The Interview


I suppose I should start this from when I first noticed things were not going well at home. My Dad seemed to be spending more and more time at work and business trips involving nights away had become far more frequent. I knew that his secretary accompanied him on these trips, but she always had, so that had never seemed to be all that significant to me at the time. While he was away there was just Mum, my little sister Joanne and me. Although Mum seemed distracted at these times, I just thought it was because she was missing him being there and having to make all the decisions about what happened in the family alone.

I was in my final year at University when I first noticed that things were worse than I had realised. I suppose I had been too much wrapped up in my exams and hanging out with my friends until then, but one night I came home a little earlier than was usual. I had gone into town with Steve, my best friend, but getting off the bus he had tripped and hurt his arm. The bus driver called an ambulance and we were dispatched to the Hospital. Luckily nothing was broken, but he was still in a lot of pain, so after being fixed up at ‘Casualty’, we decided the evening was going nowhere and we took a taxi and came home. As I opened the front door I heard raised voices in the lounge. Mum and Dad were having a row. This was odd, because they very seldom rowed and certainly not in front of us children. I know I was out, but Joanne was in bed and she was a light sleeper. I looked up the stairs and she was sitting on the top step, crying.

I must have still been in the ‘taking charge’ mode from helping Steve, and explaining to his parents what had happened, so I pushed open the door to the lounge and said loudly “Pack it in you two, you are upsetting Joanne.” Then I went up the stairs, picked my sister up and put her back in bed. I stayed with her until Dad came up and took over. Joanne had always been a ‘Daddies Little Princess’ and as I felt I was no longer needed I went back downstairs.

Mum was in the kitchen and she made light of it, saying it was just one of those family things, all couples have rows but it had got a bit heated and they hadn’t realised they had been so loud they had woken Joanne up. I could see she was still angry, but she hid her feelings well and that was the end of it. By morning everything seemed back to normal, but when Dad told us he was going to be away all the next week, I could feel the atmosphere in the room change.

Things at home seemed to go back to normal, but looking back with the benefit of hindsight I can see now how quiet Mum was getting at these times, but I honestly can’t say that I gave it too much thought at the time.

I think it was over that Christmas and New Year that I really noticed the change. Mum and Dad were hardly speaking by then and when they did the effort to keep things civil was obvious. It was as if the light had gone out of their relationship and what really worried me was that nobody was talking about it. For as long as I could remember, if we had a problem, we would sit down together and talk it out, but now everyone was retreating into their own corners and nothing was allowed to be mentioned. I did try to get them to talk about what I could feel was happening, but Dad just got angry. He said it was something he and Mum had to work out for themselves and none of my business. Mum just ran upstairs and locked herself in the bathroom.

During my final year at University, there had been a ‘Recruitment Event’ where companies looking for graduates made contact with possible candidates for positions they wished to fill. No concrete offers of jobs were made, it was all dependent on final grades, but useful initial contacts were made with possible future employers.

Dad was away again when I was moving out of the house I had shared with four other students in my final year so Mum drove over and we cleared all of my things from my room into the back of her car. I sensed she was upset, but didn’t want to say anything because whenever Dad was away on one of his business trips these days she was always a little touchy.

One of the other guys in the house bumped into her as she was carrying one of my bags out to the car and as he passed my door he looked into my room, where I was packing more things into a suitcase. “You’re a dark horse” he said, “Where have you been hiding her? All that ‘I’m here to work not play’ and ‘There’s nobody special in my life’ was just a bluff. No wonder you sloped off home at every opportunity. So! The girlfriend from back home finally shows up to help you move out. I don’t blame you for keeping quiet about her though mate; she is a real ‘honey’.”

“Will you push off Dan” I laughed, “I’m sure my mother will be gratified to know you think she is a ‘honey’ although somehow I don’t think my Dad would be quite so impressed.”

“Your Mother? You have got to be joking” Dan gasped, “Honestly John I thought she was your girlfriend. She’s really your Mother? – WOW!”

