A Touch of Passion

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Chapter 27

Three days later they were standing at Michael’s front door. They rang the doorbell. John opened the door and when he saw them his face lit up with a beautiful smile and disappeared as suddenly as it came.

“Hello ladies.” He greeted them.

“Hi John, is Michael here?”

“I’m so sorry Ms. Curtis, he’s not.” She drew a deep breath.

“What time are you expecting him back?” John raised one finger and scratched the tip of his nose, after which he responded.

“I’m afraid I’m unable to say.”

“What do you mean?” Nina saw a look cross John’s face, an expression she could not quite fathom, she was uncertain if it was one of confusion or worry.

“Michael left yesterday.”

“Left To where?”

“I don’t know, he didn’t say.”

Nina’s heart skipped a beat on hearing Michael had left and John was unable to disclose any information on his whereabouts. Still hoping to obtain some kind of clue from John she continued to question him, and as the time went by, her tension grew. She removed her cell phone from her pocketbook and held it in her hand. She was anxious, didn’t want to miss out, just in case Michael were to change his mind and call her. Over time her eyes kept darting to the cell phone and as time dwindling by, she realized that what she was hoping might just not happen.

“Holy shit, I have to find him. John, please think, where do you think he would go?” John stared hard at her, desperately searching his mind for an answer.

“I’m sorry, I have no idea.”

“What I’m I going to do?” she said, staring at John.

“I honestly don’t know Ms. Curtis; but whatever happened between you too, he’s really broken.” Nina’s eyes became bright with unshed tears.

“I blamed myself, I could have dealt with the situation in a more mature way. I wish I had known, what I know now”

“I know,” agreed John. Then Lisa spoke.

“I too wish the circumstance was different, but Nina, don’t beat yourself up over it, that’s water under the bridge, let’s sit down and see what we can best come up with to find Michael and put an end to this unfortunate situation.”

Again, it wasn’t easy for Nina, she was exhausted, trying to face the fact that it was her resenting Michael that caused him to make the decision to leave, and this time it might just possibly be permanent.

Sometimes later, she headed home, still feeling exhausted, and helpless, she opened her front door. She pasted the living room floor restlessly, unknowingly what to do next. Finally, she kicked her shoe off, and trod to the kitchen, there she got herself an Ice - cold beer from the refrigerator and returned to the living room. There was no way she could retire for the day without hearing what was taking place in the country. She turned the television on and sat down to listen to the 7 O’clock news. There was a report of one accident after another, which was not much of an interest to her. And suddenly Nina sat bolt upright, not moving a muscle, as her eyes remained glued to the screen, which now seemed ridiculously small. There was a three -car collision earlier that day.

Four people died from the accident. But what caught Nina’s attention was a woman standing away from the crowd. She was pasting the ground. The film was a bit fuzzy due to the cloudy weather that morning. She had on a baseball cap, which made it a bit difficult to see her face.

Nina stared at her mesmerized. There was something about her that caught Nina’s attention. She looked calm, she noted with astonishment. Everyone at the scene was showing an expression of shock and horror, she was definitely not. She started walking further away from the crowd, and Nina caught her breath. And was transfixed. Something about the woman, her appearance, something shockingly familiar about her, she just couldn’t quite put her hands on.

She was alive! But how could she be? she was on the flight with Michael that day, she whispered to herself in shock as she stared blindly at the screen. Moments later, as she sat in stunned disbelief, she wondered if it was her imagination. She had blamed herself so much of that day’s crash. Wanting desperately for it not to have happened, and now, what’s the explanation? There was none, it’s simple, she has conjured up the image.

But no, no! It was not her imagination. That woman was Laura Philips, in spite of the fuzziness of the film, she had recognized her. The way she moved, her height. She doesn’t know how possible it could be and why she was so sure of the fact that it was her. she had not died in the plane crash. She is alive. That’s her, she felt it and she was sure that the young lady was Laura.

But if she’s alive, why had she not even send her condolences. Something seemed very unusual. First Michael presumed dead, showed up years later, now out of nowhere a lady resembling our assistance, presumed dead suddenly appeared as well. Could this possibly be a coincidence? It could, as well as the two could perhaps link somewhere. But how? If there is, she needs to find out. Puzzled, she wondered what was going on. She lost all interest in listening to the news any further. She switched the television off and raised her body slowly off the sofa.

It’s time to get some rest, she muttered then headed up the stairs to her room. She stepped inside; she switched the light switch on. The heat inside hit her immediately, she walked over to the window, unlocked it and pushed it wide open. The fresh air instantly rushed in. She undressed, took a shower and creeped into her bed; it was a relief.

