The Wedding

By: Emma Darcy



How could he!

The refrain had pounded through Tessa’s head all night. It had punctuated the rattle of the train trip to North Sydney from her sister’s home in Chatswood. It was still throbbing through her mind as she entered the huge CMA building that housed the headquarters of Callagan, Morris and Allen, the engineering and architectural company that claimed her services as a secretary.

That any man—but most particularly a man who said he loved her—could do such a thing! It was beyond Tessa’s comprehension.

Tears pricked her eyes again. She determinedly blinked them back as she strode across the foyer. No more tears for Grant Durham. He didn’t deserve them. He didn’t deserve anything from her, ever again!

She entered an empty elevator and jabbed the button for her floor. As the doors closed she vehemently vowed she would close the door on Grant Durham and never let him back into her life. Never!

She had issued the ultimatum last night. Out! And if Grant was not out of her apartment by the time she got back after work today, she would—she would... Well, she didn’t know what she would do, except the scene that would follow would be dreadful.

Her stomach twisted. Her heart ached. Her mind reeled weakly for a moment, then clutched at an even fiercer self-determination.

The elevator reached her floor and Tessa stomped down the wide corridor to Jerry Frame’s executive suite of offices, stoking resolution with righteous and furious indignation as she reviewed the degrading humiliation of the previous evening. No more pain, she told herself. No more anguish over him. Grant Durham was finished. FINISHED! In her mind’s eye the word looked better in capital letters. No forgiveness. Not for any reason. Never. Four years of her life she had wasted on him, on and off, but this was THE END! Not another day more!

She threw open the door to her own little office and hurled it shut behind her. That made her feel better. She needed to give some vent to the churning emotions she had been trying to contain. Converting pain into anger was very good therapy. Tessa tried a bit more of it.

She threw her weekend bag into the corner beside the filing cabinet. She opened the large bottom drawer of her desk, dropped her handbag in, kicked the drawer shut. She opened the top drawer, snatched up the keys to the filing cabinet and banged that drawer shut as well. She unlocked the top file drawer, withdrew the folder of reports to be processed and slammed the drawer in. The loud metallic crash was very satisfying.

“Not happy this morning?”

The mild inquiry came from the doorway to the executive office. It startled Tessa for a moment. She hadn’t expected her boss to be in. The Japanese conference started today, and normally the executives of the company would be meeting in the boardroom before flying off in the company helicopters. She pasted an extra bright smile on her face and swung to greet him.

Jerry Fraine was a big man with the kind of looks that suggested a cuddly, comfortable bear. He had frizzy grey-brown hair that stood out like a halo and a plump genial face that invited friendly confidences. He also had a razor-sharp mind, which could negotiate around the trickiest deals and land them. This made him the envy of the other ambitious executives of Callagan, Morris and Allen. All of whom had one ultimate ambition: to impress the managing director, Mr. Blaize Callagan.

Tessa liked being Jerry Fraine’s secretary. He was appreciative of her skills, he was kind and considerate, and he had a dry sense of humour that made working with him a pleasure. He didn’t try to lord it over her, and most importantly, he was happily married and not the least bit addicted to any playful slap-and-tickle around the office, thank heaven! It made for an easy relaxed atmosphere between them.

Tessa took a deep breath. “Never been happier,” she tripped out airily. “Overflowing with buoyant spirits. God’s in His heaven and all’s right with the world.” But if there was any justice, a bolt of lightning should hit Grant Durham right where it would hurt most!

Jerry grinned at the flaring glitter in her tawny gold eyes. The tigress in her was certainly running rampant today. Good, he thought. That should liven up proceedings. Perhaps it might even draw a little blood from Mr. Blaize Almighty Callagan. Although Jerry was careful not to let that thought show.