Blemished Love Episode 30 – 31 Loudest Thoughts

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Blemished Love Episode 1 - Loudest Thoughts

Blemished Love Episode 30 – Loudest Thoughts

Tom was ready for work and Grissel was asleep on the couch. He was surprised because they had spent the night together so he wasn’t aware when she sneaked out. When he woke up and didn’t see him on the bed he thought she was in the kitchen.

Tom shook his head walked over to her on the couch came and tapped her.

‘My head is spinning.’ She complained while rubbing her face.

‘I’m off to work but will see you later.’ He said.

Grissel gasped as she didn’t intend to sleep that much. ‘Sorry, can I get you at least coffee.’

‘No, don’t worry. I would pick you up for court.’

‘Emmm, do you  mind if I go alone besides I have some stuff to sort out before they call my case.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Absolutely, I would go with a cab.’ She muttered.

‘Okay, at least you are not going to drive yourself.’

She nodded and suddenly went into his arms. Grissel held on to the hug for about three minutes and pulled out.

‘I feel better now. See you soon.’ She mentioned sadly.

Tom sensed worry in her voice but brushed it aside. He gave her a kiss and walked out of the door.

Grissel rushed upstairs to get ready for the day ignoring every call that came through while she dressed up.

***

Grissel got to the court and met Dane already waiting for him with Shirley. She went inside with him ignoring Julia and her mom.

Melisa excused herself to use the washroom and Tom was yet to come over with Stella.

After about thirty minutes, she came out sad and Andre walking in front of her.

Gina knew her daughter must have made the hard choice so she tapped Julia who got the message as well.

Melisa came at that moment and Grissel rushed into her arms. ‘Hey, don’t tell me you are going to jail.’

‘Lisa?’ Dane called standing in front of her.

‘Don’t come near me?’ Melisa said with anger.

Dane moved back carrying his daughter with him. He walked straight to his car and Grissel knew she has to go.

‘Tell Tom I’m sorry and I hope he can be happy now.’

‘What did you do now?’ Melisa asked consoling her.

‘Your brother said he wasn’t happy anymore and I couldn’t continue making him suffer.’

‘Oh Grissel, he probably didn’t mean you should leave’

‘What was I supposed to do? Tie him down when he wasn’t happy.’

‘I know you think you did the right thing but Tom went through a lot recently for the both of you and I’m sure he was just confused.’

‘Exactly my point, he has gone through a lot for me so if he wasn’t happy anymore why should I keep making him suffer.’

‘But Grissel, don’t you think it should be he should be part of this path you are about to take?’

‘No, your brother doesn’t know what he wants right now and I don’t really want to keep complicating his life.’

‘I think you are right. He’s not sure what he wants anymore and if letting go would make him decide then you’ve made the right decision.’

‘Thank you Lisa.’ Grissel started to sob again.

‘Stop crying.’ She brought her out of her arms. ‘Will you be okay?’ Melisa asked wiping Grissel

Grissel nodded. ‘I hope so.’

‘Okay, let me help you to the car.’ Melisa offered while trying so hard not to show her weakness.

Grissel walked to Gina and Julia. She was scared of their reaction but surprisingly they told her she made the right decision. After a few conversations, she went away with Dane.

Melisa went in search of Andre who came over to explain to them she decided to go with Dane since she lost the custody case due to Dane’s connections and also that was the only way to have Shirley closer.

Tom who was stuck in traffic with Stella even though they left the work place when Julia told them she had set off, they still couldn’t make it in time.

He hurriedly went out of his car and rushed towards his family. They decided to wait for him before they leave the court premises.

Tom and Stella paused at the entrance when they saw the expression on their faces. ‘She left with him right?’

No one answered.

‘Lisa, is she gone?’ Stella asked.

‘She had to and that heartless brother of yours probably offered her some kind of a deal.’ Melisa explained with anger.

‘But I thought, Tom had it handled.’

Melisa rolled her eyes at Tom. ‘He did but forgot to tell his wife what he was up to.’

‘I’m sorry Lisa, Sculley was supposed to take care of it.’ Tom mentioned with a sad and confused stare.

‘Andre said, she signed her papers yester night even before she came here this morning.’

‘If she got her divorce why did she still leave with him?’ Tom asked with a heavy heart.

‘Apparently, you made mention of not being happy with her anymore.’ Melisa said rolling her eyes at him again. She appeared to be so pissed off at her brother.

Tom’s face became blurred. His blood was boiling and Julia noticed he was trying to keep it under control.

‘Hey, you dare not flare up just take a deep breathe.’ Julia cautioned.

Tom looked at their faces and took a deep breathe. ‘I thought being honest with her was the best. I shouldn’t have taken Amy’s advice.’ He said before realizing he mentioned her ex’s name.

‘Amy? What has she got to do with this?’ Melisa asked angrily walking towards him.

Tom became rigid and words failed him.

‘Tom, what did you do?’ Stella asked looking at his sad face.

‘I did nothing wrong here. Amy only asked me to talk to her and for once I think she was right.’ He narrated as if he owed them an explanation.

‘Like seriously, you stand there and blab about what is right?’ Melisa glanced at Julia who was quiet and looked confused at the same time.

‘Why should I always be the one to take all the blame Lisa?’ He was trying hard to control his rage.

‘Don’…….’ Melisa was about to say when Gina interrupted.

‘Tom, I’m sorry my daughter probably put you at a cross road right now but she needed to do this.’

Gina said and Tom painfully glanced at her. ‘It’s okay, she chose her ex over me at least she would still be with Shirley.’

‘Son, i….’

‘I’m leaving.’ He said and walked away from them. Stella quickly followed.

‘I’m sorry, when she called me last night asking me to take care of you I should have known she was going to do this.’

‘She called you? At what time?’ Tom turned around and asked because Grissel was beside him all night. When he found her on the couch this morning, he assumed she probably woke up early.

‘Around three in the morning.’

‘Thank you, kindly take a cab.’ He said and rushed to his car.

‘Tom, she’s sorry?’ Stella apologized on behalf of her friend.

‘You two think I’m a fool right? Who knows how long you’ve been planning this.’

‘Come on Tom, Grissel wouldn’t just leave when she told me a few days ago she was ready to face Dane.’

‘Whose side are you on right now because I can’t stand you?’ Tom said rather calmly.

‘You know what just drive away before I lose it.’ Stella mumbled.

He glanced at her and knew he was wrong in blaming her when he was the one who told Grissel he wasn’t happy and she probably left because of that.

Tom got in his car and drove away while they all looked on. Stella walked back to where the others were hoping to get a ride back to the office since Tom gave her a ride on their way to court.

Jessy had an exams to examine in school hence was late, she came with Adam when everyone was leaving. She admitted knowing her sister was going to do something stupid again but this was beyond stupidity. Jessy lamented for a while and tried Grissel’s number which was out of reach. Stella also tried Dane’s contacts which were obviously turned off too.

They all went back home in a sad mood.

*****

After two weeks of trying to reach Grissel and Dane to no avail they all shut it off. Gina however wasn’t bothered as she kept telling them her daughter is smart therefore would be fine.

It was just as if Grissel vanished into thin air. She was out of reach and Tom on the other hand was handling her decision too well. His family was worried he was going to go back to his old ways but it turned out he claimed he was tired of going back and forth with Grissel so he was going to move on.

It was a hard choice but he had to make it anyway. Stella kept her distance because he asked her to.

Dane had wanted them to leave Seattle that afternoon after court but Grissel insisted she had to make sure the final proceedings went through though Dane had finally signed the papers. She knew how cunning his ex could be so she wanted to make sure everything went through before they leave Seattle.

For the whole two weeks that she was at his end, it was one quarrel after the other. Dani had insisted they had meals together which was irritating anytime she had to sit with him on the same table and pretend as if she wasn’t hurting.

Grissel came down hours after when she knew they were waiting for her so they could have dinner.

Dane kept staring until she sat on the chair opposite him.

‘You are late five days this week.’ Dane queried.

‘You were counting?’ She found herself calming down.

‘Don’t let it repeat itself again.’ He said sternly.

‘What is that supposed to mean?’

‘Exactly what you heard Grissel.’

‘I’m not a prisoner here and I think I should decide when to have my meals.’

