Sue opened her eyes sleepily and looked at the clock. 7.30 am! She jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom. The face looking at her in her mirror didn’t look like anyone she knew. No wonder she looked a strange sight, Thomas was messing with her head and she’d been crying most of the night with only brief interludes of restless sleep. She should be leaving for work by this time and her mind went blank as she wrestled with what to do next. Picking up the phone she dialed Beth who worked with her at the office.
“Hi Beth, I’ve had a hard night and may be late for work. Hold on, maybe I shouldn’t come in today as I wouldn’t make much of a contribution. Would you tell the boss I’ll give him a courtesy call later? Thanks for doing this for me Beth.”
Sue relaxed and glanced at the door. Tom was probably on the other side waiting for her to come out. She smiled and went to the bathroom to wash up. She decided to take her time and let him sweat for a while until she was ready to face him.
During the night Sue had replayed the events of last evening over and over in her mind. It seemed she was at war with herself internally. Reason told her Tom meant what he’d said when they’d enjoyed that romantic night at the Harbor Inn. The thought of the afterglow sitting by the harbor after that romantic dinner further reinforced this point of view. To miss time from his important work and take her to the beach was an unusual event, and the look in his eyes as he touched her was obviously that of love.
But another part of her mind kept bringing her back to that board meeting at which Tom had given an update on his project. Didn’t Claire say board members had decided to approach him to replace the retiring CEO? So he’d known before last evenings meeting with Jake and Claire he was on the list of potential replacement CEOs she reasoned. This opportunity he’d not shared with her, and it was an important decision which affected both of their lives. He was definitely in the wrong, and would have to suffer consequences. Sue wasn’t sure what these consequences would be, all she knew was that she was very angry.
An hour after she’d jumped out of bed Sue decided it was time to face Tom and have it out with him. Composing herself, and putting on her sternest face she marched to the door and flung it open. She cleared her throat loudly to get Tom’s attention. There was no response.
Sue slowly worked her way around the apartment without finding him; then looked out the window to see if he was outside. No Tom! She glanced at her watch. It was 8.30 am. Of course! Tom should’ve left for work at 7.30 when she was waking up, so he was probably at work now. What was she thinking?
The place looked neat and tidy. No dishes lying around, no evidence of where he’d spent the night. He must have sneaked into the bedroom to get his change of clothes for the day while she was sleeping. Never mind, we can have it out this evening and he’ll have the day to think things over and understand why she was feeling hurt and teaching him a lesson.
Then another thought entered her mind. What if he hadn’t spent the night at home? Where would he have gone? A wave of panic hit her. She’d been giving him a rough time lately, and patient as he’d always been she wondered if she’d pressed him to his limit? Had he decided she was just too much to have to deal with? She rushed to the phone to see if Tom had reached work. But as she reached the phone it rang urgently. Thank goodness! This has to be Tom she thought as she grabbed the phone.
“Hi this is Claire, I was just checking your office to see if you’d time to meet with a few of my friends and I after work, but they told me you were taking a sickie today. Are you OK? I hope last evening wasn’t too much for you?” Claire chuckled at her joke.
Sue stammered her disappointment and Claire sobered as she caught Sue’s mood. “Are you OK Sue?”
“I’ve had a very rough night Claire.”
“Bit early for the pregnancy to be troubling you that much,” said Claire. “Jake said it was really funny to see the look on Tom’s face when he broke the news to him last evening. Tom had no idea the board was considering him for that position. He’s supposed to give his answer to Jake this morning before the early board meeting at 8.30. I guess Tom will be the new CEO by now, that’s if he accepted, and we all hope he did.”
“But Tom was at the board meeting when they discussed that.” A wave of nausea hit Sue as she digested Claire’s words. “Tom must have known before our meeting last evening?”
“No Tom had no idea this was in the mind of board members. He’s not a member of the board and only attends when they’re discussing his project. The board has two candidates on their list, their preference is Tom but if he refuses they’ll have to go to their next choice and that’s Bert.”
“But Bert doesn’t like Tom at all!” The nausea was now at the stage where it couldn’t be ignored. “Claire could I phone you later, I’m feeling really sick.”
“Sure, I’ll phone you later. Must be some bug going around. A lot of people are off work with this flu or whatever it is. Talk with you later.”
Sue rushed to the bathroom and stood over the sink looking in the mirror. When she’d first looked this morning she appeared dejected and frumpy. Now she observed her reflection and thought she looked ugly. What was she going to say to Tom? What had he told Jake before the board meeting? Would she be able to repair the damage she’d done to their relationship now with her foolish suppositions? With a groan she retreated to the bedroom and lay on the bed reaching for the bedside telephone.
“Mom, I need a friend right now!” Sue poured the story out in a torrent of words and tears while Elizabeth listened in silence. Finally Sue ran out of words and continued to hold the phone while she sobbed quietly.
“Oh Sue! You really are in a tight spot this time.” Elizabeth didn’t know what to say. It was obvious her daughter had been very foolish, and the marriage could be in jeopardy but this was the time to listen and not express an opinion. Elizabeth loved both Sue and Tom and her stomach knotted as she thought what could eventuate from this breakdown in communication.
Sue sighed. “I guess I’ll have to phone Tom and confess how stupid I’ve been and hope I can repair damage done. Wish me luck Mom!”
Sue dialed Tom’s office number and a weary voice answered, “Tom speaking, can I help you?”
“Tom,” said Sue weakly, I’m sorry. I really didn’t know and I’m sorry. Can you talk now?”
Tom’s voice changed from weary to cold. “I’m afraid I don’t have time now Sue. We’ll talk about it tonight.” The phone gave a resounding click as Tom ended the call.
Sue gave a loud cry of distress and ran to the medicine cabinet to look for something to ease her pain.
“© Ian Grice Copyright 2010 All rights reserved”