Our Sweet Love
Parking With Boys
Our Sweet Love
My wife had been oddly clingy. We had been together for almost twenty eight years, and as hopeful as I was for a resolution, the passion had been lost over the years, and we had resorted to going through the motions, for the sake of our daughter, April.
At first, I didn’t notice, I figured she had been trying to keep up the act for April, but after a few days of her having dinner on the table the second I arrived home, and begging me to stay home from work, I had realised something was amiss. It’s sad, as a man to admit that your wife being affectionate is a sign of trouble, but it is what it is.
I tried to enjoy her newfound sweetness, but in the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but be suspicious. My worries truly began on a bleak Sunday. I had slept late, as I often did. I normally woke to the sound of the lawn being mowed, by the nice boy from number Thirty Four, who was saving for college.
He went up and down the neighbourhood, every week, doing odd jobs with a friendly smile. However this week was different, I heard him and my wife in a heated discussion. I ran my fingers through my messy hair and approached the window.
Below, I saw him leaning against the lawn mower, his smile replaced with a scowl, as she attempted to push money into his hand.
“Just go.” She insisted, looking round with concern, but seeming not to notice me above them. “You’re just making trouble.”
“He deserves to know what we did.” I heard him reply, and my heart sank. Backing away from the window, I fell back onto the bed,
everything suddenly making sense to me. Celia had been unusually affectionate, and it must have been guilt. Some might think jumping to the conclusion of an affair is ridiculous, but it did seem plausible. I had seen her before, sat on the porch with a drink in hand, watching the young boy, hard at work. She would often make more work for him. He was constantly digging or carrying things for her, as honestly, my years of being able to help with that were far behind me. It was hard to deny that he was handsome, whereas I hadn’t been her type for years.
I was pulled from my self pity as the sound of the lawn mower kicked in, and I decided to just get on with my Sunday. There wasn’t much else I could do.
The day’s continued, with her seeming to regress to how she was when we first married. Kissing me often, morning seductions, playing the role of the doting housewife whenever she could, while I continued on auto pilot. Taking April to school, heading to the office and then arriving home for more lies. It felt fine. I had decided that if this was what it took to have a relatively enjoyable marriage, I’d take it for what it was and move on.
Or at least that was the plan. I was in my office later in the week, about to head out for lunch when my secretary approached me, to inform me someone was here to see me, and that it was apparently urgent. I groaned and sank back into my chair, motioning for her to show them in.
I sank back even further as the boy from Thirty Four walked in. For a moment, I felt slightly guilty about the fact I’d never bothered to learn his name, but that quickly disappeared when I remembered he had been sleeping with my wife.
He took a seat across from me, fidgeting and pulling at his shirt, as he spoke.
“I know this is weird, but…” His southern drawl annoyed me. I knew she probably thought it was charming, and it made me sick. He looked up at me for a moment, and I saw apprehension in his eyes, leading him to look back down and breathe deeply before continuing. “But there’s something you need to know.”
“I already do.” I said with a sigh. His head snapped up and he looked at me, his face painted with horror.
“Please, sir, I didn’t…” I rolled my eyes, letting his guilty rambles continue. “She made me..” I stifled a laugh, wondering how things had got to this point. “I needed the money, and she said it would only be once.”
“Get out.” I snarled. I don’t know whether it was the pathetic sound of his whining, or the fact he couldn’t man up and take responsibility for sleeping with another man’s wife, but he brought out an anger I’d never felt before. I watched him stand from the chair, almost laughing at the fear in his eyes. He stumbled to the door, but hesitated a moment. “How many times?” I asked, wishing I hadn’t a moment later.
“She only made me help a few times, but I know there were more.” He whispered, before running from my office. I spun in my chair, pouring a scotch and trying to ignore the possibility of how many it had been.
As I got home that night, I saw April playing outside with her dolls. A smile formed on my face for the first time in days, as I knelt beside her and kissed her gently on the forehead.
“Daddy.” She said quietly, not looking up from her dolls. “The man over there says Mommy did a bad thing.” My heart jolted as I suddenly realised just how widespread my wife’s reputation could be.
“Don’t worry sweetheart.” I muttered. “I’ll take care of it.”
But I couldn’t. That night everything went as normal. We had dinner, I read April a bedtime story and then went to our room, and sat in silence across from her in our bed, wondering why I’d ever promised to love and cherish someone who couldn’t do the same.
I had just managed to fall asleep when I heard the phone ringing beside me. I considered ignoring it for a moment, but then guilt got the better of me and I took the call.
“Hello.” I murmured.
“Baby, I didn’t mean to do it…” I sat up, panicked to hear my wife’s voice on the other end. Looking around the room, she was nowhere in sight.
