Being Inspired, maybe – 145
A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like. For instance:
And, then, the words:
Almost a year to the day, Kyle had been surprised to get an email from Janine, the wife of his brother Daniel. When Daniel had arrived on his doorstep, he wasn't exactly a mess, but he had been struggling to understand why his wife of over twenty years would betray him as she had.
To Kyle, though, it wasn't exactly a revelation. He had known the moment he saw her, just before the wedding, what type of woman she was. Definitely not monogamous. After all, he had seen her off and on during the six months he had been working in Washington, not only with Michael, but with several other men of varying degrees of importance, and not once as just good friends.
And, after he left, to get away from that toxic environment, and an equally toxic relationship with a woman he accidentally discovered was lying to him about not being married, he had learned that Janine had been having not one affair but several, and that one, in particular, had exploded, forcing her to disappear back home or have her affair with Michael exposed to the world. It appeared Michael's career had been more important than her reputation.
The fact she married Daniel as a face-saving exercise had not sat well with him and his last meeting with her was a very bitter row, and neither had spoken to the other since. Now that email came out of left field, leaving him wondering why she would bother even communicating with him, and how, in fact, she knew what his email was. Clearly, she still had particular 'friends'.
He had left that email sitting unread in the inbox for two days, each morning the mouse pointer hovering over it, with the intention of reading it, and then, at the last second, passing over it.
There was nothing she could say to him that would justify what she'd done, and, he had told Daniel that in his opinion, he was better off without her.
On the morning of the third day, his curiosity got the better of him
There was no attempt at justifying what she'd done. Just advice that she would be arriving in London in two days' time, and to ask if Daniel would see her so they could talk about their situation.
Terse, bordering on brusque, Kyle was equally amused and disappointed.
He sent an email back, terse, if not equally brusque, telling her not to bother, that Daniel had already assumed she would try and patch things up, and he was not interested.
She simply replied she had to come to London and gave him the flight number and the estimated time of arrival.
Kyle made two decisions, both of which he was going to regret. The first, he didn't tell Daniel that Janine was coming over, and the second, he would go to the airport and tell her in person she was wasting her time.
Thus, standing outside in the arrivals area, he waited. The plane was late, nothing unusual there, and calculated he had time for a coffee and a scan of the paper before she appeared. When she did, about an hour after the plane touched down, the thought he might not recognize her was instantly dispelled. The last time he had seen her, she had been drop-dead gorgeous, and time had done nothing to dent that beauty. She had only one small case, so she had traveled light, also unexpected.
There was no smile, just a frown, as though the delay in arrival was just another annoyance among many. He could see her quickly scan those who were waiting for other arrivals, and picked him out almost instantly. He watched her approach, then stop in front of him. There was not going to be hugs or any sort of greeting.
"It's been a long time, Kyle. I must say I wasn't expecting you to come to the airport."
"I wasn't, but I didn't think a phone call would suffice. You're wasting your time."
"Is that Daniel speaking, or you. If I recall, you never did like me very much."
"I thought I made my position very clear. It seems I wasn't wrong."
"Twenty years, Kyle."
"A leopard doesn't change its spots, whether it's twenty days, twenty months, or twenty years. Aside from that, you say you've done it once, but in living that lie, what else have you lied about because as far as I can tell, nothing you say can be believed."
"It was once, and it was a mistake."
"And there you have it. I don't believe you, and neither does Daniel. And before you tell me I've poisoned him against you, don't. You did that all yourself. And the fact you’re here tells me even Michael has dumped you. No surprises there considering he’s as bad as you are.
"Is that it?"
"You forget I was in Washington too, the same tie you were sleeping around. It was widely known but spoken about in hushed tones out of deference to your father, but quite the joke just the same. The only change between then and now is you're older, and more desperate. Now. I'm done. Don't bother us again."
Job done, he turned to leave.
“He has a son, Kyle.”
He stopped, then turned slowly. You mean you have a son, and the real father won’t have anything to do with him, or you. Of all the deadbeat schemes...
“You mean it’s Michaels and he immediately washed his hands of you and the child, Janine. I don’t know how you could believe he would do the right thing. This son, where is he?”
“It’s Daniel’s. He’s back home with my mother.”
“If he exists at all. This is low, even for you. If it was Daniel’s you would have told him long before this.”
She pulled out her cell phone and brought up a photograph of a child. “It was a difficult birth and I have been in hospital recovering. I have a DNA test.”
“From some material you scraped up from somewhere.” He shook his head. “You do nothing but lie, to him, to me, to everyone. You want either of us to believe anything, go home, bring him back, and we’ll get an independent DNA test. Until then, don’t waste our time. Now I’m going. Daniel has taken a long to get over what you did to him, and I don’t want him to have to either relive it when he sees you, or go through it again. You had the opportunity to make a good life with him, but you threw it away. Go home.”
Kyle left her standing there. He could see she was going to try the tears route but didn’t. Tears might work on Daniel, but not him.
When he got back to his car, Daniel was leaning against the front fender, smoking a cigarette. Kyle thought he’d given them up, but, it might be a sign of stress.
“You think that child could be mine?”
“Only if you were having sex at the time. Were you?”
“No. Things were rather sour those last six months. Catching her with Michael made it all make sense. It couldn’t be mine.”
“Then all the more reason not to see her. She’s given you enough grief.”
Daniel dropped the butt and trod on it with vigor. “You’re right, of course. Let’s go.”
A sensible approach, Kyle thought, but somehow he knew they hadn’t seen or heard the last of her, that she had one more trick up her sleeve.
© Charles Heath 2022