*Musical Chairs

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

The inlaws of a young couple have problems interrelating. Failed seduction and fidelity produces many surprises.



Gerry and Luisa’s son, the DJ at the New Year’s Eve party, shouted down the microphone, “When the music stops, change partners for the last dance before Big Ben chimes in the New Year.”

The DJ’s parents-in-law, Helena and Crispin, were also present. Helena, who had been waiting for some time now, saw this as the best opportunity to dance with Gerry and that it could be the starting point for a romance.

Helena had made a special effort with the dress for the party. She had had a dress made in the most incredible shade of bright blue and in a shiny material. The neckline was sheer provocation and the long sleeves made it more so. The skirt had a very pulled in waist. When she had put it on she had asked Crispin, “What do you think? Will I be the best dressed at the party?”

“Probably, and the most frozen with a low neckline front and back.”

Helena didn’t answer.


Crispin was a dry man with nothing attractive about him. He usually spent the evenings watching television or DVDs. Five years ago he had decided to sleep in a separate bed. He had changed the old double bed for two singles. Crispin had said, “It’s better we sleep in separate beds, that way you don’t disturb me when you come to bed, and visa versa.” Helena had been very much in love with Crispin when they got married, but as time passed she realized he was no prince charming. Is it possible Crispin was like this when we got married?

The number of people was so great that it took Helena some time before she had the chance to talk to Gerry. Then the DJ announced, “Change your partner!” which was normal at that kind of party.

Once alone with Gerry, Helena began the attack, “Having a good time, Gerry?”

“Very nice, but I’d love to go home now.”

“You don’t say so! Are you tired?”

“Yes, I am. I’m no longer young enough for these functions.”

“But you’re still young. You shouldn’t think yourself old before time.”

“I’m not making myself out to be old, I only know I can’t behave like a young boy.”

Helena was dissatisfied with the turn of the conversation, “Luisa is very pretty tonight.”

Gerry looked at her without interest, “What am I supposed to say?”

Helena seeing an opening in Gerry’s distant attitude said, “ How about sitting-down somewhere.”

Gerry and Helena found a quiet spot after fighting through the crowd. Gerry bought two vodkas. Helena put on her typical charming smile for him, and adjusted her neckline so as to show off to the maximum her provocative bust.

“Here you are,” Gerry gave Helena one of the drinks and at the same time took advantage of the plunge of her neckline.

“Sit down here,” Helena signalled with one hand.

Gerry knew that he got on well with Helena, but he didn’t know just how much. Both of them sat observing the other guests for several minutes. The chimes rang out and everybody in the place sang Auld Lang Syne. Gerry stood up and asked,” Have you seen Luisa?”

“No, I haven’t seen her for a while,” replied Helena.

“I’m going to look for her.”

Helena stared at him in surprise, “With so many people around? Are you mad? Don’t you want to stay with me?”

Gerry stared at her again, “It looks as if I’ll have to, whether I want to or not.” Gerry sat down again beside Helena, but at the same time his eyes were on the look out for Luisa.

On the other hand, Helena had seen Crispin but she hadn’t called him over.

When the chimes finished Helena threw herself at Gerry and kissed him on the lips. Gerry feeling somewhat at odds said, “Happy New Year, Helena.”

“I hope so, Happy New Year.” Gerry pulled himself away from Helena’s arms, but then she said to him, “Gerry, you know how much I like you.”

“You have made hints about it more than once. But I don’t want trouble. I find you very attractive, perhaps in other circumstances it would be different. I’m married and I am, and have always been, faithful to my wife.”

Helena tried once again, “Why don’t you try to understand me?”

“It’s not my problem, it’s Crispin who should try to understand you.”

“But he’s not interested.”

Gerry shrugged his shoulders, “Poor you.”

Helena was more than offended, “Now I see that I’ve never meant anything to you.”

“It’s not that. You know my principles about marriage and I could never be unfaithful to Luisa, she has always been good to me.”

“I’m off to find Crispin. Gerry, in spite of your negative reaction I still wish you a Happy New Year.”

“Thank you, Helena.”

Helena was rather shaky on her feet, she had drunk too much, and she was angry. She found Crispin amongst a group of friends, one of whom was Luisa, Gerry’s wife.

“Crispin, let’s go home, I don’t feel too good.”

