A Stubborn Stain

Scrubbing at a stubborn coffee stain on the rug, Julie muttered to herself, frustration bubbling away at the surface. Bill would be working late tonight, and this was the fifth night in a row.

“Who works late at a call centre all week?”

Her friends had all given her that knowing look, they all saw betrayal in his actions but she just couldn’t bring herself to probe.

She could call his work, but what if he hadn’t been working late or wasn’t even there? They had been arguing so much lately, they hadn’t had sex in months and emotions were running high.

“Cheating bastard”.

Julie threw down the scrubber and fell back against the base of the couch; these were dangerous thoughts, placing all blame on him without evidence. Shaking her head to dismiss such poisonous thoughts, Julie pushed back against the couch levying herself to her feet.

The couch had shifted, so when she moved to grab the scrubber she saw a scrunched up scrap of paper poking out from underneath.

Unfurling it Julie stared at the smudged ink, shock leaving her frozen. A receipt for a motel room from two days ago. Bill had come home that night, he had been late but he had come home.

She had been naïve, blind even.

Julie was ripped from her trance by the sound of keys turning in the door. Bill rushed into the house and straight past her towards their bedroom.

“Hey, not staying long, I left my office keys behind, can’t lock up without them.”

Julie strode to the front door left open in his wake and slammed it shut. Bill came out of the bedroom, slow and wary.

“Bill, you have one minute to explain this, or I will be slamming that door behind me next time.”

Lipstick kiss on white background

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