Leann was in the process of getting ready for her first real night out with her friends since the birth of her daughter. Now her friends had not abandoned her during her pregnancy and after she gave birth. They all had dropped by often but they never lingered as there was no smoking allowed in the house. She had stopped smoking and even begged her live-in boyfriend James to quit, but since he wasn't ready to he was forced to smoke in the attached garage.
Tonight, however, she was meeting her friends at the "Night Town Express". It was a small local dance club that they had all frequented since they turned twenty-one and she looked forward to a night of drinking, dancing, and smoking as she no longer was breastfeeding her baby.
As she bustled between the bathroom and bedroom in her lingerie, her boyfriend eyed her with hunger in his eyes. He had been forced into a life of celibacy following the birth of their daughter and his allowing her to go out while he stayed at home to babysit was agreed upon only after extracting a promise of a night of sex when she returned.
Leann finished her makeup and then returned to the bedroom to get dressed. She sadly placed the black miniskirt back in the closet and chose a pair of dark dress slacks. She had not lost all the weight she had wanted to after giving birth and could not get into the skirt. After checking her appearance several times she appeared in front of James for his opinion, his stare told her that she was looking good.
She placed a kiss on his lips before heading out the door and less than half an hour later she was with her friends at their favorite table. Her chums treated her like royalty as in their eyes she was. She was the only one in their group that had gotten married and had a handsome male child not long afterward. They were further impressed by the fact that she had not run home to her parents after the divorce but chose to make it on her own.
She passed around the newest baby pictures on her smartphone and the party fawned over them. The first round of drinks arrived and the conversation became lively and peppered with jokes along with the constant questions about when she and James were finally going to tie the knot, that question went unanswered.
Finally, the in-house DJ started his music and they all hit the dance floor and the questions about her future wedding date to James stopped. Eventually, it was Leann's turn to buy the next round but the waitress was busy with other customers. So rather than waiting for her Leann headed to the bar and stood in the small walk-up line with a few others waiting to place their drink orders.
She glanced at the other patrons seated at the bar as she waited and that's when Leann saw her. She was an attractive slender brunette seated at the bar to the left of the line and reading one of the local trade papers. It was when she flicked the ash off the cigarette that she held in her right hand over the ashtray and that's when Leann saw the glint of the ring on her left hand.
It was a silver skull with intricate designs etched into the skull that featured black onyx chips in the eyes. It was the image of Calavera Catrina the female character often seen in Mexicos Día de Muertos or Day of the Dead. Leann's eyes went wide as she stared at it, she knew that ring.
As she headed back to the table with her drink orders she thought about what she had seen. Now she had seen cheap copies of that image as the Day of The Dead merchandise became popular, but none of them looked like this one. That told her that this one could not have been purchased at any retail or online store. She deposited the beverages but continued to glance at the bar.
"Someone giving you a problem?" her fat friend Sandy wheezed as she saw Leann stare at the bar.
"Nothing I can't handle," Leann responded.
"How dare he give my ring to another female," Leann said to herself.
Yes, she knew that ring as she once wore one just like it. It was an exact copy of Darren's ring and was the second thing she noticed about him when they met. Darren was her ex-boyfriend and the one many had tagged to be her next husband as together they made a perfect couple and complimented each other.
He had his made by an artist in Cozumel to his specifications. Darren was an experienced scuba diver and along with his group of fellow divers headed there a few times a year. Leann was so taken by that ring that he had one made for her on one of his visits.
"I need to know for sure," she said to herself.
Leann excused herself and headed back to the bar using the pretense of needing a book of matches. The bartender lit her cigarette and then slid a book of matches toward her. Just as she turned to leave she saw the brunette extend her arm and flick her cigarette ash into the tray and that gave Leann an opening.
"What a beautiful ring," she exclaimed to the brunette.
"Thank you. My fiancee gave it to me, "she stated and proudly extended her arm so Leann could get a better look.
There was no mistake. This was an exact copy of Darren's ring.
"Mexican silver and made in Cozumel? Leann asked.
"How did you guess?" the brunette asked
"It's no guess. I use to wear one just like it," Leann responded.
"You must be Lee-Lee," the brunette stated with a smile after a momentary pause.
Lee-Lee, how she hated that nickname. Darren had said it in a little child's voice one night as a joke when he was a little drunk and it got a laugh from everyone including her so he kept it up. Finally, the joke wore thin and she recalls telling him to stop it. He stopped using it in public and reserved it for when they were alone and he was upset with her.
"My name is Leann," she snapped.
"I'm Gina. Pleased to meet you," the brunette responded as she extended her arm with an open hand.
The offer of a handshake was ignored so Gina retracted her arm and continued.
"Just so you know that this is not the ring you wore. He had that one melted down to make this one as he wanted to make sure all the negativity would be destroyed," Gina informed her.
