Chapter - 18
In the morning, when Martha walked out of her room, there was no sign of Alex. At first, it was unusual, but she has grown accustomed to it for the last few days. She had gotten used to seeing Alex making breakfast the first thing on most of the mornings for the past one year. But after that day, she has realised that Alex was purposely avoiding her.
The day after that awkward incident, when Martha did not find Alex up and cooking, the first thing she thought was that Alex might be having one of those nasty nightmares. Nervous and worried, she hurried to his room only to find no one there. She then went around the house to look for him, only to find no clue at all. This was odd. Even if Alex was going to go outside, he would have left a note to make sure they knew where he was and what he was up to.
Clueless, she went into the kitchen to prepare breakfast. There she found a note stuck to the refrigerator.
'Dad, I am going out to the gym. I might be late, so no need to worry,'
'Gym? Without telling me?' Martha thought. It was unlike Alex to do something without telling her. He was in his twenties, yet he acted like a mama's boy, and that's what makes Martha so protective of him.
This routine carried on for the days that followed. However early Martha woke up, it was always the same. Alex would leave a note, and woosh, he was gone.
Thinking that the same was the case today, Martha walked into the kitchen to prepare breakfast.
'Well, you might be hitting puberty later than others, so I will be the generous one here, but how are you going to slip away today? hehehe...' Martha gloated in herself as she cooked. Martha tried to wait for Alex as much she could for the past few days, but even she couldn't wait for long. And as if he was spying from somewhere, Alex would always come back home after everyone had left.
While she was humming a song, Alex walked down the stairs yawning. Martha, when heard the footsteps, looked towards the stairs only to be surprised by the impromptu appearance of Alex.
"Alex? You are home?" Martha asked, walking out.
"Haahh..." Alex nodded with his mouth wide open and his eyes drowsy.
Martha wanted to ask him a few things, but looking at his face, she decided not to.
"Go wash up fast and come for breakfast," Martha instructed and walked back to the kitchen.
After fifteen minutes, when Martha walked out with breakfast, Alex was fast asleep in the living room.
"What the F... Alex. Why are you still here?" Martha woke Alex up with her loud grumpy voice.
Startled Alex, fell off the couch and made a run to his room without giving Martha any chance to be grumpy about anything else.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Half an hour later, when Alex climbed down the stairs, George was already there munching on his food.
When George saw Alex dragging himself down the stairs, he stopped and asked, "What happened to you? Why do you look so haggard? Doing something naughty all night?" George asked with a corrupt smile plastered all over his face.
"Now, why would you say that?" A bit irked by his father's remark, Alex asked.
"Just look at the mirror. Haven't you seen your face yet?" George left his chair, and coming close to Alex, he clicked his photo and showed it to him.
Alex looked at himself in the photo and grew more distressed. The face anyone would be envious of, had dark spots under its eyes, and his eyes looked all sleepy.
"What is going on with you these days?" George asked. He was worried that Alex might be going through something that was taking a toll on him. George has noticed that since the day of his interview, he has grown a little distant from them.
"I am fine, dad. It looks like I did worry a lot about my interview, and now that I got the job, I was just too excited to sleep," Alex tried to brush away George's worry.
"I hope that's all there is to it," George said, getting back to his chair. Alex also sat in front of him and started with his breakfast.
Martha also soon joined them at the table.
"Why are you not ready yet?" George asked when he saw Martha dressed in casuals, "Are you not going to the hospital?"
"I took a leave. I am going to accompany Alex to shopping. He is going to start working from Monday. He needs a few more outfits," Martha said.
"That's a good idea," George agreed.
"You should also join us. What do you say? It will be great family time?" Martha suggested.
"I would love to, but there is just so much work to do. These days I don't even have time to eat," George expressed his helplessness. Only to provoke the ire from Martha.
"The company is in all red. Don't know where all the work is going to," Alex whispered, but he was loud enough for George and Martha to hear.
"Pufff!" George, when heard Alex sprayed all the water in his mouth on Alex.
Instant revenge. There was nothing funny, nothing shocking and no surprise in Alex's words. What George did was all in all intentional. Alex could do nothing but stare at his narrow-minded father.
"I better get going. I don't want to be late, yo!" George said, smiling smugly at Alex and left.
Alex looked at his mother, "You know he did it intentionally, right? Are you sure you married the right guy, mom? He is so petty," Alex asked, wiping his face.
"Leave him alone," Martha said, "You better finish the food fast and get ready. We will leave in thirty minutes, "Martha picked her plate and walked away, leaving the annoyed Alex behind, munching on his food.
'Are you sure you married the right guy?' Alex's words still rang in her mind, even after she left. These words pricked her heart and increased the uncomfortable feeling she had for the last few months.
'Is Alex right?' Martha began to wonder, but soon shook this feeling away, 'What am I even thinking. After more than twenty years together, is this all I can think of? Age must be getting on to me,' Slapping her cheeks lightly, Martha pulled herself out of such thoughts.
Soon Alex and Martha got into the car and drove away to the nearest mall. But unknown to them, they were being followed by someone.
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