When we got inside the boat, he put me gently on the floor then kissed me. I hugged him because I needed to feel him closer to my chest. I knew that it was high time we left, though. It was around two o’clock in the morning.
He checked up the cabin where he brought me to earlier, then took back his belongings as I grabbed my bag, then we left Esperanza hoping to come back here another time.
On the way back to the hotel, I was looking through the window. We didn’t talk much. I was thinking about what happened to me earlier when we were making love. The thought of it ... the single thought of it was unbearable and I couldn’t let myself go back to that period of my life. I decided to turn my head to the other side and enjoy having him beside me, staring at him while he was driving his car. I didn’t know when to meet him again and the thought of it made me realize that maybe it was the last time we could share something special.
I wanted to hold his arm one more time, so I did it without hesitation. He held mine back onto his and smiled at me, happy that I did it. I held his hand to make him know that I cared about him in spite of what happened earlier.
I was in front of the hotel watching his car disappear all along the road. I missed him already, but he had to come back home. I tried to chase this idea out of my head as I had to come back to the hotel room as well. I opened carefully the door, trying to not make any noise and was kind of relieved to see that my mother and little sister were sleeping.
I changed my outfit quickly, then went to bed without making any noise. I wouldn’t forgive myself if my mom knew that I sneaked out earlier that night. The moment I put my head on the pillow, I was wistful. The very thought came back to haunt me, even when I am on my bed. I thought about what I did to Marvin earlier that night, the fact that I stood up quickly to dress up and went on the bridge.
I tried many times to forget about him, about his face, about what he has done to me ... but every time I tried hard to overcome that memory, I failed. I surrendered to my fears. The image of Jim raping me came up in the middle of that tender moment between Marvin and I while we were making love. It was a déjà vu.
He was onto me. Jim was onto me in that room. So was Marvin. Jim was over me the whole time. He was fucking me harder and harder. And I could see my body under his in that mirror. I was powerless that night in Phoenix.
Tonight, I saw my reflection in that mirror which was in the cabin. I was lying under Marvin. He was onto and into me. We were making love. He was loving me, not fucking my body as did Jim. Except that I saw our bodies in that damn mirror. I shouldn’t have done it. I tried to search for his look, for a sign that he would look back at me though. Marvin was bewitched by my beauty and told me so many times during the night.
It felt so weird to feel that sensation of terror invading my body once again, as if Jim was about to break through that mirror and control my body one more time.
While Marvin was making love to me, I couldn’t prevent myself from having a flashback of the whole scene about that night in Phoenix. It was beyond my power. It happened out of a sudden, as a déjà-vu projecting me into a past that I thrived to forget despite the fright, but I failed.
The only way left was to run ... to escape that terrifying mirror ... that terrifying memory ... that episode of my life that I attempted to keep it deep down myself, but which appeared to come to the surface unexpectedly.
Poor me. Poor me. Poor me. I thought.
What have I done to myself? What have I done to my life? What have I done to Marvin?
While having my head on that pillow, it was so hard for me to forget every single detail of that night, too. Even though I was entrapped in that terrifying memory of myself being rapped, I couldn’t not think of my man, Marvin ... of his touches ... of his caresses ... of his soft glances ... of his way of making love to me.
I was overwhelmed with joy. I was happy because I felt myself loved and cherished by someone special. He wasn’t any kind of man. He was the nicest of all I have known so far in my life. The softest and the tenderest.
I fell asleep that night after a battle between my past and the present. A past in which I was gloomily entrapped in a vicious circle, haunted by thoughts and memories of a man who consumed the soul of a defenseless woman; and a present in which I was drawn to the blue of his eyes, wrapped up into the wings of a new love which was offered to me by a gentle yet forbidden man to like, let alone love.
I was that lost girl who didn’t know what to do, wandering through the paths of her life, seeking for peace of mind, searching for a way to open up herself again and despite everything, projecting herself into a new world ... a new life ... a new hope.
