As Georgia pulled up to the address Nigel had given her over the phone her mind was busy turning tricks. She felt sick inside. What was she about to uncover? She pulled up to the curb and dragged herself out of the car. Did she even want to know? She spotted Nigel’s car parked slightly off to the right and headed over. Every step towards his car was a struggle – weights were attached to her ankles and every part of her body was shivering.
She spurred herself forward and joined Nigel in his car, sliding onto his passenger seat.
“Thank you for coming so late,” Nigel whispered not even looking at her. “I did not want to bother you yet, not until I had conclusive evidence but I’ve been watching your husband for weeks now and this house on the right is as far as I can take my investigation.”
“What do you mean,” Georgia whispered back. Her heart was thundering so loudly she did not understand why they were whispering, her heartbeat was giving them away.
“On the nights your husband claims to be working late, he is speaking the truth 50% of the time. I have a spy camera in his office and I can see him there working until he goes home to you.”
“And the other 50% of the time?”
Nigel blew out a breath. “He comes here,” he replied indicating towards the house ahead. “The house is like fort knox, I cannot get in to see what is going on. I cannot even get a spy camera onto your husband because of the metal detectors at his work would go off. All I know is that the house belongs to a Mrs Wiseman.”
Georgia heart sank. “Who is she,” she spat.
“That I don’t know either. As far as I can find out she has been around for a while and used to work for the government until she retreated to this estate many years ago. Her files are strictly confidential.”
“So why am I here?”
“Because if you want to find out for sure what your husband is up to in that house with Mrs Wiseman you will have to go in yourself. I can pick the lock and get you in and then the rest is up to you. I’m afraid my fee does not cover breaking and entering myself.”
“What if I paid you more,” Georgia asked terrified at the prospect of what she would see in the house. She stared straight at it. Could she really do this?
“Sorry Mrs Starr, I already have a criminal record, I don’t need another one. I’ve taken the case as far as I can; the rest is up to you.”
Georgia looked from the house, to Nigel and back to the house again. Ignorance can be bliss, she thought to herself. But then she swung the car door open and leapt out. “Though on the other hand,” she said out loud. “I would rather know.”
“You coming she said,” addressing Nigel while starting up towards the house.
She soon heard the pitter patter of Nigel’s feet behind her and suddenly they were at the front door. “Now be silent,” he said reaching down and inserting a long thin metal rod into the lock on the door. After no more than fifteen seconds Georgia heard a click and the door swayed open.
She stared into the dark corridor and walked in. Her adrenalin was pumping and she was determined to see this through. No one cheated on Georgia Starr and got away with it.
“Just remember,” Nigel hissed as she left his side. “I was never here.”
Whatever, she thought proceeding through the house. It was old and priceless antiques donned the walls. Who is this woman, she wondered to herself.
She tiptoed around the house, looking in the kitchen, sitting room, dining room. There were so many rooms Georgia almost got lost. When she had cleared the ground floor, it was time for the second floor. Gingerly she mounted the stair case. It creaked slightly under her feet but she kept going. There was no turning back.
The first room was a bedroom – no one in there. She proceeded down the long dark corridor checking room after room – nothing! Where was he?
And then she heard it. It was faint but she knew it was there. A man’s voice. She followed the sound until it got louder. That must be him, she thought. She found herself running towards the door and when she flung it open she was out in the night’s air – on a balcony. Surrounding her were a group of men – four – no five men all standing behind telescopes. All staring up at the night’s sky. Including Luke!
“What is this,” Georgia gasped. The chit chatter of the men ceased and they all spun around to look at her. “What the hell is this,” she said gorping at Luke with her mouth open.
Luke looked from her to the other men and then back to his wife in disbelief. “Its err… our fantasy star-watching draft,” he said sheepishly.
“We said no wives,” one of the men snapped looking at Luke.
Everyone’s eyes were now on her and Georgia could see the gleam of sweat collecting on Luke’s upper lip.
“Your fantasy what,” Georgia said ignoring the other man.
“It’s our draft for fantasy star watching…..” he said again, his voice trailing away. He moved towards her and through the open door. She followed him back through the house and out the front door. Nigel was long gone.
“What the hell is going on,” Georgia shrieked as soon as they got outside not caring who could hear her.
“I should have told you,” Luke said looking at his feet. The light from the streetlamp was illuminating his face and Georgia could not even bear to look at him.
“What else have you been lying about? Who’s Mrs Wiseman?”
