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Thanks again to reader ‘bwmom’ for the inspiration behind Sara and Eric. This final instalment is lengthy and purely dramatic towards the final verses simply because I owed it to the characters to tell the story. It just all fell into place on the day, and so it happened on the day. Enjoy, and I’m off to take that break now. Toodle fuckin’ pip!
Keller Close was the same middle-income suburban dead-end it had always been. The only charm Eric saw in such places was that they never aged, and that was because there was little distinguishable between these “cookie-cutter” housing estates and the stone-age pebble-dashed blocks on the cheap side of town.
One had winding little backstreets and driveways, and square lawns worth four dog shits at most, the other was all straight lines, a few antique cars that even the ’90s had forgotten, and the shit piled up regardless.
Sandra had been so proud of her little house, which soon filled up with children, and that made Eric realise just how cramped and claustrophobic even the suburbs were getting to be.
At seven the next evening he casually strolled into the close, a crate of beer under one arm, approached the house and rang the doorbell.
An obligatory friendly smile settling into his face as the door lock clicked, when it opened and he expected to be met with Sandra’s husband Kevin, maybe a brat hanging from each arm, that smile soon faded.
‘Hi Sandra,’ he replied warily. Well wasn’t this a pleasant surprise, sarcastically.
‘What are you doing here?’ she asked, the colour draining quickly from her face. She appeared mortified but tried quickly to subdue her rising anxiety. All she could do was stand there fidgeting as Eric let sink in what was transpiring here.
‘What are you doing here?’ she asked. Eric strained his already tested nerve and glared at her ever patiently. He wouldn’t be the one explaining what was going on right now.
‘Came to see if Kevin could use the company,’ he said, nodding down to the beer crate under his arm. ‘What are you doing here?’ he wanted to ask. Or more to the point; ‘How are you and John enjoying Scotland?’
Before he could speak, Kevin was right behind his wife, a pleasantly surprised grin on his face, and he was soon talking enough for all three of them.
‘Eric, I haven’t seen you in ages,’ he was saying. ‘How are you, mate? Need a bottle opener for those beers?’
So now Eric was sat relatively comfortably, at least in regards to his aching muscles, back into the plush and princely sofa, all the while tensing up inside – sat watching the kids in the living room while Sandra and Kevin had disappeared into the kitchen.
If they had gone to Scotland and then cancelled their holiday, that might have been understandable. If there had been a double-booking or some kind of mix up, that would also have been understandable.
But if they hadn’t in fact gone on holiday, and if dad had lied about where he was for that one day, after treating his mother the way he had lately, then there would be complications and he’d have liked to have gotten to the bottom of it.
He could hear the two of them – Kevin and Sandra – talking beneath their breath in the kitchen, but didn’t try to get a listen in. The potential revelation had him rooted to the spot.
Then deep in thought, he barely registered Kevin returning with two bottles in hand and offering one to him. For a moment Kevin stood there talking, and then realised that Eric wasn’t quite all there.
Eric eventually came around and thanked him, but still looking confused if anything. Once again his poker face was slipping, so it seemed.
‘Where were you just then?’ Kevin asked, slinking back into his armchair and again thanking him for the drink. Grolsch was not his usual choice – no Dutch beers at all in fact – but he never turned down a freebie. It all had the same effect after five or six, or ten or fifteen.
‘Long day at work, mate,’ Eric lied, rubbing a hand over his flushed face. ‘The moment I sat down on this thing,’ he trailed off, one hand patting the empty seat beside him. But what now? Did he test the waters and ask Kevin about that week away?
Imagine that he wouldn’t know what Eric was talking about!
Kevin laughed, maybe a little forcedly, and agreed, saying; ‘You could sleep on that thing and not know the difference with most beds. Maybe your body’s telling you something.’
‘Don’t tempt me,’ Eric played along, though sleep was the last thing on his mind. He needed to think of something to say and fast. He needed to find out something, anything, just to affirm his suspicions. With any luck, Kevin would talk his ears off while he thought of something.
And he did, right until Sandra awkwardly made her return and sat quietly beside Eric. Then silence loomed and Eric, ever paranoid, started to wonder. Were they both in on it?
Ironically at a similar time their mother Sara pulled up into John and Marie’s driveway. They lived in a similar bagros porno area, actually in the next post code over. There on Hartman Street, somebody else’s kids played football in the road, and Sara’s maternal instincts saw her having words with them about looking out for the cars driving through.
