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Anna and Sam. Chapter 12

Anna goes home but why is the house in darkness?
After some considerable time Sam spoke without looking up at me.

“What will we do?” she asked.

“When?” I replied.

“In the future. I don’t want to leave you because I don’t know when I will see you next.”

I could feel something warm trickling between my thighs and pooling in the valley where my legs were together.

"Sam,” I said, “Please don’t cry. There will be a way, you’ll see.”

“Will you leave your husband for me?” she asked, “Do you love me enough for that?”

I didn’t know how to answer. I did love her, so much, but I loved Philip too and now she was asking me to choose.

I felt more tears run down between my legs and her chest shook slightly as she wept.

“Sam...”

I didn’t know what to say really but I had to reassure her somehow.

“Sam, I don’t know what to tell you, my heart is tearing apart. I love you so much but I love Philip and the thought of hurting him is crucifying me just as much as the thought of losing you. He has been my friend and soul mate for as long as I can remember. We will get through this but, at the moment, I just don’t know how.”

She sat up and began to gather her clothes. We both dressed in silence and I took a tissue from my handbag and wiped the tear stains from Sam’s beautiful dark eyes. When they were dry I pulled her to me and she let her head rest on my shoulder with a big sigh.

Two hours later, the door opened and Penny appeared. Sam sat bolt upright, like a child with her first boyfriend as his mother walks in.

Penny smiled.

“It’s Ok Sam. I know all about you. You don’t need to worry about me.”

“I, I have to leave anyway,” Sam replied, “ It is getting late and you have been very kind to let us stay together.”

“You are very welcome, Sam. You are welcome here anytime.”

I went with Sam to the front door.

“Will I see you again?” she asked.

“Oh Sam, of course you will!” I kissed her nose, “Call me if you want to, it will be Ok. If I cannot talk I will call you back when I can,” then, seeing the worry in her face, I added, “I promise.”

I kissed her and hugged her tightly before she turned and walked down the path to her car and was gone.

I stood in the open doorway just staring down the empty path until Penny placed her hand gently upon my shoulder.

“Come on,” she said, “You can’t stand here all night and besides, you are letting the heat out.”

She smiled as she spoke and I turned and walked back inside, leaving her to close the door behind me.

I hobbled silently back to the kitchen and sat, deep in thought, at the table and leaned forward onto it with my arms folded in front of me, biting my top lip between my teeth just staring at the table top. Penny walked up behind me and gently rubbed my shoulder, she didn’t speak.

She could read my thoughts and had no answer for me so she moved closer and let me lean my head against her side.

Eventually, she moved away and sat opposite me. I looked at her and she smiled. I smiled back but only my mouth moved. My eyes remained impassive and the effect was more of a grimace than a smile.

She stood and went towards the worktop.

“Drink?” she said finally,

“Mmm, please.”

“Brandy?” I gave a little laugh and smiled.

“No. Coffee will be fine thanks but strong please.”

A bottle of brandy would not solve this one.

Penny took me home about nine. When we got there the house was in darkness.

“Strange,” I commented, “Philip never said he was going out.”

Penny looked at me,

“Do you want me to come in with you?”

“No,” I said, “It’ll be fine. Thanks anyway.”

She helped me out of the car and waited whilst I hobbled down the drive on my crutches and, letting myself in I turned and waved. Waving back she put the car into gear and drove off.

I closed the door and went into the front room.

“You’re home then.” The sudden voice from the darkness scared me so much I dropped one of my crutches and shouted out.

“Damn it, Philip! You scared me half to death! What are you doing here in the dark?”

I switched the light on and saw he was sitting in the armchair with a half full glass of rum in his hand.

“Where have you been?” he asked. His speech was slurring.

“Are you drunk?” I said.

“Maybe,” he slurred a reply, “What of it?”

“But why?”

Philip did not normally drink, a bottle of his favourite navy rum would last a year if not more and yet the new bottle he had recently bought was on the table in front of him, half empty!

“Where have you been?” he asked again only this time slower and more deliberately.

“You know where I’ve been, to Penny’s.”

He continued to stare into his glass.

“I drove past Penny’s earlier and I saw her driving away… alone!”

He lifted the glass to his lips and took a mouthful. Considering the rum was fifty seven percent proof, he didn’t even flinch!

“I wasn’t the only one there,” I ventured, speaking carefully, “Samantha was there too. You remember? The woman I met in Birmingham?”

