The uncertainty of her marriage was slowly pushing Christine into the arms of another man.
A/N: Set around six months after the season two final.
"Are you in love with my wife?"
"What if I am?"
Tim took a few slow steps towards his younger rival. There was a stern look in his eyes as he chose to say his next few words carefully and with absolute precision. Christine however, having heard the last few minutes of the conversation, decided now was a good time to interrupt them before it got too heated. "Is everything okay?
At the sound of her voice, Tim stepped away a little, not wanting to show any sign of confrontation. "Couldn't be better, Christine." She knew instantly that he was lying - his fake 'cheery' tone of voice gave that away - but remained quiet about it. "I'll see you two around," Tim then grumbled as he walked out of the room, leaving Christine and Spiros in a slightly uneasy silence.
Spiros raised his eyebrows, looking somewhat sheepish as he glanced over at Christine. "You heard that... ahh... " he paused, finding it hard to sound even remotely coherent, "Didn't you?"
She sat down on the couch, sighing softly. A simple and quick glance up at him said it all. She did hear what Tim asked, and what Spiros said in reply.
"Is it -"
"Does it -"
They said at the same time, awkwardly.
Spiros chuckled, sitting down next to her. He spoke softly, "What were you going to say?"
Christine shook her head. She wanted to hear what he was going to say first. Her eyes focused firmly on her hands in front of her, "Oh... no, it doesn't..." she fumbled with her words, "What were you going to say?"
"I was going to ask if it bothers you," he wasted no time in replying, pausing again however, as his eyes moved slowly onto her. "You know... what you heard. Does it bother you?"
There was a question Christine just did not know the answer to. Did it bother her if he was possibly in love with her? Did it bother her that he was someone else other than her own husband? She eventually looked up, finding Spiros' dark eyes looking at her heavily, searching for an answer that wasn't there. "I don't... I have no idea."
Spiros nodded, he understood. "I don't really know myself... I mean, I know how I feel, or, part of how I feel at least," he looked down briefly, "I also know that it's wrong..."
They continued to talk for the next few minutes, without actually saying much at all. When Spiros left, Christine sat deep in confused thought. Her feelings for him were clouding her usually well-defined judgement. He had been right; if she was in control to begin with, she most certainly wasn't now.
Tim arrived home late that night smelling strongly of bitter alcohol. He always seemed to drink when things were wrong, Christine observed.
"Is he gone?" Tim demanded to know. He ripped off his tie in frustration, and threw it onto the floor, not caring where it ended up.
"Good," he glared at Christine through cold grey eyes. His voice was just as cold, "That man is no longer welcome here."
Christine wanted to talk to him, she really did, but she knew what he was like when he had been drinking. He was erratic, assertive and stubborn. This time his behaviour would be a thousand times worse, she thought. Her mouth closed as quickly as it had opened; there was no point in saying anything. At least until he was sober.
The house was silent and filled with crisp air by morning. Christine spent the night curled up on the couch, despite being a little uncomfortable. Tim walked so quietly down the stairs that she didn't notice him standing in the doorway until he spoke. "You slept in here all night?"
Her eyes fixed onto him, and she nodded, "I thought you might want a bit a space."
As he walked towards the couch, Tim simply shrugged at her answer. He sat down, taking a deep breath before he said anything. "Look, Christine... I'm sure I don't know half of what's going on with Spiros, but..."
She started to shake her head, and he stopped mid-sentence, looking at her with raised eyebrows. "Don't you think he probably said what he said to stir you up?" Christine said, trying to convince herself, although in her heart she knew it was a lie.
"Spiros trying to stir me up doesn't surprise me... but... to say he's in love with you?"
"He never said that, Tim," her voice was intentionally flat and unemotional.
The odd look on his face remained, eyebrows still raised. He got up off the couch. "He doesn't have to say the exact words, it's so bloody obvious," Tim quickly glanced at her over his shoulder, saying honestly, "Look. If you feel the same way about him, just tell me Christine. Preferably before I go back to Singapore."
But I don't know if I feel the same way about him! Christine wanted to cry out at the top of her lungs. Her face was strained with a ripple of desperation that Tim did not see. After a number of long minutes, she found herself staring down at her wedding ring. The fingers on her right hand fiddled with it, twirling it around over and over again, almost out of nervousness. Her eyes suddenly blinked and she made a snap decision in her head - she had to talk to someone about it. About everything.
That 'someone' was her best friend Ally. They had known each other for just over 20 years.
She poured Christine a glass of red wine and they sat down at the dining table silently. Ally could tell that something was bothering her, "Is everything okay with you and Tim?"
The question made Christine feel a little vulnerable. Unwilling to look Ally in the eyes, she stared at the wine glass sitting in between her fingertips. She sighed, eventually admitting, "No, not really."
Despite expecting the negative answer, Ally was still surprised. Her eyes widened slightly, and she asked, "Because of Singapore?"
Christine shook her head, "Oh not really, no. I mean, I guess that's part of it..." her voice trailed off.
Ally's facial expression remained the same – surprised. She kept quiet though, wanting Christine to tell her what was happening in her own time. Just over ten minutes later, when Christine finally got the weight of the world off her shoulders, Ally sat in a slight state of shock. "Wow..." was all she could manage to say at first.
"It's stupid," Christine tried to play down everything.
