Anne makes a mistake.
They arrived at the villa and it was indeed an impressive place. Although Craig had to oversee the building works they had plenty of time to enjoy the holiday, the nights out were amazing and Anne was pleased that they, at last, had separate bedrooms.
It happened on the third night at the villa. Anne was not drunk but she’d had a few drinks and was a bit merry. She had a quick shower and put on her nightdress but sat in the main room with Craig for a while drinking Sangria. “That nightclub is amazing,” she said.
“You are quite a good dancer, Craig.”
“You’re not so bad yourself. Very sensual, I must say.”
“Thank you, Craig, for a wonderful night. I’m ready for bed now though.”
“Anne went to her room and got into bed. It surprised her when Craig walked into the room wearing just his shorts.”
“About time I got another goodnight kiss,” he said.
Anne laughed. “I’m fine with that.”
This time was different; the exciting kiss became a torrid sensual exchange of passion lasting for many minutes. Anne was so excited she didn’t want it to stop. But it did and Craig walked out of the room. He left her flushed and trembling and then he walked back in.
“Can I get in bed with you?” he asked.
He actually asked her and she wondered if she said no would he just walk away? She didn’t want that, but if she said yes would it mean she wanted to make love with him? If they got intimate she was afraid of becoming pregnant.”I don’t know,” was her answer. “I’m frightened of getting in the family way.”
Craig laughed. “There’s no chance of that. I had a serious tropical disease when we lived in Africa and it left me sterile.”
Anne laughed. “That’s what all the boys say.”
“No, seriously. I’ve had a couple of regular girlfriends and none of them have become pregnant. Although it seems like a gift, it's not. It means I will never have children.”
Anne saw the look on his face and she knew that this was it. It was going to happen and she should perhaps deny him, but she eagerly awaited her first adventure into sexual intimacy.
Anne woke up the next morning with Craig beside her and he reached over and kissed her.
“I’ll go and do us some breakfast and then we’ll head into the market. We'll ditch the swimsuit and I’ll buy you one of those bikinis.”
Anne lay for a while thinking of Dennis. Although he cheated on her, she knew she still loved him. She smiled and fantasised that what happened last night was with Dennis. She liked Craig but did not love him. However, she could not help herself and knew this would not be the last night on this holiday when she would not wake up alone.
They got back to Essex and Craig dropped Anne off at the garden centre just as it was closing.
“Thanks for a wonderful holiday,” she said.
“Yes, been great hasn’t it?”
“I’ll see you about then,” she said. “We will have to meet up one night”
“Well, no. My girlfriend is back from university next week.”
“But I thought...”
“Our time is done now, Anne. You were great, but it's over for us, we both had our fun. The thing is, Anne, I think you had better marry Dennis on the quick."
"Why?" Anne asked, feeling puzzled by his remark
"I didn't really tell the truth. In fact, I am not sterile at all, so there is a good chance you may be pregnant."
"You're joking, please tell me you're joking, Craig?" But he just grinned and drove off.
"You bastard," she said a bit louder than she should have as one of the staff was walking out.
"Are you all right, Anne?" he asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Has Ruth left yet?"
"She went about five minutes ago."
Anne saw the manager in the yard and walked over. "I'm back."
"Oh, that would be nice of you to let me know, if you still had your job that is."
"What do you mean by that? Are you sacking me because I went on holiday?"
"First, you are late making deliveries into London, which lost us a customer. Then you piss off on holiday without a word."
"I left you a note."
"Yeah, and you left me without a van driver. I had to get a very expensive agency driver for a week before I could get a permanent driver to take over your job."
"Please, don't sack me. I need this job."
"You are unemployed. Call in tomorrow and we'll settle up."
"Please," She didn't want to beg him. She knew she could get another job easy enough, but she really liked it at the Garden Centre.
"Good night, Anne," he said and turned his back on her and walked away.
Anne walked into the flat and Ruth gave a smile and switched off the television. “Well how’d it go Anne, you are looking so tanned I feel jealous.”
"That bastard has sacked me." Anne was amazed that Ruth was talking as if nothing has happened between her and Dennis.
"Oh! I knew he was angry, but I didn't think he would sack you. But don't worry there are plenty of jobs around here at the moment. So, how was the holiday?"
“It was fantastic. I had a really good time.” She took off her coat and tossed it onto a chair.
“How was the sex?” Ruth asked.
“Mind you own bloody business, Ruth,” she said. "And how was the sex with my ex-fiancé, Ruth?"
"I'm so sorry that happened, Anne. But he came to me in a right state. He was crying his eyes out because you went off with Craig. I just wanted to comfort him and try to make him feel better."
"And how did he know I was with Craig? Did you tell him?"
"No, Anne, of course, I didn't. Craig went into the shop before he picked you up and told Dennis he was taking you to Spain with him.”
