Wednesday, June 1, 2:45 PM
Proverb: Those who ca'an dance blame it on the music.
Meaning: It is easier to blame other people than to take responsibility for our actions.
Xavier has a damn nerve. He bloody well knows I don’t belong here.
Annette studied her nails before she continued scanning the room.
The cobalt-blue blinds hid the afternoon sun from her eyes and sealed her in a cozy space dominated by a mahogany desk, plush furniture and a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf crammed with reference books.
She studied the rings on her left hand. So many memories were contained in those pieces of platinum and baguette diamonds. How Xavier expected her to just move on after seventeen years of marriage, she didn’t know. He’d taken twenty years of her life and left her to start over with that bitch and the bastard they had spawned between them.
Movement from the other side of the desk reminded Annette she wasn’t in the room alone. Marjorie Dacres watched her. Having to see a therapist was laughable, not to mention humiliating. She was a social worker herself and not just any social worker. The human psyche was her area of specialization; the path she’d chosen for her career. She almost had a Master's, for heaven’s sake.
Pity you didn’t do such a great job with your family.
She banished that thought. Studying had eaten up most of her adult life, but the results were worth the sacrifices she’d made. She was one of Jamaica’s eminent consultants in the Social Services, her specialty being children and family life. The irony of being inside the office of a family life minister as a patient didn’t escape her.
Annette’s skin crawled again, and a tide of heat crept from her chest to scald her face. The only reason she was here was because Xavier insisted he’d press charges if she didn’t see a therapist. Never mind the fact that she’d explained why she cut him and that she hadn’t meant to do it.
The only good thing that came out of that disaster was that her daughter Kelleigh was now coming around. The nervous looks she sometimes threw at Annette disturbed her, but they’d been at odds for so long it was no wonder her fifteen year old couldn’t appreciate the mother-daughter bond that was a natural part of life.
The therapist shifted and folded her hands on the desk. "Mrs. McKellop, why are you here?"
Annette made the dumpy woman wait while she thought about what to say. Her blue-white hair was at odds with her unlined face and plump body. She looked more like forty than the sixty-odd-year-old grandmother Annette knew her to be.
Miss Dacres cleared her throat and then prompted Annette. "Mrs. McKellop?"
Glancing at her watch, Annette sat erect in the seat that was more sofa than patient’s chair. She smoothed the skirt of her business suit and looked to the woman’s left, latching on to the pearl earring that clung to her earlobe.
"My husband insisted that I come." She studied the toes of her leather pumps. "There was an incident."
"So you came under duress."
Gritting her teeth, Annette answered, "Yes."
A smile entered the woman’s voice. "As you know, there shouldn’t be any embarrassment about seeing a therapist, but as professionals, we know there’s a stigma attached."
Her chair squeaked and she moved something on the desk. "It’s clear you’re feeling some resistance, but if you’re going to be seeing me, it makes sense for us not to waste each other’s time. Can we start with the incident that brought you here?"
Annette stared at the woman. Who the hell did she think she was to believe that a pep talk was what she needed and that she was so weak-minded, she’d spill her guts at the first invitation? She probably knew more about the human mind and therapy than the old dinosaur across the desk.
Her anger stirred again. She didn’t understand what Xavier thought would come out of his ridiculous stipulation that she go into therapy, but she knew one thing. Divorced from her or not, he wouldn’t have a moment’s happiness with that bitch and the bastard child he’d gotten during their marriage.
While Annette twisted the rings on her finger, her gaze fell on a globe depicting a scene outside a country house. A strong desire to hurl it across the room overcame her. Wrecking the glass figurine would satisfy the anger twisting and tumbling in her belly. If only for the moment.
She skimmed the office with her eyes, working out what to say to satisfy the woman in front of her and occupy the half hour that stretched before them. She traced the stitches on the leather case in her lap, while her thoughts wrapped around Xavier. If he believed he could leave her and their daughter behind like old newspaper, he could just think again.
You've heard it said ...
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.
- William Congreve, English playwright
Dumped by her spouse of seventeen years, Annette McKellop has no choice but to adjust to life on her own. An accomplished social worker, she can't help but see the irony of treating clients who live parallel lives, disrupted by cheating men who leave broken families behind. Not that she intends to suck up her ex-husband's betrayal.
Her plans for revenge start out brilliantly, but instead of striking a blow for all wronged females, Annette's quest to get even with Xavier is all-consuming and leads down avenues where even the most reckless souls won't go.
Until she meets Roderick Minto—a man who is off limits. Her role as counselor to his daughter prohibits anything more than a platonic relationship, but Roderick has other ideas. As their relationship deepens and she does what is taboo, Annette questions the direction of her moral compass. Should she follow her heart and Roderick's leading? Is losing a second chance at love worth the relentless pursuit of a man who has moved on and isn't coming back?
Follow Annette's journey in Absolution. Coming November 1, 2014.