What Goes Around...(7)

By: Carol Marinelli


But they didn’t speak for two years though, apparently thanks to me. His hand is still stroking my arm and I take another sip of my brandy and I try to think of a polite reason to end this discussion now. ‘I don’t know if it would be much fun for Charlotte,’ I say, and his hand stops stroking my arm.

‘Let’s get you home…’ I’m relieved when he drops a kiss on my cheek and we say our goodnights. I offer to drive, because I've only had two, or three because I remember the brandy.

Make that four given the size of drinks Luke pours.

‘I'm fine,’ he says as I go to get the keys from him and we sort of have a little joke scuffle. The next thing I know, I'm against the car and he's giving me the kiss that he wanted to at the front door, or it’s a bit more than that, because his hands are on my bum he's pulling me in. I can feel that he’s a bit turned on and I'm turned on too.

‘Get a room, you two,’ Luke shouts from the door and we stop. There’s night laughter as we climb in the car and then we toot and wave and drive off, but as we turn out of their street, as I will his hand to my thigh, he turns to me. ‘Don't you ever embarrass me like that…’ he really lets me have it in the car on the way home. No, he hasn’t forgotten what I said at dinner. ‘Don’t you ever insinuate that I can’t…’

‘It was a joke,’ I say. ‘And they all know that it was a bloody joke.’

It doesn’t appease him; he’s still pissed off.

Well I’m pissed off now too and I tell him I am.

‘So what was all that back there?’ I demand and then I realise it was all for show.

Out go my plans and in comes a fight.

I tell him that I’m sick of them bringing up Gloria, I’m sick of hearing her name.

‘Yeah, well at least she knew how to behave at work things.’

I feel like crying, I am so pissed off, because yet again Gloria has messed up my night.

We say nothing till we hit the village.

‘It’s up for sale again.’ He slows down as we pass the cottage in High Street that he’s always got his eye on and I know he’s just doing it to rattle me, but I don’t say anything and then we pull into our street and there’s my house.

My beautiful house.

It’s detached with a big carriage drive and huge mature shrubs. Okay, I sound like an estate agent, but I love my house, even though we’re mortgaged to the hilt and with loans that I don't even want to think about. He thinks we should downsize, after all we've only got Charlotte, but there’s no way we’re moving - the only way I’ll leave here is in a wooden box.

Any fleeting, futile hope of a shag is out, because he’s checking his phone the second we’re in the door. He pours himself a decent drink and takes it upstairs and I’m just left there, just standing there, and I’m angry and I’m upset and I don’t really know what went wrong tonight.

I don’t know what’s wrong.

I remember his kiss, the suggestive way he was stroking my arm, all the promise of tonight and I’m still sort of… I don’t know, turned on….

I think of Jess and she’s got a real live thirty eight year old one, and a battery operated one too, and three quarters of an ice cream cake in her freezer. I don’t get it, because if I had ice cream in the freezer, I’d never sleep. Only tonight, it isn’t ice cream that I want!

I’m back to my friend Google and I type in words. After a few goes I’ve found what I’m looking for – and it promises discreet postage. I’m off to my handbag, to the zipped up bit, and then to another zipped up bit, which holds the credit card he doesn’t know about. I click the purchase button and I am told that in 2-3 business days it will be here.

It just doesn’t help tonight.

I head to the conservatory and I set up for breakfast.

I’m actually tired now and I really do just want to take my make up off and go to bed, but my routines are too important to let a little thing like exhaustion stop me. I go back into the kitchen and pull croissants and bread out of the freezer and arrange them in a basket and cover them with a cloth. Then I make some bircher muesli and put it in the fridge to soak and then I fill the kettle with water, so it just has to be flicked on in the morning. I find my routines soothing and they work their magic tonight. I take one last look at my gleaming kitchen before I turn out the light and head up to bed but I see my reflection in the conservatory windows and the anger starts to fizz again - Luke’s wrong.

They are jealous.

And they have every reason to be.

For the most part.