HIS MISTRESS (REVISED)
A cautionary tale of the Lamb that fell in love with the Lion - except it's so much more than that.
Forgive me for my negative mood, I'm weary and this burden – yes burden, because it is so truly unwanted - feels like it will never leave me in peace. He was right, Love is the devil and there is no evil angel but Love.
I light up, and inhale, the orange tip reflects in the pane illuminating the trails of raindrops. Tobacco taints my tongue as smoke dissipates around me, and I wonder …
There were no defining moments; I was never overcome with exhilarating, exulting, exasperating emotions! Where were they? Maybe then I might have been prepared for what was to come.
Like I said it was one of those things that crawled up on me slowly, don't ask me why and when it occurred. All I can remember is that my simmering hate gradually turned to a liking where it must have flourished into something unforgivable.
Love and Hate aren't really all that different; one intense feeling melts into another. There were no fireworks erupting from my heart. I didn't one day look at his face, and realise then that I loved this man. I suppose it had been there for a while, although I tried to ignore it. Defiantly it pushed through me and I found myself inexplicably emotionally attached to a man that I really shouldn't love: a man that I really should never have known.
I never or will have any illusions about him. Never have I thought that I could soften his heart and make him into something he isn't. Never have I been under any illusions that my feelings might be reciprocated. No, I know him too well for that. I am just an object; another pawn in his sick torrid world, or perhaps it's not him but the world that is sick…
Beams of light circulate the garden below, as his security carry out their routine checks. Headlights merge with the torches as a black car pulls into the driveway, and a man rushes out from the house to receive him. I should go to bed and pretend to sleep. But what is the point? He won't notice, not tonight.
I watch as a dark figure emerges from the vehicle, pausing momentarily to look up. Can he see me in the darkness? And then he is gone, disappeared into the house. I can't help but hope that he visits me tonight, even though I know he won't. I really should go to sleep, but that doesn't appear to come easily to me anymore. Instead I sit up by the window, watching as the sky lightens and the patter of rain continues to fall. Has he spared a thought for me whilst he's been away?
The rain has turned to drizzle when I leave the house in the morning. No one grabs me or stops me, despite the fact that I am a captive or maybe just captivated. I exit the house through its overtly decadent entrance. Of course I'll be followed. Sure enough as my car passes through the main gates I catch a glimpse of my companion pull out behind me in the mirror.
Half an hour later I've parked the car near the town centre and found my way to the small teashop where we are meeting. The doorbell tinkers, and the light hum of conversation swoops around me. I glance around, my eyes skimming over an elderly couple and a few middle age women sipping delicately at their teacups. At last I find whom I am searching for, hidden to the corner, he glances through a discarded paper. I take a moment to observe him. He taps his fingers against the table as his eyes scan the paper impatiently. His hair is shorter, and a few greys line the edges, he looks drawn and tired. A far cry from the exuberant boy I once danced about in streams and trees with.
Apprehensively he rises and kisses me on the cheek, and responds to my greeting.
"How are you?" He drawls lazily as if this isn't the first time we have spoken in five years. The concern and uncertaintly in his eyes tells the truth. He was never very good at covering up his feelings. The last time we met had certainly been no exception. A flitter of a memory tumbles into my mind, the hurt in his face and the anger in of his words. How could you?, reignite in my ears...
"Fine, and yourself?" I reply confidently, unwilling to let my defence down.
"Oh you know, milling along. Children are a bloody nuisance." He glances around nervously.
My mouth curves, but the smile fails to reach my eyes. His face is so familiar to me yet the distance between us is awkwardly clear. I used to think we'd get married, Mark and I. Growing up together, there had always been a silent understanding between the two of us that one day we would. Except that hadn't happened. In fact not much that I had expected had happened.
"It's been a while," I reach for the teapot he's already ordered and pour some into my cup.
He chuckles awkwardly. "Hasn't it. Well I've been so busy with the School, Deputy Head now and you've been busy with… well you know."
I nod silently, sipping at my tea. Each of us reluctant to mention the last time we saw each other.
"Well I better be straight with you. May's missing."
I raise my eyebrows, surprised that he's worried about May. "Oh." I sip my tea.
'I know what you are thinking, but it's different this time. Something isn't right. She's been gone nearly six months. It's not right."
"She's probably joined the circus or something ridiculous. I'm sure she'll be back soon enough with some drama to spill." I reply sceptically. I'm not surprised by May's apparent disappearance. She's always been off on an adventure in the search for a new fulfillment. There was the time she boarded a ship for America, on some silly whim, only once she reached there to jump back onboard and return home. Or the time she decided to take a trip to the seaside for a day, only to return three weeks later engaged. Needless to say that engagement didn't last long, when it was revealed her prospective fiancée harboured a somewhat colourful past. She was always prancing in, about and through towns, villages and people. "Life is the drug of my choice!" She had exclaimed once, falling into a bout of giggles, whilst she juggled a glass of wine rather unsuccessfully.
