Transcend (part 13)

“I see,” I said, not bothering to hide my disapproval. Or my disappointment. After all those months, Horace had never been anything but a gentleman with me. I’d considered his restraint a sign of respect. I’d heard how some men could be from my girlfriends, and always considered myself lucky that Horace wasn’t like that. For the first time I considered another possibility. Horace wasn’t attracted to me in that way. The realization made me blush with shame. How could I have been so ridiculous to think he’d find me attractive? I moved away, looking out over the valley, my back to him.

“I tell you if I had it all to do over again, I never would’ve let it happen,” he said. “Everything just got so out of hand. I could never control her.”

I whirled around to face him, shouting, “Is that what you want? Someone to control? Is that why you keep me around? Because I’m practical and ugly? Because I’m easy to control?” I had never known the stinging bite of jealousy before—the awful ways it can twist your thinking. Poison your heart. Jealousy made me hate a dead woman and see Horace as a stranger.

“Oh no,” he said, shaking his head. “No, Judith, it’s not like that.” He put his hands on my shoulders and kept them there firmly but gently. “That’s not what I meant. Not at all. This isn’t coming out right at all.”

I stared at him, not wanting to make it any easier for him. I wanted him to suffer. Like I was.

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