Musings in the Dark: "Precession," part 11


"Precession," part 11

Part 11
            It was May, and the weather was glorious.  Business was booming and I spent as much time with Orion Jr. as my schedule allowed me.  I focused on my work and my son.  Inasmuch as I could, I kept my distance from Phaedra.  I made sure that our child was always in the room whenever we saw one another.  Orion Jr. served as a reasonably effective buffer, but what he could not do was stop us from staring at each other.  CJ was also present some of the time, and he kept Phaedra from looking at me, but it didn’t stop me.  I remembered all too well the episode in her bed.  CJ didn’t know how to fuck Phaedra, and eventually she would realize it.
Other than that, we were cordial and kept our discussions focused entirely on our son.  Phaedra was strong, but I knew that.  I knew she was going to fight her desire for me tooth and nail.  I knew that she was going to do everything in her power to keep her word and marry CJ.  Their wedding was planned for July, and part of me wondered if Phaedra would actually go through with it.  She was still in love with me, and she still desired me.  The afternoon we made love in her bed was evidence of that.  I wondered if she was able to have sex with CJ in that bed afterwards.  I knew that if I were to get her back, she wouldn’t want to be intimate with me in a bed where I’d slept with another woman.  In preparation for that, I bought a new mattress set and new sheets.
I really wanted to talk to her.  It was killing me to be around her and not be able to acknowledge anything.  I wanted Phaedra so much and part of me loathed that I had been stupid enough to bet that she wouldn’t cheat on CJ again.  Phaedra was stubborn, but I could be patient.  It was a matter of time.

School let out for the summer, and Orion Jr. was scheduled to spend three weeks at a summer camp for art students.   Phaedra had asked me if I would pay for it; the cost of the tuition had gone up, as well as the supplies he would need.  She was buying wedding stuff and couldn’t swing it.  I was more than happy to do it.  Then her parents would be taking him one weekend so that she could finish up her wedding plans.  The ceremony was supposed to be small and intimate; out by the lake.  I offered to have Jade’s cater, and Phaedra liked the idea but knew CJ wouldn’t approve.
So I worked.  Sadao and I spent a week in the southwest corner of the city; a territory that was up for grabs since a smaller, weaker clan had been ousted.  Seiichi wanted to open another restaurant.  Business was good.  My soldiers kept the territories safe and undesirables had tendencies to pack up and leave.  I confided in Seiichi about Phaedra, and he cautioned me that it was something I had to be sure of if I wanted her in my life.  The boss was married, as was the underboss, and it was sensible for their statures.  I could have a wife if I chose, and Seiichi reminded me about my loyalties.  I didn’t need the reminder, but I understood my place.  I loved being a member of the Ishiguro family; they had treated me very well.  But I didn’t know how to tell the love of my life that I worked for the Japanese mafia.  If Phaedra married CJ, then she never had to know.  I didn’t want her to marry CJ, and so I had that to think about.

