Baking up a Storm

A dialogue exercise where the first line had to be "How, exactly, did you think that having an affair would help our marriage?"

“How, exactly, did you think that having an affair would help our marriage?” Betty demanded as she carried the three quarter full cake tin to the oven. Frank hesitated in the doorway, unsure what to say in response. He could hardly use the ‘she was young and pretty, I got carried away’ line; something so half-hearted would never work with Betty. “Well?” She prompted sharply as she all but slammed the oven door.

“I-I’m sorry Betty…” The older man replied weakly, his wife giving him a scowl in response, angry lines creasing her once youthful face.

“Sorry doesn’t cut it! For fifty years I’ve cooked for you, cleaned for you, washed and ironed your clothes; I raised your children, shopped for your mother, and I even took your sister to rehab!” Betty snapped, somehow more menacing as she reached around her back and struggled with the tight apron strings, ultimately grunting and giving up with a frustrated huff.

“What can I say? What can I do?” Frank implored as he watched his wife stomp through the open kitchen and into the living room. The house was mercifully empty. He followed timidly, watching as his wife tugged the cabinet drawer open and pulled out a packet of cigarettes, wasting no time as she lit the thin stick and sucked. “I didn’t know you smoked…” The balding man added sheepishly, looking down as his wife gave him a sharp look.

“I don’t.” She snapped, breathing out a white stream of smoke before ending with a loud cough. She waved a hand to waft the smoke away, her eyes tracing the numerous family pictures hanging around the living room. “How could you be so…stupid?” She demanded in frustration, taking another drag on the cigarette without even looking at her husband.

“It just…happened…” He replied weakly, his wife scoffing as she breathed out again.

“Your penis magically fell into her vagina?” She retorted, watching the pink rise in her husband’s cheeks. She never said such vulgar things. “Jesus Christ Frank! She’s barely a year older than your own daughter!” Betty snapped in disgust, watching her husband flinch at the reminder. Their daughter had only just left for university; barely eighteen years old.

“You don’t need to remind me.” Frank almost sighed as he sat in his arm chair across from his wife, watching her fingers twitch as she stared at the smoking cigarette. She bit her lip as she stubbed it out on the glass ashtray and returned to the kitchen. “Where are you going now?” Frank asked in alarm as he rose to follow, watching as Betty leaned down and grabbed a large mixing bowl.

“Where do you think?” She snapped as she reached up for the flour, Frank almost sighing in despair. It was a bad sign when she started to bake. Baking was what she did when she was upset. “I wouldn’t even have found out if she hadn’t left her underwear in our bed! In our ben Frank!” She yelled as she grabbed the margarine from the fridge.

“Betty! I’ve said I’m sorry! What more can I do?” Frank implored as he leaned on the door frame, unwilling to get too close to his wife while she was standing so close to the knife block. He watched as she poured sugar into the bowl and began to mix roughly, beating it with a wooden spoon without looking at him.

“You can pack your things.” She decided as she stopped beating the mixture and looked up at him.

“But…but Betty, I.” Frank faltered lamely; there was no way he could end that sentence with ‘I love you’ and live to tell the tale.

“Pack your things.” Betty repeated, holding Frank’s eye for a moment longer before returning her attention to the mixture, beating it roughly. She didn’t need to look to know her husband had left the room.

The End

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