Debbie woke up, the sun was cutting through the gaps in the curtain, showing the promise of a beautiful sunny day. She squinted her eyes as she looked at her alarm clock to see what the time was: half past nine, she hadn’t slept that long in for ages. Debbie rolled over and saw at once that his side of the bed was empty. She wasn’t surprised Sam was working on a Sunday again, he had to stocktake and because he was so busy at work, this was the only time he could do it.
She rolled back over to face her bedside cabinet, grabbed her glasses and automatically reached for her mobile phone. Debbie glanced at the screen, some Whatsapp messages from her groups of friends that she had spent last night with, some Facebook notifications and what was this? An email from the Lottery:
“We have some good news about your ticket.”
Debbie immediately sat up when she read this, “Wow, it’s about time, I’ve been doing it for years and only won the odd £10 here and there,” she thought as she excitedly logged into her account, “I’m pretty sure it will be about the same amount this time as well.”
As she nervously waited for her account to update, she wondered what it would be like to be a millionaire, not having to worry about money every again… Her total funds in her account had definitely updated, it was now £1 million!! Debbie couldn’t believe her eyes, she had won a million pounds, that kind of thing never happened to her, she had never won anything, not even in the local church raffle. She updated the page again, feeling sure it would show her usual, £0.05 credit, but no, it still showed the million, well, one million and five pence to be exact.
Debbie exited the account and called up Sam’s phone number, she should tell him as soon as possible, he’d be so excited, they could give up work. As she pressed to call him, she suddenly thought better of it, “No, I think news like this should be given in person,” and she jumped out of bed, pulled on her jeans and a jumper, pulled a comb through her hair, grabbed her car keys and practically ran out of the house.
Driving to the printing warehouse where Sam worked as a General Manager, Debbie’s mind was full of what the future now held for them. They wouldn’t go mad, perhaps a nice holiday, a bigger house, they could both have nice cars and perhaps leave their jobs, or they could go part time.
Even though the journey usually took about 20 minutes, today the traffic was horrendous and it seemed as though every traffic light on her route was waiting for her to approach it and then turn red at the last second. She couldn’t wait to get there and share the good news.
When Debbie arrived, she went to the back door, it was normally open for the cigarette smokers who, on a normal work day, congregated there to smoke, chat, gossip, flirt or do whatever else smokers do whilst smoking. But today, apart from the stale stench of tobacco it was deserted and Debbie walked through the door, from the bright sunshine into the comparative darkness of the corridor.
Her eyes took a few seconds to adjust to the darkness and when they did, perhaps it would have been better if they had stayed blinded as what Debbie saw made her whole body freeze and her mouth drop open. She could see into Sam’s office from where she stood and there he was, his arms around Sandra, his assistant manager, embracing her, his hands around her waist, her head in his chest, they were lost in each other. Debbie felt like she was intruding on a very personal moment and wasn’t sure what to do for the best. So, she quietly walked back up the corridor, back out into the sunshine.
Once outside, Debbie took a deep breath, she had come to give Sam the most amazing news, life changing news and what she had seen had now changed her life, forever.
By the time Debbie had driven home, she had formulated a plan in her head. She logged into her Lottery account and hit the ‘Transfer Funds’ button, this money now went straight into her personal account, Sam would have no idea about this money and after what she had seen, that’s what Debbie wanted.
They had been married for 26 years, they were both 20 at the time and even though some people said it wouldn’t last, her own mother being one of them, they had, in fact, outlasted most of their friends. The only thing they had never managed to do was to have children, it was just never to be, but they did have two nephews and a niece that they could spoil.
Debbie thought they were happy, okay, it wasn’t all passion and spice, but after 26 years, perhaps it wasn’t supposed to be like that anyway. They loved to go out for meals, go to the theatre and the cinema and they made each other laugh, so why would Sam do this to her?
The money wouldn’t clear in her account for another few days, so Debbie decided that she wouldn’t confront Sam until at least then and then she could hear what he had to say. She knew she wouldn’t be able to “splash the cash,” around else he would get suspicious, so she would just have to be clever with how she spent it.
