Suddenly Martha had to know if it was true.
‘Do you still love me?’ she asked timidly.
His assurance wasn’t gentle, just a matter of fact. ‘You know I love you, why do you ask?’
‘I don’t really know.’
‘I married you, didn’t I?’
Martha nodded. ‘You do know I’ve always loved you.’
His brow furrowed. ‘Is anything wrong?’ he asked, ‘you seem different.’
Martha could have said something then, but the little confidence she had, seemed to chip away into the background. It was only after they had eaten their dessert that she found the nerve to speak once more.
‘We’ve been married for a long time and some men wouldn’t be in love with their wives.’
‘I’ve told you that I love you.’
His eyes widened, and Martha drew back.
‘It’s just some men have affairs, don’t they? That means the marriage must be in trouble. They’ve fallen out of love with their wives. Without meaning to, I mean.’
‘It’s not like you to be so inquisitive.’
Thomas narrowed his eyes. What could she do next? Part of her wanted to keep quiet but couldn’t stop herself. Whatever the outcome it would be worth it.
‘I had a call today from a woman called Elizabeth and she told me about your affair,’ Martha said.
The vein in Thomas’s neck throbbed, as he hurried to his drinks cabinet. He looked at the empty bottle. Martha held her hand to her mouth. Thankfully, nothing of her afternoon session remained. He reached for his brandy bottle instead, his glass was full in seconds.
‘What exactly did she say to you?’ He asked, drinking the contents in one go.
‘She begged me to let you go.’
Martha tried to gain distance between them.
‘Stupid woman,’ he mumbled under his breath, as he poured himself his second brandy.
Martha was frozen to the spot. ‘So, it’s true?’
Thomas stood by the mantelpiece. He took a large swig of his drink and staggered towards her. ‘I wouldn’t call it an affair,’ he said, full of self-importance.
‘But I’ve already told her it was over and that I love my wife.’
He made no move to comfort.