~ Unknown Factor ~
Disclaimer: This is an alternative story. This is a sequel to Infrequent Liaisons which is a sequel to Your Weakness Is Me. It's now necessary to read the others to understand this one.
Love/Sex Warning: Not so much in this one.
Thanks: To idle time.
Write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Morgan and Lacey had been friends for years. Actually, they were best friends but neither of them could remember exactly how they got that way. After being just casual acquaintances who had met through a mutual friend their relationship had evolved into a great friendship and neither had ever thought twice about it. They were a good match, as far as friendships go. They had the same temperament, the same outstanding presence, the same basic outlook on life, and the same sense of honor that bound them to each other in a relationship of genuine honesty and everlasting loyalty.
If known for nothing else, their friendship was known to the world as one of loyalty. They had grown up together and knew each other's secrets. They were each other's confidant even in times when keeping secrets might have been best. There was no holding back when it came to confessing to each other their sins and their was no judgment ever given to the confessed.
Yes, they had a true friendship that had not been ruined over time or diminished with distance or the lack thereof. But taking all this into consideration, it came to no surprise to Lacey that Morgan had not shared with her the greatest secret she kept. Lacey knew, as best friends often do, that Morgan was hiding something and if Morgan really wanted her to know then she would know. Some secrets are better kept hidden, and this secret that Lacey had unwittingly discovered by just walking into Morgan's office--an act she had done at least a thousand times before--was certainly something that should have stayed hidden.
Lacey did not want to be the first one to be the co-carrier of Morgan's secret or in more appropriate terms the co-carrier of Morgan and Tamera's secret. This was something she didn't want to know and was something she shouldn't need to know, but for some reason powers greater than her had made her the discoverer of that which was hidden and she now was a part of their long-term lie.
When she turned her gray eyed gaze to Morgan's brilliant blue she was not in the least bit surprised to find relief there. Finally someone else knew what was going on. Finally they could be found out and not have to carry the burdens of their lie any longer. Maybe Lacey would tell Nathan about what she had seen. Maybe she would tell Kevin as well. Maybe she would just tell anyone who cared to know about it. Maybe she would free them.
Tamera stood in the room, close to Morgan but far enough away to maintain 'friendship' distance. She did this almost unconsciously, so practiced she was at the fine art of maintaining the lie. She knew Lacey, had met her and dined with her, but she didn't know her well enough to know if she would tell her husband what she had been doing behind his back. The blonde very much wished that Lacey would.
"Are we still going to lunch?"
"Is that all you have to say?" Morgan was disillusioned if she believed that Lacey would react in any other way. Often Lacey was accused of lacking passion, but a more appropriate description would be 'not lacking tact'. The dark skinned woman would not speak before she took her time to think about what it was she could and was going to say. Her words were always very calculated only adding to the importance of them because they came in rarity. When Lacey spoke people knew to listen.
"What is it you want me to say, Morgan?" Lacey knew it was always safe to answer a question with a question especially when what she wanted to say would only make a bad situation worse. In all truth, she was disgusted by what she had seen. Her disapproval burned deep within her chest making her want to lash out with harsh words.
"Are you going to tell Nathan?" Tamera wanted to know this more than anything. Her dread and joy at the possibility was overwhelming her.
Lacey and Nathan were nothing but mere acquaintances even though they had known each other for a very long time. Lacey had always understood that a person could not split their loyalties and remain true to both those who they claimed their loyalty to. Morgan had already won Lacey's friendship and Nathan had always understood that no matter the situation Lacey would only hold Morgan's secrets and stay true to Morgan's wishes despite the fact he had known Lacey for as long as Morgan. He would often chalk their special friendship up to being a woman's bond, something he could never understand. It probably made it easier for him to think of that way instead of the alternative, which was his sister needed someone else to confide in because he wasn't good enough.
"Do you want me to tell Nathan?"
Neither women standing across from her could bring themselves to answer, even though it was clear they wanted to shout out that they would want nothing more than for Nathan to be told, that they wanted nothing more than to be free from the burden of their lie; and Lacey didn't need them to answer her question because she already knew what the response would be if they could just bring themselves to say it. Just looking at them she could tell that they were tired of hiding and were fast approaching their breaking point.
How long had this been going on? How long were they able to go without being caught, especially with the chances they were taking? How smart were they that they could play their game of deceit and lies and not have anyone notice or anyone suspect? Did anyone suspect?
Lacey surely had. She had known that Morgan was keeping a secret. She had known that it was eating away at her friend day by day and yet she had done nothing to try and help Morgan at all. She had never asked Morgan if she needed help dealing with whatever it was she was keeping so closely guarded.
Why was that? Why was it that Lacey couldn't approach her best friend and ask if she needed help with this burden that was weighing her down? Could she have been afraid that whatever Morgan would confess would be too difficult for her to carry as well? Could it be that this was the thing that would break Lacey's loyalty?
"What are you thinking?" Morgan was bold to ask her friend this at such a time, because Lacey's words would be unchecked. They would be spontaneous and without the control they she held onto so tightly.
"I'm thinking that this disgusts me."
"I didn't know you were homophobic," Morgan was sure that this wasn't what caused Lacey to be disgusted but it was the only think she could defend with a modicum of righteousness.
Lacey shook her head. "I'm not," her voice was soft. "You know that better than anyone. I'm disgusted by the betrayal of it all."
"We never meant to," Tamera's argument quickly died. She didn't have the energy to try and defend her intentions anymore.
"I'm sure you didn't." Lacey's voice was oddly comforting. "No one really ever does."
"Are you going to tell Nathan?" Morgan brought forth the unanswered question again.
"He called me earlier today," Lacey directed at Tamera. "I'm sure you know what about."
Tamera did know. Actually, she had come in Morgan's office to tell her what Nathan had probably shared with Lacey. Morgan needed to know and she needed to know before Nathan told her so that her reaction could be rehearsed.
"What's going on?" Morgan asked the blonde gently.
There was only silence as Tamera's response. She didn't know how to tell Morgan. She didn't know how to deal with it herself. Luckily Lacey came to her rescue. "She's pregnant. Nathan is on his way over here with a big assortment of roses. He's going to take his wife out to lunch to celebrate and he wanted me to get you in the same restaurant so that they could tell you together. He's very happy."
Well Tamera always did want children, and that was something that Morgan could never give her. Nathan and Tamera were married and had been for over five years and they both wanted a family that involved children. It was a good time for them right now. They both had great jobs and were very secure in their lives. Their marriage was strong, or so it seemed to everyone including Nathan.
"Congratulations," Morgan was being genuinely sincere. "I know how much you wanted children."
"I would rather just have you," Tamera's response was just as sincere.
Well they did love each other, Lacey couldn't deny that. "Where do you go from here?"
"This has to be the last time." They spoke in unison and for some reason Lacey didn't believe them.
Nathan entered the office then. He carried roses and balloons and wore a big smile on his face. He went up to his wife and kissed her passionately letting his joy come through in his touch. He was a man in love. He was a man that had just been told he was going to be a father and he was happy. He was happier than he'd ever been.
Morgan just looked on with a smile firmly planted on her face. She looked like the happy soon-to-be aunt. She was playing the game now and feeding into the lie slipping into her role so easily now that she didn't even have to think twice about it. They would all go out and have a nice lunch. They would laugh and joke. They would appear to be one happy family and for right now Lacey would play along.
She was the new player in this game and no one knew what action she would decide to take. There was always the chance she would tell Nathan, she had never said she wouldn't. She was the new unknown factor in this game that had been going on and she had the power to end it. She had the power to end it all and ruin everyone that was a part of it.
Continued In Blind Charade
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