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The Loft Weekend
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Ken Orford

Modern Fiction


Author’s note: This is a true story – well, I think it’s true. I heard the basic facts on a radio phone in. I have just created the characters and their day- to-day lives. The plot, including the end, is as the anonymous caller told it, so thanks to Galaxy FM and their listener – whoever she is!

It started off like any other weekend. But when it was over, everything had changed. For Kathy, the future that had seemed so clear, so optimistic, so perfect on Friday night was a complete train wreck by Sunday evening.

It was almost five years ago, when their marriage was only a few weeks old, that Kathy and James had agreed that Friday night would always be their night. Their night to just … be together. They had agreed in those early days that for as long as they were married, they would make every effort to spend Friday night alone with each other. And that weekend the Friday was typical of the pattern that had emerged over the years. In fact, it turned out to be a special Friday for them.

They had got in from work at pretty much the same time, and got out of their work clothes into their “slobbing around the house” gear. James had opened a bottle of red and poured two large glasses while Kathy had started to prepare dinner. Whilst they each talked about their day at work, they busied themselves chopping, cutting and cooking. Then at the moment their plates were on the table and the wine glasses refilled, by mutual, habitual consent, discussion about their nine to five lives stopped. They ceased to be James Bowman, Technical Support Manager, and Kathy Simpson (maiden name), HR Recruitment Specialist, and became James and Kathy – husband and wife, best friends, soul mates … lovers.

An hour later they were cuddled up on the sofa and well into their second bottle of wine. The TV was on but neither of them was watching it. Their conversation was the focus of their attention. James squeezed Kathy’s shoulder, and brushed a lock of her shoulder length blonde hair off her cheek:

“So you’re absolutely sure about this?”

Kathy made a long slow nod, then turned her head up to look into James’s eyes and confirmed it with a very definite “Yes”.

“Okay, so after your next period you’ll stop taking the pill?”

“Yep! I’m sure. Are you?”

James’s reply was to turn around slightly so he faced her. Kathy could feel her head resting against the toned muscles of his biceps. He gently stroked her cheek – it never ceased to amaze her that someone so strong was also so gentle. James stared into the lagoon blue eyes and then kissed her. It was a long, soft, tender kiss. Then he moved away from her and smiled:

“Come on, let’s go and practice baby-making, so we can be sure we’ll get it right next month.”

One of James and Kathy’s other habits that had emerged over the years was that Friday night was “making love night”. No matter how tired, or how pissed off with each other they were, they had agreed they would always make love. Friday nights were for closeness and tenderness. Saturday mornings on the other hand weren’t for making love. Saturday mornings were for sex! With a capital “S”.

It was well, past mid-morning the next day when James joined his wife downstairs. She was wearing one of his T shirts (why do women look so sexy in men’s T shirts?). He came up behind her, hugged round her slender waist and pulled her into him. He took a deep breath and absorbed the mixture of her gorgeous aroma with the after-smell of the vigorous sex they had just shared. He started to lift the T shirt and Kathy giggled:

“God, haven’t you had enough?”

She pulled the shirt down and turned round in his arms:

“… and besides, after all that exercise you need a shower.”

“Now that is a good idea.” And with that he easily scooped her up into his arms and carried her giggling up the stairs.

An hour later she was drying her hair while James, a damp towel round his waist, lay on the bed watching her. She turned from the mirror and smiled:

“I’d forgotten how much fun shower sex is.”

James grinned back:

“Yeah! I think I could get to like this practice lark!”

“Well, I’m sure you won’t want to do it when I’m the size of a small whale and expecting twins or something!”

His response was to climb off the bed and hold her again:

“I can’t think of any time when I won’t want to do it with you.”

“We’ll see…anyway, what are you going to do when I’m off shopping?”

“Just a few odd jobs. I need to fix the garage light and I’ve got to find some stuff for Gerry, from a course I did. I think it’s in the loft somewhere.”

Kathy turned off the hairdryer:

“Wow, fix light – five minutes. Find notes in loft – ten minutes. Watch Chelsea v United game – ninety minutes. Life’s tough!”

“Oh?” said James in mock surprise, “is there a football game on TV?”

Kathy shook her head and went back to making herself gorgeous for the love of her life.