Ally was sympathetic. "You've been unhappy for a long time, haven't you?"
"Oh God. I... I don't know," she shrugged, "Maybe."
As Christine drove home later on, Ally's words echoed through her head. You've been unhappy for a long time, haven't you? Christine thought about the question more and more, focussing on it so much she didn't realise where she was driving. She slammed on the brakes when she realised where she was – metres away from Spiros' apartment building in the city.
It was dark outside, caused by heavy grey clouds blocking the setting sun, and rain began to lightly tumble down onto the window. Christine looked up at the building, wondering what to do. She sighed, and turned the car key to the left; the engine came to a stop and everything around her was quiet, almost non-existent.
The elevator door opened on the 13th floor, and she stepped into the dimly lit corridor. When Christine knocked on Spiros' door softly, she glanced at her watch. It was 6.25pm, but it felt a lot later than that.
He opened the door moments later, surprised to see her standing in front of him. A smile formed on his face, "Hi."
She smiled back, "Hey..." she paused, uneasily, "Is this a bad time?"
"Oh no, not at all," Spiros answered, gesturing her with his hands, "Come in."
"Thanks," Christine stepped inside his neatly decorated apartment. Instantly she was hit with a divine smell of cooked food. She turned around to face Spiros, thinking, again, that she was interrupting. He read her thoughts though, "Are you hungry? I've just finished making giouvetsi... it's a pasta dish."
Christine was tempted, but she was also torn. She didn't know whether or not to stay there, where she felt safe and warm, or whether she should go home to the cold.
Once again Spiros answered her thoughts. "If you're worried about Tim, it's okay," he said gently, walking towards her, "You don't have to stay. I understand."
She looked up at him, "I want to stay... I just -"
A loud, persistent knock at the door interrupted what Christine was going to say.
"SPIROS!" Tim's recognisably angry and volatile voice called out.
The rain outside began to get heavier.
"Shit!" Christine hissed, her eyes wide with panic.
"I'll pretend I'm not home," Spiros whispered hoarsely, motioning to her as he walked in the direction of the bedroom. "He'll never know that we're here," he added when Christine was with him in the confines of his room. They sat down on the bed.
The knocks on the door and the sound of urgent Tim's voice once more made Christine flinch a little. She sighed, "I think he's been drinking. Maybe I should go out and see him."
Spiros gave her a look that said 'no way'.
"He probably saw my car out the front..."
He shook his head. "No. If Tim has been drinking, I don't think it's a good idea you go out there, Christine. You told me yourself that he tends to get verbally aggressive when he drinks. He'd be even worse if he saw you here with me."
Christine put her hands over her face, and groaned through her fingers, "He won't go away."
"Okay," Spiros thought out loud, putting his hands on his knees, "I'll go out and tell him to piss off. Pretend I was in the shower and didn't hear him knocking."
"You don't look like you just got out of the shower!" she exclaimed, laughing a little.
"Well... that's easily fixed."
Christine noticed the obvious cheeky tone in Spiros' voice. With intrigue she watched him walk into the ensuite; and moments later, he reappeared with a towel in his hands. He took off his shirt and trousers, and wrapped the towel over his waist so that it covered his boxer shorts. "There," he grinned, "Better?"
She nodded, and Spiros smiled, seeing that Christine was a little embarrassed. "I'll be back," he told her, leaving the room. When he opened the door, he was confronted by Tim, whose unsteady stance told Spiros that he had been drinking. "Is Christine here?" Tim slurred loudly, swaying backward and forward slightly.
"No, Tim, she isn't," he lied, sighing heavily.
"Well where the hell is she?"
"How am I supposed to know? I haven't seen her since yesterday at your house."
Tim grunted in reply. For the first time he looked quite vulnerable, and Spiros started to feel a little sorry for him. "Look Tim, I think you should go home. Go to bed. Do you want me to ring you a taxi?"
He merely stared at Spiros, before turning his back and making his way down the corridor to the elevator. Spiros stood at the front door for a few seconds, thinking. He then returned to Christine, leaving the bedroom door somewhat ajar.
Christine looked up at him, her eyebrows raised in question. Using one hand, he signalled to her that Tim was drunk. She groaned and tipped her head backwards, letting the rest of her body fall down onto the bed. "Was he looking for me?"
Spiros put his shirt back on, sat down on the bed and looked back at her. "Yes."
She groaned once more.
After being at Spiros' apartment, home felt like it was too far away for Christine. She knew that the uncertain state of her marriage was slowly pushing her into the arms of another man. Tim's attitude, coupled with his drinking, wasn't helping either. She arrived home to his scathing and demanding question, "Where the fuck have you been?"
He was sitting on the couch in complete darkness. Christine flicked the light on, unfazed by his demeanour. "I went over to Ally's house for a while, and then I drove around a bit. Went to St Kilda."
"And what? That's all I did. Why do I have to explain myself to you?"
"Because you're my wife."
Christine frowned. Tim never struck her as being the kind of man who would be possessive, but this was getting very close to it. He stared at her, waiting for a reply or a rebuttal, but it didn't come. Instead, "I'm going to bed," was all that came out of her mouth.
"Christine!" he called out, and she stopped half way up the stairs, a little reluctant to turn around. "Is this it? Are we over?"
Part of her wanted to say yes, and another part of her wanted to say no.
"I don't know."