“Why didn’t you tell me she would be there?” he drained the last mouthful from the glass.

“I didn’t think it mattered,” I lied. “I didn’t think you would be interested.”

I was trying hard to take his mind away from what he was thinking, that I was having an affair, but I hated deceiving him and was glad, in a way, that he was so drunk and unable to see through what I was saying. “Penny went out to get some shopping. I assured her Sam and I would be Ok for a while.”

“Hmm...” was all he said.

I took the empty glass from him and put it on the table beside the bottle.

“Come on,” I said, as calmly as I could, “I think you’ve had enough of that. Come to bed.”

There was no answer. Philip's eyes were already closed as the alcohol induced sleep had overtaken him. I wouldn’t be able to move him so I left him to sleep it off in the chair.

As I struggled up the stairs to bed I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of a day I had to look forward to tomorrow.

I awoke about seven the next morning.

Still quite dark, I put my arm out to Philip’s side of the bed, it was empty and cold and the sheet was still smooth and undisturbed. He had not come to bed at all.

Sitting up, a wave of nausea swept over me, making my stomach churn for a moment and feeling a bit queasy.

The heating had only just switched on so I was glad of my soft thick gown over my silk pyjamas and, after carefully negotiating the stairs again, I looked in the lounge only to find an empty room. The glass and bottle were gone and the chair had been straightened. I expected Philip to still be there but he wasn’t.

“Darling?” I called for him and the sound of his reply came from the kitchen.

“In here.”

He was sitting at the kitchen table nursing a mug of tea and looked rough,

“Coffee?”

“I’ll get it,” I replied and going over to the machine, put a healthy amount of beans into it to produce an extra strong drink.

Still facing the machine as it ground the beans and began to hiss, I asked, “Why didn’t you come to bed?”

He didn’t answer so I turned round and faced him. He was looking down into his mug which he was holding with both hands as if they were cold. He looked sad.

I waited until the coffee had finished brewing and emptied and cleaned the machine before sitting opposite him at the table.

“Philip,” I began, “Tell me what’s wrong.”

He lifted his head and studied me for a moment as if contemplating carefully his next words. I waited, not wanting to push him, until eventually he said, “Tell me truthfully, Anna, are you seeing another man?”

I held his gaze. Inside my heart was aching as I saw the pain he was feeling.

“No, Philip, I am not seeing another man. I don’t want any man but you. You will always be the only man I ever love.”

He smiled. A relieved kind of smile but one which still had doubts, unasked and unanswered questions.

“You have been different since you went to Birmingham, as if something happened there.”

“Oh, Philip! The only thing bothering me is my ankle. I am not used to being so useless, to having to rely on everyone else to do things for me. I hate it!”

Once again, I was lying to him and I felt that he may know it. I took a gamble and said,

“Tell you what. I will call Sam later and see when she is next free and she can come here. Is that Ok?”

I waited for an answer. I still had that sickly feeling and my nerves were on edge. After what seemed an eternity, he said, “You can bring your friends here anytime, you don’t have to ask me.”

“No, I know,” I hesitated, “But I thought… well, you know.”

“What?” he asked, “What did you think?”

“I thought you didn’t believe that Sam was not a man.”

I was getting anxious now and couldn’t fathom whether he was playing me along or he actually did believe me.

“Of course, I believe you, Anna. Why wouldn’t I?”

I shook my head and looked at him straight,

“I was going to invite her anyway but I have to tell you she is very shy with people she doesn’t know so please don’t embarrass her.”

“Ok,” he promised, “I will be on my best behaviour.”

Later that day I called Sam but her phone went straight to voicemail so I figured she must have been at work.

“Who were you calling?”

I looked up, startled, Philip was standing behind me and I had not heard him approach.

“Sam,” I replied, “I told you this morning I would call her.”

“Oh yes,” he looked away, “So you did.”

Lunchtime came and went and Sam didn’t call back so I waited until 3 O’clock and tried again. Voicemail again so this time, I spoke after the tone.

“Hi Sam, it’s me, Anna. I hope you are Ok. Could you call me please, when you can.”

I waited a moment then pressed ‘end call’.

I didn’t know what else to say. I never liked answer machines.

It seemed an eternity until five, when I expected Sam to finish work, but still no call. I was on edge now. There was probably nothing to worry about but even so.

Should I call again?

