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    MozLover21
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

You Don’t See Me - 2. Chapter 2

 

“The dream house.

The happy marriage.

The perfect life.

It can all go poof—and be gone,

but only if you let it.”

Eloise

Eloise rearranged the hydrangeas on the kitchen table for the sixth time. She couldn’t get them to look right for some unknown reason. This was quite unusual for her, as she was a master at making breathtaking floral arrangements. She even held sessions at her house for some of her female acquaintances, where the ladies would gather and Eloise would instruct them on how to go about making the perfect centerpiece. If she wanted, she could have made a business out of it. She didn't, of course—actual work was for men and feminists. Creating flower arrangements was a hobby, and that's all it would remain. Eloise had never worked a day in her life and she had no plans to start now that she was fast approaching 57.

Or maybe she did know the reason for why her skills seemed to be lagging, but simply didn’t want to face it. She had been distracted by a certain issue that didn't seem to be getting any better. Yes, it was her son—her favorite member of the Harrison clan. Eloise loved her daughter to pieces, but if someone put a gun to her head and made her choose her favorite child, Patrick was it hands down. Truthfully, they didn’t have to put a gun to her head, because after a few too many cocktails during lady’s luncheon she would often discuss with her friends why Patrick was the favorite. And the reasons were fairly simple, they had a bond and he was more like her than Caroline—known as Callie to the rest of the family. Caroline was headstrong, loud and flighty—just like her father. Patrick was witty, soft spoken and an old soul.

It had nearly killed her to give birth to him. He had weighed over eight pounds at birth, and Eloise could still feel the pain of the stitches she had to get after his head had torn her perineum on its way out into the world. Sweaty, in a heap of pain and beyond the point of exhaustion, she wanted to toss baby Patrick out of the window and escape motherhood right then and there. How dare this child come into the world causing so much pain? But the second he made eye contact with her and latched onto her nipple, she felt something indescribable. A bond so powerful that she knew she was capable of murdering an entire city if she had to in order to protect him.

That's why it was so easy for her to sense that something was off with him lately. A change had taken place. It started a few months back when they were watching Patrick’s favorite movie, a silly little comedy/drama titled “My Girl”. Patrick would always without fail cry when the little boy in the movie died from an allergic reaction to bee stings. But as she turned her head to look at him and lightly poke fun of his crying, she realized with shock that he wasn’t. His eyes were completely dry. He was looking at the screen, but it almost seemed as if he was somewhere far away. She didn’t say anything, but the image stayed in her head. It was a subtle change in the wind, but noted by a mother’s watchful eye. Her kids might not have understood, but nothing went unnoticed in her eyes when it came to the both of them. She was eagle eyed and always ready to ensure that they were on the right path in life. That of course meant that they weren’t always her biggest fans, which was fine by her, this wasn't a popularity contest. One day they would understand. One day they might even thank her.

“Ma’am,” her housekeeper, Guadalupe, peeked her head from behind the kitchen door, “Mrs. Edwards on the phone for you regarding the Studson Fashion Awards Luncheon. She said it’s urgent.” Eloise held in the sigh and eyeroll that she felt coming on. Gina Edwards was a good friend of hers, as well as a huge bitch. In Eloise’s world, the two were not mutually exclusive. She took the wireless house phone from Guadalupe’s hand then walked back to her hydrangeas.

“Gina, what a pleasure,” she cooed into the phone.

“Eloise, what a nightmare. What an utter nightmare. I simply don’t know, I don’t know…” the woman screeched in hysterics.

“What is the matter?” Eloise inquired, her voice flat. She was absolutely not interested in the luncheon or any drama associated with it.

