EPISODE 5. AFTER LAST NIGHT.
I couldn’t sleep. It’s well past midnight and I still can’t sleep.
I remember my last encounter with Astera and I feel angry and bad, at the same time.
I’m angry because she thinks that I’ll raise my hand on her? When have I ever gave her that impression?
But then again, she mentioned Daniel. Does it mean that her late husband laid his hands on her that way?
I remember Daniel. He and Astera were really good friends, he just doesn’t have it in him to beat a woman. He just doesn’t.
So, what was all that about?
Why do I care anyway? I asked myself. She chose him over me three years ago, so why should I care?
Except, I do.
The next morning, I went to see Astera. I really want to keep off….but I feel bad when I remember last night.
I can’t seem to get her reaction and the way she ran away from me afterwards out of my mind.
I knocked on the door and her housekeeper answered. She gave me a little smile that didn’t reach her eyes.
“Is Astera inside?” I asked.
The woman hesitated, like she was contemplating if she should tell me the truth or not.
“Follow me.” She sighed out at last.
She led me inside towards the long hallway that leads to a whole different part of the house.
“She changed rooms after Mr Reed’s death.” The woman said as a way of explanation as we walked. Finally, we came to a stop at a door.
I told her that I’ll take it from there and watched her leave. Before she left, she turned and said to me;
“Take it easy with her, Mr MacFarlane. She has been through enough already.”
I puzzled the words as the woman walked away.
I heard a knock on the door. I dropped the book I was reading and went to answer it.
Stefan stood there, the sight taking me by surprise. As usual, the sight of him took my breath away.
He was dressed casually and his face more relaxed than I’ve seen him since he returned back to Magnolia.
“Hi.” He said, his voice softly and not at all like the cutting way it used to be.
“Hi.” I replied breathlessly, not knowing what to make of this new Stefan. Is it because of what happened last night? I had felt so ashamed afterwards.
Stefan had looked so shocked…even hurt.
“Can I come in?” He asked.
I swallowed, taking a few steps back to allow him into the room. “I’m sorry about the way it looks.” I said, indicating the lack of furnitures.
“It’s okay. You don’t want a lot of things in the room?” He asked, looking around.
I shook my head, “It’s not that. I’m moving out.” I revealed softly.
“Why?” He asked, turning to look at me with surprise. “It’s a beautiful house. All his assets are yours now.”
The house is the only thing of Daniel that came to me after his will was read, but the house is the one thing I don’t want to keep.
Too many bad memories. I want a fresh start.
“I bought a house outside of town. It’s a small but beautiful apartment and it suits me better.” I replied instead.
“Outside of town?” He asked as he lowered himself on the bed, “You don’t want to stay in Magnolia, anymore?”
My chest tightened but I still managed to smile. I walked to the dressed and sat down on it’s chair.
I shook my head, “I can’t stay in a place everyone things of me as a murderer who killed her own husband.”
He nodded and fell silent.
I drank in his appearance. This man that used to be my world three years ago. I loved him so much and I made no secret of it.
“What happened last night, Astera?” He asked softly.
My heart skipped three beats. “Did anything happen last night?” I asked evasively.
But he wouldn’t fall for it.
“You know what I’m talking about. The way you behaved…the way you moved away from me like I was a devil coming to get you.” He said, his usually hard voice was sad.
He continued. “I know I’ve been very angry at you, but surely you never thought that I would lay my hand on you, did you?”
“No.” I answered truthfully. For all his short temperament, Stefan would never lay a hand on a woman that way.
“Then, what happened?” He asked.