“Okay, that’s great,” Sera spoke into her phone, “I’ll bring the deposit cheque when we come in to sign the contract. Thanks. Bye.”
Sera clicked off her cell phone and sighed as she rubbed the side of her head. She sat cross-legged on the floor of her bedroom with a mess of papers in front of her, a pen in one hand and her phone in another. She reached for her day-planner and scratched off “Book Hall” from the list. Then she shuffled through the papers and found a page of photographers’ phone numbers.
“You’ve suddenly got a fire under your butt about this wedding,” Angela said, leaning against the doorway. It was the first thing she had said all morning, instead just peeking in on Sera every so often with a curious grin on her face.
“Mm-hmm,” Sera replied, distracted. Angela continued to stand at the doorway staring at her. Sera finally looked up from the sheet of paper and said, “What? What is it?”
“Nothing,” Angela shrugged, “Except you’re still in your shorts and t-shirt. You’re gonna be late for work if you don’t start getting dressed.”
Sera eyed her. “Well, don’t you
have class this morning?”
Her friend stretched and yawned. “Skipped. Long night.”
Sera shook her head and turned back towards her papers. “Just what time did you come home last night? I stayed up until past 1:00 a.m. and you still hadn’t come back. Where did you hang out that late on a Monday night?”
“That chic little cocktail bar you’ve been going to so often lately,” Angela remarked, “Voices.”
The words on the sheet of paper Sera was holding up suddenly blurred. It took a long moment for her eyes to refocus on her friend standing at the doorway. Angela had a tight grin stretched across her lips. “You went to Voices?” Sera asked softly.
Angela nodded. “Uh-huh. I was totally wrong about it. Very cool place. And how about that bartender? Hot!”
Slack-jawed, Sera felt a lump blocking her throat. When she forced it out past her lips, she said, “It’s Mr.Constantine.”
It felt like some long overdue confession. Even then, Angela was already way ahead of her.
“What, are you fucking kidding me ?” Angela waved her hands and laughed. “Of course
it’s Mr.Constantine! I knew it was him! Do you think I wouldn’t recognize him? Me
Sera just sat on the floor, stone-faced as she felt the blood surge to her cheeks.
why you were going there by yourself all the time?”
“I…I was going to bring you there sometime,” Sera replied hesitantly.
“Oh, sure you were!” Angela mocked, “Keeping Devin Constantine for yourself? Naughty girl!”
“No…no!” Sera sat up looking towards her anxiously. “I just…I just wanted to talk to him for a bit.”
Angela giggled, “It’s okay, Sera. You’re not married yet. For my money, I’d say you’re allowed to continue to test the waters. Serves Jimmy right. But my God! Doing it with Mr.Devin Constan—”
“We’re not doing anything!” Angela was laughing now.
“I was going to say good for you!” she remarked. “I mean if you’re going to cheat on your fiancé, you can’t do much better than screwing a former high school teacher as hot as Mr.Constantine.”
Sera scrambled to her feet, her fists clenched. Her body shook as she glared at Angela and spat, “I’m not screwing him!”
The smaller woman cringed in mock fright then said, “Okay! Okay! Calm down, Sera! I’m just kidding, all right? I know you’re not the type to cheat on anyone. It’s just…you gotta admit it’s kinda weird you hanging out all the time at a bar with him.”
Sera took several deep breaths and looked around the walls aimlessly. “I haven’t done anything with him. We were just talking,” she sighed.
Angela walked over to her weary friend and reached out to rub her on her arms. “I know. I believe you, Sera. Sorry. I was just kidding. I shouldn’t have said that.”
Sera looked down towards her feet. She felt like crying.
“You always did seem to have lots of long conversations with him,” Angela said as she brushed her friend‘s long hair with her fingers, “Must have been nice to be able to talk to him like that.”
Sera composed herself somewhat. She looked at Angela, saw a warm smile on her freckled, button face.
“Meanwhile,” Angela continued, “I just wanted to ride the man like a fucking stallion.”
Pausing to absorb her words, Sera cracked a smile then sputtered a tension-breaking laugh. Angela quickly joined in and the two filled the small room with their laughter and sighs.
Sera groaned and rolled her eyes. “God! I’m stressed to the gills!”
“Well, like I said, nothing like some pre-marital sex with a former teacher to relieve that stress!”
“Will you shut up about that already.” Sera winced, poking her friend on the forehead. “You want him so bad, you
go fuck him.”
