Blog : Novelle

Chapter 38.

Chapter 38.

Read Chapter 37 here with cupcakemummy

Phillip squeezes my hand as I lean down to give him a kiss on his forehead.  His dark hazel eyes give away that he was a handsome man when he was…whole. There is a striking resemblance between the two brothers. Both tall, lean and olive skin. His sparkled when he saw Mark come in the room. I can tell how much these two care for each other. I stand back after I great Phillip and watch Mark say goodbye to his big brother. He high 5’s him like a real guy and the pulls him closer for a deep hug.  The embrace holds tight for a few seconds until Phillip burst out laughing. Deep good laughter, like a small child. Then I realise Mark was tickling him with his free hand. He was right. Mark was right. His brother is happy. Honest good happiness.

Mark settles his brother down and plants a gentle kiss on his head. It makes me fall deeper and deeper in love with him. We leave the recreational area and I follow Mark to the reception, he slides his hand into mine and squeezes it tightly. He greets each of the ladies at reception by name and introduces me to them. One of the older ladies came to the front of the counter to give Mark a hug and a big kiss. They really like him around here.

Mark pays for his brother’s care and has for years. Ever since his parents past away. How did I even get so lucky to have this man in my life? He has been taking hourly work as tech support at the office to be able to afford this. That is how he ended up helping Pam out with her computer. Not once have I heard him complain. Not a single word. The lady that came to the front of the counter, softly asked him how he is coping and he just smiled and gave her a kiss. He replied in a low voice that he will be fine and he is dealing with insurance but it’s not looking to great. Mark tells me to wait there he will go fetch the car. It is raining outside and I imagine Winter is loving today’s weather.  I give him a faint smile and nod in agreement. The minute he is out the door I let my curiosity get the best of me and ask. “I know it’s none of my business, but I overheard what you said. Is Phillips car in trouble?” She walks to the counter and leans over as she tells me; “His care is no longer being covered by Marks insurance. You see they changed their policies and now cover only his chronic meds and not his day to day care. Mark has been paying it cash ever since” She has real concern in her voice.  “I see, thank you.” Is all I manage to get out as I head for the door, Mark is outside with the car running.

***

It’s been 2 weeks since I told the Mateo’s about Winter. They haven’t made contact yet but I still want the launch to be hosted at their restaurant. I am hoping Winter can make it happen for us. I don’t know why they haven’t contacted me but I won’t push. I miss them though. And the bread.

Mark dropped me off after this morning’s visit and said he had work to do. I didn’t question it. But I have spent enough of my life sucking happiness out of the atmosphere. I spent all these years believing I cannot be happy nor can I ever add joy or care to the world but I can. I know I have something to give and this time it’s easy. Even if Mark and I end up taking different paths in life I will forever be grateful for him showing me I have so so much to be thankful for. I have no right to be this angry with the world. I feel ashamed for all the self loathing.

I brush the dogs head as I open my laptop. The kettle whistles signalling its ready to make some coffee. I step over the dog, now napping on the tiles and make myself a cup of coffee.  I miss the Mateo’s biscottis.

I settle down on by the counter and pull my open laptop closer to get cracking on a few mails.

Email : To: Juliet

From: Iris

Subject: Phillip’s care

Hi Juliet, thank you for the kind reception at today’s visit with Phillip. I was hoping you could take care of something for me. You see, meeting Phillip was a privilege and he is so utterly happy at your care facility. I firmly believe Phillip deserves the best possible care, and you, are the best.  Such a special soul.

I phoned your financial department earlier and have settled his care indefinitely. Please find proof of payment attached.

Phillip has taught me that being child like happy is ok. For a long time I felt my happiness will hurt those around me. Turns out, it’s not true. What is true is that Phillip can laugh like I have never heard anyone laugh and that is rather sad. Sad that people do not laugh like that anymore. Life too often gets in the way and I am making a conscious effort to push it out of the way again. If I fail to do it for myself, I can be calm in the fact that I have been able to help Phillip.

I trust you will keep this confidential.

Please give Phillip a kiss for me.

All my love,

Iris.

Finally my T.I.T.S did some good. I knew that money would come in handy one day. I always thought I would spend my savings on something adventurous. An extravagant holiday, or an expensive house. I was right about one thing though. It did enrich my life.

One idea down, one to go.

Email: To: Winter

From: Iris

Subject: Its time.

Winter my darling,

It feels like ages since we spoke. I miss you.

I met Marks brother and he is amazing. I will tell you all about it someday. You will like him. He is special. In every single way.

How are the Mateo’s? I haven’t heard from them yet. Ill admit it scares me a little. I figured not everything could work out in the end. Not very Iris-like at all wouldn’t you say?

Listen we need to talk about the launch. I am wrapped up in paper work for the export of the last few boxes would you mind helping out? Just a few media and close friends. I was really hoping we could do it at the Mateo’s. Its such a great little venue and well, you know how well it suits our book.

I am so so thankful I got to work with you on this project. Turns out you were part of the story all along.

Speak SOON.

Iris.

I hit send and walk to the kitchen to put my mug in the sink. I really hope she is willing to help on the launch. She is better at making things pretty than I am. But I am working to change that.

I glance at the clock in the kitchen and do a little double take when I realise I am 10 minutes late for my class.

 

 

Chapter 28.

Chapter 28.

