Elaine wheels on him, her face filled with the wrath of a real angry woman.
Don’t tell me to calm down! You’re not the one who got raped! I don’t care what it takes, but I’m going make sure Chris Bawa is taken back to jail to serve the rest of his sentence! You watch me!
She picks up her handbag and snatches her car keys from a hook on the wall. She storms out of the house without another word.
Steve walks to the beautifully-designed bar and pours himself a tall glass of scotch. He uses a spatula to scoop ice from an ice bucket into his drink. He swirls it thoughtfully and drinks half of it.
Want a drink, Princess?
Effe shakes her head. She walks almost unsteadily to an immaculately-finished sofa and sits down.
Steve watches her carefully.
Is he going to be a problem for us?
Effe looks at him almost numbly.
Chris. He’s back. He used to be your husband, and my best friend. I was his best man at your wedding. You’ve divorced him, and we’re planning our wedding. Now he’s back. I want to know if he’s going to be a problem to our plans.
Effe looks at him for a long time, and then she stands up and walks towards him. She stands very close to him. Her eyes are steady as she looks at him.
Chris is dead to me, Steve. I chose you. You and I were friends before he came along. Your parents and my parents have always wanted you and I to marry, to seal the friendship that has existed between our two families for ages. You went to school, brought your school mate home, and I ended up falling in love with your friend. He turned the script on its head, and strained the relationship between our two families. He had his chance, and he not only humiliated me, he tore my heart to shreds. You were there, you helped me, and you were a rock and a fortress for me. Finally, we’ve decided to get together again. I keep my promises, Steve. Chris is dead to me. And I will marry you!
Steve smiles with happiness. He empties his glass and sets it down.
A step brings him close to Effe. He takes her in his arms, and she does not protest when he kisses her.
However, when his hand moves up to cup her delicious right breast, she stands back away from him, and shakes her head sadly.
(exasperated and sad)
Why, Effe? Why? He’s out now! I saw the way he looked at you! We need to make love, Effe, my darling! You need to give me that assurance! You need to be mine in every way, so that it makes you committed! I was prepared to wait until our wedding before touching you, but you said it yourself: Chris is back, and he’s turned the script on its head! Let me make love to you, my darling! I love you so, Effe.
Tears brim in Effe’s eyes as she takes another step back from him.
I can’t Steve, darling! You know I can’t!
And why the hell not, Effe? Why? Are you still playing games with me? Does he affect you that much? Damn it! Why not?
Oh, Steve! No, he doesn’t affect me! But you know me. I’m a hundred percent faithful to my partner! Before I make love to you my marriage to Chris must end!
But it has ended! You have been granted your divorce by the court! You have signed the damn papers! What else do you need?
(voice breaking down)
Oh, Steve! Please don’t do this! You know Chris refused to sign the divorce papers! Until he signs them, I’m still his wife, much as I hate it, and I can’t be unfaithful in that capacity!
That is bullshit, darling, and you damn well know it! Once the divorce was granted you’re free! You don’t need his signature! Once you’ve signed yours, it’s over! Hell, are you saying if he refuses to sign the damn papers in twenty years you still wouldn’t marry me? That’s a damn excuse!
I want him to sign those divorce papers, darling. You know me well, and you know how important some little things like these are to me.
For five years I told you to take the damn papers to him in prison and make him sign them, but you refused to visit him in prison! So what are you going to do if he refuses to sign the papers? Check into the nearest Catholic Church as a nun, maybe?
Stop hurting me, Steve, please! Look, it’s good he’s back. I’ll send the papers to him myself, and I’ll let him sign them! And then we’ll get married, sweetheart.
Steve pours more drink. His hand is not steady, and he spills some of the drink. He drinks it straight and walks towards her.
Do that, darling. Do that for me. Let’s get married. I can’t wait any longer, ok?
He brushes his lips against hers, and then he takes his car keys from the hook. He turns towards the door.
Good night, Steve.
He pauses and looks at her darkly, grinding his teeth. He is suddenly so filled with fury that it shocks her.
(in a furious snarl)
Oh, it’s like that now, is it?
Like what? What’re you talking about?
Instead of ‘Good night, darling’ you now say ‘Good night, Steve’? Just because Chris is back?
She sees that his extreme jealousy has come to the fore. She is getting angry herself, but she strives to keep her cool.
Stop being childish, Steve. Good night.
He glowers at her for moment, and then he nods and opens the door furiously, slamming it shut behind him.
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Effe sinks into a chair and hugs herself. She shuts her eyes, and she sees those eyes! Eyes that had always held love! Eyes that used to worship her! Eyes that she used to love so much!
But she sees the shock in them now. The excruciating pain! The unbelievable explosion of bitter gall as he asks her again why she had taken a restraining order against him!
The tears seep beneath her eyelids, and with a tiny cry of despair she gets up and pours herself a drink. She takes a sip, and another, and then grimaces with disgust. She walks to the beautiful kitchen and pours the drink down the drain. She returns to the living-room and picks her phone.
She dials. A grumpy, sleepy voice answers. It is the voice of JOSHUA DARKWA, their family attorney of many years. He is 57 years old, and more of a family member now.
Effe, my dear. Is it about that Chris issue ?
Sorry to wake you up, Uncle Josh, but yes, it is. Dad told me he’ll inform you to get Chris out. I was just wondering if you were able to see to it.
Well, I tried. It seems the arresting officer walked off with the key to the cell, and there was no way to get him out. They promised me, though, that as soon as the officer returned they would release him.
But that’s so unfair, so unlawful! What if they don’t release him?
Calm down, my dear. I’m sure they would. Early tomorrow morning I’ll go over there myself and verify.
I’ll like to come along, Uncle Josh, if you don’t mind.
No problem, dear. I’ll come pick you up.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Always a pleasure. Please get some sleep now.
Effe walks dejectedly up the stairs to her room. She undresses and takes a long bath. Naked, she walks to her bed and slides under the sheets.
Sleep takes a long time to come, because she keeps seeing his eyes …filled with pain, filled with torture.
She keeps hearing his voice, over and over again: you took a restraining order against me? Why did you do a thing like that? She buries her head in her pillow. Her shoulders shake as the sobs slowly rocks through her soul.
Damn you, Chris Bawa! Damn you to hell!