“Are you sure you’re that bad?” Her husband asked her.

“Yes, I am.”

“Looks like the party’s over for us. Goodnight everybody.”

Helena, with a weak smile, said, “Good night, Happy New Year to all of you.”

Crispin took hold of Helena’s arm, “Why do we have to go now when everyone’s having a good time?”

Luisa stared at her co in-laws as they left, Gerry went to her and led her onto the dance floor. “I want to begin the New Year dancing with my wife.”

Luisa answered in her usual manner, “Oh, yes.”

And they danced in silence.


Helena’s failed attempt with Gerry stayed right deep down inside her, but once the anger had passed she returned to her former life. She animated herself by thinking, Nitwit, every time she remembered his rejection. Helena’s daily life had few empty spaces and she made the effort not to think about her present situation with Crispin or what might have been with Gerry. It doesn’t matter, she thought, his good looks are probably all window dressing.

At night she watched television with boring, dry Crispin. Even if he found Helena less upset than months before, he didn’t ask her why. They continued sleeping in separate beds, each one wrapped up in their own bedding and their own thoughts.


Gerry never said anything to Luisa about Helena’s behaviour on New Year’s Eve, he got on well with Helena but he was one of those men who once they are married it’s impossible for them to have a fling. Marriage is a serious business. Luisa didn’t know what to do with him, he was so good, so kind, and then so lively. Luisa would have preferred him less lively. The fact that she was married to a man who was more attractive in character and physically than her, and on top of it more popular than her, made her almost hate him. Luisa wasn’t jealous of Gerry but wished she didn’t have to hear constantly how charming and handsome he was, as if he had done her a favour by marrying her.


And so the lives of the two sets of in-laws went on, the monotony was only broken when the children visited.

Helena thought that Luisa was a hypocrite, somewhat like Crispin.

Luisa thought Helena was dangerous, frivolous, and conceited.


The television was switched on and a table lamp, too. Helena was reading. Crispin entered the living-room and without stopping said, “Don’t wait up for me. I’ve got a meeting.”

Helena raised her head from the newspaper. “What’s with all these meetings? If you were another man I’d suspect you had a girl friend out there.”

“Come on, Helena. Bye, see you later,” and he left the living-room. Before shutting the front door, Crispin looked at himself in the hall mirror, took out a little bottle of toilet-water from his pocket and sprayed himself, then went out into the street.

In the car park, Luisa got out of her car and got into Crispin’s. It was a love date and not the first. “I told Gerry I was going to a fashion parade at a boutique. Anyway, he won’t suspect anything.”

Crispin and Luisa kissed without being conscious of anything except themselves. If Helena had been able to see Crispin at that moment she wouldn’t have believed it. The lively lover in the car had nothing to do with the Nitwit who slept in a separate bed away from his wife. This Crispin was another being.

“Would you like to go to the cinema or to that pub with the jazz band?” whispered Crispin to Luisa.

“Tonight I fancy going to the cinema and sitting in the back row,” and the two Nitwits, safe in the knowledge that nobody would recognise them, went to the cinema just like two teenagers.


Gerry was reading a book and seeing the time switched on the television to see the news. Where on earth could Luisa be? The news ended and Gerry switched off the set and got ready for bed. At half past midnight the bedroom door opened and Luisa tiptoed in. Gerry said, “Isn’t it a bit late to be arriving home? I thought fashion shows finished at ten.”

“After the show we were talking for a while and then we went for a bite to eat.”

“Why didn’t you call me?”

“It didn’t occur to me,” Luisa got into bed beside Gerry and offered him a cheek smothered in face cream, closed her eyes, and then fell asleep before her astonished husband’s eyes.


Helena was organizing a dinner party one weekend in February. One morning, talking to Crispin she commented, “I’m organizing a dinner party for next Saturday. What do you say about inviting Gerry and Luisa? I’ve already spoken to Luisa but she wasn’t sure what they were going to do this weekend.”

Crispin, who was knotting his tie said without moving his head, “You don’t have to invite them, we are co in-laws not relatives. Can you change the date? This weekend I had the idea of going to the beach house to see if there are any repairs that need to be done.”

Helena didn’t like the fact that Crispin had made his own plans without consulting her first. “Crispin, there’s no need to fix up the beach house yet, there are still three or four months before the summer.”

