Mail Order Bride, Romance, Part 5
Part 5: As if her love life wasn’t complicated enough already, Ana receives word her previous lover has resurfaced in Russia. Now what is she to do?
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 and her housemate Luther become closer and they even share a kiss, until Elise steps in. During a raid at Luther’s residence, Ana gets arrested for not being able to show her passport or visa. Luther realizes his friend Elise may not be as innocent as he thought her to be. Meanwhile, he grows closer to Ana.
“Ana, I just got the best news!”
Raya’s voice was way too happy and excited for this early hour, Ana thought, but politely answered her cousin: “Oh yeah, what’s that?”
“Grigory is back!”
Now she had Ana’s attention.
“What?” she exclaimed and sat up in bed.
“I just heard the news from my friend. He’s lost some weight, but other than that, he’s healthy. So what are you gonna do?” Raya inquired cheerily.
“Raya, I have no idea.” Ana rubbed her forehead with her free hand. “I guess, maybe, I could return home now. If this is cleared now. Where has he been?”
“I have no idea. I only heard it from my friend, who told me because she knew I was invested. Maybe you can call and ask him?”
“No, I couldn’t. And I need to get to work soon.” Ana chewed her lips and shook her head. This was too much to take in at once.
“Really, An? You’re gonna clean that rich bastard’s house instead of finding out whether the love of your life is okay?”
“I don’t know, Raya. I need to think about it.”
“I think you’d be crazy not to investigate. I would have bought my return ticket by now,” Raya stated.
“You’re not me, Raya. You know I just got here, and there’s Mr Townsend and the business with Elise. I can’t throw it all away like that. I need time to consider all aspects.”
“Don’t wait too long. And keep me posted!”
“Of course, love, you know I will. Love you, podrooga.”
“Love you too.” The call was disconnected.
Ana let herself fall back on the bed. This was news she had not expected at all.
Grigory was indeed the love of her life. They had been high school sweethearts, and she had honestly thought they would be together forever. Ever since the day he disappeared, she had felt lost. She had not even realised how much she relied on him, depending on Grigory to give structure to her life. And then the police had suspected her of being involved in his disappearance. That’s why Elise’s trick had hit her extra hard. On that occasion she had also spent time in a cell only to be acquitted of any involvement.
The whole Grigory situation factored large in her wanting to come to the UK. She had longed for a fresh start, a new station in life, anything to forget her former lover. It was also why she didn’t mind cleaning for Mr Townsend: it gave her a purpose and prevented her from worrying about her life in Russia.
And her feelings for Mr Townsend? Ana hadn’t really reconciled them. If she was going to marry him, they were part of the deal. But that had been with Grigory still gone. With him back on the scene, she didn’t know which direction her heart would take her. Well, today, she was going to sort the pantry and give it a deep clean. First things first.
It wasn’t until nine that evening Ana returned to her room and took the same position she had been in early in the morning: lying sprawled on the bed.
The day had been horrible. She had made so many mistakes and had broken not one vase, but two, due to her distraction more than carelessness. Even Mr Townsend had put his head around the corner while she was picking up the shards of the second broken item.
“Everything all right, Ana?” He had asked.
“Yes, Mr Townsend. I’m sorry for breaking it.” Being confronted with him was the last thing she now needed.
“You’re not usually so butter fingered…are you sure everything’s okay?”
“Yes, Mr Townsend.”
“Okay, please be careful. If there’s anything troubling you, you know you can talk to me. I hope you know Elise won’t be bothering you anymore?”
Ana nodded. “I know.”
“Good luck.” He retreated back into his office.
And that was the time he had been nearby. She had tipped over several buckets, used the wrong cleaning agent on the wrong surface, and made a fool of herself overall. Betsy had sworn more than usual at her crappy work.
“Get some rest, child. Maybe tomorrow will be better,” she had wished her before retreating to her room.
Ana doubted it. All day long, images of her former lover had intruded into her mind. So many walks through the forest, sunsets they had seen together, times he had made her laugh. All memories she had thought she had tucked away forever, but now they were playing before her mind’s eye non-stop.
What was she to do now?
