He had gone silent, the way he would, gazing over her shoulder as if absorbed in the shimmering neon reflected on the rain-spattered window. He got this way every time the subject came up. Or rather, every time she shot it down.
She regarded his jawline, his wavy brown hair combed over his ears and ached. She physically ached. Jesus, the guy had it all. Of course the looks had attracted her first-she could admit that. But then the job, the condo, the money…it had seemed perfect for a while. Then, this.
She didn’t know why she couldn’t get past it. Christ knows all her other lines had been drawn in shifting sands-why was this one so hard and set? Just the way it was, she guessed.
Would she have married him had she known about this two years ago? He would have been tough to resist; the security he provided, the doors that he opened for her. But this. Back then, she probably would have ignored it as best she could. Hoped that it was a passing phase. But now, it wasn’t passing. It was settling in and coloring everything. And now she had a say in what they would do and what they wouldn’t.
With an almost untouched beer in front of him he motioned the waitress over. Here we go, she thought.
“A shot of Grandad please.”
She reached out and covered his hand with hers. “Tony-come on…”
“Ah,” he said watching the traffic splash by outside. “November rains always put a chill into me.” Then, calling to the waitress’ retreating back, “Make that a double.”
“Tony”, she said, rubbing his hand. He shifted his gaze making eye-contact for the first time in what seemed like an hour. His eyes were bright and skittery. Frantic-water bugs skimming a pond.
“It’s alright”, he said, “I’m good.”
The waitress put the heavy shot in front of him. Before she even fully turned away, he threw the hot liquor down his throat. Ordinarily, he was a sipper. Liked to savor his whisky over ice. Over time. “Another,” he said holding up the empty glass.
She withdrew her hand from his and focused on the cracked wooden table top. Nothing to do now but hunker down and wait for this storm to pass.