This is the seventh part of a fiction serial, in 770 words.
Before he left Weston, George phoned the house to let Eileen know he wouldn’t be home that night. But there was no answer, and he left a message on the answerphone. It wasn’t like his wife to not answer, and he wondered if she might still be out. Of course, he had no idea that she was sleeping off the excesses of her encounter with Floyd.
Finding the house in Wells was easy enough. A small cottage, full of character. She came out as soon as he stopped the car, and got into the passenger seat before he had time to open the door for her. “I forgot to say, my name is Anne. I have booked us into a nice inn a few miles away, we are eating in thirty minutes, and you will be pleased to know that they had a double room free, so I took that”. George told her his name, and followed her directions. He had never encountered such a forward and no-nonsense woman before, and had to admit to himself that he had no idea what she saw in him.
As they arrived on the gravel car park of the inn, she placed her hand over his. “I won’t be able to stop over, unfortunately. I told my husband it was a work thing, so I will have to be back before midnight. We should skip the starters and dessert, and just have a main course. You can have me for dessert”. George actually blushed when she said that. Anne was out of his league, in every way.
During dinner, she kept it very professional, talking to him about travel plans, prices, and group numbers as if she was arranging some kind of excursion. He presumed it was because she knew people in the restaurant, and wanted to keep up some pretence. When the bill came, he signed for the food, and left a cash tip for the waitress. Anne leaned forward and spoke in a whisper. “Get your room key from reception. The rooms are at the back in an annexe, and I will pretend to leave and wait for you there”. He nodded.
She had done this before, undoubtedly.
When he got the key, he had to leave his credit card details to pay for the room and dinner. The man behind the desk was rather cold-mannered. “Breakfast is from seven until eight-thirty. It is served in the bar”. Walking to the annexe at the back, it dawned on George that he was going to have to return to Bath the next day and pay the bill for a room he hadn’t used there. It also occured to him that he had no luggage of any kind, so perhaps the reception desk man knew exactly what was going on.
In the room, Anne wasted no time. Flinging off her clothes, she sprawled out on the bed, laughing at him. “Come on, get your clothes off. Unless you like to leave them on. I don’t really care either way, but let’s get on with it”. When Anne had finished with him, he lay back on the bed feeling wonderful. Choosing to ignore why this attractive young woman had decided she wanted him, he listened to the water running in the bathroom as she washed. When she reappeared, she was fully dressed, and back to being businesslike.
“You are going to have to get dressed and drive me home, George. I’m never going to get a taxi around here on a weeknight”. He stopped the car a few doors from her house, and noticed a curtain move in a window at the front. “He’s spotted me, so no goodnight kiss. Thanks for a lovely time” Then she was gone.
Sleep came easily to George that night, and no blue light disturbed his slumber. After breakfast, he drove back to the hotel in Bath, collected his things, and paid the bill. Driving home that morning, he reflected on what an expensive trip it had been, but Anne had certainly been worth the expense. He had seen nothing at all of Bath, but that hardly mattered. He felt alive, desired, and youthful again, and there was no price you could put on that.
Eileen was at home when he got back. She seemed distracted, asked nothing about his trip, and didn’t mention the Health Club, or why she had not answered the phone. At just after two in the afternoon, she came into the living room carrying two cups of tea. As she handed him one, her face looked blank.
“We have to talk, George. A serious talk”.