“If we run off together, does she win?” Matt asked.
“If she wants to think that she’s won and she leaves us alone, I would be happy with that.”
Matt took my wine glass from me and placed it on the worktop. We stood in the kitchen area for a moment, him looking down at me with love, and with pity for the situation that I’ve found myself in.
“Weird day.” I smiled, the high of finding out that I have sponsors and therefore a livable income. The shock of seeing Nina show up in one of the shops local to me, the worry and panic that had set in with her showing me the video and the distorted pictures. Not having time for that worry and shame to fully set in before seeing Ollie behind me on my stairs. The shock of what he did after, then the realisation of the reality of how far Nina can manipulate people. What she can make people do.
Matt gently kissed my lip which was now crusted in blood.
“I keep doing this to you and you keep sticking around. I’m lucky.” He said, looking full of guilt.
“It’s not you, it’s her. And her gang of people she’s paid to help piss me off. I have you, and soon I will have a restraining order against her if the police actually take me seriously this time. Ollie, jesus, he’s just a fucking loser trying to please her.”
“I feel fucking useless for not murdering that fucker today.”
“I’m happy you didn’t.” I looked at him seriously, something clicked in his head and his face dropped.
“Oh God! Janey! I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean that!” He held me close, the events of the day and flashed of my past hit me and tears ran down my face. “Your Dad! Oh God I’m so sorry. I know you don’t like to talk about all that.”
“No I like to ignore him and shove anything associated with what he did to the back of my mind. I should talk about it, probably, not today though.” I flopped on the sofa, head spinning. How could this all have escalated so quickly. I looked over to Matt, who sat tentatively beside me, as if I was a bomb that could explode with the shift of a sofa.
I looked at him with gentle eyes.
“Thank you for not killing him. Thank you for giving him a good smack though.”
“I want to hurt him more.” He looked still full of rage.
“I know, I don’t really care about him though. I don’t think he’s the real danger. I think he’s just a pawn.” I replied, honestly.
“I haven’t said anything, I didn’t want to worry you but after today it’s all beyond that. Ninas been waiting outside my work when I finish.”
“Jesus. There’s something else that happened today as well.”
“Oh god, what now?”
“When I was getting the food shopping down the road, Nina showed up. She had a video of us from our weekend away through the window.”
“What kind of video?”
“What do you think?”
“She got the photoshop bloke to distort some stills to make me look fatter, I think she might put it online.”
“That fucking bitch!”
“I mean, I’ve had a lot of drama in my life before, I thought that I had gotten to the point of being able to have a normal life. Now all of this is happening. I just want some normality. I want to work, to be with you and to not have to worry or look over my shoulder.”
“I’m going to make sure that you have that life.”
“How? What could we even do to get her to fuck off. I’m pretty sure even with police involvement, not much would stop her. She manages to find a way around everything.”
“She does manage to find a way around everything. She managed to find a way around me to do coke and sleep with other men. She managed to get fucking pictures of us online. She got that scrawny little lad to force himself on you.”
“She’ll manage to get between us.”
“No she won’t.”
“She’ll make our life as difficult as she can.”
“No, she won’t, I’m going to find a way to stop her. I am a journalist and the person closest to her.”
“God I hope so.”
Matt made me a stir fry, not as spicy for me with my stinging lip and ran me a bath. I climbed in and he lit candles and handed me my wine. I put on some music and he sat on the toilet going through his accounts on his laptop, he was trying to find something to catch Nina out on.
“Any luck?” I asked in my bubbles.
“Not yet, all the expenses are done right, and she actually donated as much to charity from the business as she said she would. Fuck.” He slammed the laptop lid down. “I’ll get an accountant to look closer, but I have a feeling she has her back covered as much as she can.”
“What if we apologise?”
“Not really. You told her when you went over that you’re sorry but she’s cheated on you before and you’re happy now. She told me before that ‘I’m sorry but’ apologies don’t count to her, that they’re not an apology, they’re just an excuse. I just blubbered a few ‘I’m sorrys’, so I don’t think that she really counted that as a sincere apology.”
“I don’t think that will make a difference.”
“Probably not, but it might humanise us to her a little bit possibly. We have nothing to lose. The fact we haven’t apologised might be winding her up more and making her more crazy.”
“You might be right, it couldn’t hurt. Maybe seeing you like that could make her realise what shes done.”
The next morning we decided to go over. I stood at the bottom of the steps to her perfect house, suddenly nervous. My heart was pounding and I felt as if I either wouldn’t be able to speak at all, or what I came out with wouldn’t make sense.
We walked up and rang the bell. I wanted to cower behind Matt’s large frame, but I stood in front. He squeezed my shoulder for reassurance. We had both tried to call, she had blocked my number and ignored Matts calls and texts. The door opened and I stopped breathing. She stood, tall, thin and beautiful. She had a small silk kimono on with seemingly nothing underneath. Her hair was done and makeup applied naturally, she smelt of expensive perfume. She yawned and looked down on us.
“Hi.” I started, before she interrupted me.
