ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cold As Fire - A Short Story

Updated on August 18, 2015

Letting her hair fall over her shoulder, she turned and fixed her hazel eyes on the cigar stuck between my lips. Instinctually, she wrinkled her face in disgust, but quickly softened her expression before her eyes found mine. Her nose crinkled at the smoke lingering in the air, but her practiced grace allowed her to stifle the repulsed exclamation ready to roll from her tongue. Years ago, when we first met, she didn’t hold back. She was steadfast in her opinion and the only thing sharper than her tongue was her wit. Five years married to me and this is what she had become. A woman easily repressed, desperate to create peace where once she ran toward discourse.

“You about ready to go?” She bounced up and down on the balls of her feet. I couldn’t tell if her nervous energy was from genuine excitement or anxiety. She always resembled a paranoid cat lately. The slightest movement made her flinch. One harsh glance made her cower. I’d never even hit her.

“We said we’d leave at four. It’s three forty-five.” I relit my cigar. She took the tiniest of steps back. A smile spread across my lips as I remembered her fear of fire.

“I know. I just figured since you’re excited to see them we could leave a little earlier.” My stomach churned at her encouraging tone.

“Excited to see the man who tried to fuck my wife?” She dropped her eyes at my words, but I let my stare bore in to her, wanting her to the feel shame as palpably as my smoke scented breathe.

“Nothing happened, Will, I’ve told you that.”

“But he tried. Right?”

“Yes.”

“And he tried again. Right?”

“Yes.” We had this routine down perfectly. This conversation was well scripted. We knew every version. Improvisation had become an impossibility.

“And you wanted it. Right?”

“No. Will, he’s your best friend. Marlie is my best friend. We’re picking them up from the airport in two hours. This is a good thing. It’s time to move past what happened.” Her plea was nauseating.

I stood up and walked from the room, slamming the door behind me. I knew she’d follow. She always followed.

***

Twenty minutes on the road and neither of us said a word. I could feel her desperation to talk one more time before they arrived, but she was too afraid of me to bring it up.

“Say something if you want to, Amelia.”

“Don’t call me Amelia, you only call me Amelia when you’re mad.” She whispered.

“I am mad.”

“Why?”

“For setting up this ridiculous torture adventure. Jason and I don’t want to see each other, Amy. We haven’t so much as sent a text message in over three years. We aren’t friends. Just because you refused to cut him out of your life doesn’t mean I should be forced to spend an entire weekend with the man who tried to fuck my wife.”

“What about Marlie? Are you excited to see Marlie?”

I closed my eyes and drew in a breath – staying calm was essential now. “Yes, Amy, I’m excited to see Marlie.”

“Good.” I could feel her smile, “Let’s focus on that then.”

“Okay.”

Annoyed with the conversation, I pulled my pack of cigarettes from the center console and shook one free. Amelia tensed before I even withdrew my lighter from my pocket. Years ago I would have been sensitive to her fear and waited until we weren’t in an enclosed space before clicking the fire to life. Nothing about her inspired compassion in me anymore. Everything about her made my bones shudder with life at the thought of causing her even the slightest discomfort.

“It’s fire, Amelia, it’s nowhere near you.”

“You know I’m afraid of it.”

“Ever since your house burned down when you were a little girl,” I recited in perfect imitation of her, “I know the fucking story.”

“Why are you still with me?”

“Because you didn’t let him fuck you.”

“Do you still love me?
“Yes.”

***

Men’s bathrooms piss me off. Women go to the bathroom and chat through the stalls the whole damn time, but with men it’s a literal pissing contest. That’s why I ended up in the stall. Or at least that’s what I told myself as I pulled out my phone and flipped through the saved pictures of Marlie. Marlie’s breasts, swipe, Marlie touching herself, swipe, Marlie’s ass, swipe, Marlie, swipe, Marlie.

Five minutes later I’m standing next to Amy waiting at the edge of security for Jason and Marlie to appear with the images still sliding across my mind. Amy’s right, I am excited to see Marlie. I’m also excited to see Jason. It’s invigorating to know he tried with my wife and failed, but I tried with his and succeeded.

Amy sees them first and plasters a smile on her face while reaching for my hand.

“Ya know what I’ve been thinking, Amy?” She squeezes my hand in gratitude at my soft tone.

“What’s that?”

“I think we should have a bonfire tonight. Jason and I used to do that as teenagers. It would really make him feel like we were moving back to the way things were before.”

She squeezed my hand with a grateful smile on her face. I could see the wheels turning in her head. Anger at my disregard for her fear combatted the sheer joy she felt at my attempt to make things right with our friends. I relished in her emotional confusion.

Just as Jason and Marlie made it within earshot Amelia turned to me, “A bonfire sounds wonderful, sweetheart. Will that be before or after you take Marlie to bed?”

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • KaylaTaylor profile imageAUTHOR

      Kayla M Haranda 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thank you for reading! I'm glad you liked it.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 years ago from Shelton

      a very good short story needs polishing, but a very good short story nonetheless voted up and love the dialogue :)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)