Just the same as Eric being faced with his own sister, both she and her eldest, John, were left gawping at each other quietly on either side of the front door’s threshold.
Awkwardly he tried to hide his guilt, even going so far as to avoid admitting that he had been caught red-handed, as Sara glared right through him. The only mercy he would have that evening was that his wife and kids weren’t there. She had taken them to see the latest Pixar movie at the Odeon.
The ultimate in irony, she asked; ‘So how’s Scotland going?’
‘Mum, can we not do this right now?’ John begged, and he was actually close to losing his temper. Just as stubborn as his father, not knowing when to admit defeat even when it had him by the balls, he refused to be dominated.
He refused to admit that he had lied, and he absolutely would not confess the truth. Ever more so than his younger brother, John was his father’s son – through and through!
‘Yes let’s not,’ Sara agreed, and flared up inside at the sigh of relief that then escaped his lips. ‘Let’s not pretend. Let’s not lie. It wasn’t enough that you and your sister and father actually played mind-games with me…’
‘It’s not how it looks,’ John insisted, but he could hardly assure her while refusing to own up to what he had been a part of.
‘I didn’t raise you this way!’ Sara angrily declared, but even that morsel of pride swallowed like rocks and sand and left an immovable lump in her throat. Still as she wondered what any of this meant, Sara refused her feelings victimhood. She would not make a fool of herself.
‘Tell me what’s going on right now,’ she demanded; ‘Or so help me god, this is the last time I suffer so you don’t have to.’
And just like that, John broke. He didn’t just give up the truth, which was not all as it seemed. He literally broke down in tears, crying; ‘I never wanted any part of this!’
‘John,’ Sara said more calmly, hoping that her demeanour alone would help to bring him back down off his ledge, but he had indeed broken.
‘You don’t know what it’s like to know what I know,’ he screamed, and now she was trying to get hold of him, to try to subdue him before he hurt himself. ‘You don’t know what it’s like to know that no matter what I do I ruin everything,’ he cried.
For such an apparently stoic grown man, he could cry a gallon of snot like a little girl with a grazed knee, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t hers.
‘Then tell me, John,’ she insisted. ‘What’s the meaning of all this?’
‘Everything’s ruined, mum,’ he kept babbling after that. ‘Everything is utterly fucking ruined!’
‘Mum, we need to talk,’ Eric’s voice came through distant and grainy. The wind coming in off the marina made it hard to hear. Ten o’clock and the sun was only just beneath the horizon – Sara had stood there, leant against the railings, trying to make sense of it all.
She felt sick to her stomach and she didn’t know what was worse. She could call him a sick bastard and rightfully so, but she would be a hypocrite in saying so.
‘Hold on a minute, I’ll call you back,’ Sara said, sounding evermore distant herself, and her expression was flat and lifeless when she hung up and began to walk back to the car. Bar two other cars, she was the only one there.
She might as well have been the only living thing for miles, considering what she felt. Complete numbness from behind her eyes and to the depths of her soul – that’s what she felt!
Sat in the car again and now out of the wind, she dialled back and Eric picked up in an instant. ‘Everything okay?’ she asked flatly, almost lifelessly.
She knew what he was trying to say, or at least that he recognised the tone of her voice. She was utterly defeated, destroyed, depressed, and unable to pretend otherwise. She was as empty as the horizon above the rolling waves, and nothing could hide it.
‘I can’t talk much right now,’ she excused. ‘What’s up?’
‘I went to see Kevin earlier,’ Eric revealed. ‘You know something don’t you?’
‘Yes, I know more than I wish I knew,’ Sara admitted and swallowed quickly the urge to let the whole dam of tears come crashing down on top of everything. ‘I found John at home. They lied…’
‘The fucking bastards I knew it,’ Eric seethed.
‘Don’t be angry at them, sweetheart,’ she then said. He couldn’t believe his ears.
‘What am I supposed to do?’
‘It’s not how it seems,’ Sara revealed, just that little scrap of truth and nothing else. ‘It’s not how it seems. It’s all backwards…’
‘I don’t understand,’ Eric stuttered, his usual calm in tatters, and all because he knew they had been betrayed, deceived, and yet could point the blame but with nothing bangbus porno to say for sure. ‘Where are you?’
