This is the rework of a self-published auto-biographical story (2008), rewritten for this blog. Names of characters have been changed.
Content warning: mental and physical abuse, misogyny.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
Continued from… An international call
Halfway through the morning, Fred heard a peculiar message on the answering machine. It was from a woman who called herself Joy. She requested more information about the club.
Both Annie and Fred thought it was strange to get a phone call in reaction to the advert in the paper, which didn’t mention a telephone number. After listening to the message a couple of times, Fred apprehensively looked at Annie.
“Do you know anything about this? Is this one of your stupid plans again?”
Annie knew Fred was referring to ‘Yvonne’.
“No,” she answered curt, partly because of guilt, but also because she sensed Joy already had Fred’s interest. Soon his hormones would outvote his common sense again.
“If you want an explanation for the message,” Annie said challenging, “call her. Then you will know what it’s about.”
With these words, she stood up and walked to her room. The last thing she wanted to do was sit there and listen to the conversation. Yet, at the same time, she wanted to stay close enough to catch some of his words, and with her bedroom door open, she could hear some of what Fred was saying.
Close to two o’clock in the afternoon, Annie sat in her car next to the main road. She was waiting for Joy to arrive. Once Fred had dialed the number Joy left in her message, things happened quickly.
First Fred talked to Joy and then he called Annie to talk to her. Joy told Annie that she still had the phone number from the same advert that Annie had responded to months before. It was only on this day that she had at last mustered up the courage to dial it. Fred explained to Joy how the club worked and told her about the entry form. However, Joy refused to do anything through the post — she wanted to come to the smallholding personally to complete it.
Once again, Annie was amazed at how quickly Fred arranged things. Joy was about to go out for some shopping and she would then drive the distance of seventy-odd kilometres to come to the smallholding. Fred told Joy that Annie would wait for her on the main road, at the exit to the smallholding. It irritated Annie enormously that Fred made the agreement without consulting her first. He was using her as a messenger. She had to carry out his orders, because she was too weak to refuse. So, there she was — keeping an eye out for a small red car with a blond woman in it.
When Joy arrived, Annie didn’t get out of her car. She beckoned Joy to follow her. Annie couldn’t see much more of the woman than her blond hair and the big black sunglasses covering her eyes, and hiding most of her face. Only once they both got out of their cars, Annie got a better look at her.
It was evident immediately that Joy had no shortage of money. She was a paragon of a rich woman — immaculately dressed and self-assured. Her make-up, even though maybe a bit excessive, was nicely done. Her blonde hair was casually caught in a ponytail, high at the back of her head. A pair of tight, black, leather pants, black high-heeled boots and a white blouse — which left more breast exposed than Fred would ever allow Annie or Fran — completed the picture. When Joy got out of the car, she greeted Annie with a nicely groomed hand. She was slim and walked with a proud and confident stride.
Fred’s expression didn’t hide his approval of the woman approaching him with a smile, her hand extended to shake his. He showered her with his charm. Annie knew the signs, and see he had only one thing in mind — and of course, the quicker, the better! Luckily, the little bit of common sense he had more or less silenced his overheated hormonal brain. They went to the smaller living room, the one with the bar. Fred immediately ordered Annie to pour them all a drink. It was already his third drink for the day. The first one he had before Annie left to wait for Joy. He was busy with the second drink when Annie left. It was as if he would otherwise not have the courage to speak to the woman. While Annie poured the drinks, Joy zealously started talking about herself.
“I’m a mother of two kids. One is in primary school and the other one goes to a crèche every morning. My mother is babysitting now,” she laughed, “and that gave me the opportunity to come here. My husband is an executive. We live in Florida, and have a nice and comfortable life.”
Her words confirmed Annie’s deduction that Joy was a rich woman. Florida was one of the richer suburbs of one of the biggest cities in the country. Annie continued to listen to Joy’s monologue. She noticed Fred soaking up every word that came out of Joy’s mouth.
To be continued… Joy (2)
© Rebel’s Notes