No, I couldn’t chase her, I didn’t want her to think I was too eager but then, what if she thought I wasn’t interested enough.

“Damn it, Anna,” I thought, “Get a hold of yourself. Sam can’t run to the phone just because you ring!”

I stayed nervous though and the evening began to drag by as Philip and I sat watching TV.

Six O’clock, seven O’clock, Eight O’clock and suddenly it rang and I nearly jumped out of my skin and knocked the phone on the floor.

Philip leaned over from his armchair and picked it up for me. After looking at the screen he passed it over and said flatly,

“Sam.”

I pressed ‘answer’, put it to my ear and said as casually as I could manage,

“Sam! Hi. How are you?”

“Hi, Anna. I’m… fine… erm, thank you,” she sounded a little confused. “How are you?”

“Yes, I’m fine too, thanks.”

I answered her with an unnatural cheeriness that I didn’t really feel.

“I am sorry I couldn’t talk earlier,” she continued, “I have been in meetings all day and I always go straight to my mum’s afterwards on a Friday. I am home now, though.”

I laughed as though everything was normal and I was just chatting to a friend.

“Oh, that’s fine,” I told her, “It’s just that Philip, you know, my husband, and I were talking and he said why don’t I invite you over so I said I would. Would you like to come?”

“Oh”, she paused and there was an awkward silence, then: “Well, I suppose I could. When did you have in mind?”

I made a point of saying to Philip,

“Sam says 'When'?”

I wanted her to know he was nearby.

“Anytime is fine by me,” he answered, “I have nothing planned.”

“Did you hear?” I asked her.

“Yes I did,” she replied. “I am afraid I can’t come this weekend but maybe one evening next week if that’s Ok?”

“Sure, that’s fine,” I told her, “I will call you over the weekend and arrange it, Ok?”

“Ok,” she said, with more than a hint of uncertainty in her voice.

“Anna…”

“Talk to you soon then,” I stopped her before she said something that Philip might hear, “Take care now. Bye.”

“Bye, Anna.”

Pressing the ‘end call’ button was so hard because I didn’t know whether I had made it clear enough that I couldn’t talk but wanted to. I had to end it there. My heart was pounding and my face burning. I just hoped that Philip hadn’t noticed.

“Is she coming then?”

He had heard every word. Was he testing me?

“Yes,” I tried to stay impassive, “I will call her sometime over the weekend and arrange details. She had only just got in.”

“Ok,” he said and that was that, end of conversation.

We sat for the rest of the evening in virtual silence. The TV was on but I wasn't really watching it, my head was spinning. Thoughts were coming and going.

Should I finish this?

Should I tell Philip and be honest with him?

Would he leave me?

Would Sam leave me?

I had so many questions running around my head and not a single answer for any of them!

Eventually, I turned to Philip and said,

"Do you mind if I go to bed?"

"He looked at me for a minute before answering.

"It's very early, are you Ok?"

"No, not really," this time I wasn't lying, "My head is pounding and my ankle aches."

"Would you like me to help you up the stairs?" He looked concerned.

"Yes, please," I smiled, "I feel so weary and sick of being so immobile."

Again, the truth.

Philip helped me to my feet and up the stairs.

He waited whilst I got undressed and into bed.

"I won't come up yet," he said, "Sill a bit early for me."

"That's Ok, I'll probably be asleep soon anyway," I paused then added, "I hope."

After he left I lay back and closed my eyes and watched the past week unfold as if in a virtual film.

I couldn't believe it had only been a week.

For twenty two years I had been married to a man whom I had loved for so much longer and not so much as even looked at anyone else and yet, suddenly I was in love again and not even with another man!

What was the matter with me? I was behaving like a school girl only I wasn't really. This was true, real love had come to me again, suddenly and without warning. I didn't love Philip any less but he was going to hate me when he found out I had been lying to him.

I couldn't stand it. I hated myself for this and yet it wasn't something I had done, it was something that I had no control over.

I was still awake when Philip came to bed but I pretended I was asleep, I really didn't want to talk. I felt mean for doing it but my mind just wanted to shut everything out.

Eventually, I drifted off to a fitful, troubled sleep.

"What are you doing, Anna? Why are you so horrid?"

"Mum? I am sorry. I know I am selfish and will hurt so many people but I love her."

"Love her? You don't love her! You don't love anyone but yourself!"

