While they walked back to her office after they’d met for lunch, Nikki realised that her world was crumbling around her. The love of her life was furious; the problem was their clashing minds – her values versus his and the twain would never meet.
“They are adults,” she told Peter calmly. “You and I must not interfere.”
“You don’t seem one bit surprised,” he said with astonishment.
“I’ve heard stories,” Nikki replied.
“You’re telling me you knew all along?”
“I never believed them,” she evaded.
“You knew that your mother and my dad are having an affair and you did nothing to prevent it?” he cried passionately.
“I knew there was gossip around it,” Nikki reasonably replied. “If they are, they are adults…”
“I will not watch my family break apart,” he cut her short and roared. “I won’t see my mother hurt.”
“Can’t a woman and a man be just friends Peter?” she pleaded.
“A woman and a man can never be friends,” he replied flatly. “There’s always something there.”
“That’s such a narrow notion,” she muttered and he stared at her, flabbergasted.
“Obviously, you’re okay with what’s happening,” he rasped. “So, you choose Nikki. Either you take my side, or you take your mother’s. But, as long as this nonsense carries on, you and I can’t be friends, let alone anything else.”
“Seriously?” Nikki smiled. They had reached her office by now and she was glad because her legs were rubbery. She just wanted to be alone now.
“You have to choose,” he said again, confident of himself. “Your mother’s side or mine.”
Nikki smiled again, but it never touched her eyes.
“There’s something called blood Peter,” she said with calmness she never felt. “I’m sure you know the rest.”
She left him gawking at her retreating figure.
(c) Cindy Pereira