Love and Other Things that Follow – 7


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Susan opened the door and rushed through with her daughter. Baby Blossom looked confused, her brows fused together as if she was about to cry.

Susan dropped her on the bed and ran and bolted the door. Turning, she pulled her back to the door, each hand at the edges, as if to be sure that nobody opened it. That nobody came in and hurt them. She was breathing fast.

Blossom stared at her mother. Then she began to cry.

Susan left the door and ran to her. ‘Oh, baby, don’t cry.’ She was wiping at Blossom’s eyes. ‘Please don’t cry.’

Blossom stopped crying. ‘Mommy, who is that woman with daddy?’

Susan stared at her little girl, not knowing what to answer. ‘She is …she is…’ She kept stuttering.

‘Is she going to kill us?’

Susan shook her head quickly, surprised and hurt. ‘No no, my dear, she won’t harm us.’ She hugged Blossom tight. ‘She won’t dare harm us.’

Blossom pulled away from her mommy. ‘Why are we running away from her?’ she asked again.

Again Susan felt a pound in her chest.

‘She will not harm us, honey,’ she said. ‘She won’t.’ She sat on the bed and carried Blossom into her arms. Blossom leaned inward and fastened to her belly.

As she rocked her gently, Susan tried to settle her mind.

She couldn’t remember the last time she felt so tense, so afraid. Images of her childhood flooded through her; the times she had had to hide under her bed and stay there for hours till she heard the sound of Daddy’s car and crept out, knowing that now Florence or Loretta would not beat her again.

She wished now that daddy appeared and saved her again, like he always used to.

She tried to calm herself. She tried to be strong on her own. But, just like always, it proved too hard. She was mad at herself that age hadn’t done anything to change this annoying weakness she was born with.

She was running away from a woman who had just invaded her home, her peace, instead of staying around to fight her. Push her away back to wherever her insane husband had picked her from. If she proved too strong, she would use a weapon.

Florence used to always say this when they were children—if the person proves too strong, I will use a weapon.

Perhaps the carved wood statue beside the sound system would do the job.

But Susan only thought these things, it pained her that she was never going to be able to execute them.

Finally, she managed to assure herself that they were safe. The door is locked and they were safe in this room at least.

Christian can have the whole house with his mistress, but he would leave this room for her and her daughter. He would have to. This one she must try and fight for.

But in her mind, little particles of fear still hopped around.

This was Christian’s room too. Their room.

Now she dreaded to think that the tall woman would come into the room, put her clothes in her wardrobe, use her bathroom and later lie on the bed with her husband. She will—

A knock came on the door, painfully jolting her out of her thoughts.

The door was pounded again.

Susan held her baby tight, making no attempt to stand. He would have to break the door to come in.


Now she heard his voice and the tiny thread binding her hard-won resolve together severed.

‘Susan, you in there?’ His voice came again. The door handle turned and returned back to its normal position. ‘Susan, open the door.’

Susan rose and lowered Baby Blossom to the bed, but she got up immediately and followed her mother as she walked to the door.

She left the door open and drew back.

Christian came through and Jenifer followed.

‘Hello,’ Jenifer said to her. She extended a hand. ‘I was meaning to greet you downstairs before you carried your girl and ran off. I’m Jennifer, pleased to make your acquaintance.’

Susan made no attempt to take Jennifer’s hand. She only stared, clutching her little girl to her side.

‘Why would you lock the door?’ Christian queried. His voice was slightly raised.

Susan did not talk.

‘Am I not asking you?’

Now Jennifer walked to his front and pressed herself into him. ‘It’s okay, dear. She might have been dressing up or something.’

Christian nodded and as Susan saw the coldness in his eyes fall off, a line of tear ran down her cheek. She cut it off halfway with a finger. Never would she have imagined that a day will come when another woman will save her from her husband, a woman sleeping with her husband, to say the least.

She began to sob.

‘Why are you crying?’ Christian started to ask, and then said, ‘Anyway, not my business.’ He walked to the dressing table and dropped his car keys. ‘You need to move downstairs,’ he said.

Susan’s wet eyes ran up to him. ‘What?’

‘Yes. You can move into Blossom’s room or any of the empty rooms. She’s coming of age and needs to be in constant presence of her mother.’

Susan snorted, not believing what she just heard, what had just come out of her husband’s lips. She wiped her eyes. ‘This is my room,’ she said. ‘I am not going anywhere.’

‘Not anymore.’ Christian’s fingers were now on his neck, undoing his tie.

Jennifer gave a tiny cough. ‘Baby, let me quickly get my bag downstairs.’

‘Alright, dear,’ Christian said.

Susan shut her eyes as their lips came together in a brief kiss.

‘You can call Okon to help you,’ Christian said.

‘Alright, sugar.’ She glanced past Susan and crept away.

Susan lifted Baby Blossom into her arms and walked closer to her husband. ‘What has come over you, Christian?’

Christian looked at her and looked away just as quickly. He picked a hanger from the closet and put his jacket on it. ‘You’d better start packing now before she comes up,’ he said.

‘And who is she by the way?’

Christian’s eyes ran to her. ‘Oh well, the time for introduction has passed,’ he said. ‘I would have done it downstairs when we walked in, but you took the baby and ran off up like a crazy woman. Be glad that she is sensible enough to have still said hello.’

Susan opened her mouth to say something but swallowed it. She looked round the neat room. Everything was in perfect order. It had cost her quite some time and energy to put it that way. No way she was going to leave all her hard work to this strange woman to enjoy. She dreaded seeing her touching her things, sleeping on her bed and putting her things in her closet.

‘I am not going anywhere,’ she said.

Christian turned suddenly to her. ‘What did you say?’ It would be the firmest she’s sounded since he’d known her.

‘I am not going anywhere. Your mistress can take any other room, not this one.’

‘Well, you don’t have a choice now, do you?’

‘What will you do to me?’

Christian quit unbuttoning his shirt. He walked to the closet and started throwing her things out. Susan dropped Baby Blossom and ran to him. She held him, trying to get him to stop. But her grip on him was feathery and again her weakness hit her and she started to cry. ‘Christian, please don’t do this!’ she cried. ‘Please!’

Christian pushed her away and she fell off to the floor. She felt a sharp pain deep inside her belly.

Baby Blossom ran to her daddy and started hitting him. ‘Don’t beat my mommy!’ she warned him. ‘Don’t beat my mommy!’

Christian bent, picked her up and started toward the door.

Susan got up and ran after him. ‘Leave my child! Leave my baby!’

Outside the door, he dropped Baby Blossom and turned back. Susan crouched beside her daughter. ‘Honey, are you okay?’

Blossom nodded and threw herself into her mother.

Mother and child now outside the room, Christian slammed the door and bolted it from inside.

Susan stood there, Blossom in her arms, tears flowing down her eyes. Baby Blossom reached and started to wipe off the tears on her mommy’s face. ‘Mommy, stop crying,’ she told her.

Susan sniffled and nodded. But the tears never stopped coming.

Soon the door jerked open again and as if in an explosion, her items flew out from the room in a short burst of energy and the door was banged shut again.


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