Monday, October 02, 2006

Hump Day - Ch. 9

Like Tabitha, Alzora thought she was in for a night of passion, as well. Yet that wasn’t the case at all when she arrived. Instead of getting an open-mouthed kiss from her man, she got a brief peck on the cheek. And Sebastian wouldn’t even hug her.

“What’s wrong?” Alzora asked, noticing how somber and stiff he looked as he closed the door behind her.

She also noticed that Sebastian was dressed differently than before. Though she expected him to be in clothes other than the ones he’d worn to class and dinner, Alzora assumed they would at least be dry clothes. The gray t-shirt and matching sweats he had on looked like they’d been put over a dripping wet body. Why else would there be so many damp areas clinging to him?

Alzora would never know that Sebastian had rushed through the whole drying off process after his shower, a cold shower at that in order to cool down his heated body. Nor would she know about his ripped shirt. It was currently balled up in the kitchen garbage can to be disposed of later. Incidentally, Sebastian had looked for the buttons to his shirt, but hadn’t been able to find them all in time.

“You must have taken a long shower to just be finishing up now,” Alzora inquired as she sat on the east couch. She felt a hint of rejection when Sebastian didn’t sit down beside her. Instead he sat on the westward couch.

“Is that a button under your couch?” Alzora continued, pointing out something else that was different in the room. A lone black button sat under the couch Sebastian occupied. It hadn’t been there when Alzora left earlier tonight. Now it was one more thing she was curious about.

“Alzora, let’s not talk about my shower or a missing button,” Sebastian replied, steering them clear of certain danger zones. “Let’s talk about the fact that you were absolutely right in saying that there was some unfinished business between Tabitha and me. I tried to deny it, I even tried to fight it, but I ended up lying to myself and to you. I’m sorry for that.”

Tears instantly sprung to Alzora’s eyes. She saw compassion leap into Sebastian’s as he paused and took a deep breath. He obviously hated hurting her like this. That made her feel a little better.

“Are you breaking up with me, Sebastian?” Alzora asked in a tearful voice. Her hands were clasped tightly in her lap.

He nodded sadly. “Yes, I have to. You deserve to be with a man that can love you with his whole heart. I can’t, not if a large piece of mine still belongs to another.”

Love? This is the first time he ever mentioned that word since we’ve been dating. He ‘must’ be serious about her, Alzora thought dolefully.

“So you’re going to be with her now, huh?” With anger replacing rejection, Alzora wanted to take back all the food she’d ever fed Tabitha. The compliments, too. Then she wanted to scratch her eyes out.

Sebastian shook his head. “Not right now. But one day in the near future, I hope. Not only does Tabitha have a lot on her plate back home, she wouldn’t dare date me as long as I’m involved with someone else. And personally, I wouldn’t be able to stand the guilt of trying to date her knowing that I was still involved with someone else.”

“Let me get this straight,” Alzora said as she wiped the tears from her eyes. “You are still in love with Tabitha. A woman, who not only has no time for you in her righteous crusade against hometown injustice, but who is also not even thinking about leaving a town that you hate.”

“Y…yes, something like that,” Sebastian replied, looking very uncomfortable right now. He was very uncomfortable right now.

“On the other hand, you’re dumping me.” Alzora pointed to herself. “A woman that not only plans her whole schedule around yours, but who would also follow you to the ends of the earth just to be with you. Based on what you told me before, Tabitha wouldn’t even follow you out of the county. Sebastian, I hate to say it, darling, but you sound like a fool for trying to get this unattainable woman.” Alzora stood to her feet to leave. She had no more time for a man that would reject her through no fault of her own.

“I feel like one, too, especially for giving up someone as sweet as you,” Sebastian replied, agreeing with everything she’d said. He stood up as well in order to walk Alzora to the door. “But whether I’m a fool or not, I have to see this thing with Tabitha through to the end. And even if it turns out that she still won’t have me, at least I know that I tried to make it work.”

At the door, Alzora turned around to face him again. “I hope you don’t expect me to be waiting for you in the wings when this backfires in your face,” she said, holding the doorknob with her right hand. She was determined to let herself out tonight when she would have normally allowed Sebastian to open the door for her.

