Chapter 14 ~ Karma
The following few days were amazing, Rachael and I were working hard on marketing and choreography, Dad even allowed her into his sanctum and they hit it off pretty well, though I did see his eyes widen a few times at certain things she said, lucky I warned him about her abrasiveness and lack of empathy beforehand – she did walk in and say ‘well stick that shit up your ass, I thought you were invisible’. All you can do is chuckle to yourself, she is not a hurtful person.
Axel has called every night and sent numerous text’s back and forth during the day, considering how busy he is, I really appreciated it. Last night Dad did give us a scare, although it wasn’t a suicide attempt, which I was thankful for. No, after the Doctor was called out, he simply informed us that Dad had somehow managed to catch the flu, so here I am, standing in line at the chemist, waiting for his prescription of antibiotics to be filled.
I had my head buried in my phone when a lady bumps into me.
“Oh, I’m so sorry.”
She seemed familiar and yet – not. “That’s okay, I wasn’t looking either.”
“Mrs Wheeler, you forgot your other bag,” the pharmacist came rushing around the counter to give it to her.
“Mrs Wheeler?” I asked and she nodded, “as in Greta Wheeler?”
“Yes, Greta is my daughter. Do you know her?”
An evil idea popped into my head, clearly, she didn’t know who I was. “Yes, we went to high school together, although I don’t expect her to remember me, I did leave before senior year was over. I’ve actually just moved back to town after studying abroad for seven years.”
“Oh, well, I’m sure she would love you to visit her, she doesn’t get many visitors these days. Everyone is so busy with their own lives, her old friends are always rush, rush, rush. You know how it is, raising kids and full-time jobs.”
“Yes, life can be crazy. Do you happen to know where she lives these days? I would love to say hello.”
Her mother seemed to become excited and even perkier than before. “Yes, she’s still at home with me, you must know her father, Senator Wheeler. We live at the old colonial on Gracen Drive, number 22…”
“Not the house with the amazing oak trees out the front?”
“Yes, that’s it.”
I swatted her gently and playfully on the hand, “oh, Mrs Wheeler, I’ve always admired those beautiful trees, truth be told, I was simply jealous of how amazing that house always looked.”
“Thank you, dear, our Gardner Amish really tendered to them well. You must come by for a visit, Greta will be simply thrilled to see you.”
“I’d hate to impose, but it has been a long time – a catch up will be simply marvellous.”
“No imposition at all, I insist.”
“Well thank you…”
“Ms Hutchinson, your script is ready,” the pharmacist called.
“Oh, well, if you’ll excuse me, my father seems to have caught the sniffles and I must get his medication back to him.”
“Yes, I’m afraid Greta has the same, maybe it’s going around? – odd for such warm weather.”
“Yes, well… have a great day.” I smiled politely and stepped away from her.
“I’m sorry dear,” I turned back with the biggest fake smile on my face. “I just realised I didn’t ask your name.”
“My name? Rachael… Rachael Hutchinson.”
“Well Rachael, I look forward to seeing you soon.”
“You too Mrs Wheeler.”
I know it was wrong and I’m not the world’s best liar so naturally, Rachael was the first person I thought of, and I didn’t actually fully know what I was going to do in seeking my redemption against Satan’s spawn Greta, but I had an invitation and now, all I had to do was come up with a plan.
The rest of the day my mind was consumed by thoughts of how to seek my revenge. I felt as though I was some sinister movie character from a hallmark psychotic thriller movie who’s obsessed with stealing rich white people’s identities and eventually their lives. Whoa, I gotta stop watching daytime television.
As I sat on Axel’s old bed, in his old room, going over the latest vision in my head, Rachael strides in with my phone in her hand. “Hello, earth to Stella. Your phone has been ringing off the hook.”
“Hmm, oh sorry, who is it?”
