Hidden Truth


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March 8, 2009

I stand still, my pink pastel toes are digging into the glistening white sand. It is a hot summers night but I shiver as he pulls me hard into his muscled arms. My heart is racing, thumping louder than the roaring sea beside me. My long dark blonde hair falls down my back and the loose white summer dress I am wearing gently sways around my hips and flat stomach. The sexiest man I have ever encountered happens to be standing with his body hard against mine. His shiny brown tousled hair sits on his collar and his green eyes stare harshly at me. Fuelled by anger, frustration and something else I can’t put my finger on he angrily states “One day Mena, you will look back and you will regret this moment.”

I don’t respond. Instead I slowly look up into his eyes. As they meet his he lurches forward, clamping his lips over mine and ravaging my mouth with his tongue. His hot breathe and deep kisses quickly melt my stiff body and part my mouth wider, surrendering to his assault. He continues to kiss me this way for what feels like an eternity.

His hands glide up and down the length of my back, I can think of nothing but this sexy, angry man. It hits me, this isn’t just lust, I have been denying it all along. I know I can’t lie to myself any longer. I open my eyes to peer at his face, my heart leaps.. I have fallen for him.

Abruptly he pulls away distracting me from my omission. I find myself yearning for more. His beautiful body, broad shoulders and strong tattooed arms, hidden mostly by his grey long sleeved shirt, no longer hold me captive. I lower my eyes hoping he cannot see the flush rising to my heated face. I look up but he has turned away from me, I can see only his back. I move forward but quickly his long legs spring into action and take wide strides across the short distance to the thick line of trees that hide the ocean from the road. As he disappears I continue to look desperately after him, unable to move, unable to speak and then he is gone. I feel the shock and I can’t contain myself, all of a sudden everything is too much, the long fight I have known and the realisation that this time he has really gone. I fall to the ground with heart wrenching sobs, my world crumbling around me, nothing to stop me, nobody to tell me ‘it will all be ok’. I grip my stomach as the pain engulfs me and I start to vomit.

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Three Years Later

I feel tiny hands and fingers poking and pushing into me. ‘Mummy, mummy, wake up!’

My sweet, blonde haired, green-eyed daughter is staring at me intensely.

‘Darling’ I manage to croak opening my eyes wider and seeing my little princess standing in my room. I look around the room; I am home, in my luscious boudoir with its French wallpaper and antique furnishings. I wonder what could be so important at what must be 5am in the morning.

I don’t wonder for long, with wide-eyed excitement she squeals, ‘Santa has come mummy, Santa has been to our house’. I smile and grab her, pulling her onto the bed and wrapping her in my arms as she continues to squeal with delight. I whisper to myself ‘So this is Christmas’ as the night’s dreams fade from my consciousness.

It has been a busy day. I look through the window, the sun is slowly descending almost ready to disappear from the beautiful pink sky. I sit smiling on my blue Kanthra armchair. Gudri stitched fabric encases the arms and little buttons hold everything in perfect position, one of a pair. My slim body means I can safely tuck my legs underneath me and remain comfortably in this chair for hours. I often sit here and watch my beautiful Ella Louise as she lies on a hand-loomed Moroc woollen rug playing with her toys or looking at the pictures in one of her many books. She lies in front of me now making “ooh” and “ah” sounds as she glides her pretty little eyes over the glittery illustrations. The book is the one that Santa left for her under our giant green Christmas tree this morning. The tree is covered in decorations of all sizes and colours and the little LED lights flicker on and off, beating to their own rhythm. The small fireplace crackles and the iPod dock plays Christmas jingles softly in the background.

It has been a long but wonderful day, surrounded by the cheer of family and close friends, followed by a busy afternoon cleaning up when everyone had gone back to their own homes. Now that it was all done I sit here quietly and smile over the success of today, Christmas Day. My mind wanders back to this morning and to the beginning of our day. It doesn’t take long and I go back to reminisce the night’s dreams.

Although, the problem is that my dream was not just a dream.. but a reality, a reality from a long ago time. Before La France. Before my little Ella.

Ella Louise Madison was born in the French autumn of 2009. Named Ella, meaning a torch or bright light, she was my light at the end of long and winding tunnel. Louise for my mum who carried her mums name and so on. A vibrant and happy baby from day one, she changed my world from the moment she popped into it and in just three short years since she was born I had been from the lowest point in my life to one where I was fairly content, well until the near incident.

That the dream had happened was not merely a coincidence. Not only a week ago I had been running through the biggest department store in the city when I had seen those shoulders. The broad shoulders, the dark shiny hair to the collar, all 6 foot 4 inches of him. He was turned away from me so I could not see his face, but his back I could see clearly and my heart leapt as I remembered him walking away into the night.

