“I…” I swallow the razors in my throat. I shake my head and fight the heat behind my eyes. “Miranda, I want a divorce.”
She stares at me blankly, so calmly, that I wonder if she’s heard me. My hands are shaking, my heart is about to need resuscitation.
“What?” she finally whispers in disbelief.
To outside eyes we’ve had a happy marriage. But we both knew this was coming. Maybe she never saw the catalyst, but she knew this was coming. She had to.
“We’ve both been very unhappy for a long time,” I explain.
“Are you serious?” she says quickly. “Are you seriously doing this?”
“Miranda.” I lick my lips, daring to meet her eyes. “You must have known this was going to happen. If it wasn’t from me, it would have been from you.”
“How dare you,” she says, roughly pushing my hands away and getting to her feet. “How dare you put words in my mouth? I’ve been happy…I’ve just been…I’ve just been…”
She’s shaking her head violently, walking to the other side of the living room. “No,” she says, standing against the mantle. “No, I won’t give you a divorce. I won’t let you leave. You can’t leave me. You…Brigs McGregor could never leave Miranda Harding McGregor. You would be nothing without me.”
I let her words deflect, even though my belief in them is what’s led to this moment. “Miranda,” I say softly, and her name is starting to sound foreign, the way it can when you say a word too many times in a row. “Please.”
“No!” she yells, and I flinch, hoping she doesn’t wake up Hamish. “Whatever foolish ideas are coming over your brain, I don’t know, but a divorce isn’t the answer. This is just…a flight of fancy for you. You being unhappy at your job. This is you not feeling like a man. This is you not performing like a man.”
A dig below the literal belt. I should have known that would be her first line of defense. Our problems in the bedroom for the last year. I can’t fault her for that.
“No,” she says again. “I can live with that, I can. And if I never have another child, so be it. But my family…my reputation…it will not come to this. We have a good life, Brigs. This house. Look at this house.” She points wildly around the room, a feverish look in her eyes. “Look at these things. We have everything. People look up to us. They envy us. Why would you throw that away?”
My heart sinks further down my chest, to my stomach, and burns there.
“Please,” I say softly, not wanting the whole truth to come out, but ready to wield it if I have to. “I’m not…I don’t want to hurt you. But I’m just not in love with you anymore. It’s the honest truth, and I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
She blinks like she’s been slapped. Then she says, “So? What married couples are in love with each other? Be realistic here, Brigs.”
Now I’m surprised. I frown. I didn’t expect her to fight for us so much. And to fight for a loveless marriage she’s okay with.
She’s watching me closely, tapping her nails against her lips. Plotting. The rain spatters at the windows, and in the distance, thunder rumbles, the first autumn storm. The room seems smaller than ever.
“We can work it out,” she finally says, her voice back to being eerily calm. “This is just a hiccup. We can work it out. You can love me again, and if you can’t, then it’s okay. It’s fine. No one has to know. We both love our son, and that’s enough. Don’t you want him to grow up with a father, a complete family? Don’t you know a divorce would destroy him? Is that what you want for him?”