Matt held me on the stairs for a while, he was warm and I could nestle into him in a way that made me feel protected. I knew I stank and I had a guilty gut feeling for being in bed kissing Ollie the night before.
“I went out with someone last night.” I admitted.
“Okay.” He paused, still holding me. “I don’t want you to. I want to be selfish and have you all to myself.”
I looked up at him.
“I wanted to move on from you. It didn’t work. I’ve ruined my life.”
“I’m going to help you build it back up again.” He paused. “Do you want me to?”
“I think so.”
“Did you sleep with that lad, last night?”
“I was in bed with him, only because of all this. I kissed him. I didn’t like it though. God. I’m just so lonely all the fucking time.”
“I don’t want you to be.” He looked down at me. “I’m so sorry I did this to you.”
We sat in a comfortable silence for a while before Matt got up and asked me where the bin bags were. I found a roll among the strewn under the sink contents. He grabbed one and started cleaning up the mess on the floor from the bathroom.
He put the smashed glass from the shower screen into a triple layered bin bag and all the unsalvageable toiletries. Working behind him I wiped everything down. I winced as I caught a glance in the mirror of my panda eyes and matted hair tangled up. My cheeks were pink from crying and my clothes were crumpled. I felt genuinely dirty. After all of the bathroom was cleaned up and wiped down. Minus my shower screen and broken toiletries, it seemed okay. Thankfully that window was left alone. I had it wide open to let air in and took a breath before I went on to tackle another room.
The door rang. Matt was in the living room clearing up broken bits.
“I’ll sort the window man!” He called. I heard him trotting downstairs. I smiled to myself and ran a bath. While I was watching the water fill up, I thought of Nina and the rage she must feel. I felt very guilty.
I stripped and lay in the bath, I scrubbed my whole body with exfoliant. I could hear Matt and the window repair man negotiating through the door, he was so assertive and yet polite.
I washed my hair and scrubbed my face. I shaved from top to bottom and wrapped myself in my fluffy white towel. I was pink and clean. I felt so much better. I waited in the bathroom for the window person to leave. Matt put his head around the corner.
“Were lucky. They don’t have to order the glass, they can come later today and sort it. We can go shopping and replace what’s broken once everythings cleaned up.”
“Did he say how much.”
“Don’t worry about it.” He must have been feeling guilt as well.
It took me forever to tiptoe around the broken glass in the bedroom. All of my clothes were destroyed, even all my bras and knickers were pulled out of the drawers and cut in half.
I put on the bra I was wearing last night and found an untouched skirt after rummaging around. I couldn’t find a top though. Eventually I found a t-shirt with a slash around the belly area. I tied it into a knot to hide it. My face felt dry and chapped.
I found some body lotion that was squirted everywhere and managed to get a bit out of the bottom. I found some trainers, I already had some small cuts on my feet from the glass.
I set to work shoving the ripped and cut clothes from the top of my bed into a bin bag. Underneath this I could see a whole bottle of red wine had been emptied onto the mattress and the mattress had been slashed. Matt helped me flip it and carried on clearing.
It took an hour to get the bedroom into a bin bag and when I was done it was bare. The purple velvet headboard was slashed as well. All the mirrors on the wardrobe and dressing table smashed. Even my chargers, lamps, hair dryer and curlers had the cords cut in half. This must have taken so long to destroy everything.
Hours later we had Matt’s car filled with the bin bags and the floors swept and hoovered. The tv was smashed too.
I was bare faced with my makeshift outfit, and my air dried hair was frizzy and curly.
We went to the tip and to get supplies while the windows were being sorted, me in his coat and feeling scruffy next to him in well fitting black jeans, leather belt and crisp white shirt.
I went round the shop with a trolley picking up sets of glasses, plates and bowls, sheets, towels, blankets and cushions.
I picked up basic toiletries, a set of pyjamas, bras and pants, five t-shirts and two pairs of jeans from the women’s section in the supermarket. I picked out a silk effect blouse and some cigarette trousers for work, panicking I have nothing to wear into the office, I then remembered that I wasn’t going to go back in there for a little while, I put them back.
