Three is a crowd: The other stuff is about to hit the fan!

(Continued from last issue)

David and Diane have been married for years; then there is Julie, the young secretary whose axis collides with the couple’s in ways none of them saw coming.


I was still thinking about how much I enjoyed being with Kenneth – and how absent and distant David could be – when as if by telepathy, Kenneth called.

“Hi; how’s your Sunday going?” he asked cheerily.
“It’s alright – quiet,” I answered honestly.
“Sounds pretty much like mine; any ideas on how we could change that?”

I knew what he was getting at, and even though a voice at the back of my head told me to stop him, I played along.

“Not really; what were you thinking?” I asked coyly, my tone playful and inviting.
“I don’t know; I’m working the graveyard shift at the hospital tonight; so, I don’t have to be there till nine, which leaves me with pretty much the whole day to fill – so, there’s a lot we could do,” he concluded quietly, his tone lowered suggestively in a way that got my heart racing, and I was grateful we were speaking over the phone so he could not see me flustered.

I didn’t want to sound too encouraging, but didn’t want to stop him either; so, I said nothing. Taking my silence as an invitation to continue, he went on: “Well, yesterday we said next time you could come visit me, so you could do that; or if moving here with Junior is too much of a hustle, I could come see you; or I could come pick you up and we could go somewhere else entirely. There’s a cute little lounge with a kids play area I discovered not too far from your place that I think Junior would really enjoy.”

I noticed that none of his options provided a scenario where we did not meet, and my heart was now racing with not just excitement, but fear as well, for it suddenly felt like I was treading on thin ice. I, nonetheless, found myself throwing caution to the wind.

“That lounge sounds nice,” I finally answered. “Great!” he exclaimed. “Get yourself and Junior ready, and I’ll be there by the time you’re done.”


David finally woke up and came downstairs just after nine, by which time the children had almost driven me mad with their rambunctious behaviour. I was still paying the price of having drunk too much last night with a throbbing headache, but tried to hide how awful I felt from
David, certain that he would only make me feel worse with some snide remark if he noticed my true state.

However, to my surprise, he did not comment on it, and instead acted almost sympathetic, immediately taking charge of the children, and
even offered to keep them engaged and quiet if I wanted to go and lie down for a while.

I was not sure what had brought on this drastic change in him, for he was a totally different David from the angry, disgusted one of the night before; whatever it was, I gratefully took him up on his offer, quickly escaping to the peace and quiet of our bedroom and blissfully climbing back into bed.

The sheets on his side of the bed were still warm, and I could still smell his scent on them; a strong, warm, comforting manly scent that I nestled into, and before long, I was drifting off to sleep. When I next woke up, it was to David gently shaking my shoulder.

“Hi,” I murmured lazily, as I stretched and rubbed the sleep from my eyes.
“Hi; how are you feeling?” “Better thanks; what time is it?”
“Midday; my sister just called inviting us out for lunch. She says her kids are driving her up the wall so she wants to get them out of the house, and apparently there’s a new lounge that opened not too far away that has a children’s area that she says is perfect. She is asking if we wanted to join them. I told her I would ask you and call back.”

I did not particularly want to spend an afternoon with David’s sister; she had never liked me, and the feeling was mutual, but I could tell David really wanted us to go. Considering how great he had been this morning, I felt obliged to reciprocate.

Besides, Tracy’s advice from the night before was still ringing in my mind – ‘be nice’, ‘act like everything’s fine’ – and if an afternoon with David’s sister brought me one step closer to achieving my goal, then that’s what I would do.

“Sure; just give me half an hour or so to freshen up and get ready,” I forced myself to smile up at him, and then climbed out of bed.


I could tell that Diane was paying heavily for her excesses of the previous night, for her brow was furrowed, and her eyes narrowed as though wincing from the brightness of the morning.

My graciousness from when I had woken up still held, for rather than be angry or irritated, I actually felt sorry for her and sent her back to bed while I handled the children.

The girls were as usual thrilled to have me around, talking over each other as they vied for my attention, while Daniel maintained his normal reserved attitude, and excused himself to flee to his room the minute he finished his breakfast.

Although I was accustomed to this divide between us, it still bothered me; Daniel was not only my first son, but my firstborn as well; naturally, I wanted to have a close relationship with him – something that had so far eluded us.

Diane said that was my fault; that I drove him away by being too hard on him. I didn’t think that was entirely true; while I was harder on him than I was on the girls, that was because not only was he older, but he was going to grow up to be a man and there was no place for a weak man in the world. I wanted to toughen him up for it.

I blamed her for coddling him too much and turning him into a ‘mummy’s boy’, teaching him to run to her whenever things got tough. However, while we disagreed on our different styles of parenting, we both knew the other was coming from a place of love, and that knowledge gave us the common ground to raise our children as a team.

It was a team I had admittedly been increasingly absent from of late, and it was probably the acknowledgement and guilt of that that made me more accommodating of Diane’s stumbles.

I could not change what had happened with me and Julie, and that because of our affair, I now had another child and obligations outside of the home I shared with Diane that I was determined to meet. But to me, that only meant that when

I was home, I needed to give a hundred and ten per cent of my energy and time, to make up for the time I was away. Regardless of my best intentions, after a few hours of managing the children, they and I were both getting a bit stir crazy; so, when my sister called suggesting we get out and meet up for lunch, I was more than ready to accept.

I was not sure if Diane would be quite as enthusiastic, as she and my sister were far from best friends, but to my surprise, she did not raise a single objection.

This would not be a big deal to most people, but knowing Diane, it actually was, and I appreciated the effort she appeared to be making at rebuilding our fragile ‘team’.

Source: The Observer

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