‘I’m at the marina, in the car park,’ Sara struggled to say. The effort just to speak was suddenly exhausting. ‘I don’t want to go home, Eric,’ she then said, and that was when the dam burst. ‘I don’t know what to do, Eric. It’s all ruined!’
If any time would have been a good time to own a car, now would have been it. Into the darkening night Eric rushed to the train station. Two trains he had to ride, taking just over an hour to get to the marina and find his mother sitting behind the steering wheel.
By then they were just black silhouettes in each other’s presence, but for the gold crescents of lamplight that barely lit their faces.
Eric rapped lightly on the front passenger window, bending down, and slowly Sara searched for the button to lower it, rather than to just let him in. She wasn’t thinking with a clear mind, not yet at least.
‘It’s me,’ he said. Then she unlocked the door and he climbed in beside her.
‘I can’t go back,’ she muttered solemnly, looking out into the black. As far off as they were, the waves of the sea seemed to crash right into her. She didn’t know what else to say.
‘Can you drive?’ Eric asked.
‘You can have my bed. I’ll sleep on the couch. Then you can decide what to do,’ he suggested. Eric then reached out and placed a hand on her knee, and patted it. ‘Mum, has dad tried to contact you?’
‘No,’ she said, looking down at his hand.
‘Do you want me to tell him where you are?’
‘Fuck him!’ she spat. ‘It’s over.’
Those words hit him like a tonne of bricks. Still Eric had no idea what was going on. He could have imagined though that he was to blame, that the both of them were. Otherwise, again, there was too much missing from the jigsaw puzzle for him to make out the whole picture.
Right now though, all he cared about was his mother. And aside from giving her a place to stay, he wasn’t sure what else he could do that didn’t involve beating the shit out of his father, whatever he had done.
‘Are you sure that’s okay, if you take the couch?’ Sara then asked, breaking him out of his daze, and it was the first time she had consciously looked her son in the eyes. Eric nodded, and sombrely she thanked him for that. After a deep breath, she turned the key in the ignition.
It took Eric all the willpower he had, and then some, to allow himself to leave the apartment the next morning. He had considered calling into work and asking for at least a day for what he would have called a family emergency.
Sara, who had been up some time before him, flat out refused, and practically made him go. If anything she wanted to be left alone to think through what she should do about her situation.
Jim hadn’t even sent a message to ask if she was alright, even to ask where she was. At any time that day he could even have turned up at the apartment, providing he knew where it was.
At noon she made three quick calls. At half five that day she and her kids would meet for the first time outside of the presence of their father, and then the truth would be out.
Sara would be the first to arrive at the pub. On the off-chance that the small function suite it sported wouldn’t be in use, she would slip the manager forty pounds just so they could talk in private for an hour or two. The manager, just another opportunist, demanded fifty.
Considering the drama that would unfold, to begrudge the conditional fee wasn’t worth it. Like clockwork Sandra and Eric turned up. John slinked in fifteen minutes later, seemingly using all his strength to be able to face up to what was going to happen.
It wasn’t only his mother who was shocked at his ashen-faced and dark-eyed appearance. ‘Alright, what’s gone on?’ Eric asked.
‘I might as well just say it and we can work our way from there,’ Sara sighed. And then she told them so John wouldn’t have to. It would also have saved them from wrongly ending up at each other’s throats.
‘Your dad’s been having an affair for the past seven years,’ Sara finally summoned the courage to say.
It was as if the whole building sunk into the ground the moment she said that. Eric’s broad shoulders slumped considerably. Sandra’s head dropped. John let out an exasperated gasp. All the while Sara sat nodding in acceptance, sipping bitterly from her gin and lemon tonic.
‘With my wife,’ John then added, and again he began to cry. Silence followed.
From the corner of her eye Sara sensed Eric turning to look at her and for a long while he just stared as he struggled to separate himself from his father’s hypocrisy. In his own mind, he too was guilty of a similar crime. There was no way he could come out on top of this.
It wasn’t his place and he felt all the smaller for it. Only days earlier had he dominated one side of the family at the dinner table as his father sought to draw first blood.
But maybe there were to be no heroes beurette tour porno in this situation. Not one family was to be destroyed now, but two. Nobody had seen that coming.
So Eric sacrificed any respect he might have had left, and played the part of the villain, and especially when he asked; ‘How the fuck didn’t you see that, John?’
