'Maggie Miskelly' by Janet McDermott-Brown

Maggie Miskelly enters the room like a grenade. Her husband shields the party guests from the barrage of anger that is his wife, not knowing the cause and not caring for it. Maggie’s composure is quickly regained, smile on cue. She faces the endless task of handshakes and politeness.
“Maggie, may I introduce Mr Rudolph Zajinsky,” says her husband. Maggie turns to greet the principle ballet dancer.
“Rudolph, I am privileged indeed,” replies Maggie, shaking his hand.
He cups her hand and strokes her wrist. “Margaret Shaw, I believe was the name you gave,” whispers Rudolph.
She quickly frees her hand, hiding it from her husband’s eyes.
“I don’t know what you mean,” her voice cracks with denial. Rudolph moves closer.
“You have a little powder on your nose, I suggest you remove it,” he informs Maggie.
“Oh! I do apologise, just a little indulgence of mine.” She tries to laugh it off, knowing her cocaine addiction was more than ‘just a little’.
“Let me just check my compact.” Maggie confides in her mirror.
“If you want to remain my lover, you must remember the rules.” He grips her upper arm hard. His breath moist on her ear, his brown eyes cold.
“Don’t worry darling, it won’t happen again. The whole thing is under control,” promises Maggie.
“What would mother say, if I brought home a drug addict? She would be very displeased, would she not?” enquires Rudolph.
“Darling  I am really sorry, I made a mistake. I didn’t realise you would be here, or else I would have made other arrangements.” Maggie uses all her strength to smile, his hand squeezes her arm tighter. Rudolph was beyond contempt.
“Margaret, we must meet soon. I believe your husband is away the weekend of the 9th.” His grip starts to loosen, his mood lightens.
“Yes, how did you...”
“Never mind that, I will send my driver to pick you up as before, same time, same place. Yes?” Rudolf confident of a positive reply, lets himself be lead away.
“Of course...” Maggie watches him embrace one of the male ballet dancers and observes how his fingers delicately caress the muscular torso of this eager young man.
“Damn you, Rudolph, damn you!” Her pride is shaken, along with her confidence, who would have believed it! She rubs her arm, knowing there will be bruising, isn’t there always.


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