Angela spun on her heels and walked out the door, exclaiming as she went, “Oh my God! Don’t think I’m not going to try! This is so on!”
Standing alone in her room once more, Sera felt the anxiety suddenly swell within her again. Chapter Twelve
“Uhn! Oh God, Jimmy!” Sera groaned aloud as she swayed her torso quickly over his crotch.
Jimmy, lying back on the bed, held onto her waist, pulling her onto him as he rocked his hips and tightened his abs, slipping his rigid length upward into her. He was breathing hard through his mouth as he watched her desperately grind her lovely, light-tan body onto him. She was voracious today.
As soon as they had dropped off the cheque at the reception hall early Saturday afternoon, Sera was the one who asked if they could find a motel. Jimmy wasn’t going to argue.
Sera tossed her head back and groaned. She leaned forward, sweeping her long, black hair aside with her arm before bracing her hands against Jimmy’s hard, pale chest. She rolled her hips with an incessant rhythm, feeling her man’s stiff cock pulse within her. “Ah! Fuck!” she growled, squeezing her eyes shut.
Jimmy buried the back of his head into the pillow, swallowed, and gasped, “Uhn! Christ, Sera! I…uhn…oh fuck!”
Sera held her breath and froze. Suddenly a shuddering, languid moan strained from her throat and past her trembling, red lips. Her whole body hitched and shook as she came in a warm rush, spilling onto Jimmy’s swollen shaft. Jimmy dug his fingers into her waist. With a swelling grunt he arched his back, pushing his pelvis upward as he unloaded a thick paste of cum into her. His gaping mouth was quickly met by hers as she leaned over and kissed him.
As their lips folded over one another, Sera continued to slowly sway her hips, drawing more heated spurts from Jimmy’s twitching cock. After awhile, she finally slipped off of him, and slid down onto the bed beside him.
Jimmy stared up at the ceiling, a satisfied grin on his lips, as Sera laid the side of her head against his chest, rubbing his belly thoughtfully. “Whoo, Sera!” Jimmy sighed as he regained his breath, “Did you get a new prescription of the pill filled or what?”
“No,” she replied as she looked across his chest towards the wall, “I guess I was just excited about booking the hall.”
“Well, can’t wait to book the DJ and photographer, then.”
“Mm-hmm,” she mused quietly. They lay in bed together for a moment, Jimmy stroking Sera’s hair. Finally she asked, “Jimmy? Can we travel someplace after the wedding?”
“Sure. We’re doing a cruise on our honeymoon and then we’ll be going to Disneyworld all the time after we start having kids!”
“No, I mean, travelling.
Jimmy shifted a little in the bed. “I already did the back pack thing through Europe. We can visit your family in the Philippines if you want but I’m not that keen on Asia.”
Sera winced at the thought of visiting unknown relatives back in the old country, touring around with her trophy husband. She reiterated, “Can’t we just chuck everything for a while and just travel around the world? Just see what‘s out there?”
He patted her on the shoulder. “Well, we’ll see. First we’ll get a nice big house and then we’ll have a few kids, a dog, a cat…”
“Or maybe I could study a bit first?” Sera asked anxiously, “Get a degree?”
Again he patted her on the shoulder. “Maybe a correspondence thing if you can squeeze it in. You’re going to be busy with the house and kids.”
Sera frowned and chewed her lower lip. Jimmy was like a skipping record sometimes.
“Ah, but don’t worry,” he continued, “I’m sure your mom will help. So will mine. I’ll take care of everything else.”
This what she wanted, wasn’t it? To be taken care of? Her family wouldn’t worry about her anymore and her mother would finally get off her back. Perfect. Sera rolled to her other side, her back to Jimmy. She clutched tightly at the sheets. She could feel the tension in her face but couldn’t dispel it. Though she had been trying hard not to think about it all week, the urge to see Devin re-ignited.
* * * *
“Here, put this on,” Angela said, tossing a dress onto Sera’s lap as she sat on their small sofa.
“What’s this?” Sera asked.
“It’s been a while since we went out,” her roommate replied adjusting the straps to her own shimmering red cocktail dress, “You know, get dolled up like the man-eaters we rightfully are and make men want to inhale us with their eyes.”
“I really don’t feel like going out…”
“Will you just shut up and put the damn dress on? ‘No’ is not in our vocabulary tonight!”
Sera examined the dress in her hands then looked up and asked, “Well, where are we going?”
Angela glossed her lips and then smiled prettily at Sera, fluttering her eyes.
