When I got home I wrote down everything I could remember of what Carolynne had said. I also wrote down the fact that she’d come into the house and was using one of Charlie’s computers. I put my notepad into the top drawer of my desk. Charlie never looked in there.
Carolynne had invited herself to eat with us during the evening. They arrived more or less at the same time and as they entered the house together I overheard her saying to Charlie “Didn’t she tell you I came round yesterday morning? I asked her to”. So now I’m either a liar or stupid or both too. I wrote it down as evidence later when I was on my own.
I’ve been the victim of an exploding PC. Unfortunately I never made copies of any of my documents or the rest of Angie’s story. Hopefully the memory won’t have been lost. I’ll know in a week when we get the PC back. If it’s lost I’ll just have to rewrite which will slow things down a little. Sorry.
I was really pleased to have lunch with Laura on Thursday. The weather wasn’t too good so we decided to have a salad in a little diner we’ve come to regard as ours. One of Charlie’s students works there too, so we get excellent service. We settled into the privacy of our favourite booth and I told Laura about Wednesday morning. She could hardly believe it. She had spoken to Dan and reported what he’d said. He wasn’t keen on Carolynne either, especially after the way she dumped Charlie. Dan didn’t think there was any danger of Charlie getting back together with her. We were talking generally when I heard a voice behind me in the next booth that I recognised - it was Carolynne. She was talking pretty loudly so it wasn’t too difficult to hear what she was saying. She was talking about me!
Laura saw that something was wrong and I signalled to her to be quiet and listen: Carolynne was telling her friend what a dumb blonde I was and that Charlie was only interested in me for sex which was probably all that I was good for. She said that I was childish and an air head. She thought that she should be able to get rid of me pretty soon, Charlie would kick me out and with the money for the house (my house), they could really get some work done. He needed her to guide him, I wasn’t pushing him to reach his potential. While she was speaking, Melina, Charlie’s student, came to the table to see if we wanted dessert, she saw straight away that something was wrong and listened with us in horror. Laura asked for the bill and asked Melina to show us out the back way. On the way out I asked Melina not to say anything to anyone about what she’d heard.
Once outside Laura asked me if I was alright. I was trying to calm myself down and told her that this was a card I was going to play close to my chest. She advised me to write it all down as soon as I could so that I didn’t forget a single detail. I thought it was a good idea and would probably help me to put my thoughts into order. I also asked Laura not to tell Dan.
On Wednesday morning I’m free so I usually practise for an hour or so and then do some laundry or housework, whatever needs doing the most. I’d just finished practising and decided to take a basket of washing down to the basement and load up the washing machine. When I got down the stairs I could hear a computer working in Charlie’s lair, I was sure that everything had been silent when I’d been down earlier in the morning. I opened the door to investigate and found Carolynne with her back to me and from what I could see on the screen that was facing me something was in the process of being transferred onto a disc! She was quite cool when she turned round to me and told me she’d let herself in and come down without ringing the doorbell as she didn’t want to disturb my practice. She was preparing a surprise for Charlie and would I promise not to tell him she’d been. Out of politeness I offered her a cup of coffee. Fortunately for me she said she’d got an appointment, perhaps another time, and left.
What do I do? Should I tell Charlie? Would I spoil a surprise or was she taking information without his permission. Perhaps he told her she could?
Jess came to see me on Sunday afternoon. Her dad gave her permission to walk round on her own. So we chatted (or she did) and I showed her some of the children’s books I had from Laura for our project to see what she thought. I also plaited Jess’s hair into a horse plait, like I’d done to mine. She was practising on my hair when Carolynne came up from the lair for some coffee or something. I can imagine what Carolynne thought, but I was amazed to see Jess’s reaction, she almost hid behind me. I thought perhaps it was a good idea to get out of the house, anyway I had something special to show Jess in the garden. Once we were outside Jess told me in a quiet voice that she didn’t like Carolynne at all, she was nasty. When I questioned her about it she told me that Carolynne had made Charlie cry when she left, she’d seem him. That was why she said he could marry her. Jess is a real angel because she added that I could marry him now if I like. Then she went really serious and asked if I thought Carolynne would take Charlie away from us. I told her I hoped not, but it was really up to Charlie.
Then we reached our destination. A cat had had some kittens under a well hidden bush. Jess told me that the cat was Mrs. Poppins, she was their cat and they wondered where she’d got to. We decided to go round to Jess’s house to fetch a box so that she could take the new family home. By the time we came back with a box and her dad, Carolynne’s car had gone and Charlie came out to see what we were doing. Mrs. Poppins helped to put the kittens in the box so we knew were doing the right thing. As we stood talking Charlie slipped his arm around my waist. Jess looked on with approval and what looked like relief.
Later on Charlie asked me if I would go with him if he decided to join Carolyn’s project. Would I go with him? I just told him I would think about it. Normally I’d go anywhere to be with Charlie, but I’m not so sure of a relationship with Carolynne in the equation. I did wonder about telling Charlie about my fears and everything, but the opportunity never seemed to come up.
I poured my heart to Laura when we up met for lunch. She listened without interruption and when I finished she said that she thought perhaps I was being just a little paranoid. Laura doesn’t know Carolynne as she arrived in town after she left, she promised to try to find out what Dan thought and report back to me. We giggled about being spies, perhaps I should ask Mike for some tips?
