When Luke came home from work later that night Georgia pretended to be asleep while he slipped beneath the covers next to her. Inside she was a wreck. Not just because Luke had promised to be home for dinner, but still missed it – but because the seed of paranoia which was now not only planted in her brain, but was spouting at a hundred rates a minute.
Part of her wanted to confront him but she knew it was no good. He had made his position clear earlier that day when she had visited him at the base and had assured her that he was not cheating on her. But what about the signs? The late nights at the office? The flirting with the receptionist? When was the last time he laughed with her that way? It made Georgia feel sick inside to think of Luke with another woman but how could she prove it?
“Hello I am here to see Nigel Thompson. My name is Georgia Starr.”
“Ah yes Mrs Starr, please take a seat, Nigel will be with you shortly he’s just finishing up with his last client.”
Georgia thanked the elderly receptionist and took a seat on the comfy sofa. Her hands were trembling in her lap and she could not stop questioning if she was doing the right thing.
Before she had a moment to ponder it another second the office door swung open and a lady emerged, weeping into her hands.
“I am very sorry to have bought you the news Mrs James but I always feel it is better to know these things.”
“I know Nigel and I am very grateful,” the weeping woman replied. “It’s just a bit of a shock.”
“I can understand. Now why don’t you go on over and see my receptionist and we can look at booking you a follow up appointment if you wish to take this further.”
“Thank you Nigel, you have been very kind.”
“That’s what I’m here for.” He patted the lady on the back and sent her over to the receptionist who greeted her with open arms.
Georgia could not tear her eyes from the lady. Might this be her in a few days?
She was knocked out of her trance by the soothing sound of Nigel Thompson’s voice. “Right this way Mrs Starr.” He was beckoning her into his office.
She fumbled to get off the sofa and told herself that if she wanted to back out, now was the time. But her feet knew what they wanted and they took her there, right into Nigel Thompson’s office.
“So Mrs Starr what can I do for you,” Nigel asked after they had both taken a seat on either side of his large oak desk.
“I err…” She hesitated. Where was she meant to start? “I hear you are very good at following people.”
“That and other things,” Nigel replied.
“And uncovering secrets,” Georgia continued.
“I am very good at uncovering secrets,” Nigel said a mischievous grin on his face.
“I want you to follow my husband,” Georgia blurted out.
“I see,” Nigel said leaning back in his chair. “And why would that be.”
“I think he’s having an affair.” Saying it out loud made it ten times more real and Georgia felt on the cusp of bursting into tears. “Well I don’t know if he is. But I need to know. I need you to find out.”
“That is something I can do,” Nigel replied pulling a tissue out of the tissue box and passing it to Georgia. He had obviously done this many times before.
Over the next week Georgia felt like she was constantly balancing on the edge of mountain. One moment she was safe, the next she was not. Her stomach was in knots. What would Nigel uncover? Did she even want to know? How can a person get a private detective to follow their own husband? So many questions left unanswered. Her mind was going mad with all the questions. If he could cheat with her all those years ago, surely he was capable of doing it again. Arrrhhh stop thinking, she yelled at herself.
The only thing that really kept her sane was the kids. She never thought that the kids would be the ones keeping her feet on the edge of the cliff; she had always thought they would be the ones to push her off. But being around them and their simplistic lives made her feel normal and comforted.
Karis and Kirk were still trying their best to spend as little time inside the house as possible. They had their own secret club and their clubhouse was their tree house they called “KK’s Den.” There were strict rules when it came to their tree house:
- No grown-ups allowed
- No one could enter the tree house without their permission.
- To gain entry you had to know the secret tree knock
- Anyone who came into the tree house had to do whatever they said.
All their little friends from school would often come round and hang out with them in their Den, raiding their costume box and dressing up to play princesses and princes or monsters. They would have water fights and get up to all sorts of mischief. But Georgia did not mind just as long as she knew where they were and no one was getting hurt.
At school they both had lots of friends. Unfortunately neither Karis nor Kirk were doing as well in their studies as they were in their social statuses. Kirk had no interest in school work. He just wanted to play sports. His teachers called him a daydreamer but Georgia and Luke knew he was just not naturally studious. But he did have other skills like throwing a football or inventing games to play.
When kids were around him he seemed to command their attention and people hung on his every word. They knew Kirk would be ok.
Karis’s issue was a little different. She was a clever girl; everyone knew it and the teachers raved about her when she did apply herself. But these times were few and far between because Karis simply had no desire to apply herself. For one she hated any and all technology. She shunned the TV, refused to play computer games with her brothers and when it came to doing her homework on the computer, she would coil away in horror choosing to not do her homework at all if she had to use a PC.
Instead Georgia would hold tea parties for her dolls and teddy bears or would just sit around singing to them, locked in her make believe world. No matter how much Luke and Georgia encouraged her it was no good, studying was just not something she was interested in.
Joe on the other hand was a whole different kettle of fish to his younger brother and sister. He was all about his studies. Unlike Karis he was not a natural scholar. He had to work hard to get a straight B’ average and even then he struggled. The lucky thing was that he loved to read. His favourite subject at school was English literature and it was the only subject that he could A’s in. Joe would often be found sitting in a corner somewhere out of everyone’s way, scribbling in his notebook.
He would watch people without them realising, taking in their characters and turning them into stories. Kirk and Karis were his greatest muses as they acted out plays, while Joe wrote it. Inside he wished he could join in but he was more comfortable on the side-lines, out of everyone’s way.
He had tried to join in with them on occasion, giving in to Karis and Kirk’s pleas to play hopscotch with them at school. To begin in with Joe found he was enjoying himself, tossing the marker and skipping through the squares. A crowd even gathered around him and he started to show off.
But his victory was short lived as his feet soon got tangled up together as usual and he tripped himself up, flying onto the hard concrete ground.
The kids roared with laughter, pointing and jeering at him. Even Karis and Kirk could not stifle their amusement.
Joe scooped himself up off the ground and hanging his head in shame left the playground to retreat back into his corner swearing to himself that he would never let his clumsiness show him up again. It was just easier to keep to himself. He was safe in his own company.
When it came to India and Izzy, they were becoming an enigma in the Starr household. They had become the socialites of Bridgeport, being the star guests to most parties and sporting the latest fashions that were normally styled by their mother. They were friendly, charismatic and oozed star quality. Boys wanted to date them and girls wanted to be them. Together they were invisible.
But that was the problem; they were not getting to be together so much anymore. India had gotten herself a serious boyfriend. And he wasn’t just any boyfriend, he was Mason Gosnell and Izzy was in love with him! She would watch from the side-lines as her twin sucked face with him bitter that she had lost her partner in crime but more angry because who had taken her.
It was a Friday evening when Georgia’s waiting and agony finally came to an end. Georgia found herself on her own at the house. Kirk, Karis and Joe had gone to bed hours ago, India and Izzy were sleeping over at a friend’s house and Luke was working late. Georgia took this quiet time to sketch a few fashion ideas she had had in her head for a while onto paper. The house was silent except for the scraping of Georgia’s pencil on the piece of paper and she was able to lose herself in her work for the first time in a long time.
She felt her phone vibrating in her pocket and as she put down her pencil she wondered who could be calling her this late. “Hello,” she said into the receiver not recognising the number.
“Hello Mrs Starr? This is Nigel Thompson. I have some news about your husband. Are you able to come and meet me right away?”