Miles returned home after a hard day at the school. He had a tonne of papers to mark and wanted nothing more than to sink down on the sofa and drink a cool beer before he got started. Although for some of the papers that had been handed in he’d probably mark them more accurately with a dozen beers inside him, at least then he would be able to understand their illegible scribbles.
Walking into the house he stopped. And looked. And then looked again. He did a quick double check that he’d walked into the correct house before sighing. A slow smile crept on to his face as he looked around the newly redecorated living room, complete with state of the art tv and entertainment system. He saw that the table had been replaced with a similar sized one, except this was finished with a soft wax coating on it, like it had been polished the old fashioned way.
“Hello,” Ella called stepping down the last of the stairs and into the room he was in.
“I.. this is my place isn’t it?”
“Well you said I could make myself at home,” she told him a mischievous smile on her face.
“I see you have. “
“The gardeners have cleared back the vine.”
“How many spiders did they find?”
Ella shuddered, “I didn’t ask…” she said flushing when he laughed at her.
“So have you moved in yet?”
“Told the kids….”
Miles laughed before he deposited his bag on the table and then moved over to the fridge to claim two bottles of beer. He was relieved to see that she hadn’t revamped the kitchen in her ‘moving in’ although there was still time.
Handing over a beer to her he grinned as she opened the bottle and took a long drink.
“I.. er… it’s…. “
“How do you think Roman will take it?”
“Ella, I can’t speak for Roman. Especially as the Roman you seem to know and talk about is not the Roman we all know. Sure he’s the kind of guy who’d go out of his way for you but you make him sound like a hero or something.”
“He is a hero. He has the medals to prove it.”
“And well he’s never been communicative,” Miles drank from his bottle, “Medals huh?”
“Yeah, a lot of them,” she smiled unaware of the expression that crossed her face whenever she talked about Roman.
“Maybe you should send him a text?”
“You mean after I’ve moved out?”
“Aside from the fact you don’t actually sleep here I think you’ve moved out.”
“Miles, this isn’t funny. What am I going to tell the kids?”
He chuckled, “Maybe you need to be honest with them. It isn’t like you are in a relationship with Roman. He is married to someone else.”
“That is true.”
“And anyway, it isn’t like he can’t still see them.”
“So you planning on telling him?”
“Eventually,” she grimaced.
They shared a look before giving into laughter again.
“It’s going to be good to have you here,” Miles said after a while.
“I’ll remind you that you said that I’m sure,” she murmured before pointing him in the direction of the table, “Don’t you have marking to do?”
“You are a terrible taskmaster. I bet you make the kids do their homework too!”
“Evil woman,” he grinned at her.
Ella smiled and took a long drink from the bottle draining it. She got up and moved out to the recycling bin out back and deposited the empty bottle in there. She thought she heard something coming from the back as she walked out there but dismissed it. There were a number of caravans with people in them so it was probably that.
Roman had looked at his phone debating whether to call her or not. Something was going on that he wasn’t privy too; her disappearance the other day after a row with the kids had been the start of the strained atmosphere within the house. He wasn’t unused to atmospheres living with Nic and Martha together under the same roof but no, there was more going on. She didn’t seem to laugh as much when she was around them.
He called himself paranoid at first, they weren’t in a relationship although technically co-parenting the children, and he included Mike in that, would qualify as a kind of relationship if asked. No, he knew from seeing her around the house, from spending time with her that she fit. She was the one he’d been missing from his life. He wanted that relationship, wanted to see if they were still compatible. But the thing was, he wasn’t free. He was married. With a child that was growing more and more distant from him the more he became involved with Ella.
Feeling the need to talk this out he’d made his way over to Miles’s place. As he walked through the caravan site he noticed that the place looked different. There was a new neatness to it. Caravans were washed clean, their windows and aluminium shinning with a gleam he hadn’t seen before. The lawns and areas around each van were neatly landscaped and then approaching the house he noticed that the window frames had been given a fresh coat of paint, their panes shiny and the vine that had crawled up the side of the house was cut back.
He went around back like he normally did and heard Ella’s voice. For a few minutes he stood there, afraid to say anything and then he couldn’t. She and Miles were talking about her moving in with the other man. Not that he could ever deny Miles happiness but Ella was the one person he would … what, he mocked himself. She sounded happy with Miles and he looked down at his hands he saw only the mocking reminder of his marriage, the gold band around his finger.
Prying it loose he twisted it around his swollen finger until he managed to scrape it over his knuckle and finally remove it. Resisting the urge to throw the thing as far as he could he placed it in his pocket and starred out at the sea.
He should let go of Ella too.
Not that he had her.
The idea of her. That’s what he needed to let go off. Maybe the kids would settle better if he took a half step back and defer to her more. Let them see that nothing was going to happen between him and their mother.
He was surprised that it hurt more to decide that than ending his marriage.
Roman Harris was a doomed man.
He couldn’t admit he was in love with Ella Addison because she was now with his best friend.