Back Together

elliott-law0068-853x1280“Good heavens, Atticus, do you want us to freeze to death?” Mrs. Sutcliffe exclaimed as she shot her son a reproving look.  “Kindly close that window.”

He turned to face her.  “It’s a bit fusty in here, Mother.”

“It is not!” she retorted indignantly.  “These rooms are aired out every day.  Now kindly close it before we all catch colds.”

Muttering under his breath, he shut the windows.  He remained standing there, his back to them, clenched hands buried in his pockets, looking out.

“It is a bit stuffy in here,” his sister, Birgit said.  “However, it has nothing to do with the air.”  She gave him a pointed look.

His lips compressed.  She was his sister but he couldn’t stand her.  She was always so smug and condescending.  “What is that supposed to mean?”

“You’ve been in a foul mood since you broke up with that African woman.”

“That African woman.  You can’t even address her properly by her name.”

“Why should I?  She’s nothing to me.  I can’t say the same for you, though.  You’re still pining for her even though you know she’s no good for you.”

“Who are you to determine whether she’s good for me or not?”

“I’m your older and wiser sister.  Evidently, you agreed with my assessment because you broke up with her.”

“I thought we had put the dreadful business with that charwoman behind us,” Mrs. Sutcliffe interjected, agitated.

“So, did I,” Birgit said, getting up from the sofa and walking over to the fireplace.  “I thought my dear brother had the good sense to move on with his pathetic life but clearly I was wrong.  Here he is pining away for a charwoman when he could be out there meeting reputable women.”  She shook her head in disgust.

Addicus swung around and glared at her.  “For your information, Diarra isn’t a charwoman any more.  She got a job at one of the offices where she cleaned.  And even if she were still a charwoman, it isn’t anything to be ashamed about.  She’s making an honest living.   And how dare you make her out to be less reputable because she’s African and used to be clean offices for a living?  She’s worth far more than your stupid, snooty friends.”

Birgit glowered at him.  “Don’t you dare insult my friends.  And as far as you and that charwoman of yours, you can both go to hell.”

“Children, please,”  Mrs. Sutcliffe wailed.  “Let us stop this bickering.  Atticus, I don’t want to hear anymore about that woman.”

“I wasn’t the one who brought her up,” he was quick to remind her.  “Birgit did.”

“I only brought her up because I could see that you were pining for her.  She really got her hooks in you.  You poor lovesick fool.  While you’re here longing for her, she’s dating another man.”

In a matter of seconds, he was standing beside her, his expression tense as he demanded, “What are you talking about?”

She shrugged.  “I was coming out of the hair salon when I saw her with a tall African man.  She had her arm through his.  She didn’t see me.”

He grabbed her by the shoulders.  “Are you sure it was her?  Birgit, if you’re making this up to hurt me, so help me…”

Her eyes flashed at him.  “Yes, I’m sure it was her and I’m not making this up just to hurt you.  Now, let go of me.”

The color drained from Atticus’s face.  Jealousy clawed at his insides.  “I have to go,” he muttered more to himself than to them.  He released Birgit and turned away.

“Don’t tell me you’re going to see her,” Birgit said.

Mrs. Sutcliffe was alarmed.  “Atticus, can’t you see that’s it’s really over between you?  She has moved on with her life.  Why can’t you do the same?”

“Because I love her,” he muttered tightly before he strode out of the room.

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Diarra had just finished making dinner when the doorbell rang.  After wiping her hands in the towel hanging on the wall beside the sink, she hurried into the foyer, wondering who it was.  When she peered through the keyhole and saw Atticus standing there, her heart leapt in her chest.  She pulled back the latch and opened the door, her eyes slipping over his tall frame.  It had been months since the break up.  The pain was still there.  “Hello,” she said.  “I never thought I would see you again.” african-woman-4a4a9282-090a-4a64-bbfe-c0960b12d8f4

“I know.  May I come in?”

“Sure.”  She stepped aside for him to enter and then closed the door.  She turned to face him.  “Let’s go into the living-room.”

After he removed his shoes, he followed her into the living-room.  He remained standing with his hands in his pockets.  His expression was tense as he watched her.  “I know I have no right to be here or to ask you any questions but there’s one I really need to ask you.”

