Dark Love - A Darker Shade

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26

Amidst having breakfast and settling down during the morning hours with her family, Zee spent most of her time thinking about what to do to calm her jitters but no idea was forthcoming.

Inside her bedroom, she stared at a couple of canned beer on her table, wondering if she should just consume it to gain some confidence a few minutes before his arrival. Alcohol had a way of giving one confidence. Didn’t shy people use it to face crowds?

She went for one canned beer, her finger pausing on the opener. Then she changed her mind and put it back on the table. She was already in trouble. There was no need aggravating or escalating issues.

To take her mind off her anxiety, she joined her family in the living room to watch TV with Israel on her lap.

After what seemed like ages but only a couple of hours, Michael’s call came in. She passed Israel to her father’s waiting arms and excused herself in time to take the call on her way to her bedroom.

“Hello.”

“Elizabeth.” His voice sounded calm.

“Yes.”

“How are you?”

Funny, you should ask, she wanted to blurt out but held back her tongue. What kind of question was that? She was full of nerves.

“I’m…I’m fine.” She responded, hating how her voice sounded small. In an attempt to remedy the way she had sounded, she quickly cleared her throat. “I’m fine.” She said sharply but the sound was croaky. Damn. She swore inwardly. Michael intimidated her. And she had caused it with all her tomfooleries.

“That’s good to know. And don’t tell me you forgot to inform your parents I’ll be here to take you out?”

“I didn’t forget.”

“Okay, meet me outside.”

“Where are we going?”

“Meet me outside.” He repeated, ignoring her question. “Five minutes. You already know I don’t appreciate time wasting.”

“Okay.” She said and he ended the call.

Zee hastened to her bedroom. She wore an extremely rugged jean in black with a red T-Shirt on it. She slid her cross body purse on and paused before her mirror to study her reflection.

She looked okay and she hated the fear in her eyes. This was Michael for crying out loud. He was her friend. When did things change? Life could be so cruel.

She turned as she caught sight of Israel toddling into her bedroom. “Izzy, I’m about to go out.”

He spread out his arms. “Cayi me.”

“I want to go out. Go back to Mum or Daddy.” Jeez, she had wanted a younger sibling. She hadn’t been aware of these kinds of episodes.

Israel shook his head in disagreement, his entire body almost joining in the movement. It looked like he was about to lose his balance. “No. Cayi me.” He insisted. “See, cayi me.”

“Ugh.” Zee groaned in frustration. She bent down and lifted him.

“Yay.” He said joyfully and started laughing as she tickled him. Then she placed a kiss upon his chubby cheek. “I want to go out. I’ll be back, okay?”

He nodded. Then she frowned in confusion as he began to look at her strangely.

“Izzy?”

Israel’s eyes widened, fear evident in his expression.

“Israel, what is it? You look Scared.”

His lips began to tremble and separate, opening up to emit a cry, tears already dropping from his eyes as he started struggling to get off her arms.

Zee started wondering what his problem was when she caught sight of her reflection in the mirror which showed an aged version of her.

It looked like she was in her seventies, her skin wrinkled, her eyes tired, her hair, grey. Immediately, she felt her energy level drop. Her phone started ringing and she realized that she hadn’t even put it in her purse yet. She could have forgotten it.

She saw Michaels name flashing across the screen. Double trouble, she thought as she took a crying Israel outside her bedroom door and placed him on the ground. “Go back to ...” she began but he was already running back to the living room as he bawled. “…Mum and Dad.” She finished in a smaller voice and then retreated quickly into her room as she heard footsteps approaching and her mother’s voice.

“Israel, what is it?” she heard her mother ask.

She locked her door and leaned against it. She heard her mother calming Israel. “What is it, My Boy?”

“See.” She heard Israel cry.

“She won’t let you into her room? Don’t mind her, Sweetie. She wants to go out anyway.”

She heard her mother’s voice fading in the background as she returned to the living room with Israel.

Zee looked at the mirror. Her reflection remained unchanged. “What is your problem?” she whispered. “I’ve already agreed to marry him.”

Michael’s call had ended but he was calling back again. She pushed herself away from the door, hurried over to the table and received the call.

“Hello. Please give me some time, Michael.”

“You were already expecting me, so what’s the problem?”

“I’m…I’m having a…a my period so I’m having cramps.” She forced a groan. “It hurts.”

“Zee, I know you’re afraid because of your recent misbehavior. If that’s the case, don’t worry. I’ll listen to your explanation but you don’t have to lie to me.”

“Please, just a few minutes.” she whined.

“Are you really hurt or just stalling?”

Zee gasped as she realized from the mirror that she was back to normal.

“Zee?”

“I’ll be there. I’m fine now.”

“Hmn.” He said thoughtfully. “I’m waiting.”

She breathed with relief as he ended the call. Still, her heart was in her mouth because of the unwelcome thought of facing him.

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