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Three is a crowd: Of housemaid economics and yielding secretaries

David, Julie and Diane share different spaces in one another’s lives, yet their worlds collide on an axis none of them saw coming.

DAVID

I had been so tied up in meetings all day that I had not managed to have lunch, and was starving!

I had stomped off to the kitchen to find the pizza, and found two measly pieces of the soggiest, most unappetizing pizza I had ever seen.

“That’s what you’re calling dinner!” I had fumed, and rather than show some remorse, Diane had snapped back: “I fired the maid and was too tired to cook.”                       

“Why fire the maid if you know you can’t manage the home without her?” I retorted, my hunger and fatigue making me particularly irritable.                

“Maybe if you were here more, I would, but you’re not; so, you should be the last person to talk!” she had shouted, then ran upstairs in tears.                       

As the memory of it came back, so did my anger, and in one swift movement I opened the car door and climbed out. I was ready to take Julie to dinner.

DIANE

When I told David I had fired the maid, to explain that this was not business as usual, he had added insult to injury by practically calling me a failure at running a home.                        

I am a naturally competitive person, and success matters a lot to me; it is important for me to have a successful marriage, career and family, and David knew this, which is why his barb was especially cruel - he had hit where he knew it would hurt the most.                                                      

This had been the proverbial last straw, and I had fled to the privacy of our bedroom, so he would not see me break down. I need not have bothered though, because a few minutes later, I heard the front door slam, and his car start up again as he left.

JULIE

I still was not done with the reports when David arrived.

“Mr Mujuni, you’re welcome; I’m sorry your reports aren’t quite ready, but I’ll be done with them in a few minutes. Can I get you a cup of coffee while you wait?” I offered nervously, worried he might complain to Mark.   

“No problem, I’m not in a hurry; and a cup of coffee would be great, thanks,” he smiled reassuringly, setting my mind at ease that my job was safe - for now. So, I hurried to the small kitchenette at the back to prepare the coffee, and returned a few minutes later with it.             

David was going through his phone when I got back, but he put it away as I set the tray down in front of him.

“Thank you Julie,” he thanked me softly, and because I was bent over when he said it, he was so close, I actually felt his breath pass over my forehead. 

Straightening up quickly, I backed away; “You’re welcome; I’ll just go finish those reports for you now,” I said, my face flushed, as I suddenly became very aware of his presence, and how close we were - too close for comfort.                                                   

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