Matt grabbed himself a beer from the fridge. He heard a car pull up out front as he closed the fridge door. By the time he walked to the front entry, Alicia was fumbling with the keys to unlock the front door.
When the front door swung open, Alicia turned back towards the drive and waved to someone. A vehicle accelerated away down their drive.
Her face was still beaming from the goodbye smile when she stepped inside the door, wearing her usual gym attire. She stopped in her tracks when she saw Matt standing there waiting for her. His right hand was casually slipped into his pocket while he sipped on his Corona.
‘Oh…Hi Hun. You surprised me,’ she said. She held a shopping bag in each hand.
‘Evening Hun,’ Matt said. ‘So…Who was that?’ He lifted his chin towards the drive before casually taking a sip of his beer. He did his best to appear calm, when in reality, he churned inside.
Alicia glanced over her shoulder. ‘Who was that…?’ she repeated.
Matt nodded once. ‘Who was that in the car…?’
‘Oh…ah, that, that was…Jason,’ she said.
Matt noticed her nervous tone.
‘He gave me a ride home from the gym.’ She approached Matt, gave him a greeting kiss on the cheek and continued through to the kitchen.
‘Via the store, obviously…’ Matt said.
‘Aha…I remembered I needed a few things for dinner tonight,’ she said back over her shoulder. ‘So he was kind enough to detour on the way home. Be a dear and close the front door for me, thanks Hun…’
Matt’s mind worked overtime. He remained unmoved as he regarded her closely while she disappeared down the hall into the kitchen. He already knew she wasn’t at the gym today. He needed more answers.
Matt checked the driveway then closed the front door.
As he entered the kitchen Alicia was unpacking the shopping bags. ‘So, ah… you got a chance to go to the gym after work then…?’
‘Yeah. Yeah, I had a good workout thanks Hun,’ she said.
‘That’s great,’ Matt said. ‘I noticed you didn’t have your sports bag when you came in.’
Alicia stopped unpacking her groceries and shot a look of surprise at Matt. ‘Oh shoot…’ She rolled her eyes. ‘I left it in Jason’s car...’ She waved her hand. ‘That’s OK… I’ll just get it from him tomorrow after my one-on-one session.’ She continued unpacking.
Matt leaned his elbows on a stool at the breakfast bar. ‘Gym very busy?’ he asked.
‘Fairly,’ she replied over her shoulder as she packed some groceries into the pantry.
‘What ah…what exercises did you work on today. Weights, cardio…?’ Matt asked as he watched how her body language reacted to his questions.
‘Cardio...’ she said. ‘I had a solid cardio workout. It was great… very relaxing.’ Alicia failed to make eye contact with him. This was not lost on Matt.
I’m sure you did… He was certain she was lying to him. His money was on her being with Jason. Why else would she lie about going to the gym and why else would Jason bring her home.
He decided to let her know of his suspicions and see where it led.
‘I ended up finishing late today,’ Matt began. ‘Had an unexpected matter come up that held me back.’
‘Aha,’ Alicia said with a tone of disinterest as she started to prepare dinner. ‘That’s a shame you had to work back late,’ she added, clearly misreading where he was going.
‘No. No, I didn’t mind working back. I actually thought it would give me the chance to drive by the gym on the way home and pick you up.’
Alicia froze. ‘Aha,’ she said, unmoved. Her stare was fixed as she waited to hear what came next.
Matt noticed how she tensed up. It was obvious to him she was hiding the fact she was with Jason and not at the gym. He decided to continue. ‘Yeah…only problem was…when I called in to gym, you weren’t there…’ He monitored her closely.
‘Oh, sorry Hun. I didn’t know you wanted to pick me up. That would’ve been a nice surprise. What time did you get there?’
Typical of an investigator, he wanted to answer her question with a question, something like, what time did you finish, but instead he said, ‘just before 5.30, I think it was…’
Alicia nodded. ‘Ah…’ she said extending her nod. ‘I’d already left by then. I got there just before four…and I left just after five. Then I collected these groceries on the way home.’ She flicked a hand at the empty bags still sitting on the bench.
‘So…you left work early…? Don’t you finish at four…?’
‘Yeah, yeah I was owed some time, so I left work a little early to get my gym routine out of the way before dinner.’
Matt nodded as he considered his next comment. ‘See…that’s what I don’t understand, Hun…’ Matt began. ‘When I couldn’t find you, I checked with the front reception to find out if maybe you had left already –’
‘Ah, that’s right…’ Alicia quickly interjected. ‘I didn’t swipe in did I?’ she asked rhetorically. ‘I ran into Jason in the foyer as I walked into the gym and we walked in together chatting and I must’ve forgotten to swipe in… I just walked in with him. We both waved to the girl on reception, but I forgot to swipe in,’ she giggled. ‘You know, I never gave it another thought.’ She shrugged it off.
‘OK. Well that explains everything then,’ Matt said, not convinced in the slightest. He continued to monitor her body language which now appeared more relaxed.
While Alicia prepared dinner, Matt moved out onto the rear balcony to gather his thoughts. He leaned on the handrail while he gazed out in contemplation towards the rolling surf.
In the past he never had cause to question Alicia’s fidelity, or doubt anything she said. He trusted her implicitly. Even her love of exhibitionism never worried him. As a matter of fact, it actually excited him how she loved to flirt and tease other men, or peacock around in front of a male audience, often in very revealing clothing.
None of that worried him. After all she was hot. Everything about her was gorgeous - but she was his. He was devoted to her, and while he himself still noticed and admired the occasional beautiful woman, he remained faithful to their marriage. She was his life, and up until recently, he thought he was hers.
His concern over whether his wife was cheating on him was beginning to erode away his trust in her. He hated how jealous he felt about her trainer. If he was being true to himself, he hated Jason. He hated these churning emotions that now pre-occupied his thoughts.
One things was certain. He would not tolerate her screwing around with someone else while she was married to him. He couldn’t stand the thought of someone else touching her, or for that matter, her touching someone else.
His deep thoughts were broken by Alicia stepping out onto the balcony.
‘What are you doing out here on your own…?’ Alicia said. She moved in beside Matt and handed him a Corona.
Matt accepted the drink. ‘Thanks. Just grabbing some fresh air…’ he said.
‘I’ve got the pasta cooking now, so dinner won’t be long,’ Alicia said. She offered the long neck of her Corona to Matt. ‘Cheers Hun,’ she said.
Matt accepted the toast with a clink of his bottle and took a sip. He returned to view gazing.
On the days that followed Matt discreetly monitored Alicia’s activities more closely. He took notice of how long she was at the gym and how long she was at her personal training sessions. He even spied on the occasional session. Basically, he covertly monitored everything she did when she was away from him.
Yes, it was true. He had become paranoid and he hated how it made him feel, especially when he could not find anything untoward in her actions. She still appeared as loving as ever and as interested in him in every way. But his reliable gut told him otherwise.
After several days of closely monitoring Alicia’s movements and interactions, all without cause for alarm, he started to question his suspicions and he decided to tone down his paranoid Big Brother antics.
In a small way he had restored some trust back into his wife.