“Yeah, just like Charlotte to choose someone like that. She always knew how to pick 'em.”
That confirmed it, they were talking about her; she knew they would, she just knew they would.
“And they were always getting into fights,” continued her mother. Charlotte twisted her not quite white robe about her; tightly clasped the upstairs phone and pressed it against her unwashed mousey hair; she gritted her teeth.
“Where's she now?” That was her mother's best friend and a right nosey parker she was too. Charlotte had never liked her; Charlotte frowned and jabbed her finger at the wall.
“She's back here, and she's being a right misery, moping about all day, at least when she's up, in bed all morning she is. Thought I'd got rid when she married that pig. But she's back; knew she would. And what's she like: she wants him back, then she don't, then she's sobbing, then she wants him again, right getting me down she is.”
“Did he? You know, what we suspected,” interjected the nosey parker.
“She says not. Just don't believe her, all the signs are there; and we all told her he was capable, right capable. Didn't we, even on her wedding day. Still thought it would last longer than two weeks. Only two weeks, get that. Not even had time to chuck the junk out of her room.”
Charlotte put the receiver down as quietly as she could; a pointless subterfuge. Flew down the stairs and flung open the living room door. Grabbed the main phone off her mother, fiddled desperately to switch it off and, disconsolately, flung it on the floor.
“That was a private conversation,” said Charlotte's mother, and smiled the most annoying of smiles; one that could only incense Charlotte more.
“Might have been, how would you know? Weren't eavesdropping were we. So did he hit you or not?”
“Might have, keep your nose out, it's nothing to do with you.”
Charlotte's mother waited and smiled that annoying smile again. “It is if you move back here. Well?”
“It was only a couple of times,” said Charlotte. ”he didn't mean it.”
The whole house shook as Charlotte slammed the door then rattled to the thud, thud, thud of her stomping back upstairs. There was another crash as her bedroom door slammed. Then silence and the occasional sound of sobbing. Charlotte's mother recovered the phone and confirmed it was still connected.
“That was her,” said Charlotte's mother, “still got the black eye, coming up a real treat. Suppose that's what happens when you marry someone like that. I'd better go talk to her, no second thoughts, think I'd better wait a bit.” And she calmly disconnected the phone and sighed.