‘‘What? How is that possible?” Wendy shook her head violently.
“What are you thinking about? How could it be possible! I’ve had no feelings for him for ages.”
“Then why did you praise him to the hilt?”
Wendy rolled her eyes and said, “Because I had completely let it go, so in hindsight I can talk about it objectively.”
Ryan was stunned momentarily then regained his calm.
He poured another glass of wine for her then asked softly, “Since he was such a wonderful man, why did you break up with him then?”
Wendy cupped her chin and said, “Well, it has something to do with what happened a long time ago.My memory is failing me.Hmm, initially we loved each other to death.When we started dating, I was just a freshman and he was a senior college student.He was just one year away from graduating.At that time, he was busy with his internship but he always made time to meet me at school.We were a regular couple who watched movies and went out for dinner together.After our dates, he would drop me back at school.At that time, I felt like I was the happiest and luckiest girl alive.Hmmm.In fact, I was so swept away by this infatuation that I wanted to grow up quickly so that I could marry him.”
‘What?’ Ryan’s mood was spoilt by these words.
“We spent one entire year blissfully in love.Then Eris got wind that I was in love and thereafter she would always hang out with us.She had never heard the old adage that two’s company and three’s a crowd.
Eris had always mistreated Reese and me in the past.Suddenly she became sweeter than honey.I was so naive at that time.Seriously, I thought she had changed for the better.”
Ryan already had a vague idea as to how things developed thereafter before Wendy could explain further.
“After she joined us, Brian…By the way, my ex- boyfriend’s name is Brian Oliver.Eh…What a coincidence.Like you, his surname is also Oliver.”
‘Yes, it’s a real co-incidence! After all he is my nephew!’ Depressed, Ryan took a sip of wine with a sigh.
“Cheers!” Wendy clinked glasses with him and took another two gulps.
“Don’t be so miserly.It won’t make you poor.” Ryan was stunned.
“Hmm, what did I just say? Oh, I remember.I was telling you about the change of Eris’s attitude towards me.At that time, I was so blind and ignorant that I didn’t notice that she had a crush on Brian.Since then, she accompanied us to the movies.Brian sat in the middle with the two of us on either side of him.Back then, I didn’t suspect a thing.”
“Oh dear! At first, Brian was annoyed by her intrusion and argued with me about it a few times.I was daft enough to even defend Eris.Gradually, we had less contact and went out less frequently.Earlier we used to call each other every night without fail, but then our calls reduced to a few times a week.Later our relationship deteriorated even further where we only spoke to each other once a week on the phone.”
Obviously, Eris had stolen her boyfriend.
“I actually found a part-time job during that time.Work and study kept me very busy and I didn’t pay attention to these changes.More importantly, I trusted him implicitly!”
“What happened later?”
Holding the glass, Wendy blushed and recalled, “Later, they did something horrible and it hurt me so badly.I discovered that Brian was being unfaithful to me.They then openly admitted that they had been seeing each other secretly for a whole year.I was crushed.”
‘Something horrible?’’ Ryan repeated it inwardly with a frown.
“What did they do?”
Wendy trembled like a leaf in a draught when she thought of what happened that night.
In fact, she had a vivid recollection of that night.
Eris had drugged her and thrown her to a man.
The entire night, she writhed in pain, a like a little boat being violently tossed by a tempest.
Finally, she fainted from exhaustion.
When she woke up the next day, there were bloodstains all over the bed sheet.
Since then, she held a deep fear of sex.
But when she awoke, she realized that the man in the room was Brian.
Her fear was replaced with happiness.Later she found out that she was pregnant.
Brian’s sense of responsibility was flawless.
He accompanied her to all the prenatal checkups and seemed genuinely happy, like an excited father-to-be.
So she didn’t doubt him.
During that time, Eris went out of her way to be kind to her.
She brought her delicious, nutritious food to help her along with a healthy pregnancy.
She was oblivious of the false happiness that they had created for her.
She was as happy as any expectant mother.
Then came the day for the eight months’ prenatal checkups.
She recalled the scene that day: the smell of blood all over the ground, the taste of salty sea water, the suffocation because of the sea water, and…
She shuddered when she thought of the photo of the corpse of her baby.
It was a girl.
A little girl.
It was only the size of a kitten: black and blue all over, and there was no breath.
Later, when she was in the US, she would recall the photo every time she held Ray in her arms.
The thought would torment her enough to want to rush back and kill the scumbags!
“I hate them! Hate them!”
Looking at her deranged state, Ryan held her hand tightly.
They had known each other for a long time and she had always displayed an optimistic and positive side.
It was the first time that he had seen her break down like this.
I ‘Those people! What did they do to her?!’ Ryan’s eyes were gloomy and frightening.
He held her hand tightly and said, “Let me help you!”
“No! I will kill them myself!”
Wendy gulped down another glass of wine.
“Uh, Why is the room spinning?”
Wendy rubbed her temples and looked at Ryan in a confused state.
“Why am I seeing two of you? What…Now there’s three of you.”
Hearing that, Ryan lowered his head and looked at the wine bottle.
He discovered that she had consumed more than half the bottle of wine.
She had been drinking all the time that she was reliving the horror of her past.
The wine had a strong impact on her.
Not only did it confound her senses but it gave her unspoken courage.
He scowled and reached out to grab the glass in her hand.
“That’s enough! Stop drinking!”
Holding the glass, Wendy stared at him defensively as if protecting a child, “Go away!”
Ryan was dumbfounded.
“This thing tastes so good.It tastes bitter at first but sweet once you acquire a taste for it.She poured a full glass of red wine into her mouth, as if she was drinking water.She didn’t want Ryan to snatch it away from her.The decanter was empty now.Then her face turned red and her vision became blurred.”She burped.
“Eh, where am I? It looks a little familiar.It’s like a maze.I can’t get out.”
She burped and staggered around the room in a drunken stupor.
Ryan was quick enough to catch her before she tripped over the carpet.
When Wendy turned her head and saw Ryan, her eyes lit up.
She turned around abruptly and reached out to hold Ryan’s face.
“Oh! What a handsome boy! Are you in a serious relationship?”