I opened my eyes on the sound of Lily’s crying early in the morning. It must be before seven, which means that I slept for, no more than three hours. I had to wake up, though. My mother and Lily were in the bathroom. I went to look through the window, and I just smiled as I felt the shades of light on my face.
My first thoughts were driven to Marvin, eventually. Then, to a person who has never been in my life until yesterday. My father.
Mr. Philip Johnson.
I felt the need to go and see him. I felt the need to come back to work. I had to. I took some days off. I am feeling better now despite that little incident. I had to pretext to come back to work and try to find a way to meet him.
I thought of Lisa as well. I said to myself that I should meet her today to check up on her and see what happened to her after her fight with Eric. We didn’t talk much those past few days.
- “Mom !” I called for her.
- “Yes, Amy !”
- “I am going to bring two coffees and something to eat ! Do you need something else? ”
- “Okay, sweetheart. No, I don’t need anything else.”
That morning I had breakfast with my mother. We talked about what I was planning to do in the coming weeks. I told her that, for now, all I am planning to do was to try to get closer to Mr. Johnson in order to get to know him. I didn’t know if I was going to tell him the truth or not. I guess I wasn’t ready yet.
I barely know the guy, how could I share something so personal with him?!
I had to know him better then decide what to do. I needed to know more about his family. I wasn’t going to miss that party he was throwing. I had to go no matter what it takes. I was kind of relieved because Marvin invited me to come with them. He insisted on having me around.
I went to work an hour later and everyone was happy to see me back to work. I still had one day off, but I couldn’t let myself waste more time.
I didn’t see Lisa when I came in the office. They told me she was in a meeting with her team members.
I missed work. Only a few days to spend here in the company before going back to studies at university.
The whole time I was working, I couldn’t stop thinking of a way to meet Philip Johnson. He was the big boss and I was only a trainee in his company. I had to find a way to meet him.
But how ? How was I going to approach the guy, first!? It had to be a real coincidence or something related to work. Second, once I can be near him, what shall I say? Like “Hi, I’m Amy Morgan, I am a trainee here in your company, but I guess you already know that and oh there’s something else I need to tell you, right away, I am your daughter, too. I mean the trainee and also the daughter. Yeah I know big news to hear all at once !”
Really, Amy! So smart of you to think that. What a brilliant idea ! Can’t agree more !
No way. No way, I’m doing this.
As I was so lost in my jumbled thoughts, Lisa’s voice made me slightly jump and come back to reality. She kept looking at me, studying my thoughtful face.
- “Is everthing okay Amy ?” she asked worried.
- “Oh yeah ... I ... I was just thinking about my plan for this evening.” I lied.
- ” I see. If you don’t have anything already planned with Kyle, what about having a drink together, just you and me. I had a lot of things to tell you girl!” She winked at me.
- “Nothing planned with ... Kyle. And yes, can’t wait for our girls’ talk.” I didn't want to go for the details about Kyle now. Maybe later this evening.
- “Great then. I meet you up later when we finish work.” She said, waving goodbye to me before leaving the office.
Around midday, my manager gave me the responsibility to transfer some files to another department. That department was situated in the upper floor. He gave me the name of the person in charge. I took the file and headed directly to the elevator, pressed up the button and waited until it opened. As I stepped in the elevator, it was empty. I was all alone.
While I was going up towards the upper floor, I realized that I was getting hungry and I needed to eat something. Even though I felt myself better those days which was thanks to the presence of Marvin in my life, I still feel weak. That feeling of weakness was due to the fact that I didn’t eat much. Even though I needed to eat, I sometimes obliged myself not to eat much. I didn’t want my body to be curved in a feminine shape.
Surprisingly, other times I feel the need to look like a woman, a woman with feminine curves. The sooner I feel that way, I feel myself already entrapped between hesitation and eagerness.
I felt the need to feel more feminine because I feel myself really attractive for someone. I feel myself desired by a man who liked me for who I am. He liked that thin shape of my body. Sometimes, I wonder how he could like it.
I was skinny and hideous. Unattractive. How can he find me beautiful? I don’t see my body in that perspective. We looked at things differently, Marvin and I. I appreciated that he found me desirable and beautiful, though. It made me feel special, visible, lucky, and gifted to some way to have a beautiful body, as he told me a hundred times.
