The Morning After
Somewhere between asleep and awake, I can smell Sophia’s scent; sweet vanilla, with just a hint of something sharper. I can feel her arms wrapped around me; velvet soft but surprisingly strong, I feel my body relax into the shape of her.
My senses rouse further when I feel her lips gently kiss my shoulder, but my eyes flutter open to see light brighter than it should be. I can’t possibly have slept longer than an hour or so, my body still aches with pleasure from Sophia’s touch.
My blood turns cold and my limbs feel as if they’re cast in iron. I sit up in a panic, my head swimming and my heart pounding.
“What on Earth is the matter, darling?” Sophia asks, her eyebrows pinching together in confusion. It is 7:45am. I have stayed all night. I can’t remember the last time I checked in with my husband. I feel sick.
I jump out of bed, forgetting my complete nakedness, and begin to search for my clothes from last night.
“Where are my underwear? My bra? Oh, God. Oh, Sophia. Oh, God”
Sophia pulls herself out of bed and wraps a black robe around herself. She swans across the bedroom and takes my hands out of my hair, which I am currently clutching onto in horror.
“Staying was simply an accident, Jo. He’ll understand. Where is your phone? Come, send him a quick text and let me make you breakfast”
She kisses my hands but I quickly snatch them away. She looks hurt and my heart stings, but I am incensed by how she misunderstands the severity of my mistake. I made a promise and I cannot believe I’ve broken it.
Oh, God. The kids will be awake by now. They will wonder why I’m not there. I burst into tears and bury my face in my hands. I am burning with embarrassment and guilt.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. You don’t understand. My family…it is so irresponsible. I’m sorry but please, I have to find my things. I have to go”
I have turned to stone and simply cannot move, I feel hysterical. Perching on the end of the bed, still naked, I sob into my hands as Sophia silently gathers my underwear and clothes.
She helps dress me, her kindness and soft touch encouraging me to cry even harder. I mumble another apology and she gently takes my face in her hands, tentatively wiping the tears from my cheeks.
“Take a breath, Jo. I’ve called you a taxi and it will be here in minutes. Here is your phone. Don’t panic, but the battery is dead. Go straight home and explain. It will be ok”
Through swollen eyes, I look at her. Taking just a moment to notice how beautiful she is in the morning, her skin glowing and her hair untameable. My heart is broken in more ways than one, I am afraid what this will mean for us.
The doorbell rings and Sophia walks me down to the taxi. I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the window and wince at all my indignity. I hesitate before climbing in, my lips trembling for a moment. I just have to let her know one thing.
“I do not regret a single moment of last night. Not one”
I lean forward and kiss her gently on the mouth, just once. Her eyes mist over and a lump forms in my throat. She squeezes my hands and strides back into the building, her robe fluttering gentle in the wind. She looks ethereal, beautiful and as the car moves forward, I wonder if I will see her again.
My stomach turns as thoughts of last night’s bliss clash with those of my Mr. Divine. I try to rationalise my staying the night but I know that if it were the other way around, I would be furious. Worse still, I would be very hurt.
When he and I make promises to each other, we mean them. After he was so hesitant, then so understanding, so encouraging, I can’t believe I could be so careless. In that moment, that gorgeous moment of ecstasy, I simply wasn’t thinking about anyone but myself.
Still, I can’t say that I’m sorry, not entirely. I am not sorry for what Sophia and I did last night but I am furious at myself for staying in that moment for too long. I just hope I haven’t ruined it for us all.
The taxi pulls into the drive as the kids are clambering into the car, their football kits on and breakfast still down their chins. They catch sight of me and laugh at their silly, old Mum, poking fun at my appearance and asking me if I had a good night with my friends. I could weep at their sweetness.
Mr. Divine strides out of the front door, juggling a coffee cup and the kid’s football boots. I spot him before he sees me. He looks exhausted, handsome as ever, but utterly exhausted.
He strides towards the car and sees me, stopping in his tracks and almost dropping his hot coffee. I can barely look at him in the eyes, the feeling of shame hot on my cheeks. I cannot read his face and I open my mouth to say that I’m sorry.
Before I get the chance, he rushes towards me and holds me awkwardly against his full arms. He is tense against me, but soon softens a little, his breath hot against my cheek.
“I had no idea what happened to you, Jo” he whispers, pulling away from me again.
I go to answer him, my eyes filling up with tears but the kids bellow for their father, insisting that they’ll be late. Both relief and anger flash across my husbands face. Now it is he who cannot meet my eyes.
“We’ll talk later, I suppose”
“Please, let me change and I’ll come with you” I mumble.
“No, Jo. Give me some time”
He climbs into the car and they speed off without me. I watch them drive away, rooted to the spot until they’re completely out of sight. I am all of a sudden exhausted and drag myself into the home and towards bed. Throwing my clothes to the floor I climb into bed, the tears threatening to return. My brain and body ache, but I find myself afraid to sleep. Who knows what I’ll wake up to this time?