My results were even better than I had bostancı escort dared to hope for. I had gained an honours degree, passing out in the top 5% of my year. Graduation day arrived and the whole family came. For the first time in ages we felt like a family again. Dad and Mum were actually speaking to each other without the undercurrent of hostility that had been there for the last year. Even little Joanne seemed to want to be around her big brother, which didn’t seem to happen very much these days, she was going through a stage of hating all boys, whoever they were. The only exception to this was Dad, who in her eyes could do no wrong.

Contacting the companies from the recruitment fair I had very promising responses from three of them. The one I really hoped would be interested was a large international drug company in the North Midlands. Their letter was the last of the three positive ones to arrive. They wanted me to come up to their main research facility, where I would be the guest of their recruitment team for three days. The company would pay all of my expenses, including travel and accommodation. I would be shown around the research and production facilities so that I could get some idea of things they were working on, then assuming I was still interested in the position there would be a day of interviews and assessments. I could then expect to hear if I had been successful within two weeks, following the usual security checks and references.

I telephoned the number on the letter and said I was very interested in applying for the position, and that I was available to attend whenever it suited them. The lady asked me to hold while she checked on available dates. When she came back she suggested a date a couple of weeks ahead. She also suggested that I arrive on the Sunday so that my tour of the facility could begin on the Monday morning. She said they would write to confirm the arrangements, and if I would keep all tickets and receipts, travel costs would be reimbursed when I arrived.

The letter of confirmation arrived in the post a couple of days later, with details about the hotel I had been booked into for four nights, to include the Sunday and Wednesday nights. The letter explained that Wednesday would be quite a full and stressful day, so suggested that I might like to stay the extra night and then travel home on the Thursday.

When Dad read the letter he said that was very considerate of them, most firms would have booked accommodation for just the Monday and Tuesday nights. If they were being that considerate they must be fairly sure I had the expertise they were looking for. The letter gave some information about the company, the starting rates and grades in the research department; where they were hoping to employ me. He was really impressed with the salary package they were offering and said that it was plain, with that and such a long selection process, they were only interested in the absolute ‘pick of the crop’ of graduates.

I booked train tickets and Mum drove me to the station. Dad was packing for a four day business trip to France and couldn’t spare the time. Mum was, as was usual these days when he was going away, rather quiet. I asked her if she was alright but she said it was nothing, just she was feeling her age as ‘her little boy was flying the nest’.

I hugged her and said “I’ll be back on Thursday and if I get the job I will only be a couple of hours away by car. You can’t get rid of me that easily, I am the bad penny that always turns up. Anyway” I said, tickling her ribs, which always made her smile, “What’s all this feeling your age rubbish? Do you remember when we were clearing my things from my digs, when you were taking a bag to the car you nearly knocked one of my house mates down the steps?”

Mum looked puzzled, “I think so” she said.

“Well that was Dan” I told her, “You know, the one I told you about who has a new girl every week and all of them gorgeous. He thought you were my girlfriend and called me ‘a dark horse’ for keeping quiet about you. When I told him you were my mother he didn’t believe me at first, then he just said ‘Your mother – WOW!’ You might be feeling your age but you certainly don’t look it Mum, you are a very attractive lady and I’m not just saying that because you are my mum, it’s a fact. Dan doesn’t give out complements when talking about girls unless he really means them and he thought so too.”

“You’ve got your dad’s gift for flattery” said Mum, smiling all over her face, “Just like him you could charm the birds out of the trees. Go on now, don’t miss your train or I will have to drive you all the way there; because this is the only one today.”

I didn’t even think about it, it just came out. “Why don’t you?” I said, “Joanne is having a sleepover tonight with Caroline. Dad is packing and will be going in about an hour anyway. I can phone him and tell him I missed my train, so you are driving me up to my hotel. Then we could have dinner together at the hotel. What else have you got to go home ümraniye escort bayan for? Is spending an evening alone in an empty house watching TV all that exciting? Come on, we don’t spend enough time together these days and it would be really nice, just the two of us having dinner together.”

