This month of July our theme is Honeymoon, (click the link above for a full explanation).
We have up to 1,000 words to play with for our stories, any genre, any POV, prose or poetry and is open from 19 - 22 July.
Here is my entry:
Julia glanced at the clock in the kitchen. Peter would be home soon, the kettle was on ready for coffee. It had been hectic in the office today, she would be glad to sit down after their dinner.
It was an easy supper tonight, after all the rushing around, there was nothing nicer than popping something in the oven, thank goodness for freezers and the one she’d made earlier.
Peter arrived home with a frown on his face, perpetually worried these days, stressed and tense after dealing with the changes his company threw at him. Management kept changing, in fact his new boss could be classed as a corporate psychopath or suffering from dementia he was so erratic.
‘How was your day, darling?’ It was the standard phrase these days. Today was a good day and Peter responded with a smile, as he told her things were finally falling in to place.
‘We need to think about booking a holiday,’ he said. ‘How about going back to Jersey where we went on honeymoon?’
‘I’d love that,’ Julia exclaimed. ‘Let’s hope it ends up better this time than it did on our honeymoon.’
‘Stay away from the crab salad then,’ Peter said.
‘That wasn't a very romantic end to our few days away, was it?’ Julia agreed.
‘Talking of honeymoons,’ she continued, ‘Karen and Kevin are due back from their honeymoon this weekend. The Bahamas. It would be too hot for us; we wouldn’t cope with all that sand, sea and sun.’
They shared a special smile. They knew each other so well after nearly ten years of marriage.
Julia arrived at the office and saw Kevin’s car draw up with Karen beside him. Aah, that’s sweet, she thought as she saw Kevin’s hand touch Karen's neck as they kissed goodbye. Karen climbed out of the car and dashed into the building.
‘Hey! How was the honeymoon?’ Julia enquired with a little wink.
‘Oh yes, fine. I’d better get on,’ Karen replied, stiffly.
‘How about meeting for lunch? Say one o’clock?’ Julia threw at her best friend as Karen’s office door closed quickly on her retreating back.
That’s strange. Oh well perhaps she’s just eager to get back to sorting out her office after her absence. Julia shrugged her shoulders as she prepared to get on with her own work.
Two weeks later Julia and Karen still hadn't managed to meet up for lunch or any other social calls and nor had any of their other friends been able to catch Karen alone. Julia was getting worried.
A group of them met in The Phoenix Bar for a glass of red wine every Friday night before disappearing on to their respective trains and travelling home for the weekend. The conversation was lively until somebody remarked how strange Karen was acting these days.
Georgia reported that although she worked in the next office all you got from Karen was an apologetic ‘no’ citing that she was too busy.
Jane butted in and said what on earth had happened to Karen's dress sense these days. She wore long sleeved blouses, buttoned up to the neck and trousers all the time. Her make-up was laid on thickly and she never wore jewellery anymore. In fact she had become quite a frump since she had married.
Julia was quite worried. On Monday she was going to have it out with Karen and get to the bottom of the problem.
On recounting these tales to Peter over the weekend his advice was not to get involved. Whatever problems she was experiencing she would ask for help if she needed it was his sage advice.
Julia disagreed. They were the best of friends, something must be terribly wrong somewhere, Karen wouldn't even answer her mobile or any text messages.
Julia pinned Karen down by entering her office, shutting the door firmly behind her, closing the blinds and taking the phone off the receiver.
‘What are you doing?’
‘I need an explanation. I know something is wrong and I want to help you,’ said Julia as she plopped herself down firmly in a chair on the other side of the desk. She smiled at her best friend and held out her hand.
‘Don’t. Don't be nice to me, Julia. I have to be strong. I can't afford to cry.’
Julia raced round to Karen and grabbed her friend in a bear hug.
Karen winced in pain, her face paling under all the make-up.
‘What has happened? Tell me,’ demanded Julia.
Gulping for air to relieve the pain and trying to hold back her tears Karen gradually blurted out her story.
‘It started a couple of days into our honeymoon. Everything was fine and then one day Kevin just seemed to flip. He became a monster. He was so possessive. He accused me of flirting with the barman, the concierge, the waiter at dinner, any male that happened to be within sight. Of course, I denied it but he wouldn't have it. He became angry, so angry that he punched me in the back and I fell on to our bed.’
Julia stroked Karen's arm, encouraging her to go on.
‘I think they call it marital rape these days,’ sobbed Karen ‘but it wasn't just that. He was contrite afterwards and told me it was only because he loved me so much. Everybody could see that. When he drops me off at work he holds my neck – everybody thinks it is a loving caress but his thumb is pressing on my windpipe, reminding me of what will happen if I tell anyone.
I have bruises on my arms, he’s careful about my face but sometimes he can’t help it and I have to cover up a mark on my cheek. I think I have a couple of broken ribs.’
Karen's mobile went off. She started like a frightened rabbit caught in the headlights of a car. ‘It’s Kevin,’ she whispered, ‘I have to answer it.’
Word Count: 1,000