Part 1

 Episode 1 

In an old brick, two-bedroom terrace in the quiet back streets of suburban Brighton & Hove, the sun, was shining aimlessly in through a dusty window from a tatty but not un picturesque garden, orange hot pokers and jasmines, a little patch of lawn, dotted with meadow flowers, as organic as it might be. Dulux white linen covered the awful yellow paper on the walls, the jerry built shabby chic/vintage glass cabinet stood near the back door and the IKEA beech effect dining table and chairs were placed neatly upon the tiles. Cool beneath her feet. It was a nice house; with a bit of character she liked it anyway.

 He put down The Independent on Sunday, Sunday supplement. He stood up he smiled announcing “And now” “ I shall mount my good lady and have some quality time with her” 

She looked over at him from her seat at the other end of the table and thought, “why?” 

She felt a slight wave of heat ripple through her, and the blood rush to her head, her hearing went a little fuzzy. She did nothing and said nothing. As he walked towards her, she stood up and turned to face the archway; she stopped as he reached her. 

This posed an all to common quandary, turning further away would anger him, speaking would anger him, looking into his eyes would anger him. Looking into his eyes would freak her out and always ended in a nightmare. So without further ado, and even less fuss, she did nothing and said nothing.

 She stood still and silent with her head down. He lifted her top up, took her right nipple between his fingers and shook her breast up and down two or three times, a bit like someone slowly shaking out a lighted match. He then put his hand on the small of her back and motioned her up the stairs. As she climbed, he walked behind her, he did not touch her and neither of them spoke. She went into the front bedroom. Again IKEA wardrobes and polished wood flooring, claret walls this time, heirloom pieces, nestled amongst original features, it was a tidy, quiet, calm and orderly house.  

She stood by the bed with her back to him looking out the window; she noticed a seagull on the roof opposite. He motioned her round and undid her trousers; she pulled them off and stood facing him with her head down.  She was motioned to lie on the bed and he lifted her legs. Such a nice chenille throw, she thought, such a good buy. She felt his presence above her head and knew he was there, moving around inside her it didn’t hurt like you might think but she knew because he had broken the skin and she was bleeding.

When he finished, he remarked on the blood, asked her if she was o.k. He mentioned that she should visit her doctor about changing her pill because this kept happening. She replied “yes. It does… I will.” 

 She went to the bathroom and began to clean herself as he went back downstairs. He was right, it did keep on happening, this bleeding. No one will ever be sure but it is entirely possible that it never even occurred to him the reason might be because he was raping her.

 It certainly didn’t occur to her, it was just another day, another Sunday. Same as it had been last week and same as the week before, same as it had been for years, more or less, same as it would be for the rest of their relationship. 

She got up, went out to get the paper, they went to Sainsbury’s, came back, ate some food, read the paper, attempted the cryptic crossword.

A regular  Sunday morning, you could set your watch by it. Then James would go down the pub and she would go upstairs and sit at the computer until it was time to cook.

 He would come home pissed about 7, they would eat the food she’d cooked, then he’d go upstairs to the spare bedroom where he had half worked paintings on the floor. he would sit and gaze at them rarely picking up his brushes while eeking out four cans of lager to last him the night. She would sit downstairs and watch telly until 10.30, then go to bed. He would get into bed, sometime after she was asleep.

 In the last year, he had chosen to sleep in a doss bag in the corridor by the bathroom and she was quite thankful he did. 

The sex happened every so often.  

Obviously there would be some variations on the theme, sometimes they would walk along to the lock gates, or on the South Downs but as sure as night follows day, it would be a fairly similar Sunday all round. 

Diversions might include a visit to his mother’s house to have a sandwich and a chocolate biscuit. Either that or they would have a blazing row at some point during the day, where she might get her stuff broken, dinner thrown on the floor, called a fucking simpleton, a bitch, be spat on or get a punch to the head. 

Sometimes they did both. 

At one point she had taken to getting up before he woke and going out on the bus to Rottingdean or Eastbourne and spending the day there but she couldn’t be arsed with that anymore, in any case she had the computer.

At that point, she didn’t see the day, as anything much, could've been worse. 

 In fact, it was not a bad day at all, all told, could’ve been much worse. Then again, she didn’t see much at all of anything, if she could help it.  

It wasn’t a calculated move on her part but staying still and being quiet was a tactical manoeuvre in its way.  If she had turned away he would have got angry, If she said no he would have become angry, If she had looked into his eyes he would have got angry. It would have ..made things worse. 

It was horrible when he got angry. It was bleak, nasty and horrible. His eyes were the most awful part, that clear light blue that can be so handsome, just wasn't. 

His eyes were fucking weird and she could do without that in her day. He truly behaved like an arsehole. So she got it over with. As he left for the pub, she smiled, gave him a peck on the cheek and waved him off before going about her business.

 James Pound was a grotesque caricature of a man. He hadn’t always been but there he was. That day , it is absolutely certain that he was a vicious, thin, spiteful, bitter creature, filled with mistrust, self pity, self loathing and hate for her, the people around him and the world in general. He poked, he prodded, he goaded, he fished for a fucking fight and gloated when he won. He took no pleasure and he gave none back, He was also a liar, manipulator, destructive and violent. He was dangerous. 

When she thought of him, she saw a Gollum like creature, sitting alone in his self-made darkness, sharpening his teeth. He was racked with paranoia, envy and obsession. He may have also felt guilt but she saw very little to suggest that he had empathy, except to say, that he always told her, he didn’t mean to hurt her, she shouldn’t have listened to him, he was sorry. 

She did not hate him that day nor completely fear him but neither did she have any love for him whatsoever.

 There is absolutely no man or woman who can be certain, he did not know this either but how could he not? It was so patently obvious wasn’t it? She hardly ever touched him. She had told him she disliked him, she told him she did not love him, she told his family she neither liked him nor loved him. 

She had asked him to leave her home so many times, questioned him so many times, asked him, screamed at him to leave her alone, pleaded, said No so many times for so long. 

She had tried to leave him, asked to leave his home, begged to leave him…and now she barely spoke to him at all. Barely looked at him really. He must has known that she didn’t want him anywhere near her, didn’t want him touching her. He must have known she didn’t like him at all if truth be known and certainly didn’t want sex with him!

So why on earth were they still together? And what’s more why on earth were they getting married? 

They had moved into Westbourne Road a year previously, She did almost all the work in the move. She had asked him to marry her 5 months after that and on that day in particular, they were engaged, getting married in 9 months time and she had it in mind that it would be the most brilliant day she could make it.

 At that time, they had lived together for 13 years and things were almost the best they had ever been, almost.           

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