Monthly Archives: December 2018

Marital Duplicity; chapter three

Chapter Three

“Hello?” My phone wakes me a half hour before my alarm goes off, and it’s Jasmine, otherwise I wouldn’t have answered.

“Megan! Bob never came home! Please come over now.” Jasmine’s voice is trembling, and I can tell she’s crying.

“Give me ten minutes, Jasmine.” I hang up and get up. I go to the kitchen to feed the beasties before going to take a quick shower. I dress in sweats, give the cats some love, then take off for Jasmine’s place, my mind whirling. I can think of a million reasons why he didn’t come home, and none of them good. The least worst possibility is that he went on a bender and had to sleep it off on his friend’s couch. That seems highly unlikely, but I’m clinging to it so I won’t have to think about worse possibilities.

“Megan!” Jasmine throws her arms around my neck and squeezes. It’s clear she’s been crying for hours, and she doesn’t have any makeup on for once. She’s wearing gray sweats, but they’re not meant to be exercised in. She probably paid more for the sweat suit than I pay in mortgage every month. I brush that aside because now is not the time nor the place. This is all about her.

“Jasmine!” I hug her tightly, stroking her back as I do.

“I’ve called him thirteen times between when you left last night and when I called you this morning.” Jasmine is blubbering, so it’s difficult to understand what she’s saying.

“Let’s go inside and talk.” I go into her house and close the door behind me. I take off my shoes and line them up on the welcome mat. I lead her into the kitchen and put a kettle on the stove. Once the water is boiling, I make us ginger tea. “When’s the last time you ate?” I ask, trying out my best mom glare.

“I can’t, Megan. I really can’t.” Jasmine sags to the floor, and I’m disconcerted at how much of a wreck she is.

“You can, and you will.” I stare into the fridge to see what she has in there. There are dumplings, noodles, radish cakes, and rice. Not exactly breakfast fare, but I’m beyond caring at this point. I heat up two bowlfuls of noodles, grab the necessary accoutrements, and go into the dining room. Once I have everything laid out, I go back to haul Jasmine’s ass in there as well. Once we’re seated, I start eating. Jasmine pushes the noodles around inside her bowl, but doesn’t eat. “Jasmine.” I put some steel into my voice, and she obediently lifts a noodle to her mouth. I glare at her until she starts masticating and swallows. I don’t let her talk until she’s finished half of her noodles. Then, I nod at her. Clearing her throat, she begins.

“As I told you, Bob has been acting strangely for the past three months.” Jasmine takes a deep breath and continues. “I asked him about it, but he said it was just work. His boss was pushing him to put in more time, despite his seniority.” Jasmine reaches for her glass and drains half her water in one gulp. “Two months ago, I caught him sneaking into the house at one in the morning. It was really bad.”

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Marital Duplicity; chapter two

Chapter Two

“Megan! How are you doing?” Jasmine hugs me hard before looking me up and down.

“Hanging in.” I’m glad I put on a nice pair of black pants and a red blouse before coming over. I’ve lived in my sweats for the past two weeks, but I know Jasmine wouldn’t take kindly to me showing up in tattered sweats. She’s wearing a blue dress that accentuates her curves. She has eight years on my forty-five, and yet, looks twenty years younger. As always, I envy her curls, which are as natural as her generous bosom.

“You can do this. You’re strong.” Jasmine ushers me inside. I take off my shoes before following her into the dining room, which is empty.

“Where’s Bob?” I ask, looking around.

“Working late. Again.” Jasmine’s lips purse together before she relaxes them.

“Something wrong between you two?” I ask, concerned. She and Bob seem to have a solid marriage, but who can ever really know for sure?

“He’s just been working too much lately. He says his boss is coming down hard on the team, but he has seniority, damn it. What good is seniority if it means you can’t have dinner with your wife every now and then?” Bob is on a marketing team, which means erratic hours. He was supposed to cut back on his hours last year in an agreement he made with Jasmine, but he claimed he couldn’t do it without jeopardizing his job.

“Oh, well. It’s just you and me. We’ll have some major sister bonding time.” I sit down at the table and start loading my plate with beef stroganoff, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and salad. Everything smells good, and my sister is an excellent cook. I take a bite of the beef stroganoff, and it stays down. That’s another problem I’ve been having—not throwing up my food. The stroganoff sits well, so I take another bite, followed by a bite of mashed potatoes. Both stay down. I’m able to eat several bites of everything before my stomach starts to rebel. I set down my fork, not wanting to press my luck.

“That’s all you’re eating?” Jasmine asks, pausing before taking a healthy bite of stroganoff herself. “You used to put away three plates of my stroganoff by yourself without breaking a sweat.”

“I haven’t been eating much lately,” I say, staring down at my plate. Suddenly, the stroganoff doesn’t look as appetizing, and I push the plate away from me. I take a sip of water to keep my food down.

“I can tell. You’ve lost weight.” Jasmine’s tone is disapproving, even though she’s normally encouraging me to eat healthier and to work out. To her credit, she never comments on my weight in a negative way. Whenever I point out that her eating habits aren’t exactly exemplary, she laughs and tells me I should do as she says, not as she does.

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