I couldn’t think about the fact I had lost my job right now.
I had a slight headache from last night, but we got some wine anyway, now was no time for not drinking, tomorrow, tomorrow I would fully concentrate on getting my life back on track and switch the wine for diet coke. Matt promised me he would get me a take away, and it felt as if we had been together forever and that was a normal thing we did.
I got a load of bin bags and cleaning supplies, a shower rail and curtain. Matt encouraged me to pick up some stuff I wanted and didn’t necessarily need on the way back through the home section. I picked up some candles and books and ordered myself a hairdryer and straighteners on my phone while we queued.
We got to the till and the price made me wince. I’d bought the basic contents of a flat, it was hundreds. God.
Matt stood in front of me and shoved his card in the machine.
“Its my fault,” he smiled at me. This was a strange feeling, I had tears in my eyes egain. I thanked him.
In the car he handed me his phone.
“Order yourself all new furniture. Designer stuff, no budget. That’s my apology for getting you into this mess. I’m sorry.”
“No way you’ve done more than enough, it’s not your fault, you are not responsible for her actions, no matter how much you’ve pissed her off. You’re spending too much on me.”
“I don’t care, I make enough.”
“Wont Nina see, don’t you have joint accounts?”
“I have my own. The house is hers, I want to get out of it all. I don’t know how she can do this to you.”
“I slept with her husband-”
“Who’s already leaving her.”
We sat in silence.
“Please, I will feel better once you get yourself some furniture.”
I wanted to ask where he was going to go if he was leaving her.
We got back and made the window fitters cups of tea in the new mugs and told them we were broken into when they asked. I covered the slashed sofa in the new blankets and cushions and arranged my new books and candles. I put away all of my new glasses, bowls and plates.
Matt kept shoving his phone in my face to pick some furniture. I couldn’t take that kind of money, he could hold it over me, I kept saying. He kept coming back with my psycho nearly ex wife that destroyed everything. The windows were done and the men left.
“Ex wife?” I asked.
“Sit down,” I sat on the sofa and he brought me a coffee over.
“This is just.. I mean.. It’s only been a few weeks. I don’t want to hear what I want to hear. I need to know what’s really going on.”
“It’s not just you. Well, you’ve made me realise I can be happy if I want to. I can be with someone I like. I’ve been thinking this over for weeks.”
“Why did you marry her if you don’t like her”
“I used to. When we met she was working a lot and so was I. I thought she was stunning, I was chasing her at the time because she always kept me at an arm’s length. We used to go out in our circle and we would have a right laugh. I thought I’d hit the jackpot here. Funny, nice and good looking. We never spent that much time alone though. I never thought we really would to be honest. It felt like the busy life we were living would be the life we had forever. I proposed and we got married six months later. She stopped working, she never really did work to be fair. She had a little coke habit that she said she did for fun when we went out. I never liked it but so many people we know did it casually, that I didn’t think much of it. But this started happening when she was home on her own. She started going shopping trips and fancy lunches everyday with her posh mates which crippled me financially. I told her she needs to spend her own money on that stuff and not all of mine. She nearly kicked me out for that, it’s her house she inherited after all. I told her I am a professional, I do not want to be part of the z list celebrity party lifestyle. So I left that circle and the only socialising I did was the occasional pub trip with the lads. She carried on with her usual nights out. I told her we can’t have completely separate lives. She was out all night and in bed all day. I told her it isn’t working and we need to do something about it.”
I was listening intently curled up with my coffee. She had been so convincing when she told me her version of events. I thought of her massive mood swings and how up and down she was all the time.
“So she got her dad to give her money so she could start her own project, and, clearly, iit did very well. We decided this together. She would have a purpose this way and a profession. We were okay for a while. We would go to work, we had some couple friends that were a bit more sensible. We still couldn’t be alone together. We just didn’t get on. There was this tenson, she would snap constantly. She slept with someone else, I found out and I didn’t really care so I never bothered to mention it. Now we don’t snap at each other we just don’t acknowledge anything”
“What?! Who? And why would you not mention it?”
