Happily Married [ROMANCE]

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[05]

September 28th 2017

The TV blared in the background but Audrey paid it no heed as she snuggled under the blankets on the sofa, staring up at the ceiling.

She tried not to think of anything because if she did, then she would just be reminded of her failure of her marriage. Along with that, her husband; her beloved husband.

Audrey was used to this, being alone, spending all of her time by herself in the house that they had bought together. She was used to the way that her husband treated her and honestly, she relished in the little attention that he did give her -even if it was not of the positive kind- because she knew she would take his constant sneering and jeering rather than not have him in her life at all.

Now, many would think her to be weak, to be submissive even if they were to ever find out about her marital life. But wanting to stay with the man she loved didn’t make her weak, it just made her love stronger. Many people wouldn’t understand it, and Audrey didn’t expect them to, but she didn’t care.

She knew that she wasn’t weak, and that was enough for her.

Exhaling, she reached out for the remote and turned off the TV, not seeing the point of it being on if she wasn’t going to pay attention to it.

She must have dozed because she found herself jolting awake at the sound of the front door slamming shut. Her body tensed and she found her heart jumping around wildly in her chest.

Who was in her house?

No one had a key apart from her and Calvin, and she was in high doubt that it was Calvin coming home this early in the evening. One, because if he were to come home then it wouldn’t be this early and two, he never spent his evenings or his nights here anymore. He would only come home in the morning to get changed and ready for work.

He was too busy fraternising with his lover, the one that he didn’t think she knew about.

But she did.

She wasn’t stupid.

A sigh of relief passed through her lips as her eyes adjusted to the light that had just been switched on and she realised that it was indeed Calvin.

Calvin?

She decided to voice her thoughts instead of staying mute. “Calvin?” She called out to him hesitantly as she sat up on the sofa. “What are you doing here?”

He merely snorted and crossed his arms over his chest as he stared at the infuriating woman in front of him. “This is my house. Are you implying that I can’t come to my own house?”

“Of course not.” She answered back quietly, fidgeting with the thread at the bottom of her pyjama shirt, not really knowing what to do with both her hands and her eyes.

Her husband was an attractive man, more attractive than most yet she didn’t feel comfortable staring at him knowing that her gaze would be unwanted. There was also the possibility that she would end up setting him off and she just wasn’t in the mood to be reprimanded like a child tonight.

She had thought that she would have yet another peaceful night by herself, but it was a nice surprise that he had come home for the evening regardless of whatever circumstance it might be under.

She didn’t care; she was just glad to have him home.

“Then stop questioning me. I can come home if you want.”

Ignoring his disrespectful tone and the way that he was glaring at her with raw hatred, she stood up and stretched before folding the blanket and placing it down on one end of their luxurious leather sofa.

“Have you eaten?” She asked him, not waiting for his response as she moved towards the kitchen already thinking of what she would cook. She already knew what his answer would be, but she relished in any sort of interaction that she had with him, no matter how small or unpleasant it may be.

“I don’t want your food.” His child-like remark was ignored by his ‘wife’ as he headed upstairs.

Audrey didn’t question him as to why he was home this time of the day, and she definitely didn’t ask why he was in such a bad mood. She was just glad that he was home.

It didn’t take long for her to cook his favourite meal, pasta with some meatballs in tomato sauce to accompany it. And it took even less time for him to head down the stairs after having smelt the first signs of a hearty dinner. Neither of them spoke as he grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and sat down on one of the bar stools at the kitchen island as she plated up his food and placed it in front of him.

Grabbing herself a plate, she reached into the fridge for her own bottle of water before she began to move to the dining room where she usually ate.

“Wait,” Calvin called out to her as she was just about to leave. He cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck nervously as he called out for his wife. “Let’s eat together today.” He asked, silently hoping that she would not deny his simple request.

She merely nodded and gave him a small smile before taking the stool across from him, not uttering a single word as they both began eating.

“This is really good.” He complimented her, savouring the different flavours that infused together to make this one delicious dish.

“Thanks.”

He nodded to himself as he raised another forkful of pasta to his mouth, not sparing a single glance at her as he ate. “You always make the best pasta.”

