This should have been an incredibly exciting evening for me. I’d
certainly waited on it long enough! After weeks of flirting, texting,
stolen glances and closet phone calls, the object of my obsession, my
secret… was here in my arms. Finally! And he was whispering words I
had longed to hear. “Divorce him. I love you! Marry me.” For what
seemed like an all too brief moment, it was, indeed, magical, earth
shattering, heavenly choir inducing and perfect. Then my conscience
began banging on the door. Literally.
“Carrigan!” my conscience, aka my best friend, Laine Landry, shouted
through the door, “I swear I will knock this door down if I have
I knew she was serious. She had begun lightly tapping thirty minutes
earlier and was now engaging in a frenzied flurry of sharp raps about
every ninety seconds. But the laughter that welled up inside me and
quite frankly, the god of a man lying beside me, outweighed the threat
of her foot coming through the door. Besides, she’d threatened bodily
harm, poisonous gas and police invasion before, too. But I’d never
seen any of those things happen. Sometimes my girl was just all bark. I
decided to test the waters.
“I’m not ready to leave!” I shouted at the unwanted intrusion,
“Go away! Come back in an hour.” I snuggled closer to my lover and
pulled the covers up around my head.
“Carrigan, I am not playing with you!” She said louder this time.
“Jack is gonna start looking for us! I’m not gonna get shot because
you’re an idiot!”
I rolled my eyes, “Jack would never shoot you!” I yelled back then
turned to my secret and said “He may shoot you, but he’d never shoot
her.” I wasn’t sure, but I thought I detected a slight look of
concern on his face. Of course, that could have been the tequila
imagining things. Or maybe that was just the way he always looked.
“Now!” Laine said, this time through gritted teeth. For some reason,
that was really funny to me and to the Adonis, who, God bless him,
probably couldn’t spell Adonis, but would damn sure look good trying
“One, two…” her voice was louder this time.
Hell, she was counting now. That was never a good sign. I had been on
the receiving end of her infamous counting a few times before and it had
never turned out well for me. If she got to twenty, she lost her mind
and being in a corridor of a hotel at two a.m. would make no difference
to her at all. Shit just got real.
“Ok!” I shouted back, and began moving. “Give me a few minutes!”
“Three, four…” she continued, each number louder than the last.
I was sure the entire wing of the Holiday Inn Express was on full alert
as I frantically began searching for clothing. Where the hell were my
shoes? Had I worn shoes? And hadn’t there been a bra at some point? A
flimsy, lacy, tiny thing that had replaced my ever present sports bra
for this most special occasion? I danced around the bed naked, digging
for apparel and slapped at Zeus’ hand as he reached for me.
I know how this will sound, but I had no issue and no remorse over being
in a hotel room with a man that wasn’t my husband. But my best friend
was having some major issues with it. I knew if she got to the number
twenty, everybody that occupied a space near room two twenty four was
about to be informed of my….indiscretion. Therefore, I was in a hell
of a hurry. I finally found the bra on the lamp shade and stuffed it in
my purse. I pulled on a version of the outfit I had showed up in, kissed
Super Man, promising to call him tomorrow and grabbed my shoes on the
way out of the door.
Laine was pacing the hallway, red faced and just about to scream
“Twenty!” when I gently closed the door behind me. I smiled broadly
trying to soften the irritation on her face but I am pretty sure she
could have punched me right then.
“Oh, you think this is funny?” she demanded, her hands on her hips.
“What the hell is wrong with you? Do you know what time it is? You
know Jack is looking for us! What if he sees the car? What if he’s
outside waiting for us? What the hell is wrong with you?” She gestured
I could see right away any conversation I started would head south
pretty quickly so I decided to let her continue to rant for another
minute or two. I thought maybe it would squelch her paranoia. But that
proved to be futile. She didn’t lower her voice either. In fact, the
more she talked, the shriller her voice became. I was sure it was now at
a decibel reserved for the training of Golden Retrievers. In fact, I
expected a pack of dogs to turn the corner any second. My only goal at
this point was to get her out of this hallway before security came
I was dragging her by the arm when the hairiest man I have ever seen
stuck his disrobed upper torso out of his room. “What the hell is
going on out here?” he demanded.
“Oh, shit!” I said, his werewolf body startling me. I knew the dogs
had heard her! “LSD flashback.” I explained, flashed him a smile
and continued pulling her toward the exit. Thankfully, Sasquatch mumbled
something I couldn’t understand then went back into his cave.
Laine had stopped in her tracks and was staring at me. “You lie so
easily now it frightens me.” She said, throwing her arms in the air.
