This is the tenth part of a fiction serial, in 1210 words.
Sunday morning didn’t start well for Lucy. By the time she had woken up, Eduardo was already dressed, and sitting outside on the balcony. Her head was fuzzy, and it was too late for the breakfast service. When he heard her get up and walk into the bathroom, he came back into the room, and started to pack his bag. Lucy called to him from the toilet seat, “Why didn’t you wake me up? We have missed breakfast now”. He didn’t answer her, and zipped up his bag, draping the suit carrier over it, ready to leave. During the night, he had made a decision.
Don and Jean had been up with the lark, and were ready to leave the camping grounds before checkout time at ten. Everything was cleared up and tidied away, and Jean was looking forward to getting home. She would have liked to have phoned home over the weekend, to check on Allan, but Don had advised her against it. “Let him be, Jean love. He has to learn how to cope. We won’t always be here”. It was less than a two-hour drive back to the house, so they would be home by midday. Jean was planning to cook a proper Sunday roast later, to make up for two days of microwave meals for their son.
Alex was choosing what to wear. There was bound to be a lot going on later, and he wanted to look like it was a normal Sunday. Nothing too smart, but he had make sure he didn’t appear scruffy if he was caught on any TV news coverage, or snapped by a press photographer. He had a reputation to maintain, after all. After dressing, he decided on a bowl of muesli for breakfast, then settled down to read the Sunday papers, spreading out the numerous sections over the large coffee table in the living room. As was his habit, he would read the tabloid first. Nothing like a bit of scandal and gossip to start a Sunday.
Lucy could tell something was up. Eduardo was distant, almost surly. She had a shower, and took time over her make-up, but there seemed little point in dressing up, so she chose a simple top and some comfortable trousers for the car journey home. Paying the bill with cash, she barely had enough, once the restaurant and bar bills were added on. Eduardo hadn’t even waited at reception with her, and had gone straight out to stand by the car. She had to scrabble around in her purse for some coins to make up the total. Just as well she had enough petrol, as she didn’t want to have to use her credit card again.
Once on the move, she didn’t bother to ask what was wrong. Part of her hoped he was disappointed, and would end the affair. She could no longer see any future in it, but it would be better if he ended it. Might be nice to pretend to be upset at being dumped. She could accuse him of using her, and he might feel awkward enough to find a new job. After all, it was going to be very difficult working together after this.
Don smiled at his wife. “No traffic today, love. That’s the benefit of going at the end of the season”. She grinned back. “I know, I was thinking we were making good time, but didn’t want to jinx it by saying anything”. Don glanced at the clock on the instrument panel. “At this rate, we will be home by half-eleven”.
Lucy couldn’t remember ever feeling so uncomfortable on a car journey. Eduardo hadn’t said a word, and even when she tried to make small-talk, he just nodded or answered with one word. That made her all the more determined. This young man was ungrateful, simple as that. She had given him her affection and her body for almost a year, as well as buying him gifts. Then she took him away to a lovely hotel, paid for everything, and had even bought him new clothes and cologne. In return, he was behaving like a sulky teenager, and had offered no explanation whatsoever. When they got back to the train station where she would drop him off, she would speak her mind.
Alex would loved to have had a reason to be standing outside when the Sinclairs returned. He had thought about inventing some chore to do in the front garden, perhaps even washing his car. But he never washed his car, everyone knew that. He paid the Lithuanian men to wash it, in the hand wash next to the supermarket. Besides, he really shouldn’t bring any undue attention on himself. He would just have to wait for the discovery, and the subsequent events. Stay indoors, no twitching of curtains, or blatant snooping. It was important that it should be like a very normal Sunday.
Don reversed the large vehicle onto the driveway as Jean hurried inside. As he switched off the engine, he heard a strange sound coming through the open door onto the hallway. It was something like the braying of a donkey, or the honking of an angry goose. As he climbed out and turned to face the door, he saw Jean on her knees by the bottom of the stairs. Her head was thrown back, her mouth so wide open, she didn’t even look like his wife anymore. It was her that was making that sound.
Alex heard the motor-home arrive, and could hardly contain his excitement. He switched on the TV, choosing a rolling news channel, then opened his laptop onto his work emails, before placing it next to him on the sofa. Anticipating screams, he was a little disappointed to hear nothing at all. At least nothing that carried the distance from his neighbour’s house into his living room.
Tom Henderson’s heart sank when the phone rang. It was the control room, as he had feared. “We have uniform units on the way to a suspicious death in Waterloo Close. Looks like a burglary too. Can you attend?” Tom said he would be there in around fifteen minutes. Karen was sitting on the sofa, wrapped in a fleece blanket, and staring blankly at the TV screen. It wasn’t switched on, but she gazed at the black screen anyway. Tom went to get a sleeping tablet from the pot in the kitchen, and a small glass of water. He bent down to his wife, and smiled. “I have to go to work, Karen. Hopefully I won’t be too long, but you never know. Here, take this, it will settle you”. He waited until she had swallowed the pill, then went into the hallway to get his car keys.
Alex heard the siren of the police car from a long way off, getting louder as it turned into his road. The car stopped with a swoosh on the gravel of Don’s drive, and the siren turned off with a final yelp. As the car doors slammed, he could hear the crackling radios of the police officers. He unfolded the financial section of the newspaper, and chuckled. In a soft voice, barley above a whisper, he spoke out loud.
“Now the game begins”.
To be continued…