Happily Married [ROMANCE]

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[28]

November 26th 2017

Calvin hadn’t told Audrey what to wear, so she had dressed casually in a warm brown knitted sweater, black skinny jeans and black, suede ankle boots. Since it was so cold outside, she also grabbed a scarf and a coat, not wanting to risk catching a cold.

When she had walked downstairs, Calvin was already waiting for her. When she got to the bottom, he stood up and tucked his phone into the back pocket of his jeans. He didn’t meet her eyes when they walked out of the house together.

Audrey didn’t react, nor did she say anything when Calvin walked past her and opened the passenger door for her, waiting patiently for her to get in. She simply pursed her lips and got in, suspicious as to why he was acting so...nice. This was strange, even for Calvin.

She didn’t return his smile when he got into the driver’s seat.

Choosing to ignore the awkward tension that filled the car, Audrey looked out of the window. She didn’t want to have to meet Calvin’s glances on every couple of seconds. Even though her head wasn’t turned in his direction, she could feel his eyes on her whenever he stared at her when given the chance while driving.

Audrey must have been tired after work because she hadn’t been paying attention to where they were going. She was looking out the window, but she wasn’t taking any of it in. She was just enjoying the silence of her mind, glad that for once, her mind wasn’t jumbled with all sorts of thoughts and feelings.

It was only when Calvin pulled the car into one of the parking spots did Audrey come out of her daze. She looked around, silently admiring the exterior design of the diner where they would be eating when her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

This place looked familiar. Too familiar.

“Wait.” She spoke softly, though her tone held a touch of urgency in it. Her eyes flittered between the diner and Calvin.

With his hand paused on the door handle, Calvin turned to face her. He raised an eyebrow in question. “What’s wrong?” He asked, a smile playing on his lips as he took in her bewildered expression.

She pursed her lips. “We’re eating here?” She asked, her voice cool, almost as if she was attempting to appear casual. But it seemed that it was far too late for that.

Calvin chuckled. “Is there something wrong with this place?”

She shook her head. “No.” The food was good, she had eaten here enough times over the past few weeks to know that the food was really good. Though the company was better, and that was what she feared. “I just thought that we were going to Taco Bell.” She told him, not meeting his eyes as he stared at her.

Calvin frowned. “I thought you didn’t like Taco Bell.” He mused.

She offered him a small smile, grateful that he didn’t seem to see past it and call her out, because her smile was most definitely fake. Either that, or he was silently laughing at her antics. “I didn’t like it before,” she began, her voice trailing off until they were both met with silence as Audrey wracked her brain for a good enough excuse to get Calvin as far away from this place as she possibly good. “But it’s grown on me.”

Calvin nodded as he listened to her. “I thought we could try out something different. I haven’t eaten here before.” He told her, and when she didn’t say anything, he asked her if she had.

“A few times,” she muttered quietly, hoping that he wouldn’t hear her. But that would be very difficult since they were the only ones in the car with the faint sound of their breathing and the occasional conversation being the only sources of noise in the confined space.

“Is the food any good?” He asked.

She nodded, not trusting her voice. This was not going the way that she had hoped. But when she had agreed to get some food with Calvin, she knew just what she was getting herself into. She should have just declined his offer, at least that way she wouldn’t be in this uncomfortable situation right now.

“Then what’s the problem?”

Audrey smiled in response and shook her head. “There is no problem.” Her voice was soft, her words light as she answered him, none of which hinted at the inner turmoil that she was currently going through.

Chewing the inside of her cheek in both fear and nervousness, Audrey walked behind Calvin, thanking him quietly as he held open the door to Darcy’s Diner.

This was the last place that she wanted to be in right now, and especially since Calvin was with her.

Audrey knew that she hadn’t done anything wrong by getting food and the occasional coffee with Joe, but she also knew that Calvin wouldn’t see it that way. Even though she had made it very clear to Joe on more than one occasion that she was married, and that she wasn’t looking for anything more than friendship with him, she knew that Joe was still hoping that she would come in here one day and change her mind.

She wasn’t leading him on, but she couldn’t help it that he felt that way.

Audrey had spent enough evenings eating dinner here with Joe for excellent company to know that she liked spending time with him, talking to him. She even liked sitting in silence with him when they had run out of things to say. He never criticised her, he was always willing and eager to hear about her day, to listen to whatever she had to say, even if it didn’t make any sense -which was normally the case after a long day spent in front of her laptop, working.

Joe was very easy to talk to, and definitely very likeable. She enjoyed spending time with him, and often found herself heading over to his diner to spend time with him instead of for the food. And then she would feel guilty for enjoying his company, or for thinking that he was handsome, or that he had a great personality when she was married to Calvin.

Despite the fact that Calvin had thrown all respect for out the window when he had started cheating, Audrey didn’t want to do to him, what he did to her. Even if he didn’t care, she did, and she wasn’t going to pursue a relationship with Joe while she was still married to Calvin; even if their end date was within arm’s reach.

This was the first time that she wanted to be somewhere else.

To put both Calvin and Joe in the same place at the same time, was very worrying for Audrey, and it was definitely doing a number on her nerves as they walked over to one of the booths by the window. She was just thankful that Calvin hadn’t gone for the corner booth. Hopefully, this way, Joe wouldn’t notice them.

She didn’t want to think about how Calvin would react if Joe came over and struck up a conversation like they were old chums.

Audrey really didn’t need any more drama in her life right now.

Calvin and Audrey didn’t speak much, other than Calvin asking what she would recommend since she had been here before. When the unfamiliar waiter had come around, she ordered her usual while Calvin had gotten the chicken pie with vegetables.