All the time I was in the elevator going up to the fourteenth floor, I was remembering all the nice words Marvin said to me which made me spontaneously smile. Toward the eleventh floor, the elevator stopped. The door opened and a man stepped in it. He was as well going up to the same floor, I suppose, as he didn’t press any number.
He greeted me. I greeted him back. He had straight fair hair. His eyes were brownish hazel. He was pretty tall. He was wearing a dark blue suit and carrying an i-Pod and some other files in his left hand, while on the right hand, he was holding his cellphone speaking to someone. After a while, the door opened. I came out the first from the elevator, leaving him behind me to step out.
That floor was quite special, very luxurious floor and walls. I suppose only top managers work here. I looked around and a receptionist was up there looking at me, as I was kind of a bit lost in the decor. I smiled shyly and headed to the reception.
- “Hello, I came from the Accounting department third floor. I’m Amy Morgan.” I said showing her my badge.
“Mrs. Andrea sent me to give those files concerning the financial revenues of the last six months to Mr. Felix Thornton.” I explained while she checked my badge.
- “Certainly, I will call him right now to come!” she smiled at me.
- “Thank you, ma’am”.
I was looking at the offices in that floor. It was quite impressive. The desks were displayed in an organized line. The rooms were much bigger than the floor where I worked. That floor was for higher executives and project managers that’s for sure now.
I was looking around when I heard the receptionist saying
“Mr. Johnson ! How can I help you?”
I suddenly turned to see the person she was talking to. It was that man, the same guy who was in the elevator with me a few minutes ago. His name is Johnson.
Was he Philip Johnson? The Philip Johnson that my mother knew some time ago. Was he the man whom I absolutely wanted to meet? Could it be him?
- “ ’Morning Barbara, I am searching for Felix! Couldn’t find him in his office.”
- “He’s actually coming sir. Ah there he is !” He turned to another man and greeted him.
The other man was dark-haired wearing glasses. He must be in his early forties. He was a little heavy with a nice looking face. The woman in the reception told me “I am sorry miss, there is Mr. Felix Thornton. You have to wait here, he’s talking to Mr. Philip Johnson.”
- “Mr. Philip Johnson?” I asked.
- “Yes, the big boss. You don’t recognize him?” she said surprised.
- “Euh ... actually, I’ve never met him before !” I confessed.
- “I see. You can wait here in the reception room and I’m going to call you when he finishes with Mr. Johnson”. She pointed out towards the reception.
- “Thank you ma’am !”
I turned around to go where indicated where my eyes met those of Marvin’s. He’s just arrived and was greeting the two men. He greeted me as well by waving towards my direction. One of the two men looked at my direction. It was the fair-haired man. The one who was with me in the elevator.
Oh my god ! that is becoming more stressful and at the same time exciting than I thought.
I heard Marvin saying “Excuse me, I’m coming back to you in a minute”.
The receptionist seemed more surprised than ever, I guess. I was sure she was asking herself at that very moment how could this girl know Mr. Richardson, the CEO of Richardson Inc and business partner of Mr. Johnson. I blushed when Marvin was coming toward my direction. I had to control myself and do not show any sign of non-professional behavior. I had to say to myself that he was as well another big boss. The problem was that I couldn’t figure that out in that very moment.
My first thought when I saw Marvin was directed to what we just did yesterday on Esperanza. It came suddenly into my mind. It made me blush and smile shyly. He smiled too.
- “Good morning Amy! What are you doing here?” He asked.
- “Good morning Ma... Mr. Richardson !” I said confused.
No way ! I couldn’t call him by his name ! Amy you have to control yourself, damn it !
Just breathe ! Stay calm and don’t show your excitement in front of this man, of everybody for God’s sake.
- “Actually, I am waiting for Mr. Thornton to give him those files in person.” I explained.
- “Ah okay I see. You’re back to work today?”
