52-Week Writing Challenge: Week 27
A scene from an ongoing (never-ending!) WIP. Quinn Landon can’t get a break! Determined to divorce the adulterous Oscar Landon, she can find no respite from her family’s judgment and harassment. Quinn draws a line in the sand when older brother, Aaron Clark, shows up at her job.
Aaron held out his hands in front of him. “Quinn, be reasonable. Just because a man has a little fling or two on the side, it does not mean he doesn’t love his wife.”
She froze, willing herself to not throw the stapler on her desk at her brother.
“What does it mean, Aaron?”
Caught off his guard, Aaron scrubbed his hand down his face, “It just a guy-thing, Quinn. Not a big deal.”
Quinn dropped the stack of files she was holding and leaned across her desk.
“What about you, Aaron? Is it just a guy thing for you too?”
Aaron Clark folded his arms across his broad chest again and returned her glare. “This isn’t about me.”
In the span of seconds, Quinn saw the truth in his eyes.
She was crushed.
Quinn covered her gaping mouth with her hand, shaking her head. She stood and walked over to her office windows still reeling from her brother’s non-admission.
Tears formed in the corners of Quinn Landon’s eyes. No. She would not cry. Enough tears were already shed over a situation that didn’t deserve them. Quinn looked over her shoulder at Aaron.
“This isn’t about Oscar’s infidelity, is it? This isn’t about his betrayal of our marriage, or my… what did you call it? Inability to be reasonable?”
She turned and fully faced him.
“This is about male privilege. Guys just being guys, right? Who else, Aaron? Who else gives lip service to their marriage vows? Junior? Clinton? Daddy?”
“Now, sis. If you’d just calm down and think-”
“Oh, I’m calm, Aaron. Probably calmer than I’ve been in the last five years. I’m glad you came here today, Aaron. You’ve given me not only true clarity, but the resolve to follow my heart and my mind. Now, get out.”
“I said get out. And Aaron… never come here again. If you do, I’ll have you removed by security.”
“Quinn! Listen to what you’re saying! We’re family, for god’s sakes!”
“We’re siblings, Aaron. Something we had no say about. But family?”
Quinn returned to her desk and sat in her chair. With a small, bittersweet smile, she continued.
“Family is always there for you. They support you, lift you up and cheer you on. They love you unconditionally. My family doesn’t do that for me. When I think about it, the Clark family abandoned me and supported Oscar even before we were married.”
“But it all makes sense now. I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. No one was shocked and appalled when I found out about Oscar’s first affair. It was me everyone told to calm down. It was me who was told to not do anything hasty… to think things through.”
The small smile faded from her lips.
“It was me who was shamed because I wanted to end my marriage. All because my family doesn’t see adultery as wrong… for men. They rant and rave about the sanctity of marriage and how it’s ordained by God, and is forever. But adultery… it’s just a little thing. A minor detail. Forget that it’s listed in the Bible as a reason for divorce, or on God’s top ten list. No… no. Men are entitled to a little tail on the side every now and then. God’s a guy, he understands, right?”
“How would you feel if Vanessa had an affair? Or two? Three? How many have you had, Aaron?”
“Vanessa would never-”
“I take care good care of my wife. I’ve given her everything she’s ever wan-”
Quinn bolted from her seat.
“Except honesty and fidelity!”
“I’ve always been honest with Vanessa.”
“Oh! Well, that’s different. If you tell her up front you’re a lying, cheating asshole, it’s okay.”
“I believe you were leaving.”
“This isn’t over, Quinn Avery.”
“Yes, Aaron. For me, it is.”
He held her gaze as he backed toward the door.
“No, it isn’t. If you go through with this divorce, you’ll pay a steep price you’ll never recover from.” Aaron left, leaving her office door open.
Stunned, Quinn stood there, her mind replaying her brother’s words.
“… you’ll pay a steep price you’ll never recover from.”
What the hell?