“Are you thinking about the footwork again?” I chuckled, if she only knew how psychopathic it was actually getting in my lunatic head, I’m pretty sure she would be terrified or laughing her ass off.
“Yep, phone Rach, who is it?”
“Oh, it’s like ‘thee Axel’, like the actual Axel.” She handed me the phone.
“Thank you, mental person,” I called out as she walked out of the room. “Hey, Axe.”
…I love you, I love you, I love you Butterfly, how was your day?...
“I missed you, got Dad’s antibiotics…”
Axel and I spoke for hours like usual, I never told him who I bumped into at the chemist, I guess I thought he might try and talk me out of going to see her alone but this was something I had to face on my own. She had been my tormentor, the reason behind my disappearance and the murderer of my unborn child. She had ruined a life that could have been, out of jealousy – that I had the one man she wanted and I guess, I had to show her that through everything she has done, she could never stop the love Axel and I have or that even when I left, he still didn’t want her.
What would my little stunt prove? I wasn’t sure. But after all these years, I was not the same girl I used to be and I think, I needed to prove that to myself.
As I stood out the front of my childhood bully’s house, biscuit tin in hand because Mum always said ‘don’t show up to someone’s house empty handed’ and they were on special for $4.99, my stomach churned like crazy. I had decided to go with a solid slap to the face, hopefully, a kick or two and maybe even pulling her hair and smashing her face into the table before spitting on her and calling her a murderer.
No, I wasn’t a fucken lunatic at all.
I was blinking rapidly, slightly trembling and sweating profusely. What the hell was I thinking? I can’t do this. Did revenge really matter? All the suffering still could not keep Axel and I apart and yet, even though we were starting fresh, getting to know each other again, she couldn’t stop us from being together – no one could. I sighed dejectedly, “I can’t do this.”
I turned around and walked back to Mum’s truck, I was delusional and living a dream ‘Rambo’ moment – Greta couldn’t break us, so what was the point? I’ll just put it behind me and move forward.
“Rachael? You’re not going home are you?” Panic and fear washed over me, I have no lady-balls, oh god… be invisible Daniella, be invisible. “Rachael?”
I spun around with the same fake smile plastered on my face, “Mrs Wheeler, no, I-I j-just thought my car was unlocked, double checking never hurt anyone.”
“Oh Rachael you are so right, I’m so glad you have a good head on your shoulders, my husband is preaching this exact safety concern at the next election.” She waved me forward, which I stupidly obliged.
You are going straight to hell Daniella, what the heck are you fucken doing? Internally chastising, I was waging war with myself in the land of all things absolutely crazy and there was no escape. Rachael was not the mental person – I was.
Mrs Wheeler muttered on and on about her husband and his policies, I had never bothered to enrol with the electoral commission so her speech was wasted on me but I wasn’t about to throw myself under the bus. I had lied enough to this poor woman who was innocently bringing me to seek vengeance upon their whore of a daughter.
“This is her suite. Thank you for the biscuits, Rachael, I will put some on a tray and have Gladis bring them in with refreshments. Greta doesn’t like me hanging around too much.” She opened the door and kind of forcefully, pushed me in. “Enjoy your visit.”
By now, I was trembling uncontrollably, I needed air but there was none. Where the hell was she going and why the fuck was she leaving me there alone? What does she mean Greta doesn’t like her hanging around? If she doesn’t like her own mother she’s going to hate me.
My head began snapping left and right, frantically searching for the exit, I needed to run, immediately… what the fuck?!
Suddenly I realised how dark it was. All the curtains were drawn except for a tiny crack where a minuscule amount of sunlight was allowed in. As my eyes slowly adjusted to the looming blackness, I could see a kitchen, dining table, some couches, a doorway to what I presumed was the bathroom – it was like a hotel room, only the size of my house – if you gutted it. Fully open plan living and I was shitting my pants.
Towards the middle of the room, on my right-hand side, sat a large, plush looking bed with a rather strange contraption, pulley system thing. Hmm, maybe she’s kinky as fuck?
