Neighbourly Affairs

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Jill knew her husband was cheating. She had known for months. Ever since she had found the pink lacy thong so carelessly thrown underneath the bed. Michael might have been handsome, charming, with muscles to die for; but he was crap at keeping secrets. Jill even knew who it was. That pretty woman who lived just across the street from them. She had seen her staring out of her upstairs window, gazing longingly into theirs. She had seen numerous identical lacy thongs hanging on their washing line; swinging gently in the breeze; taunting her. She had even caught her tiptoeing up their garden path, probably intending to have a quickie with Michael whilst his dumb wife was out. Luckily, she had turned around and seen Jill in time; made up some excuse about needing to borrow a lawnmower. This was a woman who had her own husband, a well paid job and a swimming pool in the back yard! Granted it wasn’t much bigger than a pond, but still, she had one. She had everything, so why did she need Michael as well? Jill had been pondering this for some time. She knew why Michael would go for Tina of course. It’s the typical family cliché. Man gets bored of wife and seeks out a younger model. And Tina was certainly a good catch, with her flawless olive skin, long dark curly hair and full lips, constantly in a pout. Meanwhile, her skin was the opposite of flawless, with wrinkles the size of rivers running under her eyes. It was also far from olive coloured; instead it was pale and pasty, and covered in dozens of freckles. Her hair was curly, but instead of hanging gloriously in a shiny curtain down her back; hers was a frizzy ginger mass that grew outwards instead of down. She had thought that by growing it longer, the weight of it would persuade it to flatten, but sadly this had not been the case. Also Tina was only 30, whilst Jill was fast approaching 40. Oh yes, Jill could understand why Michael had gotten bored of her, and turned to Tina for a bit of fun.

When she had first found out, Jill had felt sad and unwanted, like she’d been tossed aside like a bag of rubbish. All she could think about was how things used to be, before she had gotten too wrinkled, and Michael had moved onto better things. She remembered the very first time they had met. She had been a waitress in an Italian restaurant. She remembered him walking through the double glass doors, in his smart policeman’s suit. He had sat down in a window seat, and removed his hat to reveal a shining bald head. His skin was the colour of delicious rich chocolate, and she could make out bulging muscles from underneath his tight shirt. She had sidled over to his table, her notepad and pen sweaty in her grasp, as he looked up at her and she felt the full force of his deep, warm brown eyes. She had felt as though she were swimming in them, and her heart was beating like a drum as she wrote his order down in a daze, barely listening and unable to take her eyes off him. She would have felt embarrassed if he hadn’t flashed her a dazzling smile that told her he liked her too. He had offered to buy her a drink after work, so when her shift was over, they had left the restaurant and he had driven her back to his cosy little flat. Jill remembers sitting on the sofa next to him, as they talked for hours; asking each other questions; both so keen and interested to learn about the strangers that had magically appeared in their lives. More drinks had led them to start kissing each other, and this soon turned into something more intimate. It had been rushed; Jill knew that now. But at the time it had felt just right. Everything had been perfect. Jill remembered that day as clearly as if it had been yesterday, and now 12 years on, it seemed that Michael had forgotten it all. But instead of feeling sad about what she had lost, all she felt now was resigned. After all, she’d had plenty of time to accept her husband‘s affair. Now, all she wanted was to catch him and the dirty slag.

She knew exactly when she could do it. It had been going on for so long now that she knew the timetable. She had seen Tina skulking around outside often enough, pretending to look at trees, or examining their driveway because her and Derek were ‘thinking of tarmacking their drive as well’. Jill waited until Friday; her scheduled shopping day, as she knew that Tina would be in her bed as soon as her car pulled away. She bid farewell to Michael as he left the house for ‘work’ as normal. Then she gathered her shopping bag; locked the door, and got into her car. She reversed and drove off, like she always did. Then, she parked a couple of streets away, and watched as her husband walked back in the direction of the house, doing his police man ‘duties’. That was what he had told her when she had asked him one day over dinner; said that he was often sent to patrol that area. Now, Jill waited a few minutes until she was sure him and Tina would be at it like rabbits , and then she drove back; parking a few metres from the house so that they wouldn’t see her out the window and get put off before she walked in. She wanted to catch them in the act, just so they couldn’t devise an innocent explanation; making her look foolish. Today they were going to be the stupid ones, not her. Not anymore.

Jill stepped out of the car and glanced over at the house across the street where Tina was supposedly resting because she worked nights. Resting? Was that what they called it these days? Seemed like bloody hard work to Jill, especially now she had Tina to contend with. She slotted her key in the lock, and twisted it gently, so as to make no sound. She entered the house; her hands damp with nerves, as she heard the unmistakable sound of creaking bed hinges coming from up above. For a minute, Jill just stood frozen on the spot, listening and wondering how she should approach it. She had been looking forward to this moment, but now it was actually here, she didn’t know what to do. Should she just barge in on them? This would be embarrassing for them, but she might be permanently scarred by what she saw. She didn’t want to have that picture in her head for the rest of her life.! Maybe she should just call out ‘the game’s up, I know what you’re up to!’. But that sounded like a criminal arrest.

Continuing to stand at the foot of the stairs, pondering on her options, she got a shock when she suddenly spotted a face at the window. She opened the door, to find a woman on her doorstep. A woman with long, dark hair and olive skin. Jill felt immensely confused, as she heard the repeated noise from upstairs.
‘Can I come in?’ Tina asked timidly. Jill was too dumbstruck to answer, so she sidled past her into the living room and perched on the sofa. The noise carried on upstairs, but all plans that Jill had of bursting in on them were long forgotten as she looked at Tina in bewilderment. How could Tina be downstairs when she was in bed with her husband? Grabbing hold of the banister for support, Jill asked ‘what are you doing here Tina?’ her voice shaking as much as her hands. Tina looked up at her, and Jill thought that she could see pain and sadness hidden deep in her dark eyes. Tina took a deep breath and then replied in a quiet voice’ You know, don’t you?’.
Guessing at what she was referring to, Jill felt a surge of anger as she answered ‘Know what? That you’re having an affair with my husband’. She spat the words out, as though they left a bitter taste in her mouth. Now Tina looked confused. ‘Me?’ she replied. Oh yeah that’s right, Jill thought. Pretend you don’t know what Im talking about. You practically just admitted it! But she didn’t say any of this, just waited for a response. Tina shook her head, and in a voice filled with regret, she whispered ’Not me…’. Her words faded away as Jill turned to see a figure standing at the top of the stairs ; their cheeks burning red with embarrassment. It was Tina‘s husband. He was wearing a pink lacy thong.





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