There isn’t going to be a divorce” the steely tones in Mason Noah’s voice did little to hide his boredom. He had to admire his wife’s shrewd initiative to file for divorce. He hadn’t seen it coming.
Relaxing in his chair, he flicked a glance at the papers she threw at him, then back at his laptop. Gabby Noah was a beautiful woman. Her long dark hair was slick back in a knot upon her head. The designer dress she wore clung to her body in all the right places, her curves drew appreciative eyes and he was no exception.
In hindsight, Mason should have realised this day was inevitable. Ten years ago when he met Gabby, she appeared to be the perfect lover. Discreet, sophisticated, Gabby was a woman who could handle herself in the boardroom, her ruthlessness equalled his own.        She was a wonderful conversationalist, spoke passionately about her dreams about the future but she harboured no expectations of love. Mason enjoyed spending time with her. She came from a wealthy family like himself and was the perfect arm piece to accompany him to the social events he dreaded. It only made sense he proposed to Gabby as if he was proposing a business merger. He made it quite clear he did not love her, he only cared for her as one would an injured feral cat. Cautiously. They made the appearance of a loving adoring couple, but in private, it was a marriage of convenience, in separate beds only having sex to procreate.
When the boys were older to understand that he and Gabby weren’t like conventional parents, Mason moved into a flat closer to work and would have the boys visit on the weekends.
Gabby barely hid her impatience. “I drew up the papers myself,” she tapped one long manicured nail on the divorce decree. “I did it discreetly of course.”
Mason smiled. “Of course you did.” he wouldn’t expect her otherwise. Gabby was one of those women who didn’t tolerate incompetence from others and set a higher standard for herself and expected others to meet it.
“My lawyer has told me you have been involved with someone for several months now, is that true?” Gabby asked. She seemed bored as if finding out about his infidelity was just another breadcrumb she found on her bodice.
Mason’s lip twitched in amusement. “Over a year now, my dear.” he stood to walk over to his office bar cart. The carafe of coffee was still hot, he poured himself a cup and offered Gabby one but she declined. “You sound suspiciously jealous, but that is ridiculous,” he observed in bemusement.
Gabby watched him sip at the still-hot beverage. “You haven’t said a word about her, I was just curious. The boys? have they met her?”
Mason lowered his cup. “I haven’t questioned you about your lovers, Gabby” his voice held a hint of warning. Then his shoulders relaxed as he eased back in his chair. “Yes, but to offer you some assurance she isn’t looking to be their mother.”
Gabby smiled as if she found his comment funny. She propped her chin in her hand and studied him. “I do miss our conversations, Mason.” she sighed. “You were a fantastic lover, and I have to confess a wonderful husband.”
At this, Mason threw back his head and laughed. “For you have experience in marriage.” he sobered at her hurt expression. “I am sorry, I forgot your parents weren’t exactly ideal role models when it came to marriage.”
Gabby snorted. “They had four marriages between them before I was twenty.” she crossed her arms over her chest, “I resented them both for my childhood. I promised myself my children would never go through what I did.” her eyes became misty, “which is why I appreciated your approach to our marriage, Mason.”
Mason inhaled slowly, “I don’t understand why you want the divorce then, Gabby. This arrangement makes us both happy.”
Gabby narrowed her eyes, “Does it?” she gestured to him. “When you insisted I take the boys last month, I didn’t question you. I was happy to have them full time. But you haven’t come by. They have asked about you. They are worried about you. They constantly wonder if they did something wrong.”
Mason felt his heart constrict. “You can tell them they did nothing wrong.”
Gabby laughed. “They won’t believe me. You can tell yourself. You can drop by tonight after work.”
Despair crawled through Mason. “I have previous appointments.” he lied.
The smile faded from her lips, her features hardening. “Break them. Family comes first.” Gabby regarding him coolly. “You can reschedule.”
Mason tried to grapple with the growing desperation inside him. He couldn’t tell Gabby why he couldn’t come to the house, he couldn’t tell her why he sent the boys away.
“Have you seen yourself?” Gabby’s voice broke into his thoughts, scattering them. Forcing him to focus on her. “I wasn’t going to say anything, but Mason you are a total mess.”
Mason was startled. Was he? He had gone through the motions of pretending everything was ok. He got dressed as usual. Ate as usual. He was more tired than usual. He had lost weight, his tailored suits had to be taken in. His blond hair streaked with silver hadn’t seen a barber’s scissors since… he stiffened in the direction his thoughts were taking him.
“Its stress.” he murmured flatly. “We can change the subject.”
Gabby shook her head, “I have seen you stressed, I have seen you so focused on a proposal that you would lose days working. This isn’t stressed. What is it? Is it the woman you’re seeing?”
A flash of anger unexpectedly surged through him. “Her name is Birdie.”
“Ah yes, I didn’t need to know her name. But are you and Birdie having problems? Is it going to affect my boys?”
“Our boys” Mason corrected.
Sighing, Gabby reached over his desk to take his hand. “Whatever it is, Mason this cant be healthy for you.”
Gabby’s gentle prodding almost made him want to break down. “The boys? They talk about Birdie to you?” Mason was surprised about that revelation. “I didn’t know. That must have been awkward. I am sorry.”
