“Ben, why did you bring Gloria with you?” Katie tried again to approach the one topic that terrified her. “I know you care about me, and yet you carried on with her as if you cared about no one.”
He knew they had to finish this conversation, but thought carefully before choosing his words. The way he would answer her question was going to affect them in either a good way, or in the worst case, destroy their closeness. “Sweetheart, the truth is that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I’ve tried telling you that. In that way, I’m no different than Cue. But I can’t wait and watch you sort of be with him. Look, we’re both single, and yet I feel like I’ve fallen for a married woman. It seems like we have to sneak a few moments here and there when no one is looking, and I don’t want to do it anymore. I love you, and I love Cue. This is a real problem for both of us, but if it can’t get resolved, I need to be a whole man which means being with a woman now and then.” He squeezed her hand and continued. “I love you, so instead of looking for love with another woman, I enjoy a short term fling now and then. I don’t mean to hurt you, Katie, but I need a full life. Now, as for Gloria. If you’d been waiting for me, she never would have stepped foot,” he laughed, “or heel on these grounds. Do you understand me, Katie? I’d give up all the beautiful women in the world, if you‘d tell me that we could be together.”
“Do you mean that, Ben?” She had tears in her eyes. “Because I can’t stand it any longer either, and know that it’s time to tell him. He’ll be angry with both of us, so I need you to be ok with it. You’ll lose a friend, Ben. Can you live with that?”
He drove, her words echoing in his head. “I’ll have to live with it, because the alternative is living without you, and that’s too painful to think of. Up to now, you’ve been out of reach, and yet, I’ve been hopeful that we could figure out how to be together.” He took her hand in his. “I’m excited about this becoming a reality. Let’s make our trip one that we’ll remember, Katie. There are museums and art galleries in Virginia City, and there’s a bar that has bulls for bar stools. You have to mount them and it’s not easy.”
They saw the sign welcoming them into Virginia City only minutes before hearing a loud noise from Jimmy’s truck. They were close enough to town, so Ben continued to drive until he spotted a gas station.
“Well, mister, you’re lucky you got it here in one piece. She’s got a broken axle, so you’re not going to be driving her anymore today.” The attendant went to the phone and called his supplier. When he came back, he didn’t look happy. “I can have the part here by tomorrow afternoon, then another hour to have her fixed up for you. I can give you an estimate, if you wait a few minutes.” He was watching a customer at the gas pump. “I need to take their money and then I’ll tally your bill.”
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