“What is it?” she asked.  How she longed to reach up and touch his face.

“Are you dating someone else?”

She shook her head at once.  “No, I’m not dating anyone.”

“My sister, Birgit said she saw you with a man.”  He told her where.

“That’s my brother, Khaan.  He had taken me for lunch to celebrate his promotion.”

Relief washed over him and he sank down onto the sofa.  “I’m sorry.  When Birgit told me that she saw the two of you together, I was out of my mind with jealousy although I had no right to be.  I lost that right when I broke up with you.  Oh, Diarra.  What a bloody fool I’ve been.  I allowed my family to come between us.  I shouldn’t be here. I should leave.”

“Have you eaten?” she asked.

He stared at her blankly.  “Eaten?” he repeated and then, shaking his head, he added, “No, I haven’t eaten.”

“I just finished making dinner.  Why don’t you stay and have some?  There’s more than enough for two.”

“All right.  Thank you.”

“I’ll go and share it out.”  She was about to walk away when he caught her arm.  Her eyes were wide as they met his.

“I’m not dating anyone.  Diarra, is there still a chance…?”

“Let’s talk about it after dinner.”

He released her arm and sank heavily down onto the sofa.

After dinner, he was standing at the window, watching the flickering lights when she joined him.  “Promise me that you will never let your family come between us again,” she said.

He turned to face her.  “I promise.”

She took his hand.  “Good.  Do you want dessert?”

His eyes darkened.  “All I want right now, is you.” Reaching out, he unwrapped the scarf from her head.  After it fell to the floor beside her feet, he buried his fingers in her hair as he lowered his head and kissed her.  His mouth moved passionately on hers as his love and desire for her raged inside him.  She put her arms around his waist and kissed him back as her need for him consumed her.

After a while he broke off the kiss to mutter, “I don’t deserve you.”

“We’ll talk about that afterwards,” she gasped.  And grabbing his hand, she pulled him towards her room.

It took a while for things to return to the way they were before the break-up but time, effort and patience kept them on track.  And at the end of the following year, against his family’s impassioned objections, he married Diarra.

You are my other half. And when you left, a great part of me was missing. And now that you’re back, we are one and I am whole again – Love Quote Messages

This was written for the Ragtag Daily Prompts for today’s word, Fusty.  If you’re interested in participating, click HERE for more information.

For Better or For Worse

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“How long are you going to continue looking out that window?  She’s not coming back.  Sooner or later you must accept that.”

He didn’t answer.  Her words cut to the core but he refused to believe that Brittany was gone forever.

“She got tired of waiting and decided that it’s time to move on.  Can’t say that I blame her.  I too would get tired of waiting for a man to make up his mind.”

“Marriage isn’t something you take lightly or rush into,” he replied, sounding a tad defensive and resentful.  “I wanted to be sure before I took that step.”

“And are you sure now?”

“Yes!  I’m ready to take that step with Brittany.”

“Well, as they say, too late, too late shall be the cry.”

His mouth tightened in annoyance.  If she had nothing good or helpful to say, he wish she would keep silent.  “Are you going to be much longer?” he asked.  He wanted to be alone to wallow in his pain and misery.

She looked at him.  “Trying to get rid of me, are you?  Well, I’ll be gone in ten minutes.”

Good.  He turned away to look out of the window again.  Any minute, he hoped to see her walking up the street and hear the key turn in the lock.  He had imagined and dreamed of it so many times.  She had to come back.  The night she walked out of the flat and out of his life was still raw and fresh in his mind.  The place felt empty, lonely and dark without her.  He missed her lying in the bed next to him and always fell asleep hugging her pillow.

They had been together for five years and they had been happy years until the subject of marriage came up.  She wanted to get married but he wasn’t ready.  He had seen too many marriages fall apart.  Love wasn’t a guarantee for a lasting marriage.  He had seen couples who loved each other split up.  Was it unreasonable for him to be cautious?  Was it foolish of him to want to wait until he was ready and willing to make that final commitment?

As much as he was in love with Brittany, he was going to let her pressure him into getting married before he was good and ready.  He didn’t regret that decision but he missed her so much that it hurt.  It had been weeks since she walked out but it felt like years.  Yet, hope continued to burn in his heart.  One of these days, she would return and he would be there, waiting for her.

