Chapter - 16
"You? Why are you here?" Alex asked, looking at the person in front of him.
Martha also followed behind him, and she was also surprised to see the person at their doorstep.
"Margaret?" Although Martha was surprised, she didn't forget to smack Alex for Asking such a silly question, "Why would you say such a thing, instead of inviting her in?".
Martha glared at Alex, making him eat his own words.
"It's alright, Mrs Rutherford. I was just here to give you this," Margaret said and forwarded a small bag towards them.
"What is this?" Taking the bag from her, Martha asked. Inside it was a bottle of wine.
"I got this bottle as a gift from my friend, but you see, I am not a big fan of wine, and since I live alone, there is no one I can share this bottle with," Margaret said, "Then I thought maybe you and Mr Rutherford might enjoy it better than me," Margaret was all smiles when she said this, but this was just a little white lie. Margaret has been searching for an excuse to visit the Rutherfords, and what's better than a bottle of wine? Though she wanted to have a little alone time with Alex, she was content with having to chat with the Rutherfords for now. 'One step at a time... One step'.
"You didn't need to, but still, thank you," Martha said, handing over the bag to Alex.
"Then... I will take my leave," Margaret said. She looked at their faces for a while and then reluctantly turned around to leave very slowly.
"Margaret!" She had dragged her feet for only a few steps when Martha called out for her. Martha could clearly see the reluctance on her face and finally thinking of something she called for her.
"Yes!" Margaret came running towards Alex and Martha and stood in front of them in seconds.
"Did you have your dinner?" Martha asked.
"Doesn't look like it. Get inside," Martha was not at all polite. She almost ordered her to do what she said.
"I don't want to impose on you guys," Margaret said, but she still took a step forward towards them.
"Don't make me repeat myself," Martha said and walked inside, leaving Margaret and Alex together by the gate.
"If you insist," Margaret said, and winking at Alex, followed behind Martha.
Happy, excited, nervous, annoyed, scared, Alex had a shitload of emotions ready to burst out of him.
When Margaret walked into the living room, George was almost done with his dinner, his plate almost licked clean.
"huh...du...he..hahh...heehe...?"[Who do we have here?] George greeted her with his mouth stuffed.
"Eennh... Good evening to you... too, Mr... Rutherford," Taken back by his state, Margaret greeted back, or she thought he greeted her.
Martha was quick to smack George on his arm. Lately, George has been irking Martha a great deal. She couldn't put her finger on whether it was intentional or not, but he was not the same.
It was only after getting smacked that George adjusted himself. Gulping the food, he smiled sheepishly at Margaret.
"I am sorry. You had to witness that," Martha said to Margaret.
"It's alright. I think it's because of the food. The smell is so tempting," Margaret said as she took her seat.
Alex also arrived by now. He first served the food to Margaret, then to Martha before serving it to himself. He wanted to sit beside his father, but George one of his legs on the chair beside him, making sure that Alex had no choice but to sit beside Margaret.
"Ummm..." Margaret was pleasantly surprised as she took her first bite, "It's delicious, Mrs Rutherford. You are such a splendid cook," Margaret genuinely praised Martha.
"To have such a delicious meal after coming home after a long day of work is a blessing. Alex and Mr Rutherford sure are lucky. If you have some time, can you please teach me a thing or to someday?" Margaret looked like she was smitten by the food.
George, on the other hand, could not hold back himself anymore and finally burst into laughter. As if Margarets's misunderstanding was not enough, George made it even worse.
"Alex made all of this," Martha whispered.
"What?" Amidst George's loud laughter, Margaret could not hear her.
"Alex is the one who prepared this meal," Martha said out loud. She was feeling more and more embarrassed because of George.
"Uhh..." Margaret looked astonished. She turned to Alex for confirmation, but the latter didn't even look at her. He was busy eating his food with his head hung so deep that it looked like he was eating directly from the plate, like a puppy.
"You don't believe it, do you?" George asked, "But yup, that's my boy who's behind this delicious meal," George didn't leave this opportunity to brag about Alex.
"Well, for what it's worth, you certainly are a great husband material," Margaret complimented.
"You just hit the nail with that. I totally agree with you. I have been telling him to go out, meet a few people, preferably girls, and you know, flirt around," George expressed his desire.
Margaret didn't like the pace George was going forward with, "I am sure he will find someone in due time," Margaret said, "Such matters shouldn't be hurried.
George nodded, " I agree, but the problem is he is too shy to find himself a girlfriend. That's what worries me. But now that he has found a job, I am sure he will find someone at work" George got into a conversation with Margaret.
"Ohh... You got the job? Congratulations, Alex. I didn't know, or I would have bought a congratulatory gift for you," Margaret said, turning towards Alex, but the latter just nodded, still hiding his face from her.
