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The Husband’s Secret

The Husband’s Secret

Titel: The Husband’s Secret
Autoren: Liane Moriarty
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that was done, he’d hand back control to Cecilia, pat his pockets and say, ‘Has anyone seen my wallet?’
    After she saw the little Spiderman die the first thing she did was call John-Paul, her fingers shaking as she pressed the buttons.
    ‘I found this letter,’ said Cecilia now. She ran her fingertips over his handwriting on the front of the envelope. As soon as she heard his voice she knew she was going to ask him about it that very second. They’d been married for fifteen years. There had never been secrets.
    ‘What letter?’
    ‘A letter from you,’ said Cecilia. She was trying to sound light, jokey, so that this whole situation would stay in the right perspective, so that whatever was in the letter would mean nothing, would change nothing. ‘To me, to be opened in the event of your death.’ It was impossible to use the words ‘event of your death’ to your husband without your voice coming out odd.
    There was silence. For a moment she thought they’d been cut off except that she could hear a gentle hum of chatter and clatter in the background. It sounded like he was calling from a restaurant.
    Her stomach contracted.

chapter two
    ‘If this is a joke,’ said Tess, ‘it’s not funny.’ Will put his hand on her arm. Felicity put her hand on her other arm. They were like matching bookends holding her up.
    ‘We’re so very, very sorry,’ said Felicity.
    ‘So sorry,’ echoed Will, as if they were singing a duet together.
    They were sitting at the big round wooden table they sometimes used for client meetings, but mostly for eating pizza. Will’s face was dead white. Tess could see each tiny black hair of his stubble in sharp definition, standing upright, like some sort of miniature crop growing across his shockingly white skin. Felicity had three distinct red blotches on her neck.
    For a moment Tess was transfixed by those three blotches, as if they held the answer. They looked like fingerprints on Felicity’s newly slender neck. Finally, Tess raised her eyes and saw that Felicity’s eyes – her famously beautiful almond-shaped green eyes: ‘The fat girl has such beautiful eyes!’ – were red and watery.
    ‘So this realisation,’ said Tess. ‘This realisation that you two –’ She stopped. Swallowed.
    ‘We want you to know that nothing has actually happened,’ interrupted Felicity.
    ‘We haven’t – you know,’ said Will.
    ‘You haven’t slept together.’ Tess saw that they were both proud of this, that they almost expected her to admire them for their constraint.
    ‘Absolutely not,’ said Will.
    ‘But you want to,’ said Tess. She was almost laughing at the absurdity of it. ‘That’s what you’re telling me, right? You want to sleep together.’
    They must have kissed. That was worse than if they’d slept together. Everyone knew that a stolen kiss was the most erotic thing in the world.
    The blotches on Felicity’s neck began to slink up her jawline. She looked like she was coming down with a rare infectious disease.
    ‘We’re so sorry,’ said Will again. ‘We tried so hard to – to make it not happen.’
    ‘We really did,’ said Felicity. ‘For months, you know, we just –’
    ‘Months? This has been going on for months!’
    ‘Nothing has actually gone on,’ intoned Will, as solemnly as if he was in church.
    ‘Well, something has gone on,’ said Tess. ‘Something rather significant has gone on.’ Who knew she was capable of speaking with such hardness? Each word sounded like a block of concrete.
    ‘Sorry,’ said Will. ‘Of course – I just meant – you know.’
    Felicity pressed her fingertips to her forehead and began to weep. ‘Oh Tess.’
    Tess’s hand went out of its own accord to comfort her. They were closer than sisters. She always told people that. Their mothers were twins, and Felicity and Tess were onlychildren, born within six months of each other. They’d done everything together.
    Tess had once punched a boy – a proper closed-fist right hook across the jaw – because he’d called Felicity a baby elephant, which was exactly what Felicity had looked like all through her school days. Felicity had grown into a fat adult, ‘a big girl with a pretty face’. She drank Coke like it was water, and never dieted or exercised or seemed particularly bothered by her weight. And then, about six months ago, Felicity had joined Weight Watchers, given up Coke, joined a gym, lost forty kilos and turned beautiful.
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