I had been standing there for quite some time just gawking wide-eyed around the place when I heard a small squeak and sunlight from the tiny curtain opening reflected off something metal.
My face drained of all its blood when I realised what exactly I was looking at. I struggled to swallow the thick mucusy lump that had formed in the back of my throat as shallow breaths escaped through my parted lips. What the hell?
I don’t know what I was expecting – actually yes I do. I was expecting to storm in here, box it out like million dollar baby, smash the queen of bitches and her bitch pack to the ground and walk away like the Karate kid. I really have to stop watching television.
But, out of all the things I had pictured in my crazy, erratic, psychopathic mind – this was not one of them.
I could tell she knew I was there, she began to shift uncomfortably as she peered through the tiny crack in the drawn drapes. The sound of leather when you move, echoed through the large open space as though there was a microphone right next to her maximising the slightest sound, but even more odd – she said nothing.
Just as I was about to turn and run for my life, in strides the maid, who I presume is Gladis and furrows her brow at me as I stand there awkwardly and statuesque like. She scowls, shifts the tray to one arm and pulls me across the big empty lounge room by the end of my ever-shrinking leather jacket, that despite the heat, I wore to appear tough and now was the most restricting thing in the world. More uncomfortable than the complete and utterly cold, silence that awaited me, as she peered through the crack at the outside world.
Gladis pushed me into a seat beside her, “your mama said to take your pill and be nice to Rachael, she came all the way here to visit.”
Greta’s frosty eyes glared at me, knowing full fucken well my name was not Rachael. I sat ram-rod straight, staring blankly at the curtain, the only slight bit of sunlight illuminating Greta’s porcelain skin tone.
I turned to watch Gladis escape, shutting the door behind her. The sound of eerie creaking and a thud echoed through as I slowly turned back to stare at the curtain again.
My eyes shifted to the side as I stayed facing forward, trailing the circular spoked wheel. The steel from her wheelchair shone under the small rays, her stick-thin legs sat lifeless and immobile, stripped of any muscle definition as her ghostly white fingers tapped the top of her joystick, which I presumed was how she operated her wheelchair.
Her face was void of makeup and her once beautiful luscious hair was now frizzy and unkept. She didn’t acknowledge me, just remained focused on the view through the drapes. The tea and biscuits sat stationary on a small table in between both of us and my eyes continued to flit between the closed curtains in front of me and the corners of my slits, assessing, scrutinizing, soaking up the reality that Greta, my bully, my tormentor, the person I feared most in this world – was wheelchair bound.
So many questions popped into my head, what happened? Being the most predominant one, but my mouth would not open. I was in complete and total shock.
I have no idea how long we sat there or if Greta was investigating me as curiously as I was her, but no one moved, said anything or even coughed, sneezed – nothing.
With my eyes blinking rapidly, struggling to process, I suddenly stood up without any further glance at her and briskly walked across the empty, lonely, dark sombre room, the size of my whole house without inside walls, pulled open the door and exited.
I had come here ready to fight, ready to burn her for what she had done to me and suddenly, all fight was stripped away. She was handicapped? Disabled? Disadvantaged? Shit, I didn’t even know what the correct terminology was for it, but my aggressor had been smacked with the retribution of Karma and I, I was flummoxed.
“Rachael?” My eyes snapped up to see Mrs Wheeler standing there, a sob whimper escaped her and her hand flew up to cover her mouth. I don’t know what I looked like but it can’t have been good – I know, I felt clammy and like I was going to vomit.
“My names, not Rachael, it’s Daniella and I’m so sorry,” I heard the words whispered from my mouth but my legs had already started moving. Back through the giant, well cared for colonial mansion, my converse sneakers sounded like giant’s footsteps as they boomed out below me and I ran for my life, out the front door, down the path, past the oak trees and into Mum’s truck.
I drove away without looking back.