“Why, why the hell did he do that?”
"Who knows," Ruth said. "Mischief, I suppose."
"So why did my best friend do the dirty on me?"
"It was not meant to happen, things just got out of control. I just meant to comfort him."
"Well, you certainly did that, Ruth. Did you plan it all, Ruth, manipulating me to go with Craig so you could make a move on Dennis?"
Ruth laughed. "Do me a favour. I could have taken Dennis off of you at any time without planning it."
"I'm gonna speak to Dennis. See what he has to say?"
“Erm, there is a problem there, Anne.” Ruth hesitated before continuing. “Dennis has left.”
“Left, what do you mean left?”
"He quit his job at the grocers."
“What? Where is he? I’ve got to talk to him.”
“He’s gone to join the army.
“He can’t join up that quick surely. There must be a procedure to follow.”
“He said he has an army friend up north and he’s gone to stay with him until he gets in.”
“Did he leave an address of his friend?”
"No. You can try Mister Freeman in the shop. He might know."
"That Craig is a nasty piece of work telling Dennis about Spain just to cause trouble. How was Dennis? How did he take the news.”
“Quite badly, Anne. Like I said, he was crying.”
“I still love him, Ruth. I've been so stupid; I shouldn’t have gone. I shouldn’t have bloody well gone.” A few hours ago she was so happy. Now she’s been abandoned by Craig, might be pregnant, has lost her job, and the love of her life has left to join the army. She could have just blamed Craig, but she realised it was all due to her selfishness and stupidity. "I wish I was dead,” she said.
“Don’t be silly, Anne. You can get through this.”
“Can I? I’m a shit, Ruth. I hurt someone who loves me. For once in my life someone loves me, and I made him cry. I'm a shit.” Anne put her coat back on.
“Where are you going, Anne?”
“Wait and I’ll come with you.”
“No, Ruth. I want nothing more to do with you.”
Anne got the train into London and sat in a bar outside the station. Everyone was looking at her. She imagined that they all knew what a nasty, horrible, person she was. She had a few more Gin and Tonics and although some people tried to make conversation, She ignored them all.
She knew Craig had used her and she had allowed him to do it. And now she has lost Dennis. From what Ruth told her, she knew Dennis must be heartbroken. I’m a terrible person, she thought, and I don’t deserve to live anymore.
A young man walked over. “Can I buy you a drink, love?" He asked.
“Piss off,” she said.
The lad looked shocked, shook his head, and walked away.
She was becoming quite drunk and left the bar and walked for ages until she came to Tower Bridge.
She walked to the centre of the bridge and looked over the side to the swirling water below.
Something made her look up and she thought she saw a shooting star. She made a wish, but would it ever come true? Probably not, she thought. She had made many wishes in her life. She thought she had no chance, no chance at all.
She looked back down to the river thinking of ending all her heartache. She was scared. What had put that thought into her mind? She would never contemplate suicide, no matter how bad things got.
"Do it, Anne, do it."
She leapt back away from the railing. "Who's there?" She shouted and looked all around but she was alone. "Great, now I'm bloody going off my head." She began to wander about the bridge, staggering and swaying from the effect of alcohol. and found herself back at the railing again. A whining buzzing sound filled her head as she looked down to the water below.
"Just climb over, Anne, jump over, it will all be better for you. Do it and ease your wretched existence here."
Even in the drunken state that she was in, her fear was too great as she looked down. She put her hands across her ears. "Stop it, stop it," She screamed and ran back away from the railing. She stood looking at the edge for what seemed like ages but was possibly only seconds. Tears began running down her cheeks and her trembling reached an almost exaggerated level. The whining began again.
"Do it, Anne, I'll be with you, I'll take you to a better place, trust me. Run, Anne, run."
"No, no, no," She shouted. Suddenly something reacted inside of her, convincing her that there just may be a better after-life, and all she had to do was run. She sprinted across the footway to dive over the railings.
She heard some people shouting and turned her head to see some people running towards her. Just as suddenly, the doubt and fear returned and as she dived over she managed to grip the bar at the top with one of her hands, but her body weight flipped her over and her legs followed with the momentum. She gripped the bar tightly. She didn't want to die after all. She wanted to get back, she wanted to go to try and get her job back at the garden centre, she wanted to forgive her friend Ruth, she wanted to patch things up with her sisters, she wanted to see if she could get her mother to like her, but most of all she wanted to find Dennis and beg for his forgiveness.
The worried people running up didn’t have time to save her. Her bodyweight pulled on her arm, her grip was wrenched from the bar and she began to fall. She could see the water thirty feet below. She was petrified as she looked at the water hurtling up towards her, believing that this was the last moment of her life. She tried to scream out in terror, but no sounds left her mouth, and then nothing.