For over a year Reece and Jess kept their marriages separate. Now their wedding bands and her engagement ring lie next to one another on the electric scales.
The short man behind the counter leans in to read the electronic display and says, ‘Eighty.’
Reece’s ring, the larger of the three, is scratched and dulled. He looks at the man behind the counter, then at Jess, who glances back at him, then at the rings.
Jess says, ‘What about the stone?’
The man scribbles on a pad and says, ‘Only gold.’
Reece says, ‘Not as much as I thought.’
The man coughs and says, ‘Ninety. This is all.’
Reece says, ‘We’ll take it.’
The man drops the rings in a drawer by his knees then counts out the money.
Holding hands, Reece and Jess walk through the shopping centre. They use the money to buy dinner in Bella Italia.
Reece pours out the last of the wine.
Jess says, ‘I knew things were going wrong when he suggested a sex night, started buying
Reece smiles. ‘Mine was Fridays.’
She blushes, takes a drink, and says, ‘Mine too.’
He says, ‘Maid?’
‘And secretary. School girl. Air stewardess I think…’
A couple two tables along laugh between themselves.
Reece looks for the waiter, who having finished with another couple, turns and smiles at him.
Reece signs his name in the air.
She says, ‘Why do we do that? Can’t remember the last time I signed a cheque.’ He shrugs, takes out his wallet and places it on the table.
She says, ‘Will the rings cover it?’
‘We’ll have a little left over.’
She tries to catch his eye. ‘We can spend it in the sex shop. On a costume.’
He holds the stem of the wine glass and stares into it. Slowly, he lifts the glass and finishes the wine, before placing it on the table making a gentle chirping sound.
He swallows and with a gentle snarl says, ‘Which one haven’t you worn?’
Jess goes to speak, but stops.
They sit in silence, waiting for the bill.
The waiter arrives and places a silver tray and receipt on the table. Reece counts out the money before the waiter leaves.
The waiter says, ‘I hope you enjoyed your meal.’
Taking his coat from the back of the chair, Reece says, ‘The lamb was tough and the
mediterranean vegetables were undercooked.’
By Adam Lock