Fiction: The Art of Mutual Destruction Chapter Sixty Seven

Chapter Sixty Seven

Adam woke to find his wife pouting at her phone.

Iman? I don’t think that look works on inanimate objects.”

Iman started. “You scared me,” she scolded half-heartedly.

I’m sorry,” Adam replied dutifully. “What did the phone do?”

The problem is more what it’s not doing,” his wife grumbled. She glanced at him. “Give me your phone,” she requested, holding out a hand.

Adam reached for the device and dropped it in her palm. “Anything else?”

Iman was already fiddling. “Thank you,” she nearly squealed.

Adam blinked. “You’re… welcome, I guess. Are you keeping the phone?”

No,” she handed it back to him. “I’m all done.”

Problem solved?” Adam checked.

Problem solved,” she confirmed, tying her hair back. “I’m going to make breakfast.”

Adam watched her scurry off, puzzled. What had that been all about?

Iman poured pre-mixed batter into the waffle maker, laid the table and then settled in to complete her real task. She’d taken Kat’s number from Adam’s phone when she’d been fiddling with it and now she began to text the assassin, praying that Kat would respond.

Iman had struggled for most of the week trying to think of a gift for Adam that would hold some kind of meaning. But she could thing of nothing he wanted or needed that would make any real impact. And she wanted whatever she gave him to be special.

She’d been ready to call it quits and hand him a watch she’d seen him admiring until yesterday when they’d begun swapping stories about being little. The look on his face every time he mentioned his mother… The pain of it still took her breath away.

She would have tried to find a way to help heal that hurt whether or not she’d been desperate to find a gift for her husband but now, with the timing fall into place the way it had, Iman had already half set her heart on reuniting mother and son right in time for her anniversary.

Now, if only Kat would reply to her messages…

Adam walked in, his hair wet from a fresh shower. “Want me to finish so you can talk to Kat?” he offered.

Iman had already leaned up to kiss him in thanks when his words registered. She gaped up at him. “How?”

You forgot to finish deleting the message,” he explained, grinning. “You really did all that just to get her number? You could have just asked me for it.”

Iman huffed, looking away and trying to will the blush from her cheeks.

Adam tugged gently on a lock of her hair. “Iman,” he cajoled.

What?” she said huffily, still not looking at him.

I thought it was cute,” he offered.

Iman’s phone beeped then and they both looked down. She shielded the screen from him.

Iman,” Adam said slowly. “What is going on with you and Kat?”

You’ll see soon enough,” Iman told him. Hopefully.

Kat had agreed easily, to Iman’s relief. She sat with the other woman outside Lina’s new house now, mentally rehearsing what she wanted to say.

God only knew if Lina would be willing to listen to her. But she had to try.

Ready to go?” Kat asked, unbuckling her seatbelt.

Iman nodded. “Yeah,” she said tightly. “I’m ready.”

That had gone spectacularly wrong, Iman thought miserably. She had somehow, impossibly, made things worse.

How was she going to explain this to Adam?

Her husband took one look at her and immediately asked, “What happened?”

I… went to talk to your mother,” she admitted. And it backfired horribly.

How horribly?” Adam asked.

Iman hadn’t realized that she’d spoken the tail end of that thought aloud. “She’s angrier than she was before I meddled.” Lina had refused to listen to a single thing she’d said and had demanded that she leave. But not before shouting one final thing at her.

Oh,” Adam said softly. “I see.”

But she wants to talk to you.”

Adam went rigid. “She does?”

Iman nodded. “She’s still angry though.”

That’s understandable,” her husband muttered. “What did you tell her?”

Iman winced. “Nothing.” She hadn’t gotten much of a chance. “Your Mom did the talking.”

Adam said nothing.

I probably shouldn’t have meddled.”

Probably not,” Adam agreed, his brow creased. “What were you trying to do?”

I just thought maybe she’d be willing to talk to me. I know how much this has been upsetting you.”

Adam sighed and she winced.

Just how badly had she messed up?

Kat was with you?”

Iman nodded hesitantly.

Adam headed up the stairs to call Kat.

Iman watched him go, kicking herself internally. So much for her great plan. She should have stuck with a watch!

The irritation Adam felt towards his wife had quickly been eclipsed by his own nerves.

Lina finally wanted to talk to him.

He fished his cellphone out of his pants and dialled Kat’s number, waiting for the call to connect.

Hi,” she answered apprehensively. “How’s it going?”

You took Iman to see my mother?”

He could feel Kat squirming.

She was worried,” Kat defended. “She is worried. Hell, I’m worried.”

How bad was it? Honestly?”

Honestly?” Kat repeated. “It could have been worse. At least she’s finally willing to talk. Call her, Adam. You’ll regret it if you don’t.”

They talked for a while longer, Adam carrying the conversation, before Kat finally grew impatient. “Call your mother,” she instructed. “Hang up on me and just call her. And then go and put Iman out of her misery. She must be pacing downstairs.” Kat ended the call, not giving him the chance to respond.

Adam wrestled with himself for a long moment.

Should he call? Did he even want to?

Yes.

He had missed his mother. Neither Kat nor Iman had been imagining things and though he could have done without their interference, a part of him was grateful that they’d tried to help.

Without giving himself any more time to think about it, Adam hit the call button.

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