“Yes, I know but I don’t like to change my plans. I want to begin the repairs now so that everything is in order at the right moment.”

“Really, Crispin you are tiresome. You never enjoy anything in life. It’s as if you were born just for work. It’s not surprising that we only have one daughter. Well, what do I do then, put off the dinner party for the next week?”

“No, you do just as you had planned. I don’t want to ruin your weekend. “

“All right then. But I don’t know what you are thinking of doing in a cold beach house in February. You must be mad.”

Crispin laughed, “Yes, perhaps.”


Helena was in fine fettle in front of the dining table covered with delicious dishes. In the lamplight the glassware, the cutlery shone brilliantly. The conversation was animated. Nobody was surprised at the news of Crispin spending the weekend at the beach house. There had been the usual comments whether he was alone or accompanied. But to think of Crispin as a romantic was so absurd it didn’t deserve talking about. Helena had invited the ones she liked the most. In the end she had decided not to include Gerry and Luisa in the group; first, due to his behaviour on New Year’s Eve, and secondly because in Helena’s eyes Luisa was a Nitwit too. How many times had she commented to Crispin about Luisa “What an insignificant woman! I’ve never been able to exchange more than two words with her.”


Crispin had cleaned the beach house thoroughly. The dining-table was in semi-darkness, the only light coming from the blazing fire. The smell of the recently finished dinner, mixed with the smell of firewood, only helped to raise the sense of wellbeing in the atmosphere. Luisa had arrived in the afternoon, after having told Gerry that she was going to spend the weekend with her friend Nora. Gerry had not suspected anything, and had even bought a box of chocolates for their friend. Luisa had told him, “Poor Nora’s got a very bad dose of flu that has left her weak and she doesn’t want you to see her like that.”

“How silly, but in that case if she is so vain who am I to contradict her,” Gerry commented. “When are you returning?”

“Sunday afternoon. Have you got any plans?”

“I’ll probably take advantage of being alone to read and listen to music. Ring me to tell me you’ve arrived OK. Is there no way of getting hold of you should it be necessary?”

“There’s no phone in Nora’s house and no coverage for the cell phone.”

Gerry was all right about spending the weekend alone. It wasn’t often that Luisa went on a visit. It would be good for her.”


Now, clutched by Crispin, Luisa forgot everything.


Gerry had spent the afternoon looking in bookshops.

At dusk he returned home. He had thought of calling Helena and Crispin to see if they were at home, but the bad memory of her still hadn’t been erased from his mind. It would be impossible to see Crispin without seeing Helena, too, so he decided on the television and a book to entertain himself.


“Don’t tell me you are going to the beach this weekend too?” Helena was arranging the covers on the sofa to make herself comfortable while watching a film, a few minutes before Crispin had informed her that he was spending the third weekend in a row at the beach house.

“Yes, Helena. It’s that I feel very well there. Are you annoyed?”

“No. But I feel very alone. I suppose some of our friends will come round to play cards or for something to drink. I don’t understand this new madness of yours. If I didn’t know you, I’d think you had a girlfriend hidden away in the house. Anyway the beach suits you, you look livelier lately.”

Crispin said nothing more than, “I’ll be back Sunday afternoon. Bye.”

“Bye, Crispin,” and Helena switched on the television, poured herself a drink. She was ready for a weekend for herself, her friends, and what she fancied.


Gerry had to attend a fair abroad for several days and Luisa took advantage of this trip to go travelling with Crispin. They spent Friday night at the beach house and early on Saturday morning they left for other coastal towns. They were happy, without a care in the world. The ate and slept whenever they wanted. The two days followed each other seamlessly.


Helena spent a very good Saturday. At night she had dinner at the home of some friends and returned home at three in the morning.

The phone ringing woke her up. It was Gerry. “Helena, have you seen Luisa?”

“No, I haven’t seen her in a long time. Why?”

“She isn’t here. I’ve been abroad and was going to get back early Monday morning, but I was able to rush some things forward and so here I am, a day early.”

Helena stared at the phone and thought, your Nitwit didn’t want to wait for you, or so it would appear. To Gerry she said, “Don’t worry. I don’t suppose anything bad has happened, or we would have heard. She’s probably gone to see a friend.”

“Do you know Nora?”

