To Thine Own Self (Chapter Nine, page 1 of 6)


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Alex arrived the next morning alone to take her home from the hospital. He was not feeling better. In fact, their conversation was restricted to necessities. He didn't kiss her or even touch her except when he helped her out of the car at home. On the up side, her shoulder didn't hurt. Maybe it was the pain meds - or whatever they were giving her to keep calm. That was working pretty well.

Felipa met them at the door, her face uncharacteristically sober.

"Lunch is almost ready. It is not much. I do not have much cooking experience."

"Thank you Felipa, but I think I'll be able to cook," Carmen said.

Alex broke in with a stern response. "The doctor said you were to rest for two or three days."

Felipa glanced at Alex, clearly uncertain if it was safe for her to say anything. His tone was a firm statement that instructions would be followed henceforth. Carmen wasn't about to argue and it wasn't likely that Felipa would either.

For the first three days, Carmen endured the indignity of his chagrin. On the fourth day he came home from work to find her at the stove, cooking supper. He paused a moment, the mail in one hand as he watching her. She smiled.

"It's the fourth day and I feel fine. Anyway, I'm using my right arm, not the left."

He nodded. "Where's Felipa?"

"She took the children outside for a while."

He tossed the mail on the counter and walked out the back door - evidently in search of someone he wanted to talk to.

Tears burned her eyes. She had no right to feel sorry for herself. She was the one who caused this disaster. That's what their marriage was right now - a disaster. Even Felipa was sober under his critical eye. Felipa had done nothing to deserve his wrath. And yet, he had not spoken a word of disapproval. Most of the time his tone was devoid of any emotion. They didn't fight - they didn't communicate their feelings. They didn't make love. It was strange, but she missed him terribly.

The door closed behind her and his quick step clipped across the floor. As he stopped beside her, a tear slid down her cheek and dropped to her shirt.

His hand captured her chin and turned her face toward him. For a moment his gaze wandered over her face.

"I'm sorry," she said again, her voice faltering.

He wiped a tear from her face with a thumb as he gazed into her eyes.

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