Because of Her Smile

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A flash piece about obsession.

Submitted: March 17, 2018

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Submitted: March 17, 2018



He clicked the link in his bookmarks and logged in. He was becoming obsessed. It was crazy to feel this way about someone when all he had seen was their smile. Well, okay, he'd seen a lot more, but not the bits that mattered. Nothing above the smile. He hit the call button and felt his heartbeat quicken. He was middle-aged and acting like a bloody teenager. 

He went to bed happy again. He couldn't wait to wake up so he could say hello before work. He was excited to see her again. She said she was excited to see him too.

It had been a good week. All the little things that once bothered him at work had no effect anymore. So what if Brian from accounts wasn't happy with the KPIs? He would pretend to care, promise to fix whatever the problem was that day and then come home and forget.

He didn't go to the gig on Saturday. Jim told him it was epic, a real return to form, and a once in a lifetime moment, but he didn't regret his decision. She had smiled a lot that night. Especially when he told her about the surprise. She said she would send him a pic of her wearing it. 

He cancelled his plans with Sarah again. She had been grumpy the last time they went to dinner. Accused him of being distracted and not listening to her. Even the sex had lost its appeal. He had to think of her smile to finish and then wait for what felt like a polite period of time before leaving. Sarah had wanted him to stay, to fall asleep in his arms, but he had sent another surprise that morning and wanted to get home and see if she liked it.

He called in sick today. His boss would probably give him a formal warning this time. Explain how he was going to be "performance managed" and then disingenuously ask if there was anything they could do to help or support him. Arsehole.

He was being suspended. They had shown him evidence of logging on during work hours - "inappropriate use of company equipment". He thought it had only been a few times, just to see if she had liked the surprises he had sent, but the activity logs said it was a lot more than he thought. And for a lot longer.

He was getting into debt. Every time they chatted she mentioned something she really wanted but couldn't afford. She wasn't asking him to buy these things for her. Most of the time she didn't even realise what she was telling him, but he paid attention, and he knew her, so he bought them. Why not? She deserved to be spoiled. And they always made her smile.

He was losing weight and not washing as much as he should. He had more time to see her now he wasn't working and the minutes often turned into hours until, before he knew it, half a day had gone by.

He took out a loan. They were talking more and more, and when it came to the website talk wasn't cheap. She said she didn't want to charge him, that she felt guilty about it, but it was the rules. She'd do it for free if it was up to her.

He hurt them. He logged in one day and he could tell she had been crying. He thought that maybe she didn't like the last surprise he had sent but then she had explained; told him what they did and where they lived. She hadn't wanted to tell him the last part but he tricked her into it. Poor thing. She had a lovely smile but she wasn't very smart.

The police came to see him. Asked him where he was on the night of the 23rd. Said there was CCTV evidence. He told them he was with Sarah. She had been very angry when he called to tell her, but she agreed to lie for him anyway.

He cut himself again. He hadn't seen her smile for days. The last time they spoke she had told him he scared her and hung up. Not before he begged her not to go. Told her he loved her. She said that scared her more than what he had done to those boys. 

He swallowed the entire bottle of pills. She wouldn't answer his calls anymore. He had an email, lots of emails, from the company that ran the website. They had told him to stop trying to contact her. That it was harassment, not love. When he didn’t listen they sent someone to speak to him. The doctor had prescribed the pills for the pain, but it wasn't his cracked ribs that hurt.

He passed away a few hours later but wasn't found for three days. He had no savings, only debts, so there was no money for a proper funeral. Sarah chose not to attend the service that did take place. The news of his death didn't reach his work colleagues until two weeks after the end of his suspension. Now his body lays in an unmarked grave and anyone who still remembers him is doing their best to forget.

The End 

© Copyright 2018 Matt Ding. All rights reserved.

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