"That's not fair, Mum. I do love her. I love you too and Philip. Penny too"'

"No you don't' You wouldn't cause so much pain if you loved us. You disgust me Anna!"

"Mum, please... It's not my fault..."

"Of course, it's your fault! It's your fault that you have led Sam this way. It's your fault you are breaking Philip's heart. It's you fault that Penny lies for you. It's ALL your fault, Anna, ALL YOUR FAULT!'

"Mum, please don't be angry with me, I can't bear it."

"You deserve me to be angry, Anna, you are disgusting! Stay away from me!"

"Mummy, don't say that. Don't go, Mummy, please, MUMMY!!"

I awoke suddenly, tears streaming down my face. It was still dark. I looked at Philip snoring quietly beside me.

Turning my back to him, I curled up like a foetus and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed until, once more, sleep overcame me.

The next time I awoke it was just getting light. Philip was still asleep and my pillow was damp from my tears.

My eyes were stinging from a combination of sleep deprivation and crying so, as softly as I could, I got out of bed.

"Sweetheart?" I heard his voice from the bed. "Are you Ok. It's still early."

"Yes," I tried to sound normal, "I was trying not to disturb you."

"I was awake. I heard you crying in the night. What is wrong?"

I didn't answer immediately, then, "I had a bad dream about my mum. It upset me, it seemed so real."

I told the truth but I wasn't sure if he thought so as he continued.

"You have been having a lot of bad dreams recently, are you sure everything is alright?"

"Yes," I snapped, "I'm fine. I told you!"

"Ok, Ok," he sounded hurt, "I'm sorry."

"Oh, Honey, no, I'm sorry. I think it's the tablets. I haven't slept properly since breaking my ankle. I am so tired. Please forgive me."

I felt sick again, in the pit of my stomach. I had never been angry at Philip before.

My dream was true, I was horrible!

I sat back on the bed beside him and rested my head on his chest. How could I do this to him when he had never done anything to hurt me ever.

"I'm going down to make some coffee," I told him after a few minutes, "Shall I brew some tea as well?"

"No, not yet," he replied, "I will come down shortly."

As I sat in the kitchen with my coffee and my thoughts Philip appeared.

"You weren't long," I said.

"Well, once I was awake I didn't see much point of staying up there alone."

Once again his words cut through me like a knife. I didn't think he meant it that way but as we were used to sitting in bed together with our drinks it was just one more reminder of how quickly things were changing.

He made some tea then sat down opposite me.

"What are you planning today?" I asked him.

"Nothing really."

He answered with an air of someone who had things to do but didn't want to leave me on my own.

"I thought maybe I could start preparing the spare room for decorating. Did you want to do something?"

"Would you mind If I went to see my Mum?"

After my dream, I had an urge to see her. She didn't know about Sam but I still felt a little upset.

"Not at all. What time shall we go?"

"You don't have to come if you don't want to. I could go on the bus."

In fact, I wanted to go on the bus. I wanted to try and get my independence back and not rely on Philip all the time.

"I wouldn't dream of letting you use the bus with your ankle as it is. I'll drive you when you are ready."

He was very insistent but I really had to do this. As much as I loved him I was beginning to feel stifled. I needed to escape for a few hours. I tried to explain to him but was afraid I would hurt his feelings and make him even more suspicious.

"Philip... I love you very much and I know you are trying to look after me but I need to try and do something on my own. You know how independent I am and I hate having to rely on you for everything."

He looked sad and I knew exactly what he was thinking. Not just about Sam but that I didn't need him, or maybe even want him.

"Oh, Philip. Don't look like that," I was genuinely hurting inside. "If I had a choice I would be happy to let you take me. Normally I would jump in the car and pop over there and you would think nothing of it. I can't let this injury change what I do. You do understand don't you?"

He nodded,

"Yes, I do," he still sounded sad. "You have always been the strong one, always the one in charge. My illness has held me down for years. I hoped that for a while I could be the strong one and look after you but then, you wouldn't be you if you let something like this stop you. You go ahead and do what you have to do but promise me one thing."

I looked at him and asked:

"What's that?"

"If it is too much for you, don't struggle in stubbornness. I know you too well. Call me and I will come straight away."

I didn't answer but deep down I knew he was right.

"Anna, promise me."

"Ok," I conceded, "I promise."

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than Lushstories.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © 2016. All stories published by me are entirely my own work and may not be reproduced in any form without my permission. Copyright 2016

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