It felt wrong, and she knew it. It wasn't love. It was something else. It masqueraded as if it were the genuine article, yet she knew within, in those inner moments free of denial, that she had made the wrong choice.
Her fidelity was what had become illicit. To be with the wrong man, these years of late, the one she had chosen over another. Another that could be right. A better fit.
Those teenage years of blind, puppy love laced with a back-draft of infidelity. Cheating had felt so pure, in comparison to how she felt now.
The engagement ring shone before her eyes. The diamond was too big, as if he felt the need to compensate for something unspeakable.
Does he know? she wondered, as she eyed it tentatively. Can he see it in my eyes, behind the reflected sparkle?
There were three answers. 'Yes', 'No', and 'Give me some time to think about it'. The latter wasn't candid enough, but it sufficed.
He frowned. "Where are you?"
"I am here, my love," she lied to him, though she was prostrate upon him.
"No, you're not," he said as his hands caressed her lower back. "You're somewhere else." With someone else?
"Are you high, Lucas?"
"No!" he said.
"You're much too calm to have just asked me that question. You're on something," she said, trying to draw the conversation away from herself.
"It's ketamine, again, isn't it? I thought you were off that stuff. You're not even going to remember my frickin' answer!" And as she let out her knowingly ridiculous accusation, she was shocked by the telltale look on his face.
A thoughtful silence escaped their lips. Lips that might never meet again.
Who does that? Who doesn't want to remember their own marriage proposal !? she asked herself. Ketamine, known as Special K on the street, is a disassociative anesthetic. His only answer will be whether or not I wear the ring tomorrow...
And then her mind began to wander, to a darker place. She toyed with the notions of all the cruel things she could do to him, that he wouldn't even remember. So long as she didn't leave a mark.
Then she stopped herself, as she remembered Anna, a friend from college who'd been date-raped with ecstasy. She knew this was different, but still wrong.
"Sofa," was all she said, in a sternly commanding voice, and the silence shattered like the mirror that broke at that same moment, in a very different bedroom.
Lucas grimaced as he got up from the bed. He knew better than to argue with her just minutes after asking her to marry him. Shame and regret welled up in him, reddening his face as he got a blanket from the linen closet of their apartment and then stretched himself out on the sofa.
He slept alone, thinking of the lust they had made upon it.
She, too, thought of sex. But it was the sex of long ago, of a different kind; sex with a different man.