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 glad Kenneth had come round and that our relationship appeared to be back on track; I was not one to use the word ‘love’ loosely, but I definitely had very strong feelings for him and had missed him while we had been apart.
Nonetheless, I remained conscious of the time and that David would soon be there; although he and I had not been intimate since he had resumed his daily visits to the apartment, and though these visits were technically to Junior, not me, I knew he could not find Kenneth at the apartment; so, when I opened the door to see Kenneth out and saw David standing there, I froze in horror and felt the blood drain from my face.
He looked just as shocked as I was, but the shock in his eyes was quickly replaced by a cold, hard anger as he asked for Junior, then marched into the apartment, slamming the door behind him. For a few seconds, I just stood there, motionless and speechless, not wanting to believe what had just happened.
“I can’t believe he’s here; he’s never early!” I muttered, once I finally found my voice.
“Do you think he knew I was here?” Kenneth asked casually.
Unlike David and me, Kenneth did not appear to be bothered by David finding him at the apartment, and had an almost smug attitude that I did not quite understand.
“How could he?”
“I don’t know; maybe he linked those cameras he’s got all over the apartment to his phone or laptop,” he suggested.
Until he said it, the idea that David had me under constant surveillance had not crossed my mind, but now it made the most sense; I instinctively looked up at the camera above the door – was he watching me right now?
“You should go,” I whispered.
“Will you be alright?”
“Yes; just go,” I repeated urgently.
He hesitated for a second before giving in. “Fine, but call me to let me know you’re okay,” he instructed, then leaned in as though to kiss me, but now preoccupied with the thought that David might be watching us, I quickly stepped back, deftly avoiding him.
If he was offended, he did not let it show.
“I’ll wait for your call,” he said with a soft smile, then turned and left.
I watched him go, then took a deep breath to compose myself and entered the apartment.
Julie followed me into the apartment a few minutes later, but stayed by the door, her body tense and poised for flight, her gaze alternating between watching me and darting around nervously like she was afraid I was going to attack her.
She need not have worried; I was angry, and felt used and disrespected, but I had never felt calmer or more in control of my emotions, and felt no compulsion to hit her.
“Come sit down; I want to talk to you,” I instructed her quietly, my voice low but firm, and she obeyed me without question.
“What was he doing here?” I asked, once she was seated.
“He came to see me.”
“Did you have sex?”
I believed her, but felt only marginally better; she might not have slept with him that day, but there was no doubt there was a relationship there, and one I was determined to put an end to.
“Listen, I know we’ve had our problems, but after Junior’s results came back, we agreed to work past those for his sake. He’s my son and I want to give him the best that money can buy. Anything I can give him, I will, and I realize that as his mother and primary caregiver, a lot of that will be through you; I’m fine with that, but what I’m not fine with, is any of it going to another man.”
“Kenneth isn’t taking anything from you!” she argued defensively.
“Isn’t he? It sure looks that way to me,” I answered quietly, and from my tone, it was obvious I was not referring to money.
Her silence confirmed that she knew exactly what I meant; so, I went on: “I will always provide for what’s mine, but I’ll always protect it as well, to make sure it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands – keep that in mind.”
The words, combined with my tone, probably came out sounding like a threat, and although they were not intended as one, I did not correct the impression they made.
In the effort to repair my relationship with Julie, I had ended up pussy-footing around her, but no more; I could be kind and generous, but I would not let my kindness be mistaken for weakness.
David got home earlier than he normally did, and within a few minutes of his arrival, I could tell he had had a bad day, and it was going to be a stormy evening.
He started by snapping at the girls over why their shoes were scattered around the doorway, then turned his wrath on Daniel, barking at him for watching TV when he had not showered or done his homework yet.
I usually made sure the children – and their things – were where they were meant to be by the time David got back, but since he was early, I had only gotten back a short while ago myself and had not gotten round to it.
I was embarrassed at what somehow felt like a monumental failure, and while David stomped upstairs to freshen up, I vented my frustration on the maid.
“The children are at school the whole day and you’re free; so, I don’t understand why you can’t ensure that their things are put away when they get back. If it’s too much for you to do, tell them to do it, but don’t just leave everything strewn about until I talk about it!” I fumed.
By the time David came back downstairs, everything was in its right place, dinner was being set out and Daniel had showered and was quietly working on his homework.
With order restored, David appeared slightly mollified and we went through dinner and the rest of the evening without any more flare-ups.
Once the children were in bed, I left David watching TV and went up to our room to freshen up and wait for him. We were making love again, and despite his initial foul mood when he got home, I really hoped he would reach for me tonight, if only to reassure me that whatever had messed up his mood today, he and I were still alright.
I showered with a delicately scented bath gel that I knew he liked and changed into a lace lingerie set clearly designed to seduce, then lay on the covers and waited.
He came up about half an hour later, and when he saw me, he slowly closed and locked the door behind him, then evidently having gotten the message loud and clear, pulled off his T-shirt as he walked purposefully towards me, our gazes locked and eliminated the need for words.