The finger of suspicion

My bedroom looked like a crime scene - and I found out who done itĪ

Published by: Paul Carter & Amy Thompson
Published on: 10th March 2011

Men – you’d have to be a detective to work them out sometimes. I loved my boyfriend Ben, but at times he was a total mystery to me.
Thank God I had my best mate Elaine, though.
‘So he just walked out?’ she asked, sipping her gin and tonic.
‘Yep,’ I sighed. ‘We were arguing about what’s on telly, and he just stormed off.’
She shook her head.
‘Where is he now?’
‘Down the pub with his mates?’ I shrugged. ‘And men think we’re hard to understand!’
Chatting with Elaine while my kids Tom, four, and Jack, one, slept upstairs, I soon felt better.
Still, by the time Ben got home, the dust would have settled.
‘He’s not all bad,’ I smiled. ‘He’s a great dad. Although his snoring’s awful!’
‘Enough to rattle the windows?’ Elaine giggled.
‘Worse!’ I laughed.
Right on cue, Ben walked in.
‘What are you two giggling about?’ he asked.
‘Oh nothing,’ Elaine winked at me. ‘I’d better go. See you later.’
Snuggled up to Ben that night, I knew I was lucky.
Despite the odd argument, I had a great fella, brilliant friends, beautiful children…
Yet, over the next few weeks, I began to doubt my luck.
Maybe I was being paranoid, but the next time Elaine popped round, I couldn’t help noticing how pally she and Ben had become.
Soon as I left the room to make a cuppa, I heard them laughing.
‘What’s so funny?’ I asked, sitting down.
‘Oh nothing,’ Elaine smiled.
I felt a pang of annoyance. Since when did my best mate share private jokes with my boyfriend?
At first, I shrugged it off. But, as the months rolled by, my suspicions grew.
Elaine had always come over when Ben went out. Now, she forever seemed to have an excuse.
Like tonight…
‘I’m really tired,’ she yawned down the phone. ‘I think I’m going to have an early night.’
When the phone rang two hours later, I wondered if she’d changed her mind. Instead it was Gemma, another friend of mine.
‘Where are you?’ she asked.
‘At home,’ I replied. ‘Why?’
‘I just bumped into Ben and Elaine in town. I thought you’d be out, too.’
I felt my stomach lurch. Ben and Elaine, out together?
‘Oh, I fancied a night in,’ I told Gemma, trying to sound casual. ‘I’d better go, the baby’s crying.’
Hanging up, I stared at the phone. What the hell was going on?
When Ben got home, I confronted him. ‘We bumped into each other,’ he shrugged. ‘Had one drink, then she went back to her mates and I went back to mine.’
The next day, Elaine said the same thing. ‘My mate kept badgering me to go out,’ she explained. ‘I was going to invite you, but I thought it was a bit late.’
Well, I couldn’t argue with that. As much as my gut instinct was telling me something was going on between them, how could I prove it? I couldn’t go around pointing fingers without evidence.
But I couldn’t push my suspicions to the back of my mind. Even out shopping, I was distracted.
‘Mum!’ Tom interrupted my thoughts. ‘Can I get this? Please?’
He was holding a Richard Hammond fingerprinting kit for children. ‘Go on, then,’ I smiled.
We’d all have fun playing with it later. It might take my mind off my worries…
That evening, Elaine popped round and we sat down with Ben and the kids.
‘Wish I’d had stuff like this when I was a kid,’ Ben grinned.
‘Look, there’s one of your prints,’ Elaine beamed at Tom, holding one of his plastic toys she’d dusted down.
We’d all done a
print of our finger on a piece of paper, so we could hunt out prints around the house and match them up.
‘Wow!’ Tom grinned.
Watching her matching up the prints, I had an idea… If it was evidence I needed against Ben and Elaine, evidence I’d get!
The following weekend, I put my plan into action. ‘I’m going out for a friend’s birthday,’ I told Ben. ‘I won’t be home until gone 1am, so don’t wait up.’
‘Okay,’ he nodded.
Pulling out of the drive later, I knew I’d given him the perfect opportunity to invite Elaine round.
He had the house to himself, knew I’d be back late.
The entire night, I tried to relax, but I was anxious to get home.
True to my word, I got in at 1.30am to find Ben snoring. My gaze instantly fell on the bedside table. Two empty glasses.
Careful not to wake him, I picked them up and tiptoed out.
Lifting the first to my nose I smelt lager, but the second smelt like gin and tonic.
Elaine’s drink!
Feeling like Sherlock Holmes, I dug Tom’s fingerprinting kit out of the toy box and started dusting the glass for prints. In seconds, there they were.
And when I held Elaine’s print next to them… I froze.
‘Oh, God,’ I gasped.
They matched!
Elaine had been in my bedroom!
You’d think I’d be filled with fury, march upstairs and confront Ben, right? Instead, all the energy seemed to drain from me.
I stared at the ceiling, tears rolling down my cheeks as the betrayal of my best mate and my man sank in.
I even crept into bed beside Ben, and quietly sobbed into my pillow until I drifted off.
When I woke up, Ben had already nipped out. While the kids played in their room, I dusted mine for more evidence.
Sure enough, Elaine’s fingerprints were everywhere.
The minute Ben got home, I pounced. ‘Why was Elaine in our bedroom last night?’ I fumed.
His eyes widened in shock. ‘Sh-she wasn’t…’ he started.
I grabbed his arm, and frog marched him to the kitchen.
‘Why are her prints on this glass?’ I quizzed. ‘I found it on the bedside table.’
His mouth opened and closed, but I didn’t wait for a response.
Now, I was hauling him up to our bedroom.
‘And look at this.’ I pushed open the door to what looked like a crime scene, a fine layer of dust covering everything. ‘Her prints are everywhere.’
He looked ready to crack under the pressure, but I was on a roll. Taking out my mobile, I phoned Elaine. ‘So, did you enjoy your little session with Ben last night?’ I asked.
There was silence, then…
‘He told you?’ she gasped.
‘No,’ I snapped, blood boiling. ‘You just did.’ Case well and truly closed! She hung up.
‘Please,’ Ben begged. ‘Let’s talk this through.’
‘Too late,’ I snorted.
Two days later, he moved in with a friend. I was surprised he didn’t shack up with Elaine but, three months on, what surprises me most is how I found out they were sleeping together.
Who’d have thought playing detective would lead to uncovering Ben’s dirty little secret?

Ben Sole, 27, said: ‘Me and Elaine saw each other for six months. I never thought I’d be caught out with a kids’ fingerprint kit. As soon as we got caught, we split up. I’m sorry for what I did, but there’s no going back now.’

Elaine Ross, 25, said: ‘I
don’t know why I did it. I must have been mad. I’ve lost a really good mate. If I could change things, I would.’
Stevie Jones, 23, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester