Dark Places

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Chapter 31

It was now mid-May and the country was having a good start to the coming months. The weather was becoming brighter and filling the air with cheer but Mike wished he could feel some of the positive effects that spring was bringing.

Mike was not in a happy state of mind and his depression, which he had tried so hard to keep at bay, was now surfacing again and he knew he only had himself to blame. However he was angry with Steve and disappointed with Elaine. Mike was angry with Steve for the simple fact that he was jealous; jealous of the fact that he was doing all the things with Elaine, which he should still have been involved with and he was disappointed with Elaine because he really hoped that he would win her back into his life but he now had to admit with the shows of affection that he had witnessed between Elaine and Steve, that he had lost her forever and from the things he had witnessed he knew that the couple were too close to each other so wedding bells were sounding in the distance. He also knew that Elaine would try to keep her pending marriage date from him and he could not blame her for that. What had Mike done to win Elaine’s confidence? Not a lot, than look like he was a sad man who could not accept that his one-time love of his life, partner, wife, soul mate and mother to his children had long gone from his life but he did not want to think of Elaine like that, as something from the past, he wanted her back more than anything in the world and it was these thoughts that made him feel even more depressed and alone. He really could not see how he could continue living without Elaine by his side. These luckily were going to be just thoughts. He had cried out to Elaine when he had overdosed and stabbed himself so trying anything that drastic to win her back, he knew was not going to work and despite his dark thoughts he wanted to be able to experience more of life. He was just lonely and needed to try that target of moving on but this is where all these thoughts stopped because he did not know how he could do that. Why could he not just move on and be happy? The truth was he did not know how to and had depended too much on having Elaine in his life but now she was definitely apart from him, he needed to move on because he had wasted too much of life wondering ’what if?’ and chasing a woman who no longer loved him or wanted him. It was going to be hard but he told himself he would do it. Despite this Mike was hatching a plan and it involved somehow getting the information he needed involving Elaine.

Elaine and Steve continued to grow stronger and could not wait until June when they got married. Of course, like most couples they were anxious and nervous because there was so much to do and Steve was trying to not have a heart attack with how much money he had spent so far for the wedding. Elaine could sympathise with Steve on this, as everything seemed so much cheaper when she had married Mike but she knew that was what happened between the first time; in which she had got married to now. However, both of the couple were looking forward to making their love official. It would all be worth it just for that memory. It would be the perfect day and the perfect start to married bliss.

As usual Elaine was having her catch up coffee with Charlotte. Elaine discovered that Charlotte had been promoted at work so was working longer hours but enjoying her new role. Charlotte had been single for a while but had her eye on someone in the new office so she was really happy and then the conversation turned to Elaine and how she was.

“I think I can speak for Steve as well, in that that we are stressed, happy and broke”, commented Elaine cheerily.

It was nice for Charlotte to see Elaine so happy and looking forward to her marriage but then as always the question turned to Mike and Elaine really did not want to talk more about him but she did.

“How does Mike feel about your engagement and pending marriage?”

“Steve and I have tried to keep him not knowing. However, I was chatting quite randomly to one of the ladies in the newsagent and she congratulated me for the engagement and wedding to Steve. I have not said very much in the village about our news so I did wonder how she knew but then she let it slip that Mike had told her. I am finding that very strange as Steve and I do not want Mike knowing and ruining things on the day but the news is in his head now”.

“Oops” replied Charlotte “I can understand you not wanting many people to know that you will be marrying Steve and I definitely understand your desire not to tell Mike because it really has nothing to do with him so what now?”

Elaine had been questioning in her mind that one ‘what now?’ and said so to Charlotte.

“Oh, Elaine every time my friend seems happy, Mike comes along and throws a spanner in the works. No wonder you are confused. I know you said that you and Steve wanted to keep the marriage from Mike so I can imagine how upset you are at finding out like that, that Mike knows but is it all bad that he does know?”