“Linda called today and gave me an earful. Apparently she’s not happy sitting at the same table as Danielle. I think her husband had a thing with the girl. But I can’t move her Eloise, I simply cannot. Nobody else can stand her!” A Greek tragedy, Eloise thought. She moved the center flower to the front and replaced it with a smaller one. “I don’t know what to do! This is all too stressful. Nobody understands what goes into making these seating charts. How detailed, how time consuming! I’m getting a terrible migraine from all of this. I’m going to be hospitalized if this stress doesn’t stop.” Of course the simple solution would have been for Gina herself to switch seats with Danielle, but there was no way Gina would give up her prime seat placement in order to avoid making someone else uncomfortable. That would be too selfless of an act, and Gina wasn't Mother Teresa after all.

Eloise was also savvy enough to know that Gina called because she was hoping Eloise herself would be the sacrificial lamb who’d offer to swap her seat. But after all their years of friendship, it seemed Gina still didn’t understand that Eloise wasn’t the type to give up a prime seat either.

“You know I had lunch with Jaclynn last week, and she practically said she didn’t want to come. That award shows were—how did she put it?—completely boring to her. I highly doubt she will care about where she’s sitting. Why don’t you just swap her?” Eloise knew that Jaclynn had said no such thing. But Jaclynn was a timid mouse who would not argue about being moved, therefore Eloise felt no guilt throwing her under the bus.

“She said that!?” Gina asked, outraged. The old bat took months to plan out this annual luncheon. Any negative word about the event would be taken as a mortal insult, and remembered for years to come.

“In so many words…but I think she’s been under a lot of stress. You know, with her son being expelled from college and her other son dating that…actress. Poor thing’s out of her mind. Don’t hold it against her.” Eloise knew this was a futile request. If anyone was familiar with the art of holding a grudge, it was Gina. Poor Jaclynn would be on the blacklist for at least a few more years.

“Well, in that case, you’ve helped me solve my dilemma! Thank God for you.” Eloise chuckled and popped the last flower in its place, then smiled. She had finally made a satisfactory arrangement. She put down the phone and noticed with irritation that her red nail polish had started to chip on one finger. This would not do.

“Guadalupe!” she called out to the housekeeper who scurried back to the kitchen. “Can you take care of Mr. Harrison’s lunch? I have to run a few errands. Maybe do a fish, he's been complaining about his pants getting tight.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

Eloise grabbed her Prada purse and headed out the door. On her way over to the nail salon she began to think about her son once again. He wasn’t acting like himself, and she had a strong feeling that the issue boiled down to marital woes. Patrick was young, he didn’t understand that no marriage was perfect.

He had hinted at it, a few times, and each time she had done her best to subtly point him in the right direction, by saying, “Do nothing. Say nothing. Act like you know nothing. It will pass. Everything does.” Ford was a catch. It took her a while to warm up to him, but now she couldn’t remember how the family dynamic worked before he came along. He was handsome, charismatic, and most importantly she could tell that he was crazy about Patrick. He treated him like a golden egg. But that didn’t mean that he didn’t come with a side of crap—a suspicious family history and a wondering eye. So what? Every man had something wrong with him. This was just the price you had to pay. As long as Ford kept up with his responsibilities at home and their public image, what more could Patrick want?

She parked her Mercedes and walked into the nail salon.

“Mrs. Harrison, how are you?” the lady behind the front desk greeted her.

“Great, except I have an event coming up and I noticed the polish chipping on my right hand. Can you do a quick fix?”

“Of course, go ahead and have a seat. Amy will be with you in a second.”

“Splendid.” She scrolled through her iPhone while waiting. She was still trying to figure out how to use the damn thing, much to her children’s amusement.

“Wow, beautiful color,” the voice in the chair next to her commented. She turned to look. It was a young man admiring her red nails. He had blonde hair and bright blue eyes. She glanced at his nails, he was getting them buffed.

“Thank you. How rare to see a man take such good care of his hands,” she commented and he smiled.

“I have a little getaway coming up today. I wanted to look my best. I think looking your best and feeling your best go hand in hand, don’t you?”

“That’s my mantra as well. So many slobs walking around nowadays. It’s terrifying.”

“Exactly! It’s vile,” he replied, “sweatpants and stained t-shirts. I can’t stand this generation.” She laughed.

