Blemished Love Episode 28 – 29 Loudest Thoughts

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Blemished Love Episode 1 - Loudest Thoughts

Blemished Love Episode 28 – Loudest Thoughts

It turned out Grissel arranged with Melisa to bring Shirley over which Tom was not aware of. When she changed her mind of leaving that afternoon it was because her daughter was visiting.

Tom was furious as he felt left out and Grissel seemed much happier with Shirley around.

‘She’s just a kid.’ He mumbled softly and sat back in his car.

He came home earlier and Grissel hadn’t noticed as she has kept herself locked up in the guest room with Shirley for the past few days that she arrived.

***

‘Mommy, I want you to come and live with me in daddy’s house.’

‘Sweetheart we talked about this.’

‘Yes, but Uncle Tom doesn’t like me.’

‘Really, why do you say that?’

‘He hardly talks to me and always not around.’

‘I’m sorry but Tom is very busy these days and you know mommy has hurt him a lot.’

‘Okay, just apologize to him so we can leave to daddy’s house.’

Grissel was getting frustrated and just reached out to her. She cuddled her and watched her sleepy eyes closed. She realized her daughter was probably sleep talking but she was also right about Tom distancing himself from them.

***

Gina walked up to Grissel’s room and found her cuddling Shirley to bed. She peeped and signaled her to come out.

‘Mom, don’t leave.’ Shirley muttered as sleep was almost taking over.

‘Shirley, I will be back.’

She nodded and closed her eyes.

‘Mom, are you okay.’ Grissel asked when she got to Gina’s end.

‘Yes, but Tom isn’t.’

‘Tom?’ Grissel repeated.

‘Yes, I’ve been watching you two lately and it seemed you don’t really care about him anymore.’

‘Don’t say that mom. I’m trying and right now I’m out of ideas.’

‘No, you are being selfish and insensitive.’

Grissel felt embarrassed but that was her mom and anything she says always make sense.

‘I’m sorry. Is he back?’

‘Over five hours ago and you probably didn’t notice because you feel comfortable with whatever primitive ideas you have going through your mind.’

‘I don’t know how to talk to him.’ She revealed coyly.

‘Trust me you do.’

‘I will see him tomorrow.’ She announced and turned her back Gina.

‘Will you get out of here now?’ Tom has laid his life down for you, yet still you treat him like he doesn’t matter to you.’ Gina raised her voice at her.

‘But Shirley i….’

‘I would watch Shirley. Just attend to Tom.’

‘Alright mom.’ She dragged her feet and hesitated for a while before moving away.

‘He’s outside in his car and he hasn’t eaten for quite some days now.’

‘Really?’ Grissel asked obviously surprised.

‘Yes, if you were paying attention to him, you would have known.’

She made an angry face and walked away.

She got there and Tom was trying to catch some sleep. Grissel reached out for the door and quickly sat inside.

‘So I heard, I’ve been mean towards you.’

Tom raised up his head and looked at her for a while. ‘You’ve been awful and I’m not sure where I went wrong.’

‘It’s Shirley.’ She mumbled quietly.

‘Shirley? What about her?’

‘She thinks you don’t like her.

‘Wow, I’m sure you gave her that idea.’

‘Really? I guess you haven’t realized your own problem yet.’

‘My problem?’

‘Yes, you want to be with me yet you haven’t accepted my daughter.’

‘I allowed her stay here with you, isn’t that enough.’

‘No, that is not what I want from you Tom.’

He stared at her and shook his head. ‘What do you want then?’

‘I want you to be part of her life.’

‘But I haven’t done anything contrary to that Grissel.’

‘Yes you did. I didn’t even realize until she mentioned it.’

‘You want me to cuddle her to bed or feed her.’ He asked rather rudely.

‘Really? You are not up for this conversation.’ She was making her way out of the car when he called her back.

‘Grissel, just say the word.’ He held on to her hands.

‘I can’t tell you what to do Tom. Just figure it out.’

‘Alright, I’ll ask Melisa during the day.’

Grissel scoffed. ‘You want to ask Melisa for parenting advice.’

‘Yeah, she bonded with your daughter quickly.’

‘That was because, Lisa is likeable.’

‘And I’m not? Look I have lots of muscle.’ He was showing off his forearm.

‘Shirley doesn’t want to see your muscle Tom.’

‘What does she want then?’

‘To see you around her more often. She feels you haven’t accepted her yet.’

‘I have and you know it, I’m just giving you two enough space to make up for lost time.’

‘But I want you around her.’

‘Sure but tell me about court. I don’t want you keeping me in the dark anymore.’

“Tom, there’s nothing to tell except that I may be going to jail if I don’t find any evidence to back up my case.”

‘You mean not faking his signature.’

‘Yes, and giving Stella up isn’t a solution.’

‘But she did this Grissel.’ He hit his hand on the dashboard angrily.

‘Go easy with the anger Tom. Giving Stella up isn’t an issue but who benefited from the forged signature.’

Tom was deep in thoughts and sighed. ‘It would still look as if you asked her to do that on your behalf so you could get married.’

‘Great, you should be a lawyer Tom.’ She teased.

‘Why are you so calm right now?’

‘Life happened doesn’t mean I should give up on myself.’

‘Who is the Judge on that case? Can’t we just bribe him?’

