Kira was in the bedroom folding the laundry when the phone rang. She picked it up. “Hello?”
“Hello, Kira. It’s Matt.”
“Hello, Matt. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. How is everyone?”
“Everyone is fine, thanks. Kira, I need to ask you something.”
“Sure, Matt. What is it? You sound a bit upset.”
“I bumped into Mel at Yorkdale this evening.”
Kira sighed. “What happened?” she asked, bracing herself.
“Have you seen her new look?”
“You mean the braids, the makeup and the clothes or lack of? Yes, unfortunately I have. I don’t know what has gotten into that girl. Maybe it’s a phase she’s going through. I hope it doesn’t last long.”
“She got upset when I told her that it didn’t suit her.”
“She got upset with me too when I told her that.”
“She said that Desmond liked it.”
“Yes, the South African guy she’s dating.”
“Did Mel say she was dating him?”
“Matt, Desmond is Mel’s friend and he’s engaged to her friend, Tyla. They’re getting married in June. Mel’s the maid of honor.”
“But she told me that she has been dating him for a couple of weeks. Why would she tell me that?”
Kira sighed. “I don’t know. I’ll have a talk with her–“
“No, don’t do that. She’ll just get more upset with me.”
“Was she rude to you?”
“No, but very hostile. She said she doesn’t want us to be friends anymore.”
“I guess it’s because she doesn’t want to cause any trouble for Gina and you.”
“I guess not. Still, I wish that we could still be friends.”
“Matt, I don’t know if you’re aware of this but Mel doesn’t want to be just friends with you. She–she has feelings for you and that’s why it’s best that there be no interaction between you–for the sake of your marriage. You understand, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do. Well, thanks for clearing things up for me, Kira. Please say hello to Joel for me.”
“I will. Please give my regards to Gina and Cam a hug.”
“I will. Goodnight, Kira.”
“Goodnight, Matt.” She hung up the phone and stood there deep in thought for a long time. She suspected that Matt’s real reason for calling her had nothing to do with Mel’s new look but everything to do with Desmond whom he thought she was dating. He sounded pretty upset about that. But, why? And why on earth did Mel lie and tell him that she was dating Desmond? Was this her way of keeping her promise?
Kira shook her head. What a tangled mess this was. Poor Matt, poor Mel and poor Gina.
Matt hung up the phone, relieved. Before he called Kira, he had been out of his mind with jealousy, thinking about Mel and the guy she was dating. It had been such a pleasant surprise bumping into her but his elation soon changed. He probably shouldn’t have remarked on her appearance but they had always been honest with each other. She was hostile and when she mentioned the guy, it was like she had punched him in the stomach.
After they parted company, he left the mall and went for a drive down to Harbourfront where he spent a while walking along the waterfront, trying to clear his mind. It had been weeks since he and Melania last saw each other. He had purposely not been in touch with her because of the feelings she had been arousing in him.
He touched his right cheek where she had kissed him. If she hadn’t gotten out of the car when she had, he would have been tempted to kiss her on the mouth. And they might have ended up going to her apartment and between the sheets. He shook his head, even as he felt his body react to the thought.
He had to think about his marriage–what was left of it. Until he knew for certain that it couldn’t be saved and that a divorce was the only option left, he had to stay away from Melania. It was easier said than done. He missed her like crazy. And this evening when he bumped into her, he was tempted to spend time with her. They could have grabbed something to eat and then parted company. He wouldn’t have dared given her a ride home.
Their encounter had left him in a terrible state. As soon as he got home, he showered, changed and then called Kira. He had to find out if it was true that Melanie was dating and only Kira could tell him that. She and Melania were very close. If Melania had a boyfriend or was dating, Kira would know. So, he swallowed his pride and reached out to Kira.
To his surprise and relief, he found out that Melania had lied to him and that the guy she was supposed to be dating was just a friend who was engaged to another girl. Why did Melania lie to him? Was it because of Gina, Cam and the baby? It had to be. Melania didn’t want to wreck his marriage. She and the family would know soon enough that Gina and he were separating for six months pending a decision to stay together or to get a divorce. Until he knew which, he had to leave things as they were for now, even if it meant that his friendship with Melania was over.
He went over to the window and looked out. Gina walked into the living-room. “What ‘s the matter?” she asked.
He turned to face her. “Nothing.”
“It’s after eight and you haven’t eaten dinner as yet.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“Aren’t you feeling well?”
“I’m fine. I’m just not hungry. Maybe I’ll have something to eat later.”
“You had to work late again today?”
“No. I went to Yorkdale to pick up a birthday gift for Dad. And then, I went to the Harbourfront because it was such a nice evening.”
“How old is your Dad going to be?”
“Wow. Is there going to be a special celebration for him?”
“I guess so.”
“Maybe Kira, your Mom and I can plan something special for him.”
“That would be nice.”
She hesitated for a moment, then, clearing, her throat, she said, “Matt, I was wondering if you and I could sleep together tonight. We don’t have to do anything.”
He stared at her. “All right,” he said. She was reaching out to him and it would be remiss of him not to meet her half-way. Besides, it wouldn’t be for very long. He had been actively looking for a condo to live in and as soon as he found one he liked, he was going to move out.
Gina smiled. It was the first time in a long time that she smiled at him. “Thanks, Matt.”
It was a start. The plan was to get him to sleep with her as often as possible so that when she was ready to get pregnant again, she could persuade him to have sex with her. She just had to make sure they had sex before the separation. And who knows, maybe she could persuade him not to go through with the separation. If it meant her going for counseling, so be it. She was willing to do whatever it took to hold on to her marriage. She wasn’t going to let Melania get her hooks in him, no matter what she promised her aunt Kira. She would never trust that little trollop to keep her promises.