Tis The Season_.For Romance(7)

By: Brenda Jackson

“It’s not easy for me, Peggy,” Barbara decided to say. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be comfortable going out with a man?”

Peggy frowned. “Why? Because Ron had affairs with other women? Because you still love him? You took the first step and surprised us all by actually divorcing him. Are you now having regrets? Will you do what everyone expects you to do and go back to him; even after all he’s done?”

Barbara paused from responding while the waitress placed their meals in front of them. There was no need to tell her about the calls she’d received over the past months from Ron begging her to take him back, promising her everything but the moon. As soon as the waitress walked away she met Peggy’s gaze. “Ron and I will never get back together and I’m not having regrets about divorcing him.”

Peggy held her gaze. “But he has asked you to take him back, hasn’t he?”

There was no way she could lie to her sister, so she said. “Yes. But he knows that won’t be happening.” And to make sure her sister understood she meant what she said, she added. “Now or never.”

She paused as she fought back tears. “I gave that man thirty good years. I tried like hell to be the wife he wanted me to be. I even thought I’d step up my game a notch and compete with his whores by doing things in our bedroom I’d never done before.” She almost tinted with embarrassment when she thought about all those X-rated tapes she’d watched and that video she’d ordered titled, Improving Your Sex Performance.

“In the end he still preferred them over me. And the last stunt he pulled by taking Ashira Wilson to Hawaii on a trip that was supposed to rebuild our marriage is unforgivable. I will never let another man treat me that way again. My relationship with Ron is over and the only thing between us is Courtney,” she finished by saying.

Peggy reached across the table and placed her hand on hers. “Then what’s stopping you from going on a date with Detective Blair, Barbara? I would think you would want to get on with your life and the quickest way to do that is to start enjoying life. I wish I had met Willie sooner.”

Willie was the man Peggy had begun seeing almost a year ago and Barbara had a feeling things were turning serious. “I lack confidence in myself as a woman,” Barbara said softly, knowing she wouldn’t admit that to anyone but her sister who she knew she could trust. “I guess what woman wouldn’t after going through what I went through over the years. And I have no one to blame but myself for taking Ron back all those times.”

“And you have no one to blame if you believe what you just said. You’re an attractive woman, otherwise Detective Blair would not have come calling. What about all those counseling sessions you went through? I attended sessions with Dr. Banks myself so I know he’s good. What happened?”

Barbara eased her hand from her sister’s hold to take a sip of her drink. “Yes, he’s good but I’d be the first to admit to carrying too much baggage. He’s encouraged me to get rid of it but so far I can’t.”

“But the good thing is that one day you will. It takes time and going out with Detective Blair is a start. In the meantime, you do know who is the one person that’s really hurting in all of this, don’t you?”

At Barbara’s confused look, Peggy said. “Courtney. She loves you and understandably, even after all that asshole has done, she still loves Ron. But she’s more worried about you. She feels she’s deserting you by getting married and moving to Boston. Although she’ll come back and forth here periodically, it won’t be the same.”

Peggy paused for a moment, studied her food and then glanced back up at Barbara. “I wasn’t going to tell you this, but maybe it’s something that you should know. Courtney shared with Sonya a few days ago that she’s going to approach Lake about letting her stay here in Orlando the majority of the time mainly because she doesn’t want to leave you alone. I’m sure you can just imagine how well that’s going to go over with Lake. He’ll want her with him in Boston, understandably so.”

Barbara pulled in a deep breath. Remaining in Orlando was the last thing her daughter needed to do; especially if she was doing it for her sake.

“I think it’s unfair to Courtney, Barbara,” Peggy said, twirling her glass of wine. “You and Ron haven’t had your shit together through most of your married lives, and for it to spill over into Courtney’s happiness is not only unfair but downright selfish. Even now while Ron is begging to get you back, he’s probably somewhere with his pecker buried inside of Ashira or one of his other sluts. Yet you’re willing to walk away from a man who might be the one who can turn your life around. If you want to continue to screw up your own life, with or without Ron in it, then go ahead. But I’d think you would want to show you’re getting on with your life so Courtney will feel free to get on with hers.”

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