Pie on Friday

They always had pie on Friday. Usually it was chicken and ham, or chicken and mushroom, using up what was left of the previous weekend’s roast. Or, if they’d splashed out and had roast beef, Cheryl would buy some steak and kidney and make the pie from that. “I like a bit of pastry with my dinner,” said Rob every Friday.
Cheryl was fed up with pie.
It was Thursday, coming up to one o’clock and the end of Cheryl’s shift on the till at the Co-op. She put the ‘Checkout closed” sign onto the belt just as he walked up with a half-full basket. It had been a difficult shift, and a difficult morning. Rush, rush, rush, too few staff, and customers complaining. But he looked friendly; she’d noticed his charming smile several times in the previous week.
“It’s alright, love. Put them on the belt.”
It only took a minute. He was very quick to pack his groceries, and had his Co-op card and credit card handy. Cheryl completed the transaction, handed over to her replacement, and set off to collect her coat; only he was in her way.
“Am I right in thinking it’s the end of your shift? Forgive me – that’s not as creepy as it sounds! – I asked your colleague.”
Cheryl laughed, and he continued, “Do you fancy joining me for a coffee? I’d like to know you better. I’m new in the town and you’re a friendly face.”
Cheryl grimaced. She was aware of two of her friends watching her sidelong. People gossiped. Then irritation got the better of her. ‘Fuck ‘em,’ she thought. ‘They can mind their own business.’ “Why not?” she replied.
They sat at an outdoor table to enjoy the early May sunshine and listen to the river. The trees on the riverbank were clothed in new green leaves, which were just stirring in the gentle breeze. At Eric’s suggestion they ordered lunch rather than coffee. As Cheryl ate her tuna salad and listened to Eric telling her about some of the countries he’d visited, she thought what an agreeable, what a civilised man he was. And his smile was, indeed, charming.
Cheryl had meant to pay her share, but Eric had settled up almost before she realised.
“Oh, let me give you the money,” she flustered, opening her purse and spilling change all over the table. Eric went down on his hands and knees and recovered two pound coins that had rolled under it.
“No, really, the pleasure was all mine, believe me. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about your son, Jeremy. You must be very proud of him.”
“Yes, I am. When Rob and I went up to Cambridge last summer and saw him graduate, I think that was my best day ever.”
“Rob is your husband?”
Eric gave her hand a quick squeeze and said, “I expect you need to be getting on with your day. You’ve been very kind joining me for lunch. You’re a good listener.”
“Gosh it’s half past two! You’re right – I’d better dash! Thank you so much for lunch.” Blushing, fumbling with her handbag and coat, Cheryl left Eric sitting at the table and hurried home.
There was football on the telly that evening. Cheryl cleared up after dinner, and joined Rob on the sofa.
“Can I get you a beer, love; or anything else?”
“Beer would be nice.” Rob’s eyes didn’t leave the screen. Cheryl went and poured a beer for Rob, and another for herself. She didn’t really like beer. She sat beside Rob on the sofa and snuggled up against him. Occasionally she sipped at her beer. It was too bitter for her taste. She almost spilled it when Chelsea scored and Rob erupted from his seat in delight.
At full time it was still one – nil, and Rob was cheerful. When they went to bed, Cheryl kissed him, sexily, and stroked his back in the way she knew he liked. “Sorry, love, it’s an early start tomorrow. I’ve got to finish the wiring in Southfields so as to be ready to start the Plympton job on Monday.” He was snoring within minutes.
The alarm sounded at six on Friday morning. Cheryl made Rob a cup of tea which he drank as he got dressed. As they ate breakfast together she said, “I thought I’d cook us something special this evening, Rob. Something a bit different. You love Chinese food, so I thought I’d have a go at a stir-fry.”
Rob looked at her in consternation.
“It’s Friday!” he exclaimed. “We always have pie on Friday!”

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