“Oh,” Sera said, her mouth dropping open, “Angie, can we go somewhere else?”
Angela had been itching to go back to Voices. Her incessant discussion of the cocktail lounge had made it so difficult for Sera to stay away from the place.
“Come on, Sera!”
“You can go if you want.”
“It’ll be more fun if you come,” Angela insisted, “Maybe Devin will warm up a bit more if you’re around. Besides, I thought you liked going there.”
Sera’s dark, thin brows knitted as she looked towards the television.
Angela frowned and cocked her head. “Why? Is something going on between you two?”
“No,” Sera quickly replied but she had nothing else to say.
The smaller woman eyed her then began to say something when they heard a knock on the door at the bottom of the stairs. Angela went to the landing at the top of the stairs and called out, “Come in! It’s open!”
Sera turned around in the sofa and looked back. “Who’s there?”
“Hey, baby,” Jimmy said as he came around the corner, wearing a dress shirt and sports coat.
“Jimmy,” Sera said, blinking.
“Hope you don’t mind,” Angela giggled, grinning, “Jimmy’s joining us.”
“Yeah, Angie was saying you found a cool little watering hole not too far away,” Jimmy remarked. “Wanted to check it out.”
One long expletive droned through Sera’s numb mind. “I…I’m not feeling so good.”
“What? Since when?” Angela frowned. “You were perfectly okay a second ago.”
Sera closed her eyes and rubbed her temple. “It’s just…I don’t know. I’ve got a headache.”
“You okay, babe?” Jimmy said as he approached her.
“Of course she’s okay,” Angela insisted.
“No, it’s just that I’ve been working a lot lately, and it’s been really stressful.”
Angela rolled her eyes. “Oh come on, Sera! All you need is to relax and have a drink. You like talking with Mr.Constantine, don‘t you?”
“Mr.Constantine?” Jimmy asked.
“Our old high school teacher,” Angela explained. “He runs the bar.”
“Oh, and all the girls used to soak their panties for him!” Angela giggled and winked. “But don’t worry. Sera and him just like to talk
“Yeah? Well now I gotta
meet this guy!” Jimmy remarked. “Great! Come on, Sera! Let’s go!”
“Yeah come on, babe,” Jimmy said, rubbing her arms as he stood over her. “We can just kick back at the bar with your old teacher…”
“No!” Sera snapped, sweeping his hands away unexpectedly. “I said I’m not feeling well! I don’t want to go to a bar! I just want to stay home and rest! Go out if you want! I‘m not going.”
Both Jimmy and Angela stepped back. Sera gazed at her feet, breathing hard and unable to look at either of them.
“Geez,” Angela grimaced, “Okay, already.”
“Hey, Sera,” Jimmy said as he approached her again slowly, “Something wrong?”
Sera immediately stepped aside, shirking her shoulder away from him. “I’m sorry. Can you just leave me alone for a little while?”
Without another word or a glance to him, she turned and went into her bedroom, quietly closing the door behind her.
Jimmy stared at the closed door then turned and looked at Angela, a quizzical look on his face.
“Maybe we can just go grab a coffee tonight.” Angela was also staring at the door, her hands on her hips, as she rolled her tongue inside of her mouth. What the hell is going on?
she silently mused. Chapter Thirteen
Lise rounded the corner and peeked into the small workroom of the clothing store. Sera sat on a stool leaning up against the counter, a pile of receipts in front of her.
“Hey Sera?” Lise said to her supervisor. “There’s someone out in the store who’s asking for you.”
Sera sat up and stretched her back. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply.
“Do you want me to say that you’re busy closing up for the evening?”
“No, it‘s all right,” Sera sighed as she slid off the stool. “This stuff isn’t making any sense anyway.”
Sera stepped out of the workroom and walked into the store area. Her tired eyes suddenly widened when she saw a tall, elegant man browsing through the clearance rack of clothing near the rear of the store. “Devin?” she gasped softly.
The man looked towards her, an easy smile on his lips. He pulled a green polo shirt from the rack and held it up. “I was hoping to get your opinion on this.”
Sera stood motionless, blinking, and her mouth ajar. “What?”
Devin put the shirt back on the rack and looked around the store. “I also see you have a nice selection of vests. Perhaps you can suggest something suitable?”
Sera looked back at the sales counter. The shop assistants were all looking at her, either grinning or frowning from curiosity. Feeling her heart pump the blush into her cheeks, she cleared her throat and walked over to Devin. She picked out a couple of chocolate brown vests and offered them to him. “I…I’m not sure if this colour would, uh, suit you,” she stammered.
