She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t move. His betrayal tore into her very soul.
‘That’s why she called, but it’s over.’
Thomas looked Martha right in the eyes.
‘I can’t lie,’ Martha stated. ‘It hurts so much, the very thought that you slept with her.’
‘But I’ve already told you once that it’s over,’ Thomas said, violently tossing his empty glass against the marble surround. It shattered into miniscule pieces.
It was essential she find the right words to say. Did she believe him? No. But this wasn’t his first affair or probably his last. Three brandies, and what he had with dinner was enough to hurtle his emotions into overdrive. Was she ready to face the consequences because of angry words?
He clutched at his chest, and Martha could see he wanted another drink. How could he when the broken shards were at his feet? Eyes narrowed into slits, he backed into his chair. Even as he fell back no eye contact was lost.
Martha rushed to his side. ‘I’m sorry Thomas. It’s just I love you so much and the thought of being alone.’
Slowly she knelt so that they were on the same level.
‘Do you believe me then?’
They sat in an uncomfortable silence, where a tree could drop, and nothing be heard. Martha’s thoughts turned to Elizabeth. Who was this woman? Did he really love her? Why did he start the affair in the first place?
‘Say something!’ Thomas was getting impatient now.
Large palms rose to the sides of her shoulders, and she forced them to stay still. It was like an out of body experience. Another version of Martha watched the scene play out. Her next words were crucial – but what could she say that Thomas would believe?
‘I believe you,’ she stated like a robot.
‘Then why don’t I believe you?’
‘It’s a bit of a shock that’s all.’
‘You need to know that I love you,’ Thomas said, hands rested on her neck now.
Martha, aware of the enormity of this moment searched for confirmation in her husband’s eyes. The man who had carried her into the wedding reception. The man, who held his daughter for the first time, like she was going to break. The father who forced his own daughter to leave the family home at eighteen. Her husband, with a fragile heart, who needed hers to be whole.
‘I believe you Thomas.’
‘Do you love me?’
‘I’ve always loved you – no matter what.’