Book Tour: Leaving Barringer ( The Blackstone Family #1) by Tina Martin
Leaving Barringer ( The Blackstone Family #1)
by : Tina Martin
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Calista Blackstone has no problem playing her position as the supportive, dutiful wife of Barringer Blackstone. All she wants is a family, but after five years, she’s given up hope of actually becoming a mother – at least to Barringer’s children.
Barringer (Barry) Blackstone is too busy making money to make babies. CEO of Blackstone Financial Services Group, he’s actively working on taking his father’s company to the next level and avoids the subject of children. He’s no longer certain that he wants the added stress of trying to raise a family while growing the business. But the workaholic will learn the hard way that money should never precede family.
Calista Blackstone scanned the interior of her bedroom one last time before zipping up the large, black suitcase that rested on top of their king bed – a suitcase she had packed full of her clothes. Not all of her clothes. Just enough. The essentials. Two weeks’ worth for now. She would have to get the rest later.
Blinking back tears while feeling pressure build in her throat, she forced away memories of all the times she and Barringer had made love in this bed, although she couldn’t recall a recent instance. Then again, there was that one time a few months ago, but there was nothing memorable about that occasion. Nothing to brag about to her girlfriends if she was into that sort of thing. (She wasn’t). The intimacy, if you can call it intimacy, was cold, to-the-minute quick, sorely lacking and wham-bamish, followed by Barringer snoring loudly shortly thereafter. There was no cuddling. No, I love you. No good night kiss. No nothing. And she lay awake, yet again, staring at ceiling, wondering how they got to this point while listening to him snore like a bear in hibernation.
That memory alone was enough to push her to the door, but she drifted in thought again, forcing herself to remember some of the good times. Like when they would stay in bed all day, order takeout and go right back to bed. Or when they’d share popcorn and watch movies together in that bed. Or when she would lie against his chest while they watched football or the ten o’clock news. And what about the cool evenings when he would hold her. When he’d run his fingers through her hair while they talked about their days. When lovemaking was more than, let’s-hurry-up-and-get-this-over-with-so-I-can-go-to-sleep, but actually meant something. The memories remained, but those days of marital bliss were long gone. The shipped had sailed. The train had officially left the station.
Still, it was a struggle to go. It was easy to threaten to leave your spouse, but when it came down to it, when actions were supposed to speak louder than words, sometimes the action didn’t speak up loud enough. Calista wanted to change that. And she did.
This was the fifth time she packed a suitcase this year. Fifth. Would the fifth time be the charm? Not necessarily. There was nothing pleasant about leaving her husband. It’s not like she wanted to leave Barringer, but he wasn’t giving her much of a choice these days.
She could admit that the first time she had threatened to leave, it was just that – a threat. She hoped it would be a wake-up call for him that she wasn’t happy. It worked, for a few weeks. Barringer would come home at a decent hour, try to watch a movie with her or do something she enjoyed like going for a walk, but she could tell he had everything else on his mind besides being with her. His body was there. His mind was some place else.
The second, third and fourth attempts at leaving were legit, and they all came within
weeks of each other. Calista was pumped up and ready each time. She’d tried to build up enough courage to leave, but failed, going through the emotions of leaving. It was one thing to huff and puff and say what you were going to do. It was another actually following through with it. Could she follow through with it this time? Could she live her own life apart from Barringer? Was she not doing that already?
Back to the present attempt to leave – attempt number five…
This time would be different. Unlike those other failed attempts, she made preparations for this one. While Barringer was busy devoting his time, his life, to making deals and nursing important business relationships at Blackstone Financial Services Group, working well into the night every day of the week, she was at home planning. Strategizing. She’d gone on two job interviews (both jobs looked promising) and she went apartment shopping, finding a one-bedroom place near Kalina and Bryson’s home. She already paid the rent for the first month as well as the security deposit. The place was hers. Last week, she bought a new cell phone and attached service to it, no longer desiring to be connected to their family plan. Family plan…what a joke. She even visited some car lots. She didn’t know how Barringer would react when he found out she was really leaving this time, so she took preemptive measures to check out a few vehicles in case he flipped out and decided to take the Lexus away from her.
