He knew he was doing it to spite Martina–to punish her. He wanted to punish her for being with another man and flaunting it in his face. He stood waiting for the lift. He was on his way up to Greta’s flat. He was taking her to dinner and then the theater. He was going to try to enjoy the evening even if it killed him.
The lift arrived and he went up. No one was there so he leaned against the glass and closed his eyes. He was all mixed up inside. He wanted to get Martina out of his system but he knew that was impossible. He wanted to make love to her and he wanted to choke the life out of her for what she was doing to him. He wanted to forget her with another woman but that wasn’t bloody likely. So, he was stuck.
The lift stopped and he opened his eyes. He walked out and headed down the brightly lit corridor to Greta’s flat. In his breast pocket were the tickets for the much talked about play, Halfmoon Happenings and in his pocket of his trousers was his cell. He was sorely tempted to call Martina and see if she was home and if she was, he would go over there and demand answers. Then, he decided he wasn’t going to do that. He raised his hand and rang the doorbell.
A few minutes later, the door opened and Greta stood there, smiling and looking very smart in a black dress. “Hello,” she said. “You’re right on time.”
He forced a smile. “Hello.”
“Let me just grab my purse.” She went away and soon returned. “You’re looking very dapper,” she remarked as they walked to the lift.
“Thank you. And you’re looking rather lovely.”
She blushed. “Thank you. You know I was very surprised but rather pleased when you called and asked me to have dinner and go to the theater with you.”
“I apologize for the short notice and I’m very grateful that you didn’t already have plans.”
She smiled. “Even if I had plans, I would have cancelled them for you, Laird.”
He didn’t answer. He knew that she was in love with him and it bothered him that he was using her like this but he needed a distraction. He needed to be out somewhere and with someone instead of at home, alone with his thoughts. He would probably end up getting plastered or going over to Martina’s place and making a complete fool of himself.
They had a very pleasant dinner before heading to the theatre. They had very good seats. Soon the place was filling up and then the lights went down and the show began. He sat there, trying not to think about Martina.
During intermission, he excused himself and went outside in the lobby to check for phone messages. There were a couple of business related calls. His heart skipped a beat when he heard the one from Martina. Hearing her voice made him ache for her. He wanted to call her back but the intermission was almost over. He turned off his cell and went back inside. For the second half of the play, his mind was elsewhere.
“That was one of the best plays I have seen in a long time,” Greta remarked as they walked to the car. “Did you like it?”
“Yes, I did.” I would rather be in bed with Martina, though. His body reacted to the thought and he made up his mind at that moment that he was going to see her. After staying away for weeks, he knew he couldn’t go another moment without seeing her.
He took Greta home. “Thank you for this evening,” he said as they stood outside her door.
“Wouldn’t you come in for a nightcap?” she asked.
“Thanks, but no. There’s somewhere I need to be.”
“There’s someone you would rather be with now, isn’t there?”
“Yes.” Even if she’s two-timing me. I can’t live without her.
“It’s the woman at the bar in the restaurant we went to last week, isn’t it? I saw the look you two exchanged and I could see that you were upset when you saw her and the man together.”
“Yes.” He had forgotten how observant Greta was. “Did anyone else notice?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Greta, I would be very grateful if you didn’t mention it to anyone.”
“You have my word that I wouldn’t, Laird.” She smiled but her expression was one of sadness. “She’s a very lucky woman.”
“Goodnight, Laird.” She wanted to tell him that if things didn’t work out, she was there to step in but she didn’t. Even if this other woman didn’t exist, she still wouldn’t have had any chance with him. She was just a good friend and would never be anything more. Well, she would be his friend for as long as he needed her. It was better than nothing.