Read Chapter 27 here with Cupcakemummy

I snuck a chocolate into the package for Winter. I had to buy Michael lunch to get him to tell me what Winters favourite sweet is. I figured her life needs some sweetness. God knows she must have her hands full with Michael. Although I can see what she sees in him. Not so much the looks. He is a bit too clean cut for my liking but he is rather cute. He has these little habits he thinks no one sees. I guess we all have those.  Michael must be working from home or be at a client today. His desk is vacant. The thought of messing with him is just too tempting and I grab my post’it notes and go to town on his cubical. It’s starting to look like a highlighter puked on it and I get lost in the tedious task of pasting each little note at the last ones edge. As I paste the last one I give it a swipe with my index finger to insure it stays put and stand back to appreciate my work of art. It is perfect.

Mark is also not in today but I know he is on a deadline with his client. A magazine has so I am sure he has his hands full. Flat White Magazine. I mentioned it to Winter a few weeks ago. They needed some illustration work done. I hope she got into contact with them.

It feels strange to have the office so quite.  I wonder if this is what Winters world feels like? Nothing but a little muzzled noise coming from somewhere outside.  My mind is a little all over the place today. As you can tell. I keep thinking it’s time to tell the Mateo’s about the book. It is party about their son after all. But how am I supposed to bring it up? “Oh hey, here is a children’s book about the child you lost and oh, your son’s character is a sad duck”.  The might just throw me with a loaf of bread. Not really a topic I think they want to crack back open. I am perplexed though. I can’t NOT tell them. I have to do it before we go to print. Or before the launch. Part of me never wants them to find out. It would just be easier.

I have been doodling on the back of an old calendar on my desk.  I might be a novelist but part of thinks my soul has always been a poet. (Albeit not a particularly good one)

Silent was her world. But not cold nor dark.

Grey were her eyes. But not her heart.

She lived in colours unseen by others.  Beautiful thing that smothers

Her soul was green, Spring. Her name was Winter.

wpid-20140729_161303.jpg

I scrounge up the piece of paper and throw it into the bin in the far corner of the office. When I look up Mark is standing next to the bin clapping hands, with the biggest grin on his face. Gosh he is edible.

Mark: Nice shot.

Me: You sound surprised.

Mark: I didn’t know you were so…athletic.

Me: I am very athletic. You should see me run

Mark: Really?

Me: Yes, I am exceptional at shot distance running.

Mark: Oh really? What distance.

Me: Couch to fridge, I am the record holder.

Mark smiles and shakes his head. He walks over to my desk and leans over my cubical with folded arms. I can smell his aftershave. It smells of sweet pears and the ocean. It’s rather intoxicating and I struggle to focus on what he is saying.

Mark: Iris!

Me: Yes?

Mark: Wake up.

Me: I am awake.

Mark: It looks like your dreaming somewhere far away from here.

I smile at him.

Mark: I assume you went to town on Mike’s desk?

Me: He needed some colour. Don’t you think?

Mark: I agree. He seemed a bit lost lately. So pasta?

Me: huh?

Mark: can you cook pasta?

Me: yes, why? Well define cook.

Mark: edible

Like you, I think.

Me:  In that case yes. 

Mark: Done, dinner at your place. 7ish?

I try to argue but he leans over the cubical divider and plants a kiss on my cheek.  I immediately Google easy pasta recipes and get lost in words like “parboil” and sauté. I appreciate good food but couldn’t be bothered to cook fancy food for myself. Maybe things will change when it’s not just me anymore. A smile makes it way from my heart to my face. I have been alone so long the thought of coming home to someone is as good as my fairy tale gets. And I am completely ok with that. I don’t need swooping, white horse, flowers every night might kind of love. I need someone else on my couch that laughs at the same parts in a movie as I do.  He fits. It fits.

I finally set on a super easy recipe with chicken and bacon in it. Everyone loves bacon.  Well, everyone should. I hit print and before I make my to the copier room to pick up my print I hit send and receive and get a mail from Winter. I hit reply.

Email To: Winter

From: Iris

RE RE: BIG NEWS

Hey Sweet pea,

SO glad the chocolate made its way there. Figured you would want something sweet to celebrate with. Enjoy it. When you have a chance please go over the last details of the beta copy. I would like to submit it to the printers as soon as possible. Once we are happy with the colours etc we can do the first print. I would be honoured if you were to sign one for me? I will treasure it forever.

I want to ask you some advice. I need to tell the family (of my brothers friend) that I used their child in book. I don’t know when to tell them or if I should tell them at all. I feel a little lost here. If it were your child, would you want to know?

I am so thrilled about you and Michael. Also good to know the man is good with gardening. He is husband material. Hold on to him.

I am cooking for Mark tonight. I am SO excited. I even Googled a recipe am hoping he wants me for dessert.  

Listen I have to run. I still need to go shopping for tonight. And shave!

Courier the copy back with your notes as soon as you can.

Love,

I log out of my computer and grab my bag on the way to copier.  As I approach the printer I see Mark leaning against the table with the guillotine. I am flooded with a warm desire to take off where we left it in there the last time. That room is hallowed ground to us.  I open my mouth to say something sexy I haven’t quite formed in my head and suddenly my breath is stolen. As if vacuumed from my body and I freeze. Breathless.  I see Pam lean in and kiss Mark on his stubbled cheek while she says “Thanks for the other night Marky. It was…fun.”

I let out an audible sigh and Mark jumps back from Pams grip as if she was poisonous.

“Iris! Please… it’s not what you think”