I could grasp it from his look. His eyes were asking me why I got back to work today. I didn’t mention that yesterday. I didn’t tell him I was planning on going back to work today, and it felt like he was against this idea.
- “Yes, sir. I have a lot of work to do as you can see” I said with a confident tone in my voice.
Marvin it is neither the time nor the place to ask me those kind of questions ! Go away !
He was just standing there in front of me looking at me with open eyes as if I were a mermaid coming out from the deep blue.
- “Would you like me to call Felix for you?” He asked.
- “No, no, no, sir. I’ll wait here. Thank you. I don’t want to disturb you”
- “Amy, please. Do not say that. Come with me. I will introduce you to Philip. I want you to meet one of my friends. Come, don’t be shy!” He insisted.
- “Sir ... I”
- “Come, I insist !”
Did he leave me any choice? Of course not.
My cheeks turned all red, I could feel it. I surely was because I felt myself blushing more and more, especially that the man I would like to meet was no more far from where I was standing.
My father, I guess, was standing next to me. He mightn’t know about me, but I did. I knew who he really was. It was a very complicated situation. I wonder why Marvin was present in all the awkward situations that could happen to me.
- “I would like to introduce you to someone I know. Philip, Felix, here is my daughter’s friend Ms. Amy Morgan.”
- “Hello Ms. Morgan !“, Mr. Thornton said.
- “Hello, sir. Nice to meet you” I said in the tinniest voice ever. I think I lost my voice at that very moment. I couldn’t look at the other guy, Philip Johnson.
It was a very hard moment for me to know my father in such circumstance. I might have had a stroke, but hopefully I didn’t.
- “Hello !” the other man said.
- “Ms. Morgan is doing a one-month training here. She is specialized in accounting.” Marvin explained.
- “How do you like your training, Ms. Morgan?” the fair-haired man asked.
- “I am enjoying it a lot sir. Thank you for asking.” I said smiling shyly at him. He kept looking at me with a serious look. His look was suspicious, though.
He was staring at me, with very persistent looks which made me feel, somehow, very uncomfortable.
- “So you’re Amy ! The one who should be giving me the files of the revenues right, I guess ?” the other man said smiling.
- “Yes, sir.” I was grateful to Mr. Thornton to cut short and engage the conversation into something else.
- “Marvin, Philip, I am coming back to you later. I got to have a look at those files. Come with me Ms. Morgan!”
- “Have a nice day ... Mr. Richardson, Mr. Johnson !” I said to Marvin, without looking at Philip. I couldn’t stand looking at the other man. It was too hard.
Marvin’s eyes didn’t leave mine the whole time I was speaking with the other man. Hopefully, he was there. I felt myself somehow protected as if nothing bad could reach me.
Mr. Thornton and I went to another corner of the entrance. He asked me a few questions related to my training and my studies.
I told him that I was a sophomore student in business accounting and spoke a little bit about myself and my passion for that domain. Mr. Thornton seemed to be friendly, he was listening to me talking about my feedback about the work I was doing here with a lot of enthusiasm. We spoke for about five minutes, gave him the files, then headed back to my department.
Throughout my way back to the third floor, I kept rethinking about that scene: how he looked at me with a suspicious look, how he seemed interested to ask me if I liked my training here in his own company and I couldn’t prevent that to happen.
I had a feeling he was my father. I felt it when I knew he was Philip Johnson. Something about him told me so. We had the same eyes. The same hazel color, his hair was fairer than mine.
There couldn’t be another man named Philip! Now the only way to know if he was the same man my mother was speaking about was to show her his picture. I could Google it and find one of his recent photographs. That was the only way to know the truth about him.
Was he the very Philip my mother was speaking about or not? I keep thinking.
I sat on the desk chair and felt joy overwhelming all the parts of my body. I’ve just seen Marvin. He was wearing a black suit. How handsome he was. I was happy because I saw him for a few minutes. I was happy because I met Mr. Philip Johnson.
The day I decided to come back to work, I met the guy. What a coincidence!
The rest of the day went smoothly and quietly, I had to work on other files where I had to check some revenues results and study the leverage rates of that year. I was very focused on my work and liked what I was doing. It was an occasion for me to learn more things and revise what I have already been doing at university.
