S2 EP29 - What Goes Around


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‘It looks good.’ Sergio and Mateo stood at the edge of the new garden terrace, which was nearing completion.

‘It had better, the money your mother’s spent,’ Mateo said.

‘How long’s she been working on it?’

‘Since… more or less since… since you went to…’ Mateo stuttered. Sergio had noticed his father didn’t like to say the word rehab. ‘She’s been here constantly, bothering me. She wants to change the name, too.’

Sergio laughed. ‘What does Nonno think of that?’

‘Do you think I’m daft enough to tell him?’

‘And how does Daniella feel about you spending time with Mum?’

‘About how you’d imagine,’ Mateo said. He looked at his watch. ‘On that note, I’d better get home.’

‘Alright.’ Sergio held out his hand. Mateo looked at him. ‘The keys,’ Sergio said.

‘Don’t worry about that, son,’ Mateo said. ‘Katie’s got a set. She can close up.’

‘But…’

Mateo patted his arm. ‘I don’t want you bothering yourself with things like that. You focus on getting better.’

‘But I am better…’ Sergio began. His father was already walking away.

*

‘I know it’s a little close to bedtime,’ Jen said. ‘You don’t mind us turning up unannounced?’

‘Of course not,’ Erin replied, though the twins were in the middle of dinner, and liable to go bananas if their bath was delayed.

Jen ushered her little boy, Logan, inside, and Erin led them to the kitchen. Archie and Annie were delighted to see Logan, and dinner was abandoned in favour of hide-and-seek.

‘How are you?’ Jen said, taking Archie’s seat at the kitchen table. She brushed crumbs from the table.

‘Fine,’ Erin said.

Jen made a sad face. ‘Are you sure?’

‘I’m sure.

‘I’m worried about you,’ Jen said.

‘I’m fine,’ Erin insisted. ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’

‘Oh, no, I’m off caffeine. Colin’s got me on a health kick.’ Erin bristled at the mention of Colin’s name. She hoped Jen didn’t notice. ‘He was supposed to go for a run with Andy the other day, actually, but Andy stood him up. And he’s not returning his calls. I don’t suppose you know why?’

So that was why she’d come, Erin thought. Sniffing around for information. ‘No,’ she shook her head, ‘I don’t know why.’ Liar, she thought. Liar.

‘Are you in touch with him?’

‘Yes.’

‘Are you on good terms?’

Erin felt as if she was being interrogated. She thought about her last meeting with Andy, his threat about custody of the twins. ‘We’re on good enough terms.’ Liar, liar, liar.

‘Good,’ Jen said. ‘Good. Is there any chance you’ll sort things out, do you think?’

‘I doubt it.’

The children came tumbling into the room, and Erin glanced at the clock. ‘It is getting close to bedtime.’

‘You’re right,’ Jen said. She stood, and pointed at the children. ‘Which one of you is mine?’ They laughed, but Erin felt sick. They looked so alike. How could Jen not see how alike they looked?

*

Sergio found Katie behind the bar, struggling to open a bottle of wine. ‘Let me,’ he said, taking it from her. With a twist and a pull, he got the cork out. ‘There you go,’ he smiled. ‘There’s a knack to it.’

‘Thank you,’ Katie said. She wasn’t smiling.

‘Have you got the keys?’ Sergio tried to sound casual.

‘Yes,’ Katie said. Sergio held out his hand. Katie frowned. ‘Your dad told me to close up.’

‘Only because he forgot I was coming in,’ Sergio lied. ‘When he remembered, he told me to close up.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘I’m sure,’ Sergio insisted.

‘Fine,’ Katie said, ‘if you’re sure.’ She took the keys from her pocket, and dropped them into his hand.

*

The letter was waiting for Holly when she got home, but there was something about it—the solicitor’s stamp, the pile of papers she could feel within—that made her want to ignore it. She ignored it until she’d had a shower, and made dinner, and eaten it, and tidied up, and emptied the bin, and could ignore it no longer. Then she took it to the couch, and sat with it on her lap, working up the courage to open it.

Fifteen minutes went by before she peeled the flap open. Another ten before she took out the papers that were inside. Her hunch, the hunch that had kept her from wanting to open the letter, had been right. Please find enclosed, it read, a copy, for your records, of papers associated with a petition to divorce.

Holly scanned the papers. She saw her name, and Jemma’s, the flat’s address, the date of their wedding. She saw the words ‘unreasonable behaviour’, and then she saw a word that made her gasp, and drop the papers: ‘adultery’.

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