“You woke me up.” She rolled her eyes and looked me up and down. There was no way she had just woken up but, okay, whatever.
“Sorry,” Matt said. “Can we come in, we want to give you an apology.”
Nina looked down to the bouquet of expensive flowers I had bought on the way over and smiled, seeming to hold in a laugh.
“Come the fuck on in then,” she said, standing back. She led us through to the gleaming kitchen and turned on the kettle.
“Go on then.” She said with raised eyebrows. Matt stood awkwardly in the kitchen in the house he had lived in for years, he seemed as if he was in the house for the first time, he looked so uncomfortable.
“I was supposed to be your friend, and I betrayed your trust and did this awful thing to you.” I began.
“And why do you think telling me this will make a difference?”
I didn’t know what to say, I just stood and what while she made herself a coffee.
“I am so sorry, I should manned up and confronted our problems instead of finding someone right under your nose. I should have let you start a new life.” Matt said.
“This is all too much.” She said. “You fucked me, you both fucked me! Matt I gave you this fucking house this fucking life and it wasn’t good enough. Jane, janet fucking jaqueline whatever the fuck your name is, you are a goldigging liar. You drained me for what you want and now youre draining him I cant fucking deal with you right now.”
She walked around the kitchen counter and stood face to face with me.
“I didn’t want to see your face until I had you fucked and you show up here to my house to explain yourself, explain how you couldn’t help fucking my husband. How dare you act the victim. Have you read or seen anything? The woman that steals her friends husband is the fucking bad one!” She screamed in my face.
I stood back and she stepped closer. I could smell the mint and booze on her breath and her eyes looked dilated, as if she was on something. I felt a hand on my shoulder pulling me back. Matt stepped in front of me.
“Please leave her alone, it’s me I’m the one that cheated. Can you concentrate on fucking me over and not her.”
“Oh please, I love you. I only fuck around because youre always fucking working, thats an affair in itself. I miss you! I am the victim! You will always be a good man in my eyes, but she is a basic scruffy bitch who took you from me.”
“If you love me, you’ll leave her alone.”
“I’m only just getting started, it’s a nice little hobby I won’t lie.”
I cut in. “Please, I’m sorry I love him, I got caught up.”
“You what?” She shouted trying to push Matt aside. “No you fucking don’t! You just want a bit of cash.”
“Can you not let him make that decision on his own? Won’t it be his own fault if I rip him off?”
“He’s mine, you rip him off, you rip me off!” She screamed. Her long nails dug into Matts arm and he flinched and moved aside slightly. I gasped as I felt something hit my face. Hot coffee.
“Shit!” I screamed with my eyes closed, grasping desperately around me for a teatowel, or anything around me to get it off. I dropped to the floor and heard a tap, Matt held something cold, a cold towel, to my face. Nina was hysterically laughing.
I looked up at her. She was holding her iphone castually.
“I’m calling the police, you mental bitch.” I said, in pain.
“Oh really, you’re going to tell them I threw a little warm coffee onto an intruder in my home?”
“Enough!” He shouted.
“No!” She laughed back. I looked up to the range near me to see the pan of boiling water, I saw Nina looking at it. She put her hand on the handle. I was frozen, too worried to make any sudden movements. “This is going to be a complete accident of course.” She was going to pour boiling water onto me.
Matt appeared behind her with a knife to her throat. She laughed again.
“Stop it, take your hand off the pan.” He commanded, I was shuffling backwards.
“I know you wouldn’t hurt me, you went to private school, you’re not from the murderning council estate like this bitch,” she still took her hand off of the pan handle. I got up.
I took the heavy pan with trembling hands and emptied it out into the sink, Nina was watching still in the grip of Matt. He had her arms around her back and had placed the knife on the worktop.
“What will it take for you to stop?” I asked her.
“Nothing, I’ll carry on until you want to kill yourself, then I’ll cry at your funeral.”
“Wow,” I was genuinely shocked.
“Look at you, red faced, fat bitch.”
“I’m not fat, I’m just not an anorexic coke head.”
“You should be, it might make you a bit more interesting.”
“Stop it!” Matt hissed into Ninas ear. He shoved her forward.
“You still want me.” She said, turning to him opening up the collar of her kimono, she turned and winked at me. I had rage and jealousy, a gut wrenching, hurt pain and a tightening in my throat of losing him to her, he is married to her.
I looked at the knife on the counter. God I wanted so bad to pick it up and stop her, stop her always putting me down and ruining my confidence. Stop the worry, the stalking, the break ins, the online articles, the secret filming, the assault with Ollie. It would all be over if I stopped her right now. Nina looked at me, looking at the knife. She gave me a cheeky smile, as if she was egging me on.
“Do it.” She mouthed. Fuck. This is what she wants.
“No.” I said, snapping out of my daydream of ending this with Nina. “That’s what you want.”
Matt looked confused. I walked out of the kitchen, nothing resolved. I walked to the front door, shaking. Sick with the thought of this torment carrying on forever. Everything went black.