One Of Us
Baz watched him leave knowing perfectly well that his goodnight was really a goodbye, but being surprisingly unmoved by it. She didn’t love him. However, she wasn’t used to being dumped, it was almost always her who bit the bullet and called it a day. She liked it that way. Well, she liked that she was in control of the situation, she wasn’t overly keen on the after effects: the shouting, the recriminations, the heart broken look that one man in particular owned that haunted her every time she closed her eyes.
And therein lay the problem she realised bitterly. Her relationship with Paul hadn’t worked out because every morning she woke up beside him there was a brief second when she was disappointed that it wasn’t Charlie lying there instead.
She wondered what he was doing now. Knowing Charlie he’d probably be at work. Treating a patient –likely, avoiding doing some paperwork – very likely, arguing with some pen pusher – quite probably. Baz suspected that he could feasibly be doing all three. The thought brought a smile to her lips. She could imagine him wandering around the department, trying to solve everyone’s problems in his big white coat.
And that was his problem, she recognised as her smile faded, he wasn’t Charlie who happened to be a nurse; he was Clinical Nurse Manager Charlie Fairhead. It was almost impossible to distinguish between man and job. In the back of her mind her biggest resentment was that he’d never love her as much as he’d love that damn hospital department.
If it were another woman she could cope with that. Not that she’d like it, or indeed let him get away with it like some women would, but she could cope. Another woman was someone who you could fight against, bitch about, scare off. Another woman would have flaws that she could exploit. But how was it possible to fight against a hospital. If he didn’t already see her as more important than a bloody building then he never would.
With Louis already in bed Baz decided to call it a night herself. She flicked off the main light in the living room and illuminated her bedroom with a softly glowing lamp. The bed seemed empty; too big an expanse for her small frame alone. She took a photograph out of the draw on her bedside cabinet. Their wedding photo, the happiest day of her life, now only a dim memory.
So why wasn’t he there with her? She asked herself that so many times but was never satisfied by the answer. She knew, deep down, that there was no way that their marriage would survive. Occasionally she wondered whether, if she were completely honest about it, she knew that before they’d even said their vows. After all their relationship had been at best tempestuous, at worst downright painful.
Yet she loved him. Regardless of the fact that they were constantly pulling in different directions, he was the only man she’d ever really fallen for. Peter Hayes was nothing in comparison and Paul Deveraux kept her from being lonely when she realised her marriage was over, but it wasn’t love. Not like with Charlie anyway.
She wondered if, perhaps, they could have salvaged their marriage if she hadn’t left him and England behind for her job in Canada. It was a thought that entered her mind far more often than she cared to admit and usually on nights like this when for whatever reason she felt lonely.
Finding out that she’d been head hunted for this new job had been such a great excitement for her; it was such a huge boost to her career. It was not the sort of offer that came along everyday. She hoped Charlie could see that, she hoped that as her husband he would be there to support her. She put up with him vanishing back to Holby every week for his job, she put up with only having a part time husband. She’d made these sacrifices, why couldn’t he make a sacrifice for her?
He’d refused to even discuss it. He’d made it abundantly clear that there was no way in hell that he’d leave Holby to live in Canada with her. She thought she could persuade him, when that didn’t work she thought that by leaving he might suddenly realise what he was going to lose.
One look into his eyes at the airport though told her it was over. He wasn’t going to follow her out to Toronto, just like he didn’t follow her to Birmingham. She had effectively given him an ultimatum: her or the job. He’d made his choice and she’d left.
The greatest romance she’d ever had died that day. She could see he was as sad as she was but it was clear he wasn't going to change his mind. If that was the way he wanted it she would be strong about it, and she would get on with her life, even though she wished it could be different. Even though it still hurt.
Baz could imagine that when Charlie told the story it went a little differently. She expected he would tell people that she unreasonably upped and left him, hooked up with the first bloke she met, unceremoniously dumped him, and took away his son. It wasn’t like that. She gave him chances. He could have left work after his health scare. It nearly killed him, and the thought of losing him like that nearly killed her. She’d nursed him back to health, put her job on hold to be with him and he’d repaid her by running off back to the arms of his beloved mistress.
She rolled over, hugging the pillow and allowing herself to imagine for just a fleeting second that Charlie was there. A dull ache in her heart told her that he’d never be there again though. She’d ruined things by leaving, by starting a relationship with Paul, a relationship that was over now, only a matter of weeks after it had begun.
Glancing at the phone she willed it to ring. There would be no reconciliation now, she was sure of that, but at least they could talk. At that precise moment she wanted nothing more in the world. She could explain; they could sort things out. It would be nice to hear his voice again. It sounded so much more comforting and reassuring than the twanging Canadian accents she was fast becoming used to.
She felt herself start to cry, not the deep reverberating sobs that had echoed around the empty house on her first night alone there, but an almost silent trickle of tears soaking effortlessly into the pillow. Finally she fell into a deep dreamless sleep, and never heard the phone ring.