Friday, December 25, 2015

Till Lies Do Us Part - Chapter 21


After knocking on her door, he backed away a few steps. It was as if she knew he would come, the door clicked open before he made it down to the third step. It was dark so he couldn’t fully see her face but he knew what expression she wore when she saw him. This wasn’t a friendly visit; he hadn’t expected it to be one. The last words they’d shared pushed through their memories. One felt ashamed while the other stood tall, with no remorse in heart.

“Dani…”

Ehn, ehn, just leave. I don’t want to hear it. I thought I told you to never contact me again? What are you doing here then?”

“Daniella, please just listen to me. I went to the club and they told me you…” he rushed to explain.

“You went where?” she asked indignantly, and in that moment, Victor realized he shouldn’t have mentioned going there to find her. She simply chuckled and said, “I don’t blame you,” before turning to face the door. Victor rushed to her, held her hand back to prevent her from leaving.

“Get your hand off me!” she shouted, forgetting that her family was inside and her mother especially was still awake in the living room. She heard a frightened voice call from inside, “Is everything okay there?”

After giving herself a moment to catch her breath, she told her mother she was fine and with no anger in her voice. She looked back at Victor and felt a tweak of sadness in her heart. Daniella was unable to decide between giving him a chance to explain himself and keeping her words to never speak to him again, which by the way she’d already broken since she’d by now exchanged more than a few words with him. But why? Why did he have to first run to the one place she was running from? Victor had no business judging her; after all, he wasn’t God.

“I know I should have come down here first,”

“You’re right. It’s not as if you didn’t know where I lived. If you wanted to find me, you should have come here, but because you don’t know who I am, you went in search of me in the wrong place…” said Danielle, cringing from the thought of what he might have heard at the club from the other girls. “I admit I don’t know who you are but neither do you know who I am. If you knew, then you would also know that my actions weren’t intentional. I’m just a messed up grown man at his moment. Look, I would love to tell you more but I can’t do it while standing here with you looking at me as if I’m the most nauseating thing you’ve ever laid your eyes on.” It was quite the opposite for Daniella, she was looking at this man as if he needed someone to hug him… a bed to lay his head like the night they’d met, and some warm food in his stomach. So she asked, coolly, “Have you had something to eat?”

Victor answers honestly, “No, but my stomach is the last thing I care about right now...” as much as he’d said to himself that he was never going to depend on any woman to bring him happiness, he realized that he wanted to do the same for a woman––specifically this one who was staring at him with sincere concern in her eyes. “Let’s go somewhere we can talk…I’ll bring you back in an hour.” He promised. Daniella agreed.

In silence, except for the song on the radio, Brymo’s Never Look Back, Victor and Daniella drove without a word neither whispered to each other nor said. Victor knew that the best place to start was at the beginning but getting there was the problem. Getting there by car was much easier so he drove her to the home he once shared with Cynthia and their little family.

The lights were still on in the two stories home. Daniella wondered why they’d stopped at this particular house. Her first guess was that Victor had brought her to his home and that alarmed her, if they were just going to be talking, it didn’t need to be done inside his home. She didn’t trust him, at least not like she’d done the first day they met when he had still been a stranger to her.

“What are we doing here?” she asked, hinting out her discomfort with his arrangement of bringing her to his home which technically wasn’t all wrong. This had been Victor’s home and beginning once upon a time, and in order to tell her why he was parked outside his home like a stalker instead of going inside, he needed to let her hear how it’d all started.

“Well? We’re already here; we might as well go inside?”

“As much as I know you’d like that, we can’t.” he finished teasingly and Daniella hissed.

“I don’t think my ex-wife and kid would welcome you in.”

“Your what and who? Wait, you have a…”

“We’re no longer married, at least not on paper,” he added but pushed the thought aside.

“I heard what you said before; I was going to say you have a kid?” It was more than a question. She was trying to wrap her head around the new overwhelming detail about the man she’d thought was no longer a stranger to her. A wife, scratch that, an ex-wife, and a baby? She thought to herself, feeling the need for a better explanation of how it’d gotten to be that way.

“Well, technically she isn’t mine.” He answered.

“Who isn’t yours? How can the child by your ex-wife not be yours?” Her question gave him a loophole to start his explanations. He took the rope she handed him and began to climb. He narrated life story to her and did not stop for once to look at her or the emotions forming in her eyes. When he was done with the events of the last eight years of his life from meeting Cynthia to being in prison, he finally looked her way.

“You have something that’s yours but you don’t want it?” she asked, referring to the son Vivian bore him. It’s not that Victor didn’t want his son, his flesh and blood; he felt there was nothing he could offer the child. He hadn’t been there when the child was born; Vivian and her new man was the only parent the little boy knew. Victor felt there was no need for him to come into his life; it would only make him an intruder and not a father. This was his real sentence; he couldn’t go back to what was truly his.

There were tears clouded in her eyes, she immediately blinked it away when she felt his eyes on her. “Gimme your hand…” he asked but she refused and looked away, her eyes stuck on the house that once made Victor but still broke him. She wondered how many times he’d come to this place to just watch the mother and child sleep, how many times he must have sincerely longed to join them. She felt a pinch of jealousy, maybe he still loved her, maybe that was why he was coming back, and hoping they could go back to the beginning and this would all be a bad nightmare. But the reality that Daniella failed to see was that as of right now, she was the only dream Victor had left.

Victor asked her for her hand again. This time, the seriousness she saw in his eyes made her change her mind. She simply placed her little fingers into his right palm. He raised her hand up to his chest, on that little area where something bigger than him was beating.

“Do you feel that?”

“Feel what? I feel a heart that’s beating too fast, so fast it might explode! How could she do this to you, how could anyone hurt you like this? You’re a good man, Victor. Call me na├»ve but people like you don’t deserve to feel any pain. You’ve loved and you’ve given your best even when it was too much but––”

“If you think I brought you here, Daniella, to earn some pity points from you, you’re wrong.”

“What?”

“I wanted, no, I needed to let you to know that what happened the other day in my office wasn’t your fault. It’d been all me and my clinginess to my past. You’re the only person who hasn’t done anything to me––unlike Cynthia, who from the first day she set her eyes on me made me out as her target. I’m not trying to compare both of you because in all honesty, you’re both incomparable. I just needed to say thank you, for making me believe in me again even for a second.” He acknowledged his true feelings for her with her tiny fingers in his warm palm.

A sniffling sound followed as she said, “I’m sorry,” she was apologizing for misjudging him, for thinking he was a man that was not trustworthy not knowing that he’d never had anyone to trust. “I’m truly sorry,” she whispered, her head tilted down in embarrassment. He lifted her jaw up and moved his face close to her, shockingly close which terrified Daniella. He then drew the hand she’d given him close to his lips and kissed her fingers at the same time staring achingly into her eyes. Their surroundings grew still and quiet. Just the beating of their hearts could be heard from miles away. Victor’s emotions were running high as he leaned in to kiss Daniella. With their lips barely touching, she shook her head and pulled away, gently slipping her hand from his.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, wondering if he was moving too fast for her or maybe he’d mistaken the look in her eyes for something only he wanted.

“Nothing.” She answered honestly, her eyes wandered to his old home as the lights went out.

5 comments:

Thank you guys for always reading,