Jane observed her husband taking the first sip of his whisky from over the rim of her wine glass, her fingers crossed under the table.
‘Try some of these nuts darling. They’re chilli-coated. Really spicy. You’ll love them!’
Grabbing a handful, Mike walked over to his ipad on the kitchen counter, turning up the music as he popped them into his mouth, crunching them one at a time.
‘Mmmm! Yeah, really hot. They’re great’ He reached for his whisky and downed the lot in a single gulp. ‘Been a long day today, I’ve been looking forward to this’ he said, refilling his glass.
Jane shot him one of her sweetest, sexiest smiles from where she had draped herself on the sofa and patted the place next to her,
‘Why don’t you come over and sit down with me ? I’ve missed you.’ Mike grinned, picked up the bottle and glass and wandered over, plonking himself down next to her, spilling a drop or two from his glass over the sheepskin rug. She glanced down at the mess despite herself, then shrugged.
‘Weekend’s here at last,’ he said. ‘Just you and me. No plans, have we ?’ Jane raised her glass to his,
‘None at all. Here’s to a nice long rest for you,’
They both emptied their drinks in one, slamming down their glasses in unison as if they had been tequila shots. A Friday night habit from long ago. They locked eyes for just a second, then the moment of unity was gone. She spotted three beads of perspiration on Mike’s forehead before he brushed them away,
‘Bit hot in here, or is it just me?’
‘Probably just you, I feel fine. Here, have another drink.’
After serving him a generous shot of whisky then helping herself to a drop of wine, she leant back, balancing the glass between her thumb and forefinger, swilling the contents around in circles. He glanced across at her with an unfathomable look in his eyes.
Hmmm, still cute! she thought, but never mind, no going back now,
‘Mike, I have something to tell you,’ she smiled to herself as she noticed him loosening his collar and running his fingers round the back of his neck in apparent discomfort. Taking a deep breath, she blurted out,
‘I don’t love you any more. Sorry Mike, but I’ve had enough of you. Enough of all this,’ she said, waving her hand around at their immaculate sitting room. ‘I’ve done something crazy and now there’s no going back.’
Mike swallowed, or rather, tried to swallow but found his throat wouldn’t fully obey him,
‘Ah, so you’re finally going to confess to me at long last,’ he said, clearing his throat and placing his glass down on the table, ‘Come on then, tell me all about your lover boy, I’m very interested.’
Her eyes widened, ‘What do you mean? What on earth are you talking about?
‘Oh, I’ve known about your little affair for these past six months, my dear,’ he paused to take another sip of his whisky, ‘Yes, I know all about his little visits here during the day, and all about your Tuesday evenings out at your « fitness lessons ».’
He hiccuped suddenly, ‘Fitness lessons my arse!’ Chuckling, he leaned back against the cushions and closed his eyes. Without opening them again, he said,
‘Bob’s got a lovely flat, hasn’t he ? I know it well.’
Jane gaped at her husband, her jaw hanging loose.
‘I’ve got something you should know too. I was only going to tell you tomorrow, but you might as well know now. This ‘affair’ between Bob and you ? it’s actually all part of our plan. You see, the two of us are deeply in love.’ He opened just one eye, noted the expression on her face, smiled and then closed it again. Jane stared at him, frozen,
‘I’ve known Bob for two years and we have been lovers for all that time,’ he continued, ‘Our Master plan is to elope together. Just the two of us. But, first we had to get rid of the annoying matter of my greedy little wife, didn’t we ? So I arranged for him to come and do that gardening job for us six months ago, do you remember? I’ve so enjoyed hearing all about how he enticed you to take the bait, then slowly reeled you in. Wasn’t too difficult though, was it dear? I know you Jane, and your penchant for men with beards. That’s why I suggested he grew it. I knew it would turn you on.’
‘No ! No, you’re wrong ! Bob’s in love with me !’ Jane hissed. Mike smirked at her, his head cocked on one side,
‘Really ? Are you sure ?’ Jane suddenly felt sure of nothing at all.
‘Pass me my bag, I’ll show you something.’
His head jerked a little as he struggled to keep his eyes open, perspiration beginning to trickle down his forehead. He fumbled in his briefcase and pulled out a sheet of paper. Her own hand trembling now, Jane took the bill from her husband’s shaking fingers. It was a confirmation for two air tickets. Scanning down to the passenger details, she saw one made out in Mike’s name, dated for the following Monday. The other, in Bob’s name, was for today. Jane swallowed in disbelief and looked up at the clock. It was for a flight which had taken off twenty minutes ago!
The blood drained from her face as the pieces dropped into place. She had wanted to escape her marriage and then Bob had come up with the idea of lacing her husband’s drink with poison.
Mike leaned back on the sofa resting his head against the cushions and carried on, his voice wavering a little,
‘We’ve already closed down all my investments, and the money should be in a new account in his name in Switzerland by now, ready for when I join him on Monday.’ He tried to continue, then frowned as a huge burp escaped him, his eyelids drooping despite his efforts to keep them open, ‘Then we are going to…..’ He suddenly wheezed as his face scrunched up in a spasm of pain, the expression on his face twisting into a grimace,
‘My God, I get it ! I know what you’ve done to me Jane,’ he mumbled, his voice sounding thick and mushy now, ‘It was in the whisky right ?’
His head was lolling onto his chest, jerking in a grotesque parody of dancing to the song, only he was not moving in time to the music at all.
‘Bob, you bastard !’ he croaked, trying to focus on his wife’s face,
‘Jane ! My b-bag,’ he stuttered, barely able to form his words, ‘A present... f-for you…. from B-B-Bob.’
Paralysed, Jane stared at her husband hunched over on the sofa, his right arm flopping around in a feeble effort to point in the direction of his briefcase whilst the other twitched in his lap. Unable to breathe, she felt the walls close in as the plans for her wonderful new life collapsed around her. It was at that instant that the enormity of it really hit her. It slammed into her like a TGV train hurtling out of a tunnel !
No wonder Bob had been in such a rush when she had left him earlier that afternoon. She knew then he would not be waiting for her later that evening. He would not be staying in Switzerland either. He would have vanished without a trace before the weekend was up, along with the total of their life-savings. Her life might as well be over. Both her and her husband’s lives were over.
When Jane pulled out Bob’s present from Mike’s briefcase, a bottle of her favourite brand of Limoncello, she knew without checking that she wouldn’t have to break the seal. It would already have been broken, just like the one on the whisky bottle. As Mike gradually slipped into unconsciousness, she filled her glass to the brim with the deadly yellow liquid, raised it in salute to his limp form and put it to her lips.
Author Notes: I would really appreciate your thoughts about this and if I should continue or not......