by David Barton
She pulled up at the front of the house,
in that clapped out Renault of hers. I’d made jokes about it when I’d first courted her, called it a shit heap.
But it had been her pride and joy, her little run-around.
She had returned.
I didn’t think she would, not after
the argument we’d had. I thought it had all been over. But here she was, sauntering up the drive, car keys dangling
from her fingers, with a smile on her face.
I opened the door to her. ‘I thought
–’ I began, but before I could finish my sentence she pushed a finger to my lips. I moved aside and she entered
the house. Then I closed the door; still not believing she had come back.
Kelly had made her way halfway up the stairs
by the time I turned around, pausing there. She smiled again and held out her hand to me.
She wanted to take me to bed, after all
that had happened. I couldn’t believe it.
We made love. It was the best it had been
for a long time. I knew then, that she had returned.
As we lay in bed afterwards she said to
me: ‘Things have got to change.’
‘They will,’ I told her.
‘No more arguments.’
I glanced towards her, her milky skin made
her look like she was made from porcelain. Her breasts small, but wonderful. She had the most wonderful body of anyone I’d
ever known. I loved to look at it, explore it, lose myself in its texture and contours, enjoy it.
‘We’ll never be parted, never,’
‘Never,’ I agreed.
‘We’ll always be together.’
I’d missed her. It was the little
things I missed, like when she always called me “angel” as a term of affection. Even when we were having an argument,
even during that argument it had slipped out, whether accidentally, or purposely to diffuse the situation, there
it had been.
It had only been a week since the row, but
it seemed like a lifetime. Before that, we’d been inseparable, only work keeping us apart. We’d both had office
jobs, and, if we could have, we would have even worked in the same office. We had both wanted to be with each other every
It had been unbearable being apart from
her, just for that short time. I don’t know how I would have coped if she’d never returned.
A few weeks later her mother and father
turned up, Kelly had instructed me to tell them she wasn’t there. It was easy to lie. I just wanted rid of them, so
Kelly and me could get on with healing the wounds of our relationship.
‘I haven’t seen her for days.’
I told them at the door, but they brushed past me and sat themselves down in the living room. They weren’t going to
be so easily put off.
They wouldn’t see her car; it was
in the garage. She’d asked if she could do this, so that no one would know she was there. To give us a chance to sort
things out without any outside interference. Her mother and father had never liked me. Most of her friends too, seemed to
dislike me. They had all just put up with me; because I was the one Kelly had chosen to be with. They had no choice in the
‘Have you any idea where she is?’
her mother asked me, not looking at me but giving the living room the once over instead. No doubt she was thinking to herself
that this was the place where her precious daughter had ended up. She was such a snob; I had never been good enough for Kelly.
Her mother always looked at me like I was something she’d brought in on her shoe. It’s fair to say that she despised
me, and that‘s maybe an understatement.
‘No, I’m afraid I haven’t,
sorry.’ I said.
They didn’t stay long. They didn’t
try to make conversation with me about how I’d been or what I was doing with myself at the moment; they just made their
enquiries about Kelly, then they left.
Then some weeks after that the police called.
Kelly told me she’d stolen some money
from her parents and not to let on that she was there. Although I wondered about this, as she hadn’t mentioned it before.
But I didn’t question her.
‘When was the last time you saw Miss
Haversham?’ one of the police officers asked me.
I pretended to think about this for a moment,
looking upwards. She was directly above of course, lying in our bed, waiting for me to rejoin her after the police had gone,
for more passionate exchanges. We had never been out of the bedroom since she’d returned.
‘About three weeks ago,’ I finally
‘Did you have an argument?’
the other officer asked.
I didn’t lie about this. ‘Yes
The first police officer turned to his colleague
and raised his eyebrows. But they left, as her parents had, once they’d made their enquiries.
One night blood started pouring down Kelly’s
forehead. I couldn’t find a cut or anything when I searched through her hair to examine her. She went in the shower
and washed it out
‘Maybe you should see a doctor, or
go to the hospital?’ I suggested after she came out of the shower.
‘I’m okay, I’ll be fine,’
Had she some disorder that she wasn’t
telling me about? But then, what kind of disorder made blood just appear from nowhere? It was a complete mystery to me.
Some nights later when we made love I pulled
the sheets back to find her covered in wet earth. I had felt something damp on her and was curious as to what it was. I was
shocked at what I did discover. How had she got this on her in bed? I had become filthy too, as she had held onto me. We showered,
together. Afterwards we soon ended up in the bed again, fucking like animals once more.
Where the earth had come from remained another
We managed to patch things up. She gave
up work, she didn’t say why; she just didn’t go in. I didn’t mind too much, even though this would mean
I’d have to keep her. I worked overtime, even though I worried that this extra time away from her might take its toll
on us, but it didn’t. If anything, it helped.
She looked after the house, cooked and cleaned,
and played the part of the dutiful housewife. She didn’t mind, I think she felt obliged to do something, seeing how
I was keeping her.
The police came again, this time two detectives
accompanied by the two police officers who’d called before. I could tell by their faces that it was more serious than
the last time I’d been paid a visit.
‘We’ve found Kelly,’
the first detective informed me. What were they talking about; found her?