One day, thought Helen, she would give it one more day. This time, she really would try. They owed it themselves, one another and thirteen years of marriage to attempt to salvage something from this mess and rekindle a love lost. The trip had been her idea, which had surprised him. They’d struggled to find their way back after Daniel’s infidelity. It had shocked Helen to her core that he’d been capable of such a torrid love affair and it had left her bruised and broken that it hadn’t been with her: his wife.
Helen’s mother had said that it was good that, at least, Daniel had admitted to it, ended it and apologised. Helen often wondered if she’d prefer to have never known about it. But, she must put this to the back of her mind, now, if she really was going to endeavour to move forward and try to love him again.
She fastened the zip of her suitcase and checked the booking details again. They hadn’t had a holiday for a long time and although it was for only one night, she felt excited. She’d never been to
before, the book on loan from the library made it look and sound beautiful. There were so many things that she hoped to do there, if it would be possible to cram them into just one day. Whitby
The journey was awkward, quiet, she tried to fill it with chatter but neither of them could quite pull it off, so he concentrated on the unfamiliar roads and she immersed herself in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, in anticipation of the Abbey and the history of
They found the hotel, on the sea front; they had a large room, a balcony and a breathtaking view. They unpacked, in silence, each nervously taking it in turns to look at the freshly made king size bed, with both terror and a curious wonder of what could potentially happen in there. Now, the last time they had shared a bed was a long eleven months ago, and it was a guilt-ridden, frosty, back-to-back awfulness that she didn’t ever wish to repeat. He’d moved into the spare bedroom the following night. The last time they had actually made love was back when Helen still had no idea that Daniel was sneaking away to also bed another. No, she mustn’t think about this now.
‘Shall we go for a walk?’ Helen asked, eager to vacate this room and busy her mind with this scenic postcard place. He nodded, with a forced smile, and off they went. She briefly considered holding his hand, but she didn’t have the confidence to do it, and it felt like too much too soon. So she didn’t, and they walked side by side, down the street.
They bought ice-creams and took off their shoes, finding a patch of warm sand to sit on. Helen felt happier already, the sunshine blazed upon her back and the blue sea glistened before her eyes.
‘Isn’t it pretty?’ she enthused, squinting to see his face.
‘It’s very nice’, he offered.
She couldn’t think of anything else to say and after an uncomfortable quarter of an hour, he took out his mobile phone, fingers gliding over the screen. So she fished the Dracula book bag out of her bag and began to read.
‘It’s getting too hot, just sitting here’ he complained, breaking the silence and ending the fictional world her head was in.
‘Shall we go to the Abbey? I’ve read about it and I’d really like to go’ she said.
‘Do you know how to get there?’ he asked, a hint of boredom in his voice which Helen refused to acknowledge (she really was trying very, very hard indeed).
She pulled out the map and they dusted off the sand, setting off. They stopped at a cosy tea room for cream teas and cherry scones (her idea). Their hands accidentally met as they both went to pour, instantly they flew away from the touch, as if scalded. A palpable disappointment sighed through her body but she maintained a smile, still trying hard and refusing to give up her sense of hope.
‘There’s 199 steps’, she read from the guide, as they stood at the bottom. She looked around, liking this old side of
even more, with its cobbled streets and tiny shops. Whitby
‘You really want to go?’ he asked, trying not to show the fact that, in this June heat, he really didn’t want to. Of course, Helen picked up on his lack of interest, but again the smile didn’t waiver and she simply nodded enthusiastically.
And so up the steps they went, all 199 of them, never speaking a word. Occasionally, she would stop to admire the sea. He’d clamber on, treating this as a task with a box to tick, noticing nothing. But she didn’t nag him; no acrid comment left her lips. (She was still trying ever so hard).
The Abbey was awe-inspiring, such a tremendous, prolific building, owning the skyline for miles around. She read all the information, took photographs, and absorbed the gothic atmosphere. He pressed buttons on his phone and began to descend the steep steps before she had quite finished.
The first flash of anger hit her like a lightning bolt. What was Daniels problem? She’d booked this trip to help swallow down his massive betrayal. No, she mustn’t think of this now. She took a long, deep breath, quashed her ire and joined him at the bottom.
‘Where next?’ he asked, smiling a little now, which warmed her.
‘We could have a look around the shops? They sell Whitby Jet and I might like a piece of jewellery’, she said, wondering if he would buy it for her, simultaneously buying them some more time to rescue this empty day.
She wished she could live here and felt a pang of jealousy towards the lucky locals who woke up to all these beautiful and quaint things every morning.