“Her business advisor.”
Jesus, Phil he was awful.
He continued. “I didn’t mention it because I thought it would give me a free pass. Maybe I would sleep with someone as well. I could live in my half of the house, carrying on with our nice new social life. I wouldn’t have to start again. But fucking hell I need to start again.”
“You slept with someone before me?” I felt hurt, even though I had no right.
“No, I wanted to. I just didn’t. I flirted and that’s about it. I don’t know, I’ve just been stuck in a rut until I met you.”
“And now you’re going to end it?”
I still felt a sense of guilt, but now I had a growing jealousy, a strong wanting of having Matt all to myself. I knew it wouldn’t be wise to get involved but I really wanted to.
We had slow gentle sex on the sofa. He looked into my eyes the whole time, as if he wanted to know what I was thinking.
I got into my pyjamas after and we ordered a takeaway, I was ravenous and realised we hadn’t eaten all day. I was aching from cleaning up. I sneakily put on some of the supermarket concealer and mascara in the bathroom and brushed through my hair. My hair was stucking up in places it shoudlnt, I looked stupid. I twisted it onto a bun on the top of my head.
My speaker was spared thank god. I played my favourite music. I felt a little vulnerable letting someone else hear my playlist, I don’t think anyone ever has. I always let the girls out on what they want when they come round.
We ate hungrily when the pizzas arrived and drank wine.
Matt kept shifting uncomfortably on the sofa.
“Let me buy you a fucking sofa.”
I playfully gave him a smack on the arm. He lunged at me and I wrapped my legs around him laughing, he let me roll him off the sofa onto the floor while he kissed me. On the floor he straddled me, holding up one of my arms, and then the other, above my head. He kissed my neck which was bare as my hair was tied up in a knot. I squirmed.
“Let me invest in you or I’m going to hold you like this forever.” He teased, staring down at me with his blue eyes. I stared back laying limp, thinking of how handsome he is, especially when his stubble grows out a bit.
“Do what you want with me.” He held my arms down with one hand, and pulled my pyjama bottoms down with the other. I gladly wiggled out of them. He was changed into pyjama bottoms and a t- shirt, from the duffel bag he had picked up from his house on the way back from the supermarket, while I waited outside in the car looking at my knees. Apparently Nina wasn’t home when he picked up the essentials.
He kissed me deeply, my arms still held. He guided himself into me and rocked his hips in slow motions while he got deeper and deeper. I moaned and moaned, the pace and pressure building me up higher and higher. We came at the same time and I had hot tears running down my face.
“Why are you crying?” He asked, stroking my face.
“I’m so happy.”
We picked out furniture online for me. It felt like it was for the two of us but we said nothing about it. I felt nervous in his presence still, and excited. My heart was still going a bit quicker than it should.
I chose a black velvet sofa and an armchair to match. A TV. The legs had been smashed off my kitchen table chairs so I chose some new ones. I picked a new pale pink headboard and some adhesive mirrors for the front of the wardrobes. Matt pressured me into choosing a fancy mattress instead of the most basic one.
I thanked him for everything again. He just kept telling me that it was his fault.
“I just don’t understand why she hasn’t confronted me, she’s the most confrontational person I know.”
“She knows this will hurt more.”
“What do we do? What do we say?”
“I don’t know.” He had his forehead scrunched together. “Todays been a fucking lot. Can we get on that one tomrrow?”
“Will you stay with me for a while.”
We spent the evening talking and kissing. I woke up the happiest I had been in such a long time. I was warm and intertwined, we had coffee naked in bed. I got into the shower after an hour of lazing around.
I heard the shower curtain pull back, I pulled Matt into the shower by his arm. We kissed under the water, I dropped to my knees and sucked him until he was groaning and pulling me back up by my shoulder. I got back up, spun around and bent over. He looped an arm underneath me, kneading my boob with one hand and rubbing between my legs with the other until I was begging for him to be inside me. He slammed into me hard against the cold tiles until I came, when I got out I felt content.