The holiday mood only just made it home from Croatia, the flight being delayed due to a baggage dispute. The golfing sporty stags maintained they had paid the golf bag excess, the airline said they hadn't. The cheerful vibe in which they had embarked on their long weekend of continuous drinking had turned into a long hangover of sore heads and hammered bank accounts.
Caroline was wearing dark glasses and an ankle support bandage. She was not her usual chatty self, burying herself in the Kindle on the journey home. We had almost missed breakfast. When she woke up she asked me if we had had sex last night. I said no. She looked surprised and said she had meant to, and why hadn't I kept her awake.
At least we had slept in the same bed, and when we staggered into breakfast together, hitting the orange juice with five minutes to spare, Caroline limping slightly, we got lots of knowing looks from the other guests. I noticed a few sneers from some of the women I had talked to the day before, as if C was the best I could do. To be fair, she wasn't looking her most sophisticated.
I have made it a rule not to talk about current cases. There's a danger someone might discover my real identity. I will just say it was a bad day at the office. The band re-union which was going to solve the protracted song rights dispute is off again over a disagreement on which former members of the line-up to invite to the gig. Caroline arrived home half an hour later than me, and I had already opened a bottle of wine.
"How was it being back at work?" I said, pouring C a glass of red and hoping she would ask me about my day.
"I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm not sure I did."
"They do say men benefit more from marriage than women. I'm so busy at work that I forget to make time for friends."
"More time for friends? How about your husband?"
I know, I was a bit mean in Croatia. But I'll make it up to you one day."
"I don't know. I'll think of something, or you could think of something. What would you like to do that we haven't done?"
"Let me think about that a moment," I said. I had another sip of wine.