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A/N — Hello. Giving a romance story’ another shot, though I guess this could have also gone under ‘mature’, but I don’t think it really fits the latter. Most stories on here with divorces are generally bitter (particularly in the ‘Loving Wives’ category), usually for drama and conflict, and which does make sense most of the time. But, for this story, I’ve gone a different route.

Hope you enjoy.


“This is the last box, Dad,” I grunted as I carried it towards my old bedroom. Placing it down with all my other worldly possessions, I’m sure many would have considered it rather pathetic that I was moving back home at the age of twenty-five. I certainly hadn’t planned on it happening, but sometimes, life throws a curveball or two.

No surprise Mum had already opened one of the boxes and started putting things away. She noticed my arrival, hearing the thump of the box on the floor, turning back and blushing slightly. “I thought I’d…”

“It’s fine, Mum. You’re just helping.”

“Want a beer, Mark?”

“Love one, Dad.”

I followed him back to the kitchen, open plan with the dining table nearby. Mum followed us out, taking a seat, Dad grabbing a couple of beers and a bottle of wine from the fridge. Handing me a bottle, I popped the cap and took a sip, Mum pouring herself a glass of wine at the same time. Leaning back in the chair, I removed my cap and sighed, running fingers through my dark hair.

“So how were things when you were leaving?”

“She couldn’t stop crying.” I sighed and shook my head. “We both know it’s for the best, but she’s still my best friend. I still love her. But it just wasn’t working. We agreed to part on good terms before it got toxic and we hated each other.”

“Was it really that bad?” Dad wondered, “You never said much about it.”

“I’m twenty-five, so we’ve known each other over half our lives. We met at primary school when we were ten. Started dating at fifteen. We were each other’s firsts in just about everything. No-one was surprised when I popped the question. But we’re different people to who we were at fifteen, eighteen, even twenty-one. She didn’t want to let me go that final time….” I trailed off and shook my head again. “We’re both hurting, but we agreed.”

“Sure you’re not being too hasty?” Mum asked softly.

“We haven’t been happy in at least a year, if not longer. We’re just too different now, and there’s no real common ground between us, and we have different expectations. Not just regarding marriage, but life in general. I hate that it sounds like we’ve given up, but although we can’t be together, we wanted to maintain that friendship. That is what was worth saving. We’ll hurt for now, we’ll need to mend bridges, but we’ll get there.” I took a sip of beer. “Our break-up is better than most, to be honest. She’s got a friend taking the spare room in the apartment. She was there as I was leaving and she was as upset as my wife is. At least she doesn’t hate me for it. I can only assume Emma told her the reason why.”

“Will you see her anytime soon?”

“We agreed not to see each other for a couple of months, though if she wants to message or call, I’m always available.” I held up my hand. “I’m still her husband but I had to take it off. We’re not only separated, we know the end result of this separation. She said she wasn’t going to remove hers, though I hope she does. She deserves happiness with someone who can provide what she really wants. I just wasn’t that man in the end.” I lowered my head again, feeling the need to wipe my eyes. “Going to miss the hell out of her,” I whispered to myself.

I felt a hand on my shoulder. “You’ll get there, son. And I’m glad you’re not throwing away fifteen years as friends.”

“Neither of us would allow that. Last thing she said before I walked away was that I’d always be her best friend. And I feel the same way. But being married just wasn’t working. I just hope we don’t look back in a decade and regret it. But it’s better this way than in a decade, and a bitter divorce because we utterly despise each other. Has to be something worth saving now.”

“So what will you do?” Mum wondered.

“Focus on work. Now that I’m over this way, I’ll have to change my website, plus I’ll start putting up some cards and flyers around the neighbourhood. A lot of the work I do get is through word of mouth. I do work on someone’s house, then their friend or relative calls, so on and so forth. My guys will have to travel a little further from time to time, but I don’t want to let them go either.” Taking a deep breath, I asked, “So where are the tearaways? Going to be a full house again for a while.”

“Michelle is out with some friends from university. Jamie is at work.”

Michelle and Jamie were my younger sisters. Our relationship was horrific at times while growing up, but since they’d turned into adults, it was much better. We could now be in the same room together and not be left wanting to kill each other. Though, to be fair, their relationship was worse at the best Sarıyer escort bayan of times, it was only when they ganged up on me that only nuclear warfare looked worse. Or better, depending on your point of view. Emma did always wonder why I preferred being at her place more often than not, even if her parents were home or not.

