If You Only Knew

Page 56

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"Why would I? I don't even like you anymore."
"Yes, you do. You have to. You're my only friend."
Then he kisses my forehead, and I feel the faint scrape of his five o'clock shadow, and I want to stab him in the heart and climb him like a tree at the same time.
And then he turns and goes out the front door, taking my dopey heart with him.
At 3:00 a.m., I decide to Google him.
I stalk Owen online. I'm not proud of it, but everyone needs a hobby, right? I've got Google alerts on both him and Ana-Sofia. I could dig around in Leo's past and see why he says he has no friends.
And then, I decide against it. For one, those damn Google alerts bring me no joy when I read again about how selfless and perfect Owen and Ana-Sofia are. For two, they don't exactly help the cause of me moving on.
And for three...for some reason, it feels as if Leo Killian deserves better.
Because I may be his only friend.
I'm sleeping with Adam again. Sleeping with. Not having sex with. It got too exhausting, all that righteous anger, all that "I'm still sleeping in here, because of what you've done." Laney has asked me what I'd like Adam to do to show me he's sincere. Be sincere, was my answer. "Forgiveness is difficult," she said, making me feel small-hearted and brittle. "You don't have to trust Adam again, not right away, but it does mean you have to accept what's happened and start to take steps away from the infidelity."
So once again, the burden is on me. Planning the wedding, though it was a genuine joy, was on me. Once we figured out why we couldn't get pregnant, the burden was on me, too, with those horrible shots that made me so hormonal I had to go into the bathroom at work and cry, and everyone knew and was so nice, which made me cry more. All Adam had to do was switch to wearing boxers and have more sex. The pregnancy-me again. I'm the one with a four-inch scar and a pooch of skin. The house decorating, painting, hiring people to overhaul the plumbing and electric...me. His mother's birthday-also mine to remember. Holidays, vacations, weekend plans, all mine.
And while I would never call my girls a burden, the huge responsibility of raising them is 99 percent mine.
And now the future of our marriage is on me. I have to forgive him. I have to accept his apology. I have to get past this. That first night, I lay stiffly next to him. He gave me a meaningful basset-hound look and said, "Thank you, Rachel," and it was all I could do not to flip him off. In that moment, I hated our bed. The bed in the guest room was unsullied and smaller, perfect for one.
But I have to take a step away from what happened. Otherwise, the fury will corrode me until I'm nothing.
I think about Emmanuelle instead, the hatred for her untainted by love. I picture my vengeance on her, pushing her down an escalator at the mall-I don't know why, it just pops into my head-the red soles of her Christian Louboutin heels flashing over and over as she falls. I picture slapping her. I imagine her peering from behind a tree as the five of us picnic in the park, Adam so in love with me again that he can't take his eyes off me, the girls giggling and singing, and Emmanuelle is filled with yearning and longing to have what I have. She's choking on the knowledge that she was just a fuck and I'm a wife, and tears stream from her eyes, her face ugly and smeared with drippy globs of mascara as she sees all that I am and have.
Sure. That could happen.
She's still working at Triple B. That was another sucker punch to the stomach. Adam has absolutely no power over that, he says. "I guess you can tell Jared and see if he can fire her," Adam told me. "He's always been your friend, not mine." Again, the burden is on me. And Adam knows I won't tell Jared.
So Adam and Emmanuelle still see each other. I imagine they still talk. I asked him to send out his CV and start looking for another job, and he just laughed and asked if I knew what the market was for lawyers these days. "You want us to keep this house, Rach?" he asked. "You want the girls to stay in their expensive little preschool and take ballet next year? Then you want me to stay at Triple B."
There it was again, that faint threat. Yes, I've been a bad boy, but don't push it. I'll have to bring it up in counseling, though I swear to God, Laney likes him better than me.
Thank God it's book club night, because I need to get out of the house and think about something other than this. Book club consists of Elle Birkman, Claudia Parvost, Mean Debbie and Nice Kathleen. Elle is hosting, and Adam makes a big show of coming home early so I can shower and change. He makes the girls dinner. Macaroni and cheese from the box again.
"They need a vegetable," I tell him.
"No, Mommy!" Grace pronounces. "We do not."
"No, Mommy! No!" Rose and Charlotte second, and just like that, I'm the bad guy again. The burden of broccoli-on me.
"Mommy's right," Adam says, underscoring the Mommy Is an Ogre theme.
"Good night, sweethearts," I say. Grace stonily refuses to offer me her cheek, so I kiss her head.
"You smell pretty," Rose says, smiling at me.
"Thanks, angel."
"Why you going out, Mommy? I want you home!" Charlotte says.
"What?" Adam says. "I thought you loved Daddy Night! I guess if you don't love Daddy Night, we'll just have to have...Grizzly Bear Night!" The girls shriek and scream in terror and delight-Charlotte wets herself. I can already imagine them on the therapy couch twenty-five years from now. Mommy was always going off to drink with her friends. At least Daddy was fun.

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