“Thanks.” She didn’t know what else to say. She just wasn’t used to her husband praising her.

The feeling was foreign, but not unwelcomed.

“I actually wanted to talk to you about something.” He says, pushing his plate after having finished his plate. Audrey couldn’t help but look up from her food at the abrupt change in his tone of voice; he was much more serious and determined now, nothing like the caring persona that he was carrying a few moments ago. “I want a divorce.”

She dropped her fork on the table and her head swung up at the few simple words that he had uttered. She knew exactly what he had said as his voice was both loud and clear as he announced his decision to her, leaving no room for argument. But that didn’t stop her. “A what?”

“A divorce.” He stated calmly, leaning back slightly on his bar stool as he pulled open one of the kitchen drawers behind him and pulled out a set of papers. He shuffled them neatly into position before placing them in front of her with a pen. “Now if you could sign these papers, that would be great.” Calvin acted as if nothing significant was happening as he reached for his fork and tucked back into his food.

She raised her eyebrows in exasperation as she stared at the man sat across from her, not believing the words that she was hearing. “What do you mean you want a divorce?”

“I want a divorce. It’s as simple as that.” He was quickly losing his temper. All he wanted was for his ‘wife’ to sign the papers so that he could go off and live the perfect live with the true love of his life -Jane. That was the true reason as to why he had decided to come home this evening instead of heading straight to Jane’s as he usually did, but he presumed that Audrey didn’t know that.

He had wanted a quiet evening where she signed the papers so he could go off and celebrate with his lover, but it seemed like the infuriating red-head in front of him was not going to let any of that happen.

Her eyebrows creased together and she couldn’t help but purse her lips together. “What makes you think that I would sign those papers?”

“Because this marriage is a sham!”

“How can you say that?” She asked him, hurt at the accusation.

He laughed, the sound of bitter and cold as he glared at her, furiously stabbing at the food on his plate. “I can say that very easily because it’s the truth.”

“No it isn’t and we both know it.” She reached out to grab at his hands, but he stood up abruptly once he realised what she was doing. He had reacted so fast that the stool that he was sitting on went tumbling down to the ground, a harsh sound resounding from it as it banged against one of the drawers before it fell onto the ground.

But neither of them paid any attention to it.

“What is it that we both know?” He shot at her.

She sniffled quietly but refused to let any tears fall. She wouldn’t let him see her crumble completely, she refused to give him that satisfaction. “You still love me but you’re pride doesn’t let you admit it.”

He laughed once again, this one mocking her as he crossed his arms over his chest. “That is complete and utter bullshit.” He spat at her, his lips curling up ferociously.

“No, if you’re being truthful then I say that I should get a shot at honesty too.”

“Okay, then. Let’s hear what you have to say.” He replied, confidently knowing that she wouldn’t have anything meaningful to say.

Her nostrils flared up in anger as she stared at the man in front of her, the man that she loved. “The only reason that everything isn’t sailing smoothly is because you refuse to put in any effort into it. You ignore me nearly all the time and any remaining time is spent being mean to me. You’re too busy thinking about yourself to even know how your actions are affecting those around you.” She had never spoken back to him like this before. She hadn’t been this honest with him since he had started growing distant.

“You are stepping way over line.” He ground his teeth as he spoke, his words laced with both anger and annoyance as the silent threat laid between them both.

“No, you destroyed that line when you decided to start sleeping around.” She fired back, not caring that his fists were curled up at his side or that the veins on the side of his neck were far more prominent now than she had ever seen them. It was about time that she stood up for herself.

He was shocked, but more so angry that she had accused him of such a thing even though they both know that she couldn’t get any nearer to the truth. “How do you know about that?”

“What do you think I am? Stupid?!”

He chuckled bitterly, a harsh glint in her eyes as he threw yet another jab at her. “Well, you definitely aren’t the sharpest crayon in the box.”

“There you go again being rude and spiteful. Why can’t we ever just sit down and work things out like grown adults?” She threw her hands up in the air, completely and utterly frustrated with the situation that they were in.

“Because I don’t want to work things out with you.”

“You don’t mean that.” She blinked back the tears despite the ferocious look on her face as she battled verbally with her beloved husband.

