(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.
Kenneth was not around when David called; he had worked the afternoon shift and would be breaking off at eight, which meant he probably would not be back until nine. I did not want to call Kenneth at work, but to prevent him from getting worried and confused, I reluctantly called him.
“Hey, this is a surprise; is everything alright?”
“Uhm, yes, everything’s fine, but I’ve got to go to the apartment,” I answered, trying to sound casual, and not let on how nervous I actually was.
“How come? Did you forget something?”
“No – David called; he’s there and wants to see Junior and me.”
“At this time! What for?”
“I’m not sure; he didn’t say.”
“And you think it’s a good idea to go? Let’s not forget this is a guy who has been violent before, and I’m sure he’s not too thrilled about you being here; so, how do you know he’s not just looking for another fight?”
“He wouldn’t call me there with Junior if he wanted to fight,” I argued, but I was not sure who I was trying to convince, him or myself. I also was not sure why I did not mention that I had denied being at his place to David, or why withholding that detail from Kenneth felt so dishonest.
“Hopefully not, but I still don’t like the sound of it.”
“Don’t worry, it’ll be fine,” I assured him.
“I hope so; call me when you’re done and I’ll come pick you up.”
“Will do,” I promised, even though I knew that while I would call him, I would not let him come to the apartment and would instead meet him out of sight of the apartment’s cameras.
For now, I needed to get off the phone and on my way.
While waiting for Julie to arrive, I watched the camera footage from the time I had last been there, but there was not much to see as I realized that she had left the apartment the day the DNA test was done, and had not returned since.
The footage, however, showed that she had not been picked up, which appeared to support her claim that she had gone to her mother’s place rather than that doctor’s, but knowing that her relationship with her mother was strained, I still had my doubts.
I chose to let it go for the moment, deciding I would raise it with her in person when she arrived, and gauge her reaction for myself; if she was lying to me, I would know.
I fixed myself a cup of coffee, then settled down in the living room to await her arrival, and thankfully did not have to wait for long; despite the heavy traffic, she arrived less than an hour after I had called her.
“The last time I checked, your mother’s place was not less than an hour away,” I remarked sarcastically.
“You told me to hurry, I did,” she shrugged dismissively.
“Where have you been Julie?”
“I told you – my mother’s place,” she answered defensively, but would not look me in the eye, and I knew she was lying.
That realization left me feeling angry, betrayed, and above all taken advantage of.
“I know that’s a lie, but take a long, hard look around you; I bought everything in here, and I did it all for Junior. If those DNA results show he isn’t mine, I will kick you out so fast you won’t know what hit you, and if they show he is, you can forget about your boyfriend enjoying what I set up for my son.”
“You know Junior is yours! As for this apartment, you’ve turned it into a prison, so for all I care, you can have it!” she cried.
“Like I just said, I set it up for Junior and if he’s mine, this is where he’ll stay! Your boyfriend has given you an attitude, but you should know I guard what’s mine very jealously. Don’t try me Julie, trust me you won’t like the results,” I said warningly, my tone low and ice cold.
“I’m not scared of you!” she shot back, but I could see the fear in her eyes, and knew she was.
“You should be,” I answered coldly, then getting up, walked to the door and left.
I waited up for David until he returned as it approached ten; there was a strong scent of alcohol on his breath which surprised me because while he had said he was taking out some clients, I would not have expected him to drink as much as his breath seemed to indicate while with business associates.
Besides, he was generally a responsible person, and certainly not the kind to drink heavily and then drive, yet that was apparently exactly what he had done.
“Welcome back; looks like you had quite a night,” I remarked casually, as he fumbled to kick off his shoes.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he snarled.
“Nothing, just that you appear to have had a few drinks, so.....”
“So what? Are you my mother now? Or have you turned into Saint Teresa or something?”
Completely taken aback by his aggressive response, I did not answer him for a few seconds, and when I did, my tone was gentle and placating.
“I wasn’t complaining David; just making an observation, that’s all.”
“Well perhaps you should keep your observations on my drinking to yourself; and if my memory and own observations serve me right, you’ve had more than your fair share of drinks in the past,” he shot back cruelly.
His cruel reminder of my drinking mistakes in the past felt like a slap in the face and because I wasn’t expecting it, I was left blinking in shocked surprise, totally speechless.
To pull myself together and ease the sting, I told myself it was the alcohol talking and that he did not mean it, and would be apologizing in the morning when he sobered up.
That helped a bit, and I responded by ignoring his confrontational attitude and treating him like an impaired child instead,
“Are you hungry? I saved you some dinner,” I said.
“No! I’m going to bed,” he snapped, then headed for the stairs, with a slight stagger, leaving me alone and staring at his retreating back.