“Who are you?”
I laughed at her expression and kept nudging her toward the exit. I
couldn’t think about that accusation too much. Mostly because she had
spoken the truth. Lying had become too frequent and too easy for me. I
lied all the time, to my parents, to my in laws, and especially to my
husband. But I was having an affair, dammit! What was I supposed to do?
Affairs didn’t happen in church. They happened at the Holiday Inn
Express in Shreveport. And you lied about it. I could just see the chaos
telling the truth would cause! Besides, they would all find out soon
enough, just as soon as I got up enough courage to ask for a divorce.
That thought made me frown. I pushed the twinge of guilt from my mind
and trudged forward. Damn, it was hard to walk fast in what Laine
described as ‘hooker heels.’ No wonder all the prostitutes on
television were pissed off all the time.
I decided to try a new approach. Twenty years plus of experience with my
soul sister, my conscience and my best friend had taught me making her
laugh was the quickest way to diffuse a situation. Only I was still
intoxicated, figuratively and literally by the touch of the man I’d
made love to and the half bottle of tequila I had ingested while doing
so. My wits weren’t as sharp as usual. So I said the only thing I
could think of. “How was the movie?”
She stopped again, looked at the floor, tapped her foot and shook her
head. “Really?” she asked, her voice dripping with disgust.
Her stance made me laugh instead. “Come on, Laine, “I said,
“it’s ok! Jack isn’t looking for us, I promise. I would bet my
best boots he is leaning up against a bar somewhere trying to coax a
phone number out of a chick with big boobs and blonde hair.” I assured
her. “You and I are the last thing on his mind. Especially me. Trust
me on that one.”
That had seemed to momentarily calm her somewhat. At least she had
stopped screeching. But when we got to the parking lot, she was on high
alert again, slinking around corners and moving like a cat. If she’d
pulled out a finger gun, I wouldn’t have been surprised.
I sighed watching her. “Give me my keys,” I said as we approached my
black Camaro. I tried to snatch them from her hand.
“Are you crazy?” she asked for the forty second time in five
minutes. “I can smell the alcohol from over here! You aren’t killing
I shook my head, “Drama Queen,” I muttered.
“Tequila Breath,” she retorted.
I knew I was fighting a losing battle and stood by the passenger door
waiting for her to pop the lock. I hated for somebody else to drive my
car. Even Laine. I loved this car. For some reason, I felt invincible in
it, and much like a goddess. That was probably some undiagnosed Freudian
thing, but I didn’t care. I felt untouchable in it, although I had no
idea why. I stayed in some sort of mini drama all the time. It was
really quite exhausting.
“Well?” Laine said as we left the parking lot, finally secure in the
fact we had escaped and that Jack wasn’t lurking around with a tire
I had assured her for months that Jack didn’t care enough to come
looking for me, regardless of where I went or how long I stayed gone.
She always answered with the same sentence, “He loves you more than
either of you know.” I had no idea why she believed that and when I
pressed her, she never had an explanation. She just insisted that it was
true. I didn’t believe it for a second. If Jack was still in love with
me, he certainly had an odd way of showing it.
“Well, what?” I answered, even though I knew what she wanted to
know. What had transpired between the Adonis and me? Had tonight been
all I had hoped for?
“What happened?” she demanded, then put her hand up, “and please,
spare me the play by play, I just want the verbal exchange. Nothing
I laughed, leaned my head back against the seat and closed my eyes. The
tequila and the rush of being with him were catching up with me. I was
suddenly very tired. “It was good, it really was,” I told her and
braced myself for the reaction I would get with the next sentence. “He
wants me to divorce Jack and marry him.” I bit my lip. Something about
saying that out loud bothered me. I didn’t like it.
“Surely you aren’t considering that?” She asked in a panicked
voice and before I could answer, she added, “And just so you know, I
think it would be a terrible mistake!”
“Well, Laine, I had no doubt you would,” I answered, irritated now
with her quick response. Her unwanted opinion exasperated me and I
didn’t care to discuss it with her anymore. “I’m gonna close my
eyes for a little while. Just get us home, we’ll talk about it
I had expected an argument but she’d surprisingly let it go, turned
the radio up and drove in silence. I was certainly glad she did. I
didn’t understand Laine sometimes. She adored Jack, even though she
knew he’d been unfaithful to me. Before I had ever entertained the
thought of cheating on him, he had cheated on me. At least, I was
relatively sure he had. But Laine always seemed to take up for him,
always insisted that he loved me and always encouraged me to hang on, to
try one more time. It irritated the hell out of me. She was my best
friend. She and Ella Rae Weeks were the anchors in my, oh, so rocky
life. Ella Rae had never encouraged me to stay with Jack. She didn’t
care where I was as long as I was happy. Why did Laine constantly insist
that I stay? A better question, How could Laine insist that I stay?
