“What does it remind you of?” Mike asked.
His voice brought Ashley back to reality. Her mind had a way of bringing back memories that were too painful to remember. She realized she had been staring outside her living room window. The view had a way of taking her back to a place she too well but now just a vague memory.
She wanted to tell him. She wanted to tell him everything but instead she said “Nothing.” She managed to put a smile on her face hoping it would distract her fiancé from probing more into it.
“Nothing huh? So you stare out that window everyday with that look of sadness and longing and yet it reminds you of nothing?” He chuckled, “I just thought there was a story behind it. I might be home late tonight, I have that meeting with George about the expansion and knowing how much he likes to talk, we might be at it the whole night.”
Before she could say something he was already out the door. The masculine scent of his cologne lingered in the room which reminded her of the day they met. Her friend, Melissa had dragged her to a varsity football game. Melissa’s brother was participating. All that Ashley could pay attention to was the coach. He looked like he could have been one of the athletes. After the game Melissa found a reason to talk to him. To congratulate him and his team on their win. That conversation had resulted in a lunch date the following week and two years later they were engaged.
Her phone ringing dragged her back to reality. Melissa, who was also her assistant, was calling. “Hey, I know I’m running a bit late but I’ll be there soon.”
“I know you usually take this Particular day off work, are you sure you’ll be able to come in today?”
“I will be fine”
“Was just checking. There’s a situation in the office so you need to get here ASAP!” With that Melissa hung up and Ashley knew she had to get work fast.
* * * * * *
Ashley and Melissa had decided to for dinner, something they did every Friday after work after work. They were both exhausted and glad that the day had ended. By the time Ashley got home it was just after midnight, dinner with Melissa was exactly what she needed. They talked and laughed for hours, it was like when they first met. They talked about the wedding plans, engagement party and the destination for the honeymoon. Ashley was not surprised by her friend’s curiosity, she has always been like that.
Her phone beeped with a reminder to call Nkosi, her P. I. from South Africa. She dreaded those weekly calls because she was forced to remember what happened over a decade ago. Being in a foreign country hadn’t made her forget what happened. She couldn’t forget how her life had been turned upside down. She quickly put the phone down and made her way to the bedroom and she realized Mike wasn’t home.
In the morning she prepared herself to have that dreadful conversation with Nkosi. Mike had sent her a message:
Hey honey, my phone died last night before I could call you. Hopefully your day turned out okay. I won’t be back until Monday. I had to go to London to finalize the expansion with George. I love you my Queen.
For a few seconds she was smiling and she texted him back:
I was about to gather a search party to look for you. Don’t overwork yourself, remember a little fun never killed anyone. I love you too my King.
With Mike not around she didn’t have to use her home language, IsiXhosa when talking to Nkosi so no one could understand the conversation, just like the last time Mike was around. She proceeded to call Nkosi. “Hey, are okay?” Nkosi asked when he picked up.
“Everything is as good as it gets and how are you?”
“I am okay ma’am.”
“Nkosi, in the 10 years we’ve been doing this how many times have I told you not to call me that? Ashley will do just fine.”
“I always forget, you know. But at the end of the day you are the boss.” They both laughed but Ashley knew him well enough to know when he was delaying on saying something and there was something he was delaying now. She took a deep breath in and slowly breathed out, “I know. So what’s the update?”
“Everyone is doing well this side. Although there was one incident, your sister checked herself into rehab. She’s been there for two days now. She seems to be committed this time.”
Technically, she’s my cousin but close like a sister, a thought she kept to herself, “As long as it was her choice to do so, she’ll commit and hopefully stay sober once she gets out. Is there a plan out in place for when she gets out? Or are they winging it again?”
“No, there’s a plan this time. Her mother took away her phone which had all the dealer’s numbers and all the toxic friends she had. They agreed that she’d see a therapist once she gets out and she’ll move in with her mother as well. No one else has been arrested either.”
Everything seemed fine but Ashley couldn’t help but feel like there was more to it. Something he wasn’t sharing until he said, “but your friend Nomsa has left the country.” And there it was.
“Where is she headed?” She asked.
“To you. She’ll be arriving later today. I’ve organised for Sergio to pick her up and put her in a hotel. Or would you like if she was brought to you?” Nkosi’s reply shocked Ashley. She hadn’t expected that.
After a minute of silence she found her voice, “Are you sure she’s coming to see me? I don’t want to think that after 11 years she’d want to talk. Not after what happened.”
“Yes, I am sure. She told her mother she wanted to make things right with you. Perhaps she tried to get hold of you. Anyway if you decide to pick her up yourself you should talk to Sergio. I have to go now, my wife needs some tending to.” With that he hung up.
Ashley was still in shock, the thought of Nomsa coming did not sit well with her. She could feel the barriers keeping all those painful memories away slowly coming down. The memories she tried to forget slowly returned. She found her phone and after switching it on a message came through:
Hey Ashley. Hopefully you still have my number. I’ve been tryna call you but I guess you don’t use this number anymore. I will be in Spain and I would like to see you, perhaps try and fix things between us. Please give me a call.
Your friend, Nomsa.
Ashley was still in shock. She couldn’t believe someone who had written her off over a decade ago wanted to reconcile. She couldn’t figure out why she’d want to. “I guess there’s only way to find out.” Ashley said to herself.
Hope you enjoy…