Grace sighed with relief as she put down the phone to recharge it. She knew it irritated him, even if she was talking to her own brother. She normally would have waited until Christian left for work, but she would have missed Steven.
She jumped at the sound of Maria’s voice. Pulling her blouse down over her hands, Grace waved to invite the nanny in the room.
Madame, I didn’t mean to surprise you. The children are ready for school, and I wondered if you wanted me to walk them this morning?
Grace knew Christian was… nervous, today. He had lost a big client the night before, and she knew what that meant.
Yes please, Maria. I think it would be better… Thank you very much! You’re precious, you know that?
Maria smiled shily, and retreated. Grace could hear her gathering the happy pack for the walk just a couple of blocks away from their house. She loved taking Luke, Josie and Mathilda to the private school’s gate herself. But when Christian was… tensed, it was better she stayed home in case he needed her.
Talking about the wolf…
She walked to the living room to find Christian turning everything upside down. The fresh laughter of the kids had barely faded in the air, and the stench of madness was already covering it. Just as she thought that, her husband turned her way, that wild stare she knew all too well pinning her to the wall.
Where are the Bent’s keys, Grace?
That was ridiculous. As usual. It was ridiculous, because she wasn’t even allowed to drive. Why would she take a chance playing with the keys? Not having the answer to Christian’s question, she preferred to stay silent. It was always better than saying something that would trigger him.
The Bentley’s keys! WHERE ARE THE KEYS?
Grace just raised her shoulders. She honestly ignored where he had put the damn keys. To say the truth, she thought he knew exactly where they were. He just wanted to vent his rage on her again.
Not waiting a second more for a clear answer, Christian rushed towards her, and pressing her into the wall, he locked her wrists in his large hands. Tears came to her eyes when he tightened his grip on her already bruised skin. He hissed the question to her ear, and she wondered how she could have once mistaken him for a brilliant, charming, loving man.
I… I don’t know Honey… Maybe… -she was looking for a plausible reply, forcing him to let go of her to check if she might be right – Maybe on the bedstand?
Instead of heading to the bedroom, Christian freed one hand to grab her chin. The madness in his eyes staring down her soul, she felt the tempation to move and wrap his fingers around her throat. She was terrified, but what could she do?
Do you have any idea how amazingly frustrating it is, to have such an idiot, useless bitch as a wife?? You are lucky to have that pretty face of yours… I really can’t afford to smash it up, can I?
Holding her breath, Grace repressed the need to shake her head. She just wished he would back off. Which he suddenly did, leaving her to fall on the carpet.
Christian spun around, and acting as if nothing had happpened, picked his briefcase and coat, and walked to the door. She couldn’t see him anymore, but she recognized the familiar tingling sound.
You know what? It doesn’t matter… I’ll just take the Lexus.
He slammed the door, and the house went quiet again.
When Maria came back from school, Grace was cleaning the mess her husband had left behind him.
The empathy in her voice was genuine, and it was always a balm on her painful secrets to have the frail yet way stronger than her woman by her side. Grace feared the day her husband would notice the closeness they had developped. He would probably fire her for some stupid reason if he found out.
Still she enjoyed Maria’s presence. The kids loved her, and so did Grace.
How’s Sebastian, Maria? I feel bad you have to spend so much time away from him… Christian really shouldn’t ask that you work so much here. I am sure we could make it just fine even if you didn’t slept here all week.
Maria smiled, puffed a cushion and placed it back on the couch. Reaching into her purse on the coffee table, she handed a few pictures to Grace. The little boy on each photograph radiated happiness. He was all smiles, here dressed for a soccer game, there simply bent over an unfinished drawing. But never with his mother.
Grace felt guilty for stealing their mother and son time away. The nanny seemed to read her mind. Risking a finger on Grace’s wrist, brushing on her bruised flesh.
I’m more needed here, Madame…. And you know, the paycheck is good, even if I would stay for less. Sebastian is well taken care of with my parents. Don’t worry about it.
For a moment, Grace wished she could trade places with Maria. Sure, she would have to give up the fancy restaurants and the pricy vacations abroad… Sure, she wouldn’t have a luxurious house, and a nanny to take care of most of the chores around the house.
She pulled her sleeves down on her hands again.
Life would be so much simpler, so much safer, she thought.
But would it?