Leann rolled her eyes. This was one few things that she did not miss about him, this belief in the metaphysical. Leann felt a twinge of anger at hearing that he melted down her ring to make this one. Instantly her mind was transported back to a few years ago when they first met. She was so impressed with his ring that when he visited Cozumel a month later he had one made for her.
She had worn the ring proudly as it broadcast to everyone that she belonged to Darren. Soon talk of marriage and the future started despite the fact that he had not officially purposed. As the discussions of marriage continued and their attraction to each other grew Darren found himself spending more time at her modest apartment, which included spending the nights and weekends when her son was with his dad.
During one of his visits, she confessed her desire to have a house. Two months later he moved her and her son out of her apartment and into a house he had purchased. Things were going along great and wedding plans were made but everything changed when she brought up the topic of children again.
This topic had been addressed when they first broached the subject of marriage, but he didn't want kids. She let it slide as she was convinced she could change his mind.
And try she did. She slipped into bed wearing the silkiest and sexiest nighties that she could locate and she initiated sex almost every night. On those weekends when her son was with his father, she spent the entire day flitting around the house clad in these come-hither garments and they had sex two or three times a day.
She tried to get him to forego using protection using the excuse that she was safe as she was on the pill, but he remained steadfast in the use of it. Finally, she gave up trying and they fought and argued over the smallest thing. She still cooked and kept the house clean but she withheld her charms from him. She even made him sleep in the guest room and not in her bed, but none of that affected him.
She stopped wearing the ring and gave him the excuse that it was too heavy for her finger and she kept banging it against the furniture and door frames, but that was a lie. The absence of the ring announced that she was no longer spoken for and if this upset him he gave no outward appearance.
Defeated for the moment she paid a visit to the realtor that helped handle the purchase of the house. Since he wouldn't see things her way she'd take him to court and threaten to take his house, maybe then he would change his mind. After all, he had often told people that he had purchased the house for her. Leann was shocked to learn that her name was not on the mortgage so she had no claim on it.
"Verbal agreements will not hold up in court," the relator informed her.
Defeated she left his offices, that was the final straw. Upon arriving home she removed his ring from her jewelry box and threw it at him as she cursed him to be alone and miserable for the rest of his life. She then grabbed her son and stormed out of the house and did not return for two days.
When she did return she announced that she was moving out and added that some male friends of hers were going to help her and if he was home things might get physical. The last statement was said out of anger and frustration. Darren was a cop and she knew that he was a match for any two average men, so she moved while he was at work.
She found a recently vacated apartment not far from her parent's house that she could easily afford with the alimony payments and child support and quickly set up housekeeping. Over the next several months she heard the rumors that Darren was devastated by the breakup and had begun drinking and spending a great deal of time before the Internal Affairs board because of his conduct.
Leann felt no remorse as she had given him the chance for a happy ever after and he chose to ignore it. She soon found herself a new boyfriend that wanted marriage and children so he allowed herself to get pregnant just a month after they met.
"So how are things going?" Leann asked as her curiosity peaked.
"Fantastic. We are going to Vegas in a month to be married," Gina responded.
"The Vegas wedding was my idea," Leann informed the brunette.
"I approve. We even found a chapel that will marry us seated on a Harley," Gina responded barely able to contain her excitement.
"That's not very traditional," Leann responded.
"Screw tradition, that's what we want. There will be no long white dress and veil either, only black leather and lace on this girl. We will spend a weekend there and after that, it's off to Hawaii for our honeymoon," Gina said still smiling.
Leann was forced to move from her spot at the walk-up bar and moved to Gina's left side and squeeze in between the male sitting to Gina's left. As she moved she took inventory of what this girl was wearing. Skintight black jeans, black cowgirl boots, and a black silk t-shirt under a black windbreaker. She even sported black fingernail polish.
"So is the black clothing his doing?" Leann asked as she knew that Darren had a weakness for girls in black and was forever trying to get her to wear more of it.
"Nope. I was into black clothing long before I met him. The other kids in school had dubbed me "Morticia Addams" because of it so it was nice to meet someone who appreciated it," Gina continued.
This girl or replacement was happy as happy could be and that ticked Leann off. So she decided to bring this attractive brunette back to Earth.
"Well enjoy it now, but wait until you want to have kids," Leann responded with a know-it-all tone.
"Who said I want kids?" Gina asked snubbing out her smoke.
"Well maybe not now, but when you're older," Leann said.
"I hate to admit this but I am a few years older than you," Gina said with a smile.
"Bullshit," Leann spat.
"Bet ya a shot of Jack," Gina responded.
"Yer on," Leann answered.
Gina extracted her driver's license from her wallet and Leann removed hers from her back pocket the bartender was then summoned over and they handed their licenses to him.
"Which one of us is older," Leanne asked the man behind the bar.
He scanned the licenses and the faces of the attractive girls in front of him.
"She is by two years," the bartender responded nodding toward Gina as he handed the licenses back to them.
