Katelyn returned home before sunrise, tiptoed into her bedroom and locked the door. She sat on the edge of the bed, head in hands, and waited.
Two hours later, she heard Justin’s steps. Her sorrow renewed sevenfold. To keep her hands from shaking, she clasped them together. The impending encounter scared her—it might mean the end of their
marriage, which hurt to her core.
Any other woman in her position would’ve fled to her parent’s home with her kids. But not her. She couldn’t stand the shame. Everyone thought hers was the model marriage. Though she wouldn’t leave
Justin, things would never be the same.
She’d promised herself to punish him for what he’d done, but now that he was at the door, all she hoped for was for him to somehow prove to her she was mistaken. Besides, she’d been a housewife
with no stable source of income and he’d financed her businesses. Her quick calculations had shown these couldn’t sustain her with the kids even for a month. And going through the list of her
customers, it was Justin who’d referred almost all of them. Life would be extremely tough without him.
When he came in, she dropped her hands and looked up. She wanted to tell him the truth immediately but her tongue refused to move. Tears streamed down her cheeks.
Justin rushed to embrace her, but she pushed him away. He knelt before her. “Katie! Sweetheart, What’s the matter? Is Liz okay?”
Her mouth twitched. “Just leave me alone.”
“Katie.” His voice shook. “Whatever it is, tell me. We can work it out together. Remember, there’s no problem under the sun that has no solution.”
“Just go away, go away, go away. I hope not to see you again after what you’ve done!” Katelyn shrieked, as though in physical pain.
“For goodness’ sake! What have I done?”
“You know what you’ve done. Don’t be pretentious.” Her lungs felt emptied. She slapped a hand over her mouth.
“What are you talking about? Is— is this about Martha? I knew nothing good would come out of your close association with that—All she thinks of is how to work on her looks to lure men”
Katelyn shook her head.
“I wonder what’s wrong with you women. You get a man who cheats, you complain. When you get a good one, you start being suspicious.” Justin squared his chest. “What is it Martha has told you?
Clearly this is not about Liz, right?”
Katelyn slammed the pillow on the bed and glanced at him. “Stop the pretense. Where were you?”
“There you go, always suspicious. You of all people know what Ambrose’s going through. Is it wrong if I spend the night at his place? I mean, you weren’t here!”
“Oh my God! Lying comes so natural to you!”
He stroked his mustache. “So you’re calling me a liar?” He moved closer. “And whatever it is, I don’t appreciate your tone.”
“You’ve lost all the respect I had for you. Yes, that’s what you are. A liar, a pretender. You’re sleeping with that girl. Gisela.”
Justin tilted his head and stared into space. “What are you talking about?”
“Look at you, shameless man. You’ve got the audacity to reprimand Martha when you’re the worst. You spent the entire night with Gisela and here you are, taking advantage of Ambrose’s situation.”
He blinked rapidly and dropped his gaze on the floor. “Did you see me?” he asked, in a subdued and shaking voice.
She started sobbing. “How could you discuss me with her? Even the men who cheat hold their wives with some regard. You couldn’t even respect me?”
“No… no... no… You got all these wrong. Lemmie explain,” he said, not lifting his head. He placed a hand on her lap.
“Don’t touch me. What a disgrace! You couldn’t have enough of her, eh? You love her and always will… I hope Katie doesn’t discover….”
Justin remained dumbfounded for a while and cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, please find it in your heart to forgive me.”
At least his lies were bearable, and there was hope. But when she listened to the truth—him asking for forgiveness! She knew this was tantamount to him owning what happened. She pictured them
together and played in her mind the movie of them making love, kissing, touching each other, fucking...
She gasped and wrung hands. “Am I not good enough for you? I found you with nothing, and after what we’ve gone through, you dump me for that stupid girl?”
“I haven’t dumped you and I’ll never do that, Katie.”
“So you want to have a wife and a mistress?” She sneered. “Oh, she just wants to be a mistress and I guess you’re cool with that, yah?”
“Katie! It was just a moment of weakness.”
“A moment of weakness? Is that not your baby she’s carrying?” She shuddered when he stayed quiet. “Oh Lord, so it’s your baby? You can’t talk of a moment of weakness when you’ve made her pregnant.
You’ve been sleeping with her.” She held her mouth. “Lord have mercy! How stupid of me. I trusted you blindly.”
“I’d not intended for anything with her but you pushed me to do it. You made the house unbearable with your constant nagging, attacking my family. You didn’t want me to support my dad in educating
my brother… you insulted my sister when you discovered I was paying school fees for my nieces. That’s when I went out, and met her at the club, and it happened.”
“Spare me the details. Now you’re blaming me?” Katelyn buried her head in her hands. “Go away, leave me alone and go back to her, and forget about us.”
Katelyn didn’t imagine in her wildest dreams Justin could talk to her like that, looking her in the eye and justifying infidelity. She’d known him to be the voice of reason and morality and now,
listening to him, she cringed. “I can’t believe you! You’re worse than a murderer.”
“Katie, let’s talk about this without drama.” He again moved closer. “I’m not acquitting myself from blame. All I’m saying is we’re both to blame. It wouldn’t have happened if you were more
accommodating and understanding. I repeatedly begged you to—”
She jumped to her feet. “Are you listening to yourself? As if cheating on me is not enough, now you’re blaming me for it? Mercy heavens!”
“Lower your voice. Mind the children. I don’t want them to be part of this.”
“Did you think about them when you were sleeping with their friend? Are they even safe around the beast of a father like you?”
“Katie, leave the children out of this. It’s not their fault but mine. I’ve said I’m sorry for what happened.”
“You’re not sorry. You only regret that I found out.”
His shoulders sagged, and he wore a look of defeat before he collapsed onto the bed. His heavy breathing annoyed her, and she walked to the window.
She shook out a handkerchief and wiped her face. “Did you even think of the children when you started this? The shame you’d bring to all of us, especially Olivia? Despite everything, I thought
you’d be sorry, but clearly, I was mistaken.”
“I’m sorry, really sorry. Trust me.”
She scoffed. How I wish you’d have cried and promised this would never happen again. Didn’t all these years of our marriage mean anything to you?
“You’re a beast, a dog, loathsome to me. You stopped loving me. Why don’t you just leave us and go be with her?”
Then came a knock at the door.
“Who’s that?” she asked, wiping her face.
“It’s me, mom,” said Olivia.
“Give us some time sweetie,” said Justin, and he followed his wife. “Katie, please don’t involve her in this.”
“Don’t touch me, I’ll tell her and the others that their dad is a scoundrel, sleeping with their friend if you dare touch me again.” She left the room, slammed the door and gave Olivia a plastic
smile. “Honey, come with me.” They descended the stairs.
“Mom, what’s the matter?”
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