After my marriage to Patrick, my daily routine changed over night. My mornings started very early because I had to wake the kids up and prepare them for school. I also had to make breakfast for them and their daddy, clean up the house and make sure nothing was left out of place.
"Sam," Jade called, on our first morning together as a family. "Can I get some extra pancakes? Mummy always made three for me because she knew my friends at school always get their share."
"Oh! Okay, I will get you some more." I gave her the rest of the pancakes and she ran off with Kathrine to catch the school bus, which was parked in front of the house. Patrick saw them off and then came back in.
"Thanks." Patrick said, as soon as he was in. "Thank you for the love you show them."
"They're like my own children, Patrick." I replied. "I can't help wanting them to be happy and comfortable. I can't help loving them."
"I know. All the same thank you. Fiona couldn't have picked a better mother to take care of the kids."
That said, he took his briefcase and went to work. I quickly finished my chores and dashed off to my restaurant. Although we had our differences and problems, we lived together in peace and harmony.
With time I started getting attracted to Patrick, especially when I saw him playing in the sand with the kids. He is their father, he loves them and they adore him. Whenever there was an occasion to attend, we usually went together. We did a lot of things together, especially with the children. This got us very close and I didn't even know when my feelings for Patrick started to take a different turn. His smile made me smile and his pain left me in much deeper pain. But there was nothing I could do about it. I wasn't ready to give Patrick even the slightest idea that I felt anything for him. As long as I was concerned, we were in an arranged marriage, and that was it.
Things went on that way for a year after our marriage. Then one day, I got home from my restaurant, late. It rained heavily that day and I got soaked to my under wear. Patrick saw me coming in and he looked very worried.
"I will make a cup of hot tea." He said, with so much concern.
I said my thanks before running up to my room to take a hot bath. I filled the bath tub with very hot water and mixed it a little with a cold one before hopping in. I stayed in for a long time before washing up. When I was done, I grabbed my towel but didn't tie it around my body. I just cleaned my body with it and then dried my hair while I walked out of the bathroom. I was well inside my room before I realized that Patrick was standing beside a tray of hot tea he had just placed on top of my dressing table. He looked surprised and dazed at the same time. I felt really embarrassed and quickly tied the towel around me.
"I'm... I'm so .... sorry." He said, after I had covered up. It was like his senses returned as soon as the show was over. "I should have knocked to tell you I was here.
I was too embarrassed to say anything. I simply looked on as he walked out. It was a while later before I recovered from the surprising event but even then, I couldn't help but remember the look on Patrick's eyes when he saw my nakedness. I could tell he very much liked what he saw, but I wasn't betting on the fact that anything would happen between us. He loved Fiona too much and even though she was long gone, he always talked about her from time to time. He did everything possible to keep her memory alive.
That evening, I didn't go down stairs to eat dinner. I wasn't sure I was ready to face Patrick again, not after what had happened. I waited until I was sure everyone was asleep before going down to find something to eat. I fixed a quick toast with some sardines, cabbage and butter. Before I sat down to eat, I placed a kettle of water on the cooker. I had finished eating and was about to make tea when I heard the kitchen door squeak. I turned around only to find Patrick leaning against the entrance and staring unflinchingly at me.
"Oh! Its you." I said, feeling nervous. "I thought you were asleep."
"Yes I know." He said. "That's why you felt free to come downstairs. I expected to see you at dinner so we could talk, especially since the kids are not around."
"Oh! Wait. The kids are not around?" Where are they?" I asked, as I realized for the first time that I hadn't heard their voices. I was so engrossed in my own thoughts about what had happened earlier that I didn't think about them. Aside from that, whenever I came in late, Patrick always helped cook their dinner, bathe them and tuck them in for the night. I didn't realize they were not in the house.
"They are with their grandmother. She came into town today."
"Fiona's mother?" I asked.
"Oh. I didn't know she was in town." I said with an almost shaky voice, as I realized that Patrick had left his position and was walking towards me.
"Are you scared of me?" He asked.
"No." I replied. "Why should I be?"
"I don't know." He replied. 'But if you are not scared, then why are you moving backwards?" He asked.
I wanted to make an argument about the question he asked, but when I looked around, I saw that I had really moved backwards. "Well, maybe my instincts are pushing me away from you." I said.
"Instincts right?" He asked lazily, as he pulled out a chair and sat down. "Can I have one too?"
"Have what? Instincts?"
"No." He chuckled. "I meant a cup of tea."
It was then I remembered that I was actually about to make tea when he stepped in. "Oh!" I said, feeling stupid. "I will do just that."
I took out two mugs and poured the already boiled water into them, brewed the tea and added milk and sugar. Tea was soon ready and I served him his own cup. After I placed the tea on the table, Patrick pulled out a chair and asked me to sit with him.
"Well, I can sip my tea upstairs in my room."
"I know that." He said. "I just want you to sit with me so we can talk." He insisted.
"Okay." I said. I reluctantly sat on the chair he pulled out.
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To be continued.....