Sam arrived home at about five o’clock. Debbie had been to the supermarket and picked up some food for tea, she had made a roast chicken dinner, one of his favourites. “Good day at the office?” she enquired, searching his face for any reaction, but he just said, “Yeah, we got a lot done today, I’m pleased with how much we accomplished,” and put a roast potato in his mouth. “We?” Debbie asked, “Who’s we?” knowing full well who he was referring to. “Um, Sandra was there as well, she’s a good worker, really knuckles down to it,” he replied. “I bet she does,” thought Debbie, but just smiled at him in reply.
That night they had sex. Debbie was very surprised at this, she wasn’t expecting it, but despite what she had seen, she was excited about the money and this new found wealth was something of an aphrodisiac for her and perhaps he was still turned on from his day spent with Sandra, “So it’s a win, win, situation really,” Debbie reasoned.
The next day Debbie checked her bank account, yes, the money had cleared, much quicker than she had thought, she just sat in the kitchen, drinking a cup of coffee, staring at the balance.
Debbie worked from home and Sam had already left for work, so she went upstairs to her office and sat down at the computer, waiting for her work to come online. She started Googling cruises, world cruises, Caribbean cruises, cruises around Britain, any cruise really. She Googled houses for sale in her area, hot tubs and how much does it cost to have a swimming pool built in your back garden?
“Don’t be silly, you can’t do any of this,” she said aloud and then went online shopping for clothes. “Now, this is easier to get away with,” she thought, “He doesn’t know what clothes I have or don’t have,” and she spent a very enjoyable half hour ordering clothes from the internet until she heard the ‘Ping’ of work being delivered to her In Box. She clicked onto it, there was a lot to do, “Do you know what, I don’t have to do this anymore,” she said to no-one in particular, “I’m going to hand my notice in,” and that’s what she did, straight away.
“Wow, that feels good,” she thought, “I’m free to do whatever I want now,” and she did.
Over the next few days, Debbie had a ball, she went through the pretence of having her breakfast before going upstairs to her office, making Sam think she was still working and as soon as he left for work, she was driving to beauty spas, having massages, getting her nails done, going for fancy lunches and of course, shopping for shoes and clothes. If Sam had looked in the boot of Debbie’s car, he would have seen more high brand clothing items than a reality TV star owns.
She nearly got caught out once, when a girlfriend of hers, asked in front of Sam, “How on earth did you afford those Gucci shoes? They are super expensive.” Debbie managed to mumble that she had found them in a charity shop and they were her bargain of the century, which seemed to satisfy Sam.
But, shopping all day and getting your hair and nails done, turns out, can be quite boring and so Debbie found herself staying indoors and sat at her computer. She started playing online games like bingo and Candy Crush, but that too, became boring and one day, she happened to see an advert for online dating and still feeling hurt and betrayed by Sam’s work affair, she signed up for one.
She found it fun to write her little bio at the top and she had had a photo professionally done, so she used that one as her profile picture. She filled in her likes and dislikes and what she looks for in a man and it wasn’t long before she was getting virtual ‘winks’ from some men and messages from others. She looked through the messages, quickly being able to delete the lewd ones, the weird ones and the nerdy ones, until she had a core of men she was chatting to. There were a couple that Debbie particularly liked, one was called Tim and the other was called Samir, both she felt a certain connectivity with.
All was going smoothly with Tim, until he let it slip that he was married and Debbie couldn’t do that to somebody else, she knew how it felt to be betrayed by someone. So Samir was the one that she turned her attention to. They messaged each other first thing in the morning and again in the late afternoon, which suited Debbie as she didn’t want to be messaging when Sam was around. Once he had told her he was an investment banker and so one day, she cheekily asked for some advice, which he freely gave her, she invested and made a little bit of money.
This had carried on for a while, sometimes she would make money and sometimes she would lose it, but to Debbie it was all part of the mating ritual, she would love to meet him sometime, but they hadn’t gotten to that point yet.
One day, Samir messaged Debbie stating: “I have a hot tip, but it does require quite a bit of money to make it worth your while.” Debbie was excited, she was loving the risk involved with trading and readily agreed saying, “Just let me know how much and I’ll put the money up for you,” and she gave a little gasp when the reply came back: “£800,000.” “That’s all I have left from the million I won,” she thought, “But I trust Samir, he’s not let me down before,” so she agreed to this and sent the money to Samir.