“Stop it” I silently scolded myself. “Mena Madison you are going to go crazy,” I thought.

It wasn’t him, it couldn’t have been. I live on the other side of the world. Far, far away from the life I once knew and from the man who if I had of let him would of broken my heart.

I am 29, with sleek, long copper blonde hair. I have dark blue eyes and although I am tiny in body I am also tiny in height. The South East of France is home to Ella and I and has been for just over 3 years now. Since being in France, I have found the perfect work that allows me to have plenty of time with Ella and for once I am following my dream. It is quite an achievement from the outside, living and working in another country, the truth is I had studied and known the French language of love my whole life. This combined with my passion, allowed Ella and me an almost perfect life. My parents had a chalet here before I came along and when they moved back home to Australia and had me they began immediately integrating French into my everyday life. It turned out to be one of the best things they had taught me because it had landed me, and Ella, a new job, a small but beautiful home, a proper education and a whole new world with a carefully selected group of friends. We were content to be like this for the rest of our lives, well until Ella went off to College and that I didn’t like to think about, but it was years away yet.

I looked down at my stunning little daughter. Ella turned many heads she was only just 3 but was a beautiful, loud, excitable princess who spoke a few words in not one but two languages. She tended to be commanding and adorably sweet all in one movement. I loved my wide-eyed angel with all my heart and soul.

Although Ella was born in France, I was born in a small coastal town of Australia; I spent my whole life in the one place, travelling occasionally to France.

After school was out and we were free to go where we wanted I found myself tied to a complicated, busy life where I was almost always right! I grew up with both parents but was an only child. Being the only child I managed to get lots of attention. I started law school straight out of high school and went to work immediately, studying and working as an intern for my dads firm. At 25 I had already finished my degree and moved full time into the family business. Not long after finishing uni I remember losing my grandad who had taught me about antique furniture, his passion, and in our spare time together how to fish, sail and occasionally when time permitted to live my best life. When he passed away I realised there was a possibility I wasn’t following my dream, I ignored this fleeting thought for a couple of years until one day it appeared again and this time it didn’t go away. And that is where my life started to get really complicated and VERY.. busy.

Earlier on when uni was drawing to an end people I had grown up with started surfacing again. I successfully hibernated and kept to myself for a year, nearly two, all my plans wrapped up in finishing my internship and working to fill the remainder of my days but I soon discovered old school friends or acquaintances were back in town after broken relationships, finishing uni or just missing home. Outside of our town it was known as a crazy exciting world and inside our town it was know to be a small, friendly seaside place where you couldn’t escape each other. When you sat down to think about it did anyone really want to? And was this the reason everyone always came back?

Eventually most of us started socialising again. I ran into an old group of friends and we decided to hit the night scene. I was just looking to fill the evenings and re-connect with some old friends after so many years of working and study. Castaway’s had world-class chefs. The restaurants were beautiful, classy, expensive and we had some of the nicest and some of the hottest bars and clubs in town. With only one main street you were bound to run into everyone at some stage!

Which is why now I was once again reliving that night, a very long time ago. We hadn’t seen each other in such a long time, we dated briefly in high school but I got busy with school and work and him being much older he left me for another girl that he could enjoy more time with. All in all it worked out well but I could remember being pretty crushed at the time. He was Jared Hines, the town clown. I walked into a small local club with a couple of girlfriends; he spotted me immediately. Grabbing my arm he pulled me into a hug, I had thought it would have been terrible and possibly even heartbreaking to ever see him again but I felt nothing.. Well except for the slight tingle of vodka running through my head. I decided a long time ago that I wasn’t interested in men (or women) and would prefer to concentrate on my career and making all of my big career goals come true. So it had been a couple of years since I had even kissed anyone. It didn’t help when you only went to three places; library, work and home.

We all quickly got reacquainted and Jared asked me to pop over and say hi to his friends. I didn’t think anything of it and walked over to say hello. Well what a decision that was, the next thing I knew the wind was knocked from my lungs, time stopped and I could barely speak. A flush came over my face as I caught my breathe and looked into the eyes of the most handsome man I had ever seen standing less than 3 metres away from me. Brax Jalen Patton. I knew of him and had always thought he was attractive, cute even, but this was unexpected. He had thick long and dark hair hanging to his collar; his dress sense was so very impressive and gave him an air that left him way out of my league, dark dress pants with a dark button up shirt, collar up. Of all of them he had the most style. His sleeves were rolled up and surprisingly, they revealed part of a tattoo that went half way down his forearm.

From the corner of my eyes I could see everyone staring at me, smiling. Jared’s group of friends were crazy boys, friendly but crazy. A flush crept down to my chest. Thankfully I had a lightly golden faux tan to hide a hint of the redness that could quickly spread over my body. I slowly approached the group; my eyes couldn’t stop glancing towards Brax. He had been talking to one of the other boys but as I moved closer our eyes met.

