The Blind Eye (Part 1)
Looking out the window from the second floor, Taylor alternated between squinting and wiping her brow. Trying to see through the downpour and into the heavily tinted car windows proved to be unnerving. That the car were parked in front of her brownstone gave her concern. No movement. That is, from what she could make out from the outline of the occupant in the car. It didn't matter, she thought. Then she remembered the warm, sticky breath that settled on the nape of her neck. Her nostrils flared as she breathed in his heavy musk.
She didn't dare turn away. She could sense Josh's anger.
Then, she thought about the promotion Trent was promised but overlooked when the position became open. Slowly, she half turned but averted Josh's gaze.
"I don't think Trent means anything by it. He's just upset things aren't going well for him at the moment. He's a good person, believe me."
Even while the words rushed from her mouth, they crackled, and landed hollow as Josh shook his head and frowned.
He sighed, "You're too nice, too trusting, too believing, and it's going to cost you dearly one day."
This wasn't the first time Josh stood listening to her words. He thought he knew women pretty well. He'd met some who were loyal. A few, to a fault, and took the endearing quality to another level.
He felt Taylor was in the latter category. They were blinded when it came to seeing the character flaws in people they loved. It was apparent from the day he met Taylor. He didn't have to wonder. She told him straightaway. He thought she was kidding, but the look in her eyes scared him.
However, it wasn't until he met her family that he put the pieces together concerning her and Trent's relationship. Apparently, they were inseparable in high school and collage. Then a breakup occurred when Trent suddenly moved away.
Several years later, he returned. According to their family, it was as if they'd never parted. No matter who was in their lives, it was them against the world. They rejoiced in it. No, they relished in it as though only they had a secret no one else shared.
Seeing her completely melt down whenever a situation erupted concerning Trent worried him deeply. It was as though she shouldered the sole responsibility for his issues. But it was her excuses for his behavior she attempted to justify afterward. It didn't sit well with him. Something wasn't right. He just couldn't pinpoint what that worry entailed.
Looking back, he knew this day would come. He held it at bay as long as he could. But the uneasiness was overtaking him. He felt their relationship was draining and dragging him down. He just couldn't figure out why. And Taylor wouldn't ease his foreboding.
He didn't even understand know why he responded so quickly when she summoned. Just like tonight. He felt that she didn't want his opinion or advice. She never heeded it. She only needed someone with which to share Trent's most recent escapade.
He felt like a counselor advising a couple. However, this time, he hadn't prepared any words of solace.
From across town, he abandoned his own friends. But it was already settled in his mind and heart. He knew this would be the last time. He needn't gather any of his wardrobe. His access to her apartment was merely for checking in when she was away on business. In fact, his access to her didn't seem like an ordinary relationship.
He canvassed the living room. No need to know why she was anxiously staring out the window. In reality, he didn't want to know. But, he waited for her to continue. Trent's latest escapade must have been particularly troublesome.
"If all I have to do is spend a few hours at the detail shop," Taylor mumbled, then turned puffy-eyed fully towards Josh, "then it's worth it to have peace of mind." Trembling hands grasped, then balled into a fist while ruffling the curtain to hold back tears and intermittent thumping of her chest. Long lashes couldn't hold back the single tear that dropped onto her cheek.
To Taylor, friendship meant her very existence. And she believed without question Trent was the truest friend she was lucky to call her own these past five years.
"Peace of mind!" Josh shouted. then hung his head. No more, he thought.
He knew this as he knew one day he'd get the call, so he lumbered slowly over to the hall table. He glanced at the tray imprinted with a photo collage of Taylor, Trent, and their families on vacation. With one loud thud, the tray caught and secured his set of keys as if nodding its understanding and approval.
Returning them was the only way to shield himself from later.
He hated doing it, but she left him no other choice. Making a deal with the devil never ends well. Apparently, she valued Trent's friendship over their relationship.
Taylor didn't respond to Josh's outburst. She stood silently as though mesmerized and couldn't believe his tone. Was he actually threatening to leave? she wondered. She quickly studied his face, then glanced toward the window, alternating in rapid succession as though trying to resolve internally a choice she didn't want to make.
Josh watched in disappointment, but not disbelief, as she turned fully toward the window.
Taylor shut her eyes tightly as she heard the echo of the door slam shut.
For a second, she wondered if she should cry. Instead, a slight sigh escaped.
Happy rest of the week everyone with whatever your endeavors.
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