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Three is a crowd: Tracy to the rescue

David and Diane have been married for years; then there is Julie, the young secretary whose axis collides with the couple’s in ways none of them saw coming.

JULIE

It was almost ten when Sandra woke me up with the announcement that there were two men at the door who were here to install security cameras.

“Let them in; I’ll be right there,” I answered, as I scampered out of bed and rushed to the bathroom to freshen up, embarrassed that I had slept so late.

My mother had always said that unless she was very ill, a real woman woke up before the sun came up, and sleeping in was a sign of laziness.

Then again, maybe pregnancy this far along, should be considered in the ‘very ill’ category; even the simple task of getting out of bed seemed to require herculean effort.

However, twenty minutes later, I was fresh and changed, and left the room to go meet the men from the security company.

They were already at work, drilling holes and running cables; so, I left them to it and headed for the kitchen, drawn in by the aroma of coffee and sausages.

“Mmmm, it smells so good in here,” I said appreciatively.
“Morning; you’re right on time. These sausages are just about ready,” Sandra answered. “Will you have it in here, since those guys are working out there?”
“Yes please.”

“What’s up with the cameras? I mean I’ve heard of men going a bit crazy when they’re about to become fathers, but that’s usually with first-time dads; the way David is carrying on, you would never guess he already has three children!”

“Well, it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of caution,” I shrugged, trying to appear casual.

“True, but this is on another level! Maybe he just wants to keep an eye on what you’re doing while he’s at work,” she teased.

I laughed along, relieved that she didn’t suspect the real reason for the cameras. It was calmly reassuring to see them go up. I felt a little more gracious towards David than I had last night. With a soft smile, I picked up my phone, and sent him a text; ‘The cameras are being installed – thank you. I love you.’

DIANE

By lunchtime, I was already more than halfway through a bottle of gin, and feeling a lot better. The alcohol had dulled not just my physical aches and pains, but the emotional ones as well; so, although my mind continued to bombard me with painful memories from last night, it was now easier for me to deflect and shrug them off.

At the moment, my only problem was the hunger that was beginning to gnaw at me. I had not eaten anything since the previous day, and while the alcohol had initially dulled that fact, it was now beginning to lose that battle.

Normally, all I had to do towards getting a meal, was tell the maid what to cook, and while I could order in, I didn’t want some delivery person seeing my battered face, which left me with cooking by myself as the only option; after all, I knew how to, and the fridge was fully stocked.

I was still mulling over my dilemma, when the sound of a car coming up the driveway made me freeze and even sober up for a second. Who the hell was it, and what did they want?

I knew the sound of David’s car, and this wasn’t it. Maybe he had told the police about my confession, and they had come to arrest me. I panicked and furtively peeped out from behind the living room curtains, then sighed in relief when I saw it was Tracy.

Of course I did not want anyone seeing me in this state, but at least I was not being arrested, I thought to myself as she started pounding on the door impatiently.

“Diane, open up! I know you’re in there because your car is here, and I just saw the curtains move, so open up!”

She was making enough of a racket to raise the dead, and I knew she would not stop until I opened the bloody door.

“Fine, fine, I’m coming,” I called out in defeat, then took another sip of my drink for some Dutch courage.

DAVID

I was just about to head in for a management meeting, when my phone rang; I did not recognize the number; so, I answered in my official tone.

“Good afternoon; David speaking.”
“Hi David; it’s Tracy.”

It took me a few seconds to figure out which ‘Tracy’ this was, for although she and Diane were best friends, she and I didn’t interact much, and I was surprised she even had my number.

“Hi Tracy; how are you?” I greeted her cordially while glancing at my watch; the meeting was about to begin; so, I hoped this was not going to take long.

“I’m alright, but we need to talk,” she answered curtly.
“Sorry, Tracy, I’m just about to go into a meeting; what is it about?” I asked, even though I had a feeling I knew exactly what it was about. It couldn’t be a mere coincidence that yesterday, I had beaten Diane up, and now her best friend suddenly wanted to talk to me.

“It’s about Diane, and it’s very important; can you pass by the boutique after your meeting?”

I was right, and did not want to pass by the boutique for what would no doubt be a lecture on the evils of domestic violence.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know how long the meeting will run – these things tend to go on and on,” I hedged.

“That’s alright; I don’t have any plans for this evening, I’ll wait,” she answered firmly.

“You don’t need to do that; traffic will probably have picked up by then, and....”

“David, I don’t think I have ever called you asking to talk about Diane before; so, when I do, just know it’s important – I’ll wait for you,” she repeated determinedly, then hung up.

I sighed in exasperation as I put down the phone; I really didn’t want to spend the evening talking about Diane with Tracy, or anyone else for that matter.

Julie had sent me a text that morning, and its tone implied that she had already gotten over her hang-ups from the previous night; so, I had been looking forward to going back to the apartment for a relaxing night, but now Tracy was throwing a spanner into those plans.

At the same time, I had to admit it was true she had not called me over Diane before; so, it was only right that I at least heard what she had to say.

I would go to the boutique, give her half an hour, and then get back to Julie, I decided, then pushed the matter from my mind and headed for the meeting.

margaretwamanga@yahoo.com

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