‘Judge Sculley. And please no bribes.’

‘Wait, Stanley Sculley.’

‘Yes, you know him?’

‘Not really.’ He smiled sheepishly.

‘Tom, don’t do anything stupid. It would just come back to hit us.’

‘Us?’

‘Yes, we are in this together right?’

‘Of course we are.’ He grinned once more.

‘And I know you have feelings for Stella.’

‘Let’s not go there this evening.’

‘Incase I don’t make it, I w…..’

‘Are you high on something right now? Why would you even ask me to be with her?’ He muttered angrily.

Grissel laughed so hard. ‘Tom I meant I wouldn’t want you to be with her.’

‘Aaahh okay,’ He scratched his head.

‘I have to go in now before the Queen starts looking for me. Are you coming?’

‘I would be there soon. I want to make a few calls.’

‘Sure,’ she rushed out before Tom could steal a Kiss.

Tom located his phone on the back seat and dialed Julia’s number.

‘Aunty do you know if Morris is still friends with Sculley?’

‘Good evening to you too Tom.’ Julia answered.

‘Forgive my manners. I know you are fine.’

‘Mr. know it all, I heard Shirley is around.”

‘You heard right.’ Tom quietly said.

And how are things going.’ Julia asked.

‘It turned out I need parenting skills.’ He scratched his head. ‘Can you help?’

“Tom there’s nothing like parenting lessons. You learn yourself as time goes on.”

‘But this is not my daughter.’ He replied naively.

‘Grow up son, if I had said that thirty years ago would you have called me now for parenting advice?’

‘I know all that but they look so happy together that I get jealous sometimes.’

‘Tom, suck it up and do your best.’ Julia encouraged.

“Alright, what about Sculley.”

‘Call your dad.” Julia quickly said and hanged up before Tom could say another word.

He hissed and shrugged for some minutes before dialing his dad’s number.

‘Are you still friends with Sculley?’ He asked immediately Morris answered.

Morris looked at the caller ID and smiled. ‘Yeah, why?’

‘I need help with Grissel’s case.’

‘Lisa told me about your wife. I’m sorry.’

‘I need help not sorry.’

‘Okay, and I’m assuming that kind of help involves money.’

‘If it comes to it, why not?’ Tom replied his dad.

‘Sculley won’t take a bribe. I know him that much.’

‘Dad, I’m desperate here.’

‘Dad?’ Morris repeated.

‘Can you talk to him for me?’ Tom pleaded with his sad tone ignoring his excitement.

Morris smiled when he heard Tom call him dad. ‘I would try my best but this may come with a price that you wouldn’t like.’

‘I would do anything at this point.’ Tom quickly responded.

‘Well Sculley always wanted Lisa to marry his son.’

‘Is that all?’ He asked happily.

‘Yes but Lisa doesn’t even want to hear his name on my lips.’

‘Leave that to me, I would arrange for Lisa to meet up with the guy.’

Morris paused for a while. ‘I’m glad you reached out to me son.’

‘I didn’t do it for you but tell me, is Sculley’s son a responsible man.’

‘Yeah, Stanley Jnr is better than his dad.’ Morris clarified.

‘Okay thank you.’ Tom hurriedly hanged up in order to call Lisa.

***

‘Lisa you have to marry Stanley for my sake.’ Tom said instantly. It seemed like that evening he wasn’t in the mood to greet any one.

‘Tom, is that you?’

‘Yes, this is your only brother. Did you delete my number or you went blind?’

‘No, I mean you actually called me to marry some guy.’

‘Stanley, your dad said you know him.’ He said in a hurry.

‘No, I’ve never met him.’

‘I can arrange for you to meet him. Please do this for me.’ Tom was talking hurriedly.

‘Tom, are you okay?’ Did dad put you up to this?

‘I’m fine and no he didn’t. Lisa I would lose Grissel if you don’t marry this guy.’

‘Is this about that judge Aunty asked me about a while ago?’

‘Yes, please help me. You know you owe right?’ He pleaded.

She sighed. ‘But how do you expect me to marry someone I have no connection with?’

‘I don’t know Lisa. You are good with these sort of things.’ He mumbled with a sad tone. Maybe you can pretend to like him.’

‘This is different, if you say a one night stand maybe I might consider.’

‘But you were willing to throw your family away for your sister-in laws ex-husband. Why can’t you do this for me?’

‘Dane and I are on a break.’ She informed him.

‘It means you two are no more besides i told you I don’t want him for you Lisa.’ He hissed. ‘Just go along with Stanley until all this is over.’ He pleaded again.

Melisa felt he was hurting and really needed help and besides she wasn’t so sure she would end up with Dane at the end of all this. At the same time she was scared of being alone.

She swallowed so hard. ‘Okay Tom but before you start jubilating I hope Grissel is in support of this.’

‘Emmmm, yes.’ He lied.

‘Alright, call dad and set up the meeting. I’m free tomorrow.’

‘Thank you my love.’

‘Really, your love.’ Melisa laughed.

‘Yes, okay I have to go now. I love you.’ He quickly hanged up and rushed inside with a smile on his face just to meet Grissel waiting for him in his room.

‘Sorry, I had a few calls to make. I would take her out tomorrow.’

‘That’s fine but you are smiling.’

