January 5th, 2014
As the morning grew weary, Martha brought the last of the washing down from the bathroom basket. The weekend was fast approaching. It was better to complete her menial tasks during the week. That way, if Charles did decide to come over for dinner, the house wouldn’t need too much of a tidy up.
Martha loaded the dishwasher with the plates from the cupboard. She decided to spring clean early. The glasses were left on the side to hand wash. Her kitchen was picture perfect, they needed to be perfect too. She didn’t like to say, but sometimes the dishwasher didn’t make the glasses sparkle as much, even when she put them through twice.
Her attention fell on the pile of washing at her feet. It would have been foolish to tell Thomas her washing machine, which had so many dials, was a little confusing at times. Martha only ever used three settings – whites, cottons, and hot wash.
Item after item of clothing were checked for any stray pieces of tissue paper and placed separately in the machine. Thomas hated bits sticking to his clothes. It would save her the job of washing them again. If she were lucky, she would have enough time to iron and put them away before Thomas got home.
Martha pressed the button to start the machine. Nothing happened. The washing, limp at the bottom of the drum, refused to move. Every button was tried, in a frantic bid to get it working again. Still nothing happened.
She didn’t have time to hand wash that amount of clothes and sort through her wardrobe for items for the charity bag for Cancer research. Eyes darted around the kitchen, as if an engineer would jump out of nowhere.
There was no choice, she had to go into Thomas’s office to find the number for the engineer. Armed with the key, for emergency use only, Martha turned it in the lock. She switched on the light – its forty-watt bulb always gave the room an unhealthy glow. How Thomas could see anything in there, Martha wasn’t sure.
His top drawer opened, and she rifled through the receipts, trying to find the card with the engineers number on. Cards, leaflets, and old restaurant receipts were thrown on to the desk. Where is it? Where in the hell is it? Come on Martha think.
Why were there so many bloody receipts for The Raven? They never even went there. It was an expensive restaurant on Windsor High Street. She had passed by it many times, but Thomas had said they weren’t made of that kind of money. Yet he had dined there alone.
Martha picked up one of the receipts. It settled in the palm of her hand. Champagne, steaks, and strawberries and cream and there was two of bloody everything.
The washing machine could bloody wait – receipt, after receipt, after receipt covered the desk. No wonder he didn’t have the money to pay for the phone bill that month. He was spending all his money on Elizabeth. But she couldn’t just confront him with this – receipts on their own could be work related.
She stared at the receipts again. The same time and day every Saturday – one o’clock – Thomas was a stickler for routine. What if he were there now?
The affair wasn’t ever over.