The Other Woman

      14 Comments on The Other Woman

“I like the sound of blueberry scones. What about you, hon?” I ask, but Alice continues peering into her Sconehenge menu with furrowed brows, as if she’s memorizing every item on it. So the cold war is still on.

Her hair is pulled back so harshly into a topknot, that not one strand has misbehaved. I can tell by her puffy eyes that she has cried all night.

The little bell at the door rings. She walks in with a shock of flame-red hair and a statuesque body bandaged in a black dress, teetering on four-inch heels. My stomach lurches.

It’s her! Rowena Mc’something. I squirm in my hot seat. Maybe she’s just here for brunch. 

The mâitre d’ points to our table and she sashays over. Shit! I have to think fast.

A sharp tug at the pink gingham tablecloth promptly tilts Alice’s coffee mug. The brown liquid spreads over her white tee in seconds.

“Crap!” Her eyes throw daggers at me before she walks away towards the restroom.

Phew! 

“Hi, you!” Rowena’s fingers dance, as if she’s playing the piano.

“What are you doing here?” My words come out sharp through my gritted teeth.

“I’m here for brunch, silly!” She sits a little too close to me. I can smell her coconut shampoo. Our arms and thighs touch. I sit up straight.

“Look, I’m here with Alice, my wife. She’ll be here any minute now. You need to go.” My eyes dart towards the restroom door.

“Oh, Alice is here? That’s great!” She picks up the menu and sits back.

“Did you not hear what I said? You need to leave, now!”

“That’s rude, Jack.” She pouts. “You know you need me.” I hate that singsong-y voice. “I never ask you to just leave after we…you know…” she winks.

“I was weak, okay? I gave in once, just once, you bloodsucking leech! Look, I’ll pay you, I promise. Please leave before Alice sees you.” I join my palms and beg.

You’ll pay me?” She tilts her head back and laughs. “That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard!”

The restroom door swings open.

“Alice is coming!” I grit my teeth. “Go! Now!”

She places her hand on my thigh. “Like I said, Jack, sweetheart, you need me.”

I run my finger inside my sweaty collar. A million explanations race through my head and drop down in a sorry heap.

Alice stops in her tracks. Her eyes widen.

“Alice, I can explain…I…”

She looks straight through me. “Rowena, thanks for coming!”

What the…? How…?

“Alice!” Rowena gets up and hugs her. Have I stumbled into some kind of a parallel universe?

“Is he here?” Alice looks around but her eyes don’t settle on me.

“Oh yeah, Mr. Grumpy is here alright.” Rowena jerks her neck towards me.

“Can I…umm… talk to him again?” Alice kneads her knuckles.

“Of course.” Rowena tilts her head back, opens her mouth and breathes in with vigor.

“You need to floss more often!” I shout as I get sucked inside Rowena.

Rowena shudders as I take over her body. I touch Alice’s warm hand. “Alice, sweetheart, I’m here.”

Alice dabs her eyes. “Jack, I miss you, so much. You’d have loved the blueberry scones here.”

*****

14 thoughts on “The Other Woman

  1. Carrie Houghton

    Oh wow! I liked this even more on the second read throughout because I caught all the little hints you left me. Clever!

    Reply
    1. mixedbag Post author

      Thank you, TiV! I googled Sconehenge after I wrote it. Turns out there really is a restaurant in the UK by that name! Not so original after all 🙁

      Reply
  2. Asha Rajan

    I really liked the way you created a sense of tension through this. Interspersing Jack’s thoughts and the dialogue between characters was a good way to keep the reader engaged and maintain the pace. That was a clever twist. This did feel like a larger story though, and it would be interesting to see the relationships fleshed out a little more.

    On a formatting note, when you copy-paste from outside of wordpress, it always seems to throw up some kind of nonsense. The formatting gremlins have appeared in this piece at a few points, making the text suddenly smaller. I’ve had similar issues too (I usually end up with too many spaces between paragraphs). So, it’s always worth another read through.

    Reply
  3. Laissez Faire

    It took me a few reads at the end to piece together what was happening, but once I got it and understood the twist it all came together. Well, done with the distraction and deflection. I was already engulfed by “Sconehenge menu” LOL. Oh, FYI, singsong-y rather stuck out; I think you can just say “singsong voice” and drop the y.

    I Went back and read it through after to catch all the clues and see how everything I read the first time took on new meaning. Nice work.

    Reply

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