Thursday, 7 February 2008
Martin loaded his golf clubs into the boot of his black BMW 5 Series and switched on the ignition to lower its soft top. Before backing out of the garage he glanced in the rear view mirror to adjust his wrap around sunglasses and smooth back his hair.
With one arm resting on the open window he pulled smoothly out of the drive and sped off down the hill. With the evening sun low in the cloudless sky Martin put his foot down and enjoyed the thrill of throwing his new car round the steep hill roads. He raced passed the entrance to the golf club, only stopping when he reached the far side of the village.
Pulling the car into a deserted picnic area at the side of the road, he switched off the engine and took his mobile phone from the glove box.
‘Hi, missing me?’ He purred down the phone.
‘Martin where have you been, I was expecting you to call last night?
‘Laura, my love, I’ve told you before, it is really hard to phone from the villa. When Fliss finds out about us all hell will break loose. I’ve told you what she is like. I just need to get my finances in order so that she doesn’t find some clever lawyer who will start demanding half everything that’s taken me so long to build up.’
‘How can she be so selfish’ Laura complained ‘she has had such an easy ride all these years. While you, my darling, have worked yourself to the bone, providing for her and the girls. And are they grateful, no, its just want, want, want.’ she paused, finally stopping to take a breath. ‘Well the lazy madam will just have to get used to the fact that she is going to have to find a job and work for a living like the rest of us.’
‘All in good time darling, once I have sorted out the little problem I was telling you about I will be in a stronger position financially, and then we will be able to be together all the time.’
‘Oh Martin I miss you so much when you are away. I get so lonely here in London while you are sunning yourself back in Spain’
Martin tried to keep the exasperation form his voice ‘Darling that’s not fair. You know that I’d rather be with you but I have to keeping coming back here so that Fliss doesn’t get suspicious. It won’t be for much longer, I promise, I miss you my darling.’ As much as he loved Laura he sometimes wished that she wasn’t quite so immature. Surely she must realise that he wasn’t in a position to just walk away from everything.
Martin put the mobile back in the glove box and rubbed his hands across his face. Life was getting more and more complicated. It had seemed so perfect when he had met Laura six months ago. He hadn’t been looking for an affair, he had Fliss and the girls after all, but living on his own in London during the week, he was lonely. His networking meant lots of socialising of an evening but later, when he went back to the empty apartment he would look out of the window at the moonlight glinting off the Thames, and long for company, a woman’s company.
Years of going to the gym and playing golf meant that Martin was still slim and healthy. And with very few grey hairs in his short dark hair, he looked far younger than his fifty five years. Not that life had always been easy. When the girls were little, money had been tight when Fliss had given up work to be a full time Mum. For the first few years they had missed the security of Fliss’ salary from the publishing house where she had worked as a copywriter. But Martin had thrived on the pressure of his work and soon his advice on the machinations of the commodity market was in high demand, especially in the boom years of the eighties. His clients were more than happy to pay his large fees for the very profitable way he handled their investment portfolios.
When he was back in London, Martin still enjoyed being one of the boys and liked to spend his evenings in one of the many City wine bars. The night often ended with him at the roulette table in a small casino off Broad Street. When his luck was in at the tables he would round off the night spending his winnings sitting at the bar with a bottle of champagne and a beautiful young woman for company.
That’s how he had met Laura. She was a friend of one of his clients and had joined them for a drink one evening. At the end of the night they had exchanged mobile numbers and Martin was surprised when she sent him a text the next day to say how much she had enjoyed his company. Over the next few weeks they were texting each other everyday, making plans for when he was in London.
Martin was flattered that Laura had wanted to spend time with him. Life with her was exciting and new. He enjoyed showing her off at the trendy clubs in the West End or at the Casino for supper. After a few weeks he had even given her a key to the apartment. On the rare nights when she didn’t stay over he only needed to close his eyes to remember her tanned supple body curled up next to him. Having Laura made him feel that his life with Fliss was stale, over.
He had married Fliss while he was still at University and he was only twenty five when Sophie had been born. He remembered how Fliss had been so beautiful in those days, with her slim figure and long auburn hair. He was the envy of all his friends then, but now, he thought, Fliss had let herself go. She was just boring, settled into the role of being a housewife and mother. She was happy with her committees and fund raising and even the occasional visits to the grandchildren back in London.
But Martin knew that he wanted more than that. He wanted excitement and passion, not middle age and routine. Laura made him feel young again and as soon as he had sorted out the little problem he was having with his cash flow, he thought, they would be able to start a new life together.