Update 13th Feb: I’m not entirely happy with this flash fiction. I think it is a bit messy and unrealised. Probably not tight enough for a flash. If I hadn’t written it, there are a few places where I think the sentences would confuse me! But people have been kind enough to comment, so I’m leaving it in…
Rob drove his brother home, yet again, wishing he didn’t have a brother. If it wasn’t for Helena and the kids he would have left Simon to wrap his car round a tree years ago.
This excuse for a father and a husband infuriated Rob and he gritted his teeth, clutched the steering wheel, breathed deeply and looked forward to smacking the life out of his leather punch ball later.
Meanwhile, Simon was slouched in the passenger seat, drunkenly blathering about how Rob drove like a girl and it was about time they got a new barmaid in The Travellers Rest now that he’d tired of “playing with that little tart, Emily.”
“I rather suspect it was she who tired of you,” Rob interrupted flatly, wondering what Emily ever had seen in his brother.
“Stupid cow,” Simon slurred. “She didn’t really think I would ever leave my wife for the likes of her did she?”
“Well, you did tell her you would.” Rob stared ahead.
“That type of girl is always on the lookout for a married man to hook.” Simon belched. “No class.”
The car turned off the road and followed the curve of Simon and Helena’s front drive. Rob drove round the side of the house to face the back door, turned the engine off, leaving the headlights on, and pressed his fingertips into his forehead, moaning.
He had acquired a lifetime of strategies to stop himself punching this idiot.
“What I don’t get…” Rob spoke slowly but forcefully, fists clenched “…is this set idea you have that there are two types of women in the world: ones that you leave at home trapped on their pedestal and ones that you shag and then dump when you’re bored – or publicly humiliate because they have dumped you!” He pointed at Simon aggressively as he spat out his words. “Emily is not a tart and nor are any of the other girls that you have duped with your lies and promises and beguiled with your spurious charms! They are vulnerable human beings with the same feelings as the rest of us and you’ve abused their trust and good nature.”
Simon began to laugh and mimic Rob saying “Spuriously” causing Rob to continue with increased animosity.
“You are just so lucky that I have cared too much for Helena to break her heart by telling her about your behaviour in the past. But you’re not getting away with it anymore, Simon. I’m not letting you play your stupid games anymore.”
“What ya gonna do, perfect little Mummy’s boy?” Simon stared back at him, struggling to focus “Ooh, I’m so scared – little Robbie’s got all angry.” Simon laughed hysterically and Rob looked away, waiting for Simon to get out.
Rob watched Simon reeling in the headlights to the back door, taking a key from under a stone, falling over, staggering back up again, letting himself in and switching on the light – just as the kitchen exploded.
A satisfied grin began to spread across Rob’s face but then it dropped again suddenly.
“Oh God. Helena,” Rob whispered and got out of the car. But before he could run to the house someone grabbed his arm.
“No,” Helena said, her eyes reflecting the flames from the house. “Leave him. The children are safe.”
She was wearing a long coat and holding Susie, the black Labrador on a lead in one hand and a small suitcase in the other. “I know about the affairs.”
Rob stared at her in horror.
“It’s okay,” she said, watching the flames. “I don’t blame you for not telling me. I wouldn’t have wanted to know. Not at first anyway.” She glanced at Rob. “He loved you, you know?”
“No, he didn’t. He hated me. He criticised me constantly,” Rob replied.
“Only because he was jealous of you. He was depressed too. Said he’d kill himself if I ever left him.” She stared expressionlessly at the burning kitchen for a moment and then turned and strode down the drive as if taking the dog for its morning walk.
“You’ll have to walk up the slope if you want to use your mobile,” she called back, disappearing into the dark.
“Yes. Yes of course,” faltered Rob, taking his phone out of his pocket.
As he walked to the front of the house and headed up the lane a little way, someone started a car engine and Emily from The Travellers Rest drove past him.