Home working
I was home working one brilliant Thursday afternoon.  The weather was fabulous and I sat with the deck doors open and the sun shining through.  The pool was freshly cleaned and I thought I’d take a dip before getting lunch.  Since Nysha left, my apartment was a place of peace, made better only with the sounds of my son tumbling about.  I was very content with my life, even without sex on a regular basis.  But I knew that would change one way or the other.  Phaedra would realize that she didn’t want to hurt CJ and break off the wedding.  Or she would marry him and cheat on him repeatedly.  Both scenarios worked fine for me because I was the one she would be fucking, and I was the man she was truly in love with.  I did hope that Phaedra would see that it was better for all of us if she didn’t marry CJ.  He didn’t deserve to be betrayed, and he would be if she did.
The doorman buzzed my apartment.  “Mr. Korematsu, a Miss Thornton is here to see you.”
“Send her up.”
Surprise visit
A few minutes later, Phaedra entered my apartment, looking crazy delicious in a pale pink dress and sandals.  I stood at the door and she looked at me.  I didn’t recognize the look on her face.
“Sorry if I surprised you.  I should have called first.  Are you busy?  Do you have company?”
“I’m working but I can take a break.  Come sit in the living room.  Want something to drink?
“Water or cranberry juice, if you have it.”
I brought a tall glass of icy cranberry juice to her.  She sat on my couch, with her bare feet tucked under her legs.  I resumed my position.
“You’re barefoot.”
“I’m at home.”
“It’s sexy.”
I smiled.  “Really, Phaedra?”
“Orion, you know how you were.  But you’re different now.  You’re vibrant, bolder than you used to be.  When we were together in that tiny apartment, you didn’t walk around barefoot.  You didn’t challenge me like you’ve been doing, and you…you…”
“You haven’t interfered.”
“I said I wouldn’t.”
She seemed jittery; kept changing the position of her legs and looking around.  “I appreciate it.”
“How are the wedding plans coming?”
She sighed.  “I don’t even know.  I turned it over to my planner.  I just can’t take it anymore.”
I tapped a pen against my lips.  “Orion is at camp.  Why are you here?”
“Do you want me to leave?”
“I didn’t say that.  Your visit is just unexpected.”
“I just wanted to talk to you, Orion.”
“You know that you can call me anytime, Phaedra.  It would be safer, don’t you think?”
She looked past me to the pool.  “I didn’t know you had a pool.”
“I’m going swimming in an hour or so.”
Phaedra looked as if she wanted me to ask her to join me, but I was going to keep my word.  If this happened, it would be because of her.
“Answer my question, Phaedra.”
“What question?”
“You could have called me.  It’s safer for you to call me, don’t you think?  Since we really shouldn’t be alone together.”
“Orion, surely two adults can control themselves and behave civilly.”
“You call what we did that day civil?  I wanted to tie you to the bed.”
“My scarves were in my second drawer.  But really, O, should it be so black and white?”
“Your choice, Phaedra.  I’m doing it to respect your decision to marry CJ.  I said I’d stay away and I have.  But you’re here, now, and for no reason I can see, unless…”
She stood up.  “You’re right; I shouldn’t have come.  What was I thinking; that I could have a civil conversation with the father of my child?”
I stood up.  “Phaedra, if you want to talk, then let’s talk.  Sit back down.  We can talk.  I’m not going to jump you.”  Though I wondered if she was trying to test me with the length of that dress.  She knew I loved her legs.
Is she trying to entice her baby's father?
She sat back down.  “Orion, have you tried finding another girlfriend?”
“No.  I don’t want any woman but you, and remember, you don’t want any other woman around Orion Jr.”
“I think it would be easier for you if you had someone.  You deserve a good woman who will love you and who will love Taz.  And who will give you more children.  If I remember correctly, you wanted a son and a daughter.”
I glared at her.  “Phaedra, I have no interest in siring a bunch of children with a bunch of random women.  Any kids I might want will all have the same mother.  That means you.  So, unless CJ doesn’t mind me getting you pregnant, I won’t be having any more kids.”
“A girlfriend, then.”
“Are you trying to make yourself feel better?”
“No, O.  I’m just trying to make sure we come out of this happy and whole.  We need to be for Quintaz’ sake.  I need our son to be happy.”
“What makes you think he wouldn’t be?”
She looked at me.  “He told me that he wants me to be with you; that he and his Mommy should live with his Daddy.  He told CJ that he would still be his friend, but that he wanted to live with his Mommy and Daddy.  CJ is furious.”
“Orion has an opinion, Phaedra.  CJ needs to respect it, even if he doesn’t like it.  He told me the same thing, but I told him you were marrying CJ.”
“I sat him down and told him too.  CJ and I explained it and what it would mean.”
“Is he starting to act out?”
“No, he’s been a perfectly good boy.  I’m just afraid he might start.  Taz is becoming bolder by the week.”
“You don’t think I put him up to this, do you?”