“Hmm.” He tilted his head as he eyed the vests.
“Maybe something down here,” Sera said, leading him to the front of the store, away from her coworkers. Once out of their range, she whispered anxiously, “What do you want?”
“You’re closing the store soon, aren’t you?”
She didn‘t look up at him but replied, “Yes, but—” “Come with me afterwards.”
“What? I can‘t—”
“I’ll wait for you outside while you finish up here.”
Sera shook her head. She wanted to remain firm but she finally looked up at him, into his soft, attentive gaze. His eyes touched her like the caress of the back of his hand on her cheek. Damn. “I-I don’t want to go back to Voices,” she croaked. Devin nodded slowly.
“I won’t make you do anything you don’t want to do, Sera.”
As she gazed for long seconds up at the man, Sera could feel the eyes of all her coworkers settling on her, inaudible whispers exchanged between them. She didn’t care.
* * * *
“You know, I’ve never actually eaten in here before,” Devin remarked as he glanced around the dining room of Falcone’s, the restaurant beside Voices.
Sera nodded and continued to stare at the items on her menu. After looking at the entrees for five minutes, she still didn’t know what she wanted.
“After working in the bar for a year, you’d think I’d have tried out the restaurant next door, wouldn’t you?”
Sera remained silent just as she had been while he had escorted her as she dropped off the cash in the night deposit at the bank. She had walked hesitantly alongside Devin, thinking about how they were headed in the direction of Voices. She was finally about to protest as they approached it when Devin guided her into the neighbouring restaurant.
The waiter came by to take their order. Devin asked for the blackened catfish and a glass of white wine. After a long moment, Sera simply picked the first entree on the menu—veal in vodka sauce, no drink. Once the waiter left, Sera fidgeted in her chair, adjusting her utensils, brushing down the tablecloth, looking around the restaurant. She talked distractedly about innocuous things—the weather, work—but avoided discussing her wedding. She couldn’t look directly at Devin.
He watched her thoughtfully for a moment, then crossed his fingers together, and leaned slightly forward in his chair. “Sera,” he said finally, “What’s happened? What’s the matter?”
Hearing his calm voice, she managed to settle her view upon his calm, placid face. She sighed, easing a little. She shook her head apologetically. “I’m sorry. Why are we here?”
“You said you didn’t want to go to the bar.”
“I know. But I mean, why are we here…together?”
Devin shrugged. “It felt like that the last time I saw you, you wanted to say something but I didn’t have the time. I wanted to make up for that.”
She frowned a little. “I apologized for getting drunk that other night. That’s all I wanted to say.”
“Was that all?”
Sera shifted anxiously in her seat. She was agitated but she wasn’t sure why or towards whom. Her immediate reaction was to snap at him, but she held her tongue long enough to realize she had no reason to be mad at him and whatever she said would come out as petulant at best. “I don’t know…I’m not sure what to say,” she said with a weary voice.
Devin smiled gently and sat back in his chair. He held his hands apart and said, “Anything you want, Sera. Say whatever you want. Ask whatever you want. We‘re just talking like back in school.”
Sera looked over towards Devin. Even in the darkened dining room, there was still a glowing aura around the man, a handsome, enveloping warmth. It drew feelings from within her she never imagined. It was scary to think about them. There were a lot of things she wanted and needed to say, but it was so difficult to organize them.
Yet, the man waited patiently as if anticipating a favourite song. He didn’t prod or lead her with questions. He was open to however way she wanted to take this.
There was one question that rose to the top of her mind. She couldn’t think of any way to lead up to asking it. Her lips fluttered for moment before she finally asked, “Ten years ago…why did you leave? You left the school so suddenly.”
Devin nodded and looked down at his plate, but didn’t hesitate, replying, “Things were becoming difficult at the school. I could only picture them becoming even more difficult if I had stayed.”
Sera’s eye narrowed. “Did it have something to do with a student? One of the girls?”
“No one in particular,” he replied, the side of his mouth angling slightly upward, “There were some pressing issues of student conduct and behaviour that disturbed me. I have to admit, I wasn’t certain I was prepared to properly handle those allegations. That’s not the way my mind works. I‘m not very good with those types of distractions.”
Sera’s brow knitted. He seemed both open and evasive in his answers. She realized he was leaving it up to her to ask the proper questions. “Did you have sex with Michelle Lee?”
“Any of the girls in school?”
