication he hadn’t left) and wondering who the other car belonged too. It looked familiar, but since Uptown was littered with very similar black Mercedes sedans, only vaguely familiar.

Upon entering, I heard voices in the library. They stopped when they heard me entering. I heard Reed say, “Hello?”

“It’s me,” I answered, stepping toward his voice. When I entered the room, I stopped for a moment and stared at him for a bit, as I often did. He was just so handsome. And he liked dressing up, even for travel, so with his expensive, dark washed jeans, he wore a slim cut jacket over a button down shirt, accented with a knitted tie. His sartorial elegance made me painfully aware of my own paint stained jeans and battered work boots. His luggage, a Louis Vuitton duffle and hanging bag in charcoal canvas lay on the sofa. I went over and gave him a quick hug and kiss. I was disappointed he had company (“There goes any chance of a quickie,” I thought), but was glad to at least get the chance to give him a proper goodbye, since I had been in such a rush this morning.

“Oh, hi, John,” I said recognizing the guest. John was the realtor we had been working with recently, another gay team member, and a very handsome one. He was in his early 30s, and a tall, thin brunette with classical features, and piercing dark brown eyes. Looking at his well bursa anal yapan escort put together outfit, I felt even worse about not bothering to at least find an unstained pair of jeans to wear.

“Hi, Brandon,” he replied, somewhat stiffly. Noticing the clipped tone in his voice, and Reed’s own stony face, I got the feeling I had interrupted something unpleasant. “Well,” he continued, “I need to be going. Reed, I meant what I said. You need to make a decision, and soon.” With that he turned, and walked out, slamming the front door.

“What was that all about?” I asked, turning to Reed.

He sighed. “I really meant to talk about this when I got back.”

“Talk about what?” I said cautiously. I could feel my stomach knotting. “Does it have to do with what you and John were talking about?”

He sighed again. “Yes. I’m planning to sell the house.”

“What? You’ve decided to sell the house, and you’re just now telling me? I mean, I don’t love it, but shouldn’t I get a say in this?” I knew as soon as the words let my mouth I had handled it wrong. I mean, I was pissed, but after years, I knew that he did not handle criticism well, and immediately went on the defensive.

He flinched, a look of guilt flashing across his handsome features before they settled into a look of anger. “Technically, it’s my house. My money bought it, my name is on the deed, and I can do what I want with it.” He saw the look of shock on my face and immediately put his hands over his face. I was too stunned by the vitriol in his voice to do anything, and a moment later he removed his hands, and the look of anger was gone, replaced by one of sadness.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “I didn’t mean to talk to you like that.” I stood still staring at him. I noticed that despite what appeared to be genuine apology in his voice, he didn’t move closer to give me a reassuring hug or touch. “But I do want to sell the house. I know you’ve never cared for it, and I’m not sure it’s what I want anymore. The market’s hot now, and if I put on the market soon, I know I can get the asking price, maybe more.”

I still felt on uneasy ground, hesitant to put a foot wrong. “I should be used to moving by now. I’ve almost lost count of the places we’ve lived.” I tried to laugh, but even to my ears, it sounded hollow. “So where now? We’ve tried MidCity, the Marigny, the Bywater, Uptown–I’ve always wanted to live on Bayou St. John.”

“Brandon,” he said, then stopped and moved toward the luggage on the sofa, turning his back toward me. “I’ve decided on a condo on Tchoupitoulas Street.”

I tried to ignore the increasingly sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. “The warehouse district would be new,” I said.

He sighed again, dropping his shoulders and turned to face me. “The condo isn’t for us. It’s for me.”

I felt the blood draining from my face, seemingly from my body. I went cold, so cold I thought I would never be warm again. My voice, too was ice cold, though strangely calm, as I said, “What exactly do you mean by that?”

“I need to be alone. I need to sort some things out. I just don’t know what I want right now.”

“And where I am supposed to live while you “find yourself”‘?” The ice continued in my voice. And indeed, the cold emptiness inside my was being filled with a blue white rage.

In most ways, I was like my father: pretty happy go lucky. Sure I got mad, sometimes easily, but it always passed quickly; a brief flare like kindling. But deep inside, I had some of my mother’s temperament. She had been what they used to call high strung, and what I suspect was an undiagnosed bipolar disorder. She had died when I was a teenager, but I clearly remembered the tantrums, the plates and glasses being flung across the room, the slammed doors and squealing tires as she drove off from whatever innocuous comment of my father’s that had enraged her. Witnessing the destruction her anger had left behind at family gatherings holidays, I had vowed never to left my anger control me. And on the few occasions it had threatened too, I removed myself from the source, fleeing to some dark corner to hole myself up alone like a wounded animal, until the rage had passed. And I had always been amazed that this towering anger was such a cold one, so unlike the brief heat that flared when someone cut me off in traffic or I realized that Reed had eaten all of the ice cream. This time, I let it fill me. I welcomed the icy rage.

