I’m lying sobbing on the floor, head reeling, unable to believe that my husband of just four weeks has knocked me flying. The force of the blow took me completely by surprise and I’m huddled in a tiny ball, shaking with shock.
He’s saying that it’s all my fault, that I drove him to lose his temper because I provoked him, and as I sob I’m thinking that maybe he’s right in a way.
I’d told him about the anonymous letter, the one my parents received only days before our wedding, warning me that he’d been seen kissing another girl, Sandra or Shirley, I can’t quite remember. He fiercely denied it, of course, and I can see now that it was stupid of me to even joke about Oliver cheating on me.
We’d got back home this evening after a meal out, just the two of us to our favourite Italian restaurant. I’d slipped out of my dress and was hanging it in the wardrobe when, quite out of the blue, he asked me why I’d flirted with the waiter.
I couldn’t help but laugh at the very idea of my looking at another man, let alone flirting with one so soon after our honeymoon. ‘Don’t be ridiculous, Oliver. Why would I?’ I went to rub myself against him, clad only in my skimpy black bra and panties, wanting to tease him into a better mood. We’d enjoyed a bottle of muscadet with the meal, and I was in the mood for loving, not a silly quarrel.
‘Because you’re a stunning girl and it was obvious the guy couldn’t take his eyes off you,’ Oliver said, his usually handsome face cold and unsmiling.
The compliment touched me deeply. I’d never thought of myself as stunning. Reasonably attractive perhaps, some might even say pretty with my fair hair framing a heart-
Which was one reason I couldn’t believe my good luck when I hooked up with Oliver Sheldon. I met him on a girls’ night out at a club in Manchester. I’m not usually into clubbing, being too shy to be comfortable in crowds, and some guy was giving me a hard time, harassing me to dance with him when I really had no wish to. Oliver stepped in to rescue me like the gentleman he is. I spent the rest of the evening in his arms, which turned my friends green with envy.
He was good company, great fun, and charming. He’s an accountant working for a large reputable firm in Lancaster, although now that we’re married he’s been transferred to the Kendal branch. He’s the dynamic sort and promotion is on the cards. He’s also utterly gorgeous with dark good looks and captivating grey-
‘Oh, don’t I just love it when you’re jealous,’ I teased, kissing his perfect, aquiline nose.
His face seemed to darken and his jaw tightened, forming a thin white line of tension above his upper lip. ‘Is that why you encouraged him, in order to wind me up?’
‘For goodness sake, I didn’t encourage him. Like I say, why would I? I never even noticed the flipping waiter.’ It was then that I foolishly mentioned the letter.
I saw anger flare instantly in his pale eyes. ‘Who sent it?’ he shouted, furious there should be gossip about him behind his back.
I seemed to find this question funny, and foolishly giggled. ‘It was anonymous, darling, so I wouldn’t know, would I? Maybe it was from one of your jealous ex-
My joke fell on stony ground as he didn’t even listen when I tried to say how my parents hadn’t mentioned it at the time, had thrown the letter straight on the fire. His face was contorted with rage, then, quite out of the blue, he gave me a shove, digging me painfully in the shoulder and sending me sprawling. I must have caught my heel in the rug, he surely couldn’t have meant to knock me down?
I like to think I’m reasonably intelligent, ambitious in a modest sort of way, even if I am a bit of a wall-
‘Hey, what the hell are you doing? You made me trip!’
But this wasn’t a silly squabble with my sister Jo-
Which is how I come to be lying here, sobbing my heart out.