They’d just gotten back from their very modest honeymoon in France, having managed to persuade Carolyn to give them a wedding present of free flights provided Martin flew himself out and they didn’t drink anything from the mini-bar. They were now unpacking, Sophie Crieff nee Duffy lobbing dirty clothes at Martin through the open kitchen door while he in turn chucked them into the washing machine.
‘Did you even wear this?’ He was holding up a white sundress.
‘I wore it on the first night. It smells of suntan lotion.’
She smiled as she watched him sniffing at it experimentally before shrugging and throwing it in the washing machine with the rest of the load.
‘I’ve got something important I have to tell you.’ Sophie was coming into the kitchen now, a pair of white boxers in her hands, which she gave to Martin.
‘That the last of it?’ Martin was shutting the washing machine door and fiddling with the buttons on the front as Sophie opened one of the cupboards to retrieve the washing powder. She took a breath.
She’d been building up to the revelation ever since they’d finished walking down the aisle together arm in arm, two newly engraved rings on their fingers. She’d planned on telling him before they left on their honeymoon, but they’d both sort of crashed after the reception. And then telling him while he was flying hadn’t seemed the best of ideas. Then she’d tried to tell him at the little café round the corner from their hotel on their first night, but he’d accidentally knocked the bottle of wine off the table after the amuse bouche and they’d never got to the main course.
Somehow the rest of the week had passed and Sophie had wimped out at every opportunity to tell Martin he was going to be a father. He’d even provided her with an opening line when they’d walked past a set of twins in the market stuffing their faces with fraise.
‘Kids in France must get far more than their five-a-day with all this fresh fruit. Wish we had such luxuries back home.’
She should have said, ‘Maybe we should start looking for places in France then,’ or even ‘Douglas could give us smuggled strawberries at the baby shower.’ What she’d actually said was, ‘I’m really craving strawberries now.’ which was odd, considering how nauseous she had felt.
As Martin spun on his heel, an exclamation on the tip of his tongue that he never got out she was reconsidering her plan of attack. He’d spun himself straight into the cupboard that Sophie had opened behind him and knocked himself out cold.
He came too lying on the kitchen floor in the recovery position with a tea towel pressed to his forehead, Sophie kneeling beside him.
It took a moment for the reason for his recumbent position to come back to him.
Sophie nodded bashfully, giving a shy smile.
‘Then I’m brilliant.’