Tears were already cursing down Nora’s face. “Benny—”
“Not a word, Nora!” The order came in a steel voice before Benny shifted his gaze to Tim. “Giving my fiancée that discount without me being here, are you, Mr iPhone-hotelier?”
“This is not what you think it is, man. And I’m begging you not to make a scene.” Tim was sweating profusely underneath his clothes despite his calm tone.
“Ooh, look at that, the hotelier doesn’t want a scene in his hotel.” Benny wanted to smash his fist into his face. He wanted to let out the rage swirling in him on the jackass. And he didn’t even know how he restrained himself from doing just that. “Tell me this is just a business meeting, Nora.” Looking at her filled him with repugnance. “Tell me he’s just a client of the bank and that you’re his goddamn accounts officer, Nora!”
“Dude, keep your voice down, please.”
Benny swept around, yanked Tim up by his blazer and ploughed his fist right into his face. “Don’t you two take me for a bloody fool!” He snarled. Then hating the instant gasps that came from other tables, he turned and stormed out of the restaurant.
“Oh God, my life is over!” Nora wailed. “What am I going to do now?”
“Certainly not sit here crying!” Tim snapped, pressing a hand against his nose to stop the bleeding.
Darn it! The man may have broken his nasal bone. But knowing he deserved it—and worse—he didn’t utter the words aloud. He pulled out a handkerchief and wiping off the blood, tried to offer apologetic smiles to the stupefied dining guests. Damn, what a mess!
“It’s all right.” He nodded to his staffs that have run forward. “Go back to work. Nora, let’s go.”
He tried to take her hand, but she knocked it off and then springing to her feet, grabbed her handbag and raced out of the restaurant.
Nora ran into her car, started it and muttering a million words of prayer at the same time, pulled out of the hotel’s parking lot into the night traffic, speeding in the direction of Benny’s house. Tears streamed down her face, blurring her vision more than half the time. She nearly crashed into other cars twice but she didn’t care; neither did she lower her speed.
Wouldn’t it be better to run into a car and die than to face the shame and humiliation that surely awaited her?
What was she going to tell him? What explanation would be acceptable? He had caught her red-handed… she had no business being in that hotel with Tim. God, she had no business ever going there to meet him! Her lies were over… they were over!
“Hei!” The word tore out of her even as she stopped her car beside the wall fence and got down, barely having the wit to lock the car before running through the pedestrian gate.
She tried the door. It opened.
Imploring God to show her this one last mercy, Nora crept into the living room. Benny was sitting on the sofa, his hands angled on his knees and bearing his chin, whilst his legs jiggled with rapid movements. She could almost smell the fury in him, just as she could almost smell the pain and utter disappointment.
Nora fell to her knees. “Benny, it’s—”
“If you dare tell me it’s not what I think, I swear I will kill you with my bare hands, Nora!”
“Hei!” Nora raised her hands to grab her weave. “I am finished!” She has destroyed her life with her own hands. She has ruined herself. “Ewo! I acted without thinking. I acted without thought o.” Tears rained down her cheeks afresh.
“You were with him on Wednesday, weren’t you?”
“Benny, I beg you—”
“Don’t do that!” Benny grated, struggling with the raw pain that overwhelmed him. “Don’t you dare beg! Stop with your crocodile tears and answer my question. Were you with him on Wednesday or were you in a meeting?”
Nora looked at him. And the cold fury masking his features shocked her. Oh God, this is what she had brought this good, gentle man to. “Yes. Yes, I was with him. I have been seeing him. I have been cheating on you with him. But I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just confused. Please forgive me. Please.”
A pain so incomprehensible and utterly unbearable slashed through Benny. He wanted to yell. To rise and strike her. He wanted to pummel her with his fists. Instead tears poured from his eyes. “Who is he? Who is he to you?”
“Your ex? The one who dumped you and left for the UK?” Shock made Benny stare at her in stupefaction. “The one who left you a heartbroken mess and because of whom you spent many months crying? You cheated on me with a man who so cruelly treated you?” Benny shot to his feet. Pain and disbelief ran amok inside of him. “Why, Nora? Why?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.” Nora wished for death. She wished he would strike her. Kick her, pound on her… anything was more bearable than looking into his wounded eyes. “He said he couldn’t stop thinking about me. He said he made a mistake—”
“And you believed him and fell into his arms because you felt you were making a mistake too?” How can you love someone so much and not know how treacherous they are? Benny wondered. “Did you ever love me? Or was I simply a second best?”
“I love you, Benny—”
Benny found the words vile. He hated to hear them from her lips now. “Then it must have been the sex. Was it sex, Nora? Did he make you feel more like a woman than I ever did? Did he give you more orgasms?”
Shame flooded Nora. She wished the ground would open up and swallow her. “Benny please—”
“I told you not to beg!” Benny hauled her off her feet and tossed her into the sofa. “So you went to him for sex, huh? You went to another man because I wasn’t good enough?” He dropped over her, violently parted her legs and started unbuckling his trousers. “You cheapened yourself like a whore because you are demented about sex, not so, Nora? Was he a better lover? Tell me, is he a better lover than I am?”
