Thursday, December 13, 2007

Trading Hearts Pt. 16

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of

Six weeks later

Marie paced worriedly in the hallway outside Natasha’s room. It was 7:30 a.m. and her daughter had not yet made an appearance.

She knocked on the door. “Tasha,” she called. “You okay in there? You’re going to work today?”

No reply.

Kim joined her mother, already dressed for work. “Maybe she’s sleeping,” she reassured her.

“At this hour? By now she would be finished breakfast and heading out the door.”

Marie bit her lip anxiously and tested the doorknob. The door was locked.

“Lord have mercy! What if she did something to herself!” she cried.

“Calm down, Mummy. She’s had a rough few weeks and probably just needs to lie in today.”

Just as Marie started to bang on the door again it flew open and a pair of bloodshot brown eyes surveyed the two women.

“Thank God! You scared the life out of me!” her mother breathed in relief. “Why you didn’t respond to me earlier?”

Natasha moved aside to let them enter the room. She was still dressed in a bathrobe and her natural twists were piled on top of her head.

“Sorry, I was in the bathroom,” she muttered, plopping down on the bed and curling into a ball.

Kim and Marie exchanged a concerned look. Over a month had passed since Natasha and Michael had broken up and that traumatic event was obviously beginning to take its toll on Natasha.

Although she would have liked to cut all ties with King Properties, Natasha realised that to breach her two-year contract would not only have legal ramifications, but would also impact negatively on Taylor Property Management’s bottom line. So, for the past few weeks she had been forced to see Michael, who used business as an excuse to visit her office almost every day.

Each time they met, Natasha made sure than one of her employees was in the room, frustrating his efforts to speak privately. Her only saving grace was that her family had moved into her spacious home in St. George and their company prevented her from concentrating too much on her broken relationship.

After Frank was released from the hospital and had regained some of his strength, he and Marie attended a meeting with Michael, Brian and Matthew. Frank listened wordlessly as Michael apologised profusely to the Taylors for the way the business deal had been conducted and then stunned the group by accepting King Properties’ proposal to buy his property, providing it was the original offer of $5 million.

Brian Goddard began to protest but Michael silenced him with a look, and shook the older man’s hand to seal the deal. However, Frank refused Michael’s offer to be housed in one of the company’s villas, explaining that Natasha had invited them to move in with her until they decided on their future living arrangements.

“Sweetie, you can’t go on like this, you’ll make yourself sick,” Marie chided as she rubbed her daughter’s back gently. “You have to either try to get past this or just give in and call the man.”

Natasha rolled over to face her mother. “I can’t go begging back to him, not after what he did.”

“I think he’s genuinely sorry for what happened. You found out why he lied in the first place?”

“It doesn’t matter why he did it. Can we not talk about him anymore, please?” she begged, pulling a pillow on top of her head.

“If your father can forgive that ungrateful sister of his surely you can forgive Michael,” Marie pressed on.

Natasha yanked the pillow off her head and glared at her mother. “No disrespect to Daddy, but he’s not the one knocked up by that bastard!”

Just then, a wave of nausea swept over Natasha. She sprang from the bed and bolted towards the bedroom, reaching the toilet bowl just in time for her stomach to empty its contents. She clutched the bowl weakly, tears pooling in her already swollen eyes.

Life can play some cruel jokes, she thought. To conceive and break up on the same day had to be some kind of record. Damn Michael and his breakfast in bed!

As Kim ran downstairs to prepare some ginger tea for her sister, Marie aided Natasha back to the bed. “How could I have been so stupid?” she sobbed. “I was always so careful when I was with Matthew!”

Marie hugged her tightly, wiping her tears. “Love makes you lose your head sometimes,” she said softly. “You really love him, right?”

Natasha nodded, beginning to sob even harder.

Her mother continued. “Then you have to put aside your pride and go to him. If not for yourself, for your child,” she said firmly.

The doorbell rang and Natasha buried her head under a pillow again. “Please God, don’t let that be him,” she groaned.

The two women heard muffled voices coming from the foyer downstairs, then the sound of footsteps on the stairs. Kim entered the room, carefully balancing a tray with a steaming cup of tea.

“You have a visitor, Tasha,” she said as she placed the tray on the bedside table. “Brian Goddard’s downstairs to see you.”

“Great. Michael’s sending his henchman now,” Natasha retorted sourly. She heaved herself out of bed and headed to the bathroom to make herself presentable.

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