Three long hours had passed, and Ravel was nowhere to be found. I had made countless attempts to reach him, not out of anger or frustration over our abandoned plans for the evening, but rather out of genuine concern for his well-being. It was completely out of character for Ravel to be incommunicado, especially when it came to letting me know if he would be running late or returning home in the wee hours of the night.
Unable to contain my restlessness, I paced anxiously back and forth, the hem of my flowing gown trailing behind me. Sensing my unease, Jane offered her well-intentioned advice. “You really should stop pacing around in that long gown,” she cautioned, her voice laced with genuine concern. “You might end up injuring yourself if you’re not careful.”
Pausing abruptly, I directed an intense glare at Jane, my frustration and worry bubbling to the surface. “Do you honestly believe that my concern right now revolves around the fear of falling?” I retorted, my voice tinged with a mixture of anguish and frustration. Sniffing to stave off the tears threatening to spill, I resumed my restless pacing, unable to find solace in Jane’s attempt to assuage my fears.
“My husband is three hours overdue, Jane,” I emphasized, my voice quivering with worry. “He’s never late, not like this.”
In an attempt to offer some semblance of comfort, Jane muttered softly, her voice laced with uncertainty. “Perhaps he’s just caught up with work,” she ventured, her words lacking conviction. “Nothing has happened to him. We’re talking about Mr. Southwark, nothing will definitely happen to him.”
As if to affirm the truth in Jane’s previous remarks, the entrance door swung open, revealing Ravel’s unexpected presence. Abruptly halting in his tracks, he fixated his gaze upon me, seemingly taken aback by the sight of me standing in the living room, resembling a disheveled panda in distress.
“Ravel…” I murmured, my voice choked with emotion as an uncontrollable s ob wracked through my trembling frame. In an instant, I sprinted towards him, enclosing him in a desperate, tight embrace. “What happened, Rav? I’ve been incessantly calling you, but you never answered any of my calls.”
I couldn’t help but notice that his hands hung limply at his sides instead of enfolding me, and he stood in silence, offering no explanation. Drawing back slightly, I scrutinized him, observing a distant, indifferent expression in his eyes. “Rav, is everything alright?”
With a clenched jaw, he slowly released himself from my tight grip and took a deliberate step back. “We need to talk, Hazel,” he muttered, his voice tinged with an unusual tone.
Sensing the weight of his words, my brows furrowed in concern. “What do we need to talk about?” I asked, my voice filled with a mix of curiosity and apprehension.
“Us,” he responded, his voice deep and resonant. “Would you prefer to have this conversation here or in our bedroom?”
Anxiety gripped me as I glanced around the living room. Even though the maids were nowhere to be seen at the moment, their omnipresence was a constant reminder. I swallowed hard, struggling to find my voice. “Let’s go to our bedroom,” I said, my exhale trembling with unease.
He gave me a curt nod, his gaze avoiding mine, and proceeded to walk past me, ascending the stairs with a deliberate pace. I followed him silently, my heart pounding with anticipation. It was not until he reached the sanctuary of our room that he finally turned to face me.
Gently closing the door behind me, I faced my husband, a knot of worry tightening in my chest. “Rav, what’s happening?” I inquired, my voice filled with a mix of concern and confusion.
He strolled over to the window, his back turned towards me, his gaze fixed on the outside world. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed,” he began, his voice tinged with a hint of uncertainty, “but there’s something… off about us.”
Perplexed and caught off guard, I took a hesitant step closer to him. “What do you mean, Rav?” I asked, my words laced with a genuine desire for understanding. “Things have always been wonderful between us. Just this morning, you whispered words of love as we made love. How can anything be off?”
“I only said what you wanted to hear, Hazel,” he responded, his voice devoid of its usual warmth. Turning to face me, his piercing blue eyes locked onto mine, sending a shiver down my spine. “I’ve been doing that for some time now, but I can’t continue living this way.”
My heart pounded in my chest, a gripping fear taking hold of me. “What are you trying to say, Rav?” I whispered, my voice barely audible, too afraid to voice the question that loomed in my mind.
He strode toward the bed, retrieving a large brown envelope that had escaped my notice until now. “I want you to sign these documents,” he said, his tone firm and resolute. “I want to be freed from these shackles.”
Shackles? The word hung in the air, piercing my heart with its implication. “What’s in there?” I asked, my voice sounding foolish even to my own ears, as I already knew the answer, yet was too terrified to fully accept it.
“Divorce papers,” he deadpanned, his words hitting me like a freight train. “Within that brown envelope lie our divorce papers.” He slipped his hands into his pockets, his posture betraying a mix of detachment and resignation. “If you sign them without much resistance, I’ll provide you with a settlement that, if managed properly, could sustain you for generations.”
I felt my world crumbling around me as his words sank in. “What’s happening?” I whispered, my voice barely audible, as I took a hesitant step closer to him. “Today was meant to be our anniversary. You told me to dress up for a dinner date, Rav How did we end up here, talking about divorce?”
“I had intended to give you that envelope during our date,” he admitted, his tone aloof and detached. “But work got in the way.” The absence of emotion in his voice left me questioning where his conscience had gone and where the affectionate man I married had disappeared to.
Coming to a halt in front of him, I attempted to reach out and touch his cheek, but he swiftly grasped my hand, preventing any contact. “You’re giving me divorce papers on our wedding anniversary?” I uttered, disbelief and hurt intertwining in my voice.
“What better time to put an end to it all than the day it began?” he replied, his words lashing out with a cruelty that stung deep within me. “Let’s not prolong this, Hazel. Just sign the papers so I can drop them off on my way to work tomorrow.”
The gravity of the situation finally began to sink in, and tears welled up in my eyes, tracing a path down my cheeks. My husband continued to regard me with an unsettling indifference. “What did I do wrong?” I pleaded, desperation evident in my voice. “I’m sure we can fix this if we try.”
Ravel’s brows furrowed, his gaze hardening as he looked down at me. “Besides the fact that I find you sexually unattractive now, I’ve fallen out of love with you, Hazel, and it happened a long time ago,” he spat out, his words like venomous arrows piercing my wounded heart. “If you weren’t so lost in your own delusions, perhaps you would have noticed.”
“Rav, please,” I pleaded, my voice trembling with a mix of hurt and desperation.
“Just sign the da mn divorce papers, Hazel!” he roared in anger, his face contorted with rage, veins pulsating in his temples. “Is that too much to ask of your foolish self? Just sign them now while I’m still being somewhat generous, because if I take this to court, you’ll leave this marriage with nothing, just as you came in-penniless.”
With one final glare, he stormed out of the room, leaving me shattered and emotionally devastated. As the door slammed shut, the weight of his words crushed me, leaving me to pick up the pieces of my shattered dreams and a marriage that had disintegrated into nothingness.
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