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Behind Her Eyes: Part 2: Chapter 33


He goes for a drink before he comes home. Always the need for a drink with David, but this time I don’t mind. I’d rather he gave himself time to calm down. I make sure that when I hear the front door open I’m sitting at the kitchen table, evidence of tears on my face. I’m not crying, though. He’s had enough of crying women for one night, I imagine.

I maintain my confusion about Louise. I apologise, over and over, for not telling him about my new friend, but I was lonely and I was worried he’d stop me seeing her, and that I was trying to be normal. I thought she’d be good for me. I ask where he went. I ask who she is to him, and why her name made him storm off like that. Of course he doesn’t tell me the truth, although he should really know better by now.

He says she’s one of his patients and watches me carefully for my reaction, testing me. He doesn’t quite buy my innocence here, he knows me too well for that. I let my mouth fall open into a slightly confused, ‘oh’. To be honest, I’m mildly disappointed in him. Even if I didn’t already know he’d been fucking Louise and she was his secretary, surely this would make me suspicious. Much as I adore David, having one obsessive patient is believable, but two somewhat stretches the boundaries of credibility. Still, all I have to do is play along, so I do.

I ask all the right questions, and he bats answers at me. He doesn’t give the phone back, but his own guilt reeks from his lack of inquisition over our friendship. I feel sorry for Louise – he clearly took most of his anger out on her. But then he’s not used to being angry with her. I’m a whole different story. He doesn’t have the energy to stay in a rage with me any more. It would exhaust him.

‘We should maybe go away for a couple of weeks,’ he says. His shoulders slump as he looks down at the floor. He’s tired. So very, very tired. Of everything. Of me.

‘We can’t do that,’ I say. And, to be frank, we can’t. That doesn’t fit in with my plans at all. ‘You’ve only been at the practice for a few weeks. How would that look? Just move this Louise patient on like you did with that boy.’

‘Maybe for a few days then. So we can talk properly.’ He glances at me then. Suspicion. Nerves. All in that brief look. ‘Decide what we’re going to do.’

Good little Louise has kept our secret, but she mentioned the pills and the phone calls, and he’s wondering how much of that was accidental or whether I orchestrated it somehow.

‘We can’t keep running away,’ I say, all soft reason. ‘Whatever our problems, we should stay and face them.’

He nods, but he’s watching me, thoughtful. It’s Louise who deceived him, but he doesn’t trust me one little bit. Constantly trying to analyse my mood, my thinking, my actions. He’s not convinced I didn’t know who Louise was, but with her lack of confirmation, he can’t prove anything. I can feel the battle lines being firmly marked out between us on our expensive kitchen tiles.

He’s a man on the edge, and he’ll do something soon. Divorce me at the very least, regardless of my threats to destroy him. I think he’s almost past caring about that, and I’ve known for some time that my hold over him was waning. He’d be relieved it was all over and done with. For a while at least, before the realisation that he’d totally fucked up his otherwise perfect life for something that happened a long time ago kicked in.

I’ll act quicker than him though. I’m braver that way. I’ve always been one step ahead. My resolve hardens. David will never be happy until he’s free of the past, and I can never be happy until David’s happy.

When we finally leave the kitchen, him first, to his study for a while to avoid the awkwardness of our walk to separate bedrooms, and then me heading upstairs to our big empty bed, I lie awake awhile, staring into the darkness and thinking about it all. More precisely, thinking about them, us, him.

The course of true love never did run smooth.


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