A few days passed and she heard no word from Samir, no word on how her investment was doing or even a message from Samir, full stop. For the first time Debbie was nervous, what if it was a scam? But Samir could never have known that she had a lot of money, as she had never told him, he was probably just sorting the deal out. So, she waited another few days, still nothing then she was dealt another blow, Sam left her.
It was out of the blue, he got up for work as usual, he got dressed in his suit and tie as normal, picked up his computer bag and said, “I’m off.” “Okay darling,” she had said, “See you tonight.” “No, I’m off, I’m leaving you,” and that was it, he was gone. Debbie was shell-shocked, what had she done? How could he leave her, especially after what he’d done?
Debbie turned her attention to the money, she tried tracking Samir down on the dating site, but he had completely disappeared, no profile, nothing. She looked on Facebook, no account that she could see, Twitter, Instagram, nothing, it was as though he never existed. Her money never appeared in her account and she never heard from Samir again.
Sam let out a groan when the alarm on his iPhone went off, surely it couldn’t be half six already, it only seemed like a matter of minutes since he had gotten into bed.
He grabbed his iPhone off the bedside table, he didn’t want to wake up Debbie, she was sound asleep next to him, so he quickly stopped the alarm. He grabbed his jeans and a t-shirt and dressed in the bathroom, after having a quick shave and wash.
On his way downstairs, he glanced at Debbie, she was still asleep in the bedroom and he crept out of the front door. Mission accomplished, he didn’t want to wake her as she had been out with friends and had got in late last night.
Sam drove his car to his workplace, he was a General Manager at a printing warehouse, they were always busy and once a month he had to stocktake and unfortunately Sunday was the only day he had the time to do this. Debbie never made a fuss when he had to go into work, she understood that he had to do this and she accepted it. Their relationship of 26 years was still going strong, they were comfortable with each other and Sam felt that she was his best friend.
As soon as he arrived at the printing warehouse, Sam had the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. His assistant manager, Sandra, was already there, she had volunteered to do some overtime with him, he had heard rumours around the warehouse that she wasn’t happy in her marriage, so he wasn’t surprised to find her crying in his office.
“What on earth is the matter?” he asked her, “What is wrong?” “It’s Pete,” Sandra cried, “I’ve found out that he is cheating on me, with a girl from the local supermarket,” she exclaimed.
Sam wasn’t very comfortable in this type of situation, he never knew what to do or say for the best, but she looked so vulnerable that natural instincts took over him and he reached out and pulled her into him, wrapping his arms around her waist, her head sunk into his chest as she cried and Sam let her cry for as long as she needed to.
It seemed like a long time until Sandra was ready to release the hold, Sam felt relieved as he felt the hug was going on a bit too long for comfort and he was beginning to feel uneasy about the situation. “Thank you so much,” Sandra said, “I feel a bit better now, perhaps working will take my mind of things, what do you want me to do?”
Sam told her what needed to be done and she left his office with his instructions. Sam returned to sit at his desk, deep in contemplation and thanking his lucky stars that his relationship with Debbie was rock solid…..
Sam said goodbye to Sandra and drove home, hoping that Debbie had made one of her roast dinners that he enjoyed so much.
Yes, he was in luck, as he opened the front door, there was the unmistakable smell of a roast dinner wafting from the kitchen. After a quick shower, he sat at the dining table with Debbie as she asked him about his day. “Good day at the office?” she had enquired, “Yeah, we got a lot done today, I’m please with how much we accomplished,” he said as he put a roast potato in his mouth, there was no need to tell Debbie and Sandra crying in his office and him having to comfort her. Debbie had questioned, “We,” and he told her that Sandra was there.
They had sex that night, Sam wanted the feeling of togetherness with Debbie, after Sandra’s revelation that her and Pete were splitting up, he wanted the assurance that they were still close.
The next few days were fairly uneventful, they went on with their daily routines, but Sam did notice that Debbie seemed to be wearing different clothes from her usual ones, they seem better quality with a better cut and once when they were out, one of their friends had commented on her shoes, asking how Debbie could afford the Gucci shoes she was wearing, to which Debbie had replied that they were her charity shop bargain.
