October 20th 2017
For once in a very long time, Calvin had a smile on his face when he pulled up to his house. He was feeling good about himself when he hung up his coat and slipped off his shoes.
He didn’t even notice Audrey was sat awaiting him on the couch until she stood up and took his briefcase from him, placing it down gently on the coffee table.
He was surprised -more so with himself for not refusing her help- but found him muttering a ‘thanks’ to her.
“How was your day?” She asked.
Calvin faltered. “Good.” He replied, cautious of his answer.
Something didn’t seem right with her. “Just good?” She probed further even though she knew that he wouldn’t open up to her.
“Yes.” His answer was tight-lipped and short, just like his temper.
“I’m glad to hear that.”
He only hummed in response before he headed upstairs to get changed, loosening his tie on the way.
Calvin worked upstairs in his office for the work that he had missed this morning when he was with Jane; not wanting to fall behind. He ignored Audrey when she came upstairs to tell him that dinner was ready and that she would be waiting downstairs for him.
It was only an hour after she had called him down for dinner that he decided to actually head down.
He had expected for her to have waited a few minutes for him, got frustrated and then dined by herself. He had hoped that she would be somewhere else in the house and that he wouldn’t have to face her anymore tonight. Calvin didn’t expect that she would be sitting, waiting for him patiently.
Audrey didn’t even bat an eyelid when he slid into his usual spot at the head of the dining table.
“I’ll re-heat everything. It won’t take long.” She informed him, not sparing him a glance as she picked up their respective plates from the table, planning to warm it up in the microwave.
He didn’t say anything when she returned less than five minutes later, placing down his plate and a bottle of water in front of him. He watched in silence over his food as she sat opposite him, pushing around the food on her plate with a fork, not putting any of it in her mouth.
Another reason that he had decided to work before dinner today was the guilt.
Calvin couldn’t explain it -especially since he had not once experienced this foreign feeling on the two years that he had repeatedly cheated on his wife and made a mockery of their wedding vows- but Calvin felt guilty. He found it hard to raise his eyes to hers, in fear that she would see through his façade and come to find out the truth of how he really spent his morning.
Dinner was quick and short. Calvin was finished and was heading upstairs before Audrey even had the chance to think of something to say to ease the obvious tension that surrounded them both.
The rest of the evening for Calvin was quiet and peaceful, just how he liked it. Ideally, he would have loved to spend his evening wrapped up in Jane’s arms, but there would be plenty of time for that later.
It was a little before midnight when Calvin decided that he would head downstairs for a quick snack before going to sleep. If he woke up early enough, perhaps he would be able to sneak another secret visit to his mistress; but he couldn’t risk falling behind on his work for that was another headache.
After grabbing a packets of potato chips and a bottle of water, he turned around. His eyebrows arched up in surprise when he noticed the figure lying on the sofa with a blanket thrown carelessly over it. Upon closer inspection, he knew it was Audrey.
He had never understood why she slept on the couch when there were more than enough rooms upstairs, but he decided that questioning her about it wouldn’t be a wise decision.
Calvin stood on that spot between the dining table and the sofa which Audrey slept on, unable to move. He wanted to forget about her, go upstairs, finish his snack and then fall asleep. But fate had other plans when Audrey stirred in his sleep and before he knew it, she was blinking up at him, her eyebrows scrunching up in momentary surprise to find him watching over her as she slept.
Audrey savoured any attention that she got from Calvin, but staring at her while she was asleep seemed to be crossing the line.
But knowing Calvin, he wasn’t just staring at her for no reason. She knew him better than that.
“What are you still doing up?”
“I don’t answer to you.” He snarled at her.
Audrey merely hummed and closed her eyes momentarily, forgetting that Calvin was still stood over her, watching her. She just wanted to go to sleep. Not that anyone cared, but she had quite a lot of work to do tomorrow, and that meant that she would have to be well rested.
When she didn’t hear him walk away after a few minutes, she sighed. “Something bothering you?” She asked, her voice soft, her eyes still closed. When he didn’t answer, she pursed her lips and sat up, making space for him to sit next to her.
