Excerpt from My Next Breath (book 2)
The Bitter Pill
“Sorry, I came as soon as I could,” he huffed. “Rush hour is getting worse. It used to be a time when I could get across town in fifteen minutes, now it takes me forty-five. How much of your break do you have left?”
“George, she hates me,” Maggie blurted out.
“What? Who hates you?”
George stood alongside her, leaning against the linoleum counter top.
“She doesn’t hate you.” George took both Maggie’s hands so that she faced him. He positioned her body to align with his and flashed his perfectly aligned, pearly white teeth.
He was a large man, tall with broad shoulders. His hands were the size of baseball mitts but as soft and comforting as a velour bath robe. He had always treated her with an undeserving amount of kindness and respect. He was her own personal safety blanket, there when she needed him, but stowed away when she didn’t. George deserved so much more. He needed someone who would give, not just take.
“You should’ve seen her at the Wal-Mart. She was lookin’ at me like I was yesterday’s trash.” She let go of his hands and marched into the living room, even more agitated.
George followed her. He took a seat on the sofa and watched her pace back and forth.
“Magdalena, come sit down.” George reached for her hand and pulled her bottom down on his lap. “Remember what we learned in AA. Our sobriety has to be the most important thing next to God. We can’t let anyone distract us from that.”
“I don’t have enough money to be paying for no party, but I swear I’m gonna pay her back, no matter what.”
“Look at me,” he demanded. “You’re good enough.” George said, then pecked her on the cheek.
“So, when are you gonna tell them about us?” he smiled sarcastically.
George had been hinting around at making their relationship more serious, but Maggie continued to keep him in limbo. If she didn’t make a decision soon, she’d risk losing him.
“What about us?” Maggie asked.
“You know what about. That we’re seeing each other.” George gave her a playful shake.
Maggie laughed then slid off his lap and took a seat next to him.
“We’re friends. That’s it.”
“Friends? Do friends sleep together?” he asked slyly.
“That was one time.” Maggie giggled then looked away, embarrassed that she had fallen victim in her moment of weakness.
“One good, long time,” he laughed.
Maggie smiled, remembering how desirable and loved she’d felt. It was intoxicating.
“You know AA warns us about trading in one addiction for another. We’re still learning ’bout each other,” Maggie said. “And my past ain’t all that squeaky clean.”
“The past is in the past,” George said, moving in so close that she felt his breath on her neck.
“It’s not good for you to be alone. You need someone like me in your life. Someone that knows how to sing,” George said. He started belting out a tune, “I know you wanna leave me, but I refuse to let you go.”
Maggie laughed hysterically.
“There’s that beautiful smile,” he said.
He kissed the back of her neck.
“George, stop.” She begged sweetly.
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