(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.
Once I realized that David’s wife was behind his attack on me, my initial fear turned to rage. When would that woman ever leave me alone?
“Are you saying she was lying? Didn’t he spend the night?” David answered challengingly.
“No, he didn’t! He worked the night shift; so by the time he got here, it was already early morning. Then, he took us to the hospital, ran some tests, they came back clear and by the time he brought us back, it was already daylight. I took Junior to bed and crashed out; so, he waited for me to wake up and then left,” I broke down exactly what had happened the day I called Kenneth over.
For a minute, he faltered and I could almost see his mind running through my account, looking for glitches and finding none; but not yet ready to admit he was wrong, he plowed on: “But she saw you all up close and personal when he was leaving.”
“What does that even mean?! For goodness sake, this place is covered in cameras – which if I may remind you, were installed because of her – watch the footage if you don’t believe me!” I cried in a mixture of desperation and frustration.
Backed into a corner, he did not have a comeback to this and at his silence, I went on: “You know how she feels about me; what did you expect her to say? I can’t believe that with my history with her, you would even listen to anything she had to say regarding me! And not only did you listen to her, but you came and beat me up over it! How could you?”
His shoulders dropped and he hung his head in shame for a few seconds, before looking back up at me.
“I’m so sorry,” he apologised quietly.
Despite the sincerity in his eyes and voice, it did not come close to easing my hurt and pain.
“I think you should leave now,” I answered, steadily holding his gaze.
“I don’t know what I was thinking or what came over me, but I swear I’m going to make it up to you,” he promised determinedly.
I believed he truly was sorry, but I also believed there was no way he could fix this, and nothing more he could say that I wanted to hear; so, without another word, I walked towards the bedroom. I was worried he would follow me, but as I got to the bedroom door, I heard the front door close quietly.
I knew I had hurt Julie, but I did not realize just how badly, until the door opened and I was horrified and embarrassed by the evidence of what I had done.
Her entire face was bruised, swollen and puffy, her left eye was almost swollen shut, she had a busted lip, and her bare arms had scratches and bruises all over them.
“My goodness Julie, I’m so sorry,” I gasped, though my apology sounded woefully inadequate.
I felt horrible and knew the only way I could even begin to assuage my guilt was if I could confirm what Diane had told me, for that would at least justify my rage. However, when I pushed Julie to admit the truth of Diane’s account, she pushed back with a rage of her own, denying it with a vehemence I had not witnessed from her before, and that gave me pause.
I had to admit that all the pieces in her explanation made sense, and the sheer passion in her denial told me she was being truthful.
The final straw was when she reminded me of the cameras I had installed; I’d thankfully never had cause to check any of their footage, and had pretty much forgotten about them until she challenged me to watch the playback, which she would not have done unless it confirmed her version of events.
Suddenly, I felt like the world’s biggest idiot; why hadn’t I thought of the cameras before I attacked her? How could I not have thought to take Diane’s tale with a pinch of salt, given their history? How could I have been so blind and stupid?!
I had always found it difficult to admit I was wrong, apologize, or ask for forgiveness, for in my opinion, all three reflected failure and weakness, and while I was many things, I was definitely neither weak, nor a failure.
However, when I saw what I had done to Julie, begging for her forgiveness came naturally. She, however, did not want to hear it; I knew I had messed up big time and that it would take a whole lot more than an ‘I’m sorry’ to get her to forgive me.
It took me almost three quarters of an hour to get to the apartment complex, and when I did, there was no sign of David’s car in the almost empty parking lot.
That was not to say he had not been there; it might simply mean he had already left, but either way, the fact that he was not there now, meant they had not kissed and made up. That provided some degree of reassurance.
It took me another forty minutes to get to the boutique, and when I arrived, Tracy was already there and well into the morning’s work routine.
Closing her office door, so we were out of earshot, I quickly brought her up to speed on everything that had happened, including my suspicion that David already regretted whatever he had done to the wh*re the previous night – but that his car had not been at the apartment when I got there.
She listened quietly, then after a thoughtful pause answered: “Whether he regrets it or not, that doesn’t change what you saw. He might have crossed the line and over-reacted, but the fact remains she’s cheating on him, and David is a proud man. Knowing him, there’s no way he’ll stand for it, so I really don’t think you have anything to worry about. What you should be worrying about, is work here. We’re partners, but I’m sorry, I’m beginning to feel like I do the lion’s share of the actual work.”
I was caught off-guard by her rebuke, and for a second did not know how to respond. She took advantage of my silence to go on: “I know you’ve been distracted by everything that’s been going on with David and that woman, but now you’ve given David more than enough material to get rid of her; so, I think it’s time you let it go and helped me out more here.”
I didn’t take criticism well, but I knew she was right; I had been so focused on breaking up David and his whore, that I had let the other aspects of my life slide – especially my work at the boutique, and it was not fair to Tracy.
“I’m sorry, you’re right; I promise you’ll see a lot more of me here,” I answered earnestly.
She smiled in relief, then got back to business.