She’d seen me fret and worry over Jack for two years. Of course, those
emotions had eventually turned into defiance which led us to where we
were tonight. But they had still driven me crazy and she had watched.
Yet, any time we had words about it she would never back down. “He
loves you and you love him,” was her standard answer for every
situation I found myself in with Jack. Only it wasn’t an answer, more
like a declarative statement. Period. The end. No explanations needed. I
sighed. It frustrated me, it made me mad, but more than anything else,
it hurt my feelings. I felt like she was choosing Jack over me. Still, I
consoled myself in the fact that she just really had no idea what a
relationship was like. She’d never been in one. Not a long term one,
at least. I would never be able to convince her of how twisted and
complicated things could get years into a marriage, even if you still
really did love each other. Sometimes loving each other still wasn’t
enough. I wasn’t sure Jack and I even had that left. We seemed more
like strangers who shared a residence. That thought made me sad and I
didn’t want to be sad tonight. I shoved it from my mind and conjured
up the image of the man I had just left wanting more. He was truly one
of God’s finest specimens. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I
hadn’t really been interested in talking. I smiled at the memory. If I
was lucky, maybe I would dream about him, too.
“Wake up, Carrigan!” the voice seemed terribly far away. “We’re
home! Getup! Jack is here!”
Ugh…sleep drool. I wiped at it and opened my eyes. “Calm down,
Laine,” I said, “he does live here. Besides, he’s as guilty as I
am.” I rubbed my eyes, trying to wake up. The tequila didn’t feel so
smooth on my stomach now.
“Are you ill?” she asked, a little too sarcastically.
“I’m fine,” I lied, “go home, I’ll see you in the morning.”
“It is in the morning,” she corrected.
“You know what I mean!” I said.
“Ok,” she consented, “but you have got to stop this, Carrigan.”
I shook my head, here we go.
“You have to grow up sometimes,” she continued, “you can’t just
go around doing this forever. You know?”
No point in arguing. “I know you’re right’” I agreed. Of course,
I didn’t mean it, but it was an effort to make her shut up. “Get
your ass across the street while I watch you. I can’t go to bed
wondering if a serial killer got you.” I propped against the car and
watched as she walked into the dark, still talking over her shoulder.
“Ok, but I’m not kidding,” she said. “You’re too old for this
and I am, too. It’s three a.m. I have to be at the ballpark in in
about four hours, Carri, this is ridiculous.”
She was saying some more stuff, too, but I’d turned her off after the
‘this is ridiculous remark’. I watched as she flipped on her porch
light and entered the side door to her kitchen. I looked at my own door
then and sighed. I dreaded going inside. You shouldn’t have to feel
this way when you were at your own home. Home should be a place you
looked forward to. I avoided mine like the plague. Maybe Jack wouldn’t
speak to me when I walked in. I just didn’t have it in me to fight
tonight. I toyed with the idea of sleeping in the car; after all, I had
slept in it before. But I was already busted anyway. I had seen Jack
peering out the window when we drove up. I may as well go in and begin
sparring. Fighting seemed to be our only means of communication these
days. We either didn’t talk at all…or we bickered. But the last
thing I wanted to do tonight was have a shouting match. When I was on
top of my game, I could hold my own against a verbal assault from
anybody. But tonight I simply did not want to fight. I was tired, I was
still drunk and for some reason I couldn’t fathom, I was sad.
As soon as I put my key into the lock and stepped inside, I heard the
accusation that was thinly veiled as a question.
“It’s three a.m., Carrigan. Where have you been?” His blue eyes
were steely and I could see the controlled rage on his face.
I stuck my chin up defiantly and stared back. I might not have wanted
to fight, but if he was going to pick one, I would certainly engage.
“Please, Jack, don’t act like you care where I’ve been.” I
dropped my purse and keys on the table beside the door and stepped out
of my shoes. “I’m going to bed.” I said and walked away.
I had expected him to follow me and it had actually surprised me to hear
the front door close. I heard his truck start as I stripped off my
clothes and fell into bed. “Good,” I thought to myself, “one less
thing to deal with tonight.” I was asleep as soon as my head hit the
Excerpted from "Save Us a Seat" by Fletcher Mchale. Copyright © 2013 by Fletcher Mchale. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.