I must say that I was doing my best to improve my accounting skills.
Once we finished, Lisa and I went to a small café downtown. We needed to gather and talk for some time about what happened those days. When we sat and ordered what to drink, I just thought how she would react if I ever told her about my affair with her father. It was a silly idea to think about it I know. I didn’t want to feel guiltier than I was already. I chased the idea out of my mind and focused on what she was telling me. The first thing that Lisa did was to ask me about Kyle Bailey. I didn’t want to talk about him, but I was obliged. It was shown on my face that I was no longer interested in dating Kyle. She told me that she didn’t see him those days. He was out of town and that she learnt that from her brother Jason. I told her that he didn’t make a call and I didn’t call him either. I didn’t really care. I needed more space and I hoped that he could understand that I no longer need him in my life. I know it is pretty selfish and harsh, but it was the truth.
I couldn’t lie to her and told her that I was planning to break up with him. She was so disappointed at me because I seem to be impulsive. This is what she said. She advised, however, to think twice because I could maybe never date someone like Kyle. He was the nicest of all the guys I had met so far. I was, of course, thinking about someone else when she told me so. I was thinking about Marvin. About what we were sharing together. About our affair. I felt the need to switch to another topic because there was no need to speak more about him, so I asked her about what happened with Eric the other day.
She told me about Eric’s behavior, how he was rude and very possessive. He was too caring to the point that there was not enough space for her to breathe. Eric and Lisa were dating for a few weeks now. They met a few months ago in a charity event. Then, she met him in some of the parties she went to. He knew some friends of hers. He was of Kyle’s age. I tried to advise her as better as I could. I knew she liked that guy a lot. The problem was that he got jealous easily and he was very suspicious. It was a problem that she had to handle this by herself. I asked her why she drank a lot the other day and she told me that she wasn’t willing to drink much, but she was fed up with what she was feeling for him and she didn’t feel quite well because of his excessive jealousy so she wanted to escape that reality ... forget about the fact that he was toxic for a short time. That was her intension, but she messed up. She confessed to me that she was considering breaking up with him in the near future, and I couldn’t agree more with her. I supported her and told her that if she needed anything I was right here, by her side.
Then came the time when I wanted to know how things were with her parents, so when I asked her she was hesitant to respond in the first place.
- “Is everything alright Lisa?” I asked worried.
- “Actually, no Amy. I don’t know what is happening to my parents those past days. They don’t get along with each other well.” I pretended to be surprised and didn’t say much.
I was actually the problem. The main problem if they are not getting along with each other. If she only knew that ...
- “Sorry to hear that. Do you know why?” I finally said to her.
- “I wish I could. My mother is crying most of the time. She doesn’t want to tell me why. I wish I could know why they’ve become so distant lately ”
The more she spoke about her parents, the more I felt myself guiltier. It was obvious that they are no longer happy as they used to be a few weeks ago.
- “They seemed to be in love and happy the few past weeks and now ... they are not.” She explained.
- “Don’t say that Lisa. Your parents are married for over twenty years. How could they fall out of love for each other?”
- “Amy, everything is changeable in this life. Everything can happen you know. We cannot predict life. Nothing lasts forever, even love !” She shrugged.
- “Do you think that? Do you really believe it?”
- “I guess ... why are you asking me that?”
- “Because I think that with all the events they must have been through, they cannot forget about each other.”
- “They won’t forget about each other, that’s for sure. After all they are still married, but they don’t feel the same way as they used to feel a few years ago, for example. My father was more caring and showed his love to her more often. Now he barely shows it.” She said sadly.
I felt myself uncomfortable with what I was listening to. I didn’t want to be the person responsible for what is happening in their lives. On the other hand, how could I say that !
It is so foolish of me because I am the problem. I am the trouble. I am the woman with whom Marvin fell in love. I am the woman with whom he was having an affair.I didn’t feel proud of myself. At all. But I was young at that time and all what mattered was to have him in my life, to see him looking at me, to feel his lips on mine, and to be in his arms whenever we could meet.