Now her eyes were locked onto his. Neither of them blinked or looked away.
“I didn’t have any inappropriate relations with any of the students,” Devin continued, “But sometimes those situations take a life of their own, beyond my control. Sometimes, rumours are more fertile than the truth and once the roots are dug in, they’re almost impossible to remove. I guess I didn‘t think I was strong enough to fight them.”
Sera tilted her head to the side as she looked at him. She could see the disappointment in the man’s face. He had loved teaching, she knew that.
“I’m sorry, Sera. I ran away. I travelled for a few years, worked odd jobs, then opened the bar.”
Her heart sank. In some strange way, she felt like she wanted to apologize for the rest of the students in her school. “You could have taught at other schools,” Sera said anxiously. “You didn’t have to quit being a teacher.”
A shadow unexpectedly fell across his face. It was a dark mingling of sadness and shame. For the first time, Devin seemed restless in his chair, searching for the right words. “I didn’t like how I had left, Sera. Just leaving like that without explanation. I felt like I had failed as a teacher.”
Sera shook her head. “You stayed until the end of the school year. You never just quit. You didn't just abandon the school in the middle of the year.”
Tapping his fingers on the table for a moment, he finally looked up, his grey eyes settling heavily on her. “I felt like I had abandoned a student to whom I had made promises. If I continued as a teacher, I would always be reminded of that failure.”
Sera’s mouth slipped open.
“What’s more…,” he continued as if he couldn’t stop the words from spilling from his mouth with every breath, “What’s more, was the realization of how I was beginning to feel about this student.”
Sera could feel the blood pulling away from her face and her heart flutter painfully in her chest.
“That’s unforgivable,” he added, his unwavering eyes fixed on her, “I could never have risked the trouble it could have caused her if that had somehow slipped out. And for me as a teacher to have those feelings…”
Sera blinked. Her head shook slowly side-to-side as she continued to look at the man. Anger, regret, sadness—she didn’t know what she was feeling towards him as he confessed. A lump formed in her throat and she swallowed hard before speaking. “You have no idea what sort of effect you had on me,” she choked slightly.
“I‘m so sorry, Sera. I lied just now. My leaving did have something to do with one particular student. I could never have told you how deeply you had touched me…and I couldn‘t acknowledge how much I cared about you.”
For a long moment, the two of them sat across from one another trying to think of what to say next. His words had caught her off guard but she didn’t feel repulsed or uneasy by them. They reminded her of the times they had talked when they were teacher and student. Yet there was an obvious intense emotion behind them that had come to the forefront and roused feelings towards the man from within her, feelings she had possibly kept buried since high school. Her heart thumped hard within her chest.
Sera’s hands had been clasped tightly together on her lap during the conversation. She could feel the blood flow back into them as she pulled them apart. With a slow but steady movement, she slid one hand across the table cloth, reaching towards his hand resting on the table.
“Excuse me,” the waiter said as he stood by the table with their dinner plates, “If I may?”
Sera drew her hand back quickly and looked down at her place setting, blushing. Devin inhaled and continued to watch her closely as the waiter placed their plates down in front of them.
“Please enjoy your dinner.” The waiter then hesitated and frowned. “I’m so sorry, sir. I forgot your glass of wine. I’ll be back in a moment.”
“Oh!’ Sera piped in as she raised her head. She held her hand up to the waiter and said, “Sorry…uh, can you forget that order?”
Both the waiter and Devin looked at her quizzically. Sera turned towards Devin and added, “And can we have our dinners packed to go?”
* * * *
Angela got out of the taxi across the street from Voices. She knew it wasn’t that long a walk from her home but she also knew that the towering spiked heels she was balancing on would have taken a toll on her by the time she had reached the bar. The tight silver skirt she was wearing would have effectively forced her to take twice as many steps as well on the way there. She was intent on saving her energy for other things that night.
As the taxi pulled away, Angela stood on the sidewalk looking towards the bar. She frowned. The door-light and illuminated bar sign were both dark. Was the place closed? She took one step off of the curb onto the road and then paused. Bringing her lengthened eyelashes close together, she spied a couple walking up to the door—a tall, bearded, handsome man and a long, black haired young Asian woman. After a moment, they opened the door and went into the bar. The lights still didn’t come on. Angela stepped back onto the sidewalk, still glaring at the bar across the street.
Thinking for a moment, she went to sit down at a nearby café. To be continued...
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with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-stories/voices-chapters-11-to-13.aspx">Voices (Chapters 11 to 13)</a>