Friday, September 5, 2008

On Again by Jenna Allen

Kayla Bentley lay on her side of the king-sized bed, pining for sleep. Insomnia had rushed her last month when the separation agreement had been signed, and hadn't eased its stony grasp since. She could fall asleep on the couch easy enough, as long as the television was on, but once the station changed programming she'd awaken again and her mind would race. Those snippets of sleep only kinked her neck and had her chasing dreams that would never come true, not anymore.

As soon as she lay down on the bed they'd shared, her mind spun with promises made and broken. Sickness and health she could handle, and for better or worse had been fine, but she hadn't signed on to have Paul check out completely.

With an aggravated sigh, she threw off the covers and shuffled to the bathroom. Enough light streamed in from the streetlamps outside for her to find the taps on the garden tub and start the water flowing. She lit the jasmine candles she'd bought for their anniversary last spring. He hadn't even called that night to say he wasn't coming.

Being married to a beat cop hadn't bothered her. She worried, but got through it. When he'd made detective he'd started to retreat bit by bit, but making vice had been a clean break. He was home sometimes, but no longer there.

A collection of bath oils and bubble bath cluttered the counter. Since he'd left, she'd become quite the connoisseur. Something needed to caress her skin and ease her troubled mind, even if it was only water.

She poured a thick stream into the steaming water, the bubbles multiplying before her eyes. Baths relaxed her, but not enough to fall asleep. Soon she'd have to consider sleeping pills. But sleeping pills were what instigated her mother's prescription addiction, which in turn led Kayla to become a drug counselor. No, there had to be a better way.

She pulled her soft cotton nightgown over her head just as the phone rang. Her shoulders tensed. Calls in the middle of the night were never good. No matter the legalities, she was still a cop's wife.

Adrenaline had her answering before it rang a second time.

"It's me." Paul's voice hummed through the line, warming her like hot chocolate.