Happily Married [ROMANCE]

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[24]

November 19th 2017

“I’ll just put you through to the doctor.” The nurse informed her politely. “If you could just hold for a minute.”

Audrey rolled her eyes. “Of course.” She replied, tight-lipped. It wasn’t the nurse’s fault, but Audrey was feeling very nervous this morning, especially since today she was supposed to call into the hospital for the fertility results. She had been counting down the days, keeping that information to herself as she knew that her husband, Calvin wouldn’t appreciate the constant reminder.

Music sounded from the speaker of the phone but Audrey made no move to move it away from her phone. Instead, she remained leaning forward on the kitchen counter, nervously inspecting her nails as she waited to be redirected to her personal doctor.

It was after a few minutes that Audrey heard another voice on the line. “Hello, this is Doctor Park speaking. Is this Mrs Paynter?”

“Yes, it’s Audrey Paynter.” Audrey pressed the phone against her ear harder. “I was calling to enquire about the tests that we sent off a few weeks ago.”

“Oh, yes.” The doctor said, but his words did nothing for her nerves. “Let me just take a quick look.”

Audrey waited for a few more minutes, this time listening to what she presumed to be the doctor shuffling about in his office, looking for their file. It was better than listening to some depressing music that made her feel even worse about herself.

“Mrs Paynter?” His voice sounded his tone questioning as if wondering if she was still there.

“I’m still here.” Her voice was small, laced with undue nervousness.

The man cleared his throat. “I’m afraid to say that the results aren’t back yet.”

Her eyebrows knitted together. “But I was told to call in today because they’re scheduled to be returned.”

“Yes, I’m aware. Perhaps there’s been some mishap in the lab, or they’re just not been sent back yet.”

“Okay.” Audrey hummed into the phone.

“I can enquire about that and get back to you later today. How does that sound?”

“Good. Thank you, doctor.”

“Have a good day.”

“You too.” She muttered before ending the call, not feeling as cheery as she might have sounded. That meant that she would have to wait even longer to find out the results.

Audrey didn’t move from her spot in the kitchen. She remained leaning against her elbows which were resting on the kitchen counter as she stared at the tiled wall in front of her, lost in thought.

She had been harbouring the notion that if the results came back clean, it would be proof that there was nothing wrong with her; that she could in fact, have a baby. Audrey would never admit it aloud, but she hoped that Calvin would reconsider if it was proven that she wasn’t barren, and they could go back to trying to start their own family.

It wasn’t the most sensible idea, but it was the only one that she had.

It also sounded very wrong. Having a baby to keep her husband interested. But not falling pregnant had started the arguments and the fights, and it had driven a wedge between them. She could only hope that the gap that had only widened over the years was one that they could fill with love and happiness; with their very own family.

But Audrey knew that it was all nothing but wishful thinking.

She couldn’t deny the fact that Calvin had cheated on her, repeatedly. It might have started after they had begun to grow distant, but it had happened anyway. Regardless of whether they were getting along or not, they were still married and Calvin had not honoured that relationship.

Audrey knew that even if they were to fix things between them, if they were to give their marriage a second go, things would never be how they used to be. She wasn’t asking for a perfect marriage and the perfect husband -because Audrey had soon learnt that perfection was unattainable- she was just looking for someone whom she could share her life with, someone she could love and snuggle up with in front of the TV after a long day at work. She wanted someone she could trust with her life, whom she could tell all her secrets to; someone whom she could rely on when things got tough.

But she feared that Calvin would never be that person for her anymore. And she didn’t know why she was holding on to him.

Audrey had no doubt that Calvin wanted free of their marriage; free of her. But before, she couldn’t imagine a life without him, even if he couldn’t bare the sight of her.

However, now, she wasn’t so sure of things. She wasn’t sure what she was holding on to anymore.

Audrey would and could never deny that she had loved Calvin, and that she always would love him, but perhaps not every love was attainable. Perhaps Calvin and her had enjoyed as much as their love had to offer, but it was over now and instead of holding onto it, they should just let go. She should just let go.

Perhaps their love was like a flower. It was bloom slowly at first, but when it did, the beauty was marvellous. At this point, the plant would be at its peak point in life, the best that it could ever be. But after a while, it would wither away until there was nothing left but a pile of rotten petals, making way for a new flower to live its life until it met its fateful doom.

Perhaps their love was like that of a mere flower.

Audrey had a lot to think about.

When Calvin came down for breakfast, she didn’t meet his eyes. She made some excuse about having to go into the office that morning. As she left the kitchen, she faltered. Looking back over her shoulder at her husband, she watched as he remained stood in front of the fridge, holding the door open as he scanned the contents of it.

He didn’t even hear her.

-

Audrey had finished at the office early that day despite the mini battle of emotions, thoughts and feelings that was going in on her head. She had worked through her lunch hour and the hard work had paid off when her boss let her go early.

Her stomach had been rumbling for a while, but she had ignored it until now. A late lunch sounded fantastic, but then an idea popped into her head.

The same old security guard from two years ago smiled at her as she walked into the building. This time, no one stopped her and asked for ID. She just headed into the lift and pressed the button for the top floor.