“Well, I’m off now.  Your supper is in the oven, nice and hot.  Your laundry’s done.  I’ll see you in two weeks.  I’m going to visit my daughter in Manchester.”

“Have a safe trip, Hannah.”

“Thank you.  You take care of yourself.  And stop moping about the place.  There are plenty of women out there.”

“I know but there’s only one woman for me.”

“Aye.  Well, I hope for your sake that she’s worth the trouble.  Good afternoon.”

“Good afternoon.”  He got up and saw her to the door.  He reached over and kissed her on the cheek, smiling as she got red in the face.  He watched her walk down the hallway and turn the corner before he closed the door.  He returned to the window.

It was around half-past seven when he decided to get up and have his supper while it was still warm.  As he headed toward the kitchen, he heard the key turn in the lock.  He froze, his heart pounding.  He stood there and watched as the door slowly opened and Brittany step into the foyer.  She closed the door and locked it before turning to face him.  She stood there, watching him.  Beside her were two pieces of luggage.

For several minutes they just stared at each other.  The only sound was the ticking of the clock on the wall.  Then, he was standing in front of her, his eyes restless on her upturned face.  “You came back,” he muttered. 

“Yes.  It was a mistake for me to leave.  I’m sorry.”

“It hurt when you walked out on me.”

“I’m sorry…”

“I was hoping that you would come back.  I’ve missed you so much.”

“I’ve missed you too.  That’s why I came back.”

He moved closer.  “It’s-it’s good to have you back, Brittany.  My life and this place are so empty and miserable without you.  Please promise me that you won’t leave me again.”

“I promise.  And I’m willing to leave our relationship as it is.  If you don’t want to get married, that’s all right with me.”

He pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly.  “Oh, Brittany…”

She put her arms around his waist.  “I love you, Cedric.”

“And I love you, Brittany.”  He lowered his head and kissed her with passion and longing.  It had been so long since he had held her in his arms or told her that he loved her.  It was like the bright sunshine after a storm.

Several minutes later, he took her hand and led her to their bedroom where they made up for lost time.  Afterwards, they shared the supper Hannah had left for him and it was while they were relaxing on the sofa watching a movie, that he told her that he was ready for marriage.  “I meant it when I said that I was fine with our relationship the way it is.”

“I know you did and I love you for it but I’m ready to take the plunge with you.”

“For better or for worse.”

“Yes.  We’ve been through the worse.  It can only get better from here on.”

She smiled and gently squeezed his hand.  “I believe so too.”

Marriage does not guarantee you will be together forever, it’s only paper. It takes love, respect, trust, understanding, friendship and faith in your relationship to make it last Marriage.com

This was written for the Ragtag Daily Prompts for today’s word, Continue.  If you’re interested in participating, click HERE for more information.

All of Me

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He had set the lofty goal of becoming one of the top five wealthiest men in the world and reached it at the age of thirty-five.  He bought a castle that once belonged to a Lord.  He had a large staff which took care of everything.  He had his privacy.  He had his own beach and could take long walks along its shore anytime.  The only thing missing was someone to share his life with.

He was tired of going on dates with women he had no interest in.  Most of them were only interested in his wealth.  He was lonely and longed for companionship.  Then, he had the idea of hiring a companion.  He was willing to pay for them.  He preferred that the woman be between the age of thirty and fifty.  She had to be attractive, well read and employed.  He had his secretary place the ad in the local newspaper and screen the calls and do the interviews.  Out of hundreds of applicants, only a handful were chosen for him to interview himself.

The woman he chose was a French university Art professor who moved to Brussels five years ago.  She was very attractive, engaging, shared the same interest in books and a love for the Arts.  She was forty but looked younger.  They got along very well.  She had made it very clear that she wasn’t doing this for money.  Most of her friends were married and her family was in France and like him, she yearned for companionship.  She told him that when she saw the ad, at first she was hesitant to apply but after thinking about it, she decided to do it and was happy she did.

They spent every waking moment together, learning about each other and sharing parts of themselves they had never shared with another living soul.  They swam in the ocean, went for walks, drives, went to the opera, enjoyed classical musics in his private movie theatre and enjoyed intimate dinners in the large dining-room or on the terrace facing the sea.