‘Stop talking already. Your voice is so irritating.’ He yelled.

‘When did you become this person? Yelling at your eight year old and putting up camera’s in my room.’

‘I’m going to go now because I can’t stand you.’

‘You can’t stand me but yet insisted on leaving in the same house with me.’

‘Isn’t it better than a second time in jail? I’m protecting my name.’

‘Suit yourself and please hurry up with the papers so I get the copy of my annulment.’

‘I told you to ask the court for your copy.’

‘How do I do that when you are watching my every move?’ She snarled now.

‘You are in my house so I’m allowed to do whatever I want to.’ He retorted. ‘Dani dinner is getting cold.’

‘Shirley will hate you if you keep yelling.’

‘My daughter wasn’t this rebellious until she met you.’ Dane retorted.

‘She’s not your property Dane.’

‘You are just so much like your daughter right now.’ He hissed and rushed off in search of her.

****

Henry had followed Melisa from the house to Paige’s end. He got out of the car when Melisa was about to ring the bell on the wall.

‘Lisa.’ He called out.

Because it was dark she was scared to look back at who was calling her even when she recognized the voice. Melisa kept pressing the bell quickly until Henry caught up with her. He wrapped his hands around her waist while Melisa struggled to get him off her body.

‘Get off me Henry.’ She knocked him off in the stomach with her free elbow.

‘Easy girl. I come in peace.’

‘I told you to leave me alone. I’ve moved on.’

Henry laughed. ‘Moved on with that looser who is still in love with his Ex-wife.’

Melisa realized Bryan hadn’t told him she knew about his shady deals.

‘Are you any better?’ Melisa retorted.

‘Of course, we had a good thing going on and you ruined it.’

‘Henry don’t pretend here, I’m aware of the men that sleep with me without my consent.’

‘Ohh you found out?’ He said boldly and wasn’t bothered about the harm that he had caused.

‘Seriously, you are that calm right now?’

‘Yes, but you sleep around all the time so I don’t see the reason why you should bother about this.’

‘You are really out of your mind. Stay away from me.’ She yelled at him and the gate to Paige place opened.

Paige came out and met Melisa sweating. She rolled her eyes at Henry and dragged her friend along with her.

‘Lisa, If I don’t have you and Grissel no one else dares.’ He threatened while Melisa ignored him.

‘You are nuts.’ Paige replied him and shut the gate in his face.

She patted Melisa on the back and led her in.

*****

Tom who shut his family off, and has been off work for a while decided to put it all behind him.

‘Finally, he decided to show up for work.’ Stella confronted him.

‘I’m sorry, I just needed some time off.’

‘Sorry? This is work Tom not some kind of school that you do what pleases you.’

Tom waited for a minute so she could calm down. He stood up from his desk and walked towards her.

‘Are you done?’ He asked with a smile. Tom knew Stella loves to see him smile when she is angry.

Stella looked at him and shook her head. ‘Where did you vanish to? Are you okay?’

‘Yes, I’m fine. I’ve been home all weeks and I’m sorry once again.’

‘You look better than we presumed.’

‘We?’ He said with the hope that Grissel came back.

‘Yes, Melisa was scared. We came to the house several times and there was no one.’

‘I saw you two through the window.’ He sighed and laughed.

‘OMG, you are heartless. We stood there for hours.’

‘I don’t know why you two came to the house, I was having my quiet time.’

‘Really.’ She moved towards him. ‘You owe me lunch then.’ Stella changed the topic as she didn’t want to bring up Grissel which might make him sad.

‘Great, let me grab my car keys.’ He rushed off to his table while Stella looked on.

***

Julia and Gina were about to have lunch without Melisa the same afternoon that Tom had decided to show up when the doorbell rang. Anna from his office called them earlier when he arrived at the office as Melisa requested of her. Julia quickly went to get it and found Dane smiling at him.

Melisa however, wasn’t handling losing Dane very well for the past two weeks since Grissel left with him.

‘You shouldn’t be here.’ Julia said quietly while Gina looked on from the couch. She didn’t know when Gina had left the dinning to the couch.

Julia was holding on to the door contemplating if she should let him in. She knew her niece was still so much in love with him.

‘I know everyone is angry with me right now but I need to see Lisa.’

‘Even though I don’t like you right now, Lisa is still my blood and I want to do right by her.’ Julia told him thinking Lisa would want to see him because she mentioned it a few days ago.

‘I’m sorry I disappointed you.’ He said remorsefully.

Julia stared at him for a while and realized he’s just a confused man who didn’t know what he was doing.

‘Come in, let me get her.’

‘Thank you Julia.’ He responded and entered.

Gina greeted him and tapped her side of the couch for him to make himself comfortable.

He hesitated for a second and then sat opposite her.

‘Is my daughter fine?’ She asked when she saw him stealing glances at her.

‘Ye..s, she..’s o..kay.’ He stammered.

‘Good.’ Gina responded once and stood up when her eyes caught Melisa coming down.

‘Who let him?’ She yelled.

Julia froze at her spot as she was about to go upstairs and call her. Gina on the other hand gave her way when she saw her coming down with speed.

‘Lisa, I ca..’ Dane was saying when she cut her off.

‘Get out, you heartless being.’ She yelled.

Julia regained her composure and blocked her way. ‘Just calm down and listen to him.

‘Did you just say listen? What does he possibly have to tell me?’

‘I still love you.’ He said sadly and pushed his tears back. Dane didn’t understand why Melisa’s rant made him sad.

‘You still love me right?’ She said calmly while her aunty was still holding on to her. Julia and Gina was surprised she calmed down.

‘Yes, can we go somewhere and talk?’

She took a deep breathe. ‘Sure.’ She said and snugged out of her auntie’s arms grabbing a baseball bat closer to the couch. Nobody saw it coming because they had no idea, there was a baseball bat in there. Dane saw him in a flash and rushed off to the door.

‘Lisa put that down.’ Julia called out to her and Gina held onto her tightly.

‘Are you running away? I thought you want to talk, stop there and you would see what I’m capable of.’

‘I’m sorry Lisa.’ He said struggling to open the door.

‘Sorry?’ She questioned. ‘Just get out of here. Ungrateful man.’

‘Please, just drop the bat and let’s talk.’ Dane was still hesitant to leave while Melisa struggled to free herself from Gina’s grasp.

‘Are you still talking? She sniffed. You think I would actually want to be with you after what you did.’

‘But you want to be with me.’ He said weakly with a weird expression on his face.

‘Not anymore and for your information, I’m back with Henry.’ She blurted out with anger.

The whole room went silent all of a sudden. Pain registered on Dane’s face, he held on to the door tightly for a minute as Melisa’s word sunk into his brain. Gina still held on to her tightly so she wouldn’t run off with the baseball bat.

Julia on the other hand was just lost in her thoughts. She knew these two were definitely in love but just at a hard time.

‘Do..nt do thi….’ Dane tried to convince her.

‘I shouldn’t do this to us? Was that what you were going to say?’ She tried to wriggle out of Gina’s arms again as she felt like smacking him. ‘Just get out.’ She screamed her head off this time.

Dane opened the door and went out quickly.

Melisa dropped on to the floor immediately he went out and Gina let her out of her arms. Julia sat down with her while Gina walked back to the couch.

‘It’s okay sweetheart. Don’t let this break you.’

‘But aunty I still want him. I said all that out of anger.’ She started to sob.

‘Including the Henry part?’ She was concerned about her niece going back to Henry after she told her what he did with Bryan.

Melisa sniffed and wiped her face. She glanced at her aunty who wrapped her hand around her cuddling her.

‘No, I’m not stupid to go back to a psycho like Henry. I just said that to hurt him.’

‘Good, I’m sure he’s hurt now but can you stop crying, I don’t want to cry too.

‘Okay, Aunty.’ She replied and stood up.

Gina who was watching the two on the floor cuddled earlier sighed when she wiped her face. ‘Believe me Lisa, you and Grissel are two strong women.’

‘Thank you Gina.’ She tried to cheer up.

‘By the way, who owned the baseball bat?’ Julia laughed.

‘It’s for Paige’s nephew. He left it in my car the other time and I brought it in.’

‘It was helpful.’ Gina chipped in poking Melisa’s nose while they all laughed.

