Janet had just coaxed four-year-old Anthony into eating his breakfast. It was always a chore, all he wanted to do was play with the puppy, a yellow Labrador bought by Dad for God knows how much. Anthony adored the dog, but Janet still felt it was an extravagance they could ill afford. Simon, husband and breadwinner, had found it difficult to sell high earning financial packages over the last year or so. He was earning far less than he did during the first three years of their marriage; it had been extra tough these last few months.
Unfortunately, Simon still felt it necessary to impress their friends, just as he had last night. Janet had no idea what time her husband had got home. He had probably been down at the golf club with James and Richard, going there straight from his last appointment. She had no problem with Simon socializing but both James, a local councilor and senior partner in his own firm of solicitors, and estate agent owner Richard had far more disposable income than they had. Janet herself had reduced her social events and attendance at the riding club with Susan, Richard’s wife, having explained to her that times were a little difficult. Why couldn’t Simon do the same? “Damn male pride, that’s why,” she mumbled to herself.
“Talking to yourself?” laughed Simon. He wrapped his strong arms around Janet, as she stood at the kitchen counter checking the coffee.
“Just humming to myself,” she said, removing his arms, “Have you got time for a cuppa?”
“Plenty of time,” said Simon. He sensed that not all was well. “What’s up?” he asked as Janet poured the fresh brew and passed it to him.
“Nothing,” she replied. She didn’t want a conversation that was likely to turn into an argument. “Drink your coffee while it’s hot – I’m going to get Anthony ready for playschool.”
Simon did not reply; best leave it until this evening and have a talk when Anthony was in bed, he thought. He had other things on his mind, serious things. Like the next mortgage payment? He would have to talk to Janet soon if things did not pick up. He hoped his chat with James and Richard at the club last night might bring in some business. If he did not get work soon, things would get impossible, and he still had not been accepted as a member at the club. He thought that would have been a cert by this time, seeing as his friend James was on the committee. As a member himself, Simon felt certain there would be more contacts therefore more business leading to more income.