She gathered all her courage, grabbed her phone and dialled his number. A pang of pain went through her heart at seeing the silly picture he had insisted she used as his contact pic.
She held her breath but got the same message she had received on every previous occasion: the number you are trying to reach is no longer in use.
What if it wasn’t true? What if it was just a stupid rumour? Or even worse: what if he had resurfaced but didn’t want anything to do with her? She had so many questions and answers to none. Maybe a good night’s sleep would help, and she would have an idea to solve this situation tomorrow. She turned her nightlight off and closed her eyes. Maybe Betsy was right, and tomorrow would be better.
Unsurprisingly, the next day was no improvement. She had hardly slept and was still clueless about how to solve the situation. She began work as usual, but by lunchtime, she had made a decision. She would contact her friends and family in Russia and try to find out what she could.
She snuck into an empty guest room close by and called her mother.
“Hi mama, how are you?”
“Ana, sweetheart, I miss you so much! How’ve you been? Has that lady been bad to you? You sound worried.”
Ana smiled when she heard her mother’s voice.
“No, mama, that lady has been arrested by the police, but I called you for something else. I heard Grigory is back. Have you heard anything about this?”
“O, bozhe moy. Really? Did our prayers finally come true?” Ana noticed the shocked tremble in her mother’s voice.
“Calm down. I don’t know for sure, I only heard a rumour, but I can’t investigate from here. Did you hear anything at all?”
“Njet, my darling. You know I would have told you. What are you going to do?”
“I want to talk with him, know if it’s true. After that … I don’t know.”
“Oh my love, this must be so hard for you. I hope he’s all right, and I’ll have you in my arms again soon.”
“Me too, mother. I have to go. Talk to you soon.”
“I will call you when I learn anything, Ana. I love you.”
“I love you too, mother. Bye.”
“Bye, my love.”
The call was disconnected.
Ana hadn’t learned much. She would have to try her friends when she had the chance.
During her tea break, she went to the same guest room to call a couple of friends. After the last call had ended, she bumped into Mr Townsend while leaving the room.
“I’m so sorry,” Ana quickly apologised.
“No problem. Are you good?” He asked.
She straightened her work apron. “Yes, I’m okay.”
“The situation you were on the phone about also? I don’t mean to pry, but it sounded intense.”
Ana presented a weak smile. “Yes, it’s all right. I’m sorry to bother you.”
Luther shook his head. “No worries, but my office is next door, so I picked up on the anxiety in your voice. And with you breaking two vases yesterday…” He shrugged while he looked apologetic.
Ana didn’t know how to respond. It wouldn’t be fair to tell him about her lost lover who would have become her husband if he hadn’t gone missing. But to leave him in the dark also didn’t feel right.
“They say they’ve seen my friend who has been missing for the last two years,” she quickly responded.
“That’s quite a development, I would say. How is your friend?”
“That’s…we….” A stray tear fought to leave her eye, even though that was the last thing she wanted. She swallowed away her turmoil but couldn’t hold it when Luther pulled her into his arms.
Tears streamed down her face as she cried with loud sobs. This wasn’t supposed to happen: not her tears, not the hug from her potential fiancé while she rejoiced at maybe regaining her former one.
“Hush now, dear, it’s going to be fine. If there’s anything I can do, you will tell me, right?”
“Yes, Mr Townsend,” she managed to utter when most of her tears had passed.
“Good. Are you able to work today, or would you rather have the afternoon off?”
The man really was too kind.
“It’s okay, I will work. I’ll find some tasks I can do on my own. I like keeping my hands busy.” As she said the last phrase, she did a small wave.
“Then I’ll get back to my work too.” He bent forward and placed a light kiss on her cheek before turning towards into his office and closing the door.
Ana shook her head. This wasn’t helping the situation. It was making things more complicated, if that was possible.
Before she could contemplate the situation any further, the doorbell rang. Betsy went to open the door, as was customary.
Ana listened to see who it was.
“Oh, hello. Erm, yes, I’ll call her.” A few moments later, she heard: “Ana, someone’s here to see you, love.”
A visitor for her? Here in the UK, apart from her cousin Raya, she knew literally no one. Could it possibly be Grigory?