Poison's Bend: Chapter 23
So my daughter was engaged.
I should feel joyful.
I knew Catherine was madly in love with her chosen one, and he with her.
However, instead of being filled with happiness and hope for my daughter’s future, I was instead filled with worry and dread.
It was not for the young man I feared; no... his fate was already sealed. My concerns were only for my daughter. I could not allow her to become that which I saw in the mirror!
I had to stop her... I must stay the poison the only way I could!
I would have to... intervene.
If Catherine was never permitted to love... if she was forced away from it... she would never start down the path that would destroy her soul.
So I believed.
“I’m so happy you agreed to this little visit, Monsieur Loner,” I said cordially, smiling as I poured coffee for my guest upstairs in the study. “I think it’s a good thing for us to become friends... seeing as how you are soon to become my son-in-law.”
Blushing a little, he accepted his cup. “Well, Catherine and I have agreed to not rush things,” he said. “She still has nearly two years of college left, and I’m going to use that time to become more established in my law career.” He sipped his coffee and shrugged a little. “You see, Mrs. Curious... I hope to be able to provide a good life for Catherine before we marry.”
“That’s very astute,” I said, nodding. “But to be honest, Monsieur...”
“Call me Ajay,” he interrupted, waving his hand dismissively.
“Ajay,” I corrected, smiling. “To be honest, Ajay, I’m rather surprised my daughter hasn’t suggested dropping out of college and getting married to you right away.” I sipped my own coffee, gazing at him inquisitively as I did so.
He looked mildly shocked. “Well... she did want to,” he admitted ruefully. “I guess I should say it was more my idea to wait. She wasn’t too happy with that at first, but it just didn’t make sense for her to throw away her chance at an education...”
“No, you’re absolutely right,” I told him, nodding vigorously. “Catherine is a little... impatient... when it comes to certain things.”
He nodded and sipped his coffee. “Yes.”
I slid closer to him on the sofa.
“In fact,” I whispered, “I wouldn’t be surprised if my daughter has decided to, withhold... certain intimancies... in the hopes it would goad you into a speedier marriage.”
I was certainly taking a chance in saying that.
I had no idea whether or not my daughter had slept with this man as of yet, or if the subject had even come up between them. However, it appeared I had hit the nail on the head, as Ajay gasped and stared at me with shocked surprise, nearly spilling his coffee into his lap.
“Look, Mrs. Curious,” he said firmly when he had recovered himself, and he set his cup down on the coffee table with the decisive precision of the attorney he surely was. “I appreciate you inviting me over for this little chat, but I don’t quite see the point. I mean, no offense... but aren’t these things I should be discussing with Catherine, and not her mother?”
“Perhaps,” I replied, smiling and placing my hand lightly on his thigh. “However, I think it’s been made very evident that Catherine may not be as... approachable... as I am, or as knowledgeable of a man's needs.”
I leaned close as though to whisper in his ear, but instead, I allowed my lips to gently graze his neck.
My intent was obvious.
He, however, would have none of it!
“Mrs. Curious!” he cried, pulling away from me and vaulting off the couch. “I do not know what you’re trying to do here, but I am in love with your daughter! Yes, it’s true... we haven’t slept together yet, but I really don’t think that’s any of your business! If she wants to wait until after our wedding, then I will respect her wishes. I will not succumb to... whatever the hell it is... you’re trying to do!”
I gazed up at him mildly. His face was flushed and he was breathing fast. He had clearly been aroused by what I had done, but still he had torn himself away.
He really did love my daughter.
In a way, I commended him for that.
“Monsieur Loner,” I said, setting my own cup down beside his forgotten one. “You should know I would do anything for my daughter.”
“Well, you sure have an odd way of showing it, and I don’t think...”
“Anything, Monsieur," I interrupted. “I don’t think you’re quite understanding my point.”
“Um... With all due respect, Mrs. Curious,” he countered, shaking his head. “I haven’t understood your point since the moment I walked through the front door today.”
He was certainly an entertaining young man.
Such a shame.
“I want you to understand that I must protect my child.” I said quietly. “Monsieur, I have a chance to save my daughter from certain damnation, and I intend to do it.”
He was beginning to look increasingly more confused.
“Listen,” he said firmly. “I’m leaving. Whatever it is you intend to do today, I don’t think I want to be a part of it.” He backed toward the exit. “I won’t mention anything about this visit to Catherine. We’ll just pretend it didn’t happen.”
I stared at him while a slow smile curved my lips.
He wouldn’t say anything to Catherine.
Of course he wouldn’t.
“Au revoir, Ajay.” I called cheerily. “It’s been so nice chatting with you. Oh, please watch your step in the elevator. It’s been acting up on me lately... I really need to have it serviced...”
“Yeah,” he replied tersely, rushing quickly from the room.
“You might want to use the stairs...” I called after him.
He did not respond.
I picked up my cup again and sipped it calmly as I listened to Ajay’s footsteps retreat down the hall.
Faintly, I heard the bell that announced the elevator’s arrival, then the swishing sound of the mechanical doors opening and closing. A second bell announced Ajay’s intent to go to the first floor, then the lift mechanism engaged...
I must call for service on that elevator!
It certainly did not sound normal.
I stood, intending to locate the telephone directory to find the number to call to have the elevator serviced, but before I could even take a step, I heard an awful creaking, and the entire house seemed to shudder...
Then I heard an ear-shattering scream as the elevator’s car plummeted to the basement!
There was no possible way anyone could have survived! The elevator had crashed to the cement floor of the housing... from two stories up!
Why hadn’t I had it serviced before such a tragic accident occurred?
Catherine would be simply devastated!
Catherine's been saved!
How was I possibly going to tell Catherine?
Catherine, my beautiful daughter,
I do not know when or if you will ever read this, but in the event you actually do, it will be certain that I am gone. I will leave specific instructions for this letter to be opened only in the event of my death.
Catherine, I’m a coward.
Rather than personally bring you the sad news of your fiancé perishing due to the faulty elevator of our home, I chose to allow the police to notify you. Rather than face you, I chose to leave. And, rather than continue to live such a cursed life, I chose to die.
It was my time, Catherine... I simply chose not to fight it.
There were things I could have done... medicines and elixirs I could have taken, but why extend such malignancy? No, it is only right to allow the shadows to finally have their due, in a place where you, my child, would not be a witness to it!
I am now at peace.
My hopes now turn to you, Catherine, as you move forward into a world I will not see. I did what I could for you. More, possibly, than you could ever understand. Yet I can’t help but fear that what flowed through my veins also flows in yours.
Beware, my daughter!
Beware the poison!
In loving remembrance,
~*~ finis ~*~