This is a work of fiction, a short story of 750 words.
John had finished. The grunt had told her that.
She held on to him for as long as she could, knowing he would move soon, and then talk about having to go. It hadn’t been very satisfying for her, but she had learned to live with that. For Marsha, the hardest part was at work, pretending John was just the boss, and she was his loyal assistant. She knew that there were plenty of others waiting to fill her shoes. That redhead Jane, in accounts, and the pretty plump girl Wendy, who was always finding reasons to leave her desk in transport.
John cleaned himself up with some of the tissues from the box by the bed. When he started to get dressed, Marsha suggested he might enjoy some of the lasagna she had prepared. As usual, he declined. Checking his watch, he gave her an awkward grin. “Bridget and the girls will be expecting me back by eight at the latest. Sorry.” She smiled in return. “No problem, I can always have half tomorrow.” Once he had left, she relaxed in a hot bath. Though still unsatisfied, she was pleased that he had finally popped round. It had been almost six weeks, after all. Problems with the girls. Exams for one, university choices for the other. He had to be at home to deal with that, anyone could see.
Having little appetite, she had thrown the lasagna into the kitchen bin. She wasn’t that fond of Italian food anyway, and only made it for John. Marsha had settled for another glass of Prosecco, and some cheese and crackers. She liked to keep her figure. It was important to keep John interested, she knew that. Later on, she satisfied herself under the warm bath water. Adding more hot water, she had time for reflection, with a third glass of the sparkling wine. Fourteen years. Can it really have lasted for so long?
She had been just eighteen, and John almost ten years older. She liked his close-cropped beard, and noticed the way he looked at her legs. It was less than six months before he told her how he felt about her. Naturally, she was flattered, but hardly surprised. The looks, the accidental touching, asking her to stay late for extra work, and telling her about the problems at home. Marsha was not experienced, but even she knew it was only a matter of time. When it came, it was all that she imagined. Frantic, passionate, urgent, and needy. She rode the height of John’s lust, and returned it in the same fashion.
Very soon, it was at least once a week, usually at work. There were some occasions in his car, and one memorable night against a wall in the approach to the railway station. She moved out of her parents’ house, and rented a small flat close to where he lived. They were the golden years. Both going there straight from work, and making love before he left it until the last possible moment to make his way home. They expressed their love to each other. He would leave Bridget soon, once the girls were at secondary school. That was a promise. He only wanted to be with her, and could no longer stand his demanding, nagging wife.
When they went to that school, John didn’t leave. They were unsettled, he told her. Give them a couple more years, and it would be fine. When he promoted her to Personal Assistant, tongues wagged, and heads turned. Marsha didn’t care, she had earned it. Her work was good, and her loyalty beyond question. Besides, they were a couple, in all but name. Very soon the secret would be out, and everyone would just have to keep their stupid mouths shut. John arrived one night with furrowed brows, and not wanting sex. Something was obviously wrong. Victoria, his oldest, was having problems. She had been reported for taking recreational drugs, and her boyfriend was from the wrong side of town. Bridget was beside herself with worry. He would have to stay longer, see the problem through with Victoria, and get her on track for university after all. He was devastated, Marsha could see that. She held him close, fighting back her own tears. “Poor John”, she purred.
Marsha let the water out of the bath. If she dried off quickly, she could still watch her programme, before bed. John just needed a little more time. They would be together very soon.
She was certain of that.