short stories

Fighting For Forever: Part I

I sat and watched as she got ready for work. My eyes liked what they saw and judging by the increased rate of my heart beat, my body did too. For the first time in months, I felt alive. Her dress nipped and tucked in all the right places, I could never get over how tiny her waist was. It was one of the first things I noticed about her the night we first met. That and the way her smile lights up her eyes. I miss that, so much! There was a time when all I had to do was walk into a room for that smile to appear. These days, my presence has the opposite effect.
I screwed up, I know I did, but show me a person that’s never made a mistake and I’ll show you God. How was I supposed to know that the client I brokered that deal for was a con man? I followed procedure, did everything by the book. That I lost my job over it doesn’t mean I did wrong. Someone had to take the fall to pacify the board and understandably, that someone was me.
“You look beautiful baby,” I said, moving to stand behind her, eyes glued to her reflection in the mirror. Lowering my head, I planted a kiss in the cleft of her neck. She tried to hide her reaction but there was no mistaking the flinch.
“Do you have a problem with me kissing you?”
“I don’t have time for this,” she growled, “Someone needs to go to work to provide for this family and seeing as you’ve refused to get off your backside, I am that someone.”
The force of her resentment left me temporarily speechless. I knew she was mad I’d lost my job but for the first time, I realised it went a lot deeper than that.
“Move out of my way Alex, I need to get to work.”
“Tell me Karen, what are you so mad about? I’ve told you what happened at work, it wasn’t my fault! Even my boss acknowledged that but his hands were tied. Why won’t my wife show some support?”
“It’s been six months, surely that’s enough time to find another job? Or do you expect me to support you forever?!”
“Is that what this is about, the fact that I haven’t got much money to add to the pot?”
“Much? Don’t you mean any? Look Alex, I’m sick of paying all the bills in this house. Like that’s not bad enough, you expect me to line your pocket too. What kind of man doesn’t know to save for a rainy day? You don’t work, you don’t spend. That’s how it will be from now on. Let’s see if a job won’t miraculously appear.”
“Tell me, who paid all the bills in this house before I lost my job? Who bought you your car? Who took you on holidays and lined your pockets when you didn’t have two pennies to rub together?”
“And is it not your duty to provide for your wife? If you want me to wear the trousers in this relationship tell me so I know where I stand. What kind of man doesn’t feel uncomfortable having his woman feed and clothe him?”
“You talk like I haven’t been frantically looking for a job. You think I like relying on you for money? You think it doesn’t break my heart when the bills come in and there’s not a damn thing I can do about paying them? Tell me, before I lost my job did I ask you for a penny? Didn’t I handle everything that needed handling in this house?”
“Then be a man and continue handling things! I really can’t do this now, I have a job to get to. For the love of god, get out of my way!”
I stepped aside and watched her pick up her handbag and walk out of my bedroom. My mother’s warnings came flooding back and I sank against the wall as the truth of her predictions hit me. I did not marry a good woman.

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