MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – TWINSTER 4

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Click here to read TWINSTER 3

“Trust! Dazzline Murray Destiny Henric. How you throw that word around!” Victor smiled because he didn’t want to lose control. He couldn’t bear to. Again.

Daz wept now, her nude make-up held nicely, though. She was still so beautiful and staring at her gave him pain. To think he still had to call his “shrink” once a week to get by, ten years after everything fell apart, said a lot of the impact she had/has in his life. Goodness, he couldn’t believe this was happening. He wanted so badly to hold her.

“So, when are you going to find yourself?” He chuckled. “I don’t even know what to call you.”

Daz sniffed. “Call me Dazzline. Or Daz. That’s my name.”

“Bold. I admire it.” He glared at her. “What will you tell your–friends here, is the reason you changed your name. Or perhaps, I’ll be the only one calling you that.” He clenched his teeth. “Our secret?”

“For goodness’ sake, Victor! What do you want?”

“Nothing, really.” Saying those words brought relief he hadn’t expected. Hmm, years of therapy paying off.

She sniffed. A box of tissues sat on Suzie’s table and he gave her. She took it with shaky hands and blew her nose into a couple.

“I home-school Manny. Do you want to meet him?”

Her question surprised him, again. Being bold had never been a part of Daz Murray. When he met the bubbly, super-sanguine Destiny, Daz practically hid behind her skirts. The twins were just done with high school and Daz was going to college. Des couldn’t decide what she wanted to do, and they had dated on and off for almost four years before he married her, hoping she’d be more stable. He soon realized his mistake. She was ten years younger and only wanted to be free.

“And what will you tell him?”

She went quiet, perhaps to find an answer for him. “Nothing, really.” She laughed.

He laughed. And then she resumed her crying. Daz in her element.

He lowered his voice. “I left because I didn’t know the woman in my bed.”

Oh, Victor!” She sobbed. “We were wrong.”

He felt congestion in his chest. What exactly happened? He still didn’t know. Maybe it was time, or maybe he should let it go. He’d sworn to himself he would never ask. All he knew was that two years into his loveless, childless marriage, he slept with his wife one night, and she was a virgin!

He could remember screaming so loud he thought his lungs would burst! “Who are you? Where is my wife? What happened to my wife?”

He’d been told a month earlier Daz died of a drug overdose in her condo. “Destiny” had taken it badly but come around slowly, no longer her bubbly herself. The twins had been so close. They’d only had each other all their lives, and Destiny had been the leader. She now seemed to have no one to control, which was the essence of her life. There was nothing he didn’t do to try and get her out of her “shell.”

“Trust.” He fought tears. “You told me the truth, didn’t you? Wasn’t that why we agreed to keep it a secret from everyone? You’d forever be Mrs. Destiny Henric, and we’d live quietly and happily.” He sniffed. “No scandals.”

“I lied to you.” She bit her lips. “I’m sorry, Victor.”

He stood. He could not take any more betrayal from her. Maybe she was Destiny? No, the one everybody knew as his wife, Destiny, died while doing drugs, and her sister took the opportunity to take over her husband. No more “truths.” He couldn’t handle anymore. He discovered who she was, they agreed to keep the secret, she told her mother, who told her sister, who told her neighbor. Half of New York got to know, he moved out to keep his sanity. She had their baby, left town. Peace reigned for ten years till he decided it was time to move on too. The massive contract in Arizona presented itself at the right time. He’d travel across the country to get away. Only showed how so tight-knit their hearts were. Right?

He was wrong.

They’d fallen in love with each other so much. He could barely breathe without her, and the same was true for her. Everyone said the tragedy healed their marriage. She got pregnant. All was indeed well. Then…

He shuddered. “I guess, I should let you know, I’ve tried to put this saga behind me. I also will have to leave town because I can’t be here with you, as we both can see.” He snatched a couple tissue from the box. “Say hi. Especially to your dad, when you speak to him.”

“He died five years ago. Mom lives with me now.”

Oh.” he gasped. “Right. Mother hen lives here too.” And then he spelled out the worst of the swear words and headed for the door.

 

The story ends in Twinster Part 5 next week.

