Revenge is Sweet is a laugh-out-loud story about a woman who extracts her revenge from her cheating husband, but discovers that laughter is really the best way to mend a broken heart.
“David, what’s bothering you?” Her voice rose a little. “Out with it.”
“I’m not happy, Maddi. I don’t know how else to say it.” He folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the glass patio door that led from the kitchen to the outside pool area. He wouldn’t look at her, but kept his eyes on the kitchen floor.
Stepping around the center island separating the two rooms, she moved to where he stood and put her arms around his still trim middle. “What’s wrong? Is it work?”
“Oh, Maddi.” He sighed. “When a man tells his wife he’s not happy, it means he’s not happy. Why do you have to make me spell it out? I don’t want to hurt you.”
With every word a sick feeling grew inside her. What was he saying? He couldn’t possibly mean he wasn’t happy with her. A wife would naturally know these things. So why was her stomach acting this way? Telling her one thing when she knew another. Her female intuition was way off base here, and frightening her for no good reason.
“David, you can’t mean that. You’re just working too hard.”
“It’s not work.”
He loved her, she was sure, but even so, she felt that lurch of alarm, like an elevator free falling down a shaft. She scanned his handsome face, desperate to understand. He had fine bones, a well-shaped nose, and graying eyebrows that furrowed above deep blue eyes. And normally he smiled a lot, so he had big creases at the corners of his mouth, which she loved. But he wasn’t smiling now, and the creases looked deeper than usual and sadder somehow.
She had to admit he didn’t look too happy. For one nanosecond Maddi felt a strong urge, a need really, to shake him and tell him to snap out of it, but she restrained herself. Obviously, he was going through some male PMS or early mid-life crisis. Something. For his sake, she had to remain calm.
David gave a long, weary sigh, and continued to stare at the floor, as if the secrets of the universe were contained in that one spot.
“David? What’s going on here? And why?” Maddi heard the panic in her own voice and tried to squelch it. Her eyes misted up and her breathing clogged, as if something had gotten stuck in her windpipe. She had to force air around the constriction, hitching little breaths that felt as though she was sucking air through a straw.
“I’m not in love anymore. I’m sorry Maddi, but I can’t help it.” He ran his hand through his thick hair and poked at his glasses. “Hell,” he said, as if that explained everything. “It happens.” Finally he dared a look in her direction.
She flushed with indignation. Was this some lame excuse for a joke? They’d just celebrated their thirteenth wedding anniversary a month ago. You couldn’t be married for that length of time and not be happy, or unhappy for that matter, at least some of the time. Fact of life: marriage is a bumpy road, but how boring it would be if it were flat.
Maddi wondered if her face was going to crack when she forced her lips upwards into a parody of a smile. It felt oddly stiff, like she had dipped it in a can of cement. Her voice took on a sugary sweetness. “Don’t be silly. I know you love me. So tell me, what are you not happy about?”
She noticed that David still wasn’t man enough to look her in the face.
He blurted, “I mean I want out.” He shoved his hands in his pockets and glowered at her. “I’ve packed a few things and I’m moving out for awhile. That’s all there is to it.”
“Your shirts from the cleaners, your golf clubs? You were packing up, preparing to leave me, while I, while I… she sputtered in disbelief.
“Maddi, stop looking at me like that. Things haven’t been good between us for a long time, you know that.”
She didn’t know any such thing. Everything was fine between them, or had been until a moment ago. Now she felt the floor beneath her dip and sway.
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