“Wow. I mean… wow.”
– The view is stunning…
– From my house, all you can see is hay balls.
– Who would have thought Claire would get this far?…
– She has talent. Remember that day at the karaoke?
Claire had invited her old friends for dinner to her penthouse downtown, including husbands and children. Although things were tense between Risa and Julian, Claire was a common friend of theirs and they tacitly decided to put their issues aside for the evening.
Ashley was charged to entertain little Sabrina.
– BOO!!… ‘gain!
– Again? Geez…
– So girls, how do you like it? It’s not bad, huh?
– Are you kidding? It’s awesome.
Risa just couldn’t join Claire and Penelope’s happy chatter. She tried to listen and smile, but very soon dropped out of the conversation.
As the girls began to prepare dinner, she was clearly miles away and stuck around, looking confused. Claire was the only one who knew about her affair, and she was so hard to get in touch with. Risa felt in need of comfort more than ever.
– Risa, do you want me to show you my bedroom upstairs after dinner? I think you’ll like it.
– Really? I mean, of course, yes!
“And then maybe you’ll tell me about what’s bothering you” Claire added in a lower voice. “Th… thank you” Risa managed to utter.
Ash was again on babysitting duty. “Can you stop throwing your bottle around?”
– *gurgles of laughter*
– You’re cute, but you’re slightly irritating.
– I think Ash is ready for a little sister.
– Me? Oh no, I’d prefer a brother.
Risa hastened to change the subject.
And as promised, after dinner…
– Oh I love it, Claire! If I could afford it, that’s what I’d go for!
– Yeah, the interior designer I chose is pretty good.
“You know, I don’t know how many times I proposed to my parents to buy them a nice house instead of that run-down caravan. They have always refused it.”
“Anyway. What’s up with you? And Julian too, you look like you’re avoiding each other. Did he find out about Ashley?”
– He didn’t ask, but I’m sure he knows… I thought we could make it through, but I just can’t… It keeps on getting worse…
– How worse, dear?
– You… you won’t think I’m a terrible person?
– I’m your friend, I know you don’t want to hurt anyone. But I’m Julian’s friend too, and I will try my best to be impartial, okay? I don’t want to interfere in your couple, it is up to you. I can only offer you my opinion.
– Thank you so much… I… I don’t know where to start.
– Let me take a guess.
“You saw your ex again, didn’t you?”
Claire didn’t expect Risa to burst into tears at this stage. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Silly me, that was too blunt!”
And after some explanations…
– Let me get this straight: you got almost kidnapped or worse, and then out of the blue, you’re seemingly rescued by your ex-boyfriend, like a knight in shining armor? And he’s all gentle and tender with you, so much so that you end up sleeping with him?
– … I know how it sounds. Not very reasonable, isn’t it? But whenever I’m with him, it’s as if I’m floating out of time.
“He’s rich, involved in some nasty business, and obviously powerful. In short, he’s dangerous. Plus, he’s the father of your child. It’s all very romantic, is that why you are so much attracted to him?”
“Well, no… I’ve known him from way before. Of course I’m physically attracted to him, but mostly, I can’t help having regrets and wondering what it would have been like if we had stayed together. I chose the easiest path and hoped that raising a family with Julian would mend things up. I never imagined carrying Nathaniel’s baby at the time.”
– I might be wrong, but it seems to me that you’re constantly reliving the same scene. But you’re living in your own regrets, Risa. You have to reach a decision. If not for you, do it for Julian. He seems to be as lost as you are.
– I know… He deserves so much better than this. I just haven’t been able to think straight lately.