Angry grey clouds filled the sky, swirled by a bitter cold wind. This isn’t how I expected spring to be. Making my way back to the car I heard a voice say, “Pete, aren’t you talking to me?”
I turned and saw Danielle, whom I’ve not seen for five years. Now 30, she stood with a welcoming smile. Her green eyes sparkled in the little light available, she still had dark shoulder length brown hair. I felt uplifted to see her as suddenly, the winds didn’t seem so bitter.
”Danielle”, I exclaimed, “How have you been? How are you?”
“Fine. Lovely see you again”
“Your looking great”, I complimented. She was looking fantastic. She was wearing figure hugging jeans, with a plain black ‘T’ shirt. Best of all, she hadn’t changed at all.
We decided to have a coffee at a nearby cafe, to catch up on old times. The little cafe was about half full with the other six customers. Taking a table in the corner, we ordered two coffees.
“So, what happened with Miss Fancy Pants?”
“You mean Yvonne”, I responded. “You never liked her, did you?”
“Well, she did steal my boyfriend, of two years.”
“What! You dumped me. Then she came on the scene”
She smiled, and leaned forward. She started twirling her hair. “Well, history.” She looked into my eyes and continued with, “What happened to her?”
“I married her”
Danielle shot back, clearly shocked by this. There was an awkward silence, which broke when she asked, “Are you still designing web pages?”
“Yep. Part time. I’m also a part time house husband. Are you still teaching?”
She nodded with despair, “So, you’re happily married.”
“Yes”, I paused and quietly said, “We were.”
Danielle leaned forward again with great interest.
I explained about how we married three years ago. She was earning peanuts as a junior sales assistant, in a chain of clothing shops. I work as a part time web designer, earning more than most people get full time, so I do the housework, and make sure tea is ready when she comes back at six o’clock.
Then one day she came home and declared that she given a meteoric promotion from shop assistant, to Sales Director, and she now three times more than me, not that we needed the money. Even though I thought that rather strange, I was happy for her. Until… well, she now comes home at ten o’clock every evening; and is away most weekends on business meetings.
“Not such a marriage made in heaven. You should have married me,” Danielle said.
I smiled, “tonight it’ll be right, we’re having a romantic night. I have cancelled my trip out with the lads, and she’s promised to be free this weekend. I will cook her favorite dish. It’ll be romantic.”
* * * * *
At 6 o’clock I waited for my wife coming home. The dining room table was set, the candles had yet to be lit. The dinner was ready; meatloaf, veg and mash. It had taken hours to prepare, but this was to be the long awaited ‘time together'.
I heard her come in, I went to hug her, she shrugged me off and said, “Can’t stop. Business meeting". She then stormed upstairs, to gather some things.
“I’ve spent hours preparing this evening. I’ve cooked your favorite.”
“Can’t help that, Toby needs me at this conference. Back Tuesday.”
Toby. I met him once. He is the most stuck up snob I have ever had the displeasure to encounter. He looked down on me as though I’d dropped out of his nose just because, I’m only a web designer, whereas he’s a managing director. Totally void of talent.
“Enjoy”, was Yvonne’s last word, as she left.
Enjoy, said with no warmth or feeling. No apology to another broken promise. We hadn’t had a weekend together in ages leaving me feeling hurt, angry and abused. In my annoyance I hastily texted, “from now on you can do your own shopping, cooking, clothes and ironing.”
“Grow up Peter, understand there’s a new reality. I earn more money.” Is that all that’s important to her now? We don’t need the extra money, not that I see much of it.
“Yes. Welcome to the new reality. I’ll still do the tidying up, and will leave your clothes in wash basket.”
I expected a reply text, which didn’t come. I tried to imagine her face, then smirked at the thought of her using the washing machine and almost laughed at the thought of her with an iron.
* * * * *
I don’t know why I accepted Danielle's invitation. Maybe I felt lonely, annoyed, hurt or perhaps because I needed to share my dinner with someone appreciative.
After dinner Danielle and I sat on her sofa in her living room.
“What shall we do now?” she said with a bit of cheek in her voice, as she stroked my leg.
“Danielle. I’m married"
“You used to call me Danni"
“Danni, I am married to Yvonne”
It was that word again, Yvonne. “Oh her, big bosomed, nice arse, comes home late, out all weekend and has lots of money. It should ring alarm bells...she’s a prostitute.”
