This is part 2 of 2 of my first attempt at fiction in over a decade. Hope you like. If you haven’t read the beginning, you can find Part 1 here.
Nevertheless, the two became more and more inseparable. He started dropping in on her at work, bring her lunch or taking her out for dinner more often. She was at his place every weekend helping him throw his parties. She helped him co-host his larger gatherings, she helped him arrange even the smaller ones.
She stayed behind, late at night to help him clean up and get his drunk ass to bed. Periodically, when he was drunk, he would say something misogynistic or he might let something slip out of his mouth that would make her think maybe he had been lying that day at the restaurant.
Regardless, though his good friends started saying similar things to Hannah about believing he was in love with her, Neal remained adamant in the stance that he did not, in fact, have feelings for her. He took pains to remain the gentleman and not make any advances that might be construed as inappropriate.
They were comfortable in their friendship. As comfortable as they could be, and it just became second nature. So when Hannah’s relationship finally started breaking down, she didn’t think of Neal as a possibility anymore.
She wasn’t even ready for another relationship, she wasn’t ready for another dalliance anyway – so she didn’t even have time to consider Neal properly. So when a man she’d known for a while showed some interest in her… An attractive man, a charming man, someone she had several things in common with – well, mixed with alcohol and this man’s persistence, she fell into his bed easily.
Even so she knew she wouldn’t submit to a relationship with this man, but she felt a bit of freedom, a bit of release. If she was honest with herself, she just wanted a bit of fun.
She didn’t find it a big deal, so she told Neal about it the next weekend as they set up for one of his weekly get togethers. He was standing at the stove, tending to a pork loin. He turned around suddenly with a look of shock on his face “What?” He asked.
“What, what?” Hannah responded with a laugh. “It wasn’t serious or anything, but yeah… since Jake and I had just broken up, I didn’t see the harm.”
“Oh,” Neal said as he turned back toward the stove. “Yeah…”
Hannah was confused at his reaction… He had seemed so jovial just moments before, now he was using one word responses. His mood seemed changed, and that didn’t make sense given the fact that he told her about his sexual encounters all of the time.
“What’s wrong with you, Neal?”
He snorted, “Yeah, no harm if you’re a slut.”
“Nothing… Hey, can you get the door?” He said as the doorbell rang.
Hannah gave Neal a dirty look as she walked out of the kitchen and toward the front door. Pasting a smile on her face, she answered the front door and greeted the first of the friends to arrive.
Throughout the evening she had a perfectly lovely time as she drank and joked with their friends. Neal had become more jovial again as he drank as well; Hannah forgot the conversation at the beginning of the night had even happened.
She didn’t expect much as the night started to end. She expected that she might help him clean up a bit. Perhaps they’d sit and watch a movie until they fell asleep. The usual.
She started to gather bottles as the last of the friends filed out the door. He waved them off and shut the door behind him.
Gesturing at her he said “Leave it, I’ll deal with it tomorrow.”
He turned on a movie and opened another beer. He sat down next to her on the couch. She glanced over at him, he was leaning forward looking straight ahead at the television. It was odd that he sat right next to her. Usually he’d sit in his arm chair or on the floor. Usually he didn’t allow himself to be that close when they were alone.
After a few silent minutes he set his beer down. Still staring straight ahead he said aloud “Why him?”
Hannah turned her head slowly to look at him, “Ummm… Why not?” Where is this coming from, she thought to herself.
He turned to face her and she saw the hurt in his eyes as he said “Why not me, Hannah… Why not me?”
She opened her mouth, but no response escaped her. She didn’t know what to say.
Suddenly, he picked up his beer bottle and threw it at the wall, turning back to face her he screamed “ANSWER ME!”
“Jesus, Neal, calm down!”
“Just answer me,” he said through clenched teeth.
“Neal… You have never indicated that you were interested in me… You always said…”
“Never mind what I said!” He grabbed her by the shoulders. “I want you, I’ve always wanted you!”
One of his hands grasped a hold of her waist as the other moved up to her neck pushing her down as he came in to kiss her.
He wasn’t yet squeezing her throat, but from the way his hand was positioned she felt the threat. She allowed him to kiss her with his yeasty breath… She didn’t know what else to do.