Photo: The Aneke Twins Source: Bellanaija.com, 2017

 

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MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – TWINSTER 3

Click here to read TWINSTER 1

Click here to read TWINSTER 2

The speed with which Suzie Bariet cleared out an extra visitor seat and excused them convinced Daz this woman had a recorder somewhere. She didn’t want to discuss with Victor Henric in Suzie’s office, but he’d held her elbow and in his characteristic domineering mumble, which she remembered so well, asked Suzie to get a second seat and give them an hour. He hadn’t changed much, she couldn’t help but notice. Clean mustache and beard, hair cut close to the scalp, firm, dark skin packed in a designer suit, expensive shoes and a cold smile. He didn’t look a day older than thirty-four he was. Ten years ago? Manny was proof. And she was sure every vein in her neck, and the lines on her face multiplied twenty-four, her age at the time he left her.

He sat her into the chair but didn’t take the other. She had never known him to be anything other than composed and in control.

She straightened. “I don’t want to talk in Suzie’s office. All of Ego’s Trip will have the details by noon.”

He snorted. “I don’t care.”

“I do.” She stood. “I live here.”

“I live here too. Now.”

Daz pressed her lips together. “What do you want?”

A soft chuckle escaped from his throat. “Very bold question, Destiny.” He gave her a once-over. “Where do I start?”

“Destiny is dead, you know that. Don’t call me her name.”

He gave her his back, and her stomach clenched. How could he still love Destiny? She felt miserable. She was the one who took all the risks, who fought for them, who gave him a son!

“You called yourself Destiny. You still do. Ms. Suzie Bariet calls you Destiny.” He turned to face her. “How would she have known? I bet all of Ego’s Trip, Arizona don’t know who you are.”

Daz blinked hard. Her business in New York had been as Mrs. Destiny Henric. Her brand name Destiny! her catch-phrase, and logo all had been so beautiful, she didn’t want any changed.

“You wanted everything your sister had. You still do, Daz-zline!” Victor slurred. “When will you find yourself?”

She stiffened. “I’m leaving.”

“You’re not. Until you answer all my questions.” He pulled the second chair up and sat.

Now she stood while he sat. Her mind told her to simply walk out but she couldn’t. “I’m the one who has questions. Why did you leave us? Manny and I needed you!”

“It didn’t seem so,” he said quietly. “We had an agreement. You broke it.”

Daz didn’t want to cry. She had done so much of that in the last ten years. She drew air into her lungs by her open mouth till she felt she could speak again.

“I gave up my career as an architect to live my sister’s life as a wannabe model, and actress and gift distributor, fashion designer, and make-up artist, and whatever other whims she had!”

“You liked her name better than yours, though.” He locked her gaze. “And her man.”

She let the tears fall. “You’ll never trust me.”

 

The story continues in Twinster 4 next week.

Photo: The Aneke Twins Source: Bellanaija.com, 2017

 

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MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – TWINSTER 2

Click here to read TWINSTER 1

Victor listened to the first two minutes of Suzie’s rant about who they just saw and then switched her off through the rest of the drive. He dropped her at his new four-bed-four-bath house on the edge of town to finish setting up and returned to his newly set up office. All in a day’s job. He could have gotten someone more suave from Phoenix, but Ms. Suzie came in an attractive package. Besides the fact that she charged less than half of the worst from the big city, and would custom-design and do your shopping, she was the embodiment of the compendium of Ego’s Trip.

But what the–hell was going on?

How cruel would the hand of fate twist him till ten years was back, right here in the middle of nowhere-Arizona! Destiny Murray lived here? How could that even be remotely possible? He thought he saw her ghost in every shadow in New York. He was happy to get a contract big enough to lure him away from the demons of his city, long enough too. Had he chosen to go to Hawaii, or Mexico, would he have found her there or was he being paranoid?

And that boy…Manny Murray, smartest kid in three states, his son. Suzie had told him everything about the mother and son.

He closed the door to his office and leaned against it. If he hadn’t signed the contract papers the minute, he stepped off the plane ten hours ago, he’d be writing Ms. Suzie a fat “I’m-sorry-but-you’re-fired” check and be on the plane to New York now. He’d not care to get bad reviews for his professional incompetence either.

He didn’t think he could live in New York with Des. Was it here in this narrow strip, he would?

Victor slid to the polished wooden floor and glared at his manicured fingers.