Then one terrible day, he got a call from her.  She sounded upset.  She informed him that she couldn’t continue seeing him.  Alarmed, he asked her why.  After being evasive, she finally informed that she had been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.  She didn’t want to burden him with her illness.  “It wouldn’t be fair to you,” she said.  “I’ll be in and out of hospital.” However, he insisted that he wanted to be there for her and after they ended the call, he went over to her place.

He was there for her during the daily dialysis and several hospital stays.  He took her food and helped her to get dressed.  He spoke to the doctors, anxious to find out everything he could.

When he found out that she needed a transplant and after learning that her relatives couldn’t be donors, he asked to be tested.  Despite her protests, he was tested and it turned out that he was a match.  Both of them were tearful when they got the news.  They underwent the kidney transplant and on her forty-first birthday which was a couple of weeks later, he proposed to her.  She happily accepted, knowing in her heart that not only had she met the man who selflessly gave his kidney so that he could save her life but she had met the man of her dreams.  As they sat on the terrace gazing out at the sea one afternoon, she said to him, “I have your kidney and you have my heart.”

He smiled and reached for her hand.  “You have all of me.”

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This story was inspired by one I read today of a man who donated his kidney to save his girlfriend’s life.  If you would like to read their story, click Here.

This was written for the Ragtag Daily Prompt for today’s prompt, Lofty.  If you’re interested in participating, click HERE for more information.

Source:  Leicestershire Live

 

Strayed/Open #writephoto

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Photo by Sue Vincent

I walked into the house.  It was quiet.  It meant he hadn’t come as yet.  The corridor stretched endlessly before me.  I wondered what to do while I waited for him.  Ahead was the door leading to the large and cozy living-room.  That’s where he and I sat, curled up on the sofa, listening to Smooth Jazz while sipping wine.  I could wait in there.  I could go into the kitchen and prepare something for us to eat.  Or I could go upstairs and slip into something more comfortable.

I slipped off my sandals and walked through the first open door which led to the winding staircase.  I went upstairs to the master bedroom with the enormous canopy bed where he and I enjoy many trysts. I opened my overnight bag and took out my new black negligee.  I changed into it and put my clothes in the chair beside the door.  I ran my fingers through my hair as I crossed the carpet to look out of the window.

The view was splendid.  Thick foliage dotted the sprawling well maintained garden.  I loved this house.  It held so many wonderful memories for me albeit stolen ones.  This was our love nest.  I sat down on the window seat, drew my knees up and wrapped my arms around them.  Any moment now, I should hear the approach of his car.  As soon as I do, I will run down to greet him with a hug and a kiss.

I tried not to think about what I was doing.  I had tried not to do that for five years now.  Growing up in a Christian home, I was always taught that marriage was sacred and that adultery was a sin.  I used to look down on friends and family whom I knew were having extramarital affairs.  Not once did I imagine that one day I would do the very thing I condemned others for.  When I met Julian, I didn’t know that he was married.  He was handsome and charming.  I fell quickly and hard.

We started seeing each other.  I suspected that something was up when we always go together at my place and I was never invited to his.  And we went to certain restaurants and I didn’t have his home number.  I didn’t know where he worked or anything about his family.  Whenever I wanted to introduce him to mine, he would find some excuse why he couldn’t.  One night, I asked him pointblank if he was in a relationship.  He reluctantly admitted that he was married.  That floored me.  A girlfriend or even a fiancee I could deal with but a wife?

When he saw my reaction, he apologized for not being open and honest with me.  He said that he was afraid that if I knew that he was married, I wouldn’t get involved with him.  He knew I was a Christian and what I believed.  I went home that night and cried.  I was so torn up inside about the whole thing.  I was madly in love with him.  I loved being with him.  I was happiest when I was with him.  He was my world.

For weeks, I wrestled with my heart and my conscience.  My heart won and I continued seeing him.  I stopped going to church because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.  I still read my Bible but I avoided the scriptures which spoke of adultery and fornication and such things.   I loved Julian and I wanted to be with him.

