Ann pretended to read as she watched her husband Bryan standing at the living room window looking out at the rain. From where she sat next to the fire, she could watch him without him knowing. Ann wanted to talk about Janice Howard, but couldn’t because she was afraid of what Bryan might say.

“He might say there’s nothing to it,” she thought. “Then again he might admit to having an affair with her.”

Her thoughts kept her from concentrating on the book. Earlier she had almost asked Bryan if he wanted to go back to bed for some passionate love making. She had excited herself with a daydream of him standing in front of her while she unbuttoning his shirt and ran her fingers through the thick curly hair on his chest. But the scene vanished the instant the thought came to her that he might rather go to bed with Janice Howard.

“No, he wouldn’t be having an affair, he couldn’t be. I know I’m get upset over nothing.”

She had been trying to tell herself all morning the idea of Bryan having an affair was ridicules, but the thought kept coming back making her miserable. She had to talk to him.

“I was looking for a pencil and some paper in your desk this morning,” she said. Bryan made a sound in response, but did not turn around to look at her.

She placed a book marker between the pages and sat the book down. She went to the fireplace to added another log.

“Do you know what I found?” she continued.

When she turned away from the fire, she saw that he was looking at her. She was suddenly self conscious of her appearance. She was wearing a tattered blue robe and white cotton socks. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a pony tail and locks that were too short to be held back by the elastic band were curled behind each ear.

“Not a very sexy picture,” she thought.

“I’ll take a wild guess – a pencil and paper,” he said.

“Eventually I did, but before that.”

“I have no idea.”

“I found a letter that artist friend of yours sent you.”

“And which artist friend is that?”

“Miss. Howard,” Ann said. “The one with the long legs and the skinny little butt.”

“Janice,” he said. “Her legs aren’t so long, and her butt’s not all that skinny either.”

“So you’ve made a close inspection of her figure.”

“I just mean she looks about average, that’s all.”

“Do you love her?” Ann said.

“No I don’t love her, I only love you. Why would you ask a question like that?”

“Why else would you keep her letter?”

“I’ve never received a letter from her. She sent me a thank you note for helping with one of her shows, and I only kept it because she’s going to be famous someday. I thought it would be nice to have a personal note signed by someone famous.”

“And I’m supposed to believe that? You’re not a very good liar even though you are always doing it.”

“I don’t always lie.”

“Then you admit to lying sometimes.”

“You can be so exasperating,” he said. “Alright, I’ll admit that occasionally I lie, but not to hurt someone or to be devious, only to spare the feelings of others.”

“You don’t have to spare my feelings, I can take care of myself. I’m a big girl.”

“You wouldn’t know that by the way you are acting.”

“And how am I acting?”

“Like a child,” Bryan said.

“I just need your reassurance,” she said.

Bryan went to her and put his arms around her.

“I told you I love you,” he said.

“Tell me again.”

“I love you.”

“Only me?”

“Only you.”

“And I love you,” she said.

She gave him a soft wet kiss. “Do you want some coffee,” she said when they parted.

“If you are making it,” Bryan said with a smile.

Ann went toward the kitchen. Before going through the door she looked back and saw Bryan staring into the fire. He was no longer smiling and the look on his face was the same as it had been earlier.

“Liar,” she said to herself as she went into the kitchen.


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