“So, this is how it ends?” Samuel sighs as he slumps in his seat, sitting opposite Emma. “Just like that?”
Emma looks down at her hands, fingers intertwined as they rest on the table before her. “I’m sorry.”
He gets up from his chair, collects the plates and heads to the sink. “Could I have done something?” Samuel asks as he places the dishes in the sink for washing.
Emma remains seated, pressing her lips together. She knows what she’s done and how much damage she’s caused. Now, she has three options: leave without explanation, leave with an explanation, or hide everything from him.
“There’s nothing that you could’ve done to fix this. I’ve changed,” she lies to him.
“You’ve changed?” He scoffs, continuing to wash the plates. “Nothing changed until last week, so tell me what happened…”
He stops the water running, grabs the hand towel and dries his hands as he turns around to look at her. “Please, just tell me what happened…”
Emma looks up, a pain-filled expression on her face. “I need you to remain calm.”
Samuel continues watching her, leaning against the kitchen counter – a blank look on his face. “Just tell me.”
She gulps and frowns, her stomach churning as she blinks at him. “They weren’t Lily’s cigs…”
Samuel sighs, his chest feeling lighter – as if the burden of knowledge is finally lifting. “They were Michael’s.”
Emma’s eyes widen as she begins to panic. “You knew?”
He shrugs. “Luke told me Michael had a crush on you, he’s never been loyal in the slightest. And when you started spending more time with nameless friends, I gathered it was only a matter of time that you’d finally leave me for someone else. The cigs confirmed it was Michael… So, was it Michael for the past six months or is Michael just the latest? Were you using protection?” Samuel pauses. “No judgement, I just need to know whether I should go get tested immediately or if I can wait until my annual leave next month.”
Emma stares at him, her eyes wide and mouth hanging open. “You knew? This entire time?”
He returns to the table and sits, folding his arms and leaning back. “Yeah…” Samuel chuckles. “How could I not? We went from four years of twice a day to nothing after you went missing during our anniversary party.” He stops. “That’s when it started, right?”
She nods, her bottom lip shaking.
Samuel sighs. It’s been a horrible six months – not just because of the limited sex, but the overall limited affection. No matter how often he tried to connect with her, it never worked. Watching someone you love move away from you – is a pain nobody should experience. “So, just Michael?”
She bobs her head again.
“Is he worth it?”
“Not even remotely close. It was a drunken mistake the first time, guilt for the first week, and the rest of it was just… an excitement and shame cycle,” she blurts, tears beginning to run down her face. “I’m so sorry.”
“How shall we divvy up our assets? Shall we just do everything by equal shares?” He questions.
Emma’s mouth hangs open, blinking the tears away. “Most of what we have is just yours…”
Samuel moves slowly – leaning forward and reaching across the table. He cups her cheek with his left hand, wiping away a few stray tears with his thumb. “Everything I bought for us is ours.”
Forcing a smile on her face as she cries, savouring the feeling of his hand on her face. “What have I done?”
He lets go as he stands, moves around the table, leans down and kisses her forehead. “Thank you for doing this before we got married,” he whispers.
“Were you ever going to marry me?” Emma cries softly.
Standing behind her chair, his hands on her shoulders as he tries to comfort her. “I bought the ring last year, I was going to propose at the anniversary party but you were busy… I kept it in case things improved,” he chuckles softly. “I suppose I’ll have to sell it, now.”
Emma closes her eyes, wrapping her arms across her chest – as if trying to hug herself. “I wanted to marry you…” She sobs. “I didn’t think you’d ever ask.”
“You cheated because you thought I wasn’t going to marry you?”
She bobs her head again. Emma inhales sharply as she cries. “So, this is how it ends?”
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