I watched the boys a few minutes longer, watched as they slept and cooed softly in their adorable, precious little baby voices. They were so innocent, so clean. It was confusing when you thought about how we all started out as such perfect, pure, blank slates and then the chaos of the world began to chip at you. It sculpted you and tweaked you, day after day until that innocence was barely there anymore. I prayed that I would be able to shelter my boys from all of the evils and the darkness in the world for as long as I could, but I wasn’t delusional. Eventually, they would start leading their own lives gradually growing independent and that darkness would be there waiting for them. All I could do was to train them to be strong enough to resist it.
Stepping out of their room I closed the door softly behind me. I decided to go downstairs and make myself a cup of tea. I’d had a busy morning and I wanted to relax just a little bit. Luckily I was able to have our butler Joseph watch over the twins while I was working. Ted had left early that morning and hadn’t bothered telling me where he was going. This was hardly unusual.
I finished boiling the water and poured myself a cup of hot, green tea. I was just about to sit down with it and relax with a good book I was reading when I heard Ted’s car pull into the driveway. I braced myself, unsure of what type of mood he would be in.
I got my answer the moment he walked in.
He saw me there at the counter stirring some sugar into my tea. I startled him briefly. Apparently, I was the last person he wanted to see at that moment. It actually gave me a kind of perverse satisfaction to irritate him. Any little thing I could do to create tension inside of him was fine with me. The way he treated me he deserved so much worse. How was I still married to this wretched man?
“Do we have any food?” Ted asked opening the fridge.
“I believe Joseph fixed some grilled chicken for lunch with some baked potatoes.”
“Grilled chicken?” He slammed the fridge shut. “God, I’m so sick of this health food shit. I’m a man, dammit. I need some real food. What the hell?”
“Well, ask Joseph to fix you whatever you’d like tomorrow. I gave him the rest of today off. I’m sure we have supplies.”
I found that keeping my voice calm and unaffected could really send him off the rails. It was a little game I played, one of the only ways I had of getting revenge on him. And I hate to say that I relished it.
“I don’t want to wait for something to be made,” he replied. “I would like to come into the house just once and have a good, hot meal ready for me. I don’t want a sandwich I have to fix or some stupid health junk that I can hardly get down because it’s so flavorless.”
“Is something wrong?” I asked casually sitting down to the table with my tea.
“Yes, something is wrong. Leon Baxter backed out on our deal.”
“What did he say?”
“He said that he isn’t sure I’m the right guy to get into business with right now. I’m telling you, it’s that son of a bitch Mercer. That prick has black balled my name all over the place and I can’t get anyone to even take a meeting with me now. I’m worried…I’m worried that it’s just not going to happen for me. Maybe they are all right and I am a joke.”
Ted grabbed a bottle of whiskey out of the liquor cabinet and began drinking straight from the bottle.
“I’m sure there will be other meetings,” I said. “Don’t let it get you upset.”
“Oh, you love that, don’t you?” Ted said. “Every time I come home feeling like a failure you sit there acting all arrogant and smug. You know that you bought everything here and that you keep me like some punk. You are laughing at me, aren’t you? You think I’m a failure. Hell, you think that I can’t do anything by myself, don’t you?”
I cleared my throat. “Ted, I don’t think that at all. Stop being paranoid. Just sit down and relax. Enjoy yourself for once instead of living in a big ball of stress.”
“Stress? What the hell would you know about stress? You don’t actually do anything. You think I don’t know who is really running your daddy’s company? It sure as hell isn’t you and you are a fool if you believe otherwise. It’s all bullshit. I’ve talked to the men and women who run that company and you wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what it really takes.”