Dalia's pain of loving, losing and miscarrying Marc's child would never go away. She hated him.
With her mom's life on the line, Dalia had no choice but to ask Marc to help. He demanded her return, after three years.
How would Dalia live with this alternate hatred turned to craving, when Marc has refused to change? The reason for their split was still there.
Dalia swallowed the bile in her throat. It galled her to have to plead, especially with him. But she had to, she had no choice. Her savings were gone. Nerves threatened to overwhelm her as she walked up the few steps to the huge front door. Once familiar, solid and warm, it now loomed and made her grip her elbows. She could hear a dog barking in the neighbors backyard.
Just as she lifted her trembling hand to the brass knocker, she heard a woman’s laugh and Marc's voice. She should have called before coming, but that would have given her a chance to get cold feet, yet again. It was too late now. What had she expected? That a man like him would be celibate for three years? Right. And Tiger Woods was a monk. She took a deep breath, shaky, but it helped. Heart thumping, she knocked on the door.
She was about to knock again, when Marc opened it. “Dalia?”
His jaw dropped, eyes wide, as he gaped at his estranged wife.
“I...I can come back later, if...if you’re busy right now,” Dalia stammered as her heart contracted. It had been so long since she'd seen him.
He seemed frozen, staring at her, but finally recovered enough to say “No, no, come right it in.” He opened the door wider and motioned for her to enter. “Is everything alright?”
She didn't answer as she walked into the living room, her living room. It wasn't hers anymore though, since she had abandoned her marriage. The other occupant in the room rose. She was slim and perfectly proportioned, as tall as her husband – just like Gladys. Perfectly dressed with a perfect face – just like Gladys.
Marc made introductions, supplying only names and no relationships.
Dalia forced a smile, looking up to the tall woman as they shook hands. Elizabeth tried too, but Dalia noted it didn't reach the other woman's eyes. Most likely another one of his cohorts.
Elizabeth gathered the files that had been strewn on the center table and left.
Dalia studied her husband. His appearance hadn't changed one bit. He had been twenty-eight when they split, so that made him thirty-one now. His hair was still dark brown, his face still chiseled with an arrogant diamond shaped jaw. His eyes were golden brown and had a way of mesmerizing her when she stared at him. His nose was large but fitted his face. It flared when he was angry.
She had been so naive. So in love, or – she’d wondered countless times – had it just been heat. He had wined and dined her. He had been so persistent and had worn her down. He made the guys in her age group seem like mere boys because he was so suave. She had finally pulled her head out of the clouds and left him. Her friend Ursula, had been right about him.
Marc hoped this wasn't a dream. Dalia was right in front of him. His little imp of a wife was back in their home. She looked slimmer. Not bad, but he had liked her curves. He never got tired of playing with her soft body. Her raven black hair had grown and was now down to her mid back. He found himself wanting to run his hands through it. Her face was more angular – she'd lost her teenage baby face. Her eyes were grey and used to sparkle when she was amused, but he could no longer remember when they’d last done that. Had he been forced to choose, he would have said they were her best feature - large and innocent. One could drown in them.
He had been madly in love and her leaving had done damage he’d never experienced. Women were a dime a dozen. He could have any woman he wanted, why did he have to be addicted to this one? Because she was the only woman who ever brought real joy to me. She had made him feel he could take on the world.