Just like old times.

Noah, Calvin’s personal assistant greeted her cheerily as she stepped out of the elevator.

“Mrs Paynter, how are you?” He smiled, standing up from his desk.

Audrey smiled back at him. It was nice to see a friendly face. “Good, thanks Noah. And you?”

“I’m great. Thank you for asking.” He answered politely. “Are you here to see Mr Paynter?”

“Yes, I bought lunch.” She nodded with a small smile, gesturing to the bag of takeaway that she held in her hand. “Is he in?”

Noah nodded. “But he’s in a meeting at the moment.”

“Do you know how long he will be?”

He glanced at his wristwatch. “About half an hour.”

“Okay, I’ll just wait in his office.”

Noah nodded and walked her to the boss’ cabin.

Audrey waved at Noah before she closed the door behind her. Walking to the large desk at the head of the room, she placed down the bag of food on an empty spot before she too, sat down on a chair.

It was just like old times. Like before, when she would visit him in the office whenever she managed to get away from work. She would always bring food and would force him to eat with her. He hardly resisted.

She wasn’t sure how he would act now though. Audrey hadn’t been to Calvin’s office in a while -over a year to be more specific- and she wasn’t surprised to see that quite a few things have changed. For one, there was much more work on Noah’s desk than there used to be, and two, there seemed to be much more people around the building. Either they were all having late lunches, or the company had grown.

Calvin may not know it, but Audrey was proud of his accomplishments.

To pass the time, she walked around his office, noticing the little things that he had changed over the year that she hadn’t been here. Not too much had changed. The carpet was still a soft brown and the walls were white. The one glass wall to the right of Calvin’s desk still remained and she was glad to see that the curtains weren’t pulled in front of it. The minimal furniture of the desk, a single leather couch and matching black coffee table remained in the positions that they used to be.

She found herself pursing her lips and fighting back tears when her eyes landed on the picture frame that sat at his desk.

It was a plain silver picture frame made out of metal. She had bought it for him. The frame used to contain a picture of Calvin and Audrey; a silly picture that they took while messing about in a photo booth. She used to plead him to change the picture because it looked silly to be in such a serious work environment, but he had always refused and claimed that the picture was powerful, that it was real and conveyed much more meaning than a simple, posed picture had.

It seemed that he had finally changed it. But now that she had, she couldn’t help but wipe away the tears. Gone was the picture of husband and wife and in its place, was the picture of Calvin, his arms wrapped around a striking blonde. Audrey couldn’t help but think that they looked like they were in love. Audrey and Calvin used to look like that.

Audrey had no doubt that the blonde woman was Jane; Calvin’s true lover.

Sniffling into a tissue and wiping away any remaining tears, Audrey walked over to the glass wall that overlooked the city life. She watched the cars whizz by and the people strolling along the side walk in hopes of forgetting her sorrows. She found herself wondering what the people were thinking, where they were going and what state in life they were currently in. There were so many stories down on the streets below her and she was sure that hers was nothing more than a fairy tale gone wrong.

It was a little over twenty minutes that the door to the cabin opened. Audrey wasn’t surprised to see her husband walk in, dressed in an expensive Armani suit with straight trousers that were cuffed at the bottom to match.

He didn’t notice her at first. Actually, he didn’t notice her at all.

It was only when she purposely cleared her throat did Calvin look up from his desk chair. Surprise flashed across his eyes as he took in the sight of his wife sitting across from him in the office. However, he was even more bewildered that he didn’t detest the sight of Audrey visiting him at the office.

Just like old times, he thought to himself.

Keeping his thoughts to himself, Calvin leaned back in his chair and continued to stare at her. “What are you doing here?”

“I brought you lunch.”

Calvin eyed the bag on his desk suspiciously. “What’s in the bag?”

“I got you Chinese from Lee’s.” She smiled at him,

It seemed that Calvin was hungrier than she had previously thought as he had managed to eat not only his noodles and dumplings, but hers too. But it was okay, she would just eat later.

Nibbling on some fortune cookies which he had initially tossed to the side, she peered up at Calvin from under her lashes, watching as he gulped down some water and wiped his mouth on a napkin. “When will you be coming home?” She asked, hoping that she the question didn’t result in any backlash.

“About now.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.” He nodded and cleared his throat before speaking further. “I was about to grab some files and head home when I came in, but you had brought lunch.”

She nodded and unscrewed the lid of the second water bottle. “Can I catch a ride with you?”

Calvin didn’t bother with the empty boxes of noodles and dumplings as he stood up, grabbed the previous said files. “No. I’ve got to make a stop somewhere first.”

Audrey stood up as well, the unopened bottle of water still in her hand. “I can wait in the car.” She offered, but Calvin wasn’t interested. He was already making his way to the door before she had even finished her sentence.

On the cab ride home, Audrey got a call from the doctor’s office. The test results still weren’t back yet.

It seemed that she would just have to wait longer to either confirm or denounce her fears. Either way, she knew what the outcome would be, and it was about time that she accepted it.

-

Layla Knight

23.08.17

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