The room in front of me swirls slightly. Objects come into focus, lose their edges and come back into being. My trembling body begins to shake violently. Suddenly, I am sucked into a vortex of energy and I feel myself flying across the room. I grab a bespoke dining chair as if it weighed nothing more than a matchstick, raise it high over my head, and running to the mirrored wall slam it against the surface. The sound of exploding glass is loud, satisfying. Again. And again. The chair breaks. I see myself in the broken mirror. Galvanized, I am indeed a terrible vision, flying hair, bared teeth.
I destroy everything!
Eventually when I fall down in an exhausted heap on the floor, the room is in total shambles. The expensive brocade curtains lie in shreds, every breakable thing accuses me in shattered silence and my beautiful nails are torn and bleeding. My eyes travel over the destruction I have wreaked, but I find no remorse in my heart. I am filled only with defiance.
As a matter of fact, I feel much better now. It’s been refreshing and deeply cleansing to damage so indiscriminately. Tomorrow, I will go shopping. And shopping always gives me a fantastic boost. I will get something nice for Tia (I shouldn’t have flung her against the wall) and something stunningly expensive and beautiful for me, for when Blake comes back to me. This is just a minor setback. Obviously, he will tire of her.
I stand. A sharp pain tears through my knee. I look down.
A huge bruise is coming up. The hem of my dress is torn too. I limp over to the bathroom and stand in front of the mirror. I gaze at myself. Moisture-filled luminous eyes in a pale face. I realize anew that I really am extraordinarily beautiful. I pout at my own reflection. Transfixed by my own beauty I form words, just to watch my berry lips in movement. Quite of their own volition they say, ‘I’ll get him back. Of course I will.’
I have spent most of the day on the phone with lawyers and advisors discussing the best way for me to set up and run my charity. Now I am in the kitchen making a simple dinner while Sorab is napping inside his playpen. When Blake comes home I don’t rush out to the front door because the asparagus will be ready in less than a minute and I don’t want to overcook it.
‘We’re in the kitchen,’ I call out, keeping my voice fairly soft in order not to wake Sorab.
I hear Blake close the front door. He appears in the doorway, leans against it and simply looks at me.
‘What is it?’
He just shakes his head and continues gazing at me.
To my horror his eyes fill with tears.
I put down the colander of asparagus and run to him.
I put my fingers on his damp lashes. ‘Oh, my darling, what’s wrong?’
He catches my fingers in his hand and presses them against his lips. ‘Nothing. I am just drinking in the sight of you.’
His lips turn into a soft kiss on my fingertips. He sweeps his hand along my jaw line.
‘That’s a good thing, right?’ I joke.
‘I love you, Lana. I never stop thinking of you. Never. The only thing I am afraid of in this life is losing you. You know I’d risk everything for you, don’t you?’
Warmth starts spreading throughout my body. ‘I am right here, Blake. Where I belong, where I’ll always be.’
‘I went to see Victoria today.’
‘I told her I’m in love with you.’
‘How did she react?’
‘She fell apart. I did not expect it. She was pitiful.’
I move slightly away from him. ‘It was not your father who paid me to leave. It was her.’
‘I know. When I found out that Sorab was mine, I traced the money through its complicated trusts back to her. I was furious—she had caused me a year of excruciating pain—but confronting her was not a priority. All information is power, and everything I knew, and my opponent thought I did not was my advantage. So I never revealed my hand or acted on the knowledge.
‘When I went to see her today I was prepared to coldly dismiss her from our lives, but then she said something which made me pity her. The truth is, I did lead her on. I did renege on my promise to marry her. She has some grounds for her anger and suffering. I never wanted revenge and now I actually pity her. I have everything. She has nothing. I wish her well. One day I hope we will be friends.’
‘She didn’t seem pitiful to me.’
‘She is the spoilt daughter of a very wealthy man and she is used to getting what she wants, but even she has been broken by love. She will no longer trouble us.’
I say nothing.
That evening Sorab falls asleep on top of his father’s body in the living room. I follow to watch as Blake tucks Sorab in for the night. First Blake, and then I bend to kiss his smooth cheek as he lies asleep on his side. When I raise my eyes to Blake’s he is watching me. In the shadows and soft light of the bedroom he looks proudly proprietorial. We are his family.
He comes around the cot, takes me by the hand, leads me into our bedroom…and makes love to me, as he has never done before. With infinite gentleness as if I am a delicate butterfly whose wings can come off as dust pigments on his fingers, if he does not take the greatest care in the way he handles me. All of it is long, or slow, or deep, and when he climaxes he calls my name as if he is falling off a cliff and I am the last thing he sees. The longing in his voice is a balm to my heart.
I stretch luxuriously and lie on my stomach.
He lets his fingers run up and down my spine. ‘I love the feel of your spine, the delicate little bones that make your body. They are like skin-covered teeth, only they are not. As you move they flow under my fingers.’
I chuckle. ‘Oh my God! We have unearthed the poet in you.’
‘It’s love. The loved destroys the thing that loves it.’
I turn around to face him, a frown etched on my brow. ‘Are you saying your love for me is destroying you?’
He cups my naked breast possessively. ‘The more I love you the more of a stranger I have become to myself. Now I do and say things that I would never have dreamed of doing or saying. I can hardly believe that I lived all these years without you.’
I run my finger down his cheek. ‘Sometimes I get so scared. Everything I have ever loved has been taken away from me.’ I look down to the duvet cover. My voice trembles like the strings of a harp. I bite back the tears that have so suddenly arrived to spoil what should have been a beautiful moment.
He leans in and kisses the top of my left shoulder. ‘My love, my love, if you are still living and I am not, then I will haunt you until your dying day.’