House Tour

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They were leaving their third house tour that day, driving through some side street in the neighborhood, when Kelly caught sight of the for sale