As promised I was brought a little more into the conversation, but she managed to twist the dagger in deeper; Charlie started to tell her about our weekend at the cabin, which was something they had done too, I’d realised before she spoke. She turned to me and asked me “Did he take you to the cave behind the waterfall and show you the sunrise?” logically I know he would have shared it with her, he was in love with her at the time, but all I felt was sadness that our special moment had been spoiled, my special memory had been violated and trampled on. She then enthusiastically told me all the little anecdotes of the things they’d done together, all about their marvellous moments as a ‘family’, she told me about what Charlie’s mom was like and how I would have loved her…
Charlie thought that our evening went much better for me as I was included in the conversation more. Did I imagine it or did she use simple vocabulary when she was addressing me? I must be paranoid!
Arthur came and sat with me while I was setting up on Monday evening. He told me that he’d noticed that Monday evenings were getting busier – all thanks to me! When he brought my drink of water over he’d decorated it with two cherries, I also got a wink.
Tuesday was the day I was dreading and didn’t it drag. In the evening Carolynne was coming to visit Charlie (and me?) and talk about her project. When she phoned beforehand I could tell from Charlie’s half of the conversation that she was surprised that Charlie had moved and that he had moved in with someone. I suppose she expected him to be still pining for her.
I’d prepared some snacks to have with a drink and tidied round a bit and changed, (what to wear? what to wear?) Charlie thought all of this amusing and assured me that Carolynne wouldn’t eat me. She didn’t eat me – she turned me into a blithering idiot.
I was the one who answered the door as Charlie was just looking for some papers he thought she’d like to see. I greeted her with a friendly smile and she looked me up and down with disapproval, I pretended not to notice and showed her in. By then Charlie was up from the basement and they hugged in a friendly fashion. I went off to get a drink for us all and I’m sure I heard her exclaim “A blonde?”, I might have been wrong.
Well, I might as well have been a part of the furniture, though I do understand that they are scientists and I’m not . Carolynne did ask me if I enjoyed reading at one point when her eyes alighted on a pile of children’s books on top of the piano. Laura and I have a project for the holidays and she’d given me a huge pile of children’s books to go through to see what I thought. I half expected Carolynne to ask who read them to me.
By midnight I couldn’t help but yawn so presented my excuses and I took myself off to bed. I thought to myself as I went up stairs, if she throws herself on him and he succumbs at least I’ll know where I stand. Once I lay down in bed hugging Doctor Spock I couldn’t sleep, I could just hear their voices droning on and on. I was reading when Charlie came to bed. He started to tell me all about the project and also apologised for ignoring me, he promised to bring me into the conversation a bit more tomorrow evening when she came. Tomorrow evening!!
The weekend was spent installing Charlie in his lair, as we now call it. I played plenty of noisy tunes to test and when I’m playing the piano he can only just hear it, so it won’t distract him from his work. He told me that occasionally he likes a blast of heavy metal (!) when he’s working so I couldn’t do much damage with what I play. Sunday afternoon found us working separately. Me on the chaise-lounge reading up on a play for my students and he in the basement marking papers.
On Sunday night I took my manuscript to bed to read, Charlie found me convulsed with laughter when he came up later. So I read him some extracts. “Priscilla de Nantes was very beautiful and slim with huge breasts, she always knew what to wear for every occasion and never mixed up her shoes”. I had to explain that the mixing up of shoes was what made me laugh so. Gran was always scolding me for not wearing the right shoes to go with my clothes. My idea of a sophisticated woman at the age of thirteen was one with breasts and the ability to always wear the right shoes. My novel was quite steamy, plenty of ’love making’(no details there for lack of knowledge) which was always followed by a cigarette. I wonder what kind of books I’d been reading at the time?
I slept really badly and Charlie was surprised that I got up reasonably early to go jogging when I could have stayed in bed to help me feel better. He still thought that I had a headache, he was really nice to me, I felt rotten at not telling him the truth.
The run made me feel better, I pushed myself, trying to get it out of my system. When I arrived at Bill’s he was making the coffee, he reckons I can smell it brewing from a mile away. He told me that I looked as bad as he felt. So that was a good opportunity for me to ask him about Carolynne and why he and Mike had exchanged that ‘look’. He explained that when they were students and deciding on what to do for their theses , Charlie had had an idea he’d been working on for some time when Carolynne announced that it was exactly what she was going to do. Apparently, Charlie didn’t say anything, although Bill could see his disappointment. Charlie then had to find another project which put him behind. Charlie didn’t know that Carolynne had made a pass at Mike (I was sworn to secrecy), Charlie and Carolynne were living together at the time. Bill told me that he knows what Mike is like with women but even Mike was disgusted with her behaviour, he hates her. Bill and Charlie’s mom were sad to see him treated so badly and his mom so much wanted to see him happy. Bill can’t imagine how she would have felt knowing how Carolynne left him not long after she died when he really needed someone the most. Bill said lots of nice things about me and hoped that Carolynne wouldn’t try to break us up. He warned me to be on my guard. I hope that whatever happens in the future Bill and I can still be friends.
Listening to all of that I didn’t know what to do, after some thought I decided to carry on as normal. Charlie is going to have plenty on his plate without me acting up too…