Audrey didn’t look up when he walked past her, sitting at a safe distance from her, making sure that there was just enough space between them that no parts of their bodies touched.
“Do you want to talk about it?” She asked him, sitting cross legged on the sofa with the blanket strewn carelessly over her lap.
He didn’t answer, not that she expected him to.
Calvin would talk on his own time, when he was ready. Audrey had learnt that a long time ago. But recently, she had also learnt that she was the last person that he would talk to if he needed to get something off of his chest. And as much as it hurt, she couldn’t blame him for it. With the downwards direction that their marriage was heading, Audrey couldn’t blame Calvin to confide in her as he used to.
Today, it didn’t take long for Calvin to open up to her.
She didn’t even need to metaphorically prod him with any more insistent questioning.
Calvin took in a deep breath, mentally preparing himself for the uncomfortable situation that he was about to put himself in. “I went and saw Jane today.” He finally admitted, glad that he had finally got it off of his chest. He hated to admit it, but he had been guilty about it all day.
Audrey wasn’t surprised. She was just curious as to why he hadn’t done so earlier, but she didn’t voice her thoughts; she didn’t dare to. “You did?” Her voice was all but a whisper, but he heard.
“You breached the contract.” She stated simply.
He nodded. “I know.”
“Do you know what this means?” She asked, sighing. Audrey had wished that Calvin wouldn’t go behind her back, but that was wishful thinking.
“I do,” he sighed. “But you have to forgive me, Audrey.” He stated, not asking her; rather demanding that she did. It was always this way with Calvin, he ordered and demanded rather than asked or enquired.
Audrey wasn’t willing to put up with this. She didn’t want him to walk all over her again. She refused to be a pushover this time. “I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.” She lifted her chin defiantly, knowing that if she didn’t then there was no way that he would take her seriously.
Calvin paused for a moment. He wasn’t used to being treated this way, especially not by Audrey; his wife. “What do you mean?” He found himself asking.
“You went and saw her despite knowing that you were legally bind by a contract not to do exactly that. But you went and did it anyway.” Everything that Audrey was stating were all merely facts; he couldn’t deny anything.
Calvin licked his lips. They had gone dry with nervousness after he heard the way that she was speaking to him. It seemed like Audrey was prepared to battle. And so far, she was making very valid points. “I know, but-”
She was quick to cut him off. “There is no ‘but’. You broke the contract and you know what this means.” Audrey wasn’t prepared to leave much room for argument, but she knew that Calvin would not give in so easily. He would fight until there was nothing left fighting for.
“You have to forgive me, Audrey.” He all but begged her.
“Why?!” She cried, batting her eyes furiously. She looked away from him, not wanting him to see her cry. She wouldn’t be weak, not now.
Calvin was persistent. “You just have to. Just give me one more chance.”
“You don’t deserve another chance.” She stated, traitorous, angry tears running down her face, leaving a wet trail down her cheeks before sliding down the length of her jaw and onto her clothes.
Calvin’s eyebrows shot up in both surprise and anger. “And what gives you the right to say that?”
She didn’t answer him.
“What did you really expect after I found out the truth?” She asked, chuckling quietly. The sound was bitter and rough; she had been asleep before awakening to the sight of him standing over her.
“Calvin,” she whispered, silently praying that he wouldn’t do this now. She was tired, especially now after having learnt that all her accusations had in fact been true.
“You didn’t tell me that you couldn’t have children; that you were fucking barren!” He threw the words at her, his eyes furious.
“Don’t do this, not again.” She begged him, closing her eyes tightly. The tears gathered in the corners of her eyes before they fell. She turned her face away from him, wiping away the tears.
She hated that she was crying in front of him. Again.
“Why the hell not? I have to live with it!” He spat. “I have to live with you.”
Audrey couldn’t stop the tears as they rolled down her face. She couldn’t look away from as he stood up from the couch he had been previously sat on and began pacing the space in front of the coffee table.
“I didn’t know.” She cried, but her words were lost on him. “I swear, I didn’t know.”
He didn’t care what she had to say.