Moving into the living room, Dad flicked on the TV as normal, Mum sat next to me on the couch. “So what’s the gossip?” I wondered, “Haven’t lived here in six years.”

“Mark, it’s a street of divorced single women now. Some living alone. Some still have kids at home. Some have new boyfriends.”

I felt my eyebrows rise in surprise. “Really? That bad?”

“Your father and I, and I think only four other marriages are still going strong. They were falling like bowling pins at one stage. I mean, I know divorce rates are high, but the rate they were failing here was ridiculous.” She met my eyes and smirked. “If you’re back on the market…”

“Nooooo. No. No. No. No. I know most of them, Mum. Probably went to school in the same year, or at least know their kids too. That is playing with fire.”

“Shame. You’d be a catch. Handsome young man with his own business.”

“You have to say I’m handsome because you’re my mother.”

“Emma married you for a reason.”

“I’m looking at getting divorced from her too, Mum.”

She glanced at the nearby cabinet where a photo of Emma and I sat, taken the day we’d wed. “Well, I’m your mother, and I think you’re handsome.”

“Thanks, Mum.”

“You’re welcome, sweetie. What do you want for dinner?”

“I’m not bothered. Whatever you two want with the girls.” I finished my beer. “I’d better go sort out my room. I’m not the messy little bastard I was ten years ago, at least.”

I sighed again when I arrived at the doorway. It had been decorated since I moved out, at least. New coat of paint. New mattress, thankfully now a double bed. I didn’t really plan on bringing any girls back, but you never know. The wife and I had made love the night before I left her. It probably wasn’t the best idea, but our sex life had always been great. It was everything outside of the bedroom that went wrong. And great sex wasn’t a good enough reason to remain married.

Still, making love then have her falling asleep in my arms for the last time… the feelings of melancholy would likely take time to fade away.

I was still clearing up when my sisters arrived home within an hour of each other. Michelle first, who watched me put things away before she gave me a hug. “Bad reason but my big brother is home, at least for a while,” she said, resting her head against my chest.

“Missed me?”

“Yeah. Don’t tell Mum or Dad I said that though.”

“My lips are sealed.”

Jamie turned up as I was lying back on my bed, playing with my phone. She flopped onto the bed next to me, snuggling into me. “Okay, this is highly unusual,” I exclaimed, chuckling away.

“Enjoy it while it lasts, Mark. We’ll probably start annoying you within a week.”

“Long as you don’t hog the bathroom while I’m getting ready for work, you’ll be fine.”

She kissed my cheek. “Mark, I know things weren’t great while growing up, but Michelle and I… we love our big brother. And while you’re home for a bad reason, it’ll be better this time around. We promise.”

I kissed her forehead. “Thanks, Jamie.”

“Are you okay?”

I sighed. “It could be worse. Could have ended in arguments of hate and a bitter divorce. Instead, it’s just a divorce but hopefully we’ll remain friends. I’ve said, if she were to remarry, I’d walk her down the aisle.”

“You would?”

“She doesn’t have a father. I’m her best friend.”

“So it’s really over?”

“It has to be to save some sort of relationship with her. Can’t imagine my life without her in it somehow. She feels the same way.”

Joining them for dinner that night was the first time we’d dined as a family, outside of birthdays and holidays, since I’d moved out. Once Emma and I were living together, we focused on each other, and to be honest, I spent more time with her parents, and then her mother after her father walked out and disappeared. I was left in no doubt everyone was doing their best to help my mood, plenty of jokes and old stories that had us reminiscing. I noticed they tried to avoid anything to do with Emma, but assured them she’d been a major part of my life, but also theirs. I wasn’t going to break down in tears at every mention of her name.

“We should have a party next weekend,” Mum suggested, “Weather is getting warmer, the pool could do with some use. A re-introduction to the neighbourhood.”

I groaned. “You just want to set me up with someone already.”

She playfully slapped my arm. “Nothing like that, though I guess you and your father might feel slightly outnumbered if they were all to accept an invitation. Nothing more than nibbles, drinks and some might want a dip in the pool.”

