top of page

Indulgence: Prologue

PROLOGUE                 The motorcycle slowed to a halt. Vincent maneuvered it into a parking space adjacent to the entrance of the Olive Garden. It was a Tuesday night, so business was slow, giving him his choice of parking spaces. He pushed down the kickstand and held his Gold Wing steady as Bonnie got off. She removed her helmet and shook her wind-tangled locs free. She untied the knot in the bottom of her maxi dress that kept it from being caught in the wheels and rubbed the wrinkles out of the fabric. It was a nice night, so she pulled off her short sweater, throwing it over her forearm, the lights from the parking lot making her seem to glow in the night. Vincent sat still, enjoying her beauty. Even in moments as simple as this, she was breathtaking. He was grateful to be able to spend time in her presence again. He didn’t spend too much time in admiration of her, though, because he was on a mission. Getting off the bike, he removed his helmet and extended his hand in a motion that said, ‘after you’. He knew that he was slightly taking advantage of her. If she weren’t hurting, her mind and emotions all in disarray after the custody hearing today, he would’ve never gotten the chance to explain himself. He had been trying to call her since he’d seen her leaving his house last weekend, but she hadn’t taken his calls or responded to his texts. He’d fought the urge to show up at her door because he knew she had enough to deal with in preparing to fight her ex-husband, Keith, for custody of Zion. As they walked up to the door, helmets snuggled under their arms; he took a few swift steps so that he was far enough ahead of her to open the door for her. She smiled her thank you and walked up to the Hostess counter. He lagged behind a bit, this time, watching her small frame and the way that the fabric of the maxi dress hugged and released her figure as she moved. Everything about her was perfect. From the toned back and shoulders, exposed by the razor cut of the dress’ back, to her small waist, hips slightly spread from carrying a child, to her round, soft behind. She turned from a conversation with the Hostess, Joy, a well-aging light-skinned woman with freckles and a perfectly tamed bob haircut sprinkled with silver strands, and giggled, catching him admiring her. “Vince,” she asked, calmly, trying not to embarrass him anymore than he’d already embarrassed himself, ‘Honey, I asked if you wanted a table, booth, or to sit at the bar.” Vincent walked swiftly to the Hostess counter and smiled at Bonnie and Joy. “Booth, please,” he responded. Both women exchanged a glance and giggled. “Follow me, please,” Joy, the Hostess, said, still giggling. She escorted the couple to a booth by the window and placed their menus on the table beside the green cloth-wrapped silverware. “Your server will be Rachel. She’ll be with you shortly,” Joy announced. She shot Bonnie one more womanly glance, saying so much without saying anything at all, and returned to her post at the door. “Enjoy the view?” Bonnie teased, trying to keep the mood light. “Very much,” Vincent said his voice filled with sincerity. “Bonnie, I missed you so…” “How are you guys doing tonight?” Rachel, a thick, brunette server with a round face full of life and gentle eyes greeted them, interrupting Vincent. “We’re doing well, thank you,” Bonnie responded, happy for the interruption. She wasn’t ready to hear Vincent’s explanation just yet. “Awesome! My name is Rachel and I’ll be your server tonight. Would you all like to try a sample of our house wine, it’s…” “No, ma’am,” Bonnie stopped her; “I would like a bottle of Lambrusco, please. Vince?” She looked at him, waiting for him to place his drink order. She didn’t mean to come across as rude, but she was in a hurry to get some alcohol in her system. “I’ll have a Peach Bellini Tea, please,” Vincent ordered. “And two glasses of water, please, with light ice,” Bonnie added. “Coming right up,” Rachel responded, “did you want to go ahead and place an appetizer order?” She hadn’t missed a beat with Bonnie’s cutting her off, much to Bonnie’s relief. “Yes, may we have the sampler?” Vincent asked, looking at Bonnie to see if she wanted something else. She smiled her approval. A nervous smile that made her look like a child who had something to tell her parents that they knew would end in punishment. Vincent could tell that she was a ball of nerves. He hated to see her like this. It awakened his maleness. He wanted to fix it and was filled with frustration at the knowledge that there was nothing he could do. His knowing that he was part of the cause filled him with even more guilt. He should have told her about Saundra but he hadn’t known how. He never expected Bonnie to pop up at his house. They hadn’t spoken in weeks, both of their schedules being so hectic. Hers with the custody battle, work, and Zion. Him with his new contract, his regular patients, his family, and, of course, Saundra and her pregnancy. He had just gotten off the phone with her attorney, Karrie, when he turned onto his street and saw Bonnie sitting at the stop sign. Her face was filled with hurt and confusion as she exited his street. He’d been furious with Saundra when she’d told him what happened. He was becoming angry again, just thinking about it. Vincent took deep breaths to calm himself. He and Bonnie were both sitting there, silently, caught up in their individual thoughts when Rachel returned with their drinks, the glasses of water, and their appetizer. His knowledge of the human body made him appreciate her ability to balance the large, circular brown tray between her shoulder, head, and neck. She sat it down on the stand and poured Bonnie a glass of wine. Placing the bottle back in the iced bucket, she placed their salad and breadsticks on the table and, at Bonnie’s request, grated almost an entire block of cheese on top of it. They placed their orders, Vincent choosing the Chicken Marsala and Bonnie requesting the Steak Gorgonzola with extra Gorgonzola sauce. When Rachel walked away, Bonnie took Vincent’s plate and filled it with salad. She pulled two breadsticks from their bowl and placed it on the side of the salad plate. “Which of these would you like?” She asked, picking up another plate and motioning towards the appetizers sitting in the middle of the table. “A little bit of everything, please,” Vincent answered, watching, in complete awe, as she made his plates before she even thought to feed herself. This woman, he thought to himself, a smirk on his face, she’s rare, indeed. He knew that she was just doing what came naturally to her. However, she would spoil a man by just being herself. It bothered him that she was so unappreciated by so many. She placed the appetizer plate in front of him and began preparing her own food. Vincent seized the opportunity. “Bon,” he started, “I know what happened the other night when you came to see me.” “Do you, Vince?” She asked, never looking up from the task at hand. “Yes,” he responded, “I know that Saundra told you that we’re engaged and the baby that she’s carrying is mine. But…” “Did she leave out the part about having a gun pointed at me? And why are you saying ‘Saundra told me’ as if what she said was untrue?” Bonnie asked, observing Vincent’s choice of words. “It’s not true, Bon,” he explained, “and what gun? There aren’t any guns in my house.” Bonnie laughed aloud. Let the lies and bullshit commence, she thought to herself. “You may wanna check under your fiancée’s pillow when you get home, Hun,” Bonnie said, her words shooting sarcastically from her mouth. “There was definitely a fuckin’ gun pointed at me when I walked into your house last Friday.” She began stabbing at her salad and shoved a forkful of lettuce into her mouth. As she chewed, her eyes met Vincent’s for the first