 

***

 

The only way to find out about Victor Henric and what she saw at Walmart was to visit Suzie, though she’d eventually know, she wanted to have a heads up.

Daz opened the entrance to the annoying chime that alerted Suzie of presence in her realtor office and stepped around a few boxes placed so close to the door as though they were about to be taken out.

Suzie called out. “At the back, give me a minute!”

“I’m fine, Suzie. It’s–”

“The gorgeous Ms. Destiny Murray!” Suzie marched toward her, blond hair tussled. “What brings you here finally?”

Daz took a minute to respond, and Suzie spoke. “I’m sorry, just been a little busy since I picked up Mr. Henric from the airport yesterday. Mr. Victor Henric.”

“I’m sorry to barge in on you. Mom thought I should ask for your advice. We want to, ur, refinance and thought ur, do a little bit of interior touch-ups…”

“I’ll finally get to enter your beautiful home.” Suzie winked. “Kidding. But right now’s not the time. Mr. Henric is totally happy with his new place, but I wanted to add a few extra blessings as he’s going to be staying in the big place alone. Teddy bears that sort of thing.” Then Suzie leaned closer as though to tell a secret. “We saw your boy yesterday. Had an incident actually, and the handsome gentleman tried to run after you to know if you were married or not!” She giggled. “I had to wonder if this man had a tiny bit of fear of God in him. But then I couldn’t tell him you were–”

Daz swallowed and turned toward the entrance. “I’ll be on my way now, thank you, Suzie.”

Victor leaned against the doorpost.

Suzie exclaimed. “My goodness, Mr. Henric! My chimes didn’t announce your presence.”

Victor’s eyes bore into Daz’s. “Destiny, we meet again.”

 

The story continues in Twinster 3 next week.

Photo: The Aneke Twins Source: Bellanaija.com, 2017

 

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MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – TWINSTER 1

The petite blond, Suzie, talked non-stop while Victor Henric scrolled through messages three days old on his iPhone. How had he gotten so overwhelmed to not remember them? He swiped right and left sure Suzie would soon punctuate her chatter with a question. The thought hardly left before she did.

“Whole or skimmed?”

“None,” he mumbled without asking what. He never took anything with those options.

“You don’t seem to have a healthy diet, Mr. Henric,” Suzie said. “Only artificial stuff is in your cart.”

One woman complained about that in his past and got him drinking beetroot smoothies first thing in the morning. He shook his head to forget her.

“I do bananas.”

She smiled, exposing dental implants ever so perfectly fixed. “I have a bunch.” She moved ahead to the aisle for beddings. Victor followed her absently.

A soccer ball bounced off a shelf of pillows so close it was too late to escape it. Suzie’s shortness saved her. The ball hit Victor once on the face and dropped into the cart full of groceries and home equipment.

“F-rench toast!” Victor turned to find the culprit a minute before a ten-year-old boy hurried over to get the ball.

Victor grabbed it before the boy could, and their gazes clashed. Something dropped in his stomach.

“I apologize, sir.” The boy smiled. “Mom will kill me.”

His face. The smile. A figure appeared for a split second at the other end, with a terse, “Manny!”

“Have to run, sir.” The boy took the ball off Victor’s hand and ran after who he presumed was his mother.

Victor pursued both. He caught only a mane of straight brown hair just before the driver’s door is slammed shut, and the tail of a Hyundai car.

Suzie walked over minutes later with the paid supplies. “Someone you know, Mr. Henric?”

“That will be insane, Ms. Suzie.” Victor arched an eyebrow. “Someone you know?”

 

***

 

“Dazzline! You need to stop pacing for heaven’s sake. You had me calling on the Lord’s home in vain for the past hour!”

Daz swallowed. “He’s here, Mom. I saw him at Walmart.” She rubbed her temple, her stomach churned. “What am I going to do?”

Mrs. Murray had her only solution handy. “Pretend it didn’t happen. Take it to your God in prayer.”

Daz drew in a ragged deep breath. “He saw Manny. Do you think he would recognize him?”

“He never set his eyes on him one day, hallelujah!” Mrs. Murray waved. “Boy is covered and so are you.”

“I feel so nervous, Mom. I came here to get away from him. From everything. And now–why would he come here to find us?”

