Love Still Isn’t Easy: Chapter 8
I woke up on Sunday morning anxious to talk to Eric. I had tossed and turned all night thinking about the bizarre situation we had all found ourselves in. It was obviously no coincidence that Bill was the man who had been living with Arlene up until recently. I wondered if this was enough new evidence for Eric’s attorney to get a new DNA test. I knew nothing about the legal aspect of the situation, but wanted to learn more.
I got dressed and drove to Eric’s. I still had a key but knocked on the door instead. When he first opened the door, I thought I saw a flicker of happiness in his eyes, but then it was replaced with the same cold look he’d had at Pam’s the day before. He stepped back and invited me in.
It felt odd being a guest in what had essentially been my home up until recently, but I sat on the sofa and accepted the coffee Eric politely offered. I noticed it was in my favorite cup. I opened the conversation. “Do you think that Bill’s involvement with Arlene will be enough evidence for a new DNA test?”
“I really have no idea. I spoke to my attorney last night, but I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. The hearing is at eleven.”
“You don’t really think that Bill would do something like switch the DNA do you?”
“I have no fucking idea what he would do.”
“Well, he and Arlene weren’t around when the tests were done obviously. I’ve been thinking about it and honestly, I don’t see how the tests could have been switched. I mean the soap operas make it look so easy, but in reality I would imagine there’s certain protocol that’s followed to insure the accuracy of the tests, right?”
“You know about as much about it as I do, Sookie.”
“Well, that’s not true, actually. You’ve had the test and I haven’t. Tell me how that went exactly. Did you have to go to a clinic or something?”
“No, it was done in Arlene’s attorney’s office.”
“Tell me about it.”
He sighed as if a bit impatient. “A woman swabbed the inside of my cheek and put it into some sort of vial and into her little medical kit. I signed some paper, showed my driver’s license to the notary in the room. Another woman from the office signed as a witness. Her signature was notarized, and then I left. There really wasn’t much to it.”
“Do you have a copy of that document?”
“I’m sure my attorney does.”
“I can see what Arlene’s motive would be here. I mean she’s obviously getting your child support payments now. But I really don’t see how Bill could possibly benefit. He’s no longer with Arlene and so obviously doesn’t get any of the money. I just don’t see why he would be a part of this, I mean, if it is some sort of scam or something.” I was really just thinking out loud, working through my thoughts, and when I turned my attention back to Eric, he had a frighteningly cold look on his face.
“He’s fucking you, isn’t he? Isn’t that enough of a motivation?”
I felt like I had been slapped in the face. My eyes teared, but I was determined not to cry. I shakily stood and whispered a thank you for the coffee before I left. I turned back when I got to the door and Eric was still sitting and staring at me with hatred in his eyes.
I made it all the way to my car before falling apart. I went home and threw myself on the bed and had a good cry. I wondered how things had come to this. Eric seemed to actually hate me. I got up to splash water on my face and then sat back down on the bed and went over my meeting with Eric with a clearer head. Surely, he didn’t really think that I was sleeping with Bill. I started to try and put myself in Eric’s shoes and think of all that had happened recently.
What if Eric’s claim that he’s been faithful is true? What if somehow the DNA tests are wrong? He would feel frustrated and angry, which he obviously does. And how would he feel about me? Betrayed. I had wanted so badly to believe him, but then in the end, I hadn’t. I trusted the DNA tests more than my fiancé’s word. I believed the logical conclusion rather than having faith in Eric. Suddenly, I realized how badly I had hurt Eric. I had been so busy wallowing in my own pain, I guess I hadn’t really thought about his.
And now he thinks I’m sleeping with Bill. But really, why wouldn’t he? I have been seeing Bill. And if Eric knows that I’m capable of losing faith in him, believing I would turn to Bill would be a perfectly reasonable conclusion. And of course, I was so hurt by his absurd accusation that I left in a huff, but I hadn’t denied the accusation, had I? I’d been so inundated lately with all of Eric’s apologies that I was too stupid to see that I actually owed him quite a few as well.
And what exactly have I been doing with Bill? I don’t love Bill. I love Eric. I’ve let Bill stroke my bruised ego and selfishly enjoyed his attention. But if I really thought about what I want, I don’t want Bill. Most of my adult life I’ve spent wanting Eric and now that I’m examining my true feelings, I still want Eric.
I took it a step further. Let’s say that Eric really is the father of those two children, and let’s say that he did make a mistake and cheat on me. That makes me feel angry and hurt, but I still love him. And then I realized that I’m not ready to walk away from Eric at all. I mentally slapped myself and told myself to grow up and deal with what are now some very adult problems in my life. Eric needs me now. He needs me to support him, not be another problem to face.
I’m not sure why I was weak and fell apart and ultimately turned to Bill, but I suddenly felt ashamed of myself. I’d temporarily lost my way, but I wanted to get back on Team Eric and I had some work to do to get there.
The first thing I did was call Bill.