The loser_s wife
The lights in the cabaret lounge brightened again and the spots centered on the casual figure on the stage. As Johnny Dutton finished another number the applause was spontaneous and enthusiastic.
The lounge was almost completely filled, though more with middle-aged women than others and the young singer had a way of capturing the audience completely. His delivery was ultra-casual and the smooth richness of his voice was a portent of the great star many figured him soon to become.
As the orchestration behind him launched into a Bossa Nova medley, the man singing in the center of the stage had the total attention of the women in the audience, but many of the men had settled on a different attraction.
To these men the stunningly beautiful girl seated alone at a small table held more fascination for them than any male singer could ever have.
Even in the dimness of the showroom it was evident that the leggy brunette was extraordinarily lovely. Her glossy ebony hair was very long and draped casually over one shoulder, so black and glistening that it seemed to be a deep royal purple. The darkness of her hair was strikingly contrasted with the china white of her skin and the light grey-blue eyes.
She sat oblivious to the stares of the men in the audience, intent only on the singer, and as he finished his song her applause was even more enthusiastic than any other.
Johnny, if he hadn't been blinded by the spotlights and could have seen the distraction the girl was causing, might have been filled with a combination of annoyance and pride. He wouldn't have liked the influence she had on his audience, he wanted them to see and hear no one but him – but the girl was Laura, his wife. And there were times when he wanted to stand and shout, "Look, you unfortunate people! Look at what's mine, all mine!"
At the small table the same desire was passing through the girl's proud admiring thoughts.
He's so wonderful, she thought silently, so talented and handsome. Oh, Johnny, they all love you so much, but no one can ever love you the way I do! No one can ever want you the way I do, from the moment I first saw you…!
She was jolted suddenly from her silent reverie by the scrape of a chair that was moved out from her table. She looked up into the oily slickness of the man's face who was joining her without invitation and felt a chill of revulsion pass quickly through her.