“Nothing…I’ve not lied about anything else,” Luke puffed. “Mrs Wiseman is Sargent Wiseman’s mother who runs the league. He lives here with her. It’s just that I know you’ve been mad cause I’ve been working so much and I didn’t want to upset you by telling you I was coming here.”
“I wouldn’t be mad if you told you wanted to hang out with your space buddies.” Georgia’s voice had changed from anger to pain. She knew she was sulking but she knew she had every right to.
“It’s a fantasy star gazing draft. I’m not cheating or anything.”
“No, this is worse!”
“How is this worse?”
“This is you wanting to be with your friends more than your family.”
“Look, the reason I don’t tell you the truth is because if I told you what I was really doing, you would just get mad. So you think I’m working, I do my fantasy draft, and it’s win-win.”
Georgia sunk her head into her hands. “Why don’t you want to do something with me? Why can’t you include me and the kids?”
“Because I need to get away,” Luke said sighing even louder. “With work and you and the kids, sometimes I just need some time to myself.”
“I need time for myself,” Georgia cried. “I want time for myself, too. You’re not the only one. You just think because you don’t yell that you’re not mean, but this is mean.”
“I’m not being mean. I’m being honest with you darling. You’re telling me I need to be honest.”
“No, you’re not. You’re lying.” Georgia was now crying. She never thought Luke could hurt her like this.
“I’m doing it because I need to keep my sanity a little bit.” Luke tried to reach out to her but she pushed his hand away.
“I don’t want you at the house tonight. Stay over with your space buddies.” She turned on her heel and stormed back over to her car.
Driving home she could hardly see from all the tears pouring into her eyes. That night she slept alone, holding onto her pillow and pretending it was Luke. Even though he had lied to her at least he had not been cheating, that was the only good thing to come out of this situation. She knew she would forgive him eventually but she would never forget.
Over the following months Georgia gradually let Luke back into her life. At first he stayed at a friend’s place. Then he moved back in and slept on the sofa. Georgia would sometimes wake up in the night and forget that he wasn’t there. As she reached out to him it would all came flooding back.
She would creep out the bedroom and watch him sleeping, wanting more than anything to welcome him back into his bed. She wanted to reach out to touch him, smell him, but she fought against her yearnings and crept back beneath her covers alone.
During this time the kids were too busy with their own lives to give much thought to their parent’s marital affairs. India and Izzy were both on the verge of adulthood and their relationship had almost completely broken down. It had all begun with India going out with Mason. Watching them together pulled at Izzy’s guts and she found herself avoiding them whenever she could. The problem was wherever India went, Mason went too. If India and Mason came to watch telly, Izzy would get up and leave. If India and Mason came to a party, Izzy would move across the room to be as far away from them as possible. But the more serious they got, the harder they were to avoid.
“Don’t go,” India said one day as Izzy got up to leave the room after her and Mason had come to join her.
“I have stuff to do,” Izzy replied.
“Just stuff alright,” Izzy snapped storming off up to the room she shared with her twin – although it had been days since India had slept there – she stayed at Mason’s most nights these days.
“What is eating you,” India screamed storming into the room as Izzy’s head had just flopped back on her pillow.
“Nothing,” Izzy said sighing. “Just leave me alone will you.”
“No I won’t. I’ve had enough of this Izzy. What have I done that’s so bad that you can’t be in the same room as me?”
“Tell me,” India shrieked. “Please Izzy. I can’t take it anymore.”
“Its not you,” Izzy screamed back leaping from the bed and facing off to her sister. “It’s Mason alright!”
India recoiled. “Mason,” she whispered. “What does this have to do with Mason?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Izzy said turning away. She did not want to let India see her cry.
“Izzy what is it,” India said her voice softening. “What has Mason done to you?”
“It’s nothing really,” Izzy said. Now the tears were streaming and she could not stop them.
“Oh my god,” India gasped. “He did something didn’t he? Did he touch you?”
“That’s it isn’t it. He tried it on with you? My own sister!”
Izzy was not sure why she stayed silent. But she just did not know what to say.
“I’m going to kill him,” India spat and ran from the room.
“No India….” But it was too late. She had already disappeared down the stairs and Izzy could hear the screaming from her room. Her conscience was telling her to put things straight. Put things right. But her ego kept her from doing it. At least this way Mason will be out of our lives and I can stop suffering, Izzy thought while India threw a baffled Mason out of the house.
Meanwhile, while all this was going on, Joe, Kirk and Karis had all aged into teenagers and had their own obstacles to contend with. But that’s another chapter….