Next morning, Mandy wakes up earlier than usual. She couldn’t sleep. When she got back to the office, there was a text message from Ben. He had called but there was no answer. He had been free for lunch after all. He even went to the office where he had met Annette. She hadn’t seen her either. They assumed something had happened. After work at home Mandy kept denying everything was fine. She wanted to tell him about the sexual assault but that would reveal her infidelity. She also couldn’t take the guilt for leading Lee on. Without that it wouldn’t have happened. Now she couldn’t take it back. She wanted to call herself sick but it was Friday, she had to get to work. It’s only 5 am but she makes herself some coffee. She sits by the kitchen table with her cup and just looks at it. Soon she would be sitting alone in the kitchen. Ben would fly to London on Sunday. She wished she could go with him. Something had happened to their relationship and it would change even more when he was away. She knew her affair with Lee was the reason.
“What are you doing up?”
She startles when a sleepy Ben suddenly gets to the kitchen.
“Gee Ben. Never sneak in like that”
“You’re jumpy” He says and sits across her
“You would too if someone came in like that”
“I’m sorry. So why are you up?” He rubs his eyes
“I couldn’t sleep”
“Something bothering you?” He says less drowsy
“I guess it’s your trip. I wish I could come with you” She looks at him
His hair was all messy but he didn’t care at all.
“It’s only gonna be a month. Besides don’t you have work?”
“I could take a month off”
“I don’t think you will like it there. I’m gonna be busy and we won’t see each other that much”
“That’s better than being here without you”
“Why the sudden urge to come with me? This is not the first time you’re staying home alone. Has something happened?”
“Why can’t I come? Is there a reason why I shouldn’t?”
“You’ll be bored”
“Bored in London? No way”
“I’m there to do a job and if I want to do it well, I don’t need distractions”
“I think that’s just an excuse. Is there something you don’t want me to see? Someone else?” She didn’t know why she even doubted that
“Don’t be silly. I’m not that easily misled”
“What do you mean by that?” She’s getting agitated
“Nothing. I should get some sleep” He says and is about to stand up
“You mean I let a stalker get into our lives and you think I’m easily misled”
He sits back and sighs.
“You totally misunderstood me. I didn’t mean anything by it”
“You said you still haven’t forgiven me for what had happened and I guess you still won’t” She looks down on her coffee cup
“It depends if he’s still around”
“I said no” She looks upset at him
“But I don’t know if you mean it”
“You don’t trust me?”
“It’s not that. I met him and I don’t think he would give up”
“And yet you don’t want me to come with you”
“You took it up. I didn’t even think about it until you mentioned it. It makes me wonder why you react this strongly. It’s like you want to leave as soon as possible”
“I do. With you. I hate being alone. In London I would at least have you near me” She says and touches his hand
“I wish it was that simple. I’m sorry Mandy but you can’t come. But I call you everyday” He says touching hers
“I will miss you. A month feels like forever”
“You’ll be fine. When I get back we could go somewhere. I’ll make it up to you” He says and gives her a kiss across the table but she doesn’t want to stop
“Oh Ben” She moans and runs her right hand fingers across his chest
They both stand up and undress each other. They make love on the kitchen floor with her on top. They move to the bedroom to continue. Even if they had differences, they still loved each other. This was something she would miss. But a month would go quickly and soon they would be together again.