Plum

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16.

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“Where are you off to?” he asked. He was holding his tie in hand and stared at Plum as she did her make up.

Plum ignored him and picked up a nude lip colour and applied it. She felt his eyes on her but she perused through her collection of blushes and picked a peachy one and fluffed some on her cheeks and closed her drawer of cosmetics. She walked to her wardrobe and picked out a chunky sweater and a pair of mom jeans, wearing the outfit she picked out some sneakers and wore them.

She turned and found him standing right behind her, she blushed realising that he had seen her change. He extended her hand that held his tie.

“Tie it for me,” he grunted.

She bristled and simply walked away.

“I am getting late for the office Plum, Hector has already left. Do my tie and finish getting ready so that we can leave,” he snapped.

“We?” she whispered.

“Yes, I want you with me in the office. Unlike you, I truly miss my spouse,” he said.

She gasped at his taunt and blinked away her tears.

“Well… I am not coming… with you,” she whispered.

He narrowed his eyes and stared at her.

“Then what are you getting ready for?” he snapped. His expressions became interrogative and he folded his arms across his chest.

“I am going to friend,” she mumbled and looked at her hands.

“What friend is this? Why am I hearing about her only now? Is she the one who took you to the club?”

Plum simply took her book bag and started to fill it with her essentials. She didn’t think it was necessary to fill him on everything. He was getting nosey and he had not even apologised for what he did to her yesterday. He had questioned her integrity and that was something she couldn’t just brush off.

“I am asking you something Plum,” he seethed and grabbed her arm and turned her to him.

“Not y-your b-business,” she stuttered.

“What?” he roared, “What the hell has happened to you?”

“I am sad and mad,” she sniffed, “at you.”

She saw his widen in shock before they got angry again.

“Why do I have to apologise?” he roared, “it is you who has been behaving with such insolence.”

“F**k off,” she mumbled and quickly ran out of the room.

Her Uber had already arrived and was waiting outside for her, she heard him coming after her but the elevator just closed in time. She sighed with relief. He was acting like everything was normal; did he not see her sad face or pouty lips? She was upset!

The elevator opened and she ran out of the house. She climbed the Uber as it hurtled away to Jessica’s house.

***

“I really feel that we should combine the elements of the flowers that you have drawn on this dress and put it on the shirt as well, we can have a complete collection in one print,” Jessica said, “What do you feel?”

What kind of shirt? I am thinking of a large baggy one, the nineties are very much in fashion!

“I was thinking of the baggy one as well, we can put your floral prints on them and make it in a silk material. I have recently procured this very expensive fabric when I was in Florence. I will get the roll,” Jessica said and walked to a shelf of different fabrics and picked one roll out. She brought it to Plum and opened it in front of her.

Plum quickly examined the fabric and gasped at its softness.

“That was my reaction, imagine this fabric in an eggshell colour with a digital printing of your flower prints and we can combine the shirt with a satin pair of culottes,” Jessica said thoughtfully.

I was thinking more on the lines of high waist leather pants or skirts.

“I think that would work as well, we can try both of them,” Jessica said.

Plum sighed and stared at her cute and chic apartment. Jessica had bragged about how she had designed everything from scratch to finish. Plum didn’t like that, she was jealous of Jessica’s independence, she too wanted to design a house of her own and live alone and have that high flying life.

But her Arsenio San had already brought that humongous town house, in all honesty she didn’t like the house but Arsenio San loved it so much that she didn’t have the heart to tell him that. Jessica had said how she travelled around the world just so that she could get the perfect upholstery for her sofas. Plum too wanted that, she wanted freedom and independence, she wanted to be the master of her world.

“Hey, what are you thinking?” Jessica asked.

Plum shook her head and looked at her hands.

“You can tell me Plum,” she said.

Plum shook her head and stared at her hands, a tear drop felt on her palm and Jessica gasped.

“There is obviously something wrong Plum! You have to tell me,” Jessica declared.

Plum stared at her through teary eyes.

I am sorry but I don’t think I will be able to design with you.

“What are you saying Plum?”

I cannot speak, I cannot carry myself confidently and nor am I as independent as you.

“Oh! Plum! Don’t think like that! You are extremely stylish and carry yourself in such an elegant manner. And you have a very beautiful and pure personality, it is so easy to love you!” Jessica cooed.

“And as far as not speaking is concerned… I have a psychologist and speech therapist that can help you out. I will text you the number and you can visit him if you want,” she shrugged.

Plum just stared at her hands and sighed. She was afraid of the psychologists; they made her confront with feelings that she didn’t want to encounter.

She got back to her designs.

***

It was nine in the evening when she returned home and walked towards the elevator.

“Wait,”

She stopped and turned around to find Arsenio San standing at the living room entrance. He looked very serious and sombre.

“Have your dinner,” he instructed.

“I had dinner with my friend,” she whispered.

She saw him bristle but he kept his cool.

“Well the least you can do is to at least sit with me, I haven’t had mine and I would like to have it with you with me,” he said.

She nodded and walked to him, she felt bad now.

They sat on the dining table and Karen served him served. She sat still and stared at him eating his food. He took her hand in his and continued eating dinner with his other hand. They sat in silence. She knew he liked having her around him, the reason why their offices were built together.

“How was your day?” he asked.

“Good,” she whispered.

“Hmm, what all did you do today?”

She wanted to tell him about her label but stayed quite, it would be best if things gained a more firm footing before she told him.

“Some college project,” she whispered, “nothing much.”

He nodded and wiped his mouth and stared at her.

“What are you doing tomorrow? I want you with me at the office, I miss you there,” he whispered.

She had to be at Jessica’s tomorrow, she couldn’t accompany him and she was even planning on checking out the therapist’s office. She had to take baby steps to be independent.

“I am busy,” she whispered, “with college project.”

“I wonder how you would’ve finished this college project if we were on our honeymoon,” he said. She could feel the tightness in his tone and the anger that he was trying to supress.

She gulped and stared at her hand.

“You are lying to me, I can smell it on you Plum,” he said, “and I want you to tell me about it.”

When she didn’t answer he slammed the cutlery on the table and pulled her on his lap. She struggled in his hold but his grip was firm.

“Little squirrel, you have been very distant with me and I am not enjoying it. I am making all the efforts of making this marriage a success but it seems to be a one sided effort. I want you with me tomorrow…”

“I am going to therapist…” she interrupted him, “tomorrow, I have made appointment.”

He looked at her.

“Okay, why didn’t you tell me?” he spoke gently.

“Because I don’t want to tell… it is my private matter,” she whispered.

His features hardened and his lips thinned.

“You know there is nothing like that between us. I will drop you to the therapist…”

“Please… I will be at my friend’s place and will leave from there, she knows the therapist personally,”

“Why are you closing me off?” he snapped, “what have I done to deserve this treatment?”

“I don’t have to say… you should know,” she sniffed, “yesterday you spanked me, made fun of my English and called me things I was not.”

She got up and started to walk but to turned to him once.

“And I don’t like this house. It is like old people and not trendy and makes noises,” she sniffed.

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