Cuckoo

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story about a woman who is used as a stepping stone; it is entirely fictitious.

Submitted: November 17, 2016

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Submitted: November 17, 2016

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Cuckoo.

 

Stealth – the ability to act swiftly and secretly, when the opportunity arises. He is well practised in stealth but I know he is going to arrive at any moment, and stealthy or not, I’ll be waiting. He is not going to sneak past me unnoticed this time.

 

I was once taken in by him. I trusted him, let him in to my life, only to learn that I was nothing more than a means to an end. It was never me he wanted but my father – or, rather, my father’s business. The fact is that once we were married, once they started meeting each other frequently, neither he nor my father wanted much to do with me. There was no further need for pretence.

 

I’d like to think that my father was tricked by him. That he didn’t realise what a calculated individual my husband was. He never loved me. He loved the hotel chain my father founded and still controlled. He loved it so much that he married me just to give him the chance to get his hands on it.

 

Of course, it was not instantly obvious; there was a time when he genuinely seemed to care. He was way too capable an actor, far too calculating a man, to make a play for the business right away. In fact, when my father offered him a position on the Board, he turned it down initially, claiming he wanted to pursue his career in law. It was all a lie. He had no talent for law at all, and would never have advanced in that profession. My father was providing him a ladder from which the only way was up.

 

And over weekends and late nights the two of them became firm friends, and within a year my father had ‘persuaded’ my husband to work with him. There was even talk of a future partnership for him. And it was at this time that the abuse started. The put-downs, the pushing, and eventually the punching. He clearly felt that I had done what I could for him and now he no longer even bothered to pretend that he cared. Just so long as I kept my mouth shut and remembered my place.

 

If my mother had still been alive I would have gone to her. She would have listened, she would have understood. My father would have listened a year ago, but the only time I tried to bring it up with him, I was put through the humiliation of listening to them laughing about my ‘complaints’.

 

And so our lives carried on. My husband was fast becoming the son my father had never had but had always wanted. He was blind to the silences, blind to the bruises or maybe he just chose not to recognise them for what they were. I had less and less to do with the business while my husband had more and more.

 

I guess it was during the fourth year of our marriage that I first became aware of just how good at stealth this man that I had been taken in by really was. If my father was visiting us, or if we were visiting him, whenever I left the room my husband would find me and issue his threats if I dared to open my mouth. He wasn’t shy in describing what my fate would be. And then he’d vanish, be back in that room and they’d be talking and laughing. It was as though they had been together the entire time.

 

I started to think that it was me – that I was going mad. Maybe the bruises were the result of falls that I forgot and just blamed on him. Maybe all the words I heard were being spoken inside my own head. I spent more and more time alone, not knowing who to trust or where to turn.

 

And then my father had a heart attack. A massive one that he had no chance of recovering from. One minute he was there enjoying a laugh, the next minute he was gone. He had turned his back on me but I was still distraught. After all, it was me that introduced the actor into our lives, not him. I was responsible for the huge rift that had developed between us.

 

Within a couple of hours the doubts started to form in my mind. Had my husband somehow been behind my father’s death? He had certainly not been at all surprised by it and was quickly almost rubbing his hands together in glee. He was so sure that he would now control the company himself. I knew how callous and single-minded he could be, I knew that he would go to any lengths to get what he wanted.

 

But if that was the case, and I had no proof – too scared to even mention the possibility – he was in for a shock. Maybe my father had suddenly noticed my deterioration, maybe he’d been getting suspicious, or maybe he really had never stopped loving me. Whatever the reason, it was to me that he bequeathed all he owned. I now controlled the company and there was absolutely nothing my husband could do about it.

 

He had to go. He knew it and I knew it. We didn’t make a fuss, we had no scandalous divorce, no publicised accusations. I did not even have to fire him; he left the company by his own free will.

 

But he said that he would be back for me. That he would get his revenge.

 

And I believed him when he said it and I believe him now. I don’t know when he will come for me, when he’ll stealthily launch his attack. But I have patience, and I observe, and this time I will be ready for him.


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