(Continued from last issue)
David and Diane have been married for years; then there is Julie, the young secretary whose axis collides with the couple’s in ways none of them saw coming.
When I got to the flat and let myself in, I quickly realized Julie was not home. Where was she?
Out having lunch with another man as well? After catching Diane with Mark, anything seemed possible, and since I was alone in the flat, I snooped around, looking for any sign that another man had been there.
I found nothing, but discovered her sister’s things in the second bedroom, and since she was not in the flat either, I breathed a sigh of relief as I guessed Julie was with her, and not another man, after all.
My guess was proven accurate a few minutes later when I heard a car pull into the parking lot below, and saw her and Sandra climb out of a cab, their hands laden with shopping bags. What is it with women and shopping?
Must be a universal gender affliction. Even from my distance, I could see her confusion and apprehension as she spotted my car and stopped in her tracks. Sandra, on the other hand, was excited to see it; she had always been the more outgoing of the two sisters, and it was her who bounded ahead and came through the apartment door first.
“David! It’s so good to see you again!” she greeted me happily.
“Thanks Sandra; it’s good to see you too. How was school?”
“Hard!” she groaned with mock exaggeration, just as Julie finally arrived on the landing behind her. She looked exhausted, but nervous and unsure at the same time, and I was reminded of the girl-like lady I had fallen in love with, who always made me feel the urge to embrace, reassure and protect her.
It was exactly how she was making me feel now.
“Hi,” I greeted her softly, hoping to put her at ease with my gentle tone.
“Hi,” she answered uncertainly, still not making any move to come inside.
“Let me go put those away,” Sandra piped up and relieved Julie of her bags, before making a quick exit down the hall, clearly sensing we needed some time alone.
“You look tired; why don’t you come in and sit down?” I suggested to Julie once Sandra was gone.
She did so hesitantly, but didn’t lower her guard.
“What are you doing here?” she demanded suspiciously.
“I came to see you.”
“In the middle of a workday! Why?
What has happened?”
“Nothing,” I lied. I did not want to tell her about Diane just yet. I did not want her to think that was the only reason I had come – even though it probably was.
Even though David insisted he had simply come to see me, after his prolonged silence, his sudden appearance – in the middle of the workday at that, convinced me there was something else going on. I studied him carefully, looking for any sign of what it might be, but he maintained a casual, almost gentle demeanor that gave nothing away.
“What do you want then? You could not have left work in the middle of the day just to see me,” I insisted.
“You’re right. I didn’t just come to see you – I came to make love to you,” he declared boldly.
I was so taken aback by his blunt statement that for a few seconds I just stared at him, before finally finding my voice.
“So that you can just get up, leave and disappear once again, for goodness knows how long, once you’re done? No thanks!”
I snapped angrily, blinking back the angry tears that had filled my eyes as I remembered how he had left the last time we made love, and how much it had hurt when he did not return week after week.
“I’m not going to leave this time.”
I was sure I had not heard him right.
“What do you mean you’re not going to leave? What about Diane?” I challenged.
“We’re not talking about Diane now; we’re talking about you and me, and how I want to make love to you,” he answered calmly.
I was almost scared to believe him; how long had I waited to hear him say he would stay? And now that he was finally saying it, it felt unreal, like a dream that I would soon be cruelly woken up from.
“Don’t play with me, David,” I pleaded.
In response, he got up, and coming to me, pulled me to my feet, so that he was looking me straight in the eye.
“I’m not playing, Julie,” he answered quietly, but firmly. I believed him.
Back at the boutique, I was glad to find a note from Tracy saying she had gone to another branch and did not think she would be back today.
I was not up to her questions about what had happened and her inevitable ‘I told you so’ once I told her. I was not able to focus on work either; had David gone back to the office, or had he gone home instead, unable to focus on work either?
Was he right now at the house waiting for me in a rage, or throwing my things out? The children were home on holiday; had he said anything to them?
These were the questions that swirled through my mind, and I finally gave up on pretending to work, and headed home. The closer I got to home, the more my sense of trepidation grew; so, by the time I got to the start of the driveway, my heart was literally pounding out of my chest.
Only when I saw no sign of David’s car was I finally able to let out a shaky sigh of relief. He was not home yet; so, I was not locked out of the house, my bags were not being packed, and my name was not being slandered to my children – yet.
I knew the relief was only temporary, and that it would soon be replaced by another form of torment – the fearful wait for his return.
But for now, I could breathe. I took a moment to compose myself, then forcing a smile, left the car to go in and see the children.