Bluebird Inn – II

The events of the day had taken a toll on Nisha and she felt drained. An unthinking reflex had carried her away from the slightly ajar bedroom door through which she had glimpsed her shattered dreams. She had dropped her keys as she watched them and they had both looked up to see the shocked expression on her face. He had called out after her but her feet had carried her out the front door and into the car, the tear-filled eyes unable to focus on anything in her path. She had started the car and had briefly glanced up at the bedroom windows, long enough to catch the twitching of the curtains, then she had stepped on the gas and had left his home forever. She had no idea where she was headed. She took the exit for Route 80 West and kept on driving and playing back the last three years of her life.

She had gone to work for the law firm of McDermott, Roberson and Chenault (M,R&C) as an associate. Hank had been a senior partner at the firm. They often ended up on the same legal defense team and she had seen Hank as a mentor. He showed her the ropes, helped hone her skills and sought her assistance in the most difficult and high profile cases. Looking back she wasn’t sure if this was by accident or design. It was just a matter of time before she was too far gone in love, with his mind, his brilliance, the power he exuded. The seduction was complete. She owed her own meteoric rise to him, or so she believed. She had loved him, couldn’t imagine life without him. He was a married man when they met and although this was an initial deterrent it was impossible to ignore the attraction. He had said there was no love lost between him and his estranged wife, that the marriage was on its last legs and it was just a matter of time before the divorce came through. She believed him completely, he sounded sincere, he hadn’t even been living with his wife. He lived alone in a brownstone in the city.

She started spending an occasional night or two there. They often brought work home, work that didn’t last too long once the bottle of wine had been opened, once she ended up on his lap, kissing him, lost in him, work that ended up in the bedroom trailed by a line of shed clothing. Soon enough it became rather pointless for her to maintain a separate residence. It was impossible to wake up at his brownstone and commute cross-town to her own place in order to get dressed for a busy day at work. She started leaving spare clothing, toiletries and bare feminine necessities at his place, before she knew it, within a matter of two exciting, whirlwind years, she had moved in with him.

She now wondered if she would have done this had she been thinking clearly, had she retained even an iota of rational thought and objectivity. But the clarity of hindsight has never proved helpful to anyone. The thrill of the chase, after all, lasts only as long as it takes to get to the finish line. Expectations change, perceptions change almost as soon as a certain milestone is reached, but not quite. The rose-tinted glasses stay on for another year or so. The attraction unabated, the mysteries intact and then things start changing very slowly but surely.

It started with the arrival of Donna, long and tall Donna with her lacquered black, waist length hair and fitted suits with the shortest possible skirts and high-heeled look. She was a recent Yale grad, the newest associate at M, R&C. Hank was impressed with her intelligence and their bedtime conversations often ended up in discussions about Donna’s latest courtroom antics. At the office she was often seen in Hank’s chambers, ostensibly going over the finer points of criminal law but Nisha’s heart skipped several beats every time she noticed them putting their heads together. Hank had also started coming home a little bit later each day. They weren’t working on the same cases anymore ever since she had been promoted to junior partner. Hank used to kiss her goodbye with instructions on whether or not she was to stay up for dinner. He told her how heavy his caseload was and how much of a godsend Donna really was. She had walked into his office once to see his hands caressing the back of Donna’s head looking as if he wanted to drown in the silkiness of those tresses. She was shaken to the core at the sight of the obvious attraction they shared. She had even confronted Hank about it but he had denied it and had said it was all work.

She had convinced herself that all was well until today. She had come home from a week long business trip to Philly where she had been doing some research for a case she was on. She was excited. She had some news to share with Hank. Their lives were going to change forever. She had been feeling slightly unwell for several days now, a persistent queasiness that followed her around. She had felt so ill at one point that she had taken herself to the emergency room at the hospital in Philly. The doctor had smiled at her and given her the news.

She had rushed home and was running, taking two steps at a time, calling out for Hank when she had heard voices from their bedroom. She had slowed down her steps and reaching the door, had turned the knob, cautiously pushing the door open. Her world froze at what she saw inside. Donna astride Hank, she couldn’t even say she had interrupted their lovemaking because it went on uninterrupted, they hadn’t noticed her. After several frozen, catatonic moments, she turned on her heels, blinded by tears, dropping her keys. They noticed her then. But it was too late.

She couldn’t tell how long she had driven. The stars were out now and she found herself in the middle of nowhere. She needed to find a place for the night. She was lost, disheveled, tears still stung her eyes and she started looking around for a place to spend the night. Soon enough, she saw a battered sign for The Bluebird Inn. She took the upcoming exit for Route 46 and nervously pulled into the parking lot of the “B-UE-IRD M-TOR INN”.

She sensed a presence here, something sinister but she put it down to her current state, a heightened awareness and vulnerability. She sat down on the rocking chair near the window of her room and leaning back, closed her eyes, hands caressing her belly in that certain way that could only mean one thing.

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