Warning Signs – Flash Fiction

Mary stood in the bedroom and put her hand into the warm, silk pocket of her husband’s trousers. Some suit trousers were rough and coarse. Mary ensured, that Jonathan only ever bought the best trousers.

Nothing in the right pocket. In the left pocket, Mary found a piece of crumpled paper. The paper caught her hand as she pushed her fingers into the corner of the pocket. Smoothing the paper out, she saw it was a receipt for yesterday, from a local hotel.

Mary felt her stomach churn and her heart beat out of her chest. Jonathan had not mentioned that he had been to a hotel the previous day. Mary felt her face flush, as the realisation hit her. Jonathan had lied to her.

Mary took the trousers and the offending receipt with her, downstairs. She made her way into the study. Finding Jonathan’s laptop on his desk she sat down on the leather chair. Feeling the cold from the leather through her thin trousers, she logged his laptop on.

As the familiar welcome message started up on the computer, Mary’s heart stopped. Displayed, was enter a password. Jonathan was not allowed to password his computer.

For the first time, Mary wondered how many other warning signs she had missed over the last couple of weeks? How long this had been going on?

Mary had always been in control of her life. She did not just control and organise her own life, but that of her husband, Jonathan as well. From early life, to now, she had a plan on how her life was going to be. What age she would be when she had children. When they would upgrade their cars. Where they would live. Every aspect of their life was run to perfection.

Many people who met Mary would have said she was a control freak. Mary believed that everything should be ordered and neat, to make for a successful life.

Mary, however, did not feel in control at the moment. Jonathan was lying to her and she needed to find out why and with who.

Taking the receipt to the phone Mary decided to book herself in for a nice lunch, at the Hotel Tranquility.

The Tranquility Hotel was beautiful. Set on the edge of the new marina complex, the modern building looked like it actually rose from the sea. The dining room was situated in a large conservatory, which opened out onto the sea. Diners were treated to a view of luxury yachts, whilst they enjoyed the five-star food.

Mary loved everything about the hotel, it was the sort of place she would have loved to spend time in. She realised she also hated the hotel, for being the place that Jonathan had been without her. It cost her £100 in tips for the barman to say that he did remember her husband visiting yesterday. He was with a dark haired woman and they stayed for a couple of hours.

Mary knew two people in Jonathan’s life with dark hair. His elder sister who he adored and his flirty younger secretary. Mary didn’t need another £100 to know which woman had accompanied him for lunch. After all, what was there to hide if he had seen his sister for lunch?

Taking this new information with her, Mary returned home to greet her husband from work.

At 4 pm every day, Mary started dinner, ready for Jonathan to return home at 5 pm.

Jonathan knew that being late was never an option unless he had given Mary prior warning. Jonathan walked in exactly on time. Following the same script he had always followed, he asked her how her day had gone? He then went through his day. Mary liked details on who Jonathan had met and what he had eaten for lunch. After 40 years of marriage, Jonathan gave over the exact details needed.

However, this time Mary knew that Jonathan was giving over a prepared script of details. She didn’t believe a word that was coming out of his mouth. Still, she smiled at his tale and let him carry on his fantasy of lies.

The next week ran to Mary’s schedule. The same meals were prepared as per the planner. Mary attended her regular hairdressing and nail appointments. The same idol chat occurred every evening when Jonathan returned at 5 pm.

During this week, Mary kept a well-organised list of all the warning signs she had picked up from Jonathan.

  • His phone was locked
  • His laptop remained password protected
  • When she rang him at the office he wasn’t always there, nor was his secretary
  • When his phone rang he always took the call in his study
  • Jonathan appeared happier than he had seemed for ages

The worse insult came on Friday night. Jonathan told her that a friend had recommended a brilliant restaurant in a hotel by the marina. He had booked the pair of them in for a meal, Saturday night.

Mary gripped the wine glass in her hand so hard the stem broke. As the glass sliced through her hand, she let the warm blood flow down her wrist, she knew she had to do something.

Taking her hand in his warm palm Jonathan gently checked for glass. He then bandaged the cut, playing her doting husband to the final act. Mary smiled in his direction, all the time thinking to herself, your time is over my love, you wait and see.

Before Mary had given up work she had been a computer software consultant. Using her knowledge and a brand new unregistered computer she logged onto the dark web. It took her three hours to find a suitable person for her task.

Having communicated with him for fifteen minutes she hired him. She went on to informed him where he could find her husband tomorrow at 7 pm. She directed her new friend to the restaurant and paid half the £5000 fee to have him killed. He assured her, he would make it look like a mugging gone wrong. He suggested she didn’t wear any favourite jewellery, as he would need to take this with him. That’s fine she thought, he is welcome to my engagement and wedding ring.

Once the contract was completed Mary would need to transfer the rest of the money. Mary was told that she would have no more contact from her new friend from now on. His log in and connection then went dead. The deal was done.

Chuckling to herself she wondered if Jonathan was as capable of picking up on her warning signs, as she was his.

The next day, Mary played her part, beautifully. Jonathan’s amazing wife prepared him a beautiful breakfast. They shared this on the patio in the sun.

At one point he grabbed her hand and told her how much he loved her. Mary wanted to rip his guilty tongue out of his head. Instead, she hugged him back and told him he was the best husband ever.

As they got ready for the big date, she asked Jonathan once again, who had recommended the restaurant. He was vague about his answer. Mary loved watching the creep sweat. As they left for the restaurant Mary smiled, tonight all this would be her’s. No more clothes on the floor. A clean ordered house all to herself.

As they arrived at the Marina, Jonathan ever the gentleman opened the door for her and helped her out of his Jaguar. Mary chose not to notice he was texting someone as they walked to the restaurant. Cheating bastard wouldn’t be texting his secretary anymore after tonight.

When he saw Mary glance at his phone, he smiled and apologised. He said it was a work thing and promising he would turn his phone off now.

“I thought, if you liked this place, we might book it for your birthday.” He said.

“Lovely idea,” Mary said. Although she thought you will be lying on a cold slab during my birthday, bastard.

Jonathan took her hand once more and led her through the hotel lobby towards the restaurant. Mary pretended not to know where she was going, even though she had visited ten days ago.

As they walked into the conservatory a large bang went off. Fifty of Mary’s closest friends shouted surprise at her.

Jonathan beamed and said. “Happy Birthday Baby, I hope you don’t mind that I have been keeping this from you for the last couple of weeks.”

View story at Medium.com

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