‘Yes, probably because my wife is in my room after several weeks of staying off.’

‘Do you want me to leave?’ She asked as she wasn’t so sure spending the night with him was the best.

‘No, your timing is perfect.’ He rushed to hug her still excited.

*****

Lisa and Tom were at the restaurant waiting for Stanley to arrive with his Dad and Morris. It took them hours before they got there by then Melisa had gone to use the washroom.

She came back and saw a familiar face sitting with her Dad and Tom.

‘Bryan, what are you doing here?’ She asked surprised grabbing a seat.

‘You two know each other?’ Bryan’s dad asked while the others looked on.

‘Yes, but I don’t know what he’s doing here.’ Melisa said not so sure of herself.

‘That’s Stanley, I told you about him several times.’ Morris chipped in.

‘Stanley huh.’ Melisa said and rolled her eyes. She felt lied to.

‘I can explain Lisa.’ Bryan finally found her voice.

Tom kept watching the two of them for a while and smiled sheepishly. ‘Was he one of your clients?’

‘What clients?’

He laughed and his dad smiled. ‘You know what I mean.’ He raised his eyebrows.

Melisa got his message. ‘No, I didn’t sleep with him.’ She said before realizing she was too loud.

‘Morris can we leave this two to work out their differences. And Tom, we have a deal.’ He shook hands with Tom and stood up.

Tom stood up and walked over to Melisa who had her finger in her mouth like an eight year old.

‘He’s a fine guy, just do what you do best.’

She smiled while her dad looked on. ‘Get a life Tom.’ She smacked him.

‘Would you be okay here?’ Morris asked.

‘Yes but make sure Tom gets what he wants.’ Melisa cautioned and Morris nodded.

‘I love you sis.’ Tom said and shook Bryan by the shoulder who was just staring at her all that while.

Melisa has never seen Tom so happy with any of her decisions so helping him out by marrying Bryan and seeing him so excited made her heart rejoice.

They left and Bryan hasn’t stopped staring.

‘So how do we go about this because I don’t really want to marry you?’ She asked after a few seconds of silence.

‘Me neither.’ He finally found his voice.

‘Really?’ She asked as if she was expecting a different answer.

‘Yes, I mean I do like you but I can’t take advantage of you like Henry does.

Melisa’s heart skipped. She stared at him while Bryan’s hands moved to cover his mouth like a kid.

Melisa knew he obviously made a mistake when he mentioned his name.

‘You know Henry?’ She asked with a serious tone.

‘Emmmm, yes. He’s a friend.’

‘But I’ve never seen you around him, anyway can we agree on something quickly so I can go.’ Melisa was not comfortable.

‘Melisa, I like you and want to help you with your brother’s issue but I also need to come clean.’

‘Bryan, I don’t really have time for parables.’

‘I sabotaged your car several times on Henry’s request.’ He didn’t waste any more minutes on that.

Melisa relaxed back on the seat and her head was spinning. ‘What are you talking about?’

‘You know your car always seemed not to work every time you get drunk with him.’

‘Yes, I remember. I end up at his place.’

‘Emm you don’t end up there alone.’ He swallowed hard and buried his face in his palms.

‘What? Bryan, stop scaring me and talk clearly.’

‘I don’t know why I did all that for him but Henry and the rest of his friend’s call me a weakling. I had to change my name to Bryan to fit in because they claimed Stanley sounds like a college boy’s name.’ He narrated.

‘So what does that have to do with me?’

‘What I meant was, I sabotaged your car so Henry and his friends could sleep with you.’

Melisa was quivering and her eyes were red. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

Her face was on the table for a whole five minutes before she spoke. ‘How many guys?’

‘Five, sometimes four but it mostly depends on how drunk you were and the dosage of the sleeping tablet.’

She looked at him in a disgusting manner and hit her fist on the table. ‘Did you sleep with me too?’

‘No, I would never do that to you. I admired you a lot, Henry knew that so he kept me as his errands boy.’

‘So meeting you was not a coincidence.’ She asked holding her tears back.

‘It was but I knew our parents intention before I met you with Henry the first night he asked me to temper with your brakes.’

‘You two are sick. I can’t believe you came here expecting me to marry you when you have actually wronged me.’

‘I’m sorry. I wanted to tell you the last time I called but you said you would call back but never did.’

‘You disgust me right now.’ She stood up rudely.

‘Lisa, wait.’

‘Wait for what? The deal is off and you dare not tell your dad that because I would make sure you pay for your crimes.’

‘I have no intentions of doing that. Your brother can have whatever favor he needs from Sculley.’

‘Good, I will leave now but make sure you delete my number.’

‘Okay.’ He responded stupidly.

Melisa laughed in her head and picked up her car keys.

She got to her car and called Paige. After narrating everything to her, she hanged up and called Dane who was very furious Henry was that cruel.

‘Dane, there’s something else.’

‘Are you okay?’

‘No, you need to check your status for any STI’s.

‘What are you talking about?’

‘Just do it and stop asking question.’ She sobbed.

‘Wait, I sle..pt w..ith you onl..y on..ce.’ He stuttered.

‘You think I don’t know that.’ She said and hanged up.

Melisa turned off her phone and wiped her tears. She drove off and packed at the Seattle Hospital car park. It took her a while to get out of the car.

