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I Give, Devise and Bequeath (8)
When Alexander Constantinos first set eyes on Deborah Shaw in the college grounds, it was love at first sight. He watched for her every day for a month. He ate lunch under a tree from where he had a clear view of the table she and her fellow student friends would sit. He studied her every move; the delicate way she brought food to her mouth, the way she would toss her hair, and when she went passed she walked as if she rolled her hips in a prelude to dance. No girl had ever caught his attention so fully before. He planned to make her his but every idea he came up with seemed stupid, and bound to lead to failure. He finally decided to get her attention simply by bumping into her, apologising and introducing himself. Very simple, he thought. Unfortunately, in his eagerness he bumped into her on the outdoor steps leading to the entrance. His timing and execution totally off, and the force of his bump to her arm carrying a stack of books, knocked her right off her feet. The books scattered everywhere and Debby lay sprawled on her back on the stone steps, in obvious pain. Gritting her teeth, whilst he tried to help her up and apologise, she stood and brushed herself off. "You damned fool!" she glared at him with disdain. "Look, I'm really sorry. Are you alright?", he said while still holding onto her arm. She wrenched it free from his grip, took her books, and still clearly shaken, she said "Stick to watching me from under your tree, Alexander Constantinos. Try never to cross paths with me again!" That went extremely well, he thought with self-deprecating sarcasm.
From then on, whenever they passed each other Debby would make comments on whether he had pushed anyone down the stairs lately, and he would reply he only pushes dizzy blondes. In this manner they were finally talking to each other albeit in short venomous phrases. They both got tired of it after a couple of weeks, and replaced the words with nods of recognition, which led to smiles, and within a month they would say hi and exchange a few words. By the time Alex got to asking her for a date, they were in their last year at college. They decided to marry straight after college, and with the help of their folks and both with jobs waiting for them, they set up house in a trendy area in the city. Alex worked as a law clerk with a prestigious firm of Solicitors whilst reading law at University, mostly in the evenings. Debby taught primary school. She was not very enthusiastic about it, and hated being on her own so much in the evenings. Even when Alex was home he always had his nose in his books.
In the third year of marriage, just before Alex was to pass the bar examination, they got into one of their fights. Alex didn't want Debby to go traipsing around with her single colleagues and friends, drinking and coming home tipsy every other night, whereas Debby was furious that Alex was never home or available to her. It was a row they had more frequently. Their altercation escalated into a shouting session, with the hard headed Irish versus the macho Greek, their tempers flared. When they were first married their rows always ended in bed, but these days it ended in door slamming and deafening silences for days. On this particular night, it was more vicious than ever, with Debby accusing him of having an affair with a secretary assigned to him. Her irrational fury got the better of her and she slapped him. Not to be outdone he raised his hand to slap her but did not go through with it. Debby stepped back to avoid his big hand and tripped over a rug and fell backwards hitting her head on the base of a cabinet. Alex knelt beside her as she lay with a slight concussion and bleeding. He rushed her to the hospital where he had to endure the judging glances of the doctors and staff. Debby could have told the truth but preferred to let them all think he had been the culprit. She never missed a chance to manipulate any situation to her advantage. And Alex was humiliated. He took her home glad it wasn't worse, but had a nagging feeling in his gut, that this was just the beginning, of what he wasn't sure.
They made up as usual, and for a few months tried to forget the wretched row. One evening after Debby had gone out again to her favourite restaurant, Alex decided he would join her. As he approached the restaurant, he looked through the window to see if she was in there with her friends, sure enough there she sat smiling and talking to of all people his boss, James Haddon. James was thirty-seven and junior partner in his father's firm, and Alex was accountable to him. Rage was building up inside, he did not want to make a scene in the restaurant but felt like smashing the window. He took several deep breaths and decided he would wait at home for Debby as he felt the inexorable pain and frustration the situation afforded. His heart was breaking and just as he was about to turn away to leave, he saw James lift her hand to his mouth and kiss it.
Boiling with rage he sat in their high backed chair waiting for his wife to come home and when she finally did, and lied as to where and with whom she had been, all the time smiling at him, he completely lost his mind, and hit her again and again. He pushed her, her arm hitting the table. When his madness subsided, he looked at her with disgust, not the pity she was expecting. Her one eye was closed and her lips bleeding and as she whimpered and held her arm, he only felt a loathing for her, and for himself. He left the house and went to the nearest bar to get drunk. Debby made a phone call to her best friend, Simona, who came immediately to take her to the hospital emergency room. Her injuries were attended to, but not before photographs were made for the police. She was sedated and unable to speak properly through her swollen lips.
When Alex woke up the following day at noon. His recollection of the night before all seemed like a bad dream. My God, he thought, here I am an educated professional, behaving exactly like my ignorant father used to. Then his anger, jealousy and pride broke him down and he wept for the end of his marriage. He had known for a long time that Debby could not be trusted but did not have an inkling of any infidelities. Nausea overwhelmed him and he hung over the toilet bowl and vomited again and again. He phoned Simona as he thought Debby would be with her, and when he was told that Debby was in hospital, he added remorse to his turmoil of feelings. He then phoned his office and quit. He decided he would go to the hospital later, or maybe only tomorrow.
Neither of these visits took place, as sitting in the chair he had started on a bottle of whiskey again, staring ahead of him, seething with anger alternating with pain and misery. The lot of the betrayed.
After dark there was a knock on the front door and as Alex opened it in his fuddled state of drunkenness, he was dragged outside at gunpoint by two men, thrown into a car which sped off. For his protests he received a mighty blow to his head with the gun, causing him to lose conciousness for a short period. When the car stopped he was awake again and the men dragged him out onto what seemed to be a pier. He could just discern the lights on ships discharging their loads across the other side of the water. The smell of the port in his nostrils, the dark and the men filled him with terror. One of the men slashed his face on both sides and across one eye. Blood streamed down as the men tied his feet together, his vision was totally impaired. Survival instinct kicked in and he struggled kicking one of the men who swore and hit him in the stomach with his fist. The man then whispered, "Best regards from Marco La Terra!". Again they endeavoured to tie his legs together but he fought with his last strength, thrashing and screaming and for one second he was free and took two steps, tripped by the rope around his ankles, and plunged into the water. One of the men started shooting and as he felt a bullet enter his torso, the calm of acceptance came over him and he bobbed up once more, to see the men looking at the water, searching, then he slowly sank to the bottom of the harbour, wondering how all this could have come about.
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killea: Thank you so much Noel
Very very nice!
killea: thank you, Jack
I hope there's more where that came from...
killea: yes this is going to be a long saga
thanks for FB