Justin arrived at the party just before midnight. The celebrations were in full gear.
One of the male attendants recognized him at the entrance. “Welcome sir, good to see you, Katelyn’s here. Follow me.”
“Hey, John. What are you doing here?” asked Justin, surprised to see his former housemaid.
John must not know Justin and Katelyn had split or he wouldn't suggest taking him to her. Thank God. The rumors hadn’t spread as he’d imagined.
“No worries, I’ll find my way.” Justin stuck a one-thousand note in John’s hands and proceeded along the hallway.
The music soared through the air, a breathtaking melody of orchestral exuberance.
He looked over the crowd, there must have been at least twenty people watching him, bathing in the dim purple light of the humongous living room, as he clutched tightly to his phone in the pocket.
Nerves were trying to take over his body, but, with a bouncy gait, he walked towards Ambrose.
Everyone was cheering and clapping as Fred and Annie narrated how they first met.
Ambrose tapped on the seat next to him, and Justin, after exchanging greetings with those around him, sat. There were, as always, the usual faces, but he hadn’t seen Katelyn. However, from where
people were looking, he could tell where she was.
He removed his cowboy hat and stuck it on his folded knee. Then his eyes followed everyone’s gaze, and lo and behold! Katelyn was there, seated next to Dan, alone by themselves away from the crowd.
When their eyes met, Katelyn grabbed Dan’s hand and started waltzing with him. Dan looked drunk and wobbled on his feet.
“What the hell’s going on?” Justin turned to Ambrose.
“C’mon, man. You know she’s doing this to get back at you, and the rascal’s drunk like a pig… has no clue what’s happening. It must be Martha’s ploy. She was sitting with them and only left when
you showed up.”
Justin felt something catch his throat. “I don’t care, someone has to put a stop to this or I will… and it might turn ugly.”
“Get a grip man--”
Justin walked to the duo and grabbed Katelyn’s hand. “I need to talk to you. “
“Hey, how are you?” Dan offered Justin his hand. “I’m glad you came. We’re just having some fun.”
Ambrose stepped between them before Justin could respond and pulled Dan aside. More people came over, including Martha.
“Is everything okay?” she asked, sliding a hand around Katelyn’s waist.
“Please give us a minute. I need to talk to her,” said Justin.
“What do you want from me?” asked Katelyn, after everyone had left.
Justin stroked his mustache. “I know you don’t mean anything but, there’s public opinion and decorum. I mean, we’re still married, and you need to watch out. It’s wrong of you to waltz with
Dan in seclusion like that. Um, it’s a bad example for our children. We need to work together to protect them— “
“Excuse me? Are you listening to yourself?” Katelyn asked, her hands shaking.
“I mean, whatever you’re doing will only make you guilty and unhappy. Katie, let not my sins change the good person you are. Come to your senses, if not for me, do it for the kids. Olivia’s already
getting out of hand.”
Katelyn’s face was brilliant, but this glow wasn’t one of brightness. It smacked of the fearful blaze of a fire in the midst of a dark night. She turned to Justin and raised her head, smiled
sarcastically and shifted as if to leave but remained seated.
“Did you say guilt? I feel zero guilt… you just made me realize how much I was missing out on the best things of life. But thanks to you, it’s never too late. I wanna catch up on lost time, and I
will. Pretty soon.” She beckoned to an attendant who was passing by. “Get me some tequila please, and lemon drops.”
“Jeezus, Katie please stop!” Justin widened his eyes. “When did you start drinking? It’s awfully late. Lemme take you home.”
“Oh, honey, you’re smarter than this. Don’t you get it? Who are you to tell me what to do? So you think you’re the only one who’s allowed to have fun? I didn’t know how good it felt hanging out the
whole night drinking. I’ve found new happiness, there’s no stopping it. Tomorrow I’m going to a night club. Any referrals? You wanna come?” She would have gone on but the attendant returned with
She raised her arms, covered with long soft tulle gloves, embroidered with faux pearls. “Thank you.”
Justin lowered his head until the attendant had left. “Oh, what a wonder!’ said he, stroking his mustache. “Katie, it’s necessary that we talk. I saw Olivia behaving inappropriately with that guy
he brought home sometime back. Ryan.”
“Oh, and what’s that to me? She’s a grown-up and can take care of herself. What’s wrong with her going out with a guy? I know Ryan and he’s a good boy.”
Justin scrunched up his face. “Oh, so you know they’re having sex? And you’re cool with that?”
“Just because you’re messing around you think everyone is. I’ve brought up my girls so well Olivia wouldn’t do that.”
“Katelyn, I saw them with my very own eyes. Please, can we just agree on how to take care of the children, and guide them well.”
She raised her brows, exposing her once worn out eyes, now draped in green eye contacts and feline. “You’re out of your mind. Go see a psychiatrist.”