“No, I don’t. Don’t get upset, she’ll be back from wherever she is. I’ve got to go, Gerry. Bye.” And Helena hung up.

“Thank you, Helena. Bye.” Gerry heard the click of Helena’s phone. He was very tired from the trip, he showered, had breakfast and went to bed. It was half past ten. By a quarter to eleven he was sleeping deeply.


Luisa and Crispin were what felt like a thousand miles away from Gerry, Helena, and daily life. They were in an enormous bed, laughing, having breakfast and a very good time.

“Crispin, don’t make me laugh so much, you really are very funny. “

Crispin’s eyes shone with happiness and sexual satisfaction. He took Luisa tenderly in his arms and kissed her.


Helena had had breakfast and tidied the house. I’ll go and see if Crispin wants to have lunch with me on the beach. She was ready to leave when she thought of ringing Gerry.


“I see you’re still alone. It’s me Helena. Like to accompany me to the beach and have lunch with Crispin?”

“What if Luisa rings meanwhile?”

“It won’t matter. She didn’t expect you till tomorrow morning. Leave her a note telling her where we’ll be.”

“All right. Give me twenty minutes to get ready,” and Helena hung up the phone.

The road to the beach was almost empty that winter Sunday. Helena drove, she didn’t pay much attention to Gerry, who wasn’t interested in talking. The atmosphere was warm but indifferent inside the car. Helena, once rejected, no longer felt anything towards the silent Gerry.

In half an hour they had arrived at the beach house. Before getting out of the car, Helena pressed the horn several times. “I hope there’s enough food, if not we’ll have to go to the village for lunch.” She opened the front door with her key. “Crispin, it’s us. Where are you?”

Gerry gave Helena a look while she went to search for her husband. “It’s useless to pretend you don’t realise that Crispin isn’t here. You have deceived me by bringing me here, making me believe we were going to have lunch together.”

Helena returned Gerry’s look of disdain with one of pity. “Poor Gerry. You no longer interest me at all,” and began to go round the house.

The smell of ashes was still in the air. Everything was in its place. Helena went towards the staircase and said to Gerry, “I’m going upstairs to see if the bedrooms are as tidy as down here. You stay here.”

Opening the bedroom door cautiously Helena received a shock. It was the smell of another woman. The bedroom was tidy. The bed was covered by a heavy quilt and Helena went up to the bed and looked under the pillow. Nothing. The cupboard held only some of Crispin’s clothes. The wardrobe revealed nothing about the woman who used that perfume. Helena had forgotten all about Gerry who was sitting downstairs in the dining room, she was thinking about Crispin. Perhaps the Nitwit wasn’t so useless after all. Who could it be? Someone she knew?

“Helena, are we going to have lunch or not? Do you know what time it is?”

Helena came down the stairs with a thoughtful look on her face. “If you don’t mind I’d like to return to town. We can eat in a restaurant on the way.”

“Isn’t Crispin here?”

“No, he isn’t. I don’t want him to see me here.”

“Helena, are you all right?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

The return journey was a repetition of the previous one. A deep silence reigned inside the car. Helena and Gerry ate in a café on he way as they had agreed. Gerry thought that Helena was offended by what he had said. But Helena was thinking about the secret Crispin, someone’s lover. But whose?

Gerry and Helena said their goodbyes at his front door.


Gerry went inside, “Luisa, are you there?”

Silence was the answer he received to his question. He switched on the television but saw nothing, he was thinking. Then he fell asleep.


Helena was thinking, too. Now that she was alone she remembered the name of the perfume, and who wore it. Luisa! She remembered that once on a visit to her house Luisa had said she liked to leave a trace of herself. And how!

Just thinking of Crispin and Luisa together made Helena laugh. What a pair! Seeing they are two Nitwits, they should get on very well.


Crispin dropped Luisa off outside her house at half past eleven at night. Gerry was in bed when Luisa opened the front door. Feeling safe that she was alone in the house she went into her bedroom and turned on the light. The sight of seeing Gerry nearly killed her. Trembling in fear she began to get undressed.

“Where have you been?”

“With Nora. What are you doing here you weren’t supposed to get back till tomorrow.”

“Yes, that’s true. I finished the business quickly so that I could get home earlier. That you were alone and that you’d like to see me back earlier.”

“When did you get back?” Luisa was cleaning her face, but her eyes were on Gerry.