The nurse in the reception took her through the lab process on her request and gave her a card to wait for her results.

‘Doctor Addison.’ She heard a voice calling her from behind.

When she turned around it was a cute slim lady doctor. Melisa walked closer as she wasn’t sure who she is.

The lady walked closer and kept smiling. ‘Hello, it’s an honor to meet you.’ She reached out for a hug which confused Melisa because she was so sure she doesn’t know the lady from anywhere.

‘I’m sorry but I think you got me confused with someone else. I’m Melisa.’ She reached out for a handshake.

‘Yes, Doctor Lisa.’ We know you around here and have been expecting you.’

‘Wait, you know I have STI’s?’ She asked still confused. Probably Bryan’s story was making her delusional.

‘STI’s?’ The doctor asked confused as she only came to her because she knew who Melisa was.

‘Yes, I came here to check my status and have been waiting for my result.’

‘Oh that’s what you meant.’ The lady grinned as she understood her fears.

‘Yes, do you have my results?’ She asked worriedly.

‘No, I don’t but come with me to my office so we can talk about it.’

She looked around and realized she was still in the hospital. Melisa followed the Doctor to her office. She put a call through to the lab for her tests to be brought to her office.

‘When is the result coming?’ Melisa asked after a few minutes of silence as the doctor seemed to be looking for some files.

‘Relax Lisa.’ She said and smiled while she continued looking for the files.

‘Okay, obviously you know who I am but i…….’

‘I’m Michelle.’

‘Michelle?’ Melisa repeated.

‘We haven’t met yet but I know you far back from Seattle news.’

Melisa relaxed back on the seat. ‘Oh the 3D printing miracle.’ Melisa remembered she was once all over the news for the lady’s Kidney she saved by using a 3D technology.

‘Yep, you handled that case pretty well and you were all over the news.’

‘I just did my job.’ She found herself calming down.

A job you were good at. Why did you quit?’ Doctor Michele asked.

She stared at the Doctor and a smile suddenly appeared on her cheeks.

‘Emmm, I don’t really know.’

‘Great, we needed extra hands and your brother just knew the right person for the job.’

‘You know Tom?’ She asked quickly.

‘He knows my brother Clive.’

‘Oh I get it now, he asked you to get me a job here.’

‘Is that a bad thing?’ Michelle asked.

‘Not really, but right now I came to ch……’

‘Check your status. Is there an outbreak somewhere?’ Michelle concluded for her and further asked.

‘No, I made some bad choices and I think it’s just about to blow in my face.’

Michelle looked at her and called the lab again. She listened for a while and sighed. ‘Will be waiting for you in my office.’

‘Is that about my test?’

‘Yes the technician is on his way. Just breathe in.’

They were still talking about work and life in general when the Lab technician came in with the results. Michelle quickly opened it and glanced through.

‘Am I clean?’ She asked slowly.

‘Of course Lisa, you just need more fluid.’ She handed Melisa the result.

She sighed and smiled broadly. ‘Thank you so much and about that job offer, I could start month.’

‘Great, I would have the probation paper work done and we have good start up classes.’

‘Thanks once again.’

‘I’m happy to help and ooh your brother wanted me to tell you congratulations and obviously this was his wedding gift to you.’

Melisa suddenly laughed hilariously. ‘Tom is just being funny. I’m not planning any marriage but I would accept his congratulations.’

They had a few more chats before she left the hospital. She was so happy to have accepted that offer.

‘Why did I even quit in the first place?’ She was still talking to herself while she walked inside the room when Julia rushed to her hugging her and doing her normal body check.

‘Aunty, what’s going on?’

‘Your brother said you tested positive for HIV.’ Julia mentioned still checking her out as if HIV was written on her body.

‘Tom, told you that?’

‘Yes, he said Dane called Grissel and he called Paige too.’

‘Dane. Grissel.’ She now understood how Tom knew she was going to that hospital and called Michelle to look out for her.

‘Yes, I’ve been worried.’

‘I’m sorry, it’s negative Aunty.’ She walked away from her towards the couch. Julia followed a little bit relaxed.

‘So you are fine Lisa?’

‘Of course and by the way I may just go back to being a Doctor soon.’

‘Really?’ She shouted excitedly.

Her phone rang at that moment and she picked up.

‘Don’t do that to me again? Why did you go off in the middle of our conversation?’ Dane complained angrily.

‘Relax, I just needed some time to myself an…….’ She answered.

He cut her off. ‘I love you Lisa and its okay because we have effective drugs these days.’

Melisa kept quiet and smiled. ‘Emmmm, I’……’

‘Are you crying right now? I can be on the next plane to Seattle.’

‘D, I’m negative.’ She muttered quietly.

He paused for a while. ‘Good news but I miss you.’

‘I don’t want you here right now.’ Melisa bluntly told him.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yeah, your presence would just distract me as I took on a job at the Seattle hospital.’

‘You did? Congratulations.’

‘Thanks and I heard you called Grissel so I’m guessing our small issue is sorted out.’

‘No and have a good day.’ He quickly hanged up before Melisa could tease him.

Blemished Love Episode 29 – Loudest Thoughts

‘Tommy, is that you?’

He heard a voice behind him and paused what he was searching for. Tom recognized the voice and decided to ignore. He proceeded in his search when Dani called out to him.