***

Grissel felt she wasn’t well and thought it was because she missed Tom. She checked the camera on the wall and chuckled. Dane had left home earlier in the morning after one of their usual quarrels.

She hissed and tossed her phone on her bed after she read the text message she just received. Grissel knew Dane had been watching her since she got into his apartment from court but she didn’t want to fight it. She spotted the camera in her room when she arrived that afternoon and since then she uses the washroom for her dress up.

She went into her washroom and closed the door behind.

‘Don’t you dare take that small girl to our house?’ Grissel read the message she wrote when she got in quietly on her toilet seat and hit send.

Tom read the text over and over again as he recognized it was Grissel though she used a different number. He looked around and there was no sign of her. That was the first time she’s reaching out after she betrayed him during court.

He glanced and smiled at the girl Clive asked to join their table because she was alone.

Tom turned off his phone because he knew she was going to call when she didn’t get a text back from him. He hadn’t heard from her for a whole three weeks as he had turned off his phone not to be bothered. Tom thought he was going to have a rough time losing her all three weeks but he doesn’t feel anything now though the first week was hard for him.

She was still on the toilet seat while trying to reach out to Stella. When she picked up and heard her voice, Grissel ignored her Hello.

‘Where are you Stella?’

‘Emmm home. Grissel?’ Stella sounded unsure of the caller since it was a new line.

‘Yes, it’s me. I got a new line.’

‘I thought Dane had sold you.’

‘No, I just decided to stay off for a while but where are you right now.’ Grissel changed the topic as she was on a mission.

‘Why?’ Stella whispered quietly.

‘Why are you talking under tone? Where are you right now?’

‘I was asl..eep Grissel.’ She lied.

‘I asked you to watch my husband and you are home snoring.’

‘Come on Grissel, I need rest too. I can’t watch your Tom all day and night.’

‘Why? We talked about this Stella’

‘Because he’s not my husband and I d….,’ She stammered and paused. ‘Forget it.’ She concluded.

‘You don’t want to be tempted.’ Grissel ended her statement for her.

‘Yes, thank you and let me remind you he’s not your husband anymore.’ Stella mentioned happily.

‘Well, I still want him to be my husband.’

‘You shouldn’t have left then.’ Stella cautioned.

Grissel went mute. ‘I’m sorry but I gave you heads up.’

‘No you didn’t Grissel, you asked me to watch your husband which to me was an insult.’ She told her exactly what was on her mind.

‘Okay, forgive me but I didn’t want you guys to stop me.’

Henry came out from his bathroom interrupting their chat. ‘Hey babes, will you join me in the shower now.’

Stella signaled him to go back inside and he left frowning.

‘Hello, are you there?’ Grissel asked as Stella was suddenly quiet.

‘Yes, I’m here with you.’ She replied.

‘Who was that?’ Grissel with her sharp ears asked.

‘I told you I was home.’

‘Okay, let me talk to your mom.’ She muttered.

‘What do you want Grissel?’ Stella feigned anger.

‘Whose bed are you in right now?’

‘How is that your problem Grissel?’

‘It’s my problem when you intend throwing your life away. I’m sorry my husband is off limit but there are still men out there.’

‘Like your Austin?’

‘Yeah, I know he’s hard dealing with right now but give him time.’

‘Time? The guy just doesn’t want me Grissel.’

‘Should he want you when you keep sleeping with Henry?’ She said harshly.

Stella was quiet for three seconds. ‘How did you know it was him?’

‘I smelt him all the way from my end.’

‘You have a big a nose then.’ She stood up using her earphone so she could dress up.

‘Seriously, you need to stop. Melisa was sleeping with him too. I hope you know that?’

‘Was?’ She still sleep with him. I found some ladies clothes here when I came and I’m sure it’s her size.’

‘Are you sure about that because she’s with Dane now.’

‘I’m sure and you are with Dane not Lisa.’ She chipped in.

‘I did this for Shirley.’ Grissel replied sadly.

‘Don’t go crying on me now. Where did you say Tom was again?’

‘The usual joint. Today is Friday night.’

‘Oh yeah, can’t you call Austin.’ Stella asked fixing her shoe lace.

‘He’s out of town and knowing Clive, he would push that girl on Tom.’

‘But you should allow Tom to mingle now that you are out of the way.’

‘Did you just say that?’ Grissel asked.

‘Yes, I mean you left so he should find someone else.’ She picked up her car keys and went out of the apartment.

Henry who seemed to be enjoying the shower came out when he heard the door bang.

‘He would but it’s too early.’ Grissel said.

‘It’s too early or you want to be the one to do the selection.’

‘Whatever but can you go there now?’ She stressed worriedly.

‘Sure, Henry’s place isn’t that far from there so I should be there in an hour. Hope they would still be there.’

‘They should because I have someone watching them.’

‘Grissel what are you doing. Tom doesn’t need that from you.’

‘He seemed too okay for someone who just got jilted and betrayed for the second time.’

‘It’s been a couple of weeks and I’m sure he’s in a lot of pain and the best way to get over you is what he’s doing now.’

‘I know but I had no other choice.’

‘Alright, are you still in Seattle?’

‘Yes, your brother is keeping us locked up here in his apartment.’

‘Are you and Shirley okay?’

‘Of course, she’s asleep now.’

‘Good, just let me know when you are leaving Seattle.’

‘Are you out of that brothel already?’

She laughed slightly. ‘Yeah, I’m driving there now. You are on speaker out.’

‘Great, give me a call once you get there and please don’t give my number out to anyone.’

‘Alright, Good night.’ Stella said and hanged up.

She hanged up and her phone rang. Grissel checked the caller ID and didn’t recognized it.

She hesitated for a while and answered the call. ‘Hello.’

‘Grissel?’ The caller enquired.

She recognized the deep voice to be that of Dane’s father. That voice always scared her, the more reason why it got stuck in her mind.

‘Judge Reed,’ she mentioned and frowned. She feared the man and never liked him.

‘I hope my son is treating you well. Dani called’

‘You mean Shirley?’ Grissel managed to respond after some seconds.

‘Yes, she told me everything and I really want to help.’

‘Did you say help?’

‘Yes my dear.’ He replied.

‘With all due respect, I don’t need your help.’ Grissel said swallowing the bitterness forming in her throat.

‘I thought you might say that but I’m sorry I had already done that.’

‘Done what?’ Grissel’s heart skipped into her stomach. She knew both father and son were a torn in her flesh when the incident happened.

‘I asked the lawyer to add a clause to the custody section.’

Grissel took off the phone from her ears and checked the caller ID again.

‘A clause? What are you talking about?’ She asked when Judge Reed was quiet at his end.

‘Yes, I was surprised when Daniella called about you moving in with her dad when I had given you your freedom after I spoke with Lisa.’

‘What freedom because I didn’t even read any of those papers.’ And what has Lisa got to do with this.’ She frowned.

‘That makes sense now because if you had read, you would have seen I gave you custody after I met your sister in law at my place.’ He paused to check if Grissel was still listening to him. ‘Hello.’

‘I’m still here with you.’

‘My lawyer assured me the only thing you were left with was the annulment which the court would have agreed to because Sculley said your husband had already reached out to him.’ Mr. Reed continued.

Grissel hit her head painfully. Then she remembered, Dane used his Dad’s lawyer. It didn’t occur to her to ask him for help.

‘Thank you. That was actually my plan to get the annulment papers from court and leave him and since the only way to do that was to stay with him, I signed the papers without looking.’

‘But you are still there after three weeks.’

‘Yes, because somehow the court said it wasn’t ready when I called last week besides I have my daughter so close now.’

‘I don’t know what has come over my son but I apologize for the part I took in all these.’

Grissel ignored his apology yet again. ‘So are you saying once I get the papers back from court, I’m free to have full custody of my daughter?’ Grissel wasn’t concerned about the annulment anymore, all she wanted was her daughter.

‘That’s right, you can leave anytime and apply for a copy at the court.’

‘And Dane is not aware about the custody clause.’ She suddenly asked.

‘No, my lawyer was discreet about it.’

She sighed heavily. The only thought that came to her mind was she couldn’t wait to see Tom. Grissel suddenly became tensed and sad as she knew Tom may never accept her back.

