A Soft Place to Land: Chapter Twenty-Four (Part Three)

Marah wrenched her arm from Jonathan’s grasp and stepped back, “What has gotten into you?”

Not put off in the slightest by Marah’s attitude, Jonathan just moved back into her space, “Marah Do you want to tell me why Tony has been blowing up my phone for the past ten minutes?”

“Not particularly.” Marah responded while reaching out for the glass of water Richard had returned with. “And I would appreciate you being like Switzerland for the time being.” Marah chugged the water greedily then handed the empty cup to Jonathan, “Now I am going to go have a good time and I suggest the same.  Your date is looking a bit lonely.”

Jonathan watched Marah take Richard’s hand in hers and lead him back to the dance floor, her laugh clearly audible over the music.  If he didn’t know her he would think she was actually happy, but there was something there behind those expressive eyes of hers.  Something that drove her to this hold in the wall bar and had her slamming tequila.  And he could bet it had something to do with the irate phone messages he had received from Tony. “Switzerland my ass,” Jonathan pulled out his phone and hit redial.  Marah may have wanted him to stay out of it but Marah wasn’t acting like herself.  And judging by the way she was acting with that Salas character it was possible she was going to make some serious bad decisions.  Jonathan waited until Tony picked up on the other end of the phone and hoped he made the right decision.

***

At the sound of his cell phone ringing Tony whipped his car to the side of the road, “Hey Jonathan! I am looking for Marah, have you seen her?”  He listened as Jonathan answered.  And if Tony didn’t already feel like his world was collapsing around him Jonathan’s answer would have done the job.  “The Roadhouse?  You sure?”  Tony held the phone away from his ear as Jonathan barked out his answer.  “Just checking.  I will be there in five.”

Tony hung up the phone and checked that no cars were coming before pulling a U-turn.  He stepped on the gas as he headed towards the outskirts of Springfield.  And he hoped like hell Marah would hear him out before she decided to end them for good.

***

This day had been a series of highs and lows, and Marah was currently enjoying the upswing.  Richard’s arms were wrapped around her as they danced, but he was the perfect gentleman.  He didn’t let his hands stray below her waist and he looked at her eyes and not at her bust line.  Plus, he smelled good.  His cologne was a spicy musky scent that wasn’t overpowering.  And last but not least, like a balm to her injured heart he made her laugh.  “So do you miss the bright lights of New York?”

Richard tightened his arms marginally around her and smiled flirtatiously, “Oh I don’t know, Springfield has its share of fine points too.”

Marah felt her face heat and it wasn’t from the alcohol.  There was no denying that Richard Salas was a good-looking man.  And in some ways he reminded her of Tony.  The tanned skin that spoke of her Hispanic heritage, those deep brown eyes that were like melted chocolate, and that sly grin that made a woman think of tangled sheets and hot passionate nights.  But he didn’t make her heart flutter like Tony managed to do just by walking in a room.  She raised her hands to his chest and moved marginally backwards, “Richard I have had a good time tonight but I-”

Richard halted the flow of words by lowering his head and pressing his lips against hers.

Marah waited for something to happen.  A flutter or a spark would have been welcome, but she felt nothing.  She moved out of his arms and took a deep breath.  Intending to let him down gently she smiled in an attempt to soften the blow, “Richard I-”

But the words ended as a fist came from behind her and knocked Richard to the floor.  Whirling around she Tony, his face a ask of fury. “Don’t you ever touch my wife again!”

From the floor Richard smirked as he wiped the blood from his upper lip.  “Perhaps she wanted to be touched.”

Tony gritted his teeth and made an attempt to charge forward when Marah and Jonathan stepped between them. “Come on Tony. We need to go.” Looking behind Tony she saw the bouncers making their way through the crowd toward them.  Hoping to avoid a further scene she pulled on his arm, “Come on.”

Tony allowed Marah to pull him toward the exit but he kept his eyes locked with Richard’s.  And he watched the smirk turn into a full-on smile.  He enjoyed the scene he caused.  Tony wanted to charge back in there and pound on the other man’s face but he had bigger fish to fry.  Right then Marah wasn’t spewing hell fire at him but he knew that it was only a matter of time.

***

Tristan grabbed her purse and weaved her way through the gawkers.  The people who had stopped to stare at the drama that played out on the dance floor.  Reaching Jonathan’s side she leaned up to kiss his cheek, “You sure know how to show a girl a good time Randall.”

Jonathan rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment. “Sorry about that.  But I knew something like this was going to happen.”

Tristan spared a look at the man behind Jonathan’s back.  The man who had risen from the ground and now stood at the bar.  Women always like a bad boy and Richard was currently surrounded like a regal king and his subjects.  He lifted his drink in a salute.  Mission accomplished.  Focusing back on Jonathan she smiled, “Maybe next time less aggression though.”

Jonathan leaned down and whispered in her ear, “Oh I don’t know, I like a girl with some spirit.”

Tristan smiled saucily and walked towards the door, “Maybe I will show you my spirit, guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

***

Tony and Marah rode home in silence but the tension between them was thick.  So thick Marah almost felt like the oxygen had been sucked out of the vehicle.  They had left her car behind at the Roadhouse parking lot, there was no way that Marah could drive with the amount of liquor she had consumed.  So even when they got to their home there was no escape from what was coming.  And as each minute passed the fog that had sufficiently clouded Marah’s memory began to lift.  And with it came the anger.

Tony pulled in their driveway and shut the car off.  They sat silently listening to the car engine click as it cooled before Tony turned to face Marah in the passenger seat, “Do you have any idea how worried I was tonight?  You didn’t come home Marah.  You didn’t even call.”

Marah shrugged a shoulder as if she didn’t care that she had him in a panic all night, “I didn’t want to come home.  I am a big girl, deal with it.”  She opened her door and got out, slamming the door behind her.  As she marched up the walk to the front door she heard Tony get out and follow.

“Listen I stopped by your studio.  I know what you saw and I can explain.”

Marah whirled on Tony and poked a finger in his sternum, “Oh you can explain huh?  Explain how you cheated on me with Eden August not once but twice!”

Tony opened his mouth and closed it before trying again, “You remembered something?”

Marah laughed humorously as she unlocked the door, “Yeah, my first memory is of you screwing someone else.  Seems like I have lived that story before.” Marah lifted her finger to tap against her lip as if she were thinking.  Then mockingly said, “Oh that’s right, Catalina was a rebound was she not?”  She walked through the door and without a backwards glance walked up the stairs.  Over her shoulder she called back, “I am too drunk and too tired to even entertain your pathetic excuses tonight.  But if you are smart, which is debatable, you will park yourself on the couch tonight.”

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