FFTBR Chapter 1

I opened the door to our home and I knew instantly that something was wrong. Mark’s jacket wasn’t on the stand by the door and none of his shoes were in the hallway. I took off my own jacket and shoes, putting them in their usual place but I knew that something wasn’t quite right. I walked into the living room, everything looked the same except for the note sitting on the coffee table. The only words written on the note were, Helena I’m sorry but those three words were enough to make my blood run cold. 

I walked around the rest of the flat in a bit of a daze. It looked as though Mark had packed his bags in a hurry but there were clear signs that he was never coming back. For one thing he had taken his CD collection with him, it wasn’t really the kind of thing you would take if you were only going to be gone for a few days. He had also taken every one of his posters off the walls. 

Thinking back over the last few days I realised how odd he had been acting. He came home from work early three days ago looking as though he had seen a ghost and ever since that night he had been quiet and distant. Maybe if work hadn’t been as busy I would have noticed something sooner and I wouldn’t be feeling as shocked right now. 

I spent the next couple of hours frantically trying to call Mark’s phone while drinking half a bottle of cheap white wine. Every call that I made went straight to voicemail and he didn’t reply to a single one of my messages. Finally I caved and called my best friend Martha. The moment she hung up the phone the tears I had been holding back for the last few hours started to roll down my cheeks. 

Some time later Martha showed up at my flat with pizza and wine. She placed the pizza boxes on my coffee table and poured herself a glass of wine. She sat down next to me on the sofa, she was studying my face carefully. She took a sip of wine.

“Why did you say you thought he left you?” She asked. 

“Well, is it possible to be ghosted after living with someone for almost five years?” I asked. Now she looked even more confused and just a smidge angry. 

“It feels very much like I have been ghosted.” I explained. I handed her the note. The one piece of evidence that my house hadn’t just been burgled by a very picky intruder. 

“That twat.” Martha cursed. 

“He won’t answer any of my calls or messages.” I said. I was feeling more and more miserable by the moment. All I wanted right now was to know what had gone wrong. I thought we were good together, I even thought we might get married one day. Now I feel like such an idiot. 

“Have you tried to contact him on social media?” She asked. 

“He doesn’t have any, he told me he likes his privacy too much to share things online.” I said and took a large swig of wine. I was starting to feel a bit tipsy but it wasn’t enough to take the edge off my pain. 

“Well that is sus.” She said. I looked over at her, she looked serious. 

“What do you mean?” Why was she staring at me lille I had gone crazy? 

“If someone is that adamant about privacy then they are almost always trying to hide something.” She spoke as though this was the most obvious fact in the world and she couldn’t believe that I hadn’t thought of this before. 

She took her phone out of her bag and she started frantically typing on the screen. Martha was a self confessed social media goddess. I had no doubt that she was looking for Mark online, as though I hadn’t done that when we first started dating. There was no point arguing with her, once she got something into her head. I relaxed back on the sofa and nibbled on a slice of pizza. So much for my healthy eating plan I thought, but then again I had already ruined it with almost a bottle of wine. 

“I found him.” Martha said. She handed me her phone. 

“Oh my god.” I could hardly get the words out, hell I could hardly even breath. The name of the screen was not quite the same as the one he gave me but looking at the photo there was no denying that this was the same person. There were tonnes of pictures of him smiling while standing next to his wife and two teenage children.

I could feel my eyes filling with tears all over again. I would probably never find out the truth about what had happened but I could put the pieces together. It was something I had seen time and time again but I never thought I would be playing a leading part in. I wasn’t his girlfriend, I was his mistress. I was the woman he used to keep him company while he was working out of the London office and now his wife had worked out what was happening and had put an end to it. I felt sick. I couldn’t believe this had happened and I couldn’t believe that I was so naive that I didn’t even have a clue.

“Why would he do this to me?” I rested my head in my hands and cried. 

“Because he is a nasty man and he doesn’t deserve you.” She said. 

It was clear from the tone of her voice that she wanted to say more but she knew me well enough to know I wasn’t ready to hear it. 

“What do I do now?” I said. I sounded so weak and vulnerable and I hated it.

We had started renting this flat together. I didn’t earn enough to pay all of the bills alone without dipping heavily into my savings. I sighed. I had been saving up ever since I moved here so that I could set up my own business in a couple of years time. I started to feel angry, there was no way I was going to give up my dreams because of him.

“I don’t know but maybe you need a fresh start.” Martha said.

I nodded. She was onto something, I needed to change something and I knew just the way of doing that.

“Or maybe I need to go back home for a while.” I said. 

“Really?” She looked at me with a horrified expression on her face. 

I shouldn’t really be surprised by her reaction. I had moved to London from LA so that I could get away from my father after his newest girlfriend moved in with him. I had been so annoyed with him. Not only was his girlfriend younger than I was but what was even worse was that my mom had only died three years earlier.

I had assumed that their whole relationship was a joke. That she only wanted him for his money and he was having some kind of midlife crisis. I thought that they wouldn’t be together in six months but I was wrong. They weren’t just still together after six years, they were married.

“Unfortunately, yes.” I said. 

“I know how much you hate it there, why would you choose to live there again?” She said. I took a large mouthful of wine. 

“I can live with my dad for a few months and work in his coffee shop while I focus on getting my own business up and running.” I said. It was logical but that didn’t mean I was happy about the idea. Living with my dad, even for a few months, was probably going to be the hardest thing I would ever do. 

“Will you come back here afterwards?” She asked.

“Of course. Will you come visit me in LA?” I said. The wine was starting to go to my head. I was no longer feeling sorry for myself and I was starting to feel excited about the future again. 

“Absolutely. I can’t wait.” Martha said. 

We spent the rest of the evening drinking wine and talking about all the things we would do together when she came to visit me. She had never been to the city and she wanted to see all of the usual tourist spots. I could tell that she was also excited by the idea of meeting a few celebrities while she was in LA. 

The thought of that made me laugh. After growing up in LA I can unequivocally say that after she had met a couple of them she wouldn’t want to meet anymore. 

This is one chapter of a larger story which can be accessed here: https://cereliawolf.com/875-2/

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