‘I would call up the court once we are done talking.’

‘Good and I know you also felt it was your duty to fix him but trust me Dane is beyond fixing.’

Grissel could hear him breathe heavily and his voice was laced with sadness.

‘Why do I feel you have something else on your mind? Grissel asked suspiciously.

‘It’s about Shane?’ He said with a sad tone.

‘What about Shane?’ She asked with her heart skipping vigorously.

‘I don’t know how to say this bu….’

‘Judge Reed, I won’t bite you.’

‘Alright, Dane blamed you because he couldn’t get over the guilt of not telling you the truth from the beginning.’

‘What truth?’ She asked fumbling.

Judge Reed told her everything from start to finish. Grissel paused and grabbed a seat just then Dane announced his entrance. She hanged up and wiped her tears. He was already broken when he left Melisa’s end so he walked pass Grissel.

She quickly hanged up and picked up Dani’s huge story book. Grissel threw it at him and he turned round with a glare.

‘Why did you do this to me? Shane was my son too and I had the right to know every decision you were making.’ She yelled on top of her voice.

‘So? Did you think about that when you suffocated him?’ He yelled back.

‘Seriously, you still carry this story around and expect everyone to believe you.’

And what is that supposed to mean? Look I’m not in the mood this evening.’ Dane flared up.

‘Mommy, are you two fighting now?’

Grissel heard Dani’s voice behind her. She turned around and walked to her.

‘Princess, go to your room. I would be right there.’

‘Okay,’ she rushed off after attempting to give his dad a hug and he ignored her.

Grissel saw him walking away, and she held on to his shirt.

‘Get off me,’ Dane shouted.

She let him go and started crying. ‘Why didn’t you tell me Shane wouldn’t have lived up to a year? I was his mother and I could have stayed home that night.’

Grissel cried and sat on the floor. Dane’s face became pale and he tried to open his mouth but nothing came out. That was the moment he feared, he thought this day wouldn’t come.

He felt his rage slowly turning into bitter emotions and guilt swept him off his feet. He dropped to the floor in front of her and glared at Grissel with teary eyes.

‘Leave me alone. I never knew you could be this heartless to blame me for a death you were equally accountable for.’ Dane tried to reach out for her hands and she snarled at him.

Dane saw the pain in her eyes and at that moment it was as if the plank on his eyes had been removed. He kept staring at her cry and his own tears begun to flow. Dane wiped it off quickly.

‘You sp..oke to my d..ad rig..ht?’ ‘You sp..oke to my d..ad rig..ht?’ As if reality dawned on him, he started to shed more tears like a baby throwing tantrums. Grissel looked up at him, she never thought he would be that soft but she ignored him.

‘I can’t believe the extra nurses and the tests you told me were just because it was your first time of being a dad was all because Shane was anemic and wasn’t going to survive in the first place and I just worsened his case.’

‘I’..m s..orr..y,’ He fumbled with his words.

“Sorry? For making me feel as if I intentionally killed my own son when you failed to be honest with me from the beginning.’

‘I thought you couldn’t handle it.’ He said calmly.

‘You thought I was naïve and gullible right?’ Grissel retorted.

There was a long silence between them as Grissel watched him fumble with his hands. She hadn’t seen him that unguarded and remorseful in her entire life.

As they both sat on the floor, their thoughts were all over the place.

‘I was guilty and needed someone to take the blame for me.’ Dane felt the need to speak up as he realized Grissel was scrutinizing him.

‘And you thought the best person to blame was the woman you swore to love and protect.’

‘I’m sorry.’ He weakly apologized.

‘I can’t forgive you and stay in your lane from today onwards.’ She said angrily and stood up from the floor heading towards the room when she saw Dani rushing off into her father’s room.

‘Thank you.’ He was still not able to stand up yet.

‘Keep your thank you.’

‘Grissel?’

‘What?’ She snarled turning around.

‘Lisa has left me for Henry.’ He said with tears.

‘So? Don’t you deserve it?’ She asked rudely.

His tears continued to flow. ‘I w..as.. ho..pin..g y..ou could talk to her for me.’

‘Why would I want to do that for you? You think I want you to treat Lisa the same way you treated me?’

‘I’ve learnt my lesson and I would never do that to her.’ He pleaded.

Grissel stared at his apologetic face and wondered how he could change in just a flash. Wasn’t he heartless anymore? Is he worth staying around? Her thoughts were all over the place.

‘Why should I believe you when you destroyed the only thing I ever wanted?’ She finally asked.

‘I really love Lisa.’

‘Love? I thought you loved me too?’

‘Ye…s, no. I mean I did but not anymore.’ He stammered and then found his voice.

She breathed heavily. ‘Was it all intentional to hurt me or it was your guilt.’

He stopped fumbling with his hands. ‘I knew how I treated you was wrong and when I met you again it was to tell you the truth but then I found out you didn’t mention your past to your family and that pissed me off.’

‘Pissed you off?’ That was my decision to make not yours.’

‘I know that now.’ He replied more calmly now.

Grissel rolled her eyes at him and walked away into her room. Dane sprawled on the floor for a few minutes and got up. He tried Melisa’s number several times and she didn’t answer.

He walked into his room, wiped his face with his pillow and his eyes caught the files which he kept under the pillow. Dane picked up the files and locked it up in his safe which he had no idea Dani was in the room.

Dani who was playing with his dad’s laptop hid behind the couch in the room when she heard his footsteps. She waited for him to enter the bathroom and she quickly went out.

*****

Dane has been extremely nice to Grissel since their quarrel a week ago. Grissel doesn’t want to have anything to do with him since she found out she might be pregnant.

That night that she went into her room, her headache and abdomen pains were weighing her down. She also knew she was a couple of weeks late on her flow that had triggered the changes in her sleeping pattern and health. To her it meant only one thing but who would she turn to when she chose that path for herself. What if she went back to Tom and he wants nothing to do with her.

She cried that evening while Dane rushed in to check on her when he heard the sobs. That morning of a new week her thoughts strayed to Tom but she knew he probably wouldn’t want to be in her life right now. She was still mumbling to herself when Dani came in that morning.

‘Mommy, you are still sleeping.’ Dani shook Grissel when she entered her room.

‘Shirley I told you I wasn’t well.’ She lazily picked herself up from the bed.

‘Sorry, but Daddy said you should come down for breakfast.’

‘I will eat later.’ She dragged herself out of the sheets as she was still in her pajamas and went into the washroom.

Dani followed her after a few minutes and met Grissel rubbing her belly. Dane had become soft and Grissel had made every effort to avoid him since they had that talk a week ago.

She stood at the door for some seconds.

‘I think my brother is in there.’ She said naively.

Grissel looked back at her and smiled.

‘I think so too. Come here.’ She reached out to her daughters hand and placed it on her stomach.

‘Mommy, the baby moved.’

‘Shhhh, Daddy must not know.’

‘Okay mommy, but you still haven’t told him to stop yelling at me.’

‘We would do that together after breakfast.’

‘See you then.’ She gave her mom a warm hug and rushed off happily.

Grissel came down and sat next to her daughter.

‘Hey mom. We’ve been waiting for you.’

‘I’m sorry I was late.’ She rubbed her shoulder.

‘That’s okay, we weren’t in a hurry to eat.’ Dane chipped in and got ignored.

Grissel just hissed and starts to dish out the food because for the past three weeks that she moved in he always complained about Grissel being late for meals. They ate in silence and Dani watched them both discretely.

‘I need you to take off the cameras in my room.’ She said after a few minutes into their meal.

‘Alright, I will turn them off.’

‘No, I said take the whole damn thing off.’ Grissel yelled out for no reason.

‘Relax, don’t bite my head off. I would call the technician to do that in the evening.’

‘Look, I want it gone this very minute.’ She roared when Dane made no efforts to stand up.

He glanced at her then tried to pick up his phone but found only the case.

‘Dani, come out here.’ He called out.

Dani left the table when they were arguing and they barely noticed.

Dane has been trying to be nice to Grissel ever since his confession but it seemed she resent him and he was starting to feel lost.

He thought she was going to leave when he came home the night after their quarrel but she was still home when he got there.

