The rain lashed the windows of the Long Room, where England paced up and down, waiting for Kevin to return home from his long day in the nets. England was steaming, running its countless grievances over and over in its mind, invariably making it more furious the more it pondered them.
It thought back over the years, to the happier times. Kevin arrived in England's life when all was dull and uninspired. His verve and sparkling eyes had enthralled England, even though it knew he was just coming out of a serious relationship and was probably on the rebound.
But England didn't care. That ever-changing hairstyle and swashbuckling manner drew it in, and it vowed to make Kevin love it, no matter what it took, and he would forget the beautiful, complicated first love he grew up with.
Just then, the door slammed and Kevin's kit bag drop to the floor with a thud, his Adidas gear vibrating expensively against the wooden boards.
"Hi..." England said.
Kevin stood awkwardly, not sure of his position. They'd been arguing so much lately, he wasn't quite sure how to speak to England anymore.
"Hey.." he said, before starting hesitantly. "Listen, I'm really sorry about last night. That press conference..."
England interrupted his carefully worded apology, eyes narrowed. "Never mind that. I hear you've been texting your ex, Protea."
Kevin's shocked face took a second to regain its composure. His mind was running at Jonty Rhodes speed, wondering how the hell England had found out. He took a breath before he spoke. "I...what? I didn't..."
"Apparently you called me something really rude in Afrikaans. You know I can't speak it, so I don't know what 'doos' means, but I'm pretty sure it's not good."
Kevin balked. "Apparently? Have you seen these alleged messages?"
"No, but my sources tell me they're pretty mean. Have you been keeping in touch with Protea behind my back all this time?!" England was shouting now, its eyes dark with fury and betrayal, a single tear slipping down its face.
Kevin started to sweat, gripping his white trousers to dry the moisture from his palms. "Look, we worked together when I had to go to Delhi on that business trip. Nothing happened!"
England raged through its tears. "I knew you still loved Protea! I saw the way you looked at it during the football World Cup! You always keep jetting off on 'business trips' to Durban, and I can't get hold of you for days!"
Matters were getting out of hand by this point, and curious onlookers began to poke their heads around the door, with James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad giggling mischievously behind the oak panels, taking notes for their next newspaper columns/books.
"Ag my fok, we're only chommies!" said Kevin, reverting to Afrikaans, a language he hardly spoke, even as a child.
"Don't use that filth near me! I've heard you speaking it to people on the boundary, and you don't even care how that makes me feel," screamed England as Jonny Bairstow rubbed his hands with glee.
"I love you! I keep telling you that, why won't you trust me?" Kevin begged, wishing he could go back to May and retract his hasty retirement and demands for a visit to India.
"Please, you don't love me, you're just using me for my money. When the next country comes around, the next hot young thing, you're going to leave me," England countered.
"Oh sure, bring up the money. Always the money with you. No wonder it's the biggest cause of divorce! Well, that and the fact that you keep blabbing about our private arguments to all your mates!" Kevin said, not realising that it was usually him making it about cash.
"If you'd just let me go to India, none of this would be happening!" he added, opening up an old can of worms.
"You said you were happy staying here, just yesterday! And anyway, if it's not India it's somewhere else, like Australia or Bangladesh. Why aren't you happy being with me, just... me?" England's voice broke on the final word.
Kevin's features softened, his blue eyes crinkling with concern and desperation as he reached for England, "Ok, I won't go anywhere. I only need you, I've only ever wanted you. I swear, Protea and I are just friends, it's been over between us for years. I'm sorry, I'll do anything you want to fix this, I love you."
England looked up through its lashes, still glistening with tears, and said coldly, "Meh. I'll see. We still have a lot to work through, and we need to get trust and mutual respect back before we can consider moving forward together."
England turned on its heel and walked out the room, the portraits of Shane Warne and Donald Bradman watching as it sauntered away, leaving Kevin standing with his hands at his sides, mouth open in humiliation at his rejected contrition, unsure of what to do next.
To be continued...
Lindsay du Plessis