It's getting close to wrap-up time with this story. Hang in there with me a little while longer - I promise, it gets better. Obviously.
So there we were, staying part-time at Grace's house in a sort of suspended time-lapse. We slept together on her couch bed, but there were no relations for us during that time. The one time we tried turned out disasterously - he was still way too emotionally wrapped up with her and I still obviously had a lot of resentment toward him; it wasn't good. That was pretty painful, let me tell you. After that episode is one of the few times I actually considered the possibility of divorce. We had an hours-long, drawn-out tearful conversation about it in her back yard and in his car driving around the neighborhood, but he still asked me not to go through with it, knowing it was totally unfair to ask me to continue to wait. Apparently I didn't really want that either, because it didn't happen. But it wouldn't be the last time I came really close and it's weird to think of how different things would've turned out had a couple of crazy things not happened...aaand, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Our friend Jody, who had indirectly caused this mess (I don't blame him, but my sister refused to ever speak to him again after the shit settled, as did all of our mutual friends and now no one has been in contact with him in years), "let it slip" to Christine Brian and I were staying together during the week. I guess it was his way of getting Brian back for leaving him in Lake Shitty with no one but a housefull of women and kids for company. She, as you may imagine, was Not Pleased and handed down another ultimatim. Brian had a good job in Tampa. She was ready to leave her sister's house and get all set up like a proper Welfare Woman deserves. She told him it was time he got a place for them.
Which is what the dumbass did. Trying to keep it from me, he put a deposit and first month's rent down on an over-priced three bedroom apartment in Tampa. Obviously I found out about it. But things were so shaky with them still, I decided to let things play out and not fight it anymore. Of couse NOW I'm glad I didn't push a divorce through but then I wondered what the hell I was thinking. Except that I kind of knew if they actually did move in together, it would be the final straw. Out of her element, not having her sister to party with or neighbors to flirt with, living REAL LIFE as a mother and a girlfriend? I doubted she was cut out for it.
Coincidentally another friend of mine had just broken up with a long-term boyfriend and was crushed. She came over to Grace's one day to talk about how fucked up everything was for both of us. Out of that conversation, we decided the best thing would be for us to move in together, knowing it wouldn't be permanent. When I told her about Brian's new apartment in Tampa, she told me she was thinking about moving to Brandon, a town twenty minutes south of there. Her favorite cousin lived there, she didn't want to be in Inverness anymore; our very small hometown, where she'd run into her ex constantly - she was ready to get out and start over. I'd known Jen forever and we'd lived together successfully before, during college. And she's a lot like me in letting her fight or flight instinct take over in a crisis; she started making plans that very day for our move.
I told Brian about the plan. He was happy. Happy that I wasn't going any further in my relationship with JR, happy because he liked Jen and most importantly because I'd be close to where he was living. He still wasn't entirely sure he wanted to be with her. Selfish? Absolutely. He admitted as much. It was at that point he told me he knew he carried things too far and he didn't know what to do to make things right again. He didn't trust her anymore, not that he ever did much after the first couple of weeks. The newness had mostly worn off and he was upset to find out she wasn't a very nice person. The problem for him was the kids. They'd gotten used to him and he was even more attached to them now, especially the baby. In the time he'd been around, the baby had grown up so much, had started walking, talking. Calling him "Daddy." He got to experience all of that. That sound you just heard was me throwing up in my mouth.
But that's okay. No one ever spent a night in that big stupid apartment. At least no one I know. The beginning of the end had just begun.