I felt the electricity flicker quickly through my whole body, almost creeping into my flushed face. I over-imagined that his intense green eyes were staring deep into my own deep blue ones. I was conscious of the fact I would have to look away and fast so I didn’t give away my immediate and shockingly raw attraction and want for this earth shatteringly sexy man. This didn’t usually happen to me but he could be described as something else. He had lit a fire inside of me; everything that had lay dormant was now suddenly standing wanting his attention.

I looked away, shocked and embarrassed with myself and I started to greet the small group. They were all kind guys, early 30’s now, friendly, approachable and very loud! Most women would find them intimidating but I on the other hand used to love being around them and they made me feel very comfortable immediately.

Although I call them boys, they could only be described this way when they were out together, a world away from their jobs, homes and wives or girlfriends. In actual fact they were men and most of them very attractive men. I continued to move around the circle, I got ‘hello’s’, hugs and compliments, ‘looking good Mena’. I wouldn't describe myself as “good looking”. Tonight my deep blue eyes were offset with a bright red lipstick and my blonde hair was long and flowed loosely down to my lower back. It was un-straightened with a natural wave. I had on a black almost knee length skirt and a matching black silk singlet top. They were very fitted, perhaps an oversight and an over confidence on my part. When I was getting dressed for tonight, without even thinking about anything but this hot summer heat I had picked possibly the skimpiest pieces of clothing I own. By no means disrespectful but also not even closely resembling the nana clothes that I tended to choose. I had slipped on my favourite diamante kitten heels, a gift from my mum and left home hoping to stand up to the expectations of my friends. My aim was to be able to get into a bar and fit in with anyone else and still be as comfortable as possible in this heat. Instead when I had met up with old friends I fast found out that they thought I looked absolutely amazing.

I feel myself flush again and move forward to greet Brax. He coolly gives me a kiss on the cheek and looks deep into my eyes as we say hi. He announces in his deeply sexy voice “Mena, what a pleasure, you look stunning.” I stare up at him and mumble a “good to see you”. I had deliberately not gone to him first and instead gone the other way so I could compose myself. It backfired, he was the last one and I had to choose where to go next. I couldn’t awkwardly stand here and make a fool of myself and I’m sure he had better things to do then entertain me. I make the decision to move away and go back around near Az. I smile a large bright smile at him and begin to turn away, as I move I feel something hard behind me blocking my escape. It must be a stool I think as I look down ready to move whatever is in my way. My eyes are immediately glued to a long sexy thigh stretching the length behind me; his foot rests on the back of the stool to my right. It takes me a second but I start to panic. His long sexy leg is blocking my escape. I look back up at him. I don’t think he is aware that he is in my way so I tilt my head back ready to politely ask him to move. As I go to speak the words he looks down at me and smiles a slow sexy smile. ‘Oh boy’ I think to myself. He knows his leg is blocking my exit. He winks at me and then launches into a conversation.

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I stop daydreaming and look out to see that the sun has disappeared and the French night has filled the sky turning it from a dusty pink to a star filled black. Ella Louise is still happy and content and totally wrapped up in her new Christmas book, the flashing lights on the tree cast a shadow across the pictures. I glance at the yellow sunbird Mandala Lime clock that is perched above the fireplace “Damn” I mutter. It is already 7pm. I hate to interrupt her pretty smiling face but it is past Ella’s bedtime and she still needs a bath.

‘Ella’ I say quietly. She looks up at me wide eyed. ‘It is time for your bath darling’. She doesn’t hesitate ‘oui maman’ She sputters in French. French is what we speak on a day-to-day basis. Ella spends some of her days at a lovely and much older ladies house when I have to work and there they speak only French. Ella speaks only a few words at all and when we are at home together she occasionally speaks an even fewer amount of English words.

She sits up off the floor. I stand up rubbing the stiffness from my back, although the chair is comfortable I still stretch my arms and legs out. I scoop Ella from the floor and carry her into the bath. Our bathroom is of medium size. We only have one but it is beautiful. A freestanding white marble bath and shower sits to one side of the bathroom on the small lightly coloured tiles that make up the whole floor and continue half way up the walls. Cleverly we have a small cupboard built into the wall and inside are a row of Ella’s favourite storybooks. Each night at bath time, Ella and I carefully select a book to read in English. This time she chooses one of Enid Blyton’s enchanted stories. I quickly undress her and put her in the bath to play while I read to her. I take a seat on another classic chair. This time it is a wing chair, perfect for the bathroom. It has a 100% cotton slip, washable cover that features an attractive pattern in light and dark blues. It works beautifully to jazz up the corner of the otherwise neutral room. It is a comfy, 'sink into' type chair, great for putting my feet up to read Ella her books.

