My rating: 3 of 5 stars
3 ⭐⭐⭐ - OK decent reads.
Nick ==> ex-husband, cheater, selfish, vain, asshole.
He did not think about the others or the consequences of his actions when he decided to leave his wife and two children to move in with his mistress, his wife's former best friend. Douchebag until the end. I hate him! Once a cheater, always a cheater!
Lisa==> Bitch, envious, selfish, narcissistic, homewrecker.
Married with two children, she does not think twice about dropping everything and starting an affair with Nick, her best friend's husband. She simply did not think of the destruction she caused on the way, she saw Nick and coveted him and took him. She took her ex-best friend's husband and her childhood home. Selfish whore! She only thought of herself until the bitter end.
Daisy ==> Fragile, vulnerable and traumatized.
The abandonment, betrayal, and divorce of her parents caused serious psychological disorders in her. Suffering from debilitating OCD, she was very traumatized by the events of that summer and by the betrayal of the father. Plus Ava, Lisa's daughter, was her best friend but she is tormenting and ridiculing her in school. From then on her life became a struggle.
Max ==> Intelligent, sensitive and with a great sense of guilt.
He also carries traumas caused by the events of that summer and he is used as an emotional crutch during his sister's OCD crises. He is looking to get rid of Daisy's dependence on him, is tired of living with this emotional tension. He is always protecting his mother and sister.
Rosie ==> strong, sensible and a warrior.
She was caught off guard by the betrayal of her husband and her best friend. They destroyed her world and she was left alone trying to gather the pieces and put the family on the rails again. Nick left the family and went to live a new life leaving her with two traumatized children and a career that demands a lot of her, everything for her to handle alone. She really was exhausted for a long time, both physically and mentally. But she got over it and got her head in a good place now.
He didn’t mention Lisa once and I couldn’t bring myself to discuss her betrayal with him. She had been a part of my life even longer
‘Twenty per cent of men leave their wives when they are sick, whereas only two per cent of women leave their husbands. It’s a big problem.’
I have made many mistakes but falling in love with Lisa most definitely isn’t one of them. She is the love of my life.
She is thinking only about everything she is about to lose, not everything that I lost.
Bloody Gregorio keeps emphasizing the need to make peace with anyone Lisa has wronged. And I’m terrified what she might tell her.
But now I wish I could transpose Rosie’s brain on to Lisa’s body.
‘Rosie won’t want to see me. Not after what I did to her.’
‘This is karma, Nick. Look and learn. The truth catches up with everyone eventually.’ She doesn’t mean it to sound like a threat but somehow it does.
‘You are a liar, Dad. Just admit that you are a liar. Tell Max what you did,’ commands Daisy.
Ava shot me a gloating smile that said she had made it to the other side of puberty to a place where her body worked in her favour and she had the power to bend the will of even men like my father. She had left me behind. This was her first act of betrayal.
‘You took Molly to France?’ I asked Ava incredulously. I couldn’t believe it.
The urge to kiss her perfectly shaped lips was overwhelming. I wanted to explore her mouth with my tongue and then run it down the rest of her body. Once the idea entered my head I couldn’t see any other possible ending to the day. But just as my lips were so close to hers that I could feel her breath on my face, Lisa unexpectedly sat up and her chin smashed into my nose.
Lisa and I had been gone for the best part of a day and the shops must have shut hours ago. Even worse, I had forgotten to get the main ingredient for dinner. There were no crabs.
‘Do you want to see my tits, Nick?’ ‘Don’t do that, Ava,’ I commanded, glancing back to the house to check no one else was watching. ‘Or would you rather see Mum’s? Don’t think I haven’t noticed the way you look at her.’
It was so easy for Nick to fall out of love with me. That was the hardest part. There had been no fights fought, no hateful words exchanged, no emotional grandstanding. Nick later said this reflected the lack of passion in our relationship.
Nick didn’t want to put up a struggle because he didn’t think our relationship was worth fighting for.
‘How could he? How could she? How could they?’ she said, over and over again, as if she was conjugating verbs.
