For my co-author Kir’s piece on Bree (you don’t want to miss this week!) click here
With a fake smile she was intimately familiar with, Gabrielle’s mother pushed past her into the apartment, dropping her purse and carry on bag to the floor.
“What, can’t a mother come see her child?”
Arms crossed, Gabrielle glared at her mother. “Sure, if the mother even knows the child’s address. How did you know where I was living Mom?”
She scanned her mother’s face. Audrey Waters was the epitome of calm, cool and collected. She smoothed long tapered fingers across nonexistent creases and gave Gabrielle a look before answering.
“I should be angry with you, Gabby dear. You just up and disappeared, right when I needed you the most!”
Gritting her teeth Gabrielle said, “Stop deflecting, Mom. You know why I left.” She let out a deep sigh and laid a hand along her mother’s arm. “I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch. You didn’t deserve that. However,” she tightened the grip, forestalling her mother’s inevitable comeback, “that still doesn’t explain how you got this address.”
Audrey huffed, “Fine! I might have hacked your father’s email and I might have seen that email from you talking about how you saved up enough to purchase your own place.”
Gabrielle gasped. “Mother! You hacked an email account? Where did you learn something like that?”
With a wave of dismissal, Audrey turned and wandered into the small, yet cozy living room and sat gingerly on the edge of the couch. “It’s not difficult. Your father really should be more original with his passwords.”
“God help me,” Gabrielle murmured to herself. She caught sight of the clock on the wall and groaned. Steven would be here any moment. She really didn’t want to explain the presence of her mother, especially since she didn’t know why she’d suddenly turned up on her doorstep.
And since her mother didn’t know she was engaged.
Gabrielle flipped her ring around, palming the diamond. “Mom, does Ray know you’re here?”
Audrey sniffed at the mention of her current husband and large tears pooled along her lashes before spilling down her cheeks. Gabrielle realized her mother had been crying a lot as the façade broke. She sat next to her mother and grasped a hand in hers.
Taking a shuddering breath Audrey got right to the point. “Ray and I are getting a divorce.”
“Oh Mom, what happened? I thought this one might stick, Ray was besotted with you.” Gabrielle felt a familiar tightening in her gut as memories of her childhood came rushing back. Her parents constant fighting made a tense environment. Married too young, Audrey and Jonathan Waters thought their idealized high school love could see them through anything. Gabrielle’s arrival and the resulting strains on their relationship due to a tough economy proved otherwise.
“Perhaps he was, once. But we drifted apart and all I was getting out of it was a new expensive outfit.” She held out her arms, scrutinizing the Chanel blazer and sighed. “New clothes do not make the heart sing. I was so lonely, Gabby, so desperate for affection…”
Gabrielle sucked in a breath. “Oh, Mom. You didn’t!” At her mother’s nod she continued. “Who?”
Audrey opened her mouth to answer only to be interrupted by the front door swinging open, Steven calling out, “Gabrielle? Are you alright? Why is the door open?”
Damn, I forgot to shut the door. Standing she moved over to Steven, shielding her mother from view. She hooked her hand on his elbow and tried to guide him back out.
“Can you wait in the hall? I had an unexpected visitor I need to get settled.”
Steven glanced over her shoulder, craning his neck to see. “Who is it? An aunt?”
“Uhm, no. Not exactly.” She turned her head and called to Audrey. “Be right back!” then hustled Steven out of the apartment.
“Gabrielle, what’s going on?” He glanced at his watch. “We’re going to be late.”
“I’m really sorry, sweetie, but I need to duck out of dinner. I need to deal with this.”
“What, exactly, it this?” He gestured towards the closed door. Gabrielle took a deep breath.
“The woman in there isn’t my aunt, she’s my mother.” She grimaced at the shocked look on Steven’s face. Please, let him play along and just go. I really don’t want to have them meet now. “She showed up out of the blue and…she doesn’t know I’m engaged.”
Another inspiring prompt from BeKind Rewrite This week I used
CAN’T STOP CRYING