‘I did fucking see it, Eric,’ John snapped back through the tears. ‘I didn’t want to believe it until I fucking saw it with my own fucking eyes!’
‘When John told me I didn’t want to believe it either,’ Sandra chimed in, defensive of her older brother. ‘Then I started to see more and more signals. We came up with a scheme to see if we could catch them out. That was the holiday to Scotland…’
‘I knew my marriage was over five fucking years ago,’ John went on, strangling back the tears. Eric slid his pint over to his older brother and watched him drink. Half of it was gone in three gulps.
Wiping his eyes, then his mouth, John went on to tell of how his wife had basically started to try to cuckold him. How he had hidden such psychological abuse over the years not only astounded Eric, and everybody else. Eric now felt like the biggest dickhead in the universe for how he had spoken to John.
‘I’m such a fucking arsehole,’ he whispered to himself and lowered his head into one hand. Beneath the table he was surprised to feel a supportive hand from his mother, proudly patting his knee.
‘I honestly thought you two were just sided with your father no matter what,’ Sara admitted sadly. And she too felt guilty for that and everything else.
‘And what if we’d just made you aware of our suspicions without knowing?’ Sandra asked.
‘Baby, seven years though,’ Sara replied, hoping that they would both understand. ‘I’ve been going out of my mind wondering what bitch I’d been in a past life, or what I’d done wrong in this one…’
For that there was nothing to say but sorry. Again, there were no heroes here. John slid Eric’s pint back over, and Eric passed it back, telling him that he needed it more.
‘I thought you two were banging,’ Eric blurted with his usual absence of finesse, and surprisingly both John and Sandra looked at each other and began laughing loud and hard. No, they might never have admitted that they had, when John was at his lowest and when his sister would literally lay down her life to preserve even just his sanity – if there was such a way.
Then Eric felt his mother’s eyes on him, but he didn’t look. The poker face was back on form and he wanted to get to the bottom of the other sordid business. Everybody was guilty of something, but there was one undeniable crime here that had to be held to account.
So they ordered more drinks and settled in.
‘I actually confronted your father the night before last, about his behaviour recently,’ Sara told her children. She avoided telling them about the part where she ended up sleeping in Eric’s bed. It would be too close to the truth to avoid betraying something else entirely.
It made her feel like scum, hiding what she and Eric had done together, when in fact it remained the one thing that helped her to keep her head above water during that time.
‘He asked me if I wanted a divorce. In fact I’ll rephrase that. He tried to put the words into my mouth. I wanted to say yes, more than anything. I said no because I didn’t want to destroy my family.’
Sandra gasped, cupped her mouth in both hands, and looked between the three others. ‘I want to know how you caught them out,’ Eric interjected before she could think of something to say for the sake of speaking.
‘Well funnily enough, dad was dead set on driving us to Scotland, only once,’ John began to explain; ‘And then it was utterly forgotten. It seemed too easy to lay the trap, talking his ears off about our planned getaway – when we were going and for how long. Like we’d go on holiday and leave our families behind…’
‘You could have,’ Sandra said, looking at John sympathetically; ‘But not me!’
‘Where were you staying?’ Eric asked.
John looked to Sandra. ‘Spare room. Kevin knew the score,’ Sandra chimed in. ‘That’s why things looked the way they did.’
‘Anyway, Marie home alone for a week and nothing to do when the kids were at school?’ You figure it out, John’s expression read. ‘But I was so stressed I booked a week out of work and didn’t tell her. All I had to do was bullshit Marie with the odd text message and phone call, and I knew every opportunity she and dad might take…’
‘When and how did you catch them, John?’ Eric pursued less patiently. Sandra shot him a forbidding look, but it was too late. All he wanted was to get to the details.
‘Sunday,’ Sara said for him. The look on her face was one of defeat and acceptance – or more aptly, resignation.
John nodded sadly, his eyes red and puffy. ‘Practically all Sunday he was there. I didn’t even have to approach the house to know. I could hear the fucking pigs from the bedroom window. I know what my wife’s fake orgasms sound like, all too well!’
That gave Sara the absolute minimum of satisfaction, but it was something. Jim could still get it up after all, and he’d sooner have fucked his son’s whore of a wife, even though she was faking it. And what was Marie hoping to get out of it?
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