SERIAL FICTION: Don’t Tell Mrs. Donahue (Part 1)
He descended the stairs slowly, almost reluctantly. Somehow he knew that she hadn’t left yet.
Greta McKay sat at the kitchen table, anxiously rubbing her hands together. She didn’t look at Nick until he reached the bottom of the stairs. Her heart was beating frantically. She stood up as Nick approached the table. She walked over to the refrigerator.
“I’m going to have some blueberries,” Greta said, opening the refrigerator door. “Would that be alright with you, Mr. Donahue? If I took some blueberries?”
“Knock yourself out,” Nick said. He sat down at the kitchen table and sighed. “You know,” he continued, gazing out the window, “I thought it was supposed to rain today. That’s what I heard on the news. They said it was supposed to rain all day. I guess they were wrong. There isn’t even a cloud in the sky. I think I might go for a walk later. I want to check out Provenance, that store on American Street. I’ve never been there before.”
“Is she still upstairs?” Greta asked. She walked back over to the kitchen table with a bowl of blueberries in hand. She set the bowl down on the table and took the seat opposite Nick.
“Yes, she is,” Nick said. “Something told me you hadn’t left yet. I told her to wait upstairs while I came down here to check.” He took a couple of blueberries from the bowl and popped them into his mouth. “I thought you weren’t coming until later this afternoon?”
“I spoke with Mrs. Donahue last week about reconfiguring my schedule a bit,” Greta said. ‘I just got another job, and the hours are a little whacky. I guess Mrs. Donahue didn’t tell you about our conversation.”
“I guess not.”
“How can you be so calm about this?”
“About what? Your new job?”
“No,” Greta said. “About this. This whole situation. You’re just sitting there in your robe, eating blueberries, pretending like what just happened didn’t happen. Don’t you think we should discuss it?”
“With all due respect, Greta, this really isn’t any of your business.”
“How is it not my business?” Greta said. “I’ve known you and Mrs. Donahue for five years now. I consider you two members of my own family. Look, I saw something that I wish I hadn’t. Maybe it doesn’t concern me directly, but, I don’t know, I can’t just go on acting like nothing happened.”
“Let me be clear about something,” Nick said. “You are our housekeeper. Our employee. We barely even see you. You’re usually here when we’re not. I think you’ve misconstrued the nature of our relationship. We are not family.” He stopped as he noticed the hurt look that had spread across Greta’s face. “All right, all right, look. I didn’t mean that, okay? You know that my wife and I care about you very much. It’s just that, I don’t know. And for the record, I’m not as calm about this as you think I am. I’m terrified. Please, Greta, you have to promise me that you won’t tell Mrs. Donahue about any of this.”
“I don’t know if I can make that promise.”
“How long has this been going on?”
Nick sighed again. “A few months. Jennifer’s my new secretary.”
Just then, as if in response to the utterance of her name, Jennifer came down the stairs. She tried desperately not to look at Nick and Greta. “I’m going to go for a drive,” she said.
“Alright, sweetheart,” Nick said.
Greta stood up angrily. “Don’t you know that he’s a married man? You should be ashamed of yourself, you little hussy.”
To Be Continued… •