“I do. I really do. I don’t want to be with you anymore and I definitely don’t love you. Hell, I can barely stand the sight of you.” He admitted, this being one of the most honest things that he had said to her in months.

“What have I done that is so bad to have you hate me so mercilessly?”

“You lied to me.” He accused her, and he truly believed that’s she had done just that.

“I have never lied to you and we both know that.” She cried out, wishing that he would just believe her. That he would stop doubting her all the time.

“No, I don’t know that. All I know is that you’re a spiteful, conniving bitch who lied to me and ruined my life. If I knew what you were truly like from the very beginning then I never would have married you. If I knew that this is what you were truly like, then I would have run the second that I found out.” His voice was loud and clear as he voiced his inner most thoughts, not at all caring with the wave of sadness that clouded her face nor the way that her eyes watered as she stared at him. The fire that was his anger only grew in both size and intensity as she sniffled and stared back at him defiantly, refusing to step down.

“Calvin.” She whispered, her voice quiet and raspy.

He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. “Just shut it, Audrey. Just sign the papers. I’ve had enough of you for one night.”

“Calvin, please.” She begged him to take back his words, to turn around and say that this was one sick joke. That he didn’t mean any of it and that he truly loved her. It was like she was living in a nightmare, but the intense glare that her husband was sending her was a clear indication of his true feelings towards her.

“Whatever, I can’t put up with this anymore.” He rolled his eyes and turned around, grabbing his bottle of water from the table and leaving his food untouched as he walked out of the kitchen and towards the front door, not sparing her a single glance as he walked away.

“Calvin!” She called out for him, pleading with to stay so that they could work things out; so that they could make things better.

But it was too late.

“I’ll come pick up the papers in the morning. And they better be signed.”

And with that, he was gone.

-

The house was filled with nothing but silence and the sound of hushed sobbing that night as Audrey lay curled under the blanket on the sofa, wiping away any rebel tears that dared run down her cheeks.

She was absolutely livid with the way that her husband was treating her, with the way that he had pretended to care about her only so that he could soften the blow before throwing a pile of divorce papers in his face. But most of all, she was hurt. Deeply.

It pained her to know that Calvin hated her to the point of a divorce.

Audrey hadn’t cried in front of him, and she hadn’t cried an hour after he had left. She had only cried when she curled up on the sofa for bed and began flipping through the papers for all the details listed. She wasn’t able to stop the salty water that leaked from her eyes as she learned that wanted the pendant back. She had sobbed quietly, soaking the papers with her tears as she clutched the pendant that he had given her when he had first admitted that he loved her, close to her chest.

It was the one piece of her husband that she had left, and he now wanted that back.

She allowed the pain and sorrow to engulf her as thought back to how they used to be, back to when he loved her.

“Calvin,” she exhaled quietly as her fingers arose to touch the delicate silver pendant that he had placed around her neck. It was a simple pendant of circles and knots that wound together so closely that she couldn’t tell where it began nor ended.

They had joked that it looked like a pretzel, but they both knew the value of it.

“Never take it off,” he whispered into her ear as he wound his arms around her waist from behind, resting his head in the crook of her neck. She placed her hands over his and leaned back in his embrace, closing her eyes as she enjoyed the feeling of being wrapped up in his arms. Her heart skipped a beat as he placed a tender kiss against the curve of her neck, his lips lingering there. She could feel his lips curl up into a crooked smirk against her skin as she shuddered slightly at the feeling of his breath against her bare neck.

A soft giggle escaped her as he twirled her around so that she was facing him now before reaching up and taking her face in his hands, holding it steady as he looked deep into her eyes; his face serious now. “Keep it on as long as you love me.”

“Always.” She promised him, truly meaning it.

The pendant sat heavy against her chest as he kissed her, neither of them needing any words to express their words.

He had found the pendant at one of the local markets while he was on a business trip away. His initial thought had been that it would have looked beautiful against her neck, and how right he had been. He had bought it for her, and surprised her as soon as he got back. He had promised her that he would love her forever, that this pendant of endless knots represented their love for each other.

She fell asleep that night, wondering where it all went wrong.

-

Layla Knight

29.05.17

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