It was late when he returned home. She felt her husband getting into bed, but decided to stay quiet. He was soon snoring loudly and after listening for a few moments, she got up and used her phone as a torch. Creeping around the bed, she inspected his clothes which he had abandoned on the floor.
She picked up his trousers and felt through the pockets. They were empty. She sniffed his shirt, trying to pick up a hint of the other woman. It seemed though her husband had been careful. Dropping his clothes, she got back into bed and lay there wondering again before she drifted off to sleep.
The dream she had was only slightly different from one she had many times before. She was following her husband. He was walking quickly down a dark street where the lamps seemed not to be working. There were houses on either side with cars parked out front and the sound of drippy rain. She watched her husband go up to one of the houses and inside.
She stood before the curtain-less window and watched as a light came on displaying a small front living room. There her husband stood holding another woman in his arms and kissing her. She couldn’t make out the other woman as she seemed to be made out of shadows.
She rushed forward, going for the front door but a large black panther jumped in the way. It’s bright eye yellows flashed with anger as it hissed loudly at her. It’s tail swished and it prepared to pounce. She screamed and tumbled back. Instead of hitting the ground though she carried on falling. Her screaming echoed, blocking out all other sounds.
She awoke, rolled over and sat up. The bedroom was still dark, so she turned on the lamp. The dim glow didn’t seem enough to chase away the heavy shadows and she couldn’t help but look around the room for the panther. Taking a few deep breaths, she calmed herself and shook off the dream.
A warm hard touched her shoulder and she cried out.
‘It’s me, are you okay, Em?’
She relaxed and sighed deeply, ‘I’m fine, Rick. Just another bad dream.’
‘Again?’ her husband uttered.
‘I’ve got a lot on my mind, I guess. What time is it?’
Her husband removed his hand and she heard him roll over. At the same time she tried to read the alarm clock. It was almost six in the morning. She sighed and slipped back on to the pillow.
‘Ten to six,’ Rick voiced.
Em hummed and curled up again. She felt her husband shifting behind her and drawing her into a tight hug. He wrapped an arm around her and placed the other underneath her head. He nuzzled into her hair then rested his chin on top of her head.She stayed stiff in his arms, her mind racing.
Did he hold the other woman like this too? she wondered.
Biting her lip, she almost voiced her thoughts. Instead she said, ‘where did you go last night?’
‘What?’ Rick questioned sleepy.
‘I thought you went outside last night,’ she asked, nervously.
‘I didn’t,’ he replied.
Em pressed her lips together, carefully pondering how to rephrase her questioning.
‘You must have heard a neighbor or something,’ Rick suggested.
‘Yes, maybe,’ Em uttered.
She let herself relax, finding joy in the feel of his arms and body against her’s, despite everything. Slowly, she dozed off again.
To Be Continued…