An hour and a half later she was wandering around the town, looking at the mums with pushchairs, imagining herself with her and James’s child. She pictured James and smiled – fiddling with the garage light that had never worked. Climbing the ladder into the loft. Looking in the lo … Oh My God! You idiot, you absolute fucking idiot.

Katy spun on her heels dashing to the car park. With any luck she’d find him in the chair with a beer watching footie. Please let him be watching the football. She jumped in the car, frantically pulling on her seatbelt as she made for the exit. Don’t be in the loft. Please don’t be in the loft. She couldn’t believe how slow people were getting out of the car park. She willed the traffic to go faster. She drove so you could just about get a razor blade between her car and the bumper of the car in front, wanting to give it a helpful push. Why didn’t you destroy them? You idiot! At last she pulled up outside the house. She glanced in the window, Oh thank God! There he was, sitting in the chair watching the TV.

Her hands were shaking as she took out her key. She opened the front door, took a deep breath and steadied herself. She walked into the living room as casually as she could with a cheery:

“Hi, I knew I’d find you here watching foo …Oh fuck!”

Kathy stared at the TV screen. She knew the scene well, though it had been … what? Eight? Ten years since she’d seen it? And about twelve years since it had been made.

“Yeah, fuck’s about right!”

James couldn’t look at her. He just dropped the VHS tape case on the floor and headed for the door.

“James! James …I can explain …” She reached out for him but he just shrugged her off and walked past her, not meeting her eyes.

With tears blurring her vision she looked down at the tape box, and saw he’d also found the two others. She knew the titles without reading them: “Gangbang Girls #3”, “Lesbian Lickers” and the piece de resistance, “Three Holes in One”. Although much younger, there was no mistaking whose pictures were on the front. The blonde was her, and the brunette with the big boobs was her best friend Natalie. Oh Christ! What a bloody mess.

She took a deep breath and turned to go and talk to James, though she had no idea what she was going to say. Well, the truth of course – after all, they had no secrets. She heard the front door slam. That’s what they’d promised each other – no secrets. Of course, a secret is only a secret when someone else knows there’s a secret.

She watched through the window as his figure got smaller and smaller until he turned the corner and was gone.

“I’m so, so sorry James”, she whispered. She just hoped that “gone” wasn’t completely gone.

That Saturday felt like the longest day of Kathy’s life. As the hours went by, joined by bouts of tears, she kept looking out of the window, hoping to see the figure return. But the road was as empty as she was. She called his mobile but after leaving him three messages pleading with him to come back and talk, saying she’d explain everything, she started just hanging up when it flipped to voicemail.

By 6pm she started to get worried. Should she go out looking for him? If she did, what would he think if he came home and she wasn’t there? Emotionally drained, she eventually dozed off on the sofa. Shortly after nine she woke up. With alarming clarity she realized where James would be. Her heart sank. Why there? It had been less than a year ago that they’d introduced James’s friend Gerry to Natalie. They had started seeing each other soon afterwards and were still “an item” – of sorts.

Natalie had been a free spirit when she had persuaded Kathy to join her in the porn industry. Whilst Kathy had left all that behind, Natalie was still pretty wild. But she and Gerry had obviously worked each other out and, either by mutual consent or by just ignoring it, had learned to live with each other’s extra curricular activities. So, taking a deep breath first, Kathy rang Natalie’s number. After a few rings, a bright and breezy Natalie answered the phone. Kathy gabbled out the usual pleasantries and asked if she’d seen James.

“Sorry babe, I’ve been at work til late, only got in an hour ago. Gerry left a note saying he’d gone out with James, and he’d be back later.”


“You sound dreadful hon … big row?”

Kathy sighed:

“The biggest!”

“Wanna come round and crack a bottle and tell me about it?”

In some ways Natalie was person she most wanted to see – after James of course. Nat had this knack of making things seem not so bad. But seeing her would just remind her of what caused the misery.

“No, I think I’ll stay here so I’m here when he comes back. If he comes back with Gerry send him home, yeah?”

“I’ll probably send Gerry with him.”

“Why? Surely things are okay with you two. You seem to be so well-matched.”

“What you mean? I don’t mind if he plays around as long as he lets me.”

