The Family Pool (3)

Links to chapters I and II:




Mary Adams stroked over her rounded belly as she stared out of the window. Three more months, and she’d be a mother… and she had no idea how she was going to play that. She and John were at complete loggerheads about the work issue. She was pretending to go along with his plan for now, for the sake of peace and ohm for her little one – whom she had decided to call Donovan, but she also knew that this would cause further friction. Uncle Daniel had imposed his will upon her and John to name her son after him. But there was no way. Donovan had been the name of her father’s father. Her family’s practically sacred ancestor. Money would not succeed in taking that right away from her!

She was not going to relinquish her job! And be completely at Money’s mercy? She had begun to think of John’s family as “Money” as this was the driving force behind every decision. The control was complete. John had convinced her early on to sell her trusty “bullfrog” VW and instead take on a huge bank loan – in his name – so she could drive a chique little BMW. He knew that this was as far as he could push her where sports cars were concerned; even the BMW was too much, as the first service cost her more than she could comfortably accommodate. She gnashed her teeth and paid up and wished she hadn’t sold her Buggy. Sure, the car was beautiful and sleek and drove like a dream, instead of roaring along like a badly tuned lawnmower; but it wasn’t worth sacrificing buying the beautiful crib she’d had her heart set on for little Donny. Her salary couldn’t accommodate such a car. And if she gave up her income, her last bit of power of choice would be taken away. John would make every last decision – or rather, Money would. Uncle Daniel; Eleanor; Aunt Tiara.

There had been something about that funeral today that wouldn’t let her go. It had been the Crow – the old lady with the brown, claw-like arthritic hands that had warned her to leave the family, back at Christmas. Had she known back then that she was riddled with cancer? Probably, thought Mary. The vision of those two mad eyes boring into hers, wouldn’t let go of her. “Get out, run,” the Crow had screeched at her. Had it been an attempt to chase her off – or a piece of advice?

The door opened quietly, and John moved up behind her. His large, gentle hand found its place on her shoulder.

“You feeling alright, Babe?”

Mary smiled. This way, she could deal with him. When he was like this, she could understand him.

“Just thinking about things,” she replied, leaning back against him. “And you? You knew Suzine a long time, I’m sure. Are you coping?”

“Life goes on,” said John calmly. She looked up at him. His face was calm. “Mary, she’s in a better place, you have to believe that. I spoke to Uncle Daniel.”

“He must be pretty cut up,” commented Mary. “She was his cousin, wasn’t she?”

“Step-aunt,” said John. “Yes, he’s pretty sad about her passing. Tragic, so sudden.”

“She smoked a lot?”

“That’s the strange thing,” said John. “She didn’t smoke at all. Never in her life, apparently. As I said, I spoke to Uncle.”

She realized he was trying to tell her something different.

“What does Uncle say, John?”

“We’re getting the house that Jenny and her family were in.”

Mary blinked. “What?”

“You heard what I said.”

She glanced about the luxurious apartment. “But why? Does someone need the apartment?”

“There’s always someone who needs the apartment,” replied John with a smile. “That’s not the point. We’re moving up, Baby! The house has four bedrooms; no pool, that is very important; a beautiful playroom for children; a library – but I have to add, Babes, don’t bring too many of your books, the library is already stocked… it has everything your heart can desire when you raise small children. What do you say to that?”

She swallowed a few bubbles before asking, “but what about Jenny and her family? Where are they going?”

“They’re getting the mansion in White River. The one Pats was in? Pats and her lot are taking over from Peter, and Peter and his wife are moving into Aunt Suzine’s house. Their children are all at college now, they don’t need all that much space – anyway it’s a beautiful house.”

Mary blinked a few times, stared at the rolling hills outside – a view she would miss, she knew – and got up to make John some coffee and herself some Rooibos tea. By the time the tea and coffee were ready, she had collected herself.

“All this gets decided on the wake of Aunt Suzine’s funeral?”

“It’s all in the system, Baberoo. It’s how this family works. There are no disputes over inheritances; everyone is provided for. Generously.”

Communism, cried her rattled mind, and, Patriarchy. She knew that moment that she had to fight for more freedom.

But something much deeper and more sinister reared its head that night when she slept… and the haunting eyes and claws of the Crow followed her through her dreams, grabbing at her, screeching at her: “I told you to get out!”

© Lyz Russo