This was what mattered for me at that time. I was aware of making a big mistake, but I must say that I didn’t stop myself. I didn’t want to. I have no morals, at all. How did I allow myself to transgress the red limit !?
I wanted to see him again, meet him again, make love to him again, and tell him how much I cared about him.
After all, I was the youngest of the two of us. He was older than me and it was his responsibility to stop that relationship. It wasn’t mine, was it?
I was only twenty. How could I say that !? Damn it Amy, what you’re saying is nonsensical!
Actually, we were both responsible for what was happening to those people around us: Mrs. Richardson, Lisa and all the people who might know about it. Those people were affected by Marvin’s behavior. I thought another time about my mother. If she knew about it, she would surely kill me for having committed such a mistake, and probably would never forgive me.
At that time of my life, I couldn’t imagine myself living a single day without seeing him. I needed him in around. He was indispensable for me. Marvin was becoming my all. My everything.
So even if I cared about what was happening to Mrs. Richardson, which was the truth, I came to realize that it wasn’t. I was lying to myself. I cared more about myself. I wanted him for myself and only myself. It was selfish, but this was how I felt at that time. This was how I saw things coming. I wanted him for myself as he wanted me for himself, too. A selfish attitude!
- “You have to try to cheer her up, Lisa !” I advised her.
- “This is what I am doing ! I am trying to cheer her up. My mother is spending more time at work those days. She doesn’t feel like spending time at home. Plus, they don’t sleep in the same bed.” Her voice got weaker towards the end.
- “What! How do you know that?”
- “I know it. My father is spending more time in his office even at night. He goes there with a pillow and some sheets. That is not a good sign Amy. I am really afraid. I’ve never seen them like that. They’ve always been close to each other.”
She suddenly burst into tears when I held her hand
-“Everything will be okay, Lisa. Every couple goes through tough times. It happens believe me !”
- “Are you telling me that to comfort me Amy?” She spoke with broken voice, attempting to process what I was telling her.
- “I’m not. I am just telling the truth. Every couple goes through ups and downs, sometimes the downs are more than the ups. Be patient Lisa. Everything will be alright. I am sure.” I said smiling to her.
I couldn’t be bitchier than that. I felt really bad about it. I was behaving like a bitch! A slut. I was lying to my friend. I knew the truth and couldn’t say a word to her, because the truth in itself was devastating if ever told.
What kind of person am I? I am a bad person, I really am. The bad person who succeeds at lying to one of his friend to save himself from getting into more trouble.
Was I really that kind of person!?
Deep down myself, I would really like to know what kind of person I am, to be able to lie to one of my closest friends, to play a fake role, to bang her father so hard, and to keep on lying as if nothing happened.
I was a good actress. I was a hypocrite. These words define me well. I was that kind of person that she shouldn’t trust. I was that kind of person that no one should love or care about.
Hopefully, I was saved. I was being loved by one of the most powerful man in Santa Barbara which made me feel lucky to some point.
Amy. Poor Amy. You’re such a hypocrite for having lied to your friend, for having worn a mask, for having loved the wrong guy, and for screwing up your life. Things were as they were. I couldn’t change that reality. I needed to feel myself desired by him. I needed to have him in my life. I was heading to the hotel room hoping to finally get the answer from my mother. She was going to leave tomorrow morning back to Phoenix. Maybe we were going to have another discussion around the fact that I should go to a medical center three times a week to get myself recovered. This is what she told me at the hospital. I had to take good care of myself. At least, for Marvin.
As I opened the door, I was hoping to find her waiting for me with Lily. We would have shared the last moments before her trip alone. It would have been marvellous, but it wasn’t because he was there. He came back another time to Santa Barbara to see his wife and daughter. Jim came back. He couldn’t leave her alone to come back to Phoenix. I was sure he gave as pretext to come back to see me another time. To haunt me. As I came into the room, she smiled at me saying “look, who’s here?”
I smiled emotionlessly at him wondering what he was hiding behind that pretentious and sly look of his.