His mood was odd that evening

This week’s writing prompts are taken from William Boyd’s Restless, my current read.

Jenny tossed her car keys into the bowl on the hall table and toed off her high heels. That was better. She needed to stop wearing heels to work. The hours she worked, comfort should overcome vanity.

kitchen interior

A smell of charred bread wafted from the kitchen.
‘What’s burning?’ she called, striding towards the disaster.

‘It’s ok, Jenn, I rescued it in time, no harm done.’ Greg waved the buttered toast at her before taking another bite.

‘But why are you even eating? I’m about to get dinner.’ She was starving, having survived on coffee all day.

‘No time for dinner,’ he grunted. ‘I’m off out, remember?’

‘This evening?’

Yes, she did remember. He’d mentioned it a couple of days ago. His mood was odd that evening, hesitant, as if there was something more he wanted to say. He’d been quiet last night too, but Jenny had been engrossed in her bring-home work and paid no attention.

Now here he stood, her lodger of two years who could make her laugh, take her out of herself. To the extent she had thought perhaps, the two of them … and why not?

She smiled. ‘It’s Friday. Can’t tempt you with a good bottle of red and Netflix?’

He shifted from foot to foot, swallowed the last of the toast.

‘Sorry, Jenn. Off out with Kate – the new girl from work.’ His ears turned pink. ‘Our first date.’

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4 thoughts on “His mood was odd that evening”

  1. She couldn’t help but notice how his mood was odd that evening. Normally, he was so chirpy and full of laughter, cracking jokes like there was no tomorrow.
    But not this night. Ever since he had come home from the office, he was sombre, sad even, and certainly not wanting to talk.
    She tried pressing him, but to no avail. Every time she tried to engage him in conversation he refused to answer and just moved to another room.
    After an hour of trying, she gave up and busied herself preparing the evening meal. When she did look up, she noticed him sitting at the kitchen table head buried in his hands.
    Finally, out of total desperation, she sat down opposite him and took his hands in hers.
    “What’s wrong?” she demanded. “You’ve been like this since you got home and it’s not at all like you.”
    He looked at her with mournful, cocker spaniel-like eyes and started to cry.
    “It’s Bill,” he said. “He was killed this morning crossing the street on the way to work.”
    She was horrified, stunned, tears beginning to well in her own eyes.
    “Wh…wh…what..d..do you mean?” she managed to utter. Bill was the firm’s managing director and the inspiration and glue that held the whole operation together.
    “He..he mustn’t have seen the car that hit him. Killed instantly.” Sobs wracked his body.
    She began crying in earnest now, tightly hugging her husband.
    Bill had been a shining light to all who knew him – a naturally charismatic person loved by everyone around him.
    Those wonderful afternoons cocooned in his arms as they shared illicit moments of love flooded her consciousness.
    “My God,” she thought. “Never again will I feel those arms again or smell his intoxicating aftershave.”
    And she held her husband even more tightly as guilt wracked her entire body.

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