[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 070
Chapter 15 (7 of 11): Lovers
Their subsequent meeting with Mazarine’s brother, Craig, and his uptight wife, Lucinda, was not as joyful an affair, however. They had made plans to meet at seven the next Saturday for dinner at a desirable French restaurant where reservations were hard to get. Craig and Lucinda were sufficiently late that they lost their reservation and had to seek out another restaurant nearby. “Baby-sitter problems,” Lucinda explained compendiously, and Mazarine filled in what she felt assured were the ghastly blanks regarding her despotic nephew’s tantrums.
The tense quartet waited almost an hour to be seated at the new place. Mazarine could tell that Yukiko was less than pleased. She would have taken this as a personal insult, disrespect by two corporate lawyers for the importance of her time, a slight perhaps against her Japaneseness by two Caucasian who were self-styled power-players.
Mazarine struggled frenetically to keep some kind of conversation going as they thronged and jostled in the bar while waiting for their table. Lucinda was on edge and, Mazarine suspected, informed by Craig about the nature of the two women’s relationship, without a clue as to how to act around ‘people like that’.
It was awkward at best.
And so, like most people without great imagination, Craig and Lucinda took unwitting refuge in talk about what they knew best, the trials as it were and tribulations of corporate and fiscal law. Mazarine, smiling and interjecting comments of feigned interest at various points in these oral screeds, did not fail to see Yukiko’s eyes glazing over and her mouth tighten into a hard, prim line of disapproving unresponsiveness, signals not readable by her brother and sister-in-law but all too familiar to Mazarine herself. Everything that the stay with Crispin and Christy had been, the dinner with Craig and Lucinda was not, and vice versa twice over. After they had at last finished their painful dinner and could politely — and gratefully — take leave of each other and were out of hearing, Yukiko simply shook her head and repeated several times, “Just dreadful, just dreadful.”
They had booked room 1965, but they did not make love. Instead they sat up half the night and drank and talked. Or, rather, Yukiko talked. Lectured, Mazarine reflected, might be a more accurate verb. Yukiko was working on a bottle of good California Chardonnay she kept in the room’s small refrigerator, and Mazarine had her large snifter and a bottle of Grand Marnier. Excepting Mazarine’s parents, Yukiko got started on the down-side of the topic of family. Mazarine had never heard her speak so poisonously about any topic – and by this time she had listened to more than one tract attesting to the lush inventory in Yukiko’s lexicon of invective.
She tossed forth almost as if in passing the information that her ex-husband was Fabian Darling, and it did not surprise Mazarine — as she might have thought it would. Nothing Yukiko said or did these days could surprise her. In any event, there was no time or room to expostulate while Yukiko was in full spate. Clearly, the woman hated the very notion of family, and explained at great length that that’s why she and Fabian had never had children, despite, according to her, his desire for them. She then used her ex-husband as a huge explanatory hammer with which to pound home her many nails of dissatisfaction in the crooked planks of vows, children, parents, partners, relationships.
“He cheated on me,” she announced. “He mocked our vows. He cheated on me with you, Mazarine,” she said, sliding suddenly into accusatory mode.
“Yes. He was fucking you, for good money I might add, and then he met that Vietnamese bitch. Then he divorces me. But it was you who started it. You gave him a taste of it.”
Was this going to turn into another one of those ‘incidents’ where Yukiko ended up laying off on Mazarine her difficulties and disappointments, whether imagined or real? She wasn’t sure she could put up with another of these theatrical set pieces. They were not amusing. But this was the first time she had heard anything about any ‘Vietnamese bitch’ and wanted to know more.
“Hey, hey, Yukiko, slow down a little here. You’re going too fast for me,” Mazarine said lightly. “First of all, I wasn’t fucking your husband. He was fucking me. And I didn’t know he was your husband, or even that there was a you! I didn’t go after him. He came after me. Let’s not forget that little fact.”
“Details,” she said dismissively. But she calmed down.
“Details they may be, but not unimportant details. I didn’t start anything, O.K.?”
“All right, all right,” Yukiko said and flapped her hand in the air. She got up to refill her wine glass. “Forget it,” she said with an assuaging smile.
“Let me ask you a couple of questions.”
“What is your relationship with your parents? With your father and your mother?”
Yukiko’s face darkened, and for a minute Mazarine thought she was going to fly off the handle again. “Not good,” she said darkly. “Not good at all.”
Mazarine waited for more. But nothing more was forthcoming. Yukiko was sitting in a small sofa and put one leg across her knee and began to swing it slowly back and forth. Her head was lowered, staring at the carpet. “I just don’t want to talk about that right now. I just can’t right now.”
“That’s fine, sweetheart, no problem,” Mazarine said soothingly, suddenly reading significance into Yukiko’s cryptic remark on the train down from Akers Pond about her being so lucky to have the parents she did in Crispin and Christy. She went over and sat down close to Yukiko, their thighs touching. They hugged each other and kissed lightly.
“One more question, sweetheart?”
Yukiko nodded with half-closed eyes.
“Who is this Vietnamese woman you mentioned?”
Yukiko sat upright, blowing their moment of conciliatory intimacy. She immediately became agitated, got up, started marching around the room and waving her wineglass in her hand and sloshing its contents on the floor. “That one,” she sneered. “Some little thing he’s run into. Fifteen years younger than me. And now he’s discarding me, like a … like some used-up rubber!”
“How long has he known her?”
“About two or three years.”
“And when did you get divorced?”
Yukiko appreciated Mazarine’s direction, and she smiled slyly at being caught out.
“All right, we got divorced in early 2000. And he met her that fall.” She stamped her unshod foot in the thick shag. “Still, it’s the idea of the thing,” she said, but the real outrage was gone, like old air whooshing out of a flaccid balloon.
“Come here, baby,” Mazarine said and took her by the hand. “Don’t make this thing into more than it is. The Vietnamese girl had nothing to do with your breakup, and you know that. Look, you and I got together after your breakup with Fabian broke, and so did Fabian and the girl. Is that so bad?”
TO BE CONTINUED