Ella has an obsession with books and reading. I am sure it comes from me spending every night while I was pregnant either trawling through antique furniture shops or bookstores. I read to her out loud as I figured out the sorts of furniture I would fill the house with and how to restore the pieces I had already collected so they would suit the scheme I already had. Some afternoons I would read until the early hours of the evening and then head downstairs into the workshop on the latest piece. Talking Ella through every moment and describing all the things she would see when she entered this world. It truly was bliss, as was this little world we had created for ourselves. I continue reading to Ella while she plays with her toys in the bath. Occasionally I watch her tune into what I am reading like she really understands and wants to know what is going to happen next. I finish up the last couple of pages of the chapter and make sure Ella is sparkly clean. We empty the bath and I wrap her in the towel. She is already tired and is very quiet as I dress her for bed. We sit on her Disney Princess bed in her fantasy room. Not my usual style of choice but Ella’s favourite theme. She loves anything Disney and all things princess so we have decorated her room in pretty shimmery whites and sheer pinks. She has the Disney princesses on the wall and her bed covers are of Aerial under the sea. This one she loves to watch and I think it is because of her love for water and the ocean. This is a fact that amuses me because she was conceived in a seaside town but has never seen the ocean, except for in photos and movies. Ella is nearly falling asleep. I turn on her night-light and tuck her into bed. I sit watching her as she drifts off to sleep. After a few minutes I give her a kiss. It has been a long and happy day. ‘Merry Christmas baby’ I whisper.

I get up slowly and quietly and move out of the room. I head down the hallway to my boudoir that is right next door to Ella’s. I undress and walk back down the hallway past her room. I peek in and she is sleeping peacefully so I head straight for the shower. I am already naked so I turn on the taps; they make creaking noises as the water starts to pour from the rather large rounded spout. As soon as the temperature is right I jump straight under the steaming water and I begin to relax as the heat washes away the huge day. I soap up my body with a special Ylang, Ylang body wash I purchased me from the markets I visited with Ella a few weeks ago. It smells delicious and the smell wafts through bathroom mingling with the steam and relaxing my tired body. I think about the last few weeks. I had worked up until yesterday and today was Christmas. The lead up to this day was huge. Preparing all the furniture and ensuring everything was ready for my customers who were praying the special pieces would be restored before Christmas day. I managed to get it done with not a minute to spare, and as my little shop closed at 8pm the last piece I had been working on left my workshop. After this I had set about preparing for today. Deedee, the kind lady who lived down the road had snuck home and put Ella to bed. Deedee was an amazing woman, a lifesaver. She happened to come with the ‘chalet’ when I moved here. We had our own personal relationship, she was once my nanny when I was very small and now she had naturally took over helping me to raise my own child. She didn’t just look after Ella Louise; she looked after me as well. Often taking washing when I worked long nights and listening and helping Ella with her French understanding while she prepared us dinner. I couldn’t imagine a more fortunate situation between the three of us.

When it was finally decided I was moving to France permanently my parents, who had been selling the very chalet I spent many of my summers and school holidays in, decided that I should move here and live in it. I had been working hard before, during and after university and had saved a fairly substantial sum so I insisted they take it as a down payment. Initially they didn’t want it thinking I would not survive and that I would come here and get home sick and want to go home. That was over three years ago and I was still here. So reluctantly they took a deposit and we negotiated a small sum that I would pay to them each month. It was a dream to know that one day this small property could one day be Ella’s and mine. The arrangement suited my parents fine as they were here for shorter periods and no longer required the chalet they used to take me to.

I remember arriving here my first day. February was cold and instead of going to a hotel until I sorted things out I came straight here. I had looked up at the small stone two-bed chalet as I got out of the cab. The gardens were overgrown although someone had attempted to pull some weeds near the rickety gate that led to the front door. I remembered the house well but it was usually much prettier when I had come as a girl. We used to spend the summers pulling the weeds and planting new gardens. I realised this time would be no different. As I stepped through the small front door a wave of emotion had hit me. I forced myself not to cry as I stepped in to see all the furniture covered over, dust everywhere, a stale old smell and the darkness in front of me. I had unlocked the second door leading up to the main house and had cried all the way to the top. I cried for what felt like a long time. Sitting on the smelly, dusty couch holding my tummy. The tears welled in my eyes as I recall the first night and everything I had left behind.

I turn off the shower and grab a thick fluffy white towel from the heated towel rack near the bath. It feels lovely against my skin. I walk down to the bedroom still remembering the horror of the first night where I had rocked myself to sleep asking myself over and over ‘what have you done?’ As I look around now at the pretty artwork on the walls, the French décor and restored furnishings and antique pieces around my home I have very few regrets. I smile to myself as I climb into bed, naked between the sheets. The house is toasty warm just the way I like it in the cooler French months where the air is bitter and cold. Before I can fall asleep my mind once again wanders back to the past and the first night and how and why I am now here.


