This post follows from School Bullies. Click here if you missed it.
Matilda leaves Zara’s front gate ajar, hopeful that the gusty winds expected later today will cause it to bang against the latch, repeatedly and annoyingly.
At home, she finds Brad and Charlie on the couch watching Shrek for the gazillionth time.
Brad’s gaze follows her. Tracks her movements into the kitchen, across to Charlie to kiss him, and out of the living area to their room. She knows he can no longer see her, but she feels his eyes boring into her soul.
He didn’t want her to go to Zara’s in the first place. She’s to expect no sympathy from him, once she divulges the information she’s acquired.
Matilda slumps onto her bed; falls backwards so the group of carefully selected cushions envelope her. Her heart shrivelled when Zara mentioned they were bringing in a lawyer.
What was Charlie’s part in this?
She had always assumed that her child would skate through issues, or at worst, be the child who is bullied. But, what if he is the bully? He doesn’t look like one. Scrawny and short, he walks with a slight limp and wears glasses.
Brad leans on the door frame of their ensuite as she’s about to step into the claw-foot bath. He’s holding a glass of wine.
‘You went there, didn’t you?’
‘How’d it go?’
‘Not great,’ Matilda says, sinking deeper into the bubbles. Brad places the wine on the ledge behind her head. ‘Thanks.’ She smiles glumly.
‘So, tell me.’
‘They’ve engaged a lawyer.’
‘That’s what I thought.’
‘I told you to leave it alone.’ He’s annoyed at her. His face is all scrunched up and his voice is tight. She knew he’d be pissed off.
‘It’s no good being angry. We’re going to need to stick together now.’
He nods. ‘The hardest part is ahead of us.’
Matilda sighs. ‘Have you spoken more to Charlie? Have you found out if he started it?’
‘No. He’s not saying a thing. Which makes me think he’s scared to speak out. Maybe it’s his fault, maybe not.’
‘Well, we have to get to the bottom of it. Let’s talk to him when I’ve finished my bath.’ She submerges her head, allowing the water to caress and calm. When she comes up for air, Brad is gone.