“Honey, they’re going to Silivri escort be all over him,” Dad muttered, “Newly single man like him? He’s going to be a lamb to slaughter.” Then he looked up at me. “But you’re guaranteed work around here. Probably nothing major, but even doing something like mowing, tending to gardens, that sort of thing. But I know a few want to update their houses.”

“Guess they’ll want some sort of deal, right?”

“I’m sure you could work something out,” Michelle stated, a twinkle in her eye.

Jamie started giggling at the insinuation. “Michelle Taylor! Get your mind out of the gutter,” Mum exclaimed.

I just shook my head, eating the rest of my dinner in silence, the family gathering in the living room for a quiet Saturday night in, before heading to bed. Waking alone the next morning sucked. I had spent some nights alone in the spare bedroom during the worst part of our marriage, but we always ended up back in the same bed, at least. Lying there by myself, mind going at a million miles an hour, I was left wondering if we’d done the right thing. I guess the doubts would eat at my mind until I actually moved on.

Getting back to work on the Monday was the best thing. I kept my mind and body busy as I had a couple of major jobs to complete. The lads who I employed didn’t complain when I told them there was a good chance most of my work would be closer to where I was living now. I didn’t particularly like travelling all over the city, preferring to remain relatively local, maybe willing to travel fifteen to twenty k’s at most. Not unless it was a big job and worth a lot of money. That would always make travelling worthwhile.

Mum spent all week calling around, preparing the party for the Saturday night. I’ll be honest, it did give me something to look forward to. I intended to keep myself busy all week so I could relax and unwind on Saturday. I recognised some of the names Mum gave me of those invited, figuring those divorced may have reverted to their maiden names. I had gone to school with most of their kids, but many of them no longer lived at home. Michelle and Jamie remained at home simply due to rent being so damned expensive unless you house share, and buying a house for young people is prohibitively expensive. Emma and I were married, and even with our joint incomes, buying was almost impossible unless you wanted to move miles away from anyone you know and accept the smallest property available.

Returning home mid-afternoon on Saturday, a few people had already arrived, popping my head out the sliding door that led onto the decking where the pool was, then the large backyard, letting the parents know I’d shower, dress, then come say hello. It was unseasonably warm, and my side gig in landscape gardening was physically demanding at times. As I told people, jack of all trades, master of none.

Throwing on a light blue polo shirt and light colour slacks, I walked outside barefoot to join those who had already arrived. I recognised plenty of faces, receiving a kiss on each cheek from all the women. As Mum had warned, there were no men present yet, though three married couples had accepted to come, though they’d likely only arrive later. Gossip spreads quickly in the suburbs, and they all seemed to know about my separation and impending divorce. Dad then announced what I did for a living, and that I was looking for work.

The glare I gave the old man actually made him slink away for an hour.

Enjoying a couple of drinks as the sun started to set, Dad flicked on the outside lights, including those in the pool. My two sisters wandered out in bikinis to take a dip, no surprise at least half a dozen of our visitors joined them. I was prepared to go find my swimming shorts when the next visitor stopped me in my tracks.

I’m sure most young men have had fantasies of an older woman or two while they went through puberty. Sometimes it’ll be a teacher at school. Sometimes it’ll be a neighbour you’ve known as you grew up. Sometimes it’ll be the mother of a friend. My fantasy, apart from my girlfriend, was the mother of my best friend, Steven.


I’d known her first name for years, but I always called her ‘Mrs Wilkinson’, even after I turned eighteen and she’d laughingly said I could drop the title and formality. But it was a simple bit of respect in her direction. She appeared through the sliding doors wearing a simple white blouse, figure hugging jeans, open toed sandals. I saw the colour red on her toes. She had raven black hair, a pair of chocolate brown eyes, and that olive skin that only come from someone of Mediterranean extraction. I knew her parents, or maybe it was her grandparents, had immigrated from Italy in the 1950s.

I also knew how old she was. Forty-two years old. She’d fallen pregnant while still at high school. The scandal was the age of Steven’s father at the time, as he was at least ten years older than her. The only reason the family didn’t do anything to him, not in a legal sense but Escort Topkapı having father, uncles and brothers beat the ever living shit out of him, was that he promised to take care of the child and put a ring on her finger too. He’d bought the house five doors up from ours, and my mother had adopted her as a younger sister from the get go.