“Forgive me.” Nora did not cringe. She didn’t flinch from his fury, from his assault. “I am indeed a whore and unworthy of you… but I beg you to forgive me. Forgive me, I beg you. Do whatever you like to me, but just forgive me.”
Benny’s hands froze on his trousers. He felt a sudden sickness rise in him. He had just been about to violently take her… to rape her? Shock pushed him to his feet and sent him staggering back.
Nora understood the question and it shamed her more. “It started the week you travelled.”
Benny whirled around. “You’ve been sleeping with this man for three weeks?”
What had he expected? Had he hoped that Wednesday night would be the first?
“What was your plan? To dump me or to continue cheating right into our marriage?
Nora made a helpless whimpering sound. “I wasn’t thinking straight… I wasn’t thinking at all. Please, please, forgive me. I didn’t know what I was doing.”
“Stop with the lies and excuses, Nora!” Hate was beginning to curse through his veins and for Benny the feeling of aversion was better than the pain and anguish that had been slowly killing him since he trailed her. “You wanted this from the beginning. He left you his business card and you lied to me that it was just a customer. You and he were talking in that phone shop and you were all dismissive, lying to me that he was an old acquaintance when you two were already making plans for your disgusting affair.”
“No! That wasn’t what we were talking about that day.”
“Shut up and stuff you bloody lies!” Benny felt intense revulsion at the sight of her. How could he have loved her so much and she was… she was nothing but dirt. Trash. “You’re disgusting. You have no morals… none whatsoever. Dear Lord, you met his fiancée. You spoke with the woman he intended to marry and you still went ahead to jump into his bed. You make me sick! I wish I never met you.”
He turned from her and started in the direction of his bedroom. He needed to get away from her presence. He needed to be alone… to find something to freeze out the gripping pain that clutched his heart.
Nora flew off the sofa and ran after him. “Benny, please, please… I’m on my knees. Don’t turn you back on me… don’t hate. Don’t leave me. Forgive me. Please forgive me.”
Her hands holding tightly to his legs sent fresh fury and revulsion into him. “Take your hands off me, Nora. I loved you and I gave you all of myself. I did for you things many men would not do for their women. You were everything to me, but I was never enough for you.” He bent and wrenched off her hands from his legs. “You had me, but you wanted Tim… go to him. I am done. You did not cheat on me once. You did so several times and you lied to my face repeatedly about your actions and whereabouts. I can never again trust you… and I can never marry a woman I cannot trust. Never!”
He turned and marched into his bedroom, shut the door and locked it.
Nora stood staring after him. She suddenly felt numb. She could not cry. She could not scream, she could not move. “Hei! I have ruined my life!” The words came from her lips as she slumped to the rugged floor.
Tim knew he had to get to Sharon.
Dramas like this spread like wild fire. And in this social media era, anyone could have taken a snapshot of what happened and already uploaded it online. It will spread among bloggers since this was the kind of drama they thrived on.
She was the one who opened their front door to his greatest relief.
“Hey, baby. What a lovely surprise. Come right in.” Sharon leaned over and gave him a quick hug and then a peck on the cheek. “If you were hoping to see Dad and mum, you’ll have to wait because they both went out. But I’m sure they’ll be back soon.”
“I’m actually here to see you, Sharon. Can we talk in your room?”
Sharon eyes him closely. His voice sounded grave, His nose looked reddish and his upper-lip had a tiny slit on it. “Are you all right? Did something happen?”
“Let’s talk inside, please.” Tim took her hand and led her down the foyer into the living room. He sent a quick smile to her younger brother. “Davy, how far now?”
“Good evening, bros.” The tall, lanky teenager greeted with a dip of his head and a smile.
“Evening. Can you give your sister and I a few minutes to talk inside? We’ll be right out soonest, okay?”
Davy dipped his head again. “Okay.” And went back to his TV program.
The second they were inside her room, Sharon turned worried eyes on him. “Tim, what is going on? Why did you come this evening unannounced? And what happened to your face?”
Tim lowered to his knees. “Sharon, there’s no easy way to say this—”
“Oh my God!” Sharon clutched her hand against her chest. “What are you doing, Tim?”
“Forgive me. I have failed you and I have failed God and myself.” Tim raised pleading eyes to meet hers. “I have been cheating on you these past couple of weeks. It never meant anything… I swear to you, it never meant anything… just sex.”
Sharon gaped at him. So all of her suspicions were true then. There was another woman. “Just sex.” She repeated the words, trying to comprehend them.
Tim nodded, deepening the imploring of his eyes. “Yes, she meant nothing. I love you… I never stopped loving you. I just succumbed to a weak moment.”
It wasn’t premeditated. Sharon didn’t think about doing it. But her right hand rose from her hand and connected with Tim’s cheek in a resounding slap. “You bastard!”