Brax Jalen Patten had cleverly blocked my escape and so it was that I ended up sitting next to him, it had taken a few seconds for me to realise I had a giddy teenage-like crush but with this animal attraction. Brax Patten was the infamous town architect. He was well known in wealthy social circles and was popular in the media for his work and his affairs. When I saw him that night I didn’t know I was about to become another of those illicit affairs and that this chance encounter would mean my whole life was going to change.

The group of friends I was with had wandered over and started talking with the circle of boys and the drinks had kept coming, my head getting fuzzier from the Vodka. Brax monopolised every minute of my time in the club. Others had tried and failed to talk to me, as he seemed to freeze them out of our conversations. Instead of the alarm bells sounding in my head, I instead thought we had an instant connection and something special. I made small talk and he tried delving into my life. The night had ended with me hoping that I would run into him again. We had somehow swapped numbers and I went home in a cab deliriously happy that I had met him. The next day I had woken to a throbbing headache. And not normally the type to enjoy going out I had decided despite the headache it wasn’t so bad and perhaps I should do it more often. More pressing than the headache was my attachment and deep attraction to Brax. I wondered if I should message him all day but I didn’t. Later that night he had sent me a text. It was simple just saying ‘it was good to see you last night, hope you're feeling ok.’ I spent my whole weekend dreaming about him instead of working on the latest legal files like I used to do. At the time I lived in a small granny flat at my parent’s property. It was a great little set up that my grandfather had spent many weekends carving and restoring furniture to display in it. I always loved each and every special piece he had given me.

For the whole week I thought about Brax and nothing but Brax, my work was slacking for the first time ever as I wondered if he would ask me out?, If I should call him?, If I would see him again soon? When Friday finally rolled around I headed out again hoping to see him. I didn’t. I heard from some mutual friends that he was away working. I couldn’t be more disappointed. I spent a couple of weeks like this before deciding it was a silly fantasy and that I should get back into my work. It was only a matter of days after this decision when the girls asked me out to dinner again. I accepted with no pleading or begging from them necessary. This time we had decided on a nice little restaurant that was always packed. As dinner ended the restaurant bar turned into a little bit of a dance club where people could drink and dance most of the night away. It closed at midnight and people were left deciding whether they would continue onto a club or call it a night. I called it a night and on the Saturday morning after waking up I decided it was time to go shopping. My dowdy clothes no longer suited my newly slim figure and made me look older then I actually was. I headed down to a trendy local store that sold absolutely everything needed to be super hot and ready to date and almost made me feel like I could take on the world. I was immediately attracted to another black number. It was a short skirt, much shorter then what I usually went for but it sparkled as I turned, the top part was see-through and flowed, falling off one shoulder. Built into the dress was a small corset tight top, my cleavage was ample and the look was hot, even too hot for my liking. Not usually a risk taker I decided I was taking it anyway. Before I left I spotted a bright red patent pair of stiletto heels. Now this was a purchase I was used to. Despite my dowdy attire, I really did have a penchant for heels; I think years of loving ‘Sex and the City’ and dreaming I was Carrie did nothing to starve off my pull towards beautiful designer shoes. I always had on a pair of fitted trousers and neutral blouses with these gorgeous heels, almost always high. I used to think I was wearing them to compensate for my lack of height however I had later understood tall or short weirdly, I just loved beautiful heels.

The next time I went out I was ready. I had gotten dressed and put on some darker makeup, I had recently been practicing a look my friend had sent me and my eyes came out deep blue with dark and smoky glittery lids, the makeup I wore was dark to match my faux tan and my hair I straightened and once again left hanging low and sleek down my back. I felt much more overdressed then I was used to but something in me had awoken and I no longer wanted to sit quietly in the background. I guess I owed that much to meeting and falling for Brax, who I was no longer allowing myself to think about. My parents were headed out as well so I got a lift and was at the usual location ready for dinner with a couple of my friends at promptly 7pm. We had a beautiful little table and I chose a seat that looked out onto the ocean. The restaurant was called Ocean’s 11 and was a very busy and very popular place to be on a Saturday night. A Latino band was playing some funky music. I thought I was dressed to kill, as the saying goes and my confidence rose as I noticed a glances from a man here and there. I got up and went to the front bar while I waited for the rest of my friends to arrive. There were four of us. Sienna, Ruby, Cally and me. Over 10 years we found each other and formed a group and for the first time in a couple years we were back in the same town and re-defining our friendships. It was fairly easy; we were all ambitious and friendly. We had our own lives outside of each other so the moments when we did get to see each other were filled with chatter and catching up.