“I know, just come home.” I wanted her home, truthfully. As angry as I was, and as many as there had been, I wanted her to be safe. Maybe because I loved her, maybe because I just didn’t want my daughter to grow up without a mother, either way, I wanted her home.
“I just liked the way they sounded, at the end, when they slowly slip away, after I…” she trailed off, and in a way, I was grateful. At the time, I thought that I could hear nothing worse than her describing how enjoyable cheating on me was, but now, I know there could have been, and was so much worse. “I didn’t mean to kill the first one, but I..”
Parking With Boys
Her mother had begged her to stay home, but AJ believed that trouble would find you if it wanted to, regardless of whether you were out in the open, or cowering under the covers at home, and as comfortable as her covers were, the lure of the night dragged her to her door and out of her mother’s sight.
AJ had heard her mother’s shrill words all through the movie, which had irritated Bobby. Bobby’s irritation irritated AJ, who had spent half her time at High School wishing he would notice her, and feeling overjoyed that now they were both “all grown up” (or as grown up as her mother would allow) that he finally had, and she worried she was blowing her big chance to finally make things happen with her wishful high school sweetheart.
“I don’t want something to happen to you.” She had sighed at her mother’s cautious cries, even rolled her eyes a little, but they bothered her all the same. Her mother had been overprotective ever since her father had died several years ago.
She knew there had been trouble, there always was, there always would be, but she didn’t understand why her life should be put on hold, just in case. Of course, hearing news reports of the recent spate of murders in the neighbourhood had sent shivers through her body, and made for a few rough sleepless nights, but she was young, and she was finally sitting in a darkened movie theatre, next to the possibility of happiness, so she cast it out of her mind.
As the movie ended, and a frustrated Bobby looked like he was losing interest, AJ took a deep breath, ironed out the skirt of her dress and decided that her life was going full speed ahead, whether her mother liked it or not.
“We don’t have to go home yet.” She whispered. She had meant to say it with a quiet but seductive confidence, like those glamourous girls in the movies, but it ended up as a hoarse whisper, and AJ thought it just her luck. Luckily for AJ, Bobby didn’t mind how it sounded, because it was music to his ears either way.
They rushed from the theatre, hands tightly clasped as they raced to his car. It wasn’t long until they were hidden away, on the edge of the forest, with only the sounds of the radio and their nervous breathing. AJ had never imagined that she’d be driven up the long and winding road to park with Bobby. The very notion seemed so out of reach to her, and she was sure that if it were to happen, it would have happened so long ago, and had abandoned all hope. Yet here she was, alone, in the car, surrounded by the forest, the night sky, and the anticipation of what was to come with the boy she’d spent her entire life dreaming of.
“Can we open the window to get some air?” He nodded, rolling down the window as he turned off the engine of the car, and the lights went out.
Bobby leaned over, and AJ did her best to look welcoming. She had so much going through her mind, and she was sure that looking nervous before a kiss would never be in style. She smiled, feeling his hand snake up her thigh as their lips met.
“And as a reminder, the fugitive people are calling “The Choker”, who the police believe is responsible for several murders in Astor and the neighbouring Barberville is still unidentified and on the loose.”
Bobby pulled her closer, and she moaned softly, both in pleasure at the way he kissed her, and in pain at the way the gearstick of the car was now digging into her leg.
“Is it scaring you?” He whispered, pulling away. “You don’t have to worry April Jane, I won’t let anything happen to you.” He ran a fingertip slowly down her calf, biting his bottom lip as he slowly traced her own with the other hand, letting his finger tip linger for a moment.
“Residents were shocked at the brutalised body of a young man, discovered this morning in Lake George Forest by a young couple walking their dog. His body was…” Bobby reached over and switched off the radio, inviting in an abrupt but welcome silence.
“That’s never gonna be me, you know.” He said, a smirk rising to his face, as he motioned to the glove box. “My dad got me a Model 36 for my birthday.” He looked into her eyes, and she remembered counting each time he glanced at her during school, always so hungry for more.
“You don’t have to worry Bobby.” She whispered, pulling him closer and kissing him deeply. In that moment, she didn’t think about her mother, the murders, or the victims. All she could think about was how long she had waited for that moment, and how much it meant.
As she broke the kiss, she felt flustered, and slightly embarrassed. She knew what men thought of women who took the initiative, and while she’d certainly like for Bobby to see her in a positive light, she’d never get the chance to kiss him like that again.
“My mother won’t let anything happen to me.” In that moment, she saw her mother, the ligature, her mother’s next victim, and all she could think about was how long she had waited for that moment, and how much it meant, as Bobby slowly slipped away.