Dorian opened the door for Alise before walking around to the driver’s side and settling in. He did everything slowly and intentionally so as not to frighten away Alise, who was as jumpy as a deer right now. As the car moved out of the curb, Dorian briefly squeezed Alise’s shoulder to reassure her and then said, “It alright if you don’t have the words, you can say it however it comes to you or not at all even…” Alise interrupted him saying, “No, no. I want to tell you. I even think I need to tell you if we are going to have a future.”
So Dorian concentrated on just driving and letting the companionable silence build between them. Then Alise started, “My mother is a beauty. I know I look good because I get so many of her genes and for a long time I wish I didn’t. Because her beauty only resulted in vanity. She wasn’t from a particularly rich background but she hung out with people with money… apparently beauty can serve as a pass in some of those circles. However, the really rich people in those groups only recognise their peers so without money she would always be ostracised. She got mixed with a guy who had no regard for her and was even violent. One night when they were out things were going south, fast… luckily dad was there and he stepped in… obviously dad wasn’t one of the rich ones but his personality makes him able to mingle in any setting. They sort of got to talking and I guess mum decided that she had a type which wasn’t working out so she would try something new; dad was just blinded by beauty and a messiah complex, he loves giving people their second chance in life, although he thinks it was true love. Anyway a few months down the line, mum was late.”
At this point Alise took a break to gather herself, while Dorian risked releasing one of his hands from the wheel to squeeze hers.
Alise patted Dorian’s hand upon hers and allowed him to reclaim the wheel before continuing. “Dad was over the moon and proposed as soon as he heard. However, mum… she… It was like she had just woken up and things became real for her. However, it was a different time and she was facing a disappointed family, a child of her own and no means of sustenance… so she jumped at dad’s offer. I guess in her mind she tried, tried to accept her reality, tried to be a mother and loving wife. But for me… It was always clear that I was not wanted. I tried to be the best daughter, make her proud, do everything right… “ Dorian could hear the pain in Alise’s attempt at indifference, luckily they had arrived at the bar already, so he quickly parked the car and pulled Alise into his arms. She was initially shocked and almost refused the comfort. Time passed slowly as they stayed in each other’s arms.
“I am okay, now. Really.” Alise said with a smile as she reached up and kissed Dorian on his lips. “But thanks,” she continued, “It feels great to be wanted and cared for, and your hug made me feel that… hmm, apparently Mr. Dorian you know exactly what I needed huh. You know you are a little like dad. He always knew when I was feeling neglected and went the extra mile to make sure I was comforted. There was one time I had joined the ballerinas to be pretty and perfect but I was terrible at it and quite frankly not interested, mum had paid me some attention around that time but she was quickly disappointed. Dad noticed. So he got involved in making the sets designs and roped me in. So then I left the little ballerinas and joined him on furniture and set design and I loved it. What’s more I was good at it. I think that is when my love for interior decor actually started. Anyway that was how he was like, whenever I did anything to attract her attention and it didn’t work he would jump right in to spend time with me or attract my attention. I think the only reason he let her go was because he could see what she was doing to me. Well since she left it’s been just me and him. I know we should be a lot more well off than we are but dad spent a lot trying to keep her happy and even when she left she took a lot more than she ever put in. And that concludes my tragic childhood, ha ha ha, could be a lifetime movie.”
Dorian had been keeping Alise in his arms, with her head on his chest while he rubbed her back but as she finished her story she moved away to look him in the eye for any reaction, irrationally afraid of what she might see. Dorian just leaned in slowly, kissed her full on her lips, cupped her face after and said, “I love you Alise McLaren.”
Alise was not expecting that but again it would appear that was exactly the right thing to do as she felt warm all over.
“Hahhahaha, you are so smooth, aren’t you. I love you too, Dorian McFarland.”
“So I feel I should reciprocate… my childhood was also outside the norm… in fact…” Dorian tried to tell her his own story, when Alise interrupted him again, “You don’t have to feel obligated to tell me your story, my international man of mystery, just having you listen and understand is enough for now.”
“Hahhahahha,” Dorian joined in on the humor “well if I told you anyway, I would have to kill you.”
Both of them basked in the presence of each other and their communal affection.
Catherine had prepared well.
She was going to get answered, no matter what. Afterall he was her son and as his mother she deserved to know where he was and what he was doing. She always knew how to get her way anyway, it was only a matter of time.
Although, She hated driving, she knew Darren would never allow her pester Dorian’s colleagues like she intended. She was dressed straight out of the latest vogue catalogue as always with brands like Gucci, Christian Dior, Cartier splashed all around. She looked elegant and harmless. As she pulled up to the department building in her Rolls-Royce, she ignored all the stares and blocked out the world for a bit by wearing her Ray-Bans and got out of the car.
The campus was a glorious combination of nature and concrete, with the psychology department building embracing renaissance architecture. There were a lot of students and some professors on the garden paths around the building, going to and fro at different paces, with other students sitting on the benches or even picnicing on the grass. However, everyone was arrested or did a double take as Catherine made her way to the building. It wasn’t like this was her first time coming to the department so the looks didn’t linger, for some. But it was rare to find someone dressed like a celebrity on your typical college campus.
Nevertheless, this meant that Catherine knew her way to Rajeesh office as he was a neighbour to her son. It could not be called marching, but with the same determination and resolve of any soldier, Catherine sultered into the psychology department building, climbed to the second floor and proceeded to a moderately sized office, at the back of the building, near the elevator, as the handicap accessible entrance is located at the back of the building.
Catherine was fortunate that Rajeesh was in between classes, so he was taking a break in his office, reviewing his notes for the next class. Catherine entered without knocking and immediately said, “Where is Dorian?”
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Whitaker.”
“What is good about it Rajeesh? When a mother doesn’t even know where her son is… Can you imagine what she would be thinking? Is he safe? What is happening? Where is he Rajeesh? I want my son… I want him home… now! And call me Catherine!”
“Mrs. Whit… I mean Catherine… please don’t put me in an awkward situation to betray a friend… you can contact Dorian, I am sure and…”
Catherine shoved her face into Rajeesh and interrupted him saying, “What do you mean by betray, keeping a mother from her son…” then she switched tactics and started crying.
Rajeesh was stunned as he didn’t know what to do. He reached across his desk for some tissues and handed them over to Catherine. He attempted to speak multiple times but nothing came out.
Catherine observed his discomfort as she used the tissue to ensure her makeup did not smear. “How is your relationship with your mother, Rajeesh? How would she feel if she could not contact you and did not know where you were?”
Catherine waited for his answer sure that he would cave now. Rajeesh debated what he should do. As he contemplated telling her, he recalled his last conversation with Dorian where his friend sounded upbeat and optimistic again and decided to only tell Catherine how he was to ease his conscience.
“I am sorry Catherine, but all I can tell you is that Dorian is well and will be back in due time… you don’t have to worry, he just needed some space to…”
Catherine cut him off again, saying, “Hmmm… I didn’t think you were this insensitive Rajeesh. This isn’t over. Hmm.” and stormed out of his office in a perfect catwalk.
Rajeesh could only stare after her only return back to his senses when he heard the bell for his next class, “Damn…” he exclaimed as he grabbed his notes and wheeled himself out of his office in a hurry.