“Yes. I am afraid it does matter because Mike’s knowing about our wedding date is something to which I am not comfortable with. I wish instead of the wedding we will be having that Steve and I could have just gone somewhere hot and beautiful, tied the knot and not told anyone we were married until we had arrived back”.

“But you did not want that did you?”

“I did not, you are right but I do not want Mike to ruin things and I have this feeling that he will be plotting something as we speak and that scares me”.

Charlotte realised it was getting closing time for the café and suggested that they go for a quick drink, where they could talk more comfortably. Elaine agreed to this and they were sitting in The Plume of Feathers when out of the corner of her eye Charlotte spied trouble. She did not want to upset her friend but Elaine needed to know who was in the same room as them.

“I never know why people say this but do not look now”, of course naturally Elaine did look and who was standing there at the bar watching the two friends? Yes you guessed it Mike.

“What is he up to? I do not trust that look in his eyes. Mike always had sparkling happy eyes but I can see the sadness in them”, before Elaine could say anymore Mike had walked over.

“Hello darling. Fancy seeing you here”

Elaine was getting angry now. “Do not hello darling me and you say fancy seeing you here. I live in this village too so yes I am here as well”.

Mike was taken a back, what he had expected from Elaine no one would know but he asked Elaine with the sound of menace in his voice “Over me now are we? Is that why you speak to me like that now? It is all Steve, your fancy man now. I bet I have long been pushed into the back of your thoughts. Mike who eh?”

Elaine was not putting up with Mike acting in this irrational way and commented back “will you please leave me and my friend to have a quiet drink. You always have to spoil a good day for me. I do not know what I ever saw in you”.

Elaine was not prepared for what Mike was to do next but he roughly grabbed her arm and flung her out of the pub”.

“You are hurting me”, cried Elaine.

Mike suddenly changed. He laughed before saying, “hurting you? What about the hurt you have done to me?”

Elaine really did not want to argue with Mike. She did not want to waste her breath on him but had to answer back with “hurt. You talk about hurt. You hurt me when you raped me and you still know that but you still continue to hurt me seeing your face. I hold my hands up and admit that there will always be a part of me that loves you but there is the other part of me that hates you”.

“I knew I would get you to admit that you still love me. I have never stopped loving you. I know I have been a fool but I have always been a fool in love with you”, Mike was trying to turn on the old Mike Fear charm, the sensation that had first brought Elaine into his life.

Elaine was crying now. “You say that you love me but you had your chance. I confess what we had was good and I was in love and devoted to you but you lost that when you raped me and I hate having to remind myself of that incident and what you did to me”.

“Your trouble is you say words but I know you too well Elaine. Can you really convince me that you will be standing by Steve and marrying him and never thinking of me once on that day?”

“Why do I need to justify what I feel for Steve?”

“You do not need to justify it. You just need to be honest to three people, Steve, yourself and I. I said this when we had sex that night that you could not have moved on or you would not have allowed yourself to give in to me so easily. You must agree that night was pretty special. It was the best moment since what I did and I know you enjoyed it too so if you want you can keep fooling yourself that you are over me but you will never be, you just do not want to admit to it do you?”

“Please accept the past Mike. What we had when we were together was great but we are not together now and I will be marrying Steve whatever you say. Besides who are you to tell me who I can and cannot fall in love with and marry?”

Mike shrugged and said “fair enough just make sure when you marry Steve you are one hundred percent committed to him”.

Elaine was about to ask what that was supposed to mean when Mike kissed her, not just a peck on the cheek but a long and yearning kiss that meant to win her back.

“How dare you”, screamed Elaine “you just cannot leave me alone can you?”

“You liked that though”, Mike really was pushing his luck but he knew what he felt.

“Please do not marry Steve. Come back to me. I need you so much and I will never stop loving you”.

Elaine could not handle any more of Mike and ran back towards the pub and her waiting friend and seeing her friend in tears and shaking, Charlotte simply said, “has he hurt you?”

Elaine could not answer as she was shaken and confused. Mike had not hurt her physically but yet again he had hurt her mentally. What was she to do?

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