"I just hope he does not drag the Rutherford name in the mud. I am hoping for a forbidden office romance between him and his colleague, or maybe that CEO of his company Jessica will fall in love with him. Ohh....just thinking about it, I am unable to control my excitement. Alex, find yourself a girl as soon as possible and make three or four grandchildren for us, hehehehe....". George almost lay flat on the table, held Alex by his arm and shook him silly with his sinister laugh echoing in the hall.
Alex wanted to bury himself somewhere. This father of his, what is he babbling about?
"You know what, darling? You would be much more likeable if it wasn't for that hole in your mouth that noise comes out of," Martha said, smiling. Making George stop from what he was about to say.
"So you applied for Theation? That's a good company. Our Alex sure is lucky to work in the paradise on Earth," Margaret said.
But Alex didn't pay attention to what she said after 'our'. For the first time since they started dinner, he looked directly at her face. He was lost in those deep, blue eyes. As if assimilated in them was a big ocean, so deep that Alex was meant to drown no matter what he did.
"Alex... ALEX!" Alex was brought back to reality by his mother's voice, who was looking at him strangely, "Where are you lost? Margaret is asking you something." She said.
"Huh... Sorry, what were you saying?" Alex asked Margaret.
"When are you suppose to join?" Margaret asked again.
"Monday, next week," Alex replied.
"Nice. I hope you enjoy your time there," Margaret wished him luck.
After that, everyone was busy talking about Alex, his new job and other stuff, mostly centred around Alex. Martha, on the other hand, barely took part in the conversation. She was more focused on Margaret. The arrival of Margaret today was already very fishy, and her attitude towards Alex only added fuel to her suspicion.
Finally, they were done with dinner, and after finishing their own bottle of wine, George pulled out the one Margaret brought with her.
"Pinot Noir," George was happy to see the bottle in his hand, "This is indeed a nice wine. Such a pleasant fragrance, not too dry but certainly not sweet. The flavours of blackberry and strawberry can be distinguished. The lingering aroma is so good. I can't possibly describe this in words... A good choice... very good choice". George went on praising the wine after he opened the bottle, and the aroma filled the room. He was a great wine lover.
"I am glad that you liked it. This, in fact, was a present from my friend, but as I am not a wine enthusiast, I thought it would be better for me to gift it to one," Margaret said as she took the glass of wine from George.
When everyone had a glass in their hand, Martha raised her glass, "To Alex, for him to enjoy the life ahead. Congratulations once again for the new job,"
"Well, I am happy for you, but I will still say. Join my company," George followed Martha. George then looked at Margaret for her to say a few words.
Since they were all looking at her, "To a great future," Margaret said.
All of them clinked their glasses.
Finishing her glass, Margaret looked at her watch and stood up, "I would like to spend some more time here, but I should get going now," She said, picking up her bag.
"Why don't you enjoy some more wine with us?" George asked.
"It's fine, Mr Rutherford. It's already too late," Margaret refused politely.
"If that's the case", George nodded," Visit us more often from now on. You might get to have a meal prepared by Alex," George said as he gave her a thumbs up.
"Thanks for the offer, Mr Rutherford. I would surely impose myself whenever I crave Alex's cooking," Margaret gladly accepted the offer. She then bid her farewell and walked out of the house.
"Alex, go on... Walk Margaret to her house" George nudged Alex to follow Margaret.
Alex nodded and followed Margaret outside.
"What is cooking in that brain of yours?" Martha asked, looking at the suspicious behaviour of her husband.
"What do you mean?" George asked innocently.
"Inviting Margaret for dinners and all," Martha asked.
"Nothin... I just thought it's a pity that she lives alone and has to eat dinner all by herself. Moreover, she might bring some good wine each time she joins us," George put it all on the wine.
"Will you be serious?" Martha asked.
"Is there anything wrong with it?" George asked.
"Well... I think... I think Margaret is interested in Alex" Martha shared her thoughts.
"That's a good thing, isn't it?" George asked.
"I don't think... that there is anything wrong, but..." Martha knew what it was. She was not some ignorant teenage girl unknown of various emotions bubbling inside of her. But she was jealous, jealous of Margaret, just like a teenage girl, which was not like her.
"I don't think we should meddle in their business," George said as he wrapped his arms around her, "Let the nature take its course," George said. For the first time in a long while did Martha felt that her husband was acting a lot mature.
"Come, let's get inside. There is still the soup I want to try... Can't miss it... I wish I could exchange one of my kidneys for another stomach," George said and walked back to the living room.
'I was the fool to believe one could change so easily,' Martha shook her head in disappointment and gave the door one last look before she too walked back in, closing the door behind.
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