A friend of mine was in the BN coffee shop today and overheard a rather funny conversation, which she tagged me in on FB. She thought it might make for an interesting story prompt. Well, she was right! Thank you, Julie!
The house was empty when I got home which surprised me, Max was usually home and working at the kitchen table. Whatever it was that Max did exactly, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t care all that much. As long as the bills were paid and there was money left over to spend freely, it was all good. I enjoyed the rewards he reaped, when he was actually able to reap them.
I dumped my purse onto the couch, slid down next to it and tugged off my gym shoes and socks. Wiggling my toes, which had gone and stayed numb from working out, I reached for my purse to grab my cell phone. I wanted to tell him about the conversation I had just been in the middle of. It seemed that two of my friends, unbeknownst to each other, were having an affair with the same man. If it hadn’t been so pathetic, it would have been funny. Oh hell, it was as hilarious as it was pathetic.
They shared their intimate details while I listened and tried not to puke into my iced skim milk vanilla latte. The whole time, I kept wondering how I hadn’t known that my two closest friends were both so miserable in their marriages that they both felt the need to seek outside relationships. I knew Max would find it entertaining, at the very least. I really just needed an ear to vent into and some sympathetic grunts.
Max would kill me if I ever cheated on him. Then again, he knew that my wrath wasn’t something he wanted to stir. Anger made me ugly. Luckily, I rarely got angry. When I did, I tried to maintain calm and force myself into a time out. My temper was probably my greatest flaw but it wasn’t something I could help, it was part of my make up.
Locating my phone at the bottom of my bag, I pulled it out and checked for texts. Nothing. I shot Max a quick text, asking him where he was. While I waited for his response, I headed into the kitchen. I was still thirsty from working out and the latte didn’t quench my thirst. As I neared the kitchen, I noticed a lone piece of paper on the table and picked it up. It was some sort of receipt from Northville Downs, a place which I had been assured by Max that he no longer frequented. He had lost a crap ton of money on horses a couple years ago and we, just recently, were able to breathe exceptionally freely again because the debt had been paid off.
The receipt was for the amount of ten-thousand dollars. TEN GRAND. Money we had worked really hard to save. No, it didn’t leave us with nothing, we had a lot more where it had come from, but it was a huge chunk that he took without discussion. Max and I had made a pact that, in the event of a large purchase, we’d check in with each other for approval.
Not to mention the fact that it was his gambling on horse racing that got us into trouble in the first place.
The longer I stared at the betrayal in the form of a receipt, the angrier I became. Maybe it was an old receipt, I hadn’t thought about that. I scanned it for a date which I found stamped in the top right hand corner.
What the heck?
I paced and obsessed. When did he go out last night? When I went out? That had to have been when. But, he told me he was staying home and catching up on Penny Dreadful so that we could talk about it when I got back. I had arrived home too late and he was already snoring. My ‘errand’ took me longer than I had anticipated it would.
Then I turned my anger onto myself, I had no right to be mad with Max for keeping a secret from me. I was keeping a huge one from him, one that took a lot of maneuvering and orchestrating to hide. We had been together for ten years and he still had no idea that I wasn’t exactly human. It took some fancy powers I was endowed with to mask what I was. Humans called my kind vampires. Only, they have so much of it wrong, they believe the myths but we aren’t like those from the books. We are more human-like, minus the mortality.
Whatever. What he doesn’t know will never hurt him. And, that was probably his mindset but he was stupid enough to leave his evidence directly in the middle of the kitchen table. Then again, that’s one of the distinct differences of men versus women. We women are probably a bit more clever in hiding things. Example being, Max never knows when I buy new clothes until I wear them and only then will he raise a beautiful brow and ask me ‘is that new?’.
Sighing, an unnecessary habit I had, along with breathing, I stared at my phone. Still no response to my text. So, I decide to call him, something I rarely did during the day. I didn’t like to disturb him from whatever it was he was doing. But, at that moment, I didn’t have any fucks left to give.
The phone rang twice before I heard his voice, “Darlin’.”
There was no background noise and I wondered where he was, “Hey Max, where are you?” I tried to keep the anger from creeping into my fake cheerfulness.
“I’m at the bookstore waiting on a friend.” I heard him let out a breath, he’s annoyed I’m calling. I figured he would be.
“What friend?” I feigned innocence yet based on the evidence, I knew it must be his new bookie. The old one befell a rather horrific fate. He had been found drained of blood, naked in the woods. Still it remains an unsolved mystery yet no one seems to be working the file.
“His name is Jim. Erin. Is there something you need, I’m sort of busy at the moment.” Yeah, he’s definitely annoyed and I still don’t care.
“I know I called you for something, I just can’t remember right this second.” I let a couple moments of silence slip between us, “Oh yeah, I remember now.” I smiled into the phone, still faking the happy.
“What is it, babe. Can it wait till I get home?” His frustration was winding around his words like a noose. The funny thing was, I had no idea why he was getting angry with me, unless he knew I knew.
“Babe.” I hated using that word, I really did, “You left something on the kitchen table and I was wondering what it was.”
His breath made the phone sound staticky, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Now I was getting pissed, I gave him the perfect opportunity to come clean and he had keep his lie going, “It’s a receipt, darlin’.” I drawled out the darlin’ for effect.
I could almost hear his brain screech to a complete halt, he was busted and he knew it, “Listen darlin’, 10k is nothing to us. This horse is going to win and win big, I had an inside tip that I’d have been stupid to not take.”
I rolled my eyes, “That’s what you always say and remember where that got us?”
“Darlin’. Erin. Listen. You need to breathe. Watch the sun come up while I watch people look like a bunch of assholes. I’m going to see this through to the end. It’s just 10 grand. We’ve lost and gained more than that and this could hit big.”
I rolled my eyes. For as long as he’s known me, I’ve never, ever been the type to ‘watch the sun come up’, “Really Max? How come I have a really strong feeling that those people, whomever they are, aren’t the ones that are going to look like assholes? Again.”
I hung up before he could respond.
Watch the sun come up, my ass.