Leann placed a ten-dollar bill on the bar and then ordered two shots of Jack Daniels. The girls nodded to each other before upending the shot glasses.
"Besides, I have spent too many hours in the gym to get this shape and I'm not about to ruin it just for the sake of having kids," Gina responded after downing her drink.
To further prove her point Gina pulled the end of her t-shirt up and Leann saw a hard flat belly with visible abdominal muscles.
"Three hundred crunches a day in addition to pumping iron," she said smacking her abdomen.
Leann suddenly felt like a fat shapeless blob and unconsciously sucked in her stomach.
"The gym is where we met," Gina continued.
A flash of anger ran through Leann. The subject of gyms and working out was another one of her constant fight topics. She recalled trying to get Darren to forgo his regular gym and join the well-known health spa chain that had recently opened up not far from them so they could work out together, he constantly refused.
"That's not a place you go to get in shape. It's a place for people that are already in shape to go and meet others," was his constant response. "Do you want to work out? Then you need to join the gym I go to. It's a real gym filled with real equipment and real people," he would tell her.
She of course refused and didn't bring up the topic of working out again.
"Wait until you find out about his jealousy streak," Leann interjected in an attempt to give this girl second thoughts about her upcoming wedding since her first attempt had failed.
"I know all about it and it's not a concern. Ya see I don't allow former boyfriends to kiss me in public and would not allow them to place their arms around my waist, I would break their arm if they did. Plus I would never throw my purse at him and tell him to make himself useful so I could dance with one of them," Gina responded.
Leann was stunned at her statement and wondered just how much he hadn't told her about their relationship.
Gina smiled at the look on Leann's face.
"If you're asking yourself just how much he told me I can answer that, he told me everything. You see in my past If there was a loser out there I would find him and hook up with him. I had just about given up on meeting the right kind of guy when I happened to meet Darren.
Having been screwed over enough times I made sure I knew all about his past history before we proceeded. So one night I invited him over and got him drunk and questioned him non-stop about his past," Gina continued.
"You know that the house you're living in was purchased for me," Leann stated hoping to wipe the smile off of Gina's face.
"Yes, I know. That's why he sold it and purchased a beautiful double-wide mobile home. He said there were too many bad memories there," Gina responded.
The person that had been sitting behind Leann left his seat and she quickly took advantage of it.
"Yeah, you had him messed up real good and it took half a year to get you out of his system and convince him that I was nothing like you," Gina continued.
"Messed him up? My wanting to have a child with him is messed up?" Leann asked as she struggled to keep her voice from carrying.
"Yeah. He told you no kids from the moment you started getting serious but you wouldn't let go," Gina responded.
'He'd have made a great father, he just didn't know it," Leann answered.
"This may come as a shock to you but not all men want kids," the brunette continued. "Plus sitting at home every night during the Summer months and watching you work on your crafts would kill him, he needs to be out riding."
Leann was losing her patience and temper and sought to end this conversation. Gina did it for her by glancing at her watch and then downing the remains for her drink.
"I"m sorry but I have to go. Darren is getting off duty in about half an hour.
"That's a crock, he works for the Campus police and is on the dayshift," Leann snapped.
"Not anymore. He sobered up and applied for a lateral transfer in this city and now he works all shifts," Gina responded.
"In this city? He tried that before and never got anywhere," Leann responded.
"It seems they were afraid of an inner-department fight when he found out how many of the brothers-in-blue you slept with. However, once you were out of his life and he and I had become a serious item they had no problems with swearing him in. The day he was sworn in they took him out to celebrate and they all admitted their sins," Gina responded.
"That happened when we were separated," Leann responded defensively.
"Not according to them. You were still living under his roof and trying to get him to agree to have kids and had one of your fights," Gina responded enjoying the angry look on Leann's face.
Leann unconsciously balled her fist as the attractive brunette began to slide off her barstool. Leann was a scrapper and had been in her share of bar fights, many of which she had initiated. The movement was not lost on Gina.
"That would be a big mistake," Gina said simply. "We spend hours sparring in the spare room of his new home and you know how good he is at unarmed tactics. He even landed a gig teaching at the police academy. But if trying to punch me will make you feel better then go ahead. But make no mistake it will never land and I will drop you."
Leann washed all thoughts of throwing a punch as Gina donned the leather jacket draped across the back of the chair.
"Well, it was nice meeting you anyway," Gina stated.
Leann only nodded at the sentiment and a second later she slid off her barstool and headed toward the door. When Leann returned to her table she discovered that her brother sitting there with her friends, was not a big concern as he was a fun person despite being her younger brother.
"Who was a hot brunette you were talking to?" he asked. "You two seemed to be having a serious conversation."
"That is Darren's new girlfriend or rather fiancee," she responded.
"Wow, it looks like he hit the jackpot," her brother responded.
Leann silently agreed.