A Kiss Before Lying(10)

By: M. SKYE







Chapter Three: Rising Guilt



“And let the church say amen.” Lowering her head after Reverend George finished his final prayer, Draya tried to hurry out of the service before anyone spoke to her. The years of sleeping with Damien had made her feel like she wasn’t welcome in the church, but old habits did die hard. No matter how bad she felt about herself, she was raised in the church so she came there to seek some sort of guidance, even though she seemed to keep making all the wrong choices. It wasn’t because she wanted to ignore what was right, it was just that every time she made up her mind about leaving Damien alone, he would turn on the charm and worm his way back in.

Ducking out of the sanctuary, Draya thought she was home free until she heard her name called out. Recognizing the voice, she cringed and turned around slowly. This had to be the last person she wanted to face today or quite possibly ever. Reaching out as arms outstretched to her, she leaned into the hug and drew back, quickly.

“I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve seen you, Draya. How are your parents?”

Feeling the guilt mount inside her, Draya closed her eyes briefly and focused back in on her face. “They’re great, Mrs. Winters. I will have to tell them you asked how they were.”

“Thank you, and it’s Deena, Draya. You know that. I have known you practically your whole life; we are definitely on a first name basis. You used to play with my girls for Christ’s sake.” When she laughed, Draya felt her pulse racing. There was nothing accusatory about her tone or comments, but Draya still felt like she was under a microscope. Every time she spoke to Deena, she felt like the worst person in the world. Deena was always nice to her, she was always so inviting and Draya just couldn’t stomach talking to her. It made her feel like she was playing with fire by spending time with her boyfriend’s wife. She felt like every time they talked, Deena got closer and closer to figuring them out, and for as much as she loved Damien, she liked Deena too. It was a strange situation, but she wanted everything to work out for everyone, even though she knew it was not a possibility.

“Well, Deena, I think I better be getting home. I have a busy night ahead of me.” Draya knew she was wrong for lying, in a church no less, but she was so anxious to get out of the conversation, she would have done just about anything. Trying to make her exit, she turned only to hear Deena call out to her again.

“Yes ma’am?”

“Draya, are you busy next week? I thought you might like to come over on Wednesday. It’s been a long time since we had you over for dinner, and I would love for you to join us. You should bring your boyfriend. I know a pretty girl like you has to have a big strong boyfriend on her arm.” Once again, everything sounded innocent enough, but Draya heard her heart beating in ears. She was trying so hard to keep up a good front, but it was becoming increasingly hard with every new offer Deena made. Trying to think of an escape route, she was near breaking down until she felt an arm draped over her shoulder.

“Mrs. Winters, how are you?” Letting out a sigh of relief, Draya turned to find Rico and silently thanked him for the intrusion. “Did I just hear you inviting Draya to dinner?”

“Well, yes I did,” she smiled and Draya sank further into Rico’s embrace. “You feel free to come as well; the more, the merrier.”

“Draya and I actually have plans for that night. I’ve set up a tasting at the restaurant for some new investors and we need our money maker there. You know, Draya is quite the business woman, she really knows her stuff.”

“That, I don’t doubt.” Smiling sincerely, Deena, made Draya feel the guiltiest she had in a long time. She didn’t know why, but something in her was saying to confess everything and beg for forgiveness. She felt like she was in the right place to do so and it would be a weight lifted from her shoulders, and as soon as she opened her mouth, she saw him. There he was in his nice black suit, looking like a doting husband and father and she froze. Most of the time when she and Deena talked he was never around and it made things a little easier, but this time, here he was pretending like he was this happy, well-adjusted man, instead of the abusive, adulterer he really was.

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