"She missed your mother's birthday. No card, not even a phone call. Nothing this year. Your mother is in a frightful state about it all."
It is unusual, but I cannot help thinking Mark is worrying unnecessarily so. Still he did make contact with me, and that can't have been easy after everything.
I sigh. "Well what do you want me to do about it? They both made it quite clear I'm not part of the family anymore." A pang of hurt rifles through me.
He doesn't reply at first I can tell he's choosing his words carefully. Of course I know what's coming. "I'd help if I could, but things are so busy at the moment with the boys mocks coming up and Mary's pregnant again. I thought perhaps you could get... him… to help, maybe."
"Mother suggested this?"
"No, she doesn't know I'm here."
I rub my temples and glance down at tea. "When did you last hear from her?"
Tea doesn't last long, Mark's gone as soon as he's convinced that I'm going to help in some way, and he's revealed the barest of details about May. We part ways outside the teashop awkwardly. Neither knowing if we will see each other again. We might as well be strangers, not once lovers. I turn and watch him go. I wonder if he still feels anything? I'm not sure I feel anything anymore, not since I am overwhelmed by something so much greater.
I don't need to glance across the street to know my unwanted watcher is there. "Fred", I've named him in my thoughts. Dressed in black, on the corner of a dark alleyway Fred is hard to spot, but I've become used to his presence. We've never met, and I've never seen him except when he follows me. I'd expect to see him around Leo's grounds but never.
I make an act of looking round the shops, but nothing occupies me. I'm not ready to return yet and I mull over the conversation with Mark. A trip to the city is all that is needed, I'm sure. She's probably become some artist's muse or something silly. I make my way back to my car and catch a glimpse of my companion. Something compels me to stop. I turn to face Fred. Except when I turn it's not Fred that darts away. Someone else, shorter and mustached has been following me. Intriguing, I smile to myself.
Leo's in his study when I return. I can hear his deep voice rumbling away on the phone. Part of me longs to see him now he's back, but another part of me restrains. He'll find me when he's ready. If I barge in there now, he'll only treat me coldly even if he's been away for the last fortnight. It has to be on his terms.
Our paths don't cross until the afternoon. I'm in the living room pretending to be engrossed in a book, but really my thoughts are with May, my mother, and Mark. The door opens, and I fix my eyes on the page. Instantly my stomach curls, warmth floods my face, my body tingles, and my heart quickens but I refuse to acknowledge him. My eyes are desperate to seek his but my will holds strong. His steady footsteps make an impression on the carpet. I hear the click of a lighter and the smell of tobacco infiltrates my senses. I can feel him watching me, waiting for a reaction. I try to concentrate on the page, but I can't read the words properly. I can't even remember what book I am reading. Suddenly nothing seems to exist but his formidable presence. In my periphery I can make out his immaculate black shoes pointed towards me. I'm waiting for him to speak, to interrupt the tense air, desperate to hear his voice but he doesn't. I strain to hear his breathing but can only make out my own pathetic heartbeat throbbing in my chest. A few moments later his footsteps tread out of the room, only the soft smell of his cigar lingers.
Almost immediately I shove my book to the side, my pulse is still racing but the heat from my face is beginning to drain away. My body sighs, suddenly vapid of all energy, as I nervously reach for my cigarette case. Puzzled, I inhale from my cigarette wondering at the meaning of our empty encounter. Love, is a strange thing, it causes so much analysis about such little action.
He did warn me. "Don't get emotionally attached", he had bluntly told me when our relationship was still unknown. I had laughed at the arrogance of his words. Back then I had had no intention of any attachment with him. A smug smile curled around his lips. "Women fall in love with me easily. So don't get emotionally attached, it will end in tears, and I hate tears."
I raised my eyebrow, and shook my head silently. I remember my thoughts so clearly. His arrogance! The assumption that I would or even could harbour any true feeling for him - it was ludicrous, almost hilarious! "Perhaps I am different."
He raised a finger to my chin and moved in closer, his eyes resting intensely on me. I held his gaze, determined to prove I was not afraid. "Women like to think they are all different and complex but really you aren't. Although" he paused, "I am intrigued to see how this will end."
Before I could reply he pressed his lips against mine, irritation at his misogyny bubbled inside me, but the pressure of his lips against my own replaced all thought or reason for a mere a moment. And then I was pushing him away repulsed by him; repulsed at the thought that I might have not completely hated it.
A/N: This is a preview of my revised version of His Mistress. Yes certainly it is different than the original, deliberately so. In fact I've re-worked it a lot, and added another strand the story line, although there are remnants of the old story in it. I would be interested to hear what you think, try not to judge it on the first His Mistress, because this is a re-write of that story, so it is not going to be the same! Thank you. Maroon