2. Comebacks

“Making a comeback is one of the most difficult things to do with dignity.”

~Greg Lake

A few hours after our conversation with Effie, I had dinner and locked myself inside my bedroom.  Breaking my record on this newest video game that my big brother, Eugene, had bought for himself was the most relaxing thing I could think of. Punching and kicking those shaolin Kung Fu masters of “Mortal Kombat X” seemed like a good way to express my suppressed anger. Plus it seemed hilarious since I was the definition of a tiny girl and I couldn’t even hit a fly properly.

The night ahead seemed to be very quiet and not promising at all. Mandy was out of town, Jim had told me that he was going to croak on his couch since he was exhausted from work and Effie had other plans for tonight. But we had promised to one another that we would go for drinks tomorrow, since I hadn’t seen her in ages! Last time I had been with Effie, she had just got back from Italy. And we were still together…

My fatigue was getting now on the surface and the only thing I wanted to do was to fill the bathtub with cool water and soak in there. Or drown myself… That seemed promising at the moment. Because apart from work and that unutterable heat, my studying schedule was also grinding. I had to pass my finals if I wanted to start working on my master thesis soon.

The buzzing of my cell phone though brought me back to reality. It was him. Why was he doing that? I guess some people were unable to understand what others were saying. Or they didn’t want to understand. Or I hadn’t been clear enough. Well now I would become crystal clear! Things between us should follow my lead. And they would!

“Leda…” I heard him say two seconds after I had picked up the phone. What the hell? Did he hear my breath?

“Hello…” I replied. Things will follow my lead, I kept saying inside my mind like a mantra.

“Such a tough crowd to please. I didn’t expect that from you Brownie,” he told me. The fact that he was using my old nickname, after everything that had happened between us, was pushing me to hang up the phone that very instant. But I didn’t want to give him that satisfaction.

“It’s been a long time since you were pleasing me Michael,” I replied and I got even me by surprise. I was never aggressive when talking to another person. Except perhaps one tiny exception…

Nonetheless, Michael did not seem to notice. He started laughing but before I had the chance to tell him something that would cut his wings off, he spoke again.

“When I return, we shall see if what you’re saying is true,” he responded. Oh, you’re so full of yourself Michael!

I really wanted to tell him something that would make him lose that sense of arrogance. Something cruel. Or at least something like “you admit that you may have fucked up a little”, in case it was difficult for him to coordinate with my vibes. I knew I had thought of him when I first listened to that song of The Script.

Finally though, I told him that I was too tired to continue this conversation. So I hung up the phone, before he could say a thing, I turned the lights off and went to sleep. It was already two past midnight.

***

The next morning I woke up quite early, feeling very perky. And I knew exactly why. The fact that my sleep hadn’t been disturbed by nightmares with Michael, appearing and disappearing in front of me, was more than enough! Especially since my part in those dreams would be like I was running to catch him, like that crazy Catherine Earnshaw would do.

After I had finished my breakfast and tided my bedroom, I thought I could clean the kitchen and the living room as well. I was hoping that my chores would keep me busy at least till lunch time.

Gerard, my father, had left extremely early from home. He had to go to the university to send some urgent messages. I guess being a professor at the department of Business Administration wasn’t always as elegant as it seemed. Personally I thought that it was at least tragicomic to talk about business administration, when one by one, most of the big companies in the country were closing. Not to mention that the economy was a complete and utter mess! However, my dad, being as always moderately optimistic, was hoping that at least his students would have much better luck in the future.

My opinion though about hope and expectations was that they were bringing eternal misery but I did not want to fight with my father about this.

Eugene wasn’t home either, since he and his girlfriend, Cleo, had gone on holiday to Santorini, in order to visit her family. My brother didn’t want to admit it but I knew that his relationship with Cleo was becoming more serious by the day.

I was beyond happy for them! My brother had achieved pretty much everything he had planned in his life so far. So why not a perfect relationship, too? He was such a perfectionist and a planner, so I knew he would make it work with Cleo.

