What Goes Around...(5)

By: Carol Marinelli

‘That was Gloria who got sea-sick.’ Someone chimes in and I go to refill my wine glass but I change my mind and turn to Jess.

‘Do you have any soda water?’

‘Sure.’ She’s blushing for me, and goes to get up, but I’m already standing.

‘I’ll get it.’

I feel as if I’m going to cry but wouldn’t they just love that?

I head to the kitchen and I walk past the freezer. I feel like cutting a slice, a decent bloody slice and eating it in here, but instead I pour some water from the tap and gulp it down, but I’m still thinking about what’s in the freezer, so I pour another glass.

Then I feel hate come in.

I know it’s hate because I feel it enter the room with Luke.

Jess must have sent him.

‘Sorry about that.’

‘Fuck off.’ I turn my head a fraction and snarl.

‘Lucy, I am sorry. I honestly thought it was you. I got you mixed up with Gloria.’

‘Please,’ I snort. ‘You wouldn’t have much trouble telling us apart.’ I swing round from the sink. ‘She’s twice my size with a moustache.’

‘That’s right,’ his smile is black. ‘You know, sometimes I think I’m being too hard on you, and then you remind me again, what a cold hearted bitch you really you are – I feel so much better about it now.’ He looks at me and I know that he sees me, the real me, or rather the old me before I reinvented myself - what was it he once said? “You can take the girl out of the council estate…”

He’s said a lot more than that in his time.

That night on the Thames, the one he honestly just got so mixed up about? I can assure you that everyone who was present remembers every detail of that night.

Even if we don’t say.

I remember it now - him calling me a slag, he got right in my face and he even dropped the C Bomb at me, and then he took a couple of slugs at the man who has been my husband, for twelve years now, and yet, still he treats our marriage as if it’s a sham.

I go to walk out, but midway I change my mind, because it is so not a sham. It’s time they all realise who the real Mrs Jameson is, and that she deserves some respect. ‘Every time we have one of these get togethers, someone brings Gloria up and I’m sick of it.’

‘Because people remember her,’ Luke shrugs. ‘Because people liked her.’

I shake my head. ‘It’s to get at me,’ I say. ‘They’re all jealous.’

‘Jealous?’ Luke laughs.

‘Yes,’ I insist, because absolutely they are. ‘They’re jealous because I’m young, they’re jealous because….’

‘They’re not jealous, Lucy. I’ll tell you the reason they don’t like you.’ Luke spells it out, he walks over to me and I find myself shrinking back onto the freezer, because finally we’re having it out. What has been left unsaid for so many years, what was put on hold when Charlotte was born and he deigned to come back into our lives, is about to come out, and I don’t want to hear it.

I go to move, but he grips my arm. ‘It’s because they’ve all seen you in action – they all know that you’d shag their husbands like that…’ he snaps his fingers in front of my face but I don’t blink, I refuse to, well maybe I do a little bit, but I try really hard not to. ‘You’d be straight onto the next, if he could give you more. You’d be on your knees without a backward glance.’

He looks at me with disgust and it isn’t fading.

It never has.

He looks down at me and I actually think he’s going to spit, but he lets go of my arm and I push past him.

I walk out of the kitchen, and the last thing I want to do is go back to the table, but thankfully Jess is coming out. ‘Fancy that tour now?’

I nod, but I’m all shaken.

‘Sorry for what Luke said.’

‘It doesn’t matter,’ I reply as we head up the stairs – she doesn’t know the half of it – still, it’s not her fault that her husband’s a dickhead. I stand on the landing and I look around and try to put his words out of my mind. ‘It’s stunning, Jess.’

‘It’s too big,’ she sighs. ‘But it’s a good investment apparently, with house prices down… yawn, yawn.’ Jess is so funny; she just doesn’t care about all the usual stuff like the rest of them downstairs.

As I said, Luke and Jess are Charlotte’s godparents – separately though. I think they actually met for the first time at the christening. I’m sure they slept together that night, though she never actually told me. We held it at a gorgeous hotel and something went on, because it was all a bit awkward for a while after that. It was just a one-night thing though, too much booze and all that, I think, because nothing came of it. So, I was really surprised when they got married. We didn’t even know that they were going out; we came back from a holiday in the Maldives to the news!