The 600 square feet in front of her never looked so hospitable and cozy, until he walked back into sight. Then it just looked crowded and uninhabitable.
She closed her eyes, wishing on the falling star she knew would come out that night, that this creature would prove her imagination’s figment. But when one lid peeled open, his nose was five inches in front of it. Her body jolted backwards in surprise.
“What the heck is your problem?”
He laughed, full out, eyes mocking. “You were hoping I’d be gone when you opened your eyes. I’ve actually seen you do that before.”
“Oh yeah, before or after you blackmailed your boss into marrying you?”
“No blackmail was necessary. In the end you couldn’t resist my charms. You practically begged me to follow you down the aisle.”
She turned from him and walked into the bedroom pulling the door closed behind her. She smacked her head at the absence of a deadbolt. As she flopped onto the bed, she heard him speaking. Idiot talks to himself too. This should be classic.
Marian strained her ears to hear, before silently getting off her bed and creeping to the door to listen.
“Yes, we’re both here. Her parents were… cooperative. No, I am not sure why she let me, besides her desire to get out there. No, I don’t plan on….You don’t seem to understand she’s…Yes, I understand the decision’s been made. Yes, but if I may state, I do not share your confidence. It’s obvious the situation has…a contingency…must be made…Yes, I see. Understood.” Then his voice went silent.
Marian ran back to the bed and hastened under the sheets. Feigning sleep came almost as easily as falling asleep only a moment or two later. By the time Drake cracked the door open, he knew his wife had succumbed to her mental exhaustion. Sweeping a stray chocolate brown strand from his eyes, he took off his shoes and gently fell in beside her.
Marian dreamed of car chases and shootouts, of kung-fu matches and clandestine rendezvous. So vivid were the images, that when she awoke to find a man, once again 5 inches from her face, she shrilled a scream and kicked out with her left foot.
“Ugghhh, you miserable…” the rest of his speech was muffled by his pillow as he rolled over showing her his back.
Suddenly, clarity returned to Marian and she began kicking with both feet and throwing the rest of her body weight against his back.
“What are you doing in my bed. Get out!” Her tone had plunged into a growl. “Immediately.”
“This bed belonged to me before it entered this apartment, so darling, I suggest you make for the couch.” His smooth transition to a polished British accent gave her pause.
“Where did you say you grew up, Drake?”
“Yes, but where exactly.”
“Fair Haven, a small village in Cayuga County, right on Lake Ontario.”
“Why haven’t we gone back to visit your family?”
“Who says we haven’t. We have Christmas there every year and we take a week vacation in July. They have the most beautiful bluffs there. You like to take a rowboat out into the lake and just daydream, for hours.”
He turned to her, noting her blank stare. “You really don’t remember, do you?”
“No, and for good reason, apparently,” was all she muttered as she got out of the bed and left the room, slamming the door behind her.
Drake solaced his soul with a deep breath. How can I go through this again. Just when I thought things were falling into normalcy.
Picking himself out of bed, he fussed at the wrinkles in his disheveled clothing and followed his wife into the kitchen.
There he found her elbows deep into a container of left-over macaroni and cheese.
He smiled. “You are so predictable, Mara.”
“And you have lost your touch. I remember you used to flatter the ugly off a woman’s face, back in the day.”
“It’s easy to please a woman who intends to please me later. You, in your current state, do not fit that bill.”
“Time to wake up, Drake. That part of our marriage is over.” She stopped to inhale another spoonful and savor its contents. Drake grimaced as part of the entree ended up on her right cheek and roll down to her chest.
She opened her eyes. “So which one of us cooks?”
He lifted his weary shoulders. “Clearly me. The only thing your fit to cook up are chemicals. And even that is touch and go for you.”
“I am fine with retaining that arrangement.” She gobbled another shovelful, finally noticing the revulsion on her husband’s face.
“I’m not so attractive now, am I Drakey.”
“Honey, I’m not sure you ever were.” He opened the fridge and pulled out the makings for an omelet.
“Mara, do you think you could throw down one of these as well?”
She nodded, putting the lid back on the macaroni and licking her lips. She then took an inventory of her body.
“Hey, Drake, did I loose weight in the hospital?”
“In two days, not likely. You have your father’s metabolism, no kids, and you haven’t hit thirty yet. But, relax, the fat’s sure to catch up eventually.” He began chopping the cilantro and fresh basil.
She expelled a breath. “But not fast enough to chase you away.”
“Mara, Mara. I’m not that shallow. You’d be surprised what my love can overlook.”
She shuddered. If he didn’t have a knife in his hands, and if he wasn’t part of some evil conspiracy, that might actually have been romantic. “Gross,” she muttered.
“What?” he asked.
“Your flattery. Save it for wife number two.” She walked toward the couch and grabbed the remote. “Call me when my brunch is ready.”