Cleo… that sweet girlfriend, soon to be fiancée, of that brother of mine. She was always expressing every single one of her emotions! I guess romantics never cease to exist. I’m living proof of them.

Maybe Eugene wasn’t quite familiar with demonstrations of affection, but that did not mean he didn’t like them.

On the other hand, I was the one who could easier express my negative thoughts and feelings. A total contrast to my romantic soul.

As I was thinking that, I realized that only Anna, my father’s second wife, and I were at home. I really liked Anna. She was always so kind, honest and protective of everyone, and so was her daughter, Zoe. I couldn’t say the same though about her son, Aaron.

From the first moment we met our dislike towards each other was more than obvious. Thankfully, I had to endure him on rare occasions, since Aaron was living in England with his father. He was only visiting for few days in August so I was in my best behavior then, in order to please my father and Anna. It wasn’t easy to coexist with such a difficult man but I was doing my best.

I was so absorbed in my thoughts and the cleaning of the kitchen that I didn’t notice Anna entering the room.

“Good morning Leda!” she said with a big smile, that made her blue eyes even brighter.

I got so scared that I almost tripped over the chairs of the kitchen table. A few seconds later though I started wondering, who else could it be?

“Calm down my dear!” Anna tried to soothe me. Her features altered because of her worry.

“I’m ok. I just got I little distracted,” I replied. “It was so quiet and I thought that you were working in the office. I didn’t want to disturb you,” I went on apologetically.

That was actually the reason why I hadn’t turn on the radio to the maximum.

Anna was working at the university with my father, but she was at the law school. She was the reason why Zoe had become a lawyer in the first place. And the fact that she couldn’t stop talking at times! Although I guess that she and her husband, Anthony, weren’t that talkative now. Crete can blow your mind! It’s a fact.

“You never disturb Leda. You always put everyone else’s needs above yours. And you know that this isn’t always good…” she told me.

Anna was always trying to remind me that although she wasn’t my biological mother, she would always be there to support and advise me. After all, she had proven herself when we lost my mum in a car crash. It has been ten years since then… My dad’s words echoed in my mind. People die only when we forget them and stop talking about them.

Trying to diffuse the tension around us, I told Anna that I would make a freddo cappuccino for each of us. I thanked Effie silently for the time she had spent in Italy and all that great knowledge she had brought back with her. What can I say? I adored caffeine!

That would actually help me to approach a quite unpleasant matter to discuss.

“So Anna, when does Aaron come to visit?” I asked, pretending to be indifferent.

“He’ll be home in three days. He decided to come earlier this year to enjoy the sea and the sun. Plus he has to start looking for a new house,” she replied with equal indifference. Nonetheless, her cautiousness gave her away.

That was something I didn’t expect from my step-mother. Not only had I to endure that snobbish person for a whole month, but he was also moving here permanently?

First Michael’s comeback and now the comeback of the prodigal son Aaron?

I took a deep breath before asking my next question. I was scared of the answer that would follow.

“Doesn’t Aaron live permanently with your ex-husband? Weren’t they working together at his doctor’s practice?” I asked with pure puzzlement. As if it wasn’t enough to deal with Eugene’s sort of psychoanalysis from time to time, I would have an expert around me now!

“They were… But Scot became very dogmatic lately and well, you know Aaron,” Anna replied hesitantly.

The apple couldn’t fall far from the tree. How else would Aaron have become psychiatrist?

“I see…” was the only thing I managed to say.

“My dear Leda, you have to understand that Aaron was at a very sensitive age when Scot and I got divorced. He may have never told me that but I believe he thinks I abandoned him. Both him and his father. He was staying with Scot simply to punish me. Four years ago we got in better terms. And you’re the reason. Thank you so much!” Anna said.

Well those were some big news! How on earth had I improved Anna’s relationship with Aaron?

It was like she had just read my mind.

“You told him that he is lucky to have his mother alive!” she told me, with tears in her blue eyes.

It’s been indeed four years since we last spoke with Aaron. And now, I should face his comeback.

© Victoria Moschou. All Rights Reserved 2016-2017.

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