Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chapter Fifty-Nine

Victoria had been in love with the Senator since she was fifteen. When she was sixteen she seduced him in the swimming pool of her parent’s home. He’d driven her home. After sitting in the car and talking for a while, she'd invited him inside to say hello to her parents. She’d known her parents weren’t home but he didn’t. She suggested he fix himself a drink. “I’m sure they’ll be back soon. I’m going to have a swim and cool off. I’m just going to run up and change. Make yourself at home.”

She came down ten minutes later wearing the most revealing bikini he’d ever seen. “I lied. My parents are at the Cape for the weekend. Wouldn’t you like to have a swim with me? There’s no harm in that, is there, Senator Jaffe?”

He’d said something foolish like “I won’t tell if you won’t” and in a few minutes he was splashing around in a pool with his daughter’s best friend.

It had continued that way for the next two years until her family moved away. Jaffe had actually been relieved when she was gone. He realized he was taking too many chances. They’d almost been caught several times. Jaffe had almost put Victoria out of his mind when he’d run into her that spring while he was in Philadelphia addressing a group of investment bankers. He hadn’t recognized her at first. “Hello, Senator. It’s hot. Why don’t we have a swim and cool off.”

Victoria was working as an events planner. After she and the Senator resumed their relationship she tried to arrange a reassignment to Washington, DC but it didn’t work out. They saw each other as often as they could. She’d take the Acela down to DC and stay at The Mayflower. She delighted in sending him off-colored cards and long, steamy letters in which she professed her love for him. She never really loved him. She loved the idea of have an affair with a powerful man.

Toward the end it had stopped being fun for both of him. He was preoccupied with the November election. Victoria felt taken for granted and resented the fact that they never went out in public. “Other girls my age get to go to clubs and parties. You never take me anywhere. I want to have some fun, Stuart.”

He began to wonder if she was worth the aggravation. Twice he tried to end the affair but both times he called her and begged her to come down to see him. Both times she came. He had noticed recently that the balance had shifted in their relationship. Victoria had taken control. She became more and more demanding of his time and attention when they were together. At times he reminded him of his wife. A couple of times he actually called her Bonnie by mistake. “I’m not your damn wife, Stu, although sometimes I can understand why she left you. You can be such a selfish bastard. You never think of anyone but yourself. I’m surprised she stayed with you as long as she did.” He clinched his fists to keep from hitting her. He knew if he ever lifted a hand against her he might not stop until it was too late. Best to keep the anger buried deep inside. Anger was an emotion that men in his position couldn’t afford.

He’d learned that lesson as a young boy. Lindsey Jaffe had hidden his emotions. Denied his rage. Stuart had seen it though. He had seen the white patches under his father’s cheek bones, the bulging veins at his temples and the fists clinched against his sides. He’d secretly watched his father stand stock-still while his mother pounded against his bare chest until red whelps formed. She had pummeled him until her rage was spent. When she finally stopped his father had turned without a word and walked calmly out of the room. Stuart never saw his father strike his mother. When his mother had been found beaten to death beside her car at the end of a dirt road Stuart watched as his father organized the search for her killer. He watched as his father wept over her closed coffin and as he was consoled by his friends. They never apprehended the person who killed his mother. But Stuart knew the truth.

The tattoos had been a concession to Victoria’s incessant demands. An attempt to quiet her. It had been a mistake. He resented her more than ever. He was repulsed by the stain on his shoulder. His bitterness against her grew until it turned to revulsion. Now she was gone and he still carried the mark. He’d carry it until he died.



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