Mrs. Murray stood from her rocking chair and groaned like she did every time she moved her overweight figure from a position of rest. She strolled over to Daz and patted her cheek. “Believe me, he didn’t come all the way up here to find you. He packed his bag and walked out on you halfway through having his baby in New York City.”

“Then why is he here? He was shopping for home stuff and food with that little realtor, Suzie Bariet.”

“The talkative.” Mrs. Murray moaned. “Heaven’s gate! He moving into one of her property?”

“Exactly. She’ll tell him everything about everyone in Ego’s Trip.” Daz cried. “I knew I shouldn’t have taken Manny with me today.”

“Well, dear daughter, take a deep breath, say the Lord’s prayer, and go to sleep.” Mrs. Murray walked toward her room at the end of the hallway. “A cup of hot chocolate works too. Or lemon tea.”

Long after her mother was gone, Daz stood in the semi-dark room, tears trickled down her face. Victor never wanted her or her baby. Why was he here now? After ten years! He’d seen Manny and she hoped he didn’t think of their resemblance as anything. He hoped he didn’t see her.

 

The story continues in Twinster 2 next week.

Photo: The Aneke Twins Source: Bellanaija.com, 2017

 

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MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – MOTHER LOVE

Loretta said my Davey was cute.

It had nothing to do with the statement but the body language, the tone of her voice, and just that mother-instinct your mama didn’t teach you. I warned Davey to stay away from unnecessary distraction from girls so many times, I wondered if I should have warned him about women too. Women my age, like Loretta.

I often joked God bypassed me when he was doling out fertility because without any medical issues or otherwise, my son was not born until ten years after I got married. And none came after him, though I never protected myself from childbearing. My Nigerian friend and co-worker consoled me with an ancient African belief that women were like the papaya tree. Some had clustering fruits and some only a couple. Well, I had only Davey.

With a bitter divorce just concluded, Davey spent half his month with Frank, his father and half with me. The first day Loretta set her eyes on him in church, we were new, she said he was cute. Davey smiled and twisted a new ring he just started wearing, arched his eyebrow, and looked away. I’m not into men wearing a lot of jewelry but Frank had developed the flair during the months we were going through the tough separation. And the more Davey spent time with him, the more I could see a rub-off. But that didn’t bother me. Davey knew the Lord.

Did he sense an unusual behavior in my friend Loretta?

“Loretta is hanging out with her daughter and wants me to come with them,” Davey said over lunch, several months after he met my friend.

“As what, darling?”

“An awkwarder! She’s trying to get closer to her sort of.” He shrugged. “She thinks I’ll be an ice-breaker.”

My heart dropped into my stomach. “She told you all this? When?”

“We chat.”

I gazed at Davey. He didn’t seem to think anything was out of place in this conversation. Why would Loretta chat with my fifteen-year-old? What did they have in common?

“Huh–”

“I told her I can’t. I’m going back to Dad’s and I don’t have any plans of telling Dad about her.”

I heaved a heavy sigh. “That’s a good reason. I don’t think it’s appropriate for her to chat you up about personal things in her life.”

“I don’t think so too.”

I shouldn’t get ideas, but my heart burned in fear and agitation. Loretta could be a Mrs. Robinson and my son couldn’t be lured into her trap. What was I to do? Was I to confront this woman or warn my son to stay away from her? Maybe I was being paranoid for nothing.

“Mom!”

I startled. “Yes, dear.”

“I’m not a little kid anymore. I know Loretta doesn’t want you to know she talks to me.”

I covered my face with trembling hands. My divorce was barely a year and I still feel I failed my son. How could I tell him what I feel without coming off as a dirty old woman?

“Did she say anything inappropriate? To you, I mean? In the chat.” I stammered unable to understand myself.

“Like if I’ve kissed before?”

I exclaimed. How dare Loretta! “That’s inappropriate. You don’t have those conversations with me, Davey! Why would she ask you? And recently, she avoids me.”

Davey chuckled. “Maybe that’s because she offered to teach me.”

“Teach you what?” I could collapse.

Davey patted my hands. “Calm down, Mom. I can take care of myself.”

Only one thing came to my mind as I went to bed that night. I needed to pray and pray harder for my son. He couldn’t be lost to Loretta or any other married woman. Besides, in law, it was illegal. Davey had three more years before he could be recognized as an adult.

Loretta was seducing a minor, my son. What was I to do?

 

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