Fancy Drinks

AA

by

Tony Lawrence

Why had he done it?

    

     Liam had asked Aimee to accompany him to the school prom - upon which she agreed. 

     That night they shared their first kiss; first romantic hug; first drink together.

     Now - as he stared at these papers - that question came re-surfaced. 

     Why had he done it?     

     They had been married seven years - but the seven-year itch was no excuse.

***

Reminiscing what life was like before Georgie was born whilst sat at a bar, he knew he and Aimee had a much better life.

    

     Aimee had wanted the child, to which he had often replied they were too young, but she had always maintained, ‘Better to start young than run the risk of being unable to conceive.’

    

     Feeling pushed into it, he felt he had to agree. Four months after the birth, Liam started philandering. He would tell Aimee he was going with colleagues to bars and clubs, knowing he was playing a dangerous game, pushing his luck. Tonight was no different, someone had caught his attention. The way she looked made his gaze wander up and down her body.

     He called the barman over.  ‘A whisky for me and whatever that lady is having,’ he said, pointing as he raised his glass towards her.

     Upon receiving her choice of drink, Liam looked over the top of his glass, seeing her raise her glass at him, before stepping from the bar-stool. Her legs weaved in and out of the long dress as she walked half-way across the bar. She pulled out a stool.      Able to smell the perfume she wore, it was much the same scent as Aimee liked – one of them Christina Aguilera ones. As she sat, she enticed with a shake of the head. By her, Liam immediately noticed her bright green eyes.  ‘Are you here by yourself?’ he asked.

     She nodded, smiling.

     Gulping, he replied, ‘You mind if I have a drink with you?’

     ‘I can hardly say no after you bought me this one,’ she tapped the side of the glass.

     ‘Just a small gesture to a beautiful woman,’ he said, using the line he had tried and tested many times.

     ‘I bet you say that to all the ladies,’ she smiled.

     ‘Only the pretty ones,’ he winked.

     She turned from him, ‘Sorry, got to powder my nose,’ she said, walking towards the ladies.

     Immediately ordering another round, he twisted his wedding band off; he placed it in his shirt pocket.

     Back by him, she placed the bag on the bar.  ‘You shouldn’t have,’ she smiled.

     ‘I feel obliged when I meet someone as pretty as you.’

     She held out her hand.  ‘I’m Charlotte.’

     ‘Liam,’ he swallowed hard.

     They chatted as if they had known each other for a while.

     After his second drink, Liam looked at his watch. ‘Sorry, I have to go,’ he said, jumping from his seat. He retrieved his coat to leave.

    ‘Here, take my number, just in case you want company when you’re out by yourself again.’

     Charlotte grabbed a beer mat, writing her number down, before passing it to Liam. He smiled taking it from her. Walking home, he input her number into his phone, disposing of the mat in a rubbish bin.

     Entering his home, Aimee was finishing a call, ‘...thanks for letting me know.  Will see you tomorrow.’

     ‘Who was that?’

     ‘Angela from work.’

     ‘At this time of night?’

     ‘You know how conscientious some are,’ she said, walking away before he could kiss her.

     ‘Guess you’re right,’ he said, following her upstairs to the baby’s bedroom. 

     Liam thought about why couldn’t things return to how they were before?  He was feeling pushed out of the relationship and never imagined he would be jealous of a child.

***

A few days later, Aimee asked Liam to go shopping. Walking around the supermarket his mobile phone pinged a message. From Charlie. He didn’t want Aimee to get suspicious and entered Charlotte’s number as this.  

 

     ‘Are you up to anything later?’

     ‘I have no plans,’ he replied.

     Slipping the phone into his pocket, he felt it vibrate.

     ‘Fancy meeting in the Duck and Hound?’

     Her image immediately came flooding back and he needed that escape. 

     Later, he told Aimee he was going to the pub with work colleagues.

***

Sat at the bar like someone on their first date, his gaze snapped to the door each time it opened.

     ‘Sorry I‘m late,’ she said as soon as she arrived.

     ‘Don’t worry, you’re here now,’ he was pleased to have her company once more.

     

     Served with their selected drinks, they went to sit in the corner. He sat opposite, and she patted the seat beside her, ‘Why don’t you come and sit by me?’

     He looked her up and down, before going to sit by her.

     ‘Excuse me,’ she said, searching her bag.  ‘Just getting money ready for the next round.  It’s my turn to pay.’

     ‘Don’t be silly,’ he urged, going to pull the handbag from her.

     ‘No, please let me,’ she flashed him a look as he went to look inside her bag. 

     Hands retreating, he held them in a surrender motion.

     ‘Thank you.  I like to be a modern woman.’

     Liam’s heart raced as she pulled out her purse before asking him to go to the bar.

     ‘Wine for me....’ she said, handing him the money. Liam got up from his seat.

     ‘Let’s forget the drinks,’ he said, grabbing a hold of her arm.  ‘Let’s get out of here,’ he nodded towards the door. Following his gaze, she asked, ‘And go where?’

     He winked, pulling her from her seat. Opening it, he let her step out first. About to follow, he froze.

     ‘So this is what you have been up to? This is why you’ve been staying away a lot of nights since Georgie has arrived.’

      ‘I...I...’ he started, pulling his hand from Charlotte’s, looking puzzled as if he didn’t know who this woman was.

     ‘No use in pretending not knowing her.  All the excuses you’ve made to leave the house since Georgie arrived made me suspicious.  All those times you never came home and said you were staying at a friend’s house.  Was this what you had been doing?  You wanted Georgie just as much as me.

     ‘After I had Georgie and gave up work, your lies got me thinking – how many wives were in the same position?  How many wives’ husbands cheated on them because they felt they weren’t shown affection.  I took a gamble and set up my own business.  It proved popular.  Now I catch my own husband with my honeytrap company – Aimee’s Angels.’

     ‘But...’ he wanted to explain.

     ‘Don’t try using excuses,’ she said. ‘Charlotte was one of my workers and agreed to help. I wanted to see how far you would go cheating on me,’ she said, walking to Liam to hit him. ‘How many have you slept with since Georgie has arrived?’

     He looked at her, trying to stutter an answer.

     ‘Don’t even try...’ she held up a finger in warning. ‘Don’t you ever, ever try to get back into my home. It’s the home we used to share, but is no longer our home. The home is now mine and Georgie’s. Call this the start of your downfall. The start of your lonely, sad life and the end of our existence together.’

     Liam went to her to try and hold her.

     ‘Get off me,’ she screamed as Charlotte went to protect her.  ‘Aimee’s Angels has caught a lot of cheats, but I never thought I would catch you as one of them.’

***

It had been two years since that night and he hunched over the Acknowledgement of Service for their divorce. He worked his way down the questions, requiring a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. He knew he had to complete it as soon as possible. The sooner it was done, the sooner she could have her Decree Nisi, which meant after six weeks, the divorce would be finalised and she would finally be free of him.

     Someone else was bringing up Georgie now, but there was nothing he could do. Why had he been so stupid? The changes the baby brought were huge, but surely in a few years, they would have ironed out and his relationship would have been normal once more. He was unable to wait and had to go looking for the attention he thought he deserved, but that ruined his life. Signing the last line, he put a full stop at the end of the postcode to signify the end of everything. She would still let him see Georgie, as a weekend father, for which he was grateful. 

     Folding the form, he placed it in the envelope and addressed it to the divorce centre.

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Tony Lawrence is fifty years old and set up a successful Writing Group in Newport South Wales in 2017.  His nine to five trade is as a Civil Servant. He writes stories to escape the monotony which the job creates.