In the morning, still troubled by her new discovery. “I must find her, Nina thought. I’ve got to see her, talk to her, I have to get an understanding of what was happening. Money can bring everything in the dark out in the light. I have to find a way to solve this situation, discreetly, without raising an alarm.

Nina Charles arrived in Red Hills the following morning after seeing the 7-p m news. It has been a bumper-to-bumper drive and she should have been weary but instead she was energetic. Something strange is happening, and she desperately needs to get to the bottom of it. I have a hunch though that it could be something very unpleasant.

Some forty-five minutes into her drive she stopped her car and got directions from a young man who was standing outside a gate.

“Down the street, to your right, three blocks. A big two-story white house. You can’t miss it.”

“Thank you very much.” Nina drove off slowly in the direction the young man indicated. In a short time, she was standing in front of the house, she rang the bell. A young woman opened the door. “How can I help you?” Nina spoke up.

“Good morning, I would like to speak with Laura Phillips please. Is she home?” The young woman looked her over from head to foot and asked. Are you the same lady that I saw many times on TV and in the newspaper whose son needed a Kidney transplant?”

“Yes, I sure am,” the expression on her face changes’

“How is your son?”

“He’s doing fine, thanks for your interest.”

“No problem, just happy to know he is. Anyway, I’m sorry, Ms. Phillips isn’t home.”

Nina was curious. Was Laura still alive or was she dead? She could be blind Laura was the person she saw last night but then again, she was very tired and overburdened with confusion, she could pretty well have made a mistake.”

“Will she be home anytime soon?”

“I’m not quite sure exactly when, she’s out of town”

’Okay, thanks.” She then turned and walked back to her vehicle, sat in the driver’s seat, a bit puzzled over what could be possible going on, then she noticed a curtain of one of the upstairs windows shifted and the shadow of a person appeared to be standing there looking out. Right then and there she assumed she didn’t make a mistake.

Whatever was going on, she had to get to the bottom of it but certainly, she still can’t afford to raise any suspicion; she turned the car ignition on and drove off in the direction she came.

That night the demons came back when she got into her bed. The air condition unit broke down and the fan didn’t work well, there was no control, the humidity in the room was high. She lay there feeling the heat prickle her skin, thinking about the fact that she had driven all the way to Red Hills and back and still nowhere nearer to the truth.

She struggled to find sleep in the incessant heat of the room and tumble in and out of guilt and self- consciousness. And drift across a sea of sleep, bumping into herself over and over,

When she woke up some hours later she wondered about her past, if her dreams were somehow deeply connected to her past, she had gone through a lot in her life. Her mishaps at twelve years old led up to her accident resulting in her being admitted in the hospital and her baby ended up dying. She was very much confused but she made a promise to herself that she will get to the bottom of things, and she was going to.

Three weeks later Nina was on her way to meeting up with Laura, nervous she was but she had to get to the bottom of things.

Laura Phillips waited at home in her father’s luxurious office. She paced the floor back and forth waiting anxiously. Her brain working overtime, trying to figure out what’s the best way to tell Nina? And how will she react when she learns the truth. The time to face the truth is almost there, she was anxious for the big reveal but hesitant at the same time, not knowing exactly what Nina’s reaction would be like, but the truth has to be told.

The butler walked into the office. “Your guess is here Ms Phillips.”

She took a deep breath. “Please show her in.” Shortly after Nina entered the room, Laura Phillips turned around to face her.

“Happy you could make it, please have a seat.” Nina took a seat and she was immediately offered a glass of wine. Both ladies sat for a while silently staring at each other, then Laura spoke.

“I have no idea what you want to speak to me about, but honestly I have something I desperately need to say to you too.” Nina looked at her puzzled. Laura got up out of her seat, walked over to a window, stood looking on the outside, taking a small drink from her glass periodically.

While Nina sat there overworking her mind as to what it was she could want to say to her. “Was it about she and Michael, could they be having an affair? She couldn’t help wondering how strange it was, that both persons disappeared at the same time for years and practically reappeared out of the blue at almost the same given time. It’s hard to think of it as purely coincidental.

She remembered the day when she came home and found Michael and Laura in the living room playing ludo and giggling away like two teenagers. She stood at the door, watching them for a long while and when he saw her, he sprang to his feet.

“Hi honey.” he said and kissed her. “She’s beating the hell out of me” he uttered, she never thought anything of it at that time, but now it all seemed possible.

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