Dane had accepted she didn’t want to go back and thought since Melisa has robbed him of his joy, he could just hold on to his family no matter how broken it seemed now.

***

‘Mommy isn’t well Lisa.’ She said softly over the phone.

“Dani?”

‘Yes, it’s me your step daughter.’ She said with a serious tone.

Melisa checked the caller ID and laughed quietly. ‘Is everything alright?’

‘Mommy is having a baby.’

“Huh.” Melisa exclaimed.

‘She said not to tell anyone.’

‘Is your mommy there with you?’ Melisa said as she was so sure Dani was lying again.

Just then Dane barged in on her. ‘Hand over the phone now.’

‘It’s Lisa Daddy.’ She quickly hanged up.

‘So? Hand it over quickly.’ He walked up to her and shoved the phone out of her hands making her sad.

‘I was just having a chat with her.’

‘Next time, ask me first. How did you even know my password?’

‘I hacked it.’ She grinned. You used mommy’s name.’

Dane looked up at her and wondered what has come over his sweet little princess.

‘I wasn’t done talking to Li….’

‘Get out.’ He shouted at her.

Dani rushed to the door and stuck her tongue out. ‘I hate you daddy.’

She rushed out and her dad followed.

Melisa called back several times which Dane didn’t answer as he wasn’t so sure what to tell her after what happened in her house

Blemished Love Episode 31 – Loudest Thoughts

Melisa paced around. She was nervous and had no idea what to do. ‘Of course it’s Dani, she couldn’t be lying about the pregnancy.’ She said loudly and heard a screech behind her.

‘Pregnancy?’ Julia came in from behind her.

‘Huh!’ She exclaimed. ‘Oh it’s just you.’ Melisa said with a throbbing heart. She had no problem telling Julia about Grissel’s pregnancy but she wasn’t sure who the father is yet.

‘Yes it’s your aunty but that doesn’t answer my question.’

‘Which question?’ She asked busily going through her medicine cabinet.

‘Are you pregnant and what are you busily looking for?’

‘Pregnancy test Kit.’ She looked back at Julia for a second and continued to search. ‘I know I kept one here.’

Julia’s eyes nearly popped out since she kept her eyes steadily on her.

‘I have one up in my cabinet, if you wan…….’ She was saying when Melisa stood up and grabbed her old bag full of some kits and rushed off before her aunty could finish her statement.

She paused when she came down after grabbing the kit from her Aunty’s room.

‘Thank you aunty,’ she smiled sheepishly. ‘By the way why do you need a test kit?’

Julia gave her a stare. ‘Why do you also need one?’ She shot back at her.

‘Never mind, see you later.’ She smacked her teasingly and picked up her car keys on the table in the hall.

Julia slumped on to the couch and wondered where she rushed off too. ‘Why won’t she do the test here if she is pregnant?’ Julia was speaking to herself when Gina joined her.

They both had a good laugh and analyzed Melisa’s earlier behavior.

***

After what seemed like forever, Melisa was knocking on Stella’s door as if she owed her money.

Stella’s mom opened the gate and was leading her in when Stella met her at the door.

‘Lisa?’ She called and signaled her mom to give them privacy. Stella was cladded in her favorite pink short and white tank top.

As soon as Mrs. Medts left, Melisa pulled her aside. ‘Where’s she?’

‘Huh.’ Who?’

‘Don’t play dumb with me? I know you are in contact with Grissel.’

‘Grissel?’ Stella pretended to be naïve about the topic because Grissel asked her to.

‘Yes, you two are like five and six and I know she must have reached out to you.’

‘No, I haven’t heard from her. Trust me.’ Stella stared at her with a straight face.

‘Come on, cut to the chase Stella. She’s pregnant.’

‘Pregnant?’ She asked surprised because Grissel didn’t mention it when they spoke the last time and her phone has been off for a while now.

‘Yes, Dani called me earlier and I’m just worried Dane is giving her a tough time right now.’

Stella suddenly laughed with a relief. ‘Dani called and you believed her.’

‘Of course, there was no reason for her to lie and besides Dane snatched the phone from her before I could get further details.’

‘You are right? Shirley is smart.’

‘Great, can you call Grissel right now.’

‘Her number has been off for a few days now but let me try and see.’ She took out the phone from her shorts pocket and dialed her number.

‘Well?’ Melisa asked when she seemed to be unsuccessful.

‘Both lines are still off.’ Stella told her with concern.

‘Gosh, Grissel is just one hard woman to find.’ Melisa lamented.

‘Wait here.’ Stella said after a few minutes of silence rushed in hurriedly as if she remembered something.

She came back after five minutes and rushed towards the main gate after throwing a paper to Melisa earlier.

‘What’s this?’ She asked unfolding the paper.

‘A map to Seattle Groove.’ She looked back at Melisa who hadn’t made an attempt to move yet.’

‘Hold on. They are still in Seattle?’

‘Yes, she called me a week back to check on Tom.’

‘Why didn’t you say anything when you knew how worried I was?’ Melisa said with disappointment.

‘She asked me not to. Now, let’s go already.’ Stella said reminding her it’s a long drive from her end.

‘Sure, you are driving.’ Melisa gave her the keys to her car since she knew that place better than her.

They got in and Stella sped off.

‘It’s been a long time since I visited that cabin.’ Stella said about thirty minutes into their drive.

‘I remember Dane mentioned his dad had a cabin in Seattle.’ Melisa paused and glanced at Stella who was driving and at the same time stealing glances at her. ‘He wanted us to move in there when we se….’ She was saying further and sadness filled her throat.

Stella cleared her throat after two minutes of silence. ‘You know its okay to miss him.’

Melisa shyly fumbled with her hands. ‘I don’t only miss him, I want him Stella.’

‘It’s fine to want him too.’ Stella encouraged.

‘Isn’t that some stupid feeling?’

‘No, you are just a woman in love with a broken man who happens to be in a bad place.’

‘Broken you say? All I see is a man full of himself and wouldn’t listen to advice.’ Melisa added and smiled through her sadness.

‘Dane used to listen to me but I don’t understand why this time he wouldn’t.’

‘As you said, he’s in a bad place now and though I want him I can’t put Grissel through another trauma by letting him into my life knowing he would always remind her of the past.’

‘You know one way or the other, Grissel is always going to be in his life so it doesn’t matter if you decided to be with him.’

‘It matters to me, I can’t be with him knowing he hurt my brother.’

‘I understand but Tom would eventually learn to accept him once he’s happy with Grissel again.’

‘Happy with Grissel?’ Melisa asked with a hundred thoughts on her mind.

‘Of course with this pregnancy I’m sure she would want to come back home.’

‘How sure are you Tom is responsible for the pregnancy?’ Melisa asked with a confused stare.

‘Are you thinking what I’m thinking?’ Stella asked trying to focus on the road.

‘Though, I know she would be a fool to be pregnant for Dane a second time, I also know it’s very possible.’

‘No way, when she called the last time, trust me she missed Tom and wished she could come back.’

‘That’s a relief.’ She sighed. ‘I need a nephew badly so I could get busy and forget all about Dane.’

‘Well, I’m sure it’s a girl and I know you are just bluffing about not wanting Dane.’ Stella smiled.

‘No, I’m sure I don’t want him anymore. I already told him the last time he came to my house and I chased him out with a baseball bat.’

‘Oh wow.’ That must be funny.

‘Yeah it was, Julia and Gina teased me the whole night.’

Stella laughed, ‘but I’m glad you have that so much effect on him. The Dane I knew wouldn’t take that crap from anyone.’

‘You mean the heartless Dane.’

‘Yeah but he really loves you. I can tell.’

‘He loved Grissel too but see how hit turned out.’

‘Not as much as he loves you. I don’t know you but I know Dane and Grissel, what they shared was not close to what you both had briefly.’

‘There was a screech of tires in front of them and Stella forcefully stepped on the brake. They looked up on the road and was lucky, they didn’t bump into the car in front of them.

‘That was close. Now look on the road.’ Melisa muttered.

‘Sure, check the map for me once we get off the high road.’ Stella told her. Melisa nodded and they drove off again when a message came on Stella’s phone from Grissel.

They both looked at each other and smiled but when they tried calling her phone it was off again.

