“So that’s your plan?” I stepped closer to Robert. “Threaten to tell my family what I did all those years ago? Go ahead. Be my guest.” I swung my hand towards the front door. “But don’t forget to tell them your role.”
His eyes narrowed. “What do you mean my role? I had nothing to do with what you did.”
“I almost died that day and you knew why, yet you didn’t say a word to my family. How do you think they’re gonna feel when they know that?” I crossed my arms.
“But I saved your life, Robert said, frowning.
“Not in the version I’m telling.”
Robert shook his head slowly. “Why did you come back? After all these years, why did you come to me if you weren’t serious about us?”
“I had to right my wrong. I’m sorry I hurt you. That was never my intention.”
Robert flung his arms out and asked,”What the hell does that mean?”
“I thought I was doing what I had to do to make things right again. I made the choice to play God that day in the woods. That has haunted me all these years and the only way I knew how to fix it was…” I took a deep breath. I was finally ready to tell him everything.
“Was what?” His brows furrowed. “Making me believe you loved me, marrying me, all that was to right some wrong and I’m supposed to believe you had no idea I’d get hurt in the process? You can’t really be that stupid,” He said, clenching his jaws.
Once again, he said too much and shutting down was my go to emotion. I leaned against the wall and exercised my right to be silent.
“Oh, so you’re done?”
He knew the silent treatment well. He’d seen it often this past year. Once my plan was complete, I no longer needed to pretend I could really play the wifey type. A part of me believed I could. In the beginning of our reunion, I’d convinced myself that I was like every normal woman who desired to have the husband, the job, the children and be perfectly content. Shortly after our nuptials, I knew I’d made a huge mistake, but leaving wasn’t an option. I had to make up for the sin I’d committed. That was the only way God would forgive me and release me from whatever curse was placed on my life. I needed a normal life. I was starting to realize that maybe this was my normal. A life void of true emotions other than for my grandma and dad. A life where one man could never hold my interest longer than a couple months. Maybe I was my kind of normal and maybe I should’ve just been okay with that.
“If you think I’m just gonna let you walk out my life like I never mattered then you really don’t know me as well as you thought you did.” Robert stood within inches of my face. “You’re my wife dammit and this,” he wagged his finger between the two of us, “is til death do us part.” He quickly kissed my lips then turned around and left.
“I’ll call you later.” I snatched my purse from the sofa and leaned down to kiss Mother before I left.
“You had to know you’d get this reaction. Nadia’s stubborn like someone else I know.” Mother looked at me with a raised brow.
“She’s past stubborn. After all this time she still blames me for what happened that night. How did all of this fall on me?” My throat tightened from the pain I’d carried all these years. “Getting rid of Wesley wasn’t my idea.” I stared at her and hoped she could feel the anger I had to conceal and endure because of her plan.
“You’re right. It wasn’t and I think it’s time we tell Nadia what really happened.”
“You do?” I couldn’t believe what she was saying. Telling the truth meant risking her freedom. I wanted a relationship with my daughter, but I didn’t want to lose my mother in the process.
“Sit.” She nodded towards the chair next to her. “There’s something I wanna tell ya. I wanted to wait until after Thanksgiving, but you need to know now.”
I did as I was told. I watched as my mother’s mouth moved and the words that came out felt like arrows aimed directly at my heart. I sat until the pain was too unbearable to take anymore. The next thing I remembered was running out the house, past Nadia, who was standing alone on the front porch, and to my car. I opened my purse and removed my emergency travel bottle of wine. I finished it as soon as I left the driveway. I don’t remember the drive to the house, but somehow I made it.
“Hey. Where’ve you been?” My husband asked.
“I went to see Nadia.” I sat at the kitchen table and the floodgates opened. All the tears I’d held poured out.
“I knew this wasn’t a good idea.” He sat next to me.
“I don’t wanna hear it,” I said,looking up at him and wiping my eyes.
An instant scowl rested on his face. “Have you been drinking?” He grabbed my purse from my hand and looked inside. He pulled out three empty bottles.
“You promised you’d stop.” He pushed the purse back towards me. “This is your idea of taking care of yourself? Taking care of my unborn child.” He screamed holding the bottles in his hand.
“Don’t start with me today, John. I’m not in the mood.”
“You think you’re the only one going through something, Rachel? Well, guess what, you’re not. I stood right in front of my daughter at the foot of the grave of a man I killed for you,” he jabbed his finger towards me, “and for her… and I couldn’t say a word. She tried to attack me because she still thinks I killed her father. I went through all that without taking one drink.” He stood. “This baby is our second chance. We screwed things up with Nadia, but now we have an opportunity to get it right.” He motioned towards my stomach.
“We or I? I screwed things up. That’s what you mean, right? You were the hero that swooped in and saved us.”
“In my daughter’s eyes I’m the enemy,” he reminded me.
“Well, you’ll be happy to know my mother wants us to tell her the truth.”
John’s eyes widened. “What? The hell we are. We’re going to get through to her some way, but telling her or anyone else the truth is out of the question.” He shook his head. “I’m meeting with the attorney to sign the paperwork and things will be finalized with my dad’s estate. After that, we’re going back to Texas. We’ll figure this out together. The two of us.” He eyed the bottles then looked at me.
I was ready for this nightmare to be over. I didn’t want it to happen this way, but if John didn’t think of something my only choice would be honesty. I may lose my mother and my husband, but I’ll have the one person I’ve wanted all these years…my daughter….my Nadia.
Written By: L.A. Lewis
Edited By: Gina Johnson Phillips