Calvin was not stopping today. “Marrying you was the biggest mistake of my life and the one chance that I get to salvage what is left of it, you try and take that away from me.” He had repeated these words a countless number of times over the past two years, even more frequently as the days passed.
Audrey had no idea how the accusing had turned to her, especially since the conversation had initially begun with a confession from his side. She hated that he always turned the table on her whenever he felt like he was losing.
Audrey hated that he always chose the easy way out.
“You’re sabotaging yourself.” She stated, sniffling quietly.
“Shut up!” He growled at her, his eyes wide and his nose flaring with uncontainable anger.
Audrey raised her voice to match his tone. “You went to see Jane even though you knew that you couldn’t. You broke the contract and now you expect me to ignore it.”
“You just want me to stop seeing Jane.” She accused him.
He didn’t deny it. “Of course, I want you to stop seeing her.” She all but shouted at him. “I don’t take joy in the fact that my husband cheats on me constantly. Every single day.”
Calvin just clenched his jaw, not trusting himself to speak right now, not with the intensity of anger that was currently sizzling inside of him, only growing bigger and fiercer the more she spoke.
“You’ve been cheating on me for two years. What? You didn’t think I knew about it? Hah!” She spat at him. “How do you think I feel? Knowing that my husband hates me so much that he has a lover, a mistress!”
Calvin clenched his jaw, willing himself not to say something that he would regret in the morning, but Audrey was making it really hard for him to stay civil and polite. “Don’t you dare call her a mistress.” He warned her, his voice low and threatening as he looked up at her from under her eyelashes.
“I can call her whatever I like, and you can’t do anything about it. She’s the home-wrecker, the other woman in this marriage, not me!”
“Just shut up, Audrey!” He barked at her again, but she refused to comply to his words.
Calvin scoffed. “Be glad that I even told you the truth.” He spoke as if he had done her a favour.
“Oh, I’m so grateful.” She bit back at him, his tone laced with sarcasm.
“You should be.”
Audrey buried her face in her hands and sobbed, completely frustrated with the current situation that she was in.
Calvin took this as an opportunity to strike. “We both know that you won’t do anything about this. If you tell your lawyer then the contract is over, but you’ll have to give me that divorce. You may get the house but you won’t have me.”
Audrey didn’t say anything. He was right.
She was willing to do anything possible to keep him with her, but Audrey knew a losing battle when she saw one.
She closed her eyes, fighting back the tears as he carried on. But they fell anyway.
“You lied to me before we got married. And now we can’t have children. We can’t have a family, be a family. How did you expect for that to be okay? For me to get over that? I absolutely hate you! But you know that better than anyone. I don’t care what you do. You can have every fucking thing you want, at least I’ll be away from you!” And with that, Calvin stormed out.
“Come back.” She called out to him, her voice quiet and soft as she watched his retreating back. He had heard her, he was sure of it. But he didn’t turn back. However, he did pause momentarily with his hand on the door handle, and Audrey took this moment as an opportunity, determined. “Come back.” She repeated, calling out to him again.
Tears were streaming down her face, but Calvin didn’t care. Audrey was starting to doubt if he had ever cared.
She watched, leaning against the door with tears leaking from her eyes as her husband drove away from her, most likely going to spend the night with his lover as a punishment for his wife. “Come back.” She whispered for the third and final time. But this time, the words did not leave her lips as she stared into the empty spot where his car was usually.
Audrey pined for Calvin the way Rose had pined for Jack when he had drifted off into the ocean, never to be seen again. It was only now that she understood what it was truly like to be alone in an ocean filled with people, Calvin being the one who had drifted away from her.
But at least Jack had loved Rose, and had done everything possible to keep them together. He hadn’t walked away from Rose, not when she needed him.
Audrey could only sit and hope that Calvin would come back to her. But the day turned to night and the owls started tweeting before she walked back inside and closed the front door in front of her.
Not bothering with a change of clothes, she climbed onto the sofa and closed her eyes, wishing the ocean would swallow her whole.
But wishes don’t come true, not for Audrey.