– 7 –

The next morning Jack came and found Rose in the bedroom.

‘Here’s your car key, sweetie. How did you get here?’

‘Peter drove me down.’

‘Who? That wimp?’ Just the mention of Peter was enough for Jack to lose his temper. Lately, he had grown unusually intolerant of Peter.

‘He’s not a wim…’

‘Shut-up and listen to me first, you stupid bitch. Once I am finished, you can blurt out your filth. You are putting some wimp in a superior position to me here. For me, you can call it quits anytime you like. From now on, I don’t want any mention of him. Get it? You better get it. You were saying?’

‘I just wante…’

‘Whatever…,’ said he with the brush of hand and stormed out, banging the door behind him. He shouldn’t have. At least not today, of all days.

***

‘Don’t you dare…,’ Peter said, appearing a bit agitated with Rose.

His visit this evening was not one of his usual. Today was something special to him. He had been waiting for nearly a couple of months now for this day. Rose with her open blonde hair was looking absolutely ravishing in red top and grey slacks.

She looked puzzled and a little exasperated since this was the first time she had seen Peter in an angry mood, ‘Dare what Peter?  What have I d…?’

‘Don’t you dare look so cute in front of me, young lady. I am warning you.’

Rose burst out laughing.

‘Gosh, you look cute enough to eat! I am your regular nice guy but who knows? If you continue looking this delicious, I might pounce on you. Seriously!’

‘You will do nothing of the sort Peter. I know you well enough to know that.’

‘Don’t be so sure. Anyway, these are for you.’

‘Why the Roses, Peter?’

‘You know the date today. 11th day of July. I wish you many happy returns. And may the best of your past be the worst of your future.’

Rose blushed and lowered her eyes, ‘Oh! That’s so thoughtful of you, Peter. Even I forgot it’s my birthday today.’

‘Um…I would love to take you out this evening, Rose. If you don’t have any plans for the evening, could…’

‘I do, Peter… Jack wants to take me out. I’ll put these away,’ said Rose, feeling embarrassed.

Rose put the Roses in her bedroom and looked lovingly at them, obviously deeply moved. She then went back into the living room.

‘Where’s Linda? I thought she would be here to wish you as well. And Jack? Has he rung? I wonder if he knows it’s your birthday today.’

‘Jack hasn’t called yet. He’s probably coming in the evening’

‘Probably? But you said a moment ago that you have plans with Jack. To go out!’

‘Oh, I must’ve been somewhere else,’ said Rose annoyingly.

Peter looked embarrassed. He was also overcome with that fit of helplessness and emptiness he got when he felt Rose was slipping away from him.

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