I could see Mum was wavering. I think the comment about the empty house was making her seriously consider what I had suggested.

“An hour, maybe an hour and a half and Dad will be gone until Friday” I said, “There’s nothing you have to be here for. You can phone Caroline’s Mum, let her know where you are going and she can ring you on your mobile if she needs you. Tell her the same as I tell Dad, I have missed my train and you are taking me up to Shropshire for my interview. She’s looking after Joanne anyway tonight so it’s not a problem. Come on, have an evening out with me and I’ll buy you dinner.”

“You know” said Mum, “I think I will. What have I go to rush back for? Your father doesn’t give a damn if I am there or not and I am just going to be sitting in an empty house watching TV till I go to bed. Get back in the car, dinners on you, I could do with an evening out, I never go anywhere these days so let’s do it.”

As we pulled out of the station car park the train was just pulling in. I rang home and when Dad answered I told him we had been held up on the way to the station by the football traffic (which we had, not badly enough to cause me to miss the train but he wasn’t to know that). I told him I had missed the train so Mum was going to drive me up to Shropshire.

“I had to bribe her with the offer of dinner” I said jokingly, “But with Joanne at her friends tonight anyway, she would just have been sitting at home alone anyway. I would have been eating alone in the hotel as well, so I suggested if she drove me up there she could check in for the night and we could have dinner together. Then she can have a drink and she can drive back tomorrow.”

After I hung up I set up the ‘Sat-Nav’ (avoiding the motorways) and said to Mum “There’s no big rush. Once we get clear of town if we keep our eyes open for a nice country pub, we can stop for a drink while you phone Caroline’s mum. Then it’s a pleasant drive up to Shropshire followed by a nice relaxing evening together.”

“I hadn’t agreed to stay overnight” Mum said, “But I admit it does sound like a good idea.”

We had been driving for about 20 minutes when I spotted what looked like a lovely place for a drink. I pointed it out and Mum pulled into the car park. There was a nice open air area with tables, so Mum went to sit there while I went inside to get the drinks. Mum was driving so she had a fresh orange juice while I had a half of lager. When I got back with the drinks Mum was just putting her phone away.

“Caroline’s mother was fine” she said, “When I told her I was going to stay for dinner, she suggested I should stay overnight as well. She said the same as you did, that I could then relax with a drink at dinner and not have to worry about driving back until tomorrow. She said Joanne would be fine, they loved having her and she could stay with them as long as I wanted.”

I was delighted. “It’s the sensible thing to do” I said, “I just assumed you would stay because, after dinner it would be a bit late to start the drive home and anyway, you would still be going back to an empty house. Staying over at the hotel you can have a drink with your meal, we can have a pleasant evening and have breakfast together; then when you are ready to go home, take a nice leisurely drive back.

“I have nothing with me for an overnight stay though” Mum said, “I have a few basics in my handbag but that is really only an emergency repair kit for my make up.”

“That’s not a problem” I said confidently, “We have already passed one out of town supermarket. The next one we see we can pop in and get whatever you need. It’s only for one night and those places sell everything you are likely to need.”

Finishing our drinks we drove on. Sure enough, Just over 10 miles up the road there was a retail park with a selection of shops. Mum led the way into an M&S and headed for the toiletries and makeup, while I wandered into the clothing section where there was quite a selection of ladies nightwear and lingerie, some of the things on display were very nice indeed. I was daydreaming about what they would look like with someone beautiful inside them when I was startled by a tap on my shoulder.

“A penny for your thoughts” Mum whispered into my ear, “Or maybe they are worth more than a penny” she said with a naughty grin on her face.

“They most certainly are” I said. I was quite certain I was blushing, “But those are private so they are priceless.”

“We are looking for things for me, for an overnight stay, in case you have forgotten” she said with a giggle, handing me the car keys, “Go and sit in the car while I see what else they have which is suitable.”

She was away a little longer than I expected and when she kartal escort came back to the car she had a smile on her face. Opening the boot she put several M&S bags in, before getting back behind the wheel.