Audrey found herself picking at the hem of her jumper, avoiding Calvin’s gaze as they waited for their food. Time seemed to slow down as Calvin attempted to start a conversation with her while they waited. She didn’t know why he was putting in an effort for once, but she found herself thinking that it was far too late.

She loved Calvin, and there was a part of her that would probably love him forever. But she had learnt over these past two months that she couldn’t make someone else lover her, no matter how hard she tried.

To not make Calvin suspicious -if he wasn’t already- Audrey answered his questions and pretended to pay interest in what he was saying, even though her mind was so diverted and distracted that she was barely paying any attention to him.

Even though she knew, and Joe knew that there was nothing going on between them, Calvin didn’t know that. Despite the fact that he was Jane, and had been unfaithful to her for the past two years, Audrey couldn’t help but feel guilty about befriending another man. It was probably more so to do with the fact that she knew she was found Joe attractive -both the inside and the outside- and if she wasn’t already married, she would have tried to pursue him. There was also the small detail that Joe had made it very clear that he was interested in Audrey, and even though Calvin pretty much hated Audrey and couldn’t wait to get a divorce from her, she knew that the whole situation was just going to end badly.

So, when their food finally did arrive, Audrey breathed out a sigh of relief.

She would finish as fast as she possibly could and then go hide out in the bathroom until Calvin was finished. That way, Joe wouldn’t notice her and wouldn’t have the chance to meet Calvin. She didn’t even care if Calvin thought that she had diarrhoea.

Just as she had planned, Audrey finished eating first. Dabbing at her mouth with a napkin, she smiled at Calvin and excused. She had left the table and made a dash to the bathroom before he could even finish his mouth to ask if she was okay.

It was better that he didn’t hear the answer to that question.

Sadly, her plan backfired on her because before she could even make it to the bathroom, she was intercepted by none other than the person whom she was avoiding.

Audrey frowned when Joe pushed her so that her back was against the wall. He stood in front of her, his legs braced on either side of hers as he leaned in, placing one arm against the wall next to her head. He made sure to leave enough room between them so that she would easily be able to leave whenever she wanted to.

Joe grinned down at her, showing off his pearly whites. “Fancy seeing you here.”

She rolled her eyes. “Let me go, Joe.”

“That rhymes.”

Audrey sighed and sent him a pointed look. “I’m not laughing.” Her tone was try. “Leave me alone.”

“I’m not bothering you, am I?” He smiled at her mischievously, his voice husky enough to send shivers down her spine.

“Let me go.” She repeated, her eyes briefly glancing to the left to make sure that no one was headed this way. She had no idea how she would explain the compromising situation that they were in if someone were to spot them, especially if that someone was Calvin.

Joe’s grin only expanded. “I’m not holding you down. You can leave anytime.”

He was technically right. Audrey pursed her lips and just stared at the wall over his shoulder, not making any move to leave.

When she didn’t say anything, he frowned. “Who is that man that you came in here with?”

He was met with silence again. “Can I meet him?” He grinned mischievously when that seemed to grab her attention.

Her eyes shot to his nearly instantly as she began shaking her head. “No.” Audrey called out, grabbing his arm to stop him when he began to pull away. He halted his movements to hear what she had to say. “Where are you going?” She asked, scared that he would just go and sit down in front of Calvin and start a conversation with him.

“He’s your husband, isn’t he?” He asked, no longer smiling. Audrey could almost feel his mood growing sour at the mere thought of Calvin.

She had been right to try and keep them both away from each other.

“Why can’t I meet him?” He asked again when Audrey didn’t say anything.

“Because it’ll be weird.” She said, hoping that he would just drop the subject.

Joe sighed, and closed his eyes briefly before he pushed himself off of the wall. “You should tell him about me.” He whispered against her ear before he stood up straight and walked down the hallway and away from her.

Audrey released a sigh of relief. She hated that felt so guilty even though she wasn’t doing anything wrong.

After a quick trip to the bathroom, Audrey headed back into towards her table. Though her steps came towards a stop when her eyes landed on Calvin and another woman. Judging by the striking blonde hair, flawless complexion and slim body, she had no doubt that this was Jane.

This was the first time that Audrey had seen Jane in person. And she hated what the sight of Calvin and Jane together did to her self-worth. Despite coming to terms with the notion that Calvin wouldn’t ever love her back, it still hurt to see his lover paraded around on his arm in front of her.

Audrey didn’t say anything when the happy couple stood up. She watched silently as he put his coat and left some money on the table for the food. She watched as Calvin looked up to meet her eyes. Surprise flashed across his eyes as he took in the sight of his wife standing in the same vicinity of him and his lover. It almost looked like he, for once in his life, felt guilty for his actions, but that look soon disappeared when Jane pulled on his arm.

Together, they walked out of the diner even though Audrey had been the one that Calvin had walked in with.

She hated the sadness that engulfed her whenever she thought of Calvin and his other woman. A whole lot of ‘what-ifs’ sprang to mind, but she batted them away as she grabbed her coat, bag and scarf.

Hoisting her bag on her shoulder, her eyes landed on Joe who was stood behind the counter, no doubt watching the whole ordeal even before she had returned from the bathroom.

She hated feeling sorry for.

Audrey could see herself have a future with Joe, but she feared that she was too broken to ever pursue it. Her marriage with Calvin had destroyed a lot of things for her, one of them being her self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

She knew that she would be single in less than a month, and she knew that she was interested in Joe. But she also knew that she needed some time away, and she didn’t expect for him to wait for her, because that would just be unfair.

Avoiding his eyes, she left.

Audrey needed to learn to love herself before she opened up her heart to anyone else.

-

Layla Knight

15.09.17

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