Chapter 2
Obsessions and Cheats


My fingers gripped the soft leather of the steering wheel, digging deep into the cover as I tried to calm my nerves. As soon as I stepped out of the house, the motivated talk I was giving myself flew straight out the window. Calm? Did I really believe I could be calm? Yeah right, I scoffed, staring at the red light, willing it to stay that color. I know I should be wishing it to change red, but I already have an excuse planned out. Stuck in traffic, wasn't it brilliant. I could call Chase and calmly—why that word?—tell him that I wouldn't be able to pick Shane up. Done deal, easy as one, two, and three—except my only problem was that annoying man, who seemed to have affection for pressing down on the horn. With a sigh that appeared to echo in the car, I pressed down on my gas petal and moved along the intersection.

I've decided God hated me, He—it has to be male because no woman would think to cause this much grief—was out to ruin my life. I didn't even try bartering with the Him because I knew that it would be useless. Shane, the epitome of evil was soon to be knocking at my door—well actually stepping into this car, but the idea is the same. I was going to be seeing Shane. Am I on repeat, because I can't get that idea out of my head?

I couldn't blame Chase for his asking he didn't even know why Shane and I didn't talk. He assumed that we were still friends, what an innocent thought. Friends—with Shane? I carefully glanced at the sky, waiting for the thunderbolt to strike me down.

"Stay calm—you can do this," I said forcefully, gripping the steering wheel so tight that my knuckles began to pale. Hitting my turn single down, I waited for traffic to stop before turning into the parking lot. Swinging into my spot, I placed my car in park as I took a deep breath. Marcie could smell panic attack miles away and confronting my friend was one problem I could deal without. I could picture her compact body following me everywhere, harping about what was wrong until I finally broke. Of course she would be confused if I mentioned Shane, which would then lead to more questions about why I was afraid to see him.

Afraid, more like petrified, I thought as I stepped out of my car. Hitting the lock button, I slowly walked up the steps and pushed open the door. I glanced around the waiting room hopefully, wishing to see a huge line of angry customers. Angry customers were good, they would take time. But alas the room was empty. I sighed and walked through the halls. Every door was shut, every person was barring me from bugging them; it was like they were pushing me towards my confrontation with Shane.

Who knew that I would get so used to blocking his name out of my mind that I would freak out when I had to see him again? I ignored the thought that quickly followed my question. Did I ever really push Shane out of my mind or was I just lying to myself?

I scoffed at the question. Of course I wasn't deluding myself into false hope, I had Chase. A great guy, a man that makes my heart beat the tango and my knees weaken at his smile. All he had to do was glance my way and I was looking for the nearest locked room.

What about Shane?

What about Shane? What type of question is that?

I glanced around the corner and saw that Marcie's seat was empty. With a quick run, I raced towards my office. Pushing the door open, I immediately turned to lock it after I stepped into the room. Slumping against the door, I sighed with confusion. Shane was an accident, three-year prior case cold feet, I thought with a determined nod. Shane was a mistake that would never happen again. I smiled with pleasure, finally my confidence was back.

I could face Shane; I had nothing to worry about. Chase is the love of my life so why was I obsessing about a simple car ride. I could easily turn on the music, blocking any conversation that might arise. I've avoided having a real conversation with him for three years, why would a week be any harder. All I had to do was focus on Chase and everything would be perfect. Shane was in my past, Chase was my future.

At the sound of the rapid knock beating at my door, I jumped in the air.

I slowly turned to open my door, revealing a flustered looking Marcie standing at the other side. Grinning, she peaked over my shoulder, trying to look into my office. Sidestepping out of the way, I motioned for her to come in. She curiously glanced around the room, her gaze straying towards the closet over and over again.

"What are you doing?" I asked, bemused as she suddenly glanced my way with wide eyes.

"Oh nothing," she replied before grinning at me sheepishly. "Chase wouldn't happen to be hiding in your closet with his pants down, would he?"

With a groan, I quickly walked towards the closet, revealing its starkness.

"Damn," Marcie muttered with a snap of her fingers. "I was hoping to see him again."

"You do know that many women would find your obsession about seeing my fiancé naked odd?"

"I find it odd that I didn't see you walk by and your door was locked. You never lock your door unless Chase is here. I should know because you started to when—."

"Must you bring that up again? It only happened once and that was last year."

"Once? Then your sudden new found craziness about locking doors when a specific man is here? Are you not seeing the connection that I am?" Marcie asked with a grin.

"Coffee, I split coffee on his pants," I argued, but it fell on deaf ears.

"Chase had his pants off and you looked as guilty as a kid stealing gumdrops at a candy store. You really expect me to believe that it was all because of coffee? Never! It was the funniest thing I've ever seen."

I groaned at the memory. Within seconds of opening up the door, Marcie was yelling the roof down, causing everyone to come see what was happening. Marcie, being the gossip-queen that she was exaggerated the whole story to appear as if she walked in on Chase and I. Chase luckily took it all in, even made a few jokes about locking the door and placing a tie on the knob.

"Well if Chase isn't here, why was your door locked?" Marcie asked with abrupt curiosity. Seeing the inquisitive gleam in her eyes, I announced, "Well look at the time, I'm going to be late for my meeting."

"What are you hiding?" Marcie pried as we walked towards Jenna's office.

Shane, I thought miserably. I was going to see the man that had the power to ruin my life with three easy words. Of course I didn't say that, I only smirked at her, knowing that Marcie would go crazy at the thought of not knowing something.

I pushed open Jenna's door, only seeing the top of her head. She glanced up and motioned for us to come in. Though this was supposed to be a 'business meeting', we usually had our two hours of gossip and catch-ups before discussing work.