She chuckled and waved off his apology, “Any other woman would have angry or jealous that her children adore her husband’s mistress. She doesn’t overstep, so I have no reason to claw her eyes out.”
At the image Gabby’s words provoked, Mason unexpectedly laughed.
“They were telling me how she burnt pancakes and couldn’t cook to save their lives.” Gabby smirked derisively, “ So she ordered sushi. For breakfast!” she went on incredulously.
Mason chuckled. “Birdie is a foodie,” he sighed, “the boys are right, she can’t cook. She  indulges them despite my efforts not to. Birdie can’t have children,” Mason admitted quietly “she doesn’t want any.”
Gabby snorted, “What woman doesn’t want children, “ she sneered, “she either hates them or loves them”
The silence that fell between them was tense.
Gabby’s smirk faded, “I was kidding you know” and she reached over to touch his hand. “Mason what is it?” she asked. “You have been acting odd since the moment I handed you the divorce papers.”
Mason forced a smile, “What is this, Gabby? A man cant be feeling emotions when his wife asks for a divorce? You are like a hen clucking over a chick!”
Gabby snorted, waving her other hand dismissively. “Don’t be ridiculous.” she scoffed. “My heart is cold and hard as a stone.”
“Truly Mason,” Gabby pleaded, “You are worrying me here!”
Mason rose and walked around the desk to help Gabby out of her chair. “I will be fine. Give my love to the boys. Tell them not to worry about the old man. I will be by some time this weekend.” he kissed her cheek.
Gabby cupped his cheek in a loving gesture. “Please take care of yourself, Mason,” she whispered.
He walked with her to the door and showed her out. Relief flooded him once he saw her get on the elevator.
Mason took a few steps and collapsed into the chair Gabby was previously sitting in. He ran a hand over his face. Despair weighed heavy in his chest. Gabby had been right, there were things he couldn’t tell her. Not because he was scared to, but because it hurt to talk about it. His lungs hurt as he took another shaky breath, forcing himself not to let the emotions overwhelm him.
Mason was dreading spending the night alone in his bed. Waking up every morning without Birdie was taking its toll. Mason juggled his phone, the fried chicken and beer as he attempted to insert the key into the door of his flat.
The door opened under a gentle push. Kicking the door closed behind him, he turned the light on.
The shades of cranberry and floral throughout the flat appeared delicate and feminine. He recalled the memory of the day coming home and finding how much Birdie had redecorated. Birdie laughed at the horrified expression on Mason’s face.
“Don’t you like it?” she cooed as she flung herself in his arms. Mason cringed then chuckled as his arms closed around her. He breathed in her scent. Her lush curves were soft against the hard lines of his body. Her auburn hair up in a ponytail. Her features were flushed with happiness.
“I thought we had agreed on none of your furniture!” he replied weakly.
“Oh poo!” Birdie planted kisses on his face, “none of it is here. I just bought flowers, traded those dull curtains for mine. Its lovely isn’t it?”
“Oh yes just peachy” he agreed dryly. “Just peachy”
A sound jolted Mason back to the present.
It had been too quiet without Birdie.
The sound came again. Mason frowned. He put the chicken and beer on the kitchen counter and cautiously moved through the flat.
“Birdie?” he called out her name hesitantly.
There was silence.
The sound of a door opening then closing echoed in the flat. “Birdie?”
He called out again. There was no answer.
Mason’s heartbeat quicken. “Birdie is that you?” he reached the bedroom and flung the door open. It was empty. Another door opened then slammed close. Whirling around Mason took a step towards the bathroom, but then he heard the faucet in the kitchen turn on.
Mason retraced his steps to the kitchen and came to a standstill.
In his favourite tee shirt Birdie sat on the kitchen counter a chicken drumstick half way  to her lips. She grinned guiltily. Mason’s eyes widened in disbelief. Her luxurious auburn hair that once fell to her shoulders, now gone. Baby soft tufts of hair covered her scalp. Her features were sharper, hallowed. Her emerald green eyes had been dull now seem brighter. She had lost a considerable amount of weight.
“Birdie” he whispered her name. “when did you get home?” he moved towards her cautiously as if she was a figment of his imagination.
She smiled, chewing the chicken. “You didn’t bring me an Ice Capp?” she pouted.
Mason blinked.
Birdie dropped the chicken and scrambled off the counter and launched herself at him. “I missed you so much!”
The weight of her body colliding with his, sent them sprawling to the floor. Laughing she straddled him. “You weren’t here when I got home!”
Mason couldn’t believe she was home. “I -I didn’t know.” he cradled her gently.                   “Birdie, oh god I missed you so much!”
Birdie’s smile faded when she heard the anguish in his voice. “Didn’t you get any of my messages? I sent you video messages. I sent you texts”
Mason was astounded. Messages? “no I don’t think I did”
Birdie made a grumbling sound. Mason framed her face with his hands. “Forget about the messages, Birdie.” his eyes scoured her face. “Tell me how you are feeling. Do you feel tired?” he asked worriedly. “Did the treatment work?” he struggled to keep the hurt and despair out of his voice. “I hated every moment I couldn’t be with you. I couldn’t support you during your treatment.” Mason’s eyes blurred with unexpected tears. “Why didn’t you let me be with you? Not knowing how you were doing was killing me!”