“No.  I give you more credit than that, Orion.  You’re not malicious.”
“What do you want to do about it?”
“I need Taz to accept the fact that he has two daddies.  CJ loves him and will help me raise him.”
“To be honest, I’m not crazy about that idea, Phaedra.  I know I came in out of nowhere when your relationship with CJ was already established.  But I’m the only man qualified to raise my son.”
I stood up.  “Why did you come here, Phaedra?  Is it to argue about something as minor as this?  We’ve dealt with it fine so far; it can’t be an issue now.  You’re getting married in like, a month.  What do you really want?”
Phaedra put her head in her hands and snuffled.  “CJ thinks I cheated on him.”
“You did.  Don’t you remember?  I do, panties and all.” 
Her cheeks bloomed with color.  “I lied and told him he was being paranoid, but he doesn’t believe me.”
“I hope you’re not expecting me to comfort you, Phaedra.  I told you that you were going to hurt him if you continued this charade.  That one’s on you, baby.”
“Don’t remind me, Orion!”
“Why does he think you cheated?”
“I won’t have sex with him in my bed.”
“Hm,” I said.
“I can’t.  All I can see whenever I look at my bed is us.  I can’t believe I let that happen!”
“Can you have sex with him anywhere else in the house?”
“I could, but the location of Taz’ bedroom makes it problematic.  He could walk out to go pee and see us.”
“He’s seen you already.  Not fucking, but kissing, and CJ playing with your titties.”
“He told me.”
“Oh shit, oh no!”
“I told him that he shouldn’t spy on you and he said he didn’t mean to.  He told me the first weekend he was here, and that was how the subject of kissing came up.  He told me that CJ liked kissing you.”
Phaedra wailed and covered her face.
“Don’t be embarrassed, Phaedra.  I’m positive he has not seen you again.  He promised me that he wouldn’t look if he had to go to the bathroom.”
“You know, Orion…my life was fine until you came back.  You came back and ruined everything.”
“Perhaps.  But we made a bet, a deal.  I stay out of it and let you have the life you think you want, or you realize the only life you really want is one with me.  You and CJ can make this work if you want it to.  He can’t prove that we fucked, and you’ll have to convince him that we didn’t if you expect for that relationship to work.  Sorry baby, but that one’s on you too.”
“You’re a fucking asshole, Orion!  I HATE I ever met you!  I wish you had never ever ever come back!  Why didn’t you just stay away?  Why did you come back?”
“I love you.  I love my son.  I want us to be a family.”
“You make it sound so Dick and Jane.”
“It is.  You’re the one complicating things.  I got rid of my girl when I was certain of your feelings for me.  You didn’t get rid of your boy, not even when you became certain of your feelings for me.  And where do they lead you?  Into my arms, as they should.  That was why we agreed to keep a distance, so that we wouldn’t fall into bed.  But you’re here, and you look wonderful and you smell great, and all I can think about is the warmth and sweetness of your…”
“You came here because you want me.  You came here because you don’t want CJ.  You came here to lose the bet.  Tell me the truth so we can deal with this and move on, baby.”
Phaedra stood up, swiping at her cheeks.  “I’m leaving.  I’m sorry I ever stopped by.”
I remained sitting; it was going to be a test of wills.  What I wanted to do was pick her up and take her to bed again.  But then that took the responsibility of handling her situation out of her hands.  She had to choose and I had to make her do it.  It didn’t mean that I wouldn’t have sex with her if she chose to marry CJ, but I did want her to understand that the choice to betray him was all hers.
She stood by the window, staring over the horizon.  “Why did you come back?”
“I told you.  I could no longer stand by and watch you raise our son alone.  When I knew I could be an asset and not a detriment, I returned.  When I knew I could assume full responsibility of you and of our child, I came back.  When I knew I was worthy, I returned.  And I’m not leaving.  I’m going to be around, Phaedra.  You have to decide if you’re going to hurt CJ for a little while or for a long time.  That’s what this boils down to: what you want.”
“What do you want me to say?”
“The truth.”
“I love CJ.”
“Uh-huh.  And?”
She sighed.  “Orion, you know that I still have feelings for you, as much as I don’t want them.”
“Do you love me, Phaedra?”
She continued looking out of the window.  “I hated you; I wished death upon you many times; I regretted ever laying eyes on you, and sometimes I hated I had your baby.  I hated you because you broke my heart.  You can’t hate anyone if you don’t love them first.”
“Stop being evasive, please.”
“You’re an evil bastard and I hope you rot in hell.  Yes, Orion.  I love you.  But I won’t be with you.” 
“Phaedra, don’t be difficult.”
Phaedra looked at me.  “I won’t be back.  I’m sorry I came here in the first place.  I don’t know what I was thinking, Orion.  I was a fool to believe…”
She turned and walked out of my apartment.  I didn’t move, but I gripped my pen so tight that it snapped.  

This pic is too good not to use again.

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