I stood at the bar and ordered a jug of Sangria, this was my favourite, a delicious fruity drink like a punch but much nicer as it was made with wine. I sat at the bar having a drink and waited. I was looking out to the other side of the bar. The view was phenomenal you could see through to the restaurant side and straight out to the ocean. The atmosphere was buzzing and after a few sips I started to get into the groove and forget my attire and look forward to the night. One by one the girls arrived. First there was Ruby, she came slinking in her long slim frame, bright red hair and wearing the tiniest dress I had ever seen. She was however one of the sweetest people and a truly great friend. Ruby spotted me and came over to the bar, she sat down and we instantly launched into a conversation about our working weeks. We had polished off nearly the whole jug already. I felt tipsy, we paused our conversation to have sip and I looked up to steal another glance at the ocean. I looked up and my heart stopped and there he was, Brax was back. I shouldn't have been shocked to see him or surprised, secretly I had wondered if I had even dressed different for him. What had got into me?

I couldn’t stop staring at him. It took me a good minute and then I looked at his party. There was a woman with him and he had his hand over hers. He must be out with friends and their wives this time. Which meant the hand he was holding was his girlfriend? I couldn’t stop staring. Ruby glanced up and took quick note of who I was looking at ‘Ooooo Brax Patten’ I looked at her blushing. ‘Oh yeah’ I mumbled. She quickly launched into Ruby mode ‘I know you like him Mena. Don’t go near him!’ He is a womaniser. That lady he is with is his girlfriend’ she said, reading my mind.

‘Oh’ I responded. I felt silly I didn’t know he had a girlfriend. So all that attention, was I dreaming it. How embarrassing thank goodness I did not contact him after that night.

‘Not only that’ Ruby whispered “He is rumoured to have a baby with his ex, something he denies.’ I clear my throat and look at Ruby ‘He denies the girlfriend or the baby is his?’ I ask.

Ruby launches into the story ‘well it was definitely his girlfriend, they were in all the social pages together up until a year ago when she became pregnant and then he dumped her denying the baby was his.’

I sat there dumbfounded. I want to ask if the baby is his but I think I answer my own question. I have heard the rumours about him and the fact is he obviously had a girlfriend and was trying it on with me. Well if he thought he was going to score with me he had another thing coming.

Ruby started talking about other things and it wasn’t long before the girls arrived. We walked over to our table to be seated. On the way past we happened to walk straight past the ‘Brax’ table. He looked up as we were passing and looked straight into my eyes ‘Hi ladies’ he spoke confidently. He looked straight at me and winked. ‘Oh the hide of him’ I think in my head. I glare not very politely and we all keep walking to our table.

Nothing is said about the fact he said hi. I feel so embarrassed and confused and mortified for wanting him. And even worse I still thought he looked absolutely gorgeous wearing grey suit pants and a white shirt. The sleeves were again rolled up revealing his right arm with tattoos taught across his perfect skin. The tattoos were almost a surprise to his supposed squeaky clean image but I quickly realise his nature and think it isn't so far from his true image after all. His hair had flopped down a little into his face. And the girl he was with, well she was gorgeous and dressed very smartly. I had to stop thinking about him and stupidly I thought the only way to do it was to drink up.

I started drinking more and more; by the time dinner was served I barely had the appetite to eat. I forced a few bites down and concentrated on enjoying the company. Both Sienna and Cally had to leave early so Ruby and I said our goodbyes to them and decided to stay out for another couple of drinks. I asked if we could switch locations and head over to the bar across the road. This one didn’t have ocean views but was just far enough away from Brax. Ruby went to wait out the front while I ran to the bathroom. I was a feeling a little better as I walked back to meet Ruby, I shifted my face slightly as I felt a closeness behind me and then Brax whispered in my ear. “Where are you going angel?’

‘Oh, hi’ I mumbled, swearing to myself in my head. What would I say? I decided to be honest and direct and treat him as I would anyone else, ‘Heading somewhere else for a drink’ I tried to confidently respond manoeuvring myself through the tables.

‘Hmm, it is a shame you have to go, I was enjoying the view’ he flirted.

‘How dare he’ was almost all I could think but his smell was intoxicating drawing me to him like dark to the night. I took a deep breathe in and mustering some confidence that I usually reserved for working hours I replied ‘Enjoy your night with your girlfriend’ and I walked away. Petty of me yes but how dare he, I thought. I tried my best to saunter instead of storm away. I could feel his eyes on my back so I didn’t stop until I was out the door.

‘You ok?’ asked Ruby. ‘Fine’ I replied. ‘Looking forward to a drink’ and with that we headed over to the B Bar across the road.

