Hey there Hi there! Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope all is as well in your worlds as it is in mine! Ruby’s has been out for one week and things are looking good… not STELLAR, but I sold more than one copy of the book, so I choose to be happy about that. I get a few sales a day right now (trickle trickle!) and I have decided to promo a few days a week so that I am not bombarding people with my book and I still get to talk about OTHER people’s books. And writing.
Speaking of writing and books… it’s #WritingWednesday and I’ve been wanting to post a deleted scene for awhile. I tried to keep it because I felt like it was a pivotal scene and explained a lot of WIllard’s anger… but in the interest of word count and keeping the story about Debra (and letting Willard’s anger show in other ways besides SAYING he is angry) I cut this in hopes that I’d be able to post it later. It is a long snip, so grab a cuppa and enjoy!
Willard had been late coming home, the night I told him. It was a Friday evening and I sat at the table in our bright, spacious kitchen to wait for him. Not a sound could be heard except for the neighborhood noises outside –kids playing, neighbors hanging out on back porches talking over fences. I love the friendliness of our sub-division. We know all of our neighbors and they know us. That’s probably going to bite us in the butt when the scandal comes out.
If it comes out.
Kendra had band practice that day and then spent the afternoon with a friend. She and Willard came home around eight o’clock. He looked tired, but he loves his work, so he was jazzed about the day.
Kendra yelled “Hi, ma!” and ran upstairs to her room. He went straight to the microwave, checking to see if I’d left a plate of dinner for him. I had, as usual. He set it to heat up the oven fried chicken, green beans and brown rice.
“Hey, babe,” he said, bending toward me to drop a kiss on my cheek while peeling his suit jacket from his shoulders. I helped him remove his jacket and hung it on the back of a chair, then went to the refrigerator.
“Did you want iced tea or water to drink? Some juice, maybe?”
He groaned. “Debra, it’s Friday. I can’t have a beer even one night a week?”
I hadn’t wanted him to be the slightest bit inebriated when we talked, but I relented and selected a bottle of light beer, popped the cap and set it down next to the plate he’d pulled from the microwave. He was seated in his usual spot and already slicing through the chicken and talking about his day.
“We got a guy in today that hadn’t filed corporate taxes in about five years.” He chuckled, shaking his head. “I just knew they were going to assign him to me, but that’s okay because the guy was willing to pay serious money to get it done. I should have him squared away by early next week.”
He speared a slice of chicken breast and popped it into his mouth, chewing with his mouth open. He does that when he’s excited. It’s one of those things I had learned to ignore for the last twenty years, but it stands out when I’m really paying attention.
“See,” he continued, working his fork through grains of rice and green beans, then carrying the multi-colored mixture to his mouth. “That’s the kind of thing that’s going to make me a partner. Taking on clients no one wants, bringing in more money, billing more time. Did I tell you that I met a guy while I was getting gas the other day that wanted a part time CPA? I gave him my card, told him to give me a call. Guess who’s coming in Monday morning with his financials?”
He looked happy and proud of himself, was in a great mood for it being the end of the week. He was usually so tired, he’d eat half a plate of dinner and sink into the recliner in the den, where he’d sleep until I dragged him off to bed.
“So what’s going on with you? You look like somebody died.”
“I had a pretty rough day,” I said quietly.
“Oh?” His fork paused long enough for him to glance up at me. “What happened? One of the kids giving you trouble? Your teachers? You know it’ll take a while to build up respect for you, Debra.”
Don’t I know it.
“Sort of one of my teachers. Actually, it has the potential to be a big problem, but… I don’t want to talk about it while you’re eating. Finish telling me about your day.”
Willard ran his tongue along his teeth, took a long glance at his nearly demolished plate and pushed it away. “If it’s a problem, let’s discuss it. What’s going on?”
“Well….” I hadn’t really rehearsed this part. I mean, how do you tell your husband, the only other man you’ve shared your body with, that he’s not the only man you’ve shared your body with? Should I even say anything? Should I wait for something to happen?
I was stalling and wanted to kick myself for it. If Willard found out about my affair by someone other than me, he would be even more disappointed. Not only that, but personally and professionally embarrassed. All of his co-workers and the partners at Hyatt & Willoughby Financial know me. They know us as a couple very well.
“Well, what?” He reached for the beer and drained it, dropping the glass bottle back onto the table with a thunk. He crossed his arms and slouched in the chair, stretching his legs out so that his feet touched mine.
“Well, I have something I need to tell you. And it’s really hard and I know you’re going to be angry and hurt by it, but—”
“Ma, can I have some ice cream?”
Both our heads shot up to Kendra, who’d come bouncing into the room, an ear bud firmly planted in each ear. She took one look at us, serious faces and all, and pulled one bud out. Her music was so loud, I could hear Chris Brown from across the room.
“What?” she asked.
“Get a yogurt bar and go back to your room, please. Your father and I are talking.”
She stared for a moment, until I glared at her and tipped my head, a gesture that said obey without having to say the word. She took the hint, opened the freezer door, dug out a frozen yogurt bar and closed the door, unwrapping the bar as she left the room. When I heard the faint sound of her bedroom door closing upstairs, I returned my attention to Willard.
“You better not be about to say what I think you’re about to say, Debra.”
He wasn’t a yeller; he rarely had something bad to say about anyone. That was what drew me to him. He wasn’t like the other boys who snapped bra straps and pulled hair and called girls fat or skinny or ugly, who only knew being mean as a way to get attention. Willard was quiet and confident, smart as a whip but not condescending about it. From the first time I met him until that very second at our kitchen table, I’d always loved his gentle spirit.
I thought I needed passion. See where passion got me?
I lowered my eyes to the everyday linen table cloth and the chocolate brown placemats and the centerpiece, a Mikasa vase bursting with a happy bouquet of artificial daisies. I looked at my hands, shaking and twisting the knit placemat in their grasp.
“I don’t know how else to say it but to come right out with it. I’ve been having an affair.”
I wasn’t watching him—I couldn’t look him in the face—but in my peripheral vision, I saw his head drop and his chin hit his chest. A hard breath pushed from his lungs.
“I don’t know how much you want to know…”
He lifted a hand without looking up, and then balled it into a fist and let it drop to the table. “How long was this going on?” His tone was eerie, his voice low, the shake in it just barely controlled. “And when? And with who?”
“About a year. He’s one of my staff.”
He propped his elbow on the table and ran a thumb under his bottom lip. His eyes were focused on something far off, somewhere in the distance. “A year.”
He forced his chair back and stood suddenly, knocking it to the floor. He paced the area between the table and the line of bar stools that sat on one side of a high counter, staring down at me with a look I have never seen before– the creased forehead, the drawn down eyebrows, beady eyes full of fury. For the first time ever, I was scared of my husband.
“How do you sit there and tell me that you’ve been sleeping with another man for a year? A year, Debra!”
“It wasn’t like I decided a year ago to have an affair and keep it going. It wasn’t a continuous year, even. I cut it off after school ended-”
“Is that the good news? Am I supposed to feel good about that? Jump up and shout hooray because, although you spent the school year under some other man while I was working and providing for us and our future, it wasn’t a whole year? Are you hearing yourself?”
I stood so that we were on more even ground. I couldn’t take him towering over me, his fists balled at his sides. “I have said all of this to myself and I deserve everything you want to say to me right now but there is something else that you should know.”
“Well, we know you’re not pregnant, don’t we?” His grin was sardonic, his tone sarcastic. He’d never been flippant about the fact that I couldn’t bear more children. “Or are you? Did he work some sort of miracle?”
“Willard…today… today someone saw us. I don’t know who; they ran off before–”
I thought better of using David’s name and cut it off before the word could fully leave my mouth. “Before we could chase them down. So, I don’t know what’s going to happen. It could be nothing. It could be a ripple, something we could fight by just saying it was something someone made up. It could turn into a full-blown scandal. The School Board could get involved, the media could get a whiff of it… this could really blow up, Willard.”
“So… you… and he…”
Willard shook his head and took a step back. He chuckled, but there was no mirth in his laughter. It was more like he was being told a fantastic tale. “So y’all were together? Today. Doing what?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“Why not? May as well get it all out in the open, all out on the table. Come on, dish with me, Debra.” He picked the chair up and set it upright, then sat down and scooted up to the table, folded his arms together and leaned forward. “Tell me like you told your girlfriends.”
I sat down again, since he was sitting and waited a few moments before going on.
“I haven’t told anyone.”
“Why not? It’s been a year, so things are solid between you and this other man. Who is it?”
“Who?!” He demanded, pounding a fist on the table. “Don’t I deserve to know who’s been fucking my wife?”
“Knowing his name won’t change a thing! This is still going to be about me and you.”
He pushed his chair back again and got up from the table. I reached out for him, but he pushed my hands away and stumbled toward the entrance to the living room.
“Willard, please don’t walk away. I thought we could just talk tonight. I know you’re hurt and angry and I’m ready for everything you have to say. You don’t have to walk away from me.”
“I don’t want to talk about this,” he said, rounding the corner. “I don’t want to talk about this at all.”
He’s kept his word. He won’t talk about it.