Miranda walked away from Rich one late summer day shortly after she had turned twenty. She walked away from their good times; the cookouts they hosted for their families, the laughter they shared doing weekend chores together, the passion they had for one another. The pain he had caused though, that stayed with her as she moved back to her mom’s house. It stayed with her, for years.
Dennis, a friend of her mom’s boyfriend, had been living at Miranda’s mom’s house for awhile when Miranda moved back in. It had deeply bothered Rich that Dennis was there. He had nearly convinced himself that Miranda was merely going to visit her mom so often to see Dennis. In retrospect, that was probably a good part of the problem between the two. As Miranda more aggressively stated that she would be staying at her mom’s during the week when school started, Rich became more distant, more accusing. Really, Miranda just felt so alone in Rich’s house all week when he was gone, and her mom’s was closer to her college anyway. Despite all of Rich’s accusations, Miranda and Dennis had never even uttered two words to each other until days after she and Rich had broken up.
Dennis made for a perfect distraction for Miranda. An ear to listen as she talked over her woes. He would sit for hours watching the lame old television shows that Miranda loved. He let Miranda use his van to get to college. He invited her along when he took his kids to do something. And his kids, they were just the company Miranda needed, begging her to watch Scooby Doo with them every night, and all the other little things that children are known to do that just put a smile on your face.
Before long Miranda would catch herself looking forward to when Dennis came home from work. After Rich would call time and again with his new girlfriend and her kids in the background, Miranda couldn’t help but to find an escape from her pain by spending more and more time with Dennis. And of course, all around her people came crawling out of the woodwork to tell her the type of man Rich really was. A liar. A cheater. A player. Miranda wondered why people didn’t tell this stuff before a relationship ended. Why didn’t anyone warn her before Rich had shattered her? Why did they feel the need to withhold this information until the person already knew?
None of it mattered anymore. Miranda’s pain drove her into Dennis’ arms, and Dennis knew it, but he opened his arms anyway.
Miranda never fully acknowledged how much she compared Dennis to Rich, but she did, with everything. The day Dennis came home with a beautiful bouquet of two dozen roses, she couldn’t help but to find the irony that Rich had only gotten her a dozen. The day Dennis bought her a car so that she could get to college, she couldn’t help but to think how Rich was debating even letting her use his.
A week after the first two words were spoken between Miranda and Dennis, she stood at her mothers kitchen sink washing dishes, waiting and waiting for him to come home from work when the telephone rang. It was her mother on the line, asking Miranda to come pick up her mom’s car from the bar so that she could get a ride home later. Miranda agreed, at the cost of the delicious bar burgers they served there.
After a five block walk to the bar Miranda was eager to consume her all time favorite meal, until she stepped one foot into the bar. There at a large table in the back sat Dennis, surrounded by people, surrounded by beer and all Miranda saw was Rich. Dennis was nothing like Rich. That’s what Miranda liked about him. But it wasn’t until that moment that she realized how much she liked that about him. She felt sick to her stomach. Never even touched her burger. She simply shook her head, and took her mom’s car home.
Shortly later Dennis came home and Miranda couldn’t help but to voice her opinion. Of course, Dennis had an explanation waiting for her. His buddy that he worked with just stopped on their way home. That’s all it was, just a quick bite to eat. Miranda didn’t notice any food on that bar table that they all sat around, she didn’t notice the bets that were made that night either. She didn’t notice that Dennis had bet he would get in her pants that night. She didn’t notice the twinkle in his eye, knowing it would be a bet he would win.
Miranda was too consumed to notice anything but the effect of her disappointment seeing Dennis sitting there in a bar when moments before she had been eagerly waiting for him to come home from work. Miranda was too consumed with thinking that this meant that she must really like this guy, but she didn’t really even know him. All Miranda knew was everything he wasn’t, and never once allowed herself to learn everything he was. Regardless, that night they sealed the deal and began one of the most treacherous journeys either would travel.
~TO BE CONTINUED~