He very well could have. After all, the car was in his name. Registered to him. He paid for it, like he paid for everything else. It’s the way he wanted it.
Barringer was one of those ol’ school men, not in a gentlemanlike way, but in a rigid orderly way. His belief was that a man was supposed to be the breadwinner of the family. The provider. Didn’t matter that Calista had a bachelor’s degree in healthcare adminis-tration and was an intelligent woman with a bright future in her career field.
Before they married, he and Calista had come to an agreement – that instead of her pursuing a career, she would be a homemaker, the mother to their children. The dutiful wife who managed the household, cooked, cleaned, made sure bills were paid on time and any other ‘menial tasks’ (his words) he deemed out of scope for a husband. Calista agreed to forego her career to do just that. Why wouldn’t she? She was happy. In love.
Married to the man of her dreams. She’d snagged the Barringer Blackstone. A manly man, he was a little rough around the edges, but still together enough to work in corporate. He was solidly built – iron muscles, tight abs, a killer smile and tall stature. He kept his black hair cut to a shadow as well as the mustache above a set of eye-catching, irresistible lips. And the man could rock a suit like nobody’s business. He dressed nice during work and play, although nowadays, she rarely saw him in play clothes. He was strictly business. Owned more suits than she had dresses. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Barringer was a business man. A provider, like he said he’d be. But nearly six years later, Calista wasn’t the woman she wanted to be.
She wanted to be a mother, but they didn’t have any children. She wanted to be a wife, but to who? Their grand, four-thousand-square-feet home? She certainly wasn’t a wife to Barringer, her absentee husband. How could she be a wife to a man who was never there? It was like baking an apple pie with no apples. Sure, you could still bake it, but could you really call it an apple pie if you put no apples in it?
She sighed. What did she have to show for herself after six years of marriage? Not a thing. She had herself, hurt feelings and regret of putting faith in a man who didn’t hold up his end of the bargain. Well, enough was enough. She looked around again, thinking about how her new apartment was about the same size as their master bedroom. Leaving Barringer was a downgrade in her lifestyle, but that was okay. She’d survive. Funny how material things meant absolutely nothing when you had no one to share them with. When you were lonely. Depressed. Sick and tired of being taken for granted. The apartment was looking better and better.
She sat on the bed when her stomach began aching – her nerves getting the best of her. She hid her face behind her hands and blew a breath. If she could only force herself to stop thinking about it so much, she’d be gone already. Instead, she began wondering what people would think. If she actually went through with attempt number five and left Barringer, what would her parents think? His parents? Neighbors? Friends they had in common. What would happen to her relationships with her sisters-in-law, who were also her best girlfriends – Vivienne, Kalina, June and Candice? What would they say if she actually left Barringer this time?
Calista pushed out a breath. Attempt five was hard, but it had to be done. Why should she be concerned about what people thought, anyway? They didn’t have to live her miserable life. They didn’t know the pain and loneliness she felt every day. The resentment that churned deep within her soul from the lies she’d been hanging on to from the man who was supposed to love her. Leaving Barringer, her husband of six years was the hardest thing she ever had to do, but she couldn’t continue on like this – miserable and unhappy – while watching everyone around her live blissfully and in love.
Her brother-in-law, Bryson, had recently married Kalina, so they were all over each other, lovey-dovey, still in the honeymoon phase. She was happy for them, but jealous at the same time. She wanted that serendipitous feeling of being in love again. Vivienne and Garrison were days away from welcoming their first child. She wanted a child, too.
She thought about how they’d often feign happiness in public but the fake smiles and phony public displays of affection wasn’t enough glue to hold their situation together behind closed doors, at least as far as Calista was concerned. Barringer seemed to go with the flow, expend all of his time and energy in his work and pretend nothing was wrong.
She used to be the queen of pretending, but even that had worn off. She pinched tears from the corner of her eyes. Her vows meant something to her, but obviously they didn’t mean a thing to Barringer. His loyalty was aligned with protecting the interest and affairs of his father’s precious company – the company where he spent most of his days, Black-stone Financial Services Group. Everything else had to take a backseat. Even her.
Calista sniffled. She’d rode in the backseat for four of the six years they’d been married.
It was time for a change – time to upgrade to the driver’s seat – beginning now.