Helen perused the stores and found an intricate silver ring with Whitby Jet in the centre. She remembered her wedding ring. Daniel caught her flash of dismay and turned his own ring on his finger, nervously. He paid for her new piece of jewellery and she slipped it on, it felt odd to feel a ring there after all this time, wrong somehow, and irritating. She thanked him graciously and tried to forget about it during the long stroll back to the hotel.
‘Are you hungry?’ he enquired.
‘Starving after all that walking’, she admitted, ‘Shall we go out for dinner? I spotted a restaurant nearby’.
‘Good idea. Are you ready?’ he asked, picking up his wallet.
‘I’d like to get changed. It might be nice to get all dressed up, she confessed, scooping up her things and heading to the bathroom.
Helen had treated herself to new lingerie, a dress and a pair of shoes for this dinner, in the hope that if everything was brand new, then that’s how she would feel. None of these recently purchased items reminded her of what he did and the hurt that had ensued. No, she mustn’t think of this now.
She stood in front of the mirror and studied her profile in the red lace bra and knickers. It had been an age since she had worn something so overtly sexual and provocative. She slipped on the figure hugging black dress and the red stilettos, feeling transformed. She brushed her long brown hair, applied mascara and a little lipstick. She looked beautiful, and at long last, felt it too.
Happy and confident, she stepped out of the bathroom and awaited his response. He had his back to her, ending a phone call.
‘Who was that?’ she snapped, without thinking. He span around to face her.
‘Work. Just a minor problem. I told them to sort it out themselves and reminded them I’m away. Bloody cheek’, he explained, rolling his eyes.
‘You’d think they could hold the fort for one day. Well, I’m ready’, she announced, twirling around to display her attractive new look. He beamed at her.
‘Wow. You look amazing, Helen’, he said, admiring the bare legs he hadn’t seen for quite some time. Their eyes darted to the bed, wondering, hoping, and wondering a little more.
Thy left for the restaurant and the aroma of the spiced food had them in knots of hunger. There was just one available table, a table for two by the window. It felt as though it had sat there waiting for them. Helen smiled at the thought, maybe everything would work out?
Their conversation flowed with more ease, along with the wine. The menu allowed rambling talk about decisions, portions, ingredients, appetite. The young, handsome waiter took their order and gazed at Helen’s cleavage, then at her long legs in the high heels. She beamed with delight; she hadn’t felt this desirable before in her life. It all helped her to relax and enjoy the present moment, a skill she had seemingly lost over the past year.
The food was sublime, so many textures and flavours. Every mouthful captured her senses. As the glass of wine disappeared, another was poured. She felt warm and a little tipsy which made her giggle. Daniel hadn’t seen her like this since … no, he mustn’t think of this now. She really was trying very hard.
He excused himself, snaking around the tables, heading for the bathroom. His phone vibrated on the candle-lit table. On the verge of giving his place of employment a frank piece of her mind, Helen picked it up and read the message:
I hope you’re not too bored. I’ll liven you up when you get back tomorrow. Love you xxx
Helen thought she might throw up, her heart galloped in her chest and her whole world became dizzy and small. She placed his phone back down and tried to decide what to do. The waiter came over to offer dessert.
‘Are you okay?’ he asked, concerned, she looked as though she had seen a ghost, and the colour had completely drained from her face.
‘No. I’ve really been trying very hard but my husband is having another affair and I wish I hadn’t bothered with any of this’, she spoke quickly, tears racing down her cheeks. He watched her husband saunter towards them, looking confused.
‘What’s going on?’ he asked, suspicious of the loitering waiter. Had he upset Helen?
‘Oh I’m fine. I was just telling this young man about the red lace lingerie I am wearing underneath this dress and that, as you are certainly not ever going to see it, you cheating bastard, that it’s a shame, as someone should. So, my next question was to ask this waiter if he would like to bed your wife tonight and show me the real secrets of
.’ Her mouth stopped moving and let her head catch up with her words. All three of them were left reeling. Daniel checked his phone and realised that Helen had read his last message. Helen smiled apologetically at the waiter with sad, pretty eyes. The waiter wiped away her tears with a napkin and invited her to his cottage. Whitby
Daniel walked out, angry and baffled that he wanted his wife more than ever before but he couldn’t have her. He slept in the king size bed alone, sorrowful and frustrated.
The waiter got off work early and studied Helen’s red lingerie briefly, before ripping it off to hungrily explore every inch of her naked body.
Helen screamed out from her first almighty orgasm in far too long a time. She thought she may extend her holiday.