“Is she a natural blonde?”
“Yes", her bobbed blonde hair was definitely natural.
We watched a film huddled together, which brought back memories just like it used to be. Back to the more carefree days, and evenings where there was no wife and we were free.
At eleven, to her despair, my taxi home came. “Promise me, you’ll come tomorrow.”
I spent both Saturday and Sunday with Danielle. We went to the park, had a picnic in the milder spring weather, went to the cinema followed by a meal out. Much I would have wanted to with Yvonne, I was able to do with Danielle, except with Danielle there had to be platonic boundaries. Nevertheless, it seemed so comfortable and right with Danielle, I never felt that way with Yvonne.
“I think we should talk", a text came in from Yvonne, marring the weekend.
* * * * *
On Tuesday, I staggered through the door, laden with shopping, only to see Yvonne in a frenzy trying to find clean clothes.
“Where’s mi clean shirts?”, she moaned.
She looked at me with horror, “You mean they’re not washed.”
“The washing machine is in the kitchen”
Her blood was starting to boil, her face was starting to redden. “What the hell am I going to wear tomorrow. I’ve got an important meeting”, she insisted.
“You need to understand that I earn three times as much as you”.
“Where is this fictitious money?”
“Is my money. OK”
“No”, I shouted, “it’s not OK. When we got married, for three years you had a job that paid peanuts. I paid all the bills, and did all the housework. I didn’t ask for thanks, but expected some respect for that. Now that you much richer I am still paying all the bills and doing the housework.”
She heard what I said, but wasn’t willing to accept it; so, I continued with, “I don’t need you! I married you because I wanted you, at that time; but I’m not so sure now.”
“What am I going to wear tomorrow?”
“There’s a shirt in the ironed pile”, I replied, “but, you’re going to need to do some washing tonight if you want clothes for Thursday.”
She stood without expression. Maybe she didn’t know whether to be relieved or angry.
“Show me some respect for what I do, and pay half the bills”, I affirmed.
We said very little for the rest of the week. I slept in the spare room. Rather than wash clothes she just bought more clothes. It was a difficult week so I was relieved to find she was to be away for the whole of next week.
* * * * *
The following week was wonderful, with Yvonne away all week I had more free time to myself. After days of Yvonne’s issues, the peace was so soothing. Every evening I went over to Danielle's, not just because of the loneliness, but her presence was so comforting. Sometimes we went out, but staying in with her was more blissful.
Thankfully, Yvonne spent most of her time away. The atmosphere was tense when she was home. Nothing was said and we avoided each other, even though I caved in and did her washing; but there was no thanks or acknowledgement.
In her absence, I spent more time with my friends, and much more time with Danielle. I liked being with her as she was fun and affectionate. It had been a long time since Yvonne had shown any such attention. A forbidden relationship was developing, and I let it.
Then we slept together, twice, which is where matters became muddied. Although it was really uplifting to wake up to her the morning, we had smashed the platonic limits. I realized I’d cheated on my wife, betrayed her. I never in my worst nightmares wanted to be the type of husband that cheats, as I think of myself as moral and upstanding, yet I don’t feel bad about it.
“Are you going to leave Yvonne”, Danielle probed, softly followed by, “So we can be together.”
A text came through from Yvonne, the timing, talk of the devil. “I think we should see a Marriage Guidance Counselor.” At last she wants to save the marriage. If the truth be told, I preferred warm Danielle, but I owed it to Yvonne to save my marriage, so I replied “Yes, I agree.”
* * * * *
On Tuesday I arrived home from shopping, expecting Yvonne’s return, only to find a note on the television. It coldly read;
‘The marriage isn’t working. I’ve been sleeping with Toby because he’s a millionaire, and you are a nobody. I’ll collect my things tomorrow.’
This didn’t bother me as much as it should. All this time she had been cheating on me with that slime bucket, Toby, well he’s welcome to her. My marriage was over. Good riddance.
I decided not to be there when she collected her things.
“So, are you moving in?” asked Danielle seductively.
“Maybe you could move in with me”
A month later Danielle moved in, gradually. I knew everything would change when we started living together. It did. The relationship went from good, to even better. There were no limits, no third party and no complications.
Six months later I received a text from Yvonne wanting to reconcile. Toby had sacked her in favor of a younger model. No chance as I was far more than happy with Danielle, our relationship is deep and passionate. I’ve never looked back.