The Secret Party

Entry by: Alobear

18th March 2016
The Secret Party

The key slid into the lock and Martin turned it. He pushed the front door open and stepped into the house. It was cold and dark, and he shivered a little as he made his way inside. He walked through the entire house, switching all the lights on as he went. The electricity bill was the least of his worries. Someone had switched the central heating off, presumably to stop it coming on twice a day like usual. Martin put it back on, wondering how long it would take to chase the chill from the living room.

He considered that the emptiness and temperature of the house pretty well matched his state of mind. He felt very alone, and there was a hole inside him where his confidence and contentment usually resided. It felt very strange being here, and he remembered that he had never actually been in the house on his own before. He had made that point to Julia the day before; wasn’t it every boy’s dream to have a weekend in his parents’ house without them being there?

“If I knew anyone who still lived in Manchester, I could throw a party,” he had joked, though he hadn’t felt very jovial.

Julia had smiled briefly, but she hadn’t really reacted. Martin wasn’t sure what she had been doing at the time, but it was probably something to do with her job. That was why she hadn’t come up to Manchester with him; she had some big meeting on Monday and needed to focus on preparing for it over the weekend. So, he had spent a solitary train journey and taxi ride, and now here he was.

It was late, as he had known it would be by the time he arrived. Visiting hours at the hospital were long over, so he wouldn’t be able to see his father until the following day. Martin looked at his watch; he had only been in the house for half an hour, and he already wished he was on his way home again. The rest of the night stretched ahead, with nothing to relieve the boredom and loneliness.

A knock at the front door made him jump. Nobody in Manchester knew he was here; and who on earth would be visiting at this time of night, anyway? Martin moved cautiously to the door and opened it a crack. Julia stood on the other side. Martin let the door swing open, completely stunned.

Julia offered up a hesitant smile.

“I heard there was a party,” she said. She raised the two shopping bags she was carrying. “I brought beer and snacks.”

“What about your meeting?” Martin asked.

Julia winced. “Sod the meeting,” she said. “You are so much more important to me than any stupid meeting. I know I was being a selfish idiot. Can you forgive me?”

Warmth and light flowed into Martin’s heart, and suddenly the house seemed much more like a home again. He relieved Julia of one of the bags and slipped his other arm around her as she stepped through into the hallway.

“Of course,” he said. “Now, shall we get this party started, then?”