It’s been forever since I’ve participated in #writephoto. Thanks to Sue Vincent for the prompt!
Eva watches flakes of snow swirl, caught on the wind like confetti. Behind her, Tim is building a fire or trying to. For some reason he’s never mastered creating an updraft in the fireplace although she’s shown him how, just the way Jeff had shown her.
Jeff. She tries not to think the name. She’s tried so hard to forget him. The way she’d seen him last, his eyes filled with disgust and his lips unable to form the words to explain why, as if he presumed she’d know.
The first moment acrid smoke fills her nose, she turns, and sure enough, Tim is waving futilely at the incoming smoke.
Because she’s supposed to love him, she doesn’t make the comment that rises to her lips. Instead, she merely takes over, using burning newspaper to direct the smoke upward.
Tim smiles and then enfolds her in his arms. “My survivalist,” he says. “My savior.”
At one point in time, after they’d become colleagues at the PR firm, she’d been suspicious of Tim’s constant flattery, especially considering she had made it obvious she had a boyfriend she loved. But after a while, she decided that was just his way and tended to ignore it.
As the snow picks up, she worries that this weekend getaway wasn’t a good thing. They could get trapped here.
By Sunday afternoon, the wind gusts create whiteout.
“Looks like we’re snowed in,” Tim says gleefully.
Eva frowns. “This was not a good idea. I have important meetings tomorrow.”
“They’ll be cancelled.”
“If it’s snowing in DC. There’s no guarantee of that. We’re four hours away.”
“You work so hard. You deserve a break.”
He just doesn’t get it. He’s never gotten it.
He pulls a bottle of her favorite red, a California Pinot from his bag. “Look what I’ve got.”
Momentarily, she’s suspicious, wondering why he would have waited to share the bottle on the afternoon when they should have been driving home.
He pours a glass, hands it to her, then clinks it with his own. “To us. To a lifetime of happiness.”
Smiling, she nods, still unable to shake the feeling that something’s wrong.
Tim’s always been a light drinker and soon his lips move faster spewing slurred words. “Jeff was never good for you or he would have fought for you.”
Eva slowly lowers her glass. “What do you mean: fought for me?”
“When I made up that shit about you and Kendrick, he fell for it. Never even questioned it for a moment.”
“What did you tell him?”
“How you were sleeping with Kendrick to get the promotion. I was pretty clever telling him right before the Christmas party because everyone, everyone, except Jeff that is, knows how handsy Kendrick gets. And he was all handsy with you that night. I encouraged him. Told him you had a thing for him.”
“Jeff wasn’t good enough for you and I knew it wouldn’t take much.”
The wine suddenly tastes like vinegar in Eva’s mouth.
“Now, I’ve got you. You’re mine.”
Tim continues to talk, bragging about his craftiness, while Eva thinks, just for a moment, of taking a steak knife and plowing it into his black heart. All of those needling thoughts that wanted to keep her from getting involved with him surface. A fresh reality rises. He may have now cost her her career, to what end? So that she would completely depend on him?
She keeps filling his glass until he passes out and then she formulates a plan.
As she sits in her office on Tuesday midday after a successful Monday of meetings, Tim storms in looking haggard, thrumming with anger. Eva glances at her assistant, Sally, and nods for the young woman to leave them alone. Sally raises an eyebrow, her eyes darting from Eva to Tim as if asking if Eva’s sure she wants her to leave.
“What have you done?” he asks.
“I’ve taken back my life,” she says.
This story decided it wanted to grow big and it probably could have easily grown bigger. I might go back and see if I can somehow turn it into 100 words. What fun!