Birdie’s hands covered his. “I told you I left you messages.” she sniffed, “you didn’t answer my messages. You were needed here. Your wife needed you, your boys. I was only gone for a few weeks. I was scared of how the radiation would be, but I didn’t want you to see me if I got sick. Thankfully I was full energy and had little to no side effects.”         He reached up to rub her fuzzy head. “You have no hair,” he said mournfully.
Birdie grinned. “Its the best thing ever! I don’t have to style or wash my hair! Talk about a time saver!” she kissed him once more. “I never want to be away from you that long ever again.”

Mason rolled her under him and jumped up to his feet. “I have a wonderful idea, let me have a shower and we can spend the rest of the evening in bed eating chicken, and watching horror movies.”

Giggling Birdie bit her lip “I could join you” she suggested. She stretched seductively on the floor, allowing the shirt to reveal her charms.

Mason blinked.  “Birdie” he rasped. “Are you..can you?” he longed to be inside her, he missed the intimacy since she became sick, but he didn’t want to hurt her.

Her features lost her playfulness and she pouted, “No, not yet. But doesn’t mean we cant enjoy a shower together. I need to be pampered. I miss you pampering me”

A smile spread across his face. “Really Birdie? Is that all you missed?” he teased.”I would love to.” he held out his hand. She took his hand and he helped her up. “Your wish is my command”




2 thoughts on “HIS HEART

♥writing was all I had, all I’ve ever had, the only currency, the only proof that I was alive. Memory.♥ each of us has a story to tell. Leave your thoughts. Leave your comments.

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