By now my head was really fuzzy but I ordered another drink and started to mingle. A few Men were coming up and trying to engage us in conversation. A couple of those times we obliged and at one point we even got up to have a dance. My phone beeped loudly. It was already 11pm who could it be? Maybe it was my parents offering me a lift?

‘Where are you Mena?’

Oh my god it was him. Was he crazy, he was out with his girlfriend and he possibly had a baby at home to his ex-girlfriend? I ignored the text.

Two minutes later and I was speaking to a lovely young man who was trying to gauge my attention with his terrible jokes. I didn't have to look up because I heard them walk in. Brax walked in with the "boys". I watched and held my breath waiting for the girlfriends to follow but they didn’t. He made a beeline straight for me. Ruby was over talking to a group she had met and I was sitting here with some random and didn’t know what to do. I started to laugh much to the guys delight and instantly he put his hand over mine, a similar gesture to that of Brax and his girlfriend earlier. Ha, I thought to myself this should stop him form coming any closer. It didn’t he purposefully walked over. As he approached he gave me a look that could melt anyone’s heart. I tried not to let it effect me. ‘Baby’ he said as he came to stand beside me. The guy who had been trying to chat me up took one look and scooted mumbling sorry as he left. I looked up ‘Who do you think you are?’ I angrily glared at him. ‘Your even sexier when your angry’ he said. I barely knew him and he was making comments like this.

I got up to leave but he grabbed my arm. ‘Stop running away, or trying to’ he laughed. I looked up and he went on ‘Now, I came over to apologise, not hard to figure where you might head, not many bars in town and this is definitely the closest.’ I breathed again. ‘So I thought you and Ruby would like to have a drink with the guys and I?’

Ruby chose this moment to head back over, ‘sounds great’ she replied. I looked at her dumbfounded. She winked.

So I didn’t make a scene, or so I told myself, we headed over to sit with Brax’s group of friends and have a drink.

We sat down and started our usual catch up chat with everyone. ‘How are you? How is work? How has your week been?’ Every time I looked up Brax was staring at me. Everyone kept taking turns to go to the bar and as Ruby got up for her turn Brax took the opportunity to come and sit next to me. ‘I don’t have a girlfriend’ he stated looking deep into my eyes. ‘You don’t?’ I replied weakly looking into his green ones. I didn’t know if I believed him. ‘I want you’ he said matter of fact. I couldn’t believe he was saying this. I didn’t even know If I believed him about his girlfriend or the ex girlfriend. From what I could tell they were very much together.

I sat there quietly and finally responded. ‘I don’t know you Brax and I don’t trust you, we barely know each other.’ I looked at his friends but they were all engaged in their own conversations. He turned and joined in a conversation with them about something or other. I was over it, he was so damn attractive and I didn’t believe him or trust him and the longer I stayed around him the more I wanted to be with him. I decided I had to go. I got up and went to walk over to Ruby. I had to cross part of the dance floor before I could get there. I was storming away in my high stilettos and short dress but before I knew it I was yanked back. He spun me around and before I could react he said ‘I will prove it’ and crushed his lips over mine. I felt giddy as he pushed my mouth open with his tongue and kissed me hard with passion and want. I couldn’t believe it, was this guy crazy. Even though I knew it was crazy it was also the hottest thing that had ever happened to me. Standing in the middle of the room with his arm cupping the back of my head, our bodies close and him kissing me with so much force and passion that is made my knees go weak. I couldn’t move and was moulded to him. He slowly let go and stopped kissing me. ‘Believe me now?’ he croaked in his sexy irresistible voice. I was stunned, I looked into his eyes they were blazing and were blazing all for me. I almost couldn’t move but he slid on past me leaving me standing there. After he left I tried to gather myself together. He was so damn hot and I wanted him so bad and he had kissed me! I was still panting. I quickly turned and went to find Ruby. At the bar she handed me her drink and I threw it back. ‘Thirsty?’ She asked smiling. It was clear she had seen what had happened. ‘Don’t let his girlfriend find out.’ What? I thought in my head. She must be wrong. She quickly squashed those thoughts ‘Babe I seen it in the paper today’ He said how happy he was with his career and especially with the special lady in his life’ and ‘It had pictures of them together’. I couldn’t comprehend anything else so I pushed the thoughts out of my head and for now decided to succumb to the alcohol that was making everything so much harder to understand.

The night had almost passed with me having way too much to drink. I had no more unusual and hot encounters with Brax as we decided to all get a maxi cab to our homes. We all got in one maxi and one by one we dropped off each of the boys. There were only four of us left. Brax was sitting facing me in the chair behind the cab. Ruby was at the back, I turned around to talk to her but instead found her kissing one of the boys. He must have been the one without the wife I hoped to myself and turned around. Brax was staring at me. ‘Your so sexy’ I looked down at his body and couldn’t help thinking the same. I felt like a teenager as for the second time that night he pulled me into the hottest kiss. His lips took over my body, taking everything I had to give. The cab pulled over and we stopped kissing. He threw some money at Ruby and her lover and we got out. ‘Hang on’ I thought, how were we at my house. What had happened? How did we get here?

