A Tuesday morning, in a little mountain town called Great Bear.
“So you’re awake Seth?”
– The weather’s nice today, maybe we could take Seth for a walk or something.
It’s been weeks since they had left their hometown. Orian had stopped in that random place, in the middle of nowhere. When Violette had mentioned money, he had replied it was not an issue. And she guessed he was right: she had received mysterious and substantial payments on her bank account since Seth’ birth. She never felt the need to ask for confirmation about the source.
Life was quiet in that town. There was nothing much to do.
– But you are walking now!… You’ve made such good progress! Orian, do you mind playing with him while I prepare our lunch?
– Hurry up then.
He was always acting cold and indifferent, but he was just uncomfortable with a kid and she loved to trick him into taking care of Seth.
It would take time, but they had time now. Plenty of it.
– I think he needs his mother after all.
– He looks ok to me. Let me finish this.
– I’ll do it, just take him.
“Looks like your father is embarrassed! Can you believe that?” she whispered to Seth.
– Do you want to feed him?
– No! No, I…
– Just kidding.
They were relaxing after lunch, watching over Seth trotting about.
– Do you enjoy playing family?
– We’re not playing. Want it or not, we are a family.
The one thing she hated about that town was the shady bar that was in front of their house. Orian would go there and drink from dawn to dusk. One evening, she entered the place, determined to put an end to his attitude.
The discussion quickly ran out of control.
Violette stood firm on her position: she wanted him home and sober. The old barmaid didn’t pay any heed to their argument. She had seen too many and had learnt not to meddle in other people’s business.
– That’s enough! You want me home? You’ll have to deal with the consequences.
– What do you mean?
He dragged her brutally out.
Then hurled her on the floor. “If you think I’m gonna act as a family guy all along, you are completely mistaken! As if I fucking care!”
“There is nothing to do here! How the hell can you expect me not to go insane?”
He suddenly threw himself on her and kissed her. She didn’t move, she was too stunned.
“Listen… you are entirely mine. You have always been mine. Don’t try to turn the tables. I could kill you if I wanted to.” He tightened his grip on her throat.
“Then why did you ask me to come with you…?” Violette said in a broken voice.
This seemed to trigger something in Orian’s mind. He straightened her up and held her close against his chest. She hung onto him, panting but relieved.
After some time, she said with a hoarse voice: “Let me go. Seth is crying.” He followed her to the bedroom and watched her silently as she picked Seth up in her arms and set about changing his diaper.
When Seth was tucked back in his cradle, she put on her nightdress and lay on the bed. He stretched out next to her and cupped her face, forcing her to look at him. “I don’t want to hurt you.”