‘At least, with this message we are assured she’s fine.’ Melisa relaxed back on the seat and looked on the road with a worried grimace. Stella turned on the radio in then car while driving off the high way.

***

It was a long drive indeed because it took them hours to locate the place and it was already afternoon.

They knocked on the door since there was no gate to the cabin. Melisa was looking round admiring the environment when Dane opened the door.

Their gazes met and Stella watched them staring at each other. She managed to walk pass them in search of Grissel when luckily she came out with Shirley who run into her arms for a cuddle.

‘I miss you so much Princess.’ Stella said putting her down slowly and smiling at Grissel.

‘I miss you too but did Lisa send you.’

‘Why would Lisa send her?’ Grissel said grabbing her attention.

‘I’m fine Grissel.’ Stella responded when Grissel hasn’t greeted her yet.

‘I know you are fine that is why I didn’t ask but don’t avoid my question.’

‘Lisa is at the door in some kind of a trance, she will explain when she gets here.’

‘Lisa is here?’ Both mother and daughter chorused.

Dani left them talking and rushed to the door. ‘Did you come because of my text message from earlier?’

‘No, I mean yes but we also came because of something else just wait for Lisa.’

‘Lisa, you came.’ Dani said loudly when she got there and saw them both staring at each other.

Stella and Grissel stopped talking when they heard Dani’s voice and moved away to a comfortable area.

Her tiny voice rang in her ears and grabbed her attention. She pushed Dane slightly off the way and opened her arms for an embrace with her medicine bag hanging on her arms.

They heard Dane calling after her but she ignored him and went to meet the others who were already seated around a table behind the balcony.

‘Hey, so I heard you are here on request.’ Grissel said once she sat down.

‘Where are your manners?’ Melisa asked smiling.

‘I left them at your brother’s house.’ They all laughed at her joke.

They said their pleasantries and was okay without Juice and water when Stella prompted Melisa to spill out the reason they came there.

‘So I heard you are having a baby.’ Melisa said without hesitating.

‘Gosh, Shirley.’ Grissel turned to her daughter because she knew she was the snitch.

‘Yes mommy.’

‘Can we not tell everyone?’ Grissel gave her a worried and sad grimace.

‘But, Lisa is not everyone mommy.’

‘Yes, she’s right. Stella chipped in. ‘We were supposed to be family.’

‘I know but not in this situation.’

‘Okay, so I’m assuming you didn’t tell Dane about this.’ Melisa asked smartly.

‘No, why would I do that when he’s not the father.’

‘Thank God!’ Melisa exclaimed and sighed heavily.

Grissel examined her face. ‘Wait, you two thought I’m that dump to sleep with Reed again.’

Stella quickly covered Shirley’s ears with her hands. ‘Watch your words Grissel.’

She glanced at her daughter scornfully.

‘Don’t say it mommy, I know it already.’ She walked away sadly.

She breathed in and relaxed back on her chair.

‘What was that about?’ Melisa asked.

‘We came to an understanding that anytime she misbehave which I think it’s inappropriate she would be grounded by reading a book for three hours.’

‘Three hours? Why do you want her to run mad?’ Stella asked.

‘You think that’s unfair? Gina did the same to me and I think it’s only fair I meted out the same punishment to my daughter.’

‘But that’s to the extreme.’ Stella was still complaining and making funny utterances.

‘It’s better than yelling at her. What do you think Lisa?’ Grissel asked Lisa who has been quiet all this while.

‘Is it Tom’s?’ Lisa asked ignoring Grissel’s earlier question.

‘What is Tom’s?’ His name introduced some kind of coldness to her body.

Melisa pointed to her stomach.

‘She meant is she going to be an aunty.’ Stella muttered.

‘Oh that, I think so.’ Grissel replied rubbing her belly.

‘Really, you think so.’ Melisa asked nervously.

‘Yes, besides I’m not even sure if I’m really pregnant.’

‘Good. Take this and I’ll wait for you.’ She opened her bag and gave her the pregnancy kit.

‘Jeez, you are too bossy. I don’t need this but I’m sure you would be an aunty in about nine months.’

‘Thank you but just do as I said earlier.’ Melisa ordered and stared.

‘Okay, just wait here.’ Grissel picked up the test kit and went away to the washroom while they waited.

She came back after about twenty minutes and shoved the result in their faces and Melisa continued to check her pulse and blood pressure with the equipment’s she brought while they talked.

‘This is good, so what do you want to do now.’ Stella asked.

‘I thought I was clear with my text message when I didn’t even know you were coming here.’

‘Yes.’ Both Stella and Grissel chorused.

‘So why should you be asking me what I want to do.’ Grissel asked them with outmost certainty.

‘You do know this is going to hurt a lot of people.’

‘I know but what other choice do I have Lisa.’ Grissel said sadly.

‘There are other ways to go about it.’ Melisa muttered.

‘Not for me.’ Grissel said and noticed a shadow pacing around and waited for it to come from behind the pillar.

It turned out it was Dane and they had no idea how long he had been standing there and if he heard their discussion.

‘What is he doing there?’ Melisa asked looking back at him.

‘Waiting for you Lisa.’ Stella chipped in.

‘I don’t want to talk to him.’ Melisa blushed.

‘Why are you blushing when you don’t want him anymore?’ Grissel asked and Melisa forced a frown on her face.

‘Let’s not go there Grissel.’ Melisa turned her seat around so she wouldn’t have to see him again.

They laughed at her when Dane stopped pacing and kept staring at Melisa.

‘I forgot to say, he apologized and trust me he’s been trying to be nice these days.’

‘Wait a minute. My brother apologized.’

‘Of course, you should have seen him in tears, I nearly fell for his apology.’

Grissel continued to narrate everything that happened starting from his father in law down to the very end.

‘Wow that must have hurt Grissel.’ Melisa rubbed her shoulder.

‘Yeah, but it gave me the relief I needed. Knowing Shane would have died whether that night in Connecticut happened or not gave me the strength to sleep that night.’

‘I’m sure it was the same night I chased him out of the house.’

‘Oh my goodness.’ Grissel laughed. ‘How were you able to do that?’

Melisa told them both how the drama unfolded. They teased each other for a while and it seemed they had nothing else to talk about.

‘Is he still there?’ Melisa asked after some few minutes.

‘Yes, I think he’s trying to call you.’ Stella replied.

‘No,’ she hurriedly said and picked up her phone dialing Tom’s number so she could keep her number on busy.

‘Hey, it’s your sister.’ she said immediately Tom picked up on the first ring.

‘I know it’s you so what do you want?’

‘Don’t be mean Tom. Do I only have to call you when I need something?’ She feigned anger.

Grissel’s heart skipped and she relaxed back on the chair.

‘I’m sorry, how is everyone.’

‘We miss you.’ Melisa responded.

‘I would come around soon, I just have an overload of work these days.’

‘You mean Stella is giving you a tough time at work?’ Melisa said loudly glancing at Stella while Grissel sat back eager to hear his voice.

Stella made a gesture indicating she hasn’t done anything wrong.

‘No, I’ve been slow with work and it got piled up.’

‘Okay, but you were right earlier.’

‘I knew it. You need help.’ He said literally jumping up from his end.

‘Yes, I’m getting married next week.’

‘What? To whom.’ He asked with a surprise tone.

‘To a human being Tom. You don’t need to rub it in my face that I may never find love.’

‘I’m sorry, so what do you need.’ He asked calmly.

‘A loan Tom.’

He went mute on the phone and kept scratching his head. ‘Can’t you ask Aunty to help?’

‘I could ask aunty but I came to you as a sister.’ She feigned sadness.

Don’t cry on me now? How much do you need?’

‘Yaay, just five thousand dollars.’

What? That’s too much Lisa besides shouldn’t the man be paying for these expenses.’

‘Bryan doesn’t have money right now.’

‘Bryan?’ He sounded surprised. ‘Come on. You still want to marry that loser?’

He is not a loser Tom. Or do you want me to end up alone?’

‘No, but at least if he has agreed to marry you, he should be a man.’

‘Are you helping me or not? I could sell mommy’s car.’ Melisa muttered sternly.

‘No, that car is an artifact.’ Tom said. He loved his mother’s old Benz and have prevented her sister and Julia from selling it all these years.

‘So?’ Melisa asked hoping for a yes.

