From the The Daily Post’s Daily Prompts:
Write a post about anything you’d like, but be sure to include this sentence somewhere in the final paragraph:
“He tried to hit me with a forklift!”
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Elise swallowed the last of her second cup of coffee and gazed out over her well-kept lawn. Even with winter approaching, it looked neat and healthy. The last landscaper she’d hired did great work. He was a keeper and quite the looker for an over fifty guy.
The soft clicks of texting fingers drew her gaze to her husband, Rob, his focus on his smart phone. She’d once thought him handsome, but when she looked at him now she saw the aloofness and slight confusion when his gaze landed on her. There was a distance between them that hadn’t grown overnight and should alarm her, but didn’t. She felt oddly disconnected, as if having breakfast with a colleague in a hotel restaurant.
These days she rarely saw Rob and when he did put in an appearance in their palatial home, his mind seemed elsewhere. They both had high stress jobs. She understood the occasional preoccupation, but lately there’d been a wall between them. Perhaps she shouldn’t have agreed to separate bedrooms two years ago, but his snoring had kept her awake.
“Did you see they broke ground on the new Commuter Suites at 6th and Lexington?” She leaned her head to the left, looking for a reaction.
His brows rose as he finished the text. “Sorry. What?”
“My firm’s latest project. It’s begun.”
“Mmm.” He took a bite of his English muffin and chewed. One, two, three. Pause. One, two, three. Just as Janice suspected she’d seen the sum total of his response, he swallowed. “Guess you’ll be busy the next few months.”
“Not really. My project manager can handle anything that comes up, not that I expect anything big. She’s very thorough and hands-on. I thought if you had an opening in your schedule we might go away for awhile. Belize or Cancun. Somewhere tropical and laid back.” Sex once or twice this year wouldn’t be unwelcome, even if it was perfunctory.
“Ah…That’s good. When are you leaving for Cancun?”
Elise sighed as his phone beeped. “I was at the construction site last night. There was a really hunky guy there who whistled at me but I ignored him.”
Rob texted, his fingers flying, a frown drawing thinning brows together.
She put a little more expression into her tone. “He tried to hit me with a forklift!”
Rob’s gaze flicked over her and away. “I don’t know why you go down there when you’ve staff to handle the dirty work. I’ve got to go. This merger will fall apart if I don’t put out this fire.”
A calm settled over Elise. She stood and approached him. “It can wait a few minutes. We have something important to discuss.”
Rob shrugged into his suit coat. “Concerning?”
“This farce of a marriage. I think we should dissolve it. You could quit pretending all your evenings are spent at the office, and I’ll feel free to accept the occasional offers I get.”
His gaze turned sharp as it flicked over her face, then he shoved his hands in his pants pockets. “You’re serious?”
“Yes. But out of respect for the good years, let’s be civil. I was thinking I’d keep this house, you’d keep the condo in town. We each keep our vehicles, our own bank accounts, plus you keep the boat.” It was a small yacht, but why quibble when it would balance the difference between the two primary properties?
He was silent for a moment, then one corner of his mouth lifted in a wry almost smile. “You keep the cat. Every other year with the time share and split the investments fifty-fifty?”
“Agreed. I’ll have the papers drawn up and sent to your office, your personal things to the condo.” She offered her hand, knowing that if Rob shook on a deal he wouldn’t break his word. It was one thing that had never changed about him.
He shook it, then enveloped her hand with both of his. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry if my…late nights caused you any pain. I tried to be discreet.”
For one brief moment, Elise wanted to smack him. Instead, she shrugged and withdrew her hand. “This marriage ended a long time ago. We just didn’t have a reason for dissolving it.”
“And now you do?”
“There’s someone I want to pursue.”
His chin rose slightly, then he cupped her cheek. “You always were a better person than me, Elise. Be happy.”
Her eyes grew moist. “You too.”
He kissed her lightly on the lips, picked up his briefcase by the door and walked out. The soft snick of the door closing echoed the apathy in their relationship. Elise breathed easier, feeling lighter and more carefree than she’d felt in ages.
Outside, the sounds of an electric edger started up. Elise placed her wedding rings on her empty bread plate, then stepped through the open French doors to the patio and the only man to pique her interest in years.