“I went around to your place this morning.”
“What?” He froze, staring at her.
“Yeah. I wanted to see what she looks like, how she sounds.”
He didn’t speak. Dumbstruck. Frozen to the spot.
“Her dad was visiting. In his big black car. A Bentley, I think.”
He eventually found his tongue, “What the hell are you playing at? What are you doing? I thought we had agreed you’d stay away, that you wouldn’t meet or anything.”
“Well, don’t worry, she doesn’t know anything, who I am or anything or that you and I, well, you know… . Anyway, I just went up to the door and knocked and said I was lost, did she know the way to the tube station. Her dad was just on the way out. She said just wait inside while I say goodbye. She seemed very nice. Trusting.”
He put his hand onto a table to steady himself. “That’s the most stupid thing you could do. Jesus Christ, that’s such a risk to take.”
“You have a nice house. Nice street. Nice area – all those trees; pavements clean. And she looks nice. And expensive, also. That hairstyle, that outfit. And her dad’s quite impressive. Distinguished, maybe that’s the word. Well groomed. I sneaked a look at his shoes. Wow! Definitely not trainers. And the car’s a bit smart, I’ll say. Her dad – I reckon that’s where the money comes from. Her family’s got money. You can tell. I didn’t know. And the way she speaks. An expensive education there. Not Nottingham comprehensive like you and me.”
“You know what will happen if she finds out about us. Bloody hell. There’ll be no end of shit hitting the fan. And flying into my face. It’ll have to be over for you and me and I’ll be eating humble pie for the next ten years or so. Damn. Why did you do it? Why take the risk?”
“Mmmmm, well, not sure. Felt a need. Need to know more about you. Our times together are great, magical, wonderful, but there’s something absent, something missing. Sometimes I feel you’re not fully three dimensional, if you know what I mean; there’s part of you that I don’t get to feel. To know. As though you’re holding back.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Well … .”
“You’ve always known about her. It’s not been a secret. I haven’t kept her from you. Have I? You know about her. You’ve always accepted the situation.”
“Why suddenly now?”
“Maybe I’m wanting more. More of you. Not just some of you. I don’t mean full-time; I just need to know more about the other part of your life.”
“And now you know more. Are you happy about it?”
“It was only this morning. I need to think about it. I’m not sure whether I’m happy or not. I’m confused; I mean, apart from the money she’s a lot better looking than me, speaks better, probably knows more, probably more interesting than me. I don’t think I understand why you want to spend time with me. Maybe you’re slumming? Getting your rocks off with the working class? Maybe that’s it.”
“Christ, you’re so wrong. You know it isn’t like that. You know how I feel about you. That I love you. I didn’t think you’d be interested. I’ve always thought you were too self-contained, too confident a person to worry about those things; I still do.”
“Well, perhaps you’re right. We mustn’t fight about this. Let’s discuss it again some other time. We’ll talk about it all later. Afterwards.
“Especially about money.”