‘Emmm, alright. I would wire you the money once we are done here but you have to pay back.’

‘Okay boss.’ Melisa answered cheerfully. ‘

‘I have to go now, my friends are around right now.’

‘Make sure to get a new suit because you are walking me down the aisle.’

‘Morris would do that.’

‘No, I want you and invite those your friends as well.’ Melisa stressed.

‘I will madam.’ He replied teasingly and hanged up laughing.

‘You are manipulative Lisa. You think Tom would pay for a wedding he is not interested in.’ Grissel said once she hanged up.

‘Relax, he would and that reminds me I have to call Bryan.’ Melisa was saying when she got the alert of the exact amount she asked from Tom.

She smiled and tossed the phone to Grissel who recognized the account number. She kept staring at the phone for a while and decided to hand it over.

‘Is he okay?’ Grissel finally asked the one question on her mind.

‘Yeah, he sounded cheerful.’ Melisa said sadly.

‘Don’t you think you need to come with us when we are leaving?’ Stella rubbed her hands to grab her attention.

‘No, I’m not done here yet and besides Melisa hasn’t given me the wedding date.’

‘Sunday and you should be there early enough if you really want to have a talk with Tom before anything else.’ Her sister in law stressed.

‘I would try and please, your boyfriend has been standing for long Lisa.’ Grissel cautioned.

‘I don’t know what you want me to do. Hand over the phone.’

She dialed Brain’s number and he answered after the third ring.

‘Get yourself ready, we are getting married on Sunday.’

‘Huh. Lisa.’

‘Yes it’s me and you heard me right. I would send you the address of the venue.’

‘I don’t understand you right now.’

‘Do you still want me or not?’ Melisa asked him.

‘No, yes I mean I do want to be with you but you are rushing this whole marriage thing.’

‘I can see you are not ready,’ she said with frustration written on her face. ‘I would find someone else.’

‘Wait.’ Bryan said when he noticed she was going to hang up.

‘I’m listening Bryan.’

‘How does this work?’

‘You just come to the address I would be sending you and my dad would take care of talking to your people.’

‘Okay, but don’t you think, my family should be talking to yours rather.’

‘Alright, have it your way but just come on time.’

‘Thank you Lisa for giving me another chance.’ He mentioned happily.

‘You were a victim so I understand but can I call you back later.’

‘Sure.’ He said and hanged up.

Melisa breathed deeply and heavily.

‘Lisa, you don’t have to do this just to get back at anyone.’ Grissel registered her displeasure.

‘Yeah, I agree with Grissel. Just don’t make the poor guy suffer anymore.’

‘You two should leave me alone right now. I liked the guy until I heard the truth.’

‘And you think that calls for revenge?’ Grissel asked.

‘You are doing the same thing here with Dane, besides I just thought I could help you this way.’

‘No, there are other ways to deal with my situation.’ Grissel mumbled.

‘Just tell me, you would come for the wedding.’

‘Definitely, I want this but not your way of handling it.’ Grissel affirmed.

‘Hey ladies, your boyfriend would collapse if you don’t stop arguing.’ Stella interrupted.

They all glanced towards his direction.

Dane was pacing from the far end of the balcony stealing glances at them. He had a pathetic look on which they kept laughing at.

‘Reed.’ Grissel waved her hands inviting him over.

When he heard Grissel mention his name, as if that was the best thing that ever happened to him, he smiled and picked up his phone by the table.

‘What are you doing Grissel?’ Melisa asked quietly, while Dane walked over.

Dane scratched his jaw when he got there. ‘Emmm, you called me.’

‘Yes, your girlfriend here is hungry,’ She said and winced in pain. Melisa had kicked her under the table with her foot.

‘Are you okay?’ Stella asked Grissel who gestured towards Melisa. She had a sheepish smile on her face and at the same time avoiding Dane’s gaze on her.

Grissel nodded to answer her question while Dane kept looking at Melisa who was avoiding his eyes all the time.

‘I can take you ladies out across the street to eat.’ He watched them with their funny expressions and shifted his eyes on Melisa.

As if on cue they all glanced at him. ‘No, that’s unethical. You can make her some sausage sauce here.’ Grissel said with a teasing face.

Melisa tried to hit her again under the table. This time around she was expecting it so she withdrew her legs quickly.

‘Okay, give me about twenty minutes.’ He announced and left quickly.

Melisa who was holding her laughter bust into a hilarious one. ‘Goodness what just happened. Was that Dane?’

‘Of course Lisa.’ Grissel responded.

‘What did you do to him?’ Melisa further asked.

‘Nothing, I already told you earlier about his confession.’

‘Yes, but he has become too soft.’ Melisa complained.

‘You haven’t seen anything yet. If I tell him to bath me he will.’ Grissel bragged.

‘Dane has always been soft though strict sometimes and he’s a good cook too.’ Stella who knew him best said.

‘Yeah, unlike my Tom.’ Grissel said sadly as she wasn’t sure what lies ahead of her.

‘Wow, I like this new Dane but……’ Her hands flew to her mouth quickly. Her intention was to dissuade Grissel from her sad thoughts but it seems she’s going to get teased all over again.

‘It’s alright Lisa.’ Stella chipped in. ‘He’s all yours now.’

‘No, I still don’t want him.’

‘We live to see.’ Grissel teased just that moment Dane came out bearing a tray of glasses and wine.

He dropped it on the table and glanced at them. ‘Help yourselves, lunch would soon be ready.’

Everyone was quiet watching him stare at them.

‘Thanks, I would prefer juice. Just give the whole bottle to Shirley.’ Grissel notified him.

‘Don’t worry I would bring it. She said you grounded her so she’s busy reading.’

‘Oh yeah, I forgot. Thanks.’ Grissel said nonchalantly.

She knew Dane must be excited seeing her talk to him since all she does to him these days was to yell at him.

He walked away knowing all eyes were on him. Then Melisa stood up to leave.

‘Where do you think you are going?’ Stella asked.

‘To get Grissel that juice.’

‘He would bring it Lisa.’ Grissel said.

‘I know but I don’t like the way you are treating him.’

‘Oh wow, finally. Just say you want to talk to him and don’t use my juice as an excuse.’

‘You do know I’m getting married next week to Bryan right?’

Grissel scoffed. ‘Okay Madam Bryan.’ They both teased Melisa and waved her goodbye.

She shook her head and sat down. ‘Let’s wait for him then.’

Dane came back later with mango juice and rushed back to the kitchen.

There was noise coming from the kitchen and that moment Dani came out frowning.

‘Mommy, why is Daddy nervous and making noise. I’m trying to read.’

Grissel looked back at her and smiled. ‘Lisa, can you take her away for a few days?’

‘I could until after the wedding.’ Melisa smiled at Dani who rushed back in and came back with her hands behind her back.

Everyone was wondering why she went back in.

‘Mommy, I want to tell you something.’ She brought a white envelope from behind her.

‘What is that you are holding?’ Grissel curiously asked.

‘I need something first.’ Shirley grinned childishly.

‘What did we say the last time?’ Grissel asked sternly.

‘No blackmailing.’ She said moving a step back.

‘Good, so let me have the envelope.’ Grissel demanded sternly.

‘Lisa,’ Shirley glanced at her and then to Stella. ‘Can you tell mommy to get me a phone?’

‘Is that all?’ Stella who was quiet watching them suddenly asked.

‘Yes, I miss my friends in Dallas.’

‘It’s settled, you can have mine.’ Stella offered avoiding Grissel’s gaze on her.

Dani rushed on the phone smiling.

‘Ella? This is a mistake.’ Grissel cautioned.

‘Relax, the phone is just for today besides you shouldn’t deny Shirley her friends.’

’That’s true especially when she’s in the midst of all these problems.’ Melisa added.

Grissel kept quiet watching them and smiled.

‘Alright, for just a few hours. ‘She sternly told her daughter. ‘Now let me have the envelope.’ Grissel reached out.

‘No, it’s going to make you sick.’ She said with a sad tone.

‘Alright, give it to Lisa then.’ Grissel responded.

She handed the envelope out and was rushing off. ‘Lisa, Daddy needs help with that food. He’s messing up the whole kitchen.’

