After dinner, Clay suggested we relax in the hot tub, claiming his muscles ached from the hike. As fit as he was, I doubted the exercise had any affect on him, but a dip in the hot tub did sound like a good idea. The others declined joining us, declaring they were too tired to change into bathing suits. The glances they exchanged hinted at something more, but I ignored it, not in the mood to have the conversation that I knew I needed to have with them.
In the loft Clay grabbed my bikini off the top of the bureau, then playfully offered to help me change. He pulled me into his arms then in one swift movement he pulled my t-shirt over my head. My laughter at his antics rang hollow. I was still irritated with him but I didn’t want to fight with him either.
“I’ll do it,” I stated tersely. Hearing the frustration in my voice he kissed the top of my head and went into the bathroom to change.
Quickly I slipped into my suit and called to him, letting him know I’d meet him outside. I didn’t wait to hear his muffled reply as I headed down the stairs.
Because of the elevation the evening air was cooler than I was used to, making me shiver as I stepped into the fresh air. The hot tub was located at the back of the house, to the left of the small patio. I folded the cover that kept the heat from escaping, then climbed the two stairs to step into the water.
Leaning back in the moulded seat, the warm water enveloping me, the pulsing bubbles beating against my back, I closed my eyes and sighed. Bringing Clay might have been a mistake. This wasn’t going as well as I’d hoped. Maybe I just needed a few days alone when we got home. I had never spent so much time with one person and Clay could be intense to say the least. A little time to myself should help me figure things out.
With that settled I let the heat lull me, my mind clearing, my spirits lifting.
I didn’t open my eyes when I heard him come outside, or when I felt him lower next to me. “Please don’t be mad at me,” he said by way of apology, sounding contrite.
I didn’t want to be angry. I wanted to enjoy every minute of this trip, of our time together, but they were all behaving like children. Unwilling to completely forgive, yet not wanting to argue, I opened one eye, looked at him then closed it again without responding.
With an aggravated sigh he asked, “What do you want me to do? They clearly don’t want me here, and to be honest I’m just not interested in their insipid games. I know they’re your friends but they seem so immature. I don’t know what you see in them.”
Trying to keep my voice low so the others wouldn’t hear me, struggling to remain calm even though my blood was running as hot as the water we were in, I replied evenly, “If you don’t want to be here why don’t you leave?”
When he didn’t respond I turned my head to see why. Had I not been so furious with all of them, the heartbroken look on his face might have been enough to weaken my resolve. In that moment though I only felt divided, my loyalties split between people I’ve cared about for years and someone who was gaining importance every day. This group had been my friends for a long time, but I couldn’t deny that their behavior this weekend wasn’t what I’d hoped.
Frustrated I sat up, turned to him and rested my hand on his forearm. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. I was hoping this weekend would go better and I’m disappointed this hasn’t been easier. Once they get to know you like I do it will be fine. They’re just protective of me.”
I may have imagined the victorious smile that flitted across his lips as I leaned back in my seat, but annoyance once again bubbled inside me.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Insipid and is part of something longer I am working on.
This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after What Is More Important Than Love? and before .