Jenna was officially my boss, but she's more of my best friend. She started Craving Creativity fresh out of college with a dual degree in Business Financing and History of Art. She combined both and opened up this shop. When her business first started, with only me and Marcie, everyone told us that we would fail. How could a business about history, sculpting, and photography ever make it? But Jenna was able to pull through. Four years later, Craving Creativity now included five artists who used charcoal, watercolor, or paint to make beautiful depictions. The shop also freelanced with a wood carver, Noah, who usually made beds, cupboards, and other accessories that could be added into a house. The clients were either recommended by homebuilders or by word-of-mouth.

"You will not believe what I just heard," she said after we sat down in our chairs.

"What?" Marcie asked, scooting forward.

"Apparently David is cheating on Carrie. She filed for a divorce last week," Jenna answered, smirking over Carrie's misfortune. Marcie and I both groaned and slumped into our seats. Here goes another round of bashing Carrie. We glanced at each other before saying, "Drama."

Jenna and David dated throughout college. They were the perfect couple on campus, the one everyone talked about. Of course that all changed when Jenna walked in on David in bed with Carrie, her roommate. I could hear her screaming down the hall and when I opened my door, David was walking away, holding his bloody nose. Jenna waited patiently for David to cheat on Carrie, call her vindictive, but she always believed what goes around, comes around. We all thought she finally accepted that they were in love with each other when they got married. Six months later, baby David Jr. was brought into the world.

"Jenna that was four years ago, can't you put it in the past?" I asked, wondering what she would have to say if she knew about me and Shane.

Jenna shuffled her papers around and said, "I actually feel bad about it."

Marcie glanced at her curiously before announcing, "You slept with someone."

The telltale blush that seemed to creep across her cheeks proved Marcie to be right.

"Who was it?" she asked, tapping her foot against the ground as she waited for the news.

Jenna rolled her eyes. "Marcus."

"Marcus? Who the hell is he?"

"Her mechanic," I answered with a grin.

Marcie looked at the both of his in shock. "Mechanic? You slept with your mechanic, please tell me he's good-looking? Because let me tell you, my car guy's balding, has the largest beer belly you've ever seen, and chews on straw. Who the hell chews on straw these days?" she exclaimed.

"Shut up Marcie," Jenna muttered before glancing at me for help.

I sighed and slipped into my role as moderator. "So you've given up your fixation about David cheating?"

"I've decided that cheating men are scum. Why risk a relationship over a quick role in the sack," she answered, pushing her glasses up.

Marcie grinned. "Because the sex is good," she answered.

Jenna rolled her eyes at Marcie's response and I shook my head.

"But it's cheating," I said, feeling like a hypocrite.

"People cheat all the time, on tests, on taxes, why not relationships?"

I stared at Marcie, knowing that she was speaking about herself. Marcie couldn't stick with one guy, she was always jumping around afraid to commit to someone because she thought he would leave.

"Are you telling me you never cheated on a guy?" Marcie asked.

I felt my throat closed, what a day to have this conversation. I felt as though I was about to crack under pressure. I wanted to shout that yes I have cheated, that I cheated on Chase, but I couldn't.

"No," I lied.

Jenna raised her hands in the air, "How about we stop talking about cheaters and talk about Liz's wedding."

I wanted to groan, what a great mix to put together.

"Is everything ready?" Marcie asked.

I nodded my head, "Yeah, the only thing we need is for the florist to bring the flowers, which she said she would have ready. The hem of the dress is being fixed and the bridesmaid dresses are being dyed."

"Can you believe it, Liz is going to be the first one getting married, and who would have thought that would happen," Jenna joked.

I stuck my tongue out at her.

"So what are the plans for today?" Marcie asked, grabbing a folder to look through it.

"I have to leave before one," I said. Even though I don't want to…

"You and Chase having lunch together?"

"No, I have to pick Shane up from the airport."

"Shane's going to be in town," Marcie asked, her head jerked up as she practically started drooling at his name.

"How is he?" Jenna asked, oblivious to the emotions running through my head. I can do this…

"He's good."

Marcie raised an eyebrow at my short answer, but didn't say anything.

"Well then I might as well start the meeting. I know you probably want to see Shane and catch up on the good times."

No! No! No! Anything but that.

I nodded my head.

Jenna turned to Marcie and started discussing the layout of the pictures that a client wanted. I tuned them out until I heard Jenna say my name.

"Alright then, Liz I have a new client, she wants a sculpture of two angels, a boy and a girl, young, she wants them to be done in mountain green granite, about four feet high, width can be decided by you. She wants some drawings within four weeks, I told her about your wedding, so she's willing to wait. As for the bird fountain you did for the Wallace Günter, I need to know the price range, I was thinking around $3,000 but I wanted you input."

"Whatever you want is fine with me."

"You sure?"

"Jenn, you handle money, I handle the tools, do what you want."

She nodded and began writing in her notebook. "If there isn't anything else you needed to discuss, you can go."

With nothing else to say, I went back to my office to pick up my purse. I was tempted to go into the bathroom to check my outfit, but decided against it.

Who did I need to impress?

I winced when I immediately thought of Shane.

I glanced at my watch and saw that it was 11:55. A little after an hour and I would be with Shane.

My fingers grazed over my engagement ring, sliding over the platinum band.

My feelings for Shane were gone, they had to be.

I was marrying Chase, nothing could change that.

If that was true, why was I thinking of Shane's dimpled smile?

So I decided to change some parts of chapter two…hopefully this chapter was better…that's about it. Thanks to anyone who reviewed!

Cynically Amused