“So where’s your gateway to?”

“Miami,” he replied and she shuddered involuntarily. He noticed right away and looked apologetic, “I know, I know, a bit of an uncivilized place, but I’m going avec mon amour. So, I couldn’t say no.”

“Ohhh, in that case…your amour has bad taste. But, all can be forgiven in love, can’t it?”

“Absolutely…well, everything except boredom!” he said and she laughed again. What a charming young man, she thought. Patrick would have liked him.

“You are too cute. What do you do?”

“I’m an actor.”

“Oh! Well, this is certainly the right town for that. My son-in-law owns a production company. Give me your business card and I’ll tell him to call you.”

“Sure thing, here it is,” he said taking out his wallet, pulling it out and handing it over. “I appreciate it.”

“Of course, we all have to help each other on this earth, don’t we?” she said, and glanced at the name on the card: Jude Shepherd.

“Yes we do,” he said, smiling. “Well, it was a pleasure,” he said getting up. His nails perfectly trimmed and buffed.

“Pleasure’s all mine. Take care dear,” she replied and he smiled and went up to the front desk to pay, then left the salon.

After her nail polish was fixed she decided to drive over to Patrick’s house. Patrick and Ford’s home was a modern monstrosity. It featured everything Eloise hated about houses. Monochromatic colors, sleek lines, large glass doors everywhere, and the horrendous contemporary light fixtures. She punched in the code to get through the front gate. She then punched in another code at the door, and after she entered another code inside to reset the alarm. As she put her purse down, she saw Ford coming towards her with his phone in one hand and a suitcase in the other.

“Hey mom,” he said when he saw her.

“Hi honey, are you leaving?”

“Yep, business trip to Miami. I’ll be back before Callie’s birthday though, don’t worry.”

“Okay, you have to be back. She would lose her mind if you didn’t come. You know how emotional she gets.”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Love you,” he said, giving her two kisses on each cheek.

“Okay, fly safe darling,” she said and closed the door behind him. She then made her way into the kitchen, where a zombie-like Patrick was buttering a cinnamon bagel for a plate that already had eggs and bacon on it.

“Do you really need that bagel?” she asked, the amount of carbs offensive to her eyes.

“Ah shit!,” he replied, the knife dropping out of his hand and clattering onto the plate. “You scared me! You really need to start calling ahead. You can’t just pop in unannounced like this!” He was irked and she began to worry even more. This wasn’t like him at all.

“I’m sorry sweetheart,” she replied, not at all sorry. “I just wanted to check in on my only son.” He took a deep breath.

“Can I make you something to eat?” he asked, more politely now.

“I’m fine. A cup of coffee will suffice.” He poured her a black cup of coffee, no cream or sugar, just as she liked it.

“You really need to lay off the carbs. I’m saying it out of love, sweetheart. Those love handles are starting to become really pronounced.” He rolled his eyes at her.

“You’re a ray of sunshine, mother. Thank you for that mid-morning positivity.”

“You know I’m right,” she replied, annoying him further.

“Well good thing I’m not a model.” They walked over to the dining room. Eloise took a slow sip of her coffee. “Okay, so why are you really here?” he asked.

“What do you mean, I can’t come over to see my child?”

“You don’t typically make early house calls just to see me. There’s always an underlying and sinister agenda at play.” Eloise scoffed at the idea.

“Don’t be absurd. I came to check on you. You seem…stressed lately. Is there anything I can help with?” He regarded her with suspicion.

“I don’t know. I’ve just been feeling…strange lately.”

“Changing your diet would be a good start.”

“Don’t start again.”

“Is everything between you and Ford okay?” It was clear from his reaction to the question that she hit a sore spot. “You know, marriage isn’t easy peasy. Things can get bumpy sometimes. Ford has a lot on his plate. With how fast the company expanded, it’s all a lot to take in. A lot of responsibility on his shoulders. People depend on him now. People with families to feed. You should be a source of support, not stress.” Patrick laughed out loud.

