A Different Breed

Part 4: What Would Stella Payne Do?

In the past, Katrina dated for one sole purpose. Marriage. Although her mother was only present for a few years of her life, those years made a big impression on the choices she made for her life. To be a wife and mother, in that order, had been her top life goal other than graduating college. The latter was a goal she placed on her list to garner her father’s admiration; unfortunately, that tactic didn’t reap the outcome she hoped but she still had a good career for all the toiling.

She could count all her relationships on one hand with some fingers to spare. Her mouth quirked as the thought of Peter sprung to her mind as she lifted the cup of tepid coffee to her lips. She’d been up since six unpacking boxes and hanging up framed art hoping to make her new abode feel more like home. It was she hung the last frame in the hallway that her present idea sparked in her mind.

Baking bread. The smell of fresh bread always made her feel warm and serene. The simple, sweet fulsome aroma would always float through the halls whenever her mom placed a pan of dough in the oven on quiet summer mornings. It was what she needed to center herself and since she was tired of the stench of newly painted walls stinging her nose she was adamant that making the staple was her next task. Plus, she was hungry as hell.

Brioche. Sourdough. Focaccia. Google gave her a hefty list of bread recipes to choose from but she settled for basic white bread. She wasn’t an expert baker and decided baby steps were best. She was a phenomenal reader, though. Also, following directions was an exceptional skill she had. She did what she was supposed to do and executed the job to the best of her ability; which is why the current state of her marriage hurt her so deeply.

She had her principles and remaining faithful no matter the difficulties faced was one she cherished most. She thought Terrence valued that also. She thought they were on the same page. She thought they were a team. Cohesive. But as she stood in the kitchen of her new beach house peering at an empty journal page while twin loaves baked in the oven she accepted that she was on a team by herself. Terrence didn’t value that principle but Peter did.

Peter just wasn’t any boyfriend. He was her first boyfriend. Joining the student council during sophomore year was just something she did to add to her college applications along with being on the cheer team and volunteering at the county pet shelter, she didn’t think she’d meet her first love. But she did. Formulating a solid campaign for class treasurer morphed into regular study sessions at the nearby coffee shop which graduated to study breaks at his house. They spent hours at his home watching classic ninety films in the movie theater and playing pool in the game room, and some nights she even accepted his mom’s offer to stay for dinner. It wasn’t like anyone was waiting for her at home. They lived in the same gated neighborhood but he still insisted on driving her home.

It was on one of those rides home that he asked to kiss her and she accepted. After four months of hanging out, they were officially a couple. A couple that lasted until the very end of senior year. She was sure they’d still be together if they went to the same college but he got into Cambridge; studying abroad was one of his dreams and since she loved him she let him go. As she watched his plane soar into the sky tears streamed down her face while the taste of his lips was still upon hers. Her heart had broken for the third time.

Katrina cleared her throat, removing the memory from the forefront of her mind. Peter was no longer hers; he was a happily married man living in London with his stunning Eritrean wife, three kids, and a poodle. They were once Facebook friends when she still had Facebook.

She picked her pen up and leaned on the island, the cold stone sent a chill up her limb as she remembered the man she loved before Terrence. She sighed thinking about Darren. He was not Peter although at the beginning she thought he was. He charmed her with his wit in their junior-level English lit class and on their first date he was a complete gentleman. Her college boyfriend wasn’t a fairytale in the making. But fairytales weren’t real so she didn’t second guess their relationship. He loved her. She knew that because he told her so even if his actions didn’t match. He was the reason she made cheating a deal breaker. After one man cheats on you three times it’s time to move on and stop trying to expect a different result. Right?

She wondered if Terrence was just like Darren or if was he different. Are all cheaters the same? She wasn’t sure so she pushed all the thoughts away and refocused on her brainstorming.

“Finding my bliss.” She spoke the words as she printed them on the top of the page fancifully and underlined. She slid her hand down and wrote a number one. “Relearn how to skate.”

It was something she wanted to do since seeing a coed glide across the campus in a pair of peach skates.

She printed a number two but before she could ponder on what else would bring her joy her phone rang. She glanced at the device and audibly groaned. The name that shined on her phone was no one other than her mother-in-law. She knew the woman would be calling her soon. It didn’t surprise her. Katrina didn’t feel like talking to Terrence’s mom. She knew the woman, who had been married for twenty-plus years, would have a strong opinion on her pending divorce. Katrina didn’t feel like having a conversation about the woman’s son.

It was a glorious Sunday, the sun was blazing bright as waves crashed on the beach accompanying her music beautifully. She didn’t feel like anything destroying her peace so she ignored the call and swayed her hips to music instead. She stretched her arms over her head and wine her waist to the rhythm accepting that Terrence broke her heart and she’d probably never meet a man who would treat her as well as Peter did. 

Dating for marriage was no longer her thing. Did it. Done it. She was ready to move on. She just wanted to have fun. She wanted to just be and do whatever the hell she wanted to do.  

Do you think she was right for ignoring her mother-in-law’s phone call?

Do you think Terrence is a Darren or is he different?

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