Kathy let her silence be her answer. Natalie sighed and continued:

“Yeah, well. Frankly, between you and me I think I’ve had enough. Give and take is one thing, but he’s starting to take the piss. Don’t get me wrong, when we’re together it’s bloody brilliant. He’s great in bed. But, well … it might have taken me ten years longer than it took you, but I think I’m growing up. I think I want something more. … you know, something like you and James have got.”

“Well, I hope we still have it …”

“You’ll be okay – you’ll see.”

“Christ, I hope so.”

The conversation drifted on and it ended with Kathy reiterating the request to send James home if he turned up. Kathy turned on the TV, more for company than anything else. She sat through half a movie with no idea what was going on. All she could think about was James, what he’d seen her and Natalie doing, what must be going through his head. She started to feel sick again at the thought of losing him.

At 11:30 her mobile cheeped with a text message. It was from Nat:

“James crashed on sofa. Will send him home tomoz. Don’t worry – will be ok. Hugs N”

Maybe that wasn’t a bad thing – she was tired and James was obviously smashed. Maybe tomorrow would be okay. Maybe they’d talk and he’d hug her and they could get back to planning the future. Maybe.

In the end it was mid-afternoon when James walked in. As soon as she heard the front door she threw herself out of the chair and ran to him and flung her arms round him, babbling about how glad she was to see him and about how worried she was. It was like hugging a stone. She sheepishly pulled away from him. He looked terrible. She stroked his stubbly cheek:

“I’ll put some coffee on.”

“Don’t bother, I won’t be here long. Besides, I’ve had enough coffee already. I probably won’t sleep til Wednesday as it is.”

When she heard the “won’t be here long”, Kathy’s heart sank and the tears welled up again.

“Look, I know I messed up. I am so, so sorry … but…”

“But what? It slipped your mind? You didn’t think it important?”

“I wanted to tell you, but the opportunity never happened. And the longer it went on the harder it got. James, I love you.”

“Yeah, yeah. But not enough to share your past with me. Not enough to be honest with me. Not enough to trust me that I’d love you no matter what …”

“I didn’t want to risk losing you.” Kathy’s voice was soft, pleading. James’s response was hard, bitter.

“Well, let me tell you, you have!”

“Don’t say that, please. I’ll do anything …”

James’s laugh was laced with sarcasm:

“Oh yeah, I can see that!”

“James, it was so long ago. It happened years before we met. And you know how I struggled financially at Uni. And … and Nat said it was an easy way to make some quick money.”

“Don’t drag Natalie into this. Don’t blame her – at least she was honest with her boyfriend. She told Gerry about it once it became obvious they were more than just casual lovers. She realized how important it was to be honest.”

“I know I should have told you …”

“Yeah, yeah you should. You see, it’s not that you were short of money and decided to be a porn star. It’s not that you got paid to be gangbanged or have three blokes at once. That’s not the issue here. The issue is trust. You didn’t trust me to love you despite all that – and now … hmph, now I don’t think I can ever trust you again.”

“Please don’t say that. Please … let’s just talk about it. About us, about .. a baby.”

James stared at her:

“What? Look, I’m going to get some of my stuff – I need some time. But honestly … how could I possibly ever trust you again.”

The tears became uncontrollable as they rolled down Kathy’s cheek. She turned away from him – unable to bear the sight of what she knew she’d thrown away.


Even under the shade of a large umbrella, at 11am the humidity made it almost too hot. Kathy put her book down and sipped her drink. She thought about a brief dip. The bikini showed off her suntanned body to great effect, and she actually felt okay about herself - although that had taken some time. She instinctively knew that being away on holiday this week was the right thing – she didn’t want to be there, and being in the Caribbean was the perfect excuse.

It was now over a year since the worst weekend of her life. She had realized quite quickly that her marriage was over – the divorce had been fair, but frosty. But harder to take than the pain of sitting with James and splitting up their CD and DVD collection, was the news that James had a new girlfriend. A new girlfriend that meant she had not only lost her husband, but also lost her best friend.

Kathy glanced at her watch, 11:15 and the UK is four hours ahead. Natalie and James will be exchanging vows now. Well, like he said, it wasn’t what we did – it was the lack of trust.

© Ken Orford, 2010

©, 2010