“Okay, I did not need that 1920s Perfect Wife Journal answer. And I love that you always assume I’m the problem. Remember how you didn’t even like him at the beginning? Sometimes I want to go back to that time, at least you had my back then.” Eloise was offended.

“I will always have your back. Don’t question my loyalty Patrick William Harrison.” He sighed, exasperated.

“I’m sorry I’m being cranky…I just, marriage has been pretty difficult lately. Difficult and draining. I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing. Sometimes I think…maybe…” he let the sentence trail off. Eloise was alarmed. This was worse than she had suspected. Much worse. She needed to act straight away.

“Marriage is not a game, Patrick. Your father and I have not been having a blast all these years. It’s work. And yes, it’s difficult sometimes. But think of the alternative! The dream house. The happy marriage. The perfect life. It can all go poof—and be gone, but only if you let it.”

“I don’t care about the house or the perfect life.”

“You’re only this insolent because you were born straight into the arms of comfort, thanks to me and your daddy. If you had to suddenly move to a gritty little studio with roaches somewhere downtown, you’d sing a different tune dear. Everyone cares about the house. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.”

“A house doesn’t make you happy, mom. Only a home can do that,” Patrick replied wistfully, and she felt a strong urge to slap some sense into him.

“Then make a home. Stop thinking it will just happen. Work at it. Anyway, you’ve given me a headache. You kids are so spoiled,” she said, getting up. “I’ll send you the number of a good marriage counselor. Go give him a headache. At least he'll be getting paid for it. Invest in your marriage. Invest in therapy. And stop with these goddamn carbs!” She said grabbing the half eaten bagel off his plate and walking out.

Two days later, she decided to come back and check on him again. Make sure that he was okay after their conversation. She let herself into the house without calling Patrick ahead of time. She’d always subscribed to the idea that mothers didn’t need invitations. But when she got inside, she quickly realized that he was’t home. The only two inhabitants meowed as they circled their half-eaten food bowls. She went inside of the home office room, where Patrick’s laptop sat open on top of the desk. She moved the mouse and woke the computer from its sleep mode. No password was necessary and she scoffed at how trusting her son was. She opened his emails and right away her eyes zeroed in on a very recent American Airlines confirmation—a plane ticket to Miami.

Copyright © 2021 MozLover21; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Eloise is a Mama Bear, when she confirms someone is messing with her precious cub....Yikes!!!

mae west threat GIF

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2 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Mother is a s**t stirrer, busy body and a gossip but she means well for her son.

😁  mother knows best eh

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Oh Eloise. She means well but she's too blinded by her own version of reality to let anything Patrick says sink in. She wants what's best for her Patrick, not what's best for Patrick himself. Yes, she's perceptive enough to notice something was bothering him but instead of investing in the conversation and needling her son until he spilled the beans, she conjured a headache and told him to seek counseling.

Merely indulging what you perceive to be a non-issue and keeping him at arm's length is no way to show how much you love and adore your favorite child.

Heh, and the irony that she chitchatted with the twink who accompanied Ford to Miami and who was given Patrick's heirloom watch as a gift isn't lost on me. 

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5 hours ago, Danners said:

Oh Eloise. She means well but she's too blinded by her own version of reality to let anything Patrick says sink in. She wants what's best for her Patrick, not what's best for Patrick himself. Yes, she's perceptive enough to notice something was bothering him but instead of investing in the conversation and needling her son until he spilled the beans, she conjured a headache and told him to seek counseling.

Merely indulging what you perceive to be a non-issue and keeping him at arm's length is no way to show how much you love and adore your favorite child.

Heh, and the irony that she chitchatted with the twink who accompanied Ford to Miami and who was given Patrick's heirloom watch as a gift isn't lost on me. 

Thank you for rereading the chapters and always catching onto even the most minute detail 🙏🏼 😊   your feedback means a lot!

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