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Behind Her Eyes: Part 1: Chapter 5


I wave him off with a smile as he leaves for his first proper day at the clinic, and the elderly lady next door looks on approvingly as she takes her small, equally frail dog out for his walk. We always appear such a perfect couple, David and I. I like that.

Still, I let out a sigh of relief when I close the door and have the house to myself, even though that exhalation feels like a small betrayal. I love having David here with me, but we’re not yet back on whatever even ground we’ve created for ourselves, and the atmosphere is full of everything unsaid. Thankfully, the new house is big enough that he can hide in his study and we can pretend everything is fine as we cautiously move around each other.

I do, however, feel slightly better than I did when he came home drunk. We didn’t discuss it the next morning, of course; discussion is not something we do these days. Instead, I left him to his papers and went to sign us both up at the local health club, which is suitably expensive, and then walked around our new chic area, absorbing it all. I like to lock locations in place. To be able to see them. It makes me feel more comfortable. It helps me relax.

I walked for nearly two hours, mentally logging shops and bars and restaurants until I had them safely stored in my head, their images summonable at will, and then I bought some bread from the local artisan bakery, and some olives, sliced ham, hummus, and sun-dried tomatoes from the deli – all of which were decadently expensive and drained my housekeeping cash – and made us an indoor picnic for lunch, even though it was warm enough to sit outside. I don’t think he wants to go into the garden yet.

Yesterday we went to the clinic, and I charmed the senior partner Dr Sykes, and the various other doctors and nurses we met. People respond to beauty. It sounds vain, but it’s true. David once told me that jurors were far more likely to believe good-looking people in the dock than average or ugly ones. It’s only the luck of skin and bones, but I’ve learned that it does have a magic. You don’t even have to say very much, but simply listen and smile, and people bend over backwards for you. I have enjoyed being beautiful. To say anything else would be a lie. I work hard to keep myself beautiful for David. Everything I do is for him.

David’s new office is the second largest in the building from what I could see, the sort I would expect him to have if he’d ever take up a position in Harley Street. The carpet is cream and plush, the large desk is suitably ostentatious, and outside is a very luxurious reception area. The blonde and attractive – if you like that sort of thing – woman behind that desk scurried away before we could be introduced, which annoyed me – but Dr Sykes barely seemed to notice as he talked at me and blushed when I laughed at his terrible half-jokes. I think I did very well given how much my heart was aching. David must have been pleased too, because he softened a little after that.

We are having dinner at Dr Sykes’ house tonight as an informal welcome. I already have my dress picked out and know how I will do my hair. I fully intend to make David proud of me. I can be the good wife. The new partner’s wife. Despite my present worries. I feel calmer than I have since we moved.

I look up at the clock whose tick cuts through the vast silence in the house. It’s still only eight a.m. He’s probably just getting to the office now. He won’t make his first call home until eleven thirty. I have time. I go up to our bedroom and lie on top of the covers. I’m not going to sleep. But I do close my eyes. I think about the clinic. David’s office. That plush cream carpet. The polished mahogany of his desk. The tiny scratch on the corner. The two slim couches. Firm seats. The details. I take a deep breath.


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