Mark arrived home to find Lyn in the bath, her freckled skin pink against the blood-stained water. One of her arms hung over the edge of their old claw foot bath and blood had congealed on the white tiles. Mark tutted. That would be hard to get out.
He backed out of the ensuite and closed the door. He’d only come home because he’d spilled sauce on his shirt. He was annoyed at himself over it, he’d worn it especially, because Kerry had said she liked purple once and now he had to wear something else. Well, he wasn’t about to miss his French class altogether.
He shrugged off the soiled shirt and put on the grey plaid one. It had a mushroomy sort-of pink in it that he thought she might like. On his way downstairs it occurred to him that later on it might look better if he hadn’t gone upstairs so he retraced his steps and took the dirty shirt and a couple of clean ones on their hangers down to the laundry. He arranged it to look as though Lyn had been doing some ironing, even though she knew better than to leave it hanging about.
He was pleased with the effect of his artifice. As he walked out to the car he congratulated himself, skipping a little on the path as he realised the opportunity that had opened up before him.
Kerry, or Sylvie, as he called her in class, noticed the spring in his step.
“Tu as l’air tres content ce soir, Jacques.”
“Tu me rends hereux,” he replied with a suggestive wiggle of his eyebrows that made her giggle. Jacques could do that; flirt, make women giggle. Mark wouldn’t have a hope with Kerry except for Jacques.
After the class they kissed goodbye in the Gallic way, and agreed to see each other as usual on Thursday for conversation practice. Mark relished the knowledge that it would be much sooner.
He stopped off to get petrol and grabbed a burger from the drive-through that he ate in the car. Who knew when he’d get to eat, otherwise? He whistled as he walked up the path. He pottered about downstairs a bit, turning on lights, making the place look lived in, then went upstairs to Lyn.
She was, unsurprisingly, exactly as he’d left her, he mousy hair floating around her face in the crimson water. She wasn’t an attractive corpse. He felt an unexpected warm glow towards her. There’d been a time when they couldn’t live without each other, but he’d grown and she hadn’t. He told her he was sad about it, but if she truly loved him, she’d realise she shouldn’t hold him back. He’d thought at the time she was too busy crying to listen, but she must have taken it in.
It struck him suddenly that her suicide was an amazing act of love. Real tears welled in his eyes.
He pulled out his phone and dialled. There was genuine emotion in his voice when he spoke.
“Kerry? Something terrible has happened. I didn’t know who else to call.”
He’d wear his Hugo Boss suit to the funeral. He looked good in black.