I had no more time to think about it we kissed all the way to the house. He was pushing and dragging me backwards and I was pushing him into the direction of my flat. I got to the front door and messily found my key; he opened the door and pushed me into it. We started on the kitchen, kissing and fondling and all I could think about was his hot body under my hands, his tattooed arm pinning me to the bench while he poured hot kisses all over my body. We were both groaning, as our kisses got hotter, our fondling got more demanding and our clothes started to come off.

The next morning at some ungodly hour I was woken up. He was getting dressed. It was early and I knew I had only slept a few hours. ‘Where are you going?’ I asked still half asleep. ‘I have to go’ he said pulling on his shirt. ‘Stay in bed, I will let myself out.’ I did as he said and fell back into a deep sleep.

Later on that day I woke up for the second time. This time my head was pounding. This seemed a much more frequent occurrence these days. I pulled myself up and looked at the table with the clock on it and then it hit me. ‘My gosh’ Brax had been here. And we were kissing and fondling, the memories started flooding back. Well until a certain point. Hang on I am wet down there. Did we? No! Did we? I couldn’t have had a one-night stand with the sexiest man in town. No wait it was an AFFAIR! I had an affair. Oh my gosh what is wrong with me? Thoughts running through my head, what if his girlfriend finds out? What If she wants to beat me up? How could I do that?

I mulled the same questions over and over. And then it hit me again.. We used protection, didn’t we? What if he has a disease? ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh did we use protection?’

I was nearly hyperventilating and decided the only thing I could do was to call him and find out. But I never wanted to speak to him again. Or did I? No. This was humiliating. He has a girlfriend. I could not handle my internal dialogue anymore.

I silenced myself thinking this is madness and decided to rationally put things into perspective, this was my life I could do this and maybe then things would come to me. But nothing came. I picked up my phone and scrolled through the numbers. 'Don't ever ring this number, Brax' was typed into my phone. I called him.

‘Mena’ he answered. ‘Hi Brax’ I forced a pretend smile. ‘What’s up?’ he asked. What’s up? What’s up with him I thought in my head? Not only 5 hours ago we must have been sleeping together. Did he even know? I decide he definitely did.

‘I was, ah,’ how could I say this to him? I bite my tongue and then I speak ‘I was wondering if you had a disease?’ ‘Ha, ha’ He laughs. Ha, ha? I think to myself. Ok stop repeating and analysing everything he says I say to myself. ‘No Mena’ he responds. His voice sends tingles through my body. ‘You don’t need to worry about a thing’ I am relieved but I don’t know what else to say. I don’t want to say anything. ‘Ok great, well have a good day’ I say. ‘You as well’ he says sleepily.

I hang up the phone and vow never to mention this to anyone. People would have seen us kiss. How could his friends not say anything? What must they be thinking of me? I spend the weekend beating myself up. By Monday I am exhausted and decide I can’t think about this anymore. I delete his number and decide to go back to life working and NOT socialising. I get stuck deep into work. Brax enters my mind often and my mind deliberately pushes the thought of him out. A month goes by and I wonder why I am not feeling normal again yet. I can’t stop thinking about the fact I had slept with Brax. I don’t hear from him at all but Ruby tells me that he has gone away according to her new love interest who was luckily not married. Clearly they were working out! I am still uncertain that Brax hasn't given me anything, you never know these days so I decide to be precautionary and go to the doctors just to double check all is ok.

It has been another week and finally I go and see the doctor. She smiles as I sit there in front of her and she asks who the special person is in my life. ‘Nobody’ I reply. She seems shocked to hear it. ‘Well Mena’ she starts slowly. ‘I know you came here to test for anything out of the ordinary and to make sure your health was all up to scratch, but’ she pauses. ‘But what?’ I ask panicking thinking of all the worst possible diseases. ‘Your pregnant.’ She says quietly.

‘WHAT?’ I screech. She looks at me ‘I am sure Mena, the test is positive. When was your last period?’

I can’t think, I can’t breathe. Pregnant. ‘I have to go’ I tell her. I run out. I don’t even stop to sign out. I jump straight into my car and drive off. I am driving too fast but I manage to make it safely to the river where I can pull over and think. I count back, 7 weeks since I had my period. over 5 weeks since I slept with him. I couldn’t be. No. This wasn’t possible. I had been so worried about diseases and when he said don’t worry I had assumed he meant some sort of protection. How could I be so stupid? I could barely even remember sleeping with him. I was disgusted with myself. What was I going to do?

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