Read Chapter 31 here with Cupcakemummy
32 missed calls.
4 voices messages
Message 1 – Received 7:24 am
Iris, it’s not what you think. It never was. I would never…please pick up and let me explain. I will not do this over voicemail. I am not 14 years old.
Message 2 – Received 12:03 pm
Please for goodness sake put on your phone. I NEED to talk to you. She was having trouble with her mail so I went down to technical and sorted it out for her. That is what was happening down stairs. Not HER downstairs. Who cares what she has down there. Everyone stops looking once their eyes hit the boobs. Shit, not that I look at her boobs but you know she has them. Fuck this is just all going south. NOT her south. Iris please just pick up.
Message 3 – Received 18:46 pm
Look Iris, I like you. You should know I do by now. I like you too much to just give up on you on a voicemail. I’m going crazy here without you. Someone gave me cookies today and they were tasteless because I had no one here to call me fat for stuffing my face with baked goods. I don’t really know how this whole dating thing works these days but I thought we were together and I thought you knew that. I didn’t know there was a need to say it out loud but if that’s what it takes I will say it.
Message 4 – Received 21:01 pm
I listened to all three messages without an ounce of emotion but the fourth got me. He said please and now all I want to do is phone him and tell him I’m his and we can forget everything and just hug. Naked. But I can’t. It is just too late. I know it is not a train smash and If I call him I can fix this but I am not sure I want to and this scares the living shit out of me. If I get derailed by such a little misunderstanding what am I going to do when real shit hits the fan. The kind of trouble and heartbreak that flattens you when you least expect it. The kind that comes around on a random Wednesday afternoon. I don’t think I can be with someone until I can be with myself. But I want to be with him. All of me want it.
My phone has been on for 3 hours and he hasn’t phoned again. Has he given up? Most likely. I try to forget about this whole mess by distracting myself with the cookies Winter sent me with the book. I couriered the book to the publishers for the final beta copy and I must admit, I am rather excited about this. I know the duck and cat and I had our days but there is something that makes me smile when I hold it in my hands and see Winters illustrations. Who would have guessed me to be a children’s book author? I certainly wouldn’t have. I stuff another peanut butter cookie in my mouth and a flood of emotion hits me like a cold shower. Now all I can think about is the cookies Mark says he ate. He has now even managed to ruin my treat. That dick. There is no way his cookies could have been near as delicious as these. Even if you dunk them in petrol they will be scrumptious.
I eat another for good measure and feed the dog. He has been kind to me the last few days and hasn’t pissed in the house once. If it weren’t raining I would take him for a walk as a reward. I slip him a cookie instead. Dogs deserve pudding too.
My apartment is as messy as a teenagers mind so I attempt to create some sort of order. I start slowly, fluffing the couches and stacking my coffee table books in neat little piles. Cleaning has always been a good distraction for me. I don’t do it often enough. I move on to the dining room and kitchen. Mark sat on that table waiting for me to get ready. I dust the thought away and with the motion I swipe the dust off of the mantel piece above the old fire place.
Before I know it my home looks liveable again and I put the kettle on for a well deserved cup of coffee. I decide to let go of my notions to ignore the universe and open my laptop to get a few mails done. I am sure Winter has mailed me by now and I have been avoiding touching my emails in fear of her knowing everything. About the Mateos, my brother, and me. But I can avoid no longer and I flip my laptop open.
She went to the office. She saw Mark. My worries about my non-relationship quickly disappear behind my heavily thumping heart. She knows the Mateo’s so well. She speaks about them with such love and care and I know they must feel the same way about her. What a mess. How the hell am I going to tell her she just illustrated a book about their dead kid. My heart aches from the cruel words that just went through my head. He is not a dead kid. He is their loved son whom is no longer with them. Because of an accident. I keep reminding myself it was an accident. The awkwardness is just too much to deal with right now. I need to tell the Mateo’s about the book, but I need to tell Winter about the Mateos. Will I ruin the relationship between them once they find out their “adopted daughter” unknowingly just reincarnated their son as a duck?
Questions and conflicts and imaginary dialogs play off in my mind it’s making everything hurt. I have no idea where to start with this. I catch myself staring at the framed picture of my brother on the mantel piece and a wave of calm comes over me. I just need to start. But gently.
Email To: Winter
Subject: Thank you for the cookies.
Those cookies are amazing. I can see why Michael never shares them.
I have something to ask you. (Please think carefully before answering)
I need to tell you the truth about the book. The truth about the duck. And why and where he comes from. I told you the gist of the story about my brother but there is so much more to it.
If I tell you this story, there is no going back. It will changes things. Not only the way you see and read the book but much much more. It will change an important relationship you have in your life. It will change our friendship. The ripples of this story is reaching your life more than I ever imagined and I want you to have a choice. A bit of a “red pill blue pill” moment. You can choose the truth. All of it. Or you can choose to delete this email and life will go on as it has for you.
The choice is yours.
PS. I got Marks voice messages. Thank you for caring.
All my love,
I hit send and hope she thinks about this. I owe her the truth but the Mateo’s are her family. Will they feel different about her after they learn she knows the truth? I get woken from my daze with a knock on the door. Must be the Chinese food I ordered for dinner.
I open the door and my mouth does something my heart never does. It opened.
“Iris” Mark said as he stood there drenched from the rain.