She locked eyes immediately on me and smiled. I’d been a fixture at her house for years, as much as Steven had been at mine. We’d been two peas in a pod, running amok around the neighbourhood. Gliding towards me, she embraced my tall frame. “It’s so lovely to see you again, Mark,” she practically cooed. She’d always liked me.

“Lovely to see you again, Mrs Wilkinson.”

She leaned back, her smile faltering slightly. “No, that won’t do, Mark. Please, call me Eva, like I’ve asked many times now.” The smile then left her face entirely. “And I’m no longer Mrs Wilkinson.”

I felt my brow furrow. “What do you mean?”

“You don’t know? Steven never told you why he left?”

“No,” I replied cautiously, “It’s the one thing I’ve always wondered, and he’s never told me about.”

She lowered then shook her head. “Damn it, this isn’t the time or place,” she muttered, before looking up, “I’m going by my maiden name now. Eva Ricci,” she added with a smile.

I cleared my throat, kissing her cheek. “Lovely to see you again, Miss Ricci.”

She laughed at that. And I was suddenly transported back to those awkward teenage years when I dreamed about my best friend’s mother in entirely naughty ways. She took my arm and had me escort her around, saying hello to everyone around the neighbourhood. I hadn’t seen my best friend in at least five years. He’d never been home to visit since the day he’d flown out. I tried keeping in contact with him, but it was minimal at best. I still tried but it was mostly a one-way relationship.

Eva let go of my arm as I made a beeline for my mother. She could read my face easily and had seen me walking around with Eva. “You don’t know, do you?”

“Know what, Mum? Steven’s gone for some reason and she’s now a divorcee?”

Mum sighed. “It was never our place to say anything. Gossip is one thing, but what happened with them…” She looked up. “I’m sorry, sweetie. It’s something she’ll have to share with you herself.”

Dad added, “She’ll probably ask you for help. She lives alone now and I know she’s finding the upkeep on her house difficult.”

“Oh…” The idea of Eva living alone? Madness. She should have suitors lined up around the block for her. Not in a bad way, but if she was divorced, surely she’d have a new boyfriend or something? Gorgeous woman like that, and I knew she had a good job. Soon as Steven was at school, she finished her HSC and then completed a university course.

It grew darker. I made sure I ate as I sank a few beers. Michelle and Jamie barely left the pool and were soon calling me, and others, to join them. I headed inside to change into my shorts, wandering back out, immediately aware a few pair of eyes wandered towards me. I guess being six-one, rather fit after nearly a decade of gym work, a rather good tan as I worked outdoors and shirtless when it was warm… Emma admitted she’d always found me physically attractive, but she always said my best feature was my blue eyes.

“I don’t always know what you’re thinking, Mark, but I certainly know what you’re feeling. Your baby blues are the most expressive I’ve ever seen,” she said quite early on in our relationship.

Joining my sisters in the pool led to quite a few others throwing off clothes and joining in. And, I’ll be honest, the skin on display to prove rather titillating. And I was impressed at the confidence. Most of the women would have been in their early forties at least, but most of them had no problem walking around in a bikini. They might have been a little thicker than they were in their twenties, but most of them still had ‘it’.

When Eva stripped off to reveal an absolutely gorgeous red bikini, that’s when I was in trouble. All the blood in my body was ‘all systems go’, straight towards my cock. “Fuck,” I muttered. I know I stared. I couldn’t help staring. Again, I was that awkward teenager, watching the object of my dreams walk towards the same pool I was in, carefully stepping into the pool, watching her swim under the water for a few seconds, before surfacing near me. With her wet hair against…

“Fucking hell,” I muttered. She returned what I could only call a flirtatious grin before she swam to float next to me, my arms spread against the edge of the pool.

“I’ll have to thank your mother for inviting me,” she said, “It’s nice to see you again after so long, Mark.”

“Sorry it’s been so long.”

“You were married and lived far enough away I wasn’t your concern, Mark. You don’t have to worry about your friends’ old mother.”

I snorted. “Old? You serious?”

“Older than you, Mark. Not as old as your parents, but old enough. Old enough that Michael…” She stopped herself as Mum appeared, lowering a glass of wine for Eva, a bottle of beer for me. “I thought you would know everything.” I shook my head. “I’ll tell you later sometime. Not tonight. Tonight is about your return. I know it’s not under good circumstances, but I think some of these women will keep you busy.”

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