Danny was home about half an hour early from work. He’d had a reasonable afternoon practising for the comp truck race but he’d ended the morning on a shitty note with a female reporter trying to lead him into a shitty tell all story about his wife based on lies and bullshit for her trashy tabloid magazine.
Despite Danny walking out of the interview and having the team legal department slap a black ban on both reporter and the magazine he still knew he had to ask Tracey if she’d said anything to any reporters, he didn’t think it was her form but he had to ask. He thought he knew Tracey well enough to know if she was lying, the little tells in her voice, the way she absently rubbed her left eye, or scratched her head were the tells he’d never told her she’d had and the tells he’d be looking for, but he still doubted he would see them.
Keeping track of what Tracey was doing in her daily routine was not something Danny had bothered to do since her return, it wasn’t that he didn’t want to know it was just that he was struggling to get himself back on to that ‘personal’ plain of existence with her. He still loved her, he still cared for her and he still wanted to know what it was she was getting up to each day, more so now that she was home, but they just hadn’t gotten themselves back to that level of personal discussion.
In his mind he knew it wasn’t all a one sided thing, twelve months ago he’d wouldn’t have hesitated to ring Tracey on his way home just to let her know he was going to be early. It was the kind of communication channels they had, whether to see if she wanted him to get anything for dinner, or just to let her know his plans, a quick phone call or even a text message was almost the norm. Yet the same thoughts hadn’t once crossed his mind on his way home talking to Rick despite knowing he’d be early home.
When he stepped up to the back door it was locked, not something that was unsurprising, living in the city they always kept the front door lock but because the back yard wasn’t accessible from the front without going through the garage the back door often got left unlocked. It was also not unsurprising that Tracey didn’t come to unlock the door when she heard the car, if she was anywhere but the kitchen or lounge room she may not have heard the car arrive.
Not thinking anything was wrong Danny pulled the keys out of his pocket, unlocked the dead bolted door and walked into the quiet house. He didn’t bother announcing his presence, it was just not the sort of thing he did, instead he walked through the laundry, turned right into the hallway and within a few steps he was walking through the doorway into the kitchen.
Tracey was not in the kitchen so he walked over to the bench where the landline phone was and put his wallet and keys beside the phone before grabbing the phone charger lead and plugging in his mobile. He then walked around to the fridge, opened the door and reached inside for a cold beer, he didn’t care what else was going to happen for the night but he was going to have two cold beers before he worried about food. A quick glance in the fridge as he was getting his beer told him that Tracey had planned a dinner of pork chops, which suited him, not only because he didn’t have to think about it but because she had thought about it.
Opening his beer he walked through the dinning room and into the kitchen, he half expected to see Tracey sitting in front of the TV. He was a little annoyed he’d got so far into the house without her at least getting off the couch and saying something like “Oh you’re early, I didn’t hear you arrive.” but it was only a little annoyance.
In the lounge room the TV wasn’t even turned on and Tracey wasn’t sitting on the couch or chair waiting. From where he stood in the lounge he could see the door to the bedroom was ajar, it didn’t look like it had been shut, maybe just blown by an open window, sipping his beer he walked towards the bedroom a little curious as to where Tracey could be whilst making so little noise and also not hearing him come into the house.
His first thought was that she was in the shower, it seemed logical and explained why she didn’t hear him come through the back door. As he got closer to the door he heard Tracey’s voice, it wasn’t loud but it also wasn’t a whisper, he also couldn’t hear exactly what she was saying because of the muffled sounds through the door.
Danny stopped less than a metre from the door and listened, whatever Tracey’s last few words were didn’t make any sense to him even though he could hear them clear enough, then she went silent for a moment. In a moment that was harder to pick than a broken nose the instant Tracey started talking again a large empty truck drove past the house, it’s engine roaring and it’s empty trailer rattling over the bumps in the road and Danny heard nothing.
Rather than waiting for anything else to happen Danny made his mind up quickly and before the sound of the truck had faded into the distance he pushed the bedroom door open and walked into the room.
“Oh, shit!” Tracey said in a frightened voice indicating she was still unaware of Danny’s presence in the house. She then continued. “No it’s ok, it’s Danny, he’s home from work early.” Then directly to Danny she said, “I’m just talking to Mum.” It was somewhere in those few seconds of chatter Danny realised she had her ear phone in an was talking on her mobile phone.
Ten minutes later Danny was sitting at the dinning table, his second beer was open next to him and he was leafing through the day old newspaper, not really reading it just killing time.
“Sorry, babe.” Tracey voice beat her into the room, Danny still wasn’t entirely happy with the moniker of babe, but he wasn’t going to stop her saying something he once loved to hear. “It’s been a long time since Mum and I chatted like that.”
Danny let Tracey tell him about the reconnection between her and her Mum, he was happy to hear she’d finally remade that connection. After a few minutes of Tracey’s talking she obviously realised that something was on Danny’s mind and asked him what the issue was.
Being the nice guy he was Danny decided not to accuse or be defensive. “I had a really bad interview this morning. All the woman wanted to ask was question about you cheating and who it was with.”
“I didn’t sleep with…” Tracy interrupted.
Danny interrupted as well. “I’m not interested in that right now Tracey. This woman has been banned and legal are stopping her printing anything, but she got her information from somewhere. I’d like to know where.”
“You think it was me?” Tracey asked calmly, which surprised Danny.
“No I don’t think it was, at least I hope it wasn’t, but I need to hear you say it wasn’t you.”
Again Tracey’s voice was calm, which to Danny was a good sign. “I didn’t speak to any reporters, I wouldn’t do such a thing!”
Her response was short, to the point and Danny saw no tells indicating she was lying. It didn’t help in figuring out who gave the reporter information but he was certain it wasn’t Tracey.
Previous Racing story here.