Grissel gave her a stare and she rushed off. Melisa tossed the envelope over to Stella. ‘Whatever is in there, I know it’s no good news.’

‘Why should I be the one to open it?’ Stella said dropping it on the table in front of them.

Grissel looked at them both and picked the envelope off the table while they looked on.

She realized it was already opened. Grissel hissed when she realized what it was.

Melisa snatched it from her while Stella shifted her seat over to read. ‘Grissel, I thought you told me your proceedings are still pending and that was the main reason you are still here.’

‘As you can see he had it all along.’ Grissel responded in a slow tone.

‘Why would he do that?’ Melisa was starting to get jittery.

‘Probably he figured out I would leave once I found out we got an approval because I know he had no idea about his dad giving me custody yet.’

‘This guy is heartless.’ Melisa said angrily and stood up.

Stella held her down since she was the closes to her at that moment.

‘Let it go, Grissel isn’t complaining.’

‘Yes, let him be. He’s just selfish but I know he’s confused too.’ Grissel sounded unsure.

Just then Shirley came out again with her numerous questions.

‘Hey, where did you get this from?’ Stella asked Dani when she walked closer with yet another frown.

‘Daddy’s safe. I saw him crying and locking it up the last time she and mommy had a fight.’

Grissel looked up at her daughter. ‘Why didn’t you say anything?’

‘I thought he would stop yelling at me but he didn’t.’ She complained.

‘So you decided to pay him back.’

‘Yes and don’t get angry because I know was wrong.’ She said sadly.

‘I’m glad you know. Come here,’ Grissel took her on to her laps.’ I’m sorry, you have to witness a lot of quarrels but it would be over soon.’

‘I trust you mommy but why is the food taking long?’

‘Your dad should be done by now.’ Just then there came a loud bang from one of the rooms as if someone dropped a plate.

They all questioned each other with their eyes. ‘I thi..nk I should check o…….’

Melisa said when that was all she wanted to do since Dane came back with the mango Juice.

‘Yes you should.’ Grissel concluded for Melisa who stood up heading towards the kitchen.

Grissel picked up a copy of the custody letter and the divorce paper they signed. She kept a copy in the envelope and instructed Shirley to keep the envelope at where she found it and keep the other copy in her bag.

Shirley rushed off after poking her mother’s nose playfully.

‘Make sure daddy doesn’t see you with it.’

‘Okay mommy but can I call my friends now without your supervision.’

‘Emm, yes but for only today.’

‘Got it mommy.’ She said and vanished inside.

***

‘Was that your sister earlier? Clive asked Tom. The guys decided to go to his end and cheer him up.

‘Yes, ‘He responded checking his laptop where he made his transfer earlier.

‘The only lady in your life I haven’t succeeded in sleeping with yet.’ He laughed mischievously.

Mike joined in the laughter and Austin was irritated.

Tom raised up his head slowly as if what he said hit some nerves. ‘What did you say?’

‘I mean every lady that came into your life I have made a move on but your sister is different.

Tom gave him a hot slap on the face. Clive repeated himself earlier because he felt Grissel wasn’t in the picture anymore so it was alright blabbing about it.

‘Ouch, man. What was that for?’

‘Don’t disrespect me in my house?’

‘But I haven’t done anything wrong here.’ Clive retorted.

‘Keep talking about girls around me and I would give you another slap.’ He relaxed back on the couch while the other two friends watched them both and later busted into a hilarious laughter.

Clive kept touching his face. ‘What are you two laughing at?’

‘Nothing. You deserve it Clive.’ Austin replied him while Tom coiled back on his couch.

‘Keep laughing, you will get your own slap when he finds out you like Grissel.’ He said angrily. Clive hates to be teased.

Tom raised himself up and stared at them one after the other. ‘I thought I made it clear I don’t want to hear that name in this house.’ He said angrily.

‘Tom relax, I’m sure Clive didn’t mean what he said.’ Mike decided to end the war approaching.

‘Why I’m I the only one at fault here when you both were laughing at me earlier?’ He asked yet with rage.

‘Because you are a coward Clive.’ Austin chipped in.

‘What did you say?’ Clive stood up when Tom hit his shoulder and pinned him down.

‘Allow him to come closer. I should have killed him when I found out he tried to rape Grissel.’ Austin suddenly said out of rage.

The whole room went quiet all of a sudden and before they knew it Tom was holding his laptop. He zoomed on him and hit Clive so hard yet again in the face.

‘Get out now?’ He yelled when Mike held him back.

‘Calm down. Who knows maybe Austin is bluffing.’ Mike looking at Clive whose face was battered with blood.

‘Mike you know me, I don’t bluff. You remember the lady he said hurt him with the wine bottle.’

‘OMG that was Grissel.’ Mike gasped.

‘I confronted them both and Grissel was just trying to prevent Tom from hurting Clive.’

‘This douche bag took advantage of my absence to abuse my wife and you didn’t think it was necessary to let me know.’ Tom raged, obviously referring to Austin.

‘As if you haven’t raped your own wife before.’ Clive said from where he sat nursing his bleeding face.

‘What did you say?’ Tom struggled to be free from Mike’s arm but he was not going to let that happen.

‘Austin, you caused all these. Come and help me hold him down.’ Mike asked of him.

‘Clive started it.’ Austin replied him while standing up.

‘I know but right now isn’t the time to say all these.’

‘When is the right time? It’s too much a secret to keep anyway.’ Austin answered angrily.

Tom who was in Mike’s arm yelled. ‘Everyone should get out before I lose it.’ He managed to sneak out of Mike’s grasp and walked away from them.

The guys advised themselves and left before he came back with a knife. When he didn’t find them, he dropped to the couch clasping his hands on his head crying.

After a few minutes he reached out for his phone and dialed Stella’s number but it was busy as Dani was on conference call with her friends at that same time.

He knew calling Melisa would be a mistake. He stared at the knife and the whole room went dull all of a sudden.

***

Melisa leaned against the kitchen door and watched him struggle to cook and clean the mess on the floor at the same time. She stood there for a while unnoticed then she decided to scoff.

‘’Hey,’ Dane said and took off his gaze.

Melisa did not move an inch neither did she utter a word. He ignored her and went about what he was doing for a few minutes before she walked closer.

‘Let me do that.’ She said asking for the knife to cut out the vegetables when he seemed to be tired or nervous because she was around.

He looked back at her and used the napkin on his shoulder to wipe his forehead which was drenching in sweat. Dane knew he needed help because he has never been that nervous with cooking especially when Dani started growing up without her mother he was the one responsible for her meals.

‘Okay, I will just wash up while you finish the garnishing.’ He said and gave her the knife with shaky hands.

Melisa laughed in her head which he was fumbling and at the same time she pitied him.

She chopped the vegetables just the way she liked them and quickly added it to the sauce while Dane kept stealing glances while washing.

‘I’m sorry I hurt you.’ He said quietly.

Melisa decided to ignore him but she also knew he needs to know she has moved on.

‘D, I’ve moved on so let it go.’

‘Alright but you should know I’ve made things right with Grissel and she’s free to leave anytime.’

‘I know about all that.’ She told him and went about fetching plates for their lunch which he took forever to cook.

They ignored each other until they were both done with what was necessary at that point.

‘I miss you.’ He drew her closer in an embrace all of a sudden from where he was earlier which seemed liked he was not going to let go anytime soon.

Surprisingly, Melisa held on as well. Dane thought she was going to push him away but she didn’t.

They held on to each other for a few more minutes until their heads were knocking each other and they found their lips.

Melisa knew she had to stop after a few minutes but she missed his touch. Their lips were clenched to each other and just when they were enjoying their moments Grissel came knocking.

‘I’m hungry, can I have my food first while you two continue where you stopped.’ She said laughing while Melisa felt embarrassed.

‘Emmm it’s done. I would serve now.’ She walked away from Dane who was smiling as if he just won a lottery.

Grissel smacked Melisa and left smiling. Melisa quickly got the food ready and left him still smiling.

They had their lunch and left when it was almost late in the evening as they had a few wedding plans to sort out. Dane was hoping he would see Melisa before she left but she left unannounced without Dani because she slept off after lunch. Dane convinced himself what happened in the kitchen earlier would save their broken relationship.

To be continued

#OpraDre

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