“No, in fact, I wish you all the happiness in the world, Alzora. You’re a wonderful woman and will make some other man very happy,” Sebastian replied, doing his best to soften the blow of their breakup.

“Yes, but I guess I wasn’t wonderful enough for you, huh?” Then turning sad, angry eyes away from him, Alzora opened the front door, walked out of it, and slammed it behind her.

As she walked to her car, Alzora felt that familiar sense of heaviness start to descend upon her mind. Although it hadn’t visited her since she was in high school, she still recognized it as the hands of severe depression. The kind of depression that had the ability to change who she was on the inside and turn her into a completely different, very unlikable, and irrational person on the outside.

Perhaps it’s time for a vacation, Alzora mused, determined to fight against her depression before it had a chance to get worse.

* * *

Sebastian stayed up very late after Alzora left. He kept thinking about what he could have done differently tonight. If he could have ended their relationship without any pain, he would have. Yet the more he thought about it, the more he realized that honesty had been the only way to go in this situation.

Alzora would have been hurt even more if Sebastian had strung her along while he had such strong feelings for another woman. Look at what happened, or rather what almost happened earlier tonight. If that phone hadn’t rung when it did, Sebastian would have surely cheated on Alzora tonight. She deserved so much more than that from him, from any man.

If You are real, Jesus, then I ask that You help Alzora move on with her life. If not today or tomorrow, but soon, Sebastian prayed, evoking the ear of the Person Tabitha seemed to have such a good relationship with.

This was the same Jesus that his eccentric parents seemed so excited about these days, as well. HE even had them acting almost normal. In fact, the last time Sebastian visited them in California, his father actually had on sneakers. Before Herschel only wore sandals everywhere he went and walked barefoot as much as possible.

Sebastian continued to mediate about this Jesus Person until his tired eyes finally closed in slumber.

* * *

From the next four weeks, Tabitha and Sebastian saw each other every Wednesday from 8am to 7pm. Each Wednesday was filled with valuable instruction and invaluable demonstrations of what a top-rate detective should be.

Sebastian gave his students the best. He expected and demanded no less than the best from them, particularly from Tabitha whom he often piled extra assignments upon. The other students thought he was being unusually hard on his former partner by expecting so much from her. Little did they know that she’d secretly requested such special attention.

Although Tabitha was definitely up for the challenge of her class load, she was blindsided by the other things that came along with each Wednesday. Now every hump day was also filled with strong undercurrents of suppressed love and sexual tension. Now she had to work extra hard to stay focused in class.

Tabitha soon began to long for the boring Wednesdays of yesterday. She hadn’t had all this emotional turmoil back then. On the bright side, she no longer had to deal with her most aggressive male admirer anymore. Ever since Tabitha dyed her hair reddish brown, Brennan had kept his distance, proving that he really had been only into blonds.

As for Sebastian, he was pleased to know that the male students were now keeping their distance from Tabitha. Brennan, because he wasn’t into redheads. The rest, because they all had so much work to do under the demanding tutelage of Chief County Detective Armstrong.

Sebastian was also pleased that in challenging his students to such a degree over the last month, they were finally becoming the kind of detectives any department would be proud of. They were also becoming the kind of detectives that any department would be proud to have since a few of them were going to be transferring to other cities once they graduated.

Unlike many student detectives who are given a light workload of relatively minor cases such as theft and things of that nature, Sebastian’s students were able to handle much more than that. In Tabitha’s case, she was equipped to handle a major murder investigation if need be with all the things he’d taught her.

© 2006 by Suprina Frazier

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi,
i'm really enjoying this novel though i just started. i have a bad feeling though bout Seb former girl friend. anyway keep it up lovin d story more and more

Suprina said...

I'm glad you're enjoying it. And you're very perceptive about Seb's ex-girlfriend. We will be seeing her again...but much later in the book (just gave you a little spoiler there).

Anonymous said...

i guess u did. great book loving d suspense cos its killin me softly.