Stay By My Side! ( 4 )

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I was shocked. Could she have effected Patrick? Did he cheat on me last night? But he was so loving and passionate while we made love. He didn’t seem spent or tired.

Was it just a casual kiss? Did he cheat on me earlier? Did he fall for any woman before Alice? Was Alice just teasing me or was she telling the truth? Was I overreacting? These questions would drive me crazy.

The hardest thing was going to be to question Patrick. He was sensitive but I needed answers. I had never had any suspicions on him. He had been loyal to me, I knew that, my heart knew that. Was it right to question his loyalty due to one devilish woman?

I wore my shoes and locked up the apartment. I went down the stairs. Luckily Alice wasn’t around. I didn’t want to see that woman. The driver came around as soon as he saw me. I got into the car, and told him to drive to father’s office. I had to go there. I needed to talk to him sooner.

When I reached there, everyone was surprised. I usually avoided going to The Firm, that’s what I called it. It kind of scared me. But now here I was, as I was too scared of the reality, of the truth that could come out. As I walked in, the doorman, opened the door with a pleasant smile. They all knew me, as I arranged small luncheons for them and brought gifts for all the employees for occasions like Christmas and Thanksgiving.

The receptionist, Susan, was as cheery as ever. She was always alert and active. She was at father’s office for the last seven or eight years. Could she also have slept with Patrick? My stomach churned with disgust. She smiled at me and told, I could wait as Patrick was having a meeting with a potential client, while father was out for some meeting. I walked around as I waited. I also needed to think what I was going to tell him.

I was at the corner of the hallway. Suddenly, the door of Patrick’s office opened, and stepping out of it was a woman. It was the woman, whom I had started hating in the last hour. She was wearing a dark blue, off shoulder T-shirt, with her bare side revealing more than the shoulder. Her T-shirt was such a small size, that it covered less on the top side and revealed her studded navel from the bottom. She wore tight jeans, which made me wonder how she fitted into it. As she stepped out, she wiped her eyes with the tissue in her hand. She turned around, looking into the glass, she heaved a sigh which made her mounds of flesh rise and fall. She looked at her lipstick as if to check for smudges.

It was that bitch. Alice. Seeing her come out and do those things made my blood boil with anger. She turned away from the glass door and started walking. Every man in that place watched her butt sway. Even her walk created a sensual aura around her. And how damn I hated her.

I quickly stepped in the office. Patrick had his back to the door. He was cradling the receiver between his ear and shoulder. His white shirt was crinkled up and all sweaty, his coat was on the big chair behind the table. I walked in quietly. I placed my hand on his other shoulder.

In the receiver, he said, Hold on please!
He raised his head and said, I told you Alice, I am sorry but I can’t help you anymore.
I wondered what she had asked for and what “help” did he already give her.

With a low shaky voice, I said, Patrick, it’s me, not Alice!
He turned around to face me. There was surprise on his face, extreme shock. But there was not a shadow of guilt. Was he such a good performer, that I couldn’t catch his emotions?

Oh! Goodness Anna! When did you come? And what a pleasant surprise! He said it with so much joy that he sounded so genuine. And he hugged me. I stood as still as a mannequin.

I came while you were having a meeting ……with the woman, you advised me to stay away from! I sounded more harsh than I intended.
What is wrong Anna? He asked. His face had turned all pale and white. Was it guilt that was creeping in now?

I think it is better we do not talk here Patrick. Let us go out somewhere. I don’t want father or his employees to know about what you are doing being my back. I retorted in anger. I was trying hard to avoid shouting so I was speaking through my teeth.

Patrick picked up the keys to his car from the table. He didn’t say a word. He walked with me to the car. He opened the door for me. I got in and sat. He sat in the driver seat and drove out of the parking space.

Where do you want me to drive you? A coffee shop? A bar? A restaurant? Where Anna? He asked softly.
I didn’t know what to tell him.

Just drive away from the hustle and noise. I want a place where no one can see us. I managed to mutter. There was a lump in my throat and I knew I would burst up any moment. Just what I didn’t want to do!

I was breaking within. What things would get revealed to me? What secrets would get spilled? Was I ready to hear them? Was I willing to hear them? Did I have the heart to listen to any incident of unfaithfulness of his? Was I ready?

S.F.R.

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