“I think I have everything I need” she said, “But I would love to know what you were thinking about just now.” She looked at me with a mischievous grin on her face, “I mean, if my little boy is developing an interest in ladies lingerie, perhaps I should know about it. You were quite engrossed, lost in your own thoughts looking at some very pretty but rather naughty things in there.”

“I was just waiting for you” I said, “I hadn’t really noticed the things on the display.” I know it sounded lame, but it was the best I could think of at the time.

Mum looked at me and giggled, “Oh Yes? Of course you were” she said, “But I have seen that look before. Your Dad used to have that same look in his eye when he came home with some very pretty, but not very practical presents for me.” For a moment although the smile stayed on her lips; it slipped from her eyes. “He doesn’t buy me things like that anymore though.”

As we carried on towards Shropshire, the two things Mum had said began to come together in my head. “Your father doesn’t give a damn if I am there or not” and “He doesn’t buy me things like that anymore.” They were obviously related and I thought I had a chance to find out what was going on.

“Mum” I said, “Can I ask you something? I have tried to understand what is happening between you and Dad, but when I mentioned it, you locked yourself in the bathroom and Dad got angry and said it was none of my business. It is my business because I care about you and it looks to me as if something is driving you apart. Will you tell me honestly what is going on? You said earlier he doesn’t care if you are there or not and just now; that he doesn’t buy you presents anymore. This sounds pretty serious to me, so don’t you think that is something to do with me as well?”

For some time Mum didn’t answer, then she pulled off the road into a lay-by and stopped the engine. For a few moments she sat without speaking, then she said “There is no easy way to say this” she said, “So I am just going to say it. I think it’s time it was brought out into the open and you knew what was going on anyway.”

“I don’t think you know your fathers secretary do you? Well your father definitely does. He knows her very well indeed because he has been having an affair with her for over a year now. The kind of presents I was talking about he now buys for her. Sales trips that involve nights away, he used to send other salesman to cover, he now does them himself and he always takes her with him. She is a very pretty girl and he keeps pictures of her on his phone. I found this one when he accidentally left his phone at home one day, but I had already realised what was going on anyway. There are even more on his computer.”

She handed me her phone where a picture on the display showed a pretty girl lying on a bed in just her underwear, smiling at the camera. “I transferred this one onto my phone to show my solicitor but there are many more. I have copies of them all. She looks so sweet doesn’t she? As if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. One of the other photos shows that your father’s erection certainly does; and her mouth isn’t the only place it melts. I don’t know where or when this one was taken, I assume it was during one of their ‘Business’ trips, but I don’t expect those knickers stayed on for very long after he took it. That slut even lets him take photos of them when they are having sex.”

“So now you know” she said, “The reason for the atmosphere at home and why he won’t discuss it. He is too embarrassed to tell you that he is a cheating rat. This is not the first time he has strayed either. I found out he was having sex with another woman from the office while I was pregnant with Joanne. I made him get rid of her when I found out. He swore it would never happen again.”

“Those two affairs are the only ones I can prove, but I am quite certain they are not the only times he has been unfaithful. With the first one; he said it was because he couldn’t enjoy sex with me because I was pregnant.”

“I was pregnant with his child for God’s sake. Then last week he finally told me that he wants a divorce. His secretary is expecting a baby and he says they want to get married. I wish her better luck with him than I had.”

“His excuse this time was that it began because I wouldn’t have sex with him anymore. But I stopped letting him have sex with me was because I found out he was sleeping with her and I refuse to play second fiddle to a cheap tart like her.”

I was stunned. I had been so blind. All of the evidence had been staring me in the face and I couldn’t see it. I reached across and put my arms around Mum, holding her and feeling her whole body shake as she cried into my shoulder.

As she got herself under control, I gently kissed her forehead. “Tonight we are going to forget about him” I said, “You are with me and are my date for the evening. You are beautiful and unless we tell them, no-one is ever going to believe you are my mother, so tonight I just want them to see us together and know I am the luckiest man in the town because you are with me.”

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