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  • It's hard to remember the exact moment that I realized this new board game of love I had uncovered went terribly wrong. But that's by design. Her design.

    People like her don't always recognize what they have, much like someone with alcoholism. They act out of instinct and out of survival. And so it was the first night I received a taste of how she really was.

    We had been friends and dated on the surface for a few weeks. That night we returned to the place where we had met - the sportsbar. The crowd was anticipating the moment when the karaoke would begin, signaling the thumbs up to many people who were quite bluntly, thumbs down. Alcohol plus bad singing always equals laughter, so it was fun for awhile.

    As the singing wrapped up, Lauren returned a few glances to a table of guys who had been looking at her throughout the evening. We were chuckling at them. Although none of them got up to sing, they didn't need to. They were legends in their own minds already. Without any warning, Lauren walked over to the table and started up a lengthy conversation with they guys, obviously inebriated, and then tried on one of the guy's leather jackets. She looked back at me to see if I was looking and I knew the game was afoot. Only I wasn't going to play this game.

    I walked over to the table of guys, said my hi's and told Lauren I was going to leave. Since I had brought her, it was my signal that it was time to take her home. She nodded and turned back to the table, so I asked her how she would get home. She had children at home and I felt it my unspoken duty to ensure her safety. Instead of complying with reason, she pulled away from me, put the jacket back on and started laughing.

    I went back to our table, finished my drink, and reflected on the best course of action. This was not going to end well, either way. I paid the check and walked back to the table. I wished the guys at the other table a good night, told Lauren I was leaving and reminded her about her kids. One guy said he would take her home, which didn't help the situation - both in the short-term or long-term. This was going horribly wrong.

    Admittedly pissed, I left the bar weighing the pro's and con's. A woman I had began to develop feelings for was now focusing on guys she barely knew. Ouch. On the positive side, it was early enough that I could cut my losses. I was focused more on the cons. I had never seen this side of Lauren. And it sucked.

    As I was backing out of the parking spot, the car door opened and it was Lauren. She asked me where I was going and I told her home. She asked if something was wrong, almost as though she had no idea what had just occurred. Was it the beer? Was this truly a game she played with men? Confused, I offered to take her home.

    She told me she didn't want me to take her home. She wanted to stay and have more fun. I reminded her of her children and that if she wanted to stay she could, but that I was going to head home regardless. She teased about me becoming jealous and then in a sudden twist, she began to caress my thigh. She asked me if I was jealous and if I was, what was I going to do about it. I pushed her hand away (I know, what guy does that, right!?) and motioned that she might want to go back in the bar and sync back up with her friends.

    Hurtful in appearance, she put her hand back on my leg and apologized for her behavior. She said she did want me to take her home, but she wanted us to stop at one place beforehand...

    Women have this gift and this woman had lots of gift giving abilities. Before I realized what had happened (blame it on the beer) I was forgiving her transgressions in exchange for her offers to have sex. When we got back to my bedroom, although drunk, I was looking forward to some foreplay and intimacy. It was our first time after all. So as I began to kiss her and touch her body, she wouldn't let me take her shirt off, and she insisted that there be minimal foreplay because she had to hurry up and get home.

    Sex. That was all it was. It wasn't making love. It was fucking. Hollow, empty, unsatisfying sex. But within this night, somehow, I had become a fish on the hook. This woman had been hurt. She had been scarred. She "needed" someone, a guy like me to rescue her and show her that not all men are out to hurt. That men do desire intimacy and to know someone on a deeper level. I didn't realize until years later that her actions were revealing something pushed down inside of me. My own insecurities or my needs to satisfy others before myself. I was allowing myself to walk into the trap.

    It was that night, which I wouldn't realize until much later, that I didn't just go to jail that night. I went straight to Hell in my Monopoly coupe. And the game was just beginning.
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