Free Write Wednesday! How Strong is Louise?

Recall that the last time we saw Louise, she had just met with Nicole. Louise didn’t like what Nicole told her. We learn later the Valesky knows that Louise is no longer in USSR. Enjoy this scene from the book five free write!  

Washington, DC—Louise Barker’s Condo

Louise had just finished a meeting with her lawyer. She signed the divorce papers without any hesitation. She knew her signing them would not be the difficult part of this journey. The hardest part was going to be convincing her husband to sign them. While Louise didn’t know all of Barker’s secrets, she knew enough to make her a threat to him. She started for the desk, thinking she should write him a letter, explaining she had no desire to air their dirty laundry. There was a part of her that carried guilt, a burden that she could not shed easily. Her silence and her steadfast support publicly for her husband ensured that she would carry that cross to her grave. She was about to sit down when the doorbell rang. 

Perplexed at who would be calling on her—her presence back in Washington was met with a cold shoulder by almost everyone—she walked cautiously to the front door. She peered through the peephole and recoiled. Standing on the front porch stoop was her secretary while at the USSR’s American embassy. The doorbell rang again. Louise didn’t want to talk to her. She never wanted to see her husband’s mistress again. She couldn’t imagine why this woman would be in Washington, much less why she would visit her. Hesitantly, she placed one hand on the doorknob and unlocked the deadbolt with the other. She opened the door just a crack. “What in the hell do you want?”

Shivering, the young women looked up, revealing the mascara tracks of her tears and a very badly bruised right eye. “Mrs. Barker, I know you don’t have to talk with me, but I would be so grateful if you did.”

Louise looked at the twenty-four-year-old in front of her. She tried not to pity her, but it wasn’t in her nature. She wrestled with the thought of letting her in, but then her mind decided that this was some pathetic attempt by her husband to get her back. She spat out, “I’m not interested in what my husband did or didn’t do to you.”

“It’s not about that,” the young girl interrupted. “Please, I don’t know where else to turn.”

“Cassy,” Louise started, calling her ex-secretary by name. “I am in no need of a secretary, so you can tell Larry this little charade didn’t work.”

“Ma’am,” Cassy started. “The ambassador didn’t send me. I am here of my own volition.”

“All right,” Louise spat out, opening the door wider for Cassy to enter. “I doubt anything you care to tell me will make a difference in my decision.”

Cassy entered the foyer and then turned around to look at Louise as she closed the front door. “Your decision?”

“Yes, I signed divorce papers this morning. My lawyer is dispatching someone to deliver them to Larry in Moscow. I want nothing to do with him or our past.” Louise motioned for Cassy to proceed to the living room of her modest Georgetown condo. “So if he sent you here—“

“Ma’am, he threw me out of the embassy,” Cassy interrupted. “But not before he struck me.” She lowered her head trying to hide her right eye. 

Louise studied Cassy. “What did you do?” Louise pointed to a chair as she sat down on the couch. 

“I told him that I didn’t think the American people wouldn’t like his close friendship with a Soviet general named Valesky,” Cassy started. She sighed heavily. “Well, that was the comment that resulted in him hitting me. I just told him that some people would consider it treasonous—”

Louise rolled her eyes. “You are in over your head. You were never there to provide your opinion. You were his sex toy. Larry doesn’t like women who can think or disagree with his work or stances. He must have been visiting you a lot for you to feel so comfortable giving out advice. I stopped doing that years ago.” Her sarcastic, cold tone was not lost on Cassy.

“I can understand why you hate me—”

Louise laughed. “I don’t hate you, my dear. I have no feelings for you whatsoever.”

Cassy tried to regroup her thoughts. “He threw me out of the embassy when I refused to sleep with Valesky. He wanted me to participate—”

“That’s enough,” Louise interrupted. “I don’t care to know what my soon-to-be-ex-husband is engaging in—sex-wise or politically. Those days are over.” Louise still believed Barker orchestrated this visit. “Why did you feel it was so important to see me?”

“I thought you might be able to talk some sense into him,” Cassy replied. “He is a great man and accomplished so much. It’s like he’s gone mad. He isn’t thinking straight.”

Louise managed a sardonic smile. “You don’t know what he is capable of, my dear. If I were you, I would find a job in the middle of America and forget you ever slept with him. You meant nothing to him. You aren’t important enough to influence anyone’s opinion or to have him removed from power.”

Cassy looked Louise in the eyes and said, “But you are.”

“No, I’m not,” Louise retorted quickly. “No one will listen to me either.”

“Are you sure about that? Have you even tried?”

Louise became insulted. “Get out of my house! How dare you insinuate that I somehow could have influenced my husband’s choices! You of all people—his sex slave, his prostitute, his whore—you know nothing about me or what the hell I have lived through with that man.”

“No, I don’t,” Cassy began. “But I do know what he has been telling the General.”

“And why should I care?”

“Because the fate of the United States rests with us,” Cassy shot back. “You are right; no one will listen to me. I believe that certain people will listen to you. I know you like Nicole Charbonneau. I know you met with her before you left Moscow. Larry knows it too. We both know that Nicole has the President’s ear. I also know you want to see Larry taken down as badly as I do.” Cassy eyed Louise, whose body language and expression had not changed. Cassy interpreted this as Louise’s disinterest in what she was saying. “You are good at this. I have no idea what you are thinking.”

“I think you are a foolish young girl,” Louise responded. “I also think our conversation is over.” Louise stood up and walked toward the foyer. “I suggest you never speak to me again. If you see me on the street or in a shop, please walk the other way. I don’t ever want to see you again.” Louise walked to the door when Cassy met her in the foyer. “Have a good life, Cassy. I hope you heed my advice about where to live.” Before Cassy could say another word, Louise gently guided Cassy through the opened front door, closing it in Cassy’s face. She bolted the door and walked back to the living room. She sat and thought about what Cassy had said. Did she have the power to take down her husband? Would anyone listen to her? Was she brave enough to do it? 

Louise thought about Nicole. She had never met a stronger, braver woman. Would Nicole help her? Could Nicole get her a meeting with Jenkins? Louise tried a couple of times to talk to Jenkins, but he declined her calls and requests for meetings. That was the reason she decided to divorce Barker and move on with her life. It was clear that the Washington insiders wanted nothing more to do with her and they still feared her soon-to-be ex-husband. She sighed as she contemplated placing a phone call to Nicole in Moscow. Would Nicole even take the call? Louise never felt more alone then she did at this moment. She smirked at the thought of the advice she had given Cassy. Maybe I’m the one who should move to middle America and disappear, she thought. She sat back in her chair and closed her eyes. She decided that she couldn’t think about these things any longer. Divorcing her husband was enough stress. She needed to prepare herself for the attack that her husband would surely aim her way. She decided she needed all her strength to deal with that. 

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