He’d not seen her this pretty. “Honey, please— “
“What did you just call me? Don’t call me that again.” She gulped her drink. “I’m not your wife and what happened between us was a big mistake I’m trying to make right.”
Justin shuddered and his eyes remained fixated on Katelyn’s thin, but undulating hips, which invited a man’s caress in her knee-length dress with a long slit running from her thighs. Was she acting
or had she changed and didn't care about him anymore?
“Katie… Are you seeing someone?”
“Oh, why not? Does it surprise you? Am I not allowed to be happy, just like you?” She took another sip and furrowed her brows, perhaps feeling the effect of the drink.
“Katie, I must warn you, you’re living dangerously and it’s only a matter of time before you put us in a big mess and shame.”
“Warn me, of what?” She gave him a menacing look as she set the glass down. “You’ve already put us in a mess.”
Whoa, how pretentious she must have been all these years they’d lived together. She couldn’t have just changed in such a short time. Anyone who didn’t know her as he did, wouldn’t understand how
her behavior was unnatural, both the sound of her voice and the sense of her words. But to Justin, knowing the tenderness of his wife’s soul, her veneration for marriage, for her kids and family in
general… this wasn’t Katelyn. More than that, he saw from her eyes that she did mean everything she said—that she didn’t want anything to do with him.
“I want to warn you,” he repeated in a low and shaking voice, “that through thoughtlessness and lack of caution you may cause yourself to be talked about and ruin your family beyond redemption.
Another man may take advantage of you. Those who’ve been envious of me … of us.”
For the first time, she pulled her seat closer. “Oh, that’s what I wish for. I want a man to notice me, to take me with him, to sleep with me. Oh yeah. I want to feel a man’s caress. You can’t kill
what’s already dead. You’ve ruined our family and there’s nothing I can do to make it worse.”
He trembled. “Katie, is this you?”
“What did you expect when you traded our thirty years for a teenage girl? Did you expect me to congratulate you? Huh? Tell me, what do you want of me?”
He flinched and rubbed his forehead. Instead of making headways, he was making matters worse by engaging her. Maybe if he also adopted a don’t care attitude, she would budge.
“So what do we do? Yes, I acknowledge my fault. What I did was wrong, and I have paid for it a million times in my own way… You don’t know how much I regret it.” He cracked his knuckles. “But
if you’ve chosen not to forgive me, it’s okay. I don’t deserve your forgiveness, and maybe I wouldn’t have forgiven you. But Katie, think about the children.”
She wiped her tears, perhaps touched by his words.
“No matter what you say, there are certain rules of decorum that cannot be ignored. Everyone here knows we’re husband and wife and the way you’re drinking… something you never used to, and how
you’ve been cozy with Dan. See the way they’re looking at us. I’m sure they’re mocking you behind your back--”
“So it’s me they can mock and not you? I don’t understand. So all you care about is decorum and not the pain you’ve caused me?” Katelyn smoothed the folds on her dress. “You care more about these
people than you care about me. With you, it’s always about the people, what they’ll say, what they’ll think. No one gives a damn.”
He should have stopped with the mention of the kids because she became even more animated.
“You don’t care a dime about us. All you care about is to right your position in the society.” She stopped short. “Are you willing to cut all ties with Gisela and focus on us? Oh! The mention of
that name causes me a lot of pain.” She peered in his eyes. “Are you willing to break off with her?”
“Katie… lemme handle this my way— “
“You make me sick. Just leave me alone.” She started sobbing and got up, and would have left, but he grabbed her hand and pulled her back. “Lemme explain.”
“What’s there to explain. You love her. All the while I have been sitting here thinking that maybe, just maybe you’d come to your senses and genuinely wanted to make amends. But I was
mistaken. Does it give you pleasure to torment me? Are you looking for something to discuss with her? Please go and leave me alone.”
Justin felt her pain, and guilt gnawed at him. He moved closer. “You’re not mistaken. I want my family back.”
“What about Gisela? What happens to her?” Katelyn looked up.
“Honey, she’s carrying my child. It’s only fair— “
“I forbid you to call me by that name. Just go to her and leave us in peace. How did I not see this? You’re only looking for me to nurse your guilt so you can feel better about what you’ve done.”
“Katie, believe me, I love you.” He said, and he himself felt the deceit in his words. He bowed his head. “But I know you’ve stopped loving me.”
For an instant, her face fell, and she composed herself, but when he uttered the word love, it threw her into revolt again.
“Please don’t abuse that word. Both of us know you don’t mean what you’re saying. You never loved me.”
Justin remained silent for a while and looked up. “Okay, let’s just agree on one thing. Can we raise the kids in the best way possible? We’re grown-ups and can make our own decisions but let not
whatever we decide to affect them.”
“I’m done with this conversation. I’m going home. Go back to your mistress or hook up with another one here.”
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