Mail Order Bride, Romance, Part 2
Part Two: Ana discovers the man who invited her over, is a widower who’s still grieving. Then, at an unfortunate moment, an old acquaintance comes barging in.
Ana gets invited to live in the UK with Mr Townsend. They met through an internet agency, but instead of a happy marriage, Ana is put to work in the household.
Ana soon adjusted to her new life. She didn’t enjoy it, but it was easy enough to get into the routine. Ana was happy she could work with the housekeeper Betsy and offload some of the heavy tasks from the older woman. Even though their bond was easy, they were trying to be friendly towards one another and were learning to respect what the other knew.
Ana missed home, naturally. She called her mother and friends in Russia when she could, but she missed her weekly visits with the family. She had hoped to be more in contact with Raya, but apart from some text messages where she kept her friend up to date with her situation, that hadn’t happened either. She was lonely.
That Wednesday, she was dusting in Mr Townsend’s office. During regular office hours, he was at the office in the city, but he had a study at home for when he worked evenings or when he wanted to work a day from home.
Ana was deep in thought while dusting the knickknacks on the shelves.
“Careful with that one; that’s my wife.”
Ana nearly got a heart attack at her employer’s words. She hadn’t even noticed him come into the room.
Mr Townsend grinned. “Don’t be scared; I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“No, no, it’s okay. I’m sorry.” Ana placed the photo frame back. “Your wife?” She honestly had no idea the man was married.
“Yes, she is, though I should say ‘was.’ I’m a widower if you know what that means.” He twisted the ring around his finger.
“Your wife is…dead?” she carefully uttered.
The man nodded. “Dead, passed away, deceased. However you want to call it. She’s not coming back,” he ended with a grim expression.
“I’m sorry.” She crossed herself and said a quick prayer.
“Thank you. It’s been two years; I should be over it by now. It’s just, you know, tough.”
Ana nodded. She had lost plenty of family members to know the feeling. He turned away, but Ana thought she recognised a sniffle.
She continued dusting, though slowly and carefully. The atmosphere in the room was laden, charged with emotions. She didn’t dare ask him if she could help him. She didn’t think that was her place or that it would be appreciated. She stayed in the room, though. It was better to be around someone when you were in pain, even if you didn’t talk.
When she made it to the wall behind his desk, where Mr Townsend was standing, she noticed his face was marked by pain, with tears still rolling down his cheeks.
He turned to her, and before she realised what was happening, he had pulled her into a tight embrace.
Ana was shocked initially but relaxed in his touch. He needed comfort, and she was able and willing to provide him with it.
She smiled wryly at his shoulder. She had been prepared to do this from the beginning: taking care of her ‘husband’, stilling his sadness when necessary and making his life better when she could. And now, only a week after her arrival, here they were.
His lips brushed over her cheek. Wow, was she able, was she willing to go there just yet?
His mouth found hers, and, despite her trepidation, she willingly welcomed his love. His taste was sweeter than she had imagined him to be, his touch firmer and more in control than she would have guessed. He was not a soft lover who would be willing to go with the flow. He would be in charge of their love-making.
Ana lost touch with the world and instead joined her newfound lover on their plane of pleasure.
“What the hell is going on here? Just what I thought would happen!”
With a jerk, Ana was pulled away from the man she had been kissing. The person with a painful grip on her arm was a woman, and a livid one at that.
“Elise, what are you doing here? You have no right to come in here unannounced,” Mr Townsend stated.
“What am I doing here? I’m here to prevent this Russian whore from tarnishing your name and abusing you in your weakest moments.”
“I was not abusing!” Ana shouted at the intruder.
“Oh no? So why were you all over him like some cheap skank if not to lure him between your legs? I’m sorry, Luther, I should have been here earlier to guide you. Send her away, like you should.”
Elise crossed her arms and shot the interloper a defiant look.
“I, well, no, I…I really shouldn’t. But maybe, Ana, it’s better if you leave the room. Elise and I will talk this over.” Luther spoke apologetically.
“I am no whore,” Ana spat at the other woman before taking up her dusting cloth and storming out the room.
Ana had no idea what had just happened. She had never seen such a vulnerable side to Mr Townsend, and their kiss had been both unexpected and breathtaking. And then this woman had stormed in and had accused her of so many ludicrous things. Didn’t she know that Luther had invited her to the country? That she was supposed to be married to him soon?
Still dazed, she returned to her room.
After taking a few deep breaths, she called her cousin Raya. Maybe she’d have advice on how to deal with this situation.
Speaking in her mother tongue was also easier, especially at high-stress times like this.
She was relieved when her friend picked up the phone immediately.
“Raya, I need your help. You won’t believe what just happened!”
“Ana, are you all right? Do I need to come over?”
“I was just doing my duties, cleaning the house, when Mr Townsend got very emotional, telling me about how he lost his wife, and then we kissed, and this woman ran in and pulled me away and called me a whore! I don’t know what’s going on anymore.”
“Wait, wait, wait. Rewind. You kissed?” Raya repeated in complete surprise.
“Yes, that happened. But why would that woman tear us apart?” Ana rubbed her forehead.
“Sounds like she’s jealous.”
Ana let that sink in. She had never seen the woman before, or heard her name mentioned. It didn’t seem to her like Mr Townsend, and the woman were dating or even that close, but yes, that did make the most sense.
“But what do I do?”
“Relax, Ana. Do you think you’re safe?”
Ana considered it for a moment but then nodded. “Yes, I guess so.”
“Lay low for a while. Do not take any rash decisions. You’re not me.”
Ana grinned. “No, dorogoy, I’m not you. And I’m not ready to leave this place yet. That’s sound advice. I’ll keep my head down, and I’ll try not to kiss him again.”
“Was he any good?” Raya asked with a giggle.
“Surprisingly so,” Ana mused.
“You shouldn’t let him slip through your fingers. Don’t let that other woman needle you.”
Ana smiled. “I won’t. How have you been?”
Raya told her how things were with Stan, and after they exchanged some more pleasantries, they ended the call.
Talking to Raya had calmed Ana down, but she was still shaken up. She had no idea Mr Townsend was still interested in her as a potential partner after he had piled housework onto her. And that one kiss had sparked quite a lot within her. No, that woman who had pulled her away was not just going to get him. Ana was going to put up a struggle. She had plenty of Russian grit within her to stave off a potential enemy.