‘Uncle Tom, Is your name Tommy?’ Dani asked grinning naively.

‘Huh, No but some friends prefer calling me by that name.’

‘Oh I see.’ She sighed. ‘I think one of them is standing right behind you.’ Dani laughed cheekily while Tom turned in a flash.

‘Hey, what are you doing here?’ He asked feigning a smile.

‘Tommy this is a shopping mall and everyone comes here.’ Amy his ex-girlfriend said.

‘Oh yeah. How are you?’ He put on a straight face.

‘As you can see I didn’t die when you left me crying for help.’

‘Jeez Amy.’ He raised his voice and gestured at her to keep in mind Dani was still around.

‘You still have anger issues?’ She asked.

‘Uncle Tom? You haven’t introduced your friend yet.’ Shirley interrupted.

Tom looked at her and sheepishly grinned. ‘Emmm, Amy is an old friend.’

‘Alright, I would go and get some toys now.’ Dani said and rushed off.

Amy watched Dani while she rushed off. She smiled and turned to Tom with her arms across her chest.

‘I guess that must be your illegitimate daughter, she’s so cute.’

‘What do you want Amy?’

‘Come on Tommy, are we still fighting because I had already forgiven you.’

He glanced at her and sighed. ‘You have?’

‘Of course, I was wrong to have slept with you in that state.’

‘Okay, I’m sorry too.’ He found himself apologizing.

Amy suddenly laughed. ‘Oh wow. A new Tommy.’

‘I can take my apology back if you don’t want it.’ He frowned.

‘It’s too late for that when your wife already did that a few weeks to your nuptials.’

‘Grissel?’ He asked surprised because she never mentioned it to him

‘Yes, and I’m guessing with the look on your face she didn’t tell you.’

‘No but she shouldn’t have. It was my mess to clean up.’

‘Wow. Tommy, you’ve changed. I guess Grissel does have a lot of effect on you.’

‘Yes, she’s a good person.’

‘Hmmm and I wasn’t?’ Amy retorted.

Tom looked at her for a few seconds. ‘I didn’t mean it that way. We did had our moments but I just wasn’t into you that much.’ He said truthfully.

‘Now there he comes with the honest answer.’ She said smiling which made Tom confused.

‘You smiled Amy.’

‘Yes because I’m happy we talked Tom.’

‘Sorry once again.’ Tom replied. He was never the forgiving type and Amy knew that.

‘Oh that, forget it. I’m back with Bobby now.’

‘That’s great, I knew that guy was a keeper.’ He scratched his face when he remembered how he took Amy from him and Bobby wasn’t able to say a word.

‘But you still snatched me from him to begin with.’

He laughed. ‘He wasn’t that smart and I’m happy he still found his way back to you.’

‘I know right.’ Amy responded scrutinizing his face.

‘Why are you staring at my face?’ Tom asked when he noticed.

‘You are not happy Tommy.’ She announced.

‘Emmm what makes you think that.’ Tom feigned a smile.

‘The look on your face right now says it all.’

‘I’m happy Amy, just a few marital problems.’

‘Yeah, Clive told me about that.’

‘You still talk to Clive?’

‘Of course I do, but you know when you were not happy with me you let go easily so what’s stopping you from letting go now.’

‘Amy you are not Grissel.’ He told her honestly.

‘I know that but you can’t stay in a marriage where you stay out all night and get home feigning happiness.’

‘Clive told you I stay out these days.’

‘Tommy, he was looking out for you as a brother.’

He went mute for a minute while Amy looked on. ‘Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife despite our problems but I’m just ……’ he paused. ‘forget it.’

‘Admit you are not happy Tommy.’ She cut her off.

‘I am happy sometimes but then tired of the forth and back.’

‘And I’m guessing you haven’t told her yet.’

‘I can’t do that, she would leave me if I do.’

‘I understand, you don’t want to lose her but trust me you already have especially when her ex seems to be serious about this whole bigamy case.’

‘I know that but Grissel has been through so much and I love her.’

Amy sighed heavily. ‘I don’t know what kind of love you have for this woman but it’s time you sit her down and have the talk.’

‘I’m not leaving my wife if that is what you are suggesting.’

‘And I’m not asking you to, just let her know you are not happy.’

‘Okay, thanks for the advice but how is every…’

‘Uncle Tom, can we go now. I’m very hungry.’ Dani clutched on to his left arm.

He gestured to Amy and she smiled.

‘Alright, did you get everything?’ Tom asked.

‘Yes, a lot of toys.’ She squirmed. ‘Aunty sorry, we have to leave you here.’

Amy laughed. ‘That’s okay, I’m late for my appointment as well.’

Tom looked up at her. ‘Thanks Amy, see you another time.’

‘Sure.’ She waved them and left while Tom carried Dani towards where she left the shopping basket.

‘Shirley, emmmm can you not tell mommy you met my friend.’ He said scratching his head.

‘Why uncle? She’s your friend so mommy has to know.’

‘Yes but it will make mommy angry.’

‘Ohh, then she’s a bad friend.’ She hit her forehead lightly. ‘Okay but on one condition.’

‘I’m listening.’ Tom smiled.

‘You take me on a date. Mommy said there’s an ice cream shop close by.’

