Our Kind of Love

By: Victoria Purman

‘Are those coffees ever going to arrive? It’s been ten minutes already.’ He then lifted a hand to the back of his neck and searched the room. He looked rumpled, agitated, and she knew him well enough to know it wasn’t about the damn coffee. Something did look off about him, she noticed. Uncharacteristically he’d left his suit jacket in his office. It would have rankled him, she knew, being not quite dressed. He’d never liked former Prime Minister Paul Keating’s politics, even in a nostalgic way, but he’d sure loved his taste in suits. Alex’s shirts were always snow-white with modern wide collars, his ties had to be just the right width for the season and he took great care in choosing his cufflinks. It was that attention to detail that made Alex who he was. Anna realised it was that same attention to detail that meant he’d got away with cheating on her for so long.

She knew he was doing everything possible to distract himself so he didn’t have to look at her. Mr Big Shot Lawyer and Perfect Husband had turned out to be a gutless wonder.

‘Why did you choose this place if the service is so slow, Alex? Tell me that.’ Anna’s jaw tightened and she held her lips together to hold back what she really wanted to say. Her fingers found her St Christopher medal and she turned it over and over between her fingers. ‘Be just a little patient, won’t you? It’s ten o’clock in the morning. Half of Adelaide is in here.’

Wouldn’t a quiet place have been more appropriate for the discussion he wanted to have? This was anything but. It was power suit central. The café smelled like coffee and success. The stylish city venue was filled with pressed and pin-striped people, crouching over their designer coffees with heads close together, deep in confidential conversations. Others spoke loudly into mobile phones pressed to their ears or jabbed and swiped at tablets lying flat on the tables. Half the men looked like heart attacks on legs, too many lunches lurching above their belts, and the women made Anna cross by ordering skinny weak decaf lattes to take back to their desks. Call that a coffee? In Anna’s book, it was a ‘why bother’.

‘I haven’t got that much time,’ Alex whispered as his eyes darted across the café.

This place was so not Anna’s style. She didn’t ever have time to go into the city just to drink coffee. Her practice was in the city’s north-eastern suburbs, smack bang in the middle of little Italy. Where you could get real espresso, brewed to be consumed in one gulp. Where old school Italian delis were crowded with displays of dried pasta in packets, tinned tomatoes, Parma hams suspended from ropey strings. Where the vintage refrigerated cabinets displayed open tins of salted sardines, wedges of Parmegiano-Reggiano and bowls of juicy, shining olives. Anna wished she was there now.

Alex pushed back the cuff of his immaculate shirt and stared at his gold watch. ‘I’ve got a meeting at eleven.’

‘Listen, Alex,’ Anna said with hard emphasis on his name as she gritted her teeth, ‘You’re not the only one who’s in a hurry. Grace has moved half my morning patients so I can be here. And why did you choose this café, anyway? It hardly seems like the place to talk about …’ Anna bit back the words. ‘To have a private discussion.’

‘You know why. It’s near my office.’

‘Well, it’s not near mine.’ Anna’s voice rose a little louder than she wanted. She sat back in her chair and lifted her shoulders so she could breathe.

Alex cleared his throat, ran a finger around his collar. ‘Jesus, you’re not going to go all Italian on me, are you?’

Anna squeezed her eyes shut. She had previously gone all Italian on his arse and he knew exactly when and where that was. Five weeks ago when she’d found the credit card account for a five-star hotel in Adelaide. It was for a Wednesday night, a night when she was at her regular family dinner and he was supposed to have been hard at work with his colleagues on a case. Yes, he was lucky to be sitting across from her with his balls still attached. And judging by the white as a sheet look on his face, he still feared for their safety.

‘You should just—’ Anna stopped.

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