I know that Julian loves me and I make him happy.  I don’t think he loves his wife or that he’s happy with her.  I hope that one day, he will end his marriage.  Until then, I will continue to see him on the quiet like this.  I hear his car now.  Eagerly, I rise from the window seat and race out of the room.  Taking two steps at a time, I reach the bottom of the staircase just as he opens the door and steps into the foyer.  He smiles when he sees me and as soon as he closes the door, I rush over to him and throw my arms around him.  He laughs, picks me up, swings me around before he kisses me.

At this moment, I’m not thinking about his wife or how far I have strayed from my moral principles.  All that matters right now is that we are together.

The few hours I spend with you are worth the thousand hours I spend without you.purelovequotes.com

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This was written for the #writephoto Prompt – Open at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.

Twenty-Five Years

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It’s our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  We decided would celebrate it in the comfort of our home.  So, after eating Thai food delivered at our door we drank champagne.  A single red rose lay between us on the bed.

“Happy anniversary,” Martin says as he holds my hand.  “Thank you for the best twenty- five years of my life.”

I smile as I raise my glass.  “Here’s to another twenty-five years.”

We toast.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  God has blessed me with a wonderful man.  We don’t have any kids but we have each other.  He’s my world and I am his.  Together, we have chartered calm and rough waters but through it all, our love, marriage and faith have grown stronger.   Tonight, we are celebrating twenty-five years of wedded bliss.

This was written for the Ragtag Daily Prompt for today’s prompt, Farm.  If you’re interested in participating, click HERE for more information.

Co-Workers Turned Couple

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He glanced up from his computer and realized that Shantel and he were the only ones in the office.  Everyone else had left.  It was Friday.  Most people left either minutes before or exactly at five.  And it was summer.  People wanted to enjoy the nice weather.

He wasn’t in any rush to get home.  All he did when he was there was watch television, play the stereo, read or spend hours on his laptop.  After living most of his life on a farm, it took a while to get used to living in the city.  In spite of the hustle and bustle and all that the city had to offer, his was a very boring life.  He didn’t have a girlfriend and he wasn’t interested in dating, at least that was before Shantel came on the scene.

Two years ago, she joined the company when Ruth who had been working there for over fifteen years, decided to move back to Toronto.  He was sorry to see her go because she was like an older sister to him.  However, when he saw her replacement, he was bowled over.  She was beautiful!  He was tongue-tied and couldn’t help staring when Ruth introduced them.

Shantel was quiet and reserved like him and they got along very well.  Some times they had lunch and took the subway together.  They learned a lot about each other.  He was relieved to find out that she was single like him.  They shared a lot in common and had similar tastes.  Sometimes, they went to the park to have lunch and after work, they went to the shopping mall or the library to browse before hopping on the train.

It wasn’t long before he started to develop feelings for her and he wanted so badly to ask her out but he was afraid of rejection and ruining their friendship.  He watched her now as she sat at her desk.  She glanced up and caught him looking at her.  She got up and went over.  She looked amazing in the purple dress which ended just above her knees.  What lovely legs she had…Realizing that he was staring, he turned away, his face red.

“Are you working late?” she asked.

He looked up.  “I wasn’t planning to,” he replied.  “What about you?”

“No.  I’m ready to leave when you are.”

“Okay.  I’ll be ready in five minutes.”

“I’ll go and get ready.”  She smiled at him before walking away.

He switched off his computer and quickly cleared his desk.  Grabbing his jacket, he went over to her desk where she was waiting for him.  They walked to the elevator.  On the ride down, she turned to him.  “Are you doing anything tomorrow evening?” she asked.

He shook his head.  “No.”

“Well, I was wondering if you would to have dinner at my place.”

His heart began to beat faster.  “I would love to, Shantel.” 

“I’ve wanted to ask you that for a long time but just couldn’t work up the courage until now.”

His eyes darkened on her face and he reached for her hand.  “And I’ve wanted to ask you out so many times but was afraid to.”

She smiled and squeezed his hand.  “I’m glad to know that we both feel the same way and that we’re finally reached this stage in our relationship.  No more hiding or pretending…”  Her voice trailed off as his lips found hers and moved ever so gently, like a caress, making her catch her breath.

When they exited the elevator, they were smiling and holding hands.  They were a couple now.

This was written for the Ragtag Daily Prompt for today’s prompt, Farm.  If you’re interested in participating, click HERE for more information.