Dr. Max Klein was at the In Studio television station. Behind him was the production team. He was there to shoot his part in a Public Service Announcement for the charitable gala hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Ruthorham. In a few minutes, he would be sitting down and sharing his story of his work in Johannesburg, his position of personal physician to the Duke of Ruthorham and his family and his work at the private clinic. His mind was elsewhere, though. It had been weeks since he had last since Jabulani.
On the day when he was supposed to take Jabulani to a West End Show, Avianna had urged him to stay home with her instead. “But, I promised Jabulani that I would take her to the show,” he had protested.
“Can’t she go with someone else?” Avianna had asked. “Surely one of the other students would be keen to go. Why don’t you ask her?”
“Why don’t you want me to take her?”
“I just think that you’re spending too much time with her.”
“But, I’ve explained to you that I feel responsible for her.”
“Yes, I know but you’re her sponsor, not her babysitter. Let her meet and socialize with people her age.”
“I’m not preventing her from meeting other people. I’m just helping her to settle in a new city.”
“It has been weeks since she came to London. Don’t you think she has settled by now?”
“Avianna, I can’t call her at the last minute and tell her that I can’t go to the show with her. Who is she going to get to go with her on such short notice?”
“She’s living on campus, isn’t she? There’re lots of students she could ask to go with her. Perhaps, she could ask one of the boys–“
“She won’t do that,” he had said abruptly.
“You mean ask one of the boys?”
“Why not? We’re living in the twenty-first century. Girls can ask boys out.”
“I think it would best if I were to take her to the show and–and then, since it seems to bother you so much I will stop seeing her. I will encourage her to go out with the other students instead.”
“All right. I guess you’re right. It wouldn’t be fair to her if you were to renege on your promise to her.”
And he had gone to the show with Jabulani and it was when they were at the flat that he told her that he couldn’t see her for a while. He explained why. “It’s just for a little while.”
“Do you think she suspects–?”
“No, I don’t think so. I think she just feels that I’m spending too much time with you and that I should be spending more time with her.”
“I guess she feels that way because she’s your wife and I’m just an international student whom you’re sponsoring.”
“You know that you’re much more than that to me, Jabulani.”
He had cupped her face between his hands and looked down into her beautiful eyes which were brimming with tears. “I promise you that we will see each other again soon.”
She had nodded. And he had lowered his head and kissed her. They ended up making love on the sheepskin rug in front of the fireplace. He left a couple of hours later.
They hadn’t seen each other since then and it was sheer torture for him. He called her whenever he could but hearing her voice just made him ache more for her. And, here he was in this television studio, wishing he could be with her. Last night when they had spoken on the phone, she had told him that she had gone on two and a half hour guided walking tour through the streets of Chinatown last week Sunday. “Did you go alone?” he had asked.
“No. I went with two other girls.”
He had been relieved that she hadn’t gone with any of the boys. It drove him crazy to think of her with any of them. She was a very beautiful girl and no doubt many of the boys admired her. “Have any of the boys asked you out on a date?”
“No. And even if they did, I would turn them down. Max, I’m not interested in any of them. I’m only interested in you. I wish we could be together all the time.”
He wished they could be together all the time too but it wasn’t possible. He had his job at the clinic and there was Avianna. She was his wife. He couldn’t neglect her. They had enjoyed a very close relationship before he met Jabulani. Now all he wanted was Jabulani.
Avianna watched him. She had succeeded in getting him to stop playing chaperone to Jabulani and to spend more time with her, his wife. It felt like old times, the two of them spending pleasant evenings together, playing board games, cards, watching shows, listening to music or going for walks when the weather permitted. Last week Saturday, they went to see Cyrano de Bergerac at the Harold Pinter Theatre and on Sunday, they had afternoon tea at The Ritz London.
Tonight was the gala and tomorrow, they were going to on a weekend trip to Bath. That, she was really looking forward to. They were going to take the train from from Paddington Station for the 90 minute journey and were going to stay in a boutique townhouse hotel in Bath’s city centre.
She hoped that Max was looking forward to their weekend getaway as much as she was. It had been ages since they had gone on a trip. She had always wanted to visit Bath because of its Roman Baths and she was a Jane Austen fan. She watched Max and thought that he looked like his mind was preoccupied. Was it the clinic? He poured his heart and soul in his work. The clinic was lucky to have him. Perhaps he was nervous about being in front of the cameras.
Although, they seemed to be close, there was one aspect of their marriage which was still problematic. They still hadn’t been having sexual relations and she couldn’t help wondering why. She didn’t want to press him about it. Still, it was hard. She was a woman and she did have needs.
It was hard lying next to him in bed at night and not yearn for him. If only he would touch her, caress her, make love to her like he used to in the past. The most she got was a perfunctory kiss on the lips before he rolled onto his side and went to sleep.
Maybe when they were in Bath, things would improve in the bedroom. She desperately hoped so. She may be years older than him but she was still attractive and desirable, wasn’t she?
It was time for the interview, so, she walked over to him. She touched him on the shoulder and he started. “You were miles away,” she said. He looked so handsome in the tuxedo.
“Sorry. Did I tell you that you look lovely?”
She smiled. “No, you didn’t but, thank you. And you look dashing.”
He smiled. “Thank you. It looks like they’re ready for me.”
“Yes. They are. Are you ready?”
She reached up and kissed him on the cheek, gently squeezed his hand and then watched as he turned towards the cameras.