Not life or death

Connie could almost feel the frog bouncing around at the back of her throat. She wondered if she kissed it whether it would be the answer…

“No, Connie. Don’t be maudlin. Just because you’re on your own doesn’t mean…” But it did and she knew it did. She’d been alone for six months since William had left her for his secretary.

“She wasn’t even pretty,” Connie sobbed to no-one. She’d said that a hundred times, trying to convince herself that it was temporary, six months wasn’t long enough in most instances to mean something.

Connie now knew why they’d never married, lived in sin all those years. It was easy. Easy for him.

“We will,” he’d promised. “When the time is right” but the time was never right.

“No money” lead to “I know we can afford it, it’s just that I can’t take the time off now – we’ve just landed the Albany project – you know what that means.”

She did. Too well. Late nights, lonely weekends.

Being his own boss meant building the company, doing the accounts in the spare room – the room she’d planned for a nursery.

With their 10-year ‘anniversary’ looming, she’d planned a weekend away, booked the hotel, and had the finest details sewn up. He’d promised to come home early on the Friday and for once he’d kept his promise; he’d arrived before her.

A wonderful surprise, she’d thought.

Things on the mend.

And he’d packed the suitcases.

But then it dawned on her.

Too many for a weekend.

And they were all his.

“Sorry, Connie. It’s been fun.”

Connie stood in silence.

“It’s been fun,” he repeated. “You and I, but…”

She watched him pile the cases into his BMW Estate he’d then caught the glimpse of a blonde head in the front passenger seat. Connie had been so surprised to see the car that she’d dashed in the house without taking a second look at the car.

After slamming the boot, he’d returned to the house and held out his right palm.

Connie looked down. His key.

“Won’t be needing this anymore,” he said, a lift in his voice.

187 hot lemon 812934Connie took it and said nothing.

“And you won’t be needing the hotel reservation. I’m taking Sasha. No point in letting it go to waste.”

And that had been that. He’d closed the door behind him, driven off to Chalcott Grange and that was the last she’d seen of him. He and Sasha weren’t to know that the hotel would suffer a fire that weekend, that the place had a bad safety record, that their hotel room would be the one with the faulty door and stuck-fast window.

So, Connie was getting a cold. “Not life or death,” she muttered, then opened up the local newspaper, turned to the lonely hearts column, and took a long sip of hot lemon and honey tea.


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