“What?!” she exclaims. She stares at me, the fury slowly building and building and building before it’s unleashed. “Who? Who? Tell me fucking who?!”
“It doesn’t matter,” I say, but she’s up on her feet, sneering at me, face red and contorted. Unable to pretend anymore.
“Tell me!” she screams, holding onto her head, her teeth bared, her eyes wild. “Tell me! Is it someone I know? Susan? Carol!?”
“It’s no one you know, Miranda. It just happened, I—”
“Fuck you!” she screams again.
“Please. Hamish is sleeping.”
“Oh, fuck you!” She pounds her fists against my chest and pushes me back. “Fuck you for making me the fool. What is she, some young tart? Did she make you get it up? Huh, did she fix your problem?”
“I never slept with her,” I tell her quickly.
“Oh, bullshit!” she screams. “Bloody fucking hell. Brigs. Brigs, you can’t be serious. You’re in love with someone else.” She shakes her head, talking to herself. “You, of all people. The professor. Quiet Mr. McGregor. No. I can’t believe it. I can’t fucking believe it.”
“I know it’s hard to hear.”
She slaps me hard.
One side and the other, and I turn the cheek because I deserve this. I knew this was coming, and if she didn’t react this way, then I really didn’t know the woman I married.
“You arse! You wanker!” She shoves me one more time and runs across the room, to the bar. She picks up the decanter of Scotch, downs a few gulps of it straight out of the nose, then spits some of it up, bent over in a coughing fit.
“You are disgusting!” she screeches after she’s caught her breath. “Pathetic little shit! You slept with another woman. You—”
“I didn’t!” I yell, my arms flying out to the sides. “I never slept with her, please believe that.”
“And even if I believed you, you think that gives you a pass?” She nearly spits the words. “Love is a choice, Brigs, and you chose this. You chose to not love me, and you chose to love her, some fucking whore. Some nobody. You chose to ruin our fucking lives!” At the last word she picks up the decanter of Scotch and hurls it at me. I duck just in time as it crashes against the cabinet behind me, breaking into a million pieces.
“Mummy?” Hamish whimpers, rubbing his eyes and standing in the doorway.
I whirl around, trying to smile. “Mummy is fine,” I tell him. “Go back to sleep, buddy.”
“Is it storming out?” he says, walking forward toward the broken glass.
“Hamish!” I yell at him, hands out for him to stop. He does before he reaches the glass, blinking at me. I never raise my voice around him. But before I can scoop him up, Miranda is running across the room and grabbing him by the arm.
“Come on, baby. We’re going, we’re going,” she says, leading him out of the living room and into the foyer.
I run after them in time to see Miranda grabbing her car keys and her coat. Hamish is crying now and she’s picking him up in her arms.
“What are you doing?” I shout, storming after her.
She quickly runs out the door and into the rain, and I’m right behind her, bare feet sinking into the cold mud, nearly slipping as she heads for the sedan.
She can’t be serious. She can’t do this.
I manage to grab hold of her arm as she puts Hamish in the front seat and closes the door. The car seat isn’t even there—it’s in the house, the maid was cleaning it after Hamish spilled his milk this afternoon.