“This morning.”

“What have you been up to?”

“Helena rang me, knowing that I’d be alone. We went to the beach house to have lunch with Crispin.”

“What was the lunch like?” Luisa was now removing the face cleanser.

“Because Crispin wasn’t there we came back home, and had a bite to eat on the way.”

Luisa went to the bathroom to wash her hands. At that moment the phone rang.

“Luisa, it’s for you It’s Nora.”

Nora said to him, “Gerry, don’t bother Luisa if she is busy. I just wanted to know if she had recovered from the flu, because I would like to come up and see you both. It’s been quite a time since we met.”

“That’s all right, Nora, please come over and see us. We’ll have a lot to tell you.”

“Very well, I’ll be there tomorrow afternoon. Good night.”

“Good night, Nora.”

Luisa came out of the bathroom. Gerry was wearing his dressing-gown and walking towards the kitchen.

“Where are you going?” Luisa asked her husband.

“To make some coffee. Come with me we are going to have a long chat and we need to be wide awake.”

Luisa followed him without blinking an eyelid.


Helena was watching television when Crispin arrived. “Had a good weekend at the beach?”

“Yes, thanks. Very edifying. And what was your weekend like?” Crispin asked Helena.

“Very interesting. I learnt something new.”

Crispin was sitting in an armchair he had just poured out two drinks, he gave one to Helena. “What have you learnt?”

“I’ve learnt that life is a box of surprises.”

“That’s nothing new, you should have known that before.” Crispin responded.

“Yes, you’re right. Crispin, next weekend I’d like to go to the beach, too.” Helena thought, that way he’d have time to clean the house beforehand. Knowing what I know makes me laugh. While Gerry was being the incorruptible husband and me the lonely one, those two have been laughing at us, and on top of it have been having a good time. Well, let them get on with it. Crispin went to bed feeling safe and sound, sure that Helena didn’t suspect anything.


In Gerry and Luisa’s home things were a different story. She had told him about Crispin. Gerry couldn’t believe it.

“I am a man of strong moral principles and I believe in fidelity. You have been playing around with your daughter-in-law’s father.”

“Don’t continue in that tone. You have to accept the reality of what happened.”

Gerry rang a number. Helena’s voice answered, “Hello.”

“Gerry here. Did you know that Luisa and Crispin spent the weekend together?”

“Have you rung me at this late hour to talk about silly things?”

“It’s not a silly thing. Luisa has told me everything.”

“There’s nothing to tell. Crispin would never betray me, and much less with Luisa. She’s not his type. It seems to me she is lying in order to protect someone. I am offended. I suggest that neither of you come over here for quite a time. Both of you are nothing but troublemakers. Good night.”


“Who was it Helena?” asked a very sleepy Crispin.

“Gerry, causing trouble again. We must keep those two at a distance.”

“Yes, dear,” and Crispin happily snuggled under the quilt again.

Helena was thinking, Crispin you’re a rotter, but I’ll never tell anyone, not even you, what I know.


Gerry turned to Luisa and said, “Let’s go back to the beginning. It seems that everything you’ve told me is nothing more than a figment of your imagination.”

“But it’s true about Crispin and me.”

“How can I believe you when you’ve lied about the visits to Nora? Helena had no reason to lie and that’s why we are going to go over your story. Where have you been? Don’t be in a hurry we have all night ahead of us.”

An enormous hole of unbearable pain opened up inside Gerry. He felt completely empty.

Submitted: April 04, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Jean Lagace

It is well written. The dialogues are good. Obviously, the author of this piece has the tools to work a story.
The story!
That so difficult part of all efforts at writing. Characters and what we have them doing. Wathever we choose, it must be believable.
Here we have two dysfonctional couples that play their mariage like it was a script for an erotic moovie. It may happen in life that people acted like Helena did but il will need some buid up in the setting to make it palatable. Just not some capricious impulse.
And as far as Gerry is concerned, obviously, he did not lost much by loosing Luisa to Crispin. Beside,I am sorry to say that, for him, making a point of being faithfull to a mirage of a relationship is not enough reason for the reader to shed tears over his unbearable pain and feeling of emptiness.
So again, I did find the writing lively. All this promising author needs to do is working the story line. Didn't we all?

Wed, April 4th, 2012 10:48pm

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