“We’ll talk about it when I get back in a few days. I’m really sorry…I didn’t mean to lay this on you right before leaving. I promise you we’ll work it out when I get back. I would never just throw you out on the street.”

As the blue white rage bursa rus escort rampaged through me, everything clarified.

“You’re seeing somebody, aren’t you? Who? Somebody I know?” His eyes widened, and he involuntarily glanced to the door. In some sort of divine flash, I realized who his whore was. “You’re fucking John.” It was a statement, not a question.

“It’s not like that.”

“He’s fucking you, then? Is that what it’s like?”

He looked down without answering.

“Was that why he was here, some ultimatum? Some sort of “Pick him or me” type of thing?”

“Yes,” he said quietly.

“Anything else you need to get off your chest? Are you screwing the pool boy? The gardner? Our friends?”

“No,” he said, still looking down. “Except for him, there’s never been anyone else.”

“How long have you two been fuck buddies?”

He finally looked up. “Honestly, it’s not like that. We have been working so close together, and it just happened,” he paused, “It’s only been a few times, but I feel something for him, something more than just sex.”

“Do you love him?” The question physically hurt to ask.

“I…I… I don’t know…I feel something when I’m with him, but I’m so confused…I’m sorry.”

The vase struck the bookcase beside him with a force that dented the wooden trim before falling to shatter on the marble floor. “Jesus!” he said, jumping back. “You could have hit me!”

“I was trying to, ” I said. “Unfortunately, I’ve always had shit aim.”

He looked at me uncertainly, as if trying to figure out if I was serious or joking. I had habit of joking at tense times to relieve pressure. I always preferred laughing with sinners to crying with saints. This time, though, I wasn’t joking.

“You need to leave now,” I said. “You need to take your things and go before I really try to hurt you. Because I want to, I really do.” I saw something in his eyes as he stared at me that I had never seen before and never wanted to see. I saw fear, and that look of fear pierced my heart, shattering the ice that had formed inside me. An empty shell without my anger, I stood staring straight ahead as he grabbed his luggage and fled. Only after hearing the door close, did I drop into the closest chair.

I’m not sure how long I sat, but at some point, I came too. I had no idea where I was going and certainly no idea of what I was going to do when I got there, but I couldn’t stay here any longer. Upstairs, I packed quickly, taking only what I needed. I ignored my own set of Louis Vuitton luggage that had been Reed’s last Christmas present to me, instead pulling out a battered leather duffle that had been a college graduation present and an old backpack. The backpack was one of my hurricane evacuation tools and held my important paperwork, birth certificate, family photos, etc. and was always ready to go. I just added my pad, laptop, and some jeans and t-shirts to the duffle and was finished within minutes. There was nothing else I wanted out of this house. I did pause for a minute and pick up the silver framed photo that stood on my nightstand. It was a picture from early in our relationship. We were at a local music festival and looked so young, so happy, and so in love. I stared at it for a moment, and put it back down.

I took a moment to look through the duffle and backpack to make sure I had everything I needed for the time being, and headed downstairs. I paused in the hall, to take the key to the house and the SUV off my ring and leave them on the console. I didn’t need them any longer. At the door, I stopped and looked around at the house I was leaving. So beautiful. So cold. So empty. As I reached for the door, I noticed the watch on my left hand. It was a stainless steel Rolex.

A Rolex watch, despite the other trappings of luxury I had come to live with, was the only status symbol I had ever really wanted. I still don’t even know why owning a Rolex had mattered, but it had. And Reed, as he often did, had paid attention to me and my conversation. When he sold the first house for such a massive profit, he had bought the watch as a surprise for me. I still remember the shock of opening the box, the excitement, and then the joy as I read the inscription “I love you. R.” I had worn it almost everyday since then, and it was scratched and a bit battered. Reed had tried to get me to let him upgrade it countless times, until I had finally convinced him how much the watch meant to me. That it was a symbol of his love, not an expensive watch to me. He had pulled me closed and kissed me when he realized how much his gift had really touched me.

I stared at it and stroked it with a finger. I had worn it for so long, it felt like a part of me, and the brief times I had to remove it for working on a project or to have it repaired, I always felt strange, naked. Like a part of me was missing. I closed my eyes, brought it to my lips and kissed it. I then took it off and flung onto the hard, marble floor. I heard the crystal shatter with a satisfying crunch. I opened the door and walked out.

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