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.
I was relieved to see Diane’s car in the driveway when I got to the house; at least she had not been in an accident or anything like that. However, this relief was short-lived, as moments later, the girls came running out to greet me – in their pajamas!
Why were they still in their PJs at this time if Diane was home?
“Daddy, Daddy,” they jumped up and down in excitement as I got out of the car.
“Hello girls,” I hugged each of them. “Where’s your mother?”
“She’s sleeping,” Stacy answered.
“She’s sick; so, we have to be very quiet and not disturb her,” Samantha added.
“Oh, I see. How about your brother?”
“He is in his room playing on his tab,” Stacy reported.
“Alright, let’s go in, and you two get changed while I check on Mummy.”
“She said no-one should disturb her,” Samantha reminded me warningly.
“I won’t disturb her; I just want to see how she’s feeling,” I promised.
Upstairs, I left them to change in their room, then moved on to Daniel’s. His door was slightly ajar and I could see him lying on the bed with his headphones on; so, I didn’t bother knocking and just walked in.
It took him a moment to notice me, and when he did, he took off his headphones so slowly he bordered on being rude, but I didn’t react.
“Hello Daniel,” I greeted him calmly.
“Hello; how come you’re not at work?” he asked coldly.
“I came to check on your mum.”
“She’s sick and doesn’t want to be disturbed.”
“So your sisters told me,” I answered coolly.
For a second it looked like he was going to argue with me, but then apparently changing his mind, he dismissively put back his headphones. I still didn’t rise to the bait and instead just left his room and headed for Diane’s.
My hangover was still raging strong when I heard David’s car on the driveway. What on earth was he doing here? I panicked. Not only did I look a mess, but I felt too awful to deal with whatever had brought him.
Moments later I heard him and the girls enter the house, then climb the stairs; his footsteps stopped briefly at their room, then moved on to Daniel’s, and finally ours. The door handle rattled as he tried to open the door, then realizing it was locked, he knocked and called out, “Diane, open up!”
“Just a second, I’m in the bathroom,” I yelled back, even though it was obvious I was in the bedroom.
“Diane, I’m serious, open this door right now!” he growled, his voice lowered so the children could not hear him.
It’s funny how a lower tone can be scarier than a raised one; so, even though my heart was racing, I reluctantly got up and let him in.
“What’s wrong with you? You look terrible!” he exclaimed as soon as he saw me.
“I’ve got a cold,” I lied, turning away.
Not convinced, he came up against my back, and sniffed.
“Goodness! You reek of alcohol!” he exclaimed in shocked disgust.
There was no point denying it; David knew me too well; “Fine; so I had a drink, so what?”
“A drink? You smell like you drank the entire brewery!”
“What do you care? You’re so busy with your little girlfriend, I’m surprised you have the time to keep tabs on what I’m drinking!”
“I care because you’re meant to be looking after my children, which you obviously aren’t doing! Did you know the girls were still in their PJs when I arrived? Do you even care?”
I was ready to take a lot from David, but not that I was a bad mother.
“After practically abandoning your children to go play house with that whore, how dare you accuse me of not looking after them!” I fumed.
“We both know why I’m not around, or have you conveniently forgotten about your own little escapades that got us here in the first place? Either way, I play my part; who pays for every single one of their needs? You?” he scoffed derisively.
“F**k off David! Just f**k off and leave me alone!” I cried, then turned to go find refuge in our bathroom, but he grabbed me before I could take more than two steps.
“You’re lucky I need to get back to work, but this is not over,” he growled in that low tone that made my heart constrict in fear, and shivers run down my spine.
He kept his grip on me for a few seconds, then released me, and turning around, walked out without another word.
Once we were done with arranging the second bedroom, Sandra insisted on helping me with mine, and I blushed at the still unmade bed with tell tale evidence on the sheets of what had gone on between them the previous night.
“I thought your doctor told you to take it slow, but it doesn’t look like you’re following his advice,” Sandra remarked, with a pointed, almost disapproving look at the disheveled sheets.
“I was about to ask how things are going between you two, but from the looks of it, things are going great.”
“Yeah, things are pretty good,” I agreed with an embarrassed smile.
“How about with his wife? Any problems there?”
Although she was probably just trying to make conversation, this felt a bit too intrusive.
“No, no problems; by the way how is Emma doing?” I asked about our brother to change the subject.
Thankfully, she took the hint; “He’s fine; I think he has a crush on our neighbour though.”
She went on to tell me all about how she constantly found him staring at the said neighbour. Stories from home kept the conversation flowing as we cleaned, and by the time we were done, I was surprised to see it was already after two.
“Goodness me, look at the time! We should be thinking of dinner, and haven’t even had lunch yet!” I exclaimed.
“You’ve done enough for one day; go sit down and relax and I’ll handle the cooking,” she offered.
“Are you sure? I don’t mind helping.”
“Of course I’m sure; just tell me what you want me to cook, and leave the rest to me.”
Although I had offered to help, the truth was I was glad Sandra had turned me down; I had always worked hard throughout my life, and a few hours of cleaning were normally no big deal, but David’s baby had totally taken over my body, and I barely recognized it anymore.
I couldn’t wait for him to get here, so I could regain some semblance of my former energy levels – but till then I was grateful to have Sandra around. As she headed into the kitchen, I made a beeline for the couch to stretch out my weary, oversized frame.