‘Only prime numbers are infinite,’ said Max. ‘I’m amazed you haven’t learnt that. I thought you knew everything and now I realize you know nothing. You are full of shit.’
‘He loves Mum but not as much as he wants to fuck Lisa!’ I heard myself blurt out.
‘Well, it’s true, isn’t it?’ I shouted angrily at them both.
Max was wild-eyed. ‘Every day I am going to pray that Lisa dies a horrible slow lingering death,’ he said venomously.
I heard her once tell a friend that Dad and Lisa had robbed her of her past and future and that all she had left was the present.
The bad part of me – the part that wants an easy life, and wishes I didn’t have a sister like this – was hoping she’d cancel.
‘Relationships are like plants, they need good soil to grow, especially at the beginning, and from everything that Lisa has told me, the roots of your partnership were nourished in deception, lies and other people’s misery,’ says Gregorio. There is a nip of triumph in his tone that I hope Lisa notices.
She always said the same thing. I used to find it boring but now it seems comforting. A sensible woman, my ex-wife. Sometimes I wish I had married Lisa first and Rosie second.
‘Where am I?’ I ask Max. ‘What are you talking about, Dad?’ Max asks curtly. ‘It’s as if I don’t exist. There’s no reference to me anywhere,’ I say. ‘What do you expect? You haven’t lived here for years.’ He is uncharacteristically brutal. ‘Don’t be so needy.’
‘Daisy saw you and Lisa having sex in the dunes when we were on holiday in Norfolk that summer. She was in the pillbox, watching through the window.’
‘Can you imagine what that did to her, seeing her dad screwing her mum’s best friend? She was only thirteen. And then she had to keep your sordid little affair secret for six months until Mum found out. No wonder she got so ill. That’s why she tried to hurt Ava. She wanted Lisa to suffer like you’d made her suffer.’
‘They fell in love. Or rather they fell in love with the idea of each other. We didn’t stand a chance. And I was a mess, which didn’t help.’
The fug of lust had clouded his judgement and he hadn’t realized how Daisy and Max would view his departure as a double betrayal.
Mum always warned me to watch out for her ruthless streak. ‘What Lisa wants, Lisa gets, no matter who she tramples along the way,’ she always used to say. ‘She’s a survivor.’ But I never dreamt I would be the one who ended up being trampled.
There are pictures of Lisa and Nick on holiday, sometimes together, sometimes with friends, including a couple I see regularly who have never mentioned they still see them.
‘It wasn’t just your responsibility. It was Nick’s too,’ I remind her.
She scrolls through more pages and there are pictures of the girl with one arm around Nick’s neck and the other inside his shirt. I feel like a dirty voyeur.
Why on earth would he bring a Tinder date to Dad’s wedding?
I saw her a couple of seconds before she noticed me. Even before she looked up from her phone I knew it was Connie. There was something about the tilt of her head and the curve of her neck. So I had the agony of panicking not just about my own response but also her reaction.
She was wearing a short dress with long sleeves and the brooch that I had bought as a gift for Lisa but had impulsively given to her after she happened to mention that she was interested in Indian art.
I tried not to look at the way her hips swung in front of me and her dress clung to her buttocks. I remembered that first time her finger drew a line down my forearm when I was buying papayas. It had felt like a religious experience, as if I had been brought back from the dead. We had gone out dancing and had drunk so much, the only way we could stay upright was to cling on to each other.
But discovering that I am sleeping with the same girl as my son pretty much negates anything positive I have ever done. People have rotted in hell for less.
I kiss the bride chastely, eyes closed, trying not to think about Connie. She’s standing so close to me that, if I wanted to, I could reach her with my hand. I wonder how I will sleep through the night knowing she’s in the room next door.
When I pull away from her to gently brush it from the sleeve of her wedding dress I realize that it’s not confetti at all. It’s dead ladybirds. I frantically try to get rid of them, but their dried feet hook on to us like burrs,
my relationship with Rosie: it was too anaemic. If I had stayed married to her I would have turned into the pillbox on the beach, slowly being entombed in sand. Boredom is a slow form of death, isn’t it? Everything with Lisa has taken place in glorious unpredictable Technicolor.
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