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The Last To Know - What I did before we dated

The Last To Know - What I did before we dated

Sammie was quiet over dinner, didn’t say much about her day and easily deflected my attempts to talk to her about the visit to the local paper. It was obvious she was thinking hard about something, but she was smiling and seemed happy enough, so I left her to it. My own mind was working on a problem for work, so we both just ate in companionable silence. After the meal, we cleared the table and I helped her finish loading the dishwasher before she shooed me through to the den, telling me to take the glasses with me while she got another bottle of wine out.
Despite it usually being the man’s job to get the wine ready, I have to admit I’m useless with a corkscrew, while Sammie is effortlessly efficient with it.
Five minutes later we sat down in the den but, rather than join me on the couch, she took the chair opposite me, tucking her legs up underneath her as she sat down. After the shower she’d put on one of her simple print summer dresses, and there was a lot of thigh on show, but nothing I wasn’t used to—and she knew I appreciated it.
“Honey…”
Our fate hung on that moment, as I was about to find out. I raised an eyebrow in an unspoken question.
“We need to talk.”
“Oh?”
“Yeah. I guess there’s a few things you think you know about me and…well, I guess you think you know me, but you’re wrong.”
“There are?” My breath caught. Her face, so sunny earlier, was now solemn, serious, almost frighteningly so. All sorts of things raced through my head and my mouth was spilling them out almost as quickly. “You’re not ill, are you? You didn’t go to the paper, did you—you went to a doctor? Is it serious?” I’d gone into full-on panic mode, and Sammie crossed the room in a flash, laying her hand on my arm as she stood by the side of the couch next to me.
“Whoa there, boy. Slow down. No, I’m not ill. No, I didn’t go to the doctor. I went to the paper, like I said.”
“Then what? I’m left clueless.”
She stayed quiet for a minute, letting me calm down. I realized she had her fingers across my wrist, checking my heartbeat—she knew I had some arrhythmia, and tended to have problems if I got too stressed. Hence the panic attack, and her rapid response to it. Once she was satisfied I had calmed down, she let go of my wrist and I patted the seat of the couch next to me. She shook her head, and I could see she was swallowing nervously as she walked back across to the other chair and sat down again.
“No, honey, I’m going to sit here. No more panic attacks, okay?”
I took a deep breath and nodded.
“Good. Now stay calm and let me talk, all right?”
“Okay, but I’m still mystified.”
“I promise you won’t be.” She took a sip of wine and I could see her almost square her shoulders before she spoke. “The Gazette is running a feature on Friday next week.”
“Good, you deserve it.”
She shook her head. “No. honey. You may be right that I deserve it, but it’s not a nice piece. It’s about me, my personal life.”
“What? You mean it’s one of their exposé pieces?”
“Yes.”
“On you?”
“Yes.”
“How? I mean, what? I mean, why, why now?”

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