“Ok,” they were in Louise’s flat and Mark was watching as she struggled to find something to put the remaining flowers into, “what was that about at the station?”
“What?” Louise was shocked, Mark never confronted her about anything.
“The thing with the flowers honey. Is everything ok?”
“Well, I don’t know what to say. I just feel like I’m not very important to you,” Louise was finding it difficult to put how she was feeling into words, “like how you chose to go out last night when you knew you were coming to see me.”
“Don’t you want me to go out?”
“No, don’t be stupid, it’s not that. I just wish you would put me first a bit more.”
The look on Mark’s face said everything. He was shocked and he was hurt. Louise couldn’t bring herself to look at him, she almost felt as though what she was saying was unfair; almost. After a few minutes of silence Mark finally managed to say,
“So are we going to Ikea or not? You are in desperate need of some furniture.”
The day had started like every other; 20 or 30 emails before 8am, five or six texts and the odd phone call. The day had started like every other, except today Mrs Reynolds had snapped.
“Where’s my phone Julie?” John shouted from the bottom of the stairs. In answer to his question his phone flew down the stairs and straight for his head. John was lucky his wife had terrible aim. “What’s wrong Julie?” John asked, his tone more fed-up than angry.
Julie Reynolds was not a stupid woman. She was the only one of her four brothers and sisters to go to university and she was the only one of her four brothers and sisters to have a job. Julie Reynolds was not a pretty woman. She was short and stocky; but what she lacked in physical attributes she made up for with her genuinely good nature and sharp wit. She was just the kind of sensible woman that a man like John Edward Reynolds needed, her told her so right before he proposed.
“Why do you keep getting phone calls, texts and emails at all hours of the day and night,” she was practically running down the stairs towards him.
“It’s just work dear,” John walked towards the kitchen. Julie followed, “you know what it’s like.”
“Why are you keeping it secret from me?” she had barricaded herself into the doorway so there was no way for John to leave. He sat down on one of the chairs at the kitchen table.
“I’m not. What are you on about?”
“Whenever you get a phone call you leave the room. You have changed the password on your phone and computer. You are out all night and I have no idea what you’re doing,” she was trying to be strong, but Julie felt tears running down her face, “Mum told me you were no good.”
John Edward Reynolds was genuinely confused, and he hated it, “what has this got to do with your Mum?”
“Are you having an affair John?” Julie slumped down into a seat opposite him. John didn’t answer, for once in his life he was lost for words. “I found a long blonde hair on your suit jacket the other day, and I saw you get into that taxi yesterday.”
John sighed and held his head in his hands. He couldn’t believe what he was about to say, “it’s one of the girls from work. Julie, I’m sorry. It’s nothing to do with you, it’s me. She not even half as intelligent as you.” He looked up sheepishly, his wife was the only person he was genuinely afraid of.
“But she’s younger and prettier than me?” Julie couldn’t control the tears any longer. John looked on as the woman he loved cried, knowing he was the one making her cry, “I’m not stupid John. I knew it.”
“I’m so sorry,” John didn’t know what else to say, “I hate hiding things from you.”
Julie didn’t answer. She got up from the kitchen table and went into their bedroom. She packed a suitcase with suits, shirts, pants, ties and socks and carried it back into the kitchen. She took a cool-box from the cupboard and filled it with food and snacks. When she did speak again, she was calling a taxi and telling her husband to leave.