One day, Sam got home early from work, he wondered where Debbie was, but then remembered that she had told him she had a hairdresser’s appointment, “Again,’ he thought, “She’s always either at the hairdressers or the salon recently, she must be getting a steady stream of work lately to pay for all this.”
He wondered in the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea and whilst waiting for the kettle to boil he noticed Debbie’s laptop on the kitchen table, it was still on, so he reached over to grab it and switch it off.
As he did so, the screen burst into life and a bank account appeared, it was Debbie’s personal account and as he peered to look at her balance, what he saw was about to change his life forever.
Sam looked at the balance of Debbie’s account in astonishment, how on earth did she get that much money? Did a relative die that he didn’t know about? He scrolled back through her transactions, she certainly had had a great time spending this money, she had spent money at shops that normally they wouldn’t even venture in, knowing they could never afford their prices.
Sam scrolled down a bit further and saw a transaction that made him gasp, “One million pounds transferred from Camelot,” he said, “She has won the lottery and failed to mention this to me!” He was transfixed by the screen, trying to come to terms with what he was seeing and not quite believing it.
He scrolled down the history on the computer, she had browsed lots of different cruises, “Well, she hasn’t gone on one of them, I’m sure i would have missed her if she had,” he thought bitterly, she had Googled cars, played online bingo. “Hey, what’s this?” he exclaimed, “She’s signed up for a dating agency, Love Mate.” He leant back in the chair, “Why would she do that?” He couldn’t think why, he thought they were okay, but obviously she didn’t.
Sam closed the laptop, he was in shock, he didn’t know which was worse, the fact that she had hidden the fact she had won the lottery or that she had signed up for a dating agency. He closed the laptop and minutes later he heard a key turn in the lock and Debbie entered the kitchen, smiling and asking what he wanted for tea.
The next day Sam was in his office, he had tried to act normal last night and hopefully Debbie was non the wiser. He logged onto his work computer and Googled the Love Mate dating site and when he found it, he joined. Sam started going through the members until he came across Debbie’s profile, at first he didn’t recognise her, her picture was obviously a photoshoot, he began to feel that he didn’t know her at all.
When Sam had joined the site, he had used a false name as he didn’t want anyone to know he was on this site, but as he scrolled through Debbie’s profile, he began to hatch a plan…
It was easier than Sam expected to get Debbie’s interest on the online dating site, Love Mate, he had put on an image of a sports car as his profile picture and had invented a whole new life story for himself, even calling himself Samir. He had always fancied himself as an investment banker, he liked to keep an eye on the stocks and shares but had never had the courage or money for that matter, to participate himself.
His conversations with Debbie were mainly around the morning, when he had gotten into work and late afternoon when he was about to leave work. Their conversations had been generalised, but she seemed happy enough to chat with him.
One day, out of the blue, she asked him for some investment advice, this was what Sam had been waiting for, he had dropped enough hints about stocks and shares to her and now she had finally taken the bait and was asking his advice. So, Sam started with small amounts, some of his tips worked and she made money and sometimes she lost money, but she didn’t seem to particularly mind either way.
All the while, Sam did feel hurt that she felt the need to be on this dating site, he wondered if he was the only one messaging her? At home, things seemed to be the same as usual, though Sam had to bite his tongue a few times when the subject of paying bills came up.
Over the next few weeks, Sam started to turn on the pressure, encouraging Debbie to invests more and more money until one day he decided to go for the big one and he messaged her:
“I have a hot tip, but it does require quite a bit of money to make it worth your while.”
He gasped when she replied to him:
“Just let me know how much and I’ll put the money up for you.”
Sam held his breath as he wrote:
And he couldn’t believe his eyes, when moments later she had transferred the money into his personal bank account.
He quickly closed his online dating account, feeling a twang of guilt, but she had deserved this, she hadn’t told him about the win, they could have enjoyed the money together, gone on holiday, paid their mortgage, live a happy and wealthy life, but for some reason she hadn’t found it necessary to inform him.
The next morning he got out of bed, grabbed his computer and said, “I’m off,” to Debbie, “Okay, darling,” she had said, “See you tonight,” to which Sam informed her, “No, I’m off, I’m leaving you,” and he walked out of the door.
It was the hardest thing he had ever had to do, but he couldn’t trust her anymore and besides, Sandra was waiting for him at the end of the road, keen to start their new life together…