‘Is that all?’

‘Yes and maybe we can do that every weekend when I finally come to live with mommy.’

‘Emmm, okay.’ He replied and reached out for the basket while Dani poked his cheeks smiling.

They paid and left to the house. When they got home Grissel was in the hall going through some files for her case tomorrow.

‘Mommy, we brought a lot of toys.’ She rushed off leaving Tom at the door with the shopping bags and jumped on her mom.

‘Easy, what did you get for me?’

‘Nothing but we met Uncle’s friend.’ Dani quickly blurted out.

‘Shirley?’ Tom called out at the door to remind her of their deal.

‘Yes, I know you promised me a date but you forgot to say it’s a deal so I have no choice than to tell mommy.’

Grissel seemed confused and Tom gave her a weird grin while dropping the bags in a corner few inches from the door.

‘Princess, I left an ice-cream in the fridge. Can you grab it and go upstairs.’ Grissel said when she noticed that was what Tom meant with his weird grin. He wanted them to be alone and her heart skipped.

Shirley rushed off with speed while Tom walked over to where Grissel was. She came back within a second.

‘We still have a date right?’

‘Jeez Shirley.’ Her mom called out on top of her voice.

‘Jeez Mom, calm down.’ She grinned.

‘Wow, did my eight year old just replied me back that way.’

‘Grissel, let her talk.’ Tom said.

‘But she……’

‘Uncle Tom, answer fast before mom explodes.’ She grinned hiding her face in her palm.

Grissel gave her a cold stare.

Tom shook his head smiling because he knew what she wants to hear. ‘We have a deal champ.’

‘Great. Tomorrow six in the evening, I will be waiting on this couch.’ She sneakily said and turned to Grissel. ‘Mom, is that okay with you.’

Grissel glanced at her and waved her hands. Tom gestured her to be nice. ‘Fine, you two should better bring me some ice cream.’

‘Yaay,’ she suddenly rushed off from where she was standing and gave her mom an unexpected hug. ‘You have to dress me up nicely. She pecked her and rushed off to the kitchen.

Tom who was already closer to Grissel smiled while Grissel shook her head. He packed the files from the couch and sat down.

‘We have a strong one on our hands.’ He muttered.

‘I know right and I don’t know what to do with her utterances. I just feel like she’s no kid anymore.’

Tom scratched his face. ‘Grissel, your mom told me you were exactly this way when you were a kid.’

She smacked him. ‘I can’t believe you went talking to my mom.’

‘I just needed some childhood stories to tease you with.’ He teased.

‘I know she took after me but I should get it under control when there’s still time.’

‘Don’t worry, Shirley just need a sit down and a talk and I would do that with you when all this is over.’

‘Thank you Love.’ Grissel replied with a grin appearing on her cheeks.

There was silence for a while as they both continued to stare at each other.

‘I know you are busy working towards tomorrow but we need to talk?’

‘Okay, I hope Shirley didn’t offend anyone out there.’

‘Oh no, she was a champ.’

‘Great then what is it.’

‘You know I love you right and I appreciate you coming back to me but Love I’m kind of not happy.’ Tom said watching her closely.

‘But we spoke the other day and you had no issues being with me Tom. Don’t do this to me especially when Shirley is finally getting along with you.’

‘I’m sorry but I just thought of being honest, but sorry if I hurt you right now.’

‘You didn’t hurt me as much as I have for the past few months of marriage but I’m ready to make this work now.’

Grissel dropped the remaining file on her laps on the table beside her.

Tom knew he had to say something before she breaks down. ‘Hey, I chose this path and I knew at a point we would come down this road.’

She sneezed all of a sudden. ‘Sorry. But Tom do you really want to be with me after all this burden.’

Tom was probably not paying attention because he hesitated for some seconds. Grissel nudged him with her elbow.

‘Grissel, I want to be with you and my unhappiness is temporarily though I’m trying my best.’

She suddenly started crying after another sneeze. ‘I’m sorry my problems overwhelmed you and I’ve been demanding lately b….’

‘Shhhh, it’s okay. I can handle it.’ He tried to smile but his face was sad. ‘You don’t need to stress yourself.’ He reached out to wipe her face with his hands.

‘Tom, the fact that you brought it up means you are really taking in a lot.’

‘Grissel, I’m sorry buy it’s just a phase and I’m sure after court tomorrow we would take our vows again and start afresh.’

‘And for now what should we do because after court it may take a while before final verdicts are documented.’

‘I know but I love you so, I would wait for you Love.’

Grissel sensed in his voice he was really worried and not happy. She rushed into his arms for a cuddle.

‘I’m really sorry and I love you Tom but this isn’t marriage.’

‘Don’t say that.’ He brought her out of his arms and zoomed on her lips. She didn’t resist unlike earlier in the morning. They were still so much engrossed in their moments when Dani came back with her ice cream.

‘I need more of this ice-cream, Uncle Tom.’ She was scooping the ice cream into her mouth while walking closer. Tom and Grissel hurriedly disengaged.

‘Shirley, I told you to go upstairs.’ Grissel said without looking back at her direction as she was facing the other end of the hall.

The room was quiet after that and she knew Shirley had left.

‘By the way, thank you for apologizing on my behalf to Amy.’ Tom announced.

‘Ohh she was the friend you two met at the mall.’

‘Yeah. I told her not to say anything because I wanted to tell you myself.’

‘That’s alright, I don’t know why you made a deal with sneaky Shirley. She’s the master of these kind of games.’ She laughed, wiping the tear marks on her face with the back of her hands.

‘I know that now.’

‘Can you help with spaghetti for dinner, I want to visit my mom.’ She asked politely when the tension was over.

‘Sure, I would try not to make it salty.’

They both laughed and stood up from the couch towards where Dani vanished to earlier.

***

‘Grissel?’ Julia mentioned at the door when the bell rang.

‘Sorry for coming in unannounced.’

‘This is your home and besides your mom lives here now.’

Julia led her to the kitchen as she was cooking when she heard the doorbell.

‘Hope everything is fine and you are prepared for tomorrow’s court.’

She nodded and feigned a smile. ‘We are okay and hoping for the best.’

‘I’ve been praying for you two.’ She smooched her shoulder. ‘Your mom is resting. Do you want to talk to her?’

‘No, I came to see you.’ Grissel muttered uncomfortably.

Julia’s happy face suddenly went pale. ‘What do you need my dear?’

‘How did you do it?’ She mumbled. ‘Choosing between Joe and your sister’s kids.’

Julia drew back as the question hit her hard. ‘Joe?’ She questioned with her eyebrows as she hasn’t told her and Tom about him.

‘Yes, Lisa told us about him besides Tom met him over dinner last two days.’

‘Tom did what? Two days ago? Why?’

‘I have no idea, he only told me after he came back drunk and forgot the groceries i asked him to buy.’

Julia smiled uncomfortably. ‘Give me a minute.’ She picked up her phone from the kitchen drawer and dialed his number.

‘Come to my house now.’ She said immediately he picked up.

‘Juju, I’m with Morris. Can I drop by later?’

‘Do I look like someone who has that patience now?’

“You are obviously in a bad mood right now but Morris and I need to see the judge before tomorrow.”

‘I don’t care just get down here as soon as you can.’ She hanged up and Grissel was staring.

‘He cancelled on me just to get drunk with Tom.’

Grissel found it amusing and laughed. “You still love him that much after all these long years.”

‘Love has a way of finding it’s way back when we least expect it and it doesn’t chose who it wants.’

‘I know that but I don’t know which of us would be willing to wait for that long.’

Julia sighed gently. “You mean Tom might not wait for you.’

Grissel nodded quickly. ‘Were those two worth it?’

‘Of course, if I had chosen Joe over my children I wouldn’t be this happy now because we probably might not end up together at the end.’ She drew her closer to the seats by the back door. ‘But after thirty years he was still waiting and hoping.’

‘You made the right choice aunty.’

‘Yeah, family first. Love will always find us when it’s done with the tests.’

‘I’m not even sure if ours is even love anymore.’

‘Why do you say that my dear?’ Julia asked concerned.

‘Tom just told me this afternoon, he hasn’t been happy since all these started.’

‘That’s expected but you should be talking to your mom Grissel.’

‘Mom won’t give me answers, she would make me think a lot and right now my brain seems like part of it had been ripped off.’

‘Are you okay?’ Julia felt her forehead. ‘You are warm.’

‘Yeah, I think I’m just nervous and mom already told me she didn’t come to give me answers but rather watch me grow up out of the mess I caused.’

‘Your mom may be right.’

‘She has always been old school. Everything I know, she made me learn using my brain.’

‘She’s wonderful. Lisa love her stories.’

‘I hope none were about me.’ She laughed and then went silent.

‘She seemed proud of how you made it through all these by yourself.’

‘Aunty, I love Tom and I don’t want to hurt him again.’ Grissel suddenly changed the topic.

Julia examined her face for some minutes. ‘Grissel why don’t you ask the question you really came here to ask because I’m sure you are not here to talk about Love.’

‘I have to choose between Tom, Shirley and her Dad but I’m so lost as they all somehow fit into my life.’

‘I can’t make that choice for you and your situation now wasn’t the same as mine years back.’

‘I know but they are quite the same.’

‘How?’ Julia asked naively.

‘If I chose just Shirley, I’ll lose Tom and if I choose Tom, I’ll lose Shirley or both but I can’t choose just Shirley and have her unless I choose both father and daughter.’ She complained painfully.

‘And you can’t be with your daughter and not be with his Dad which would mean destroying Tom and then Melisa’s new relationship.’

‘Lisa said she’s okay with whatever decision I make but Tom is my headache.’

‘He’s also your medicine unless you want to tell me you still love Dane.’

‘No, I don’t but I want to be with my daughter. I have pushed her away for eight years and now that she’s back I don’t want to ever disappoint her again.’

‘I know that feeling. When I held Tom that evening my sister passed away, I knew my love for Joe wouldn’t make it to the next day.’

‘Joe is matured but for Tom,’ she scoffed. ‘No offense Aunty but he’s still in his fantasy world learning how to be himself. Leaving him now would turn his life upside down.’

‘You mean the part where he’s a control freak?’

‘Tom can’t live without me. It would break him.’

‘And you can’t leave without Shirley.’

‘I could hang in there for a while but she asked me why I can’t be with her dad. I still haven’t found answers yet.’

‘Why do I feel you probably want to punish yourself for the mistake you and her dad made?’

‘Reed doesn’t see it that way aunty. To him I would always be the woman who killed his son.’

‘That’s not true. I spoke to him with your mom and it almost seemed like he blamed himself more than you ever did.’

‘Really? You two must have met a different Reed.’ Grissel shifted uncomfortably.

‘Julia is right Grissel.’ Gina appeared behind them.

‘Hey mom. I heard you were asleep.’

‘Yeah, I heard your voice in my dreams.’

Julia laughed and Grissel smiled.

‘As I told you the day I arrived here, this is your mess and cleaning it up yourself is how you grow up.’

‘Mom, are you still angry up till now?’

‘No, I raised you better than the choices you made. You brought this man into your life so get rid of him yourself.’

‘I’m trying and nothing seems to be working.’ Grissel complained watching her mom walking closer.

Gina has always been the type that would rather make you learn the hard way than give you the answers you need.

‘Because you are doing it wrong.’

‘Then teach her how to do it right.’ Julia chipped in after watching Grissel struggle with her mom.

She run into her arms nearly pulling Gina off her seats. Though Grissel was daddy’s girl she was still her mom’s heartbeat.

Gina walked closer. Took the vacant seat beside them. ‘You don’t ki*ll a snake and throw it away without properly burying it Grissel.’

‘Mom,’ she raised her head up from her arms. ‘Which snake?’

‘Silly girl.’ She smacked her back. ‘Snakes are cunning and you only cut off it’s head completely when you learn it’s way of inflicting pain or harm.

‘I remember that story Dad used to tell me anytime you refuse me a gift after you had promised.’

‘Great memory. How did you make me learn my lesson?’

‘I learned your way of screwing you over first before you noticed.’ She smiled and raised up her head. ‘Mom thank you so much.’

Grissel left her arms and rushed into Julia’s.

‘Easy, I’m still an old woman.’

‘Thank you aunty. You two are amazing. I have to go home now.’

‘So soon? Wait for dinner.’

‘I left Tom to make Shirley’s dinner. I better go back before they mess up the kitchen.’ A tear appeared in her eyes but she pushed it back and rushed out.

‘That’s a disaster waiting to happen.’ Julia teased.

‘I know right.’ Grissel replied and walked away to the door.

‘Easy with the speed Grissel.’ Her mom said.

‘I will moms.’ She laughed after her reply and went out.

She pulled out across the street to the shop she normally buy her ice-cream and put a call through to Dane and hanged up after telling him they have a deal.

*****

Grissel got home and the dinner table was set. She felt like a queen in her own house but her thoughts were many. She tried to hide her tears but they eventually fell.

‘Love, what is the problem?’

‘Yes mommy, why are you crying?’ Dani chipped in.

She wiped her tears with her hands. ‘Nothing, it’s just that I feel so special right now.’

‘It would be over soon Grissel.’ Tom cuddled her and they began to eat.

Dani smiled cheekily. ‘Uncle Tom, I think you should allow mommy to be with daddy for my sake.’

Tom and Grissel froze, just then a knock came on their gate.

He came out of his trance. ‘I’ll get the gate, just hold that thought.’

Dani nodded and Grissel smiled cheekily again.

Tom went out of the door and opened the gate just for Dane to smile at him.

‘What are you doing here?’ Tom asked.

‘I came to see my wife, you do know she’s not yours right?’ Dane teased with a mischievous smile.

‘Get out.’ He scowled closing the gate on his face but Dane blocked the gate with his body.

Grissel came out at that moment and walked closer. She tapped him and he got the message.

Tom walked away back inside. Dane kept staring at her a whole minute.

‘What are you doing here Reed?’

‘Reed? Well, I brought you this.’ He handed her the envelope.

One look at the envelope doesn’t need her to open it.

‘I told you we would do this tomorrow morning. Why did you come all the way here?’

‘You called me Grissel and I couldn’t wait to rub it in your face.’

‘You are sick Reed. Just go already.’

‘You have to sign that now.’ He ordered.

‘What’s the point when I’m meeting you tomorrow?’

‘I know that but if you really want to do this then you have to show some commitment.’

Grissel glanced at him and took the sheets out of the envelope. Dane quickly handed her a pen.

She flipped the pages and signed without another word. Dane kept looking at her until she finished and handed the envelope back to him.

‘You can go now. I would finalize it with the judge tomorrow.’ She turned her back on him.

‘I’m taking my daughter with me this evening.’

Grissel stopped and turned around. ‘What is your problem with me because I never really asked?’

‘I said I’m going with my daughter.’ He repeated and ignored her question.

Grissel walked away sadly. When she got in Tom and Dani were still eating.

‘I heard daddy is here.’

‘Yes and you have to go with him. I would see you tomorrow.’ She said weakly.

‘But I have a date with Uncle Tom tomorrow.’ She said quickly.

Grissel glanced at him with a gesture to help her out.

He smiled weirdly. ‘It’s okay Shirley, we can go another time.’

‘It’s settled then, let me get your stuff.’ Grissel responded and went upstairs to pick up her things.

The whole house was quiet after Dani left. Tom didn’t want to think about Dane’s presence in his house so he went to bed early while Grissel stayed off for a while before joining him in bed.

#OpraDre

To be continued

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