“Who is she? I’ve seen her in the gallery twice this week.”

The recognition passes over my face so immediately Christophe can’t help but grab my hand as he shoots me a worried look.

“Oh, my god. Sweetie, no…”

Fuck. Really? I can’t believe this is happening. It can’t be.

“Let’s get out of here.”

I leave a twenty on the counter as he puts an arm around my shoulders, and we walk out to the curb together. Now it’s starting to make sense. Eric has been distant and preoccupied with work all week and it’s the off-season. We haven’t had much time to talk since the party. This is happening too fast.

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to avoid a scene, because my imagination is running away with me. There has to be a reasonable explanation. We’ve never had this type of issue before.”

“I know. I’ve seen plenty of opportunities walking in and out of the gallery, but he’s not that kind of guy.”

“I’ll get this sorted out. Love you, sweetie.” I give him a big hug and he kisses the top of my head.

“Call me later?”

“Of, course.” I smile weakly, swinging open the car door.

Refreshed from the hot shower, wrapped in a soft terry robe, I wander to the kitchen and pour a glass of Syrah. I know it’s only two in the afternoon, but I need to calm my nerves.

I shuffle absent-mindedly through the overflowing stack of unopened mail and luxury retail catalogs on the countertop by the door, pausing to extract a large cream-colored envelope with a gold seal on the flap.

Sophie patters over, disturbing my somber mood. She always seems to sense when her mistress’s mind is troubled. Climbing gingerly over my terry cloth-covered legs, she settles comfortably in my lap, sighing contentedly as I scratch the back of her ear.

The phone vibrates and I fumble through the oversized pockets of my robe.

“Hi, honey.”

My throat tightens as I search for the right words. I choose the casual approach.

“How’s your day?”

“Good. Finishing up a few things here. It looks like I’ll be home early tonight.”

“You want me to make a reservation for dinner?”

“Yeah, let’s go to Blue for drinks first?”

“Sounds like a date.”

“Wear that short red skirt?”

He is his usual charming, affable self. My shoulders soften and I start to breathe normally again.

See? There is nothing to worry about, I tell myself.


To be continued…