David and Diane have been married for years; then there is Julie, the young secretary whose axis collides with the couple’s in ways none of them saw coming.
I ached for David. I ached for him physically, each time he dropped me off at the flat but never came in; not even stopping long enough to turn off the engine.
He had been this way all week, keeping his distance, our interactions limited to the drive to and from work and with each passing day, I felt him drawing farther and farther away.
What hurt even more was that I was powerless to stop it, for when I had brought up the change in him, he had been flippant and dismissive.
“I’ve just got a lot on my plate right now,” he had said evasively.
Diane had come back to see Mark once more that week, but so far, he had not given any indication that I had come up in their meetings.
She always had a smirk on when she came in and considering David’s distant behaviour, I suspected her smug look had a lot to do with that; like, she had won her husband back and knew it.
Even though everything pointed at her being right about that, as David continued to widen the gap between us, I did not want to believe I was losing him.
How could I be? I had done everything right; given him sex whenever he wanted it, cooked and cleaned for him, and provided a ‘nag-free’ zone, where he could come to relax and be treated like a king. How could he be leaving me?
And if he was, how was I going to go back to living without him?
It had been a good week. Although I had not yet started on my planned campaign against David’s whore, the effects were already visible and quite promising.
David had towed the line all week, coming straight home from work each day, bonding with the children as he helped them with their homework and keeping a respectful distance from me in bed each night.
I decided to reward his effort by joining him and the children on their weekly outing that weekend. I was nowhere close to forgiving him, but the ultimate goal of my plan was to get my family back, and even though we were not there yet, it was important to at least give the world the impression that we were a happy and solid family unit.
As for his whore, the effects on her were visible as well; she blanched each time I walked in, clearly uncomfortable with the position of power I now held over her as a client.
I had not said anything to Mark about her yet, still biding my time and building a rapport with him so that when I did eventually raise a complaint, I could be sure he would take it seriously.
Maybe, I would even go a step further and seduce him, just to ensure his compliance. If I did, I would be getting my revenge against both David and his whore; let him see what it felt like to get cheated on for a change, I thought to myself wickedly.
He should actually be grateful I was contemplating doing it with Mark, a man with a similarly high social standing to himself, and not some lowlife, like he had, I reasoned, as the idea took root and began to grow.
If I were to cheat, at least I would do it with class.
I felt guilty about the way I was treating Julie; she had not done anything wrong, and I could tell that my distancing was hurting her, but I knew I was treading on thin ice with Diane. I could not afford to do anything that might break the already delicate balance.
I was already running the risk of discovery by simply picking and dropping Julie off each workday, but I could not bring myself to stop this last routine as well. To minimize this risk, we had developed a pattern where I would beep her once I was leaving home, so she could be ready and waiting when I arrived.
It was also a sign that I was alone in the car, so she could now text or call if she had to. She knew never to get in touch until I had beeped.
The following Monday, I beeped as usual while driving out, and moments later, a text arrived.
‘Don’t bother coming for me, I’m not feeling well; so, have called in sick at work.’
The appropriate response was probably something along the lines of ‘Sorry. What’s wrong? Should I come take you to see a doctor?’
But mine fell miserably short; ‘Sorry. Get well soon.’
I told myself I would make up for it by calling her before I left work later that evening, but the day got so busy that by the time I left, it was already after six and the only thing on my mind was getting home.
By the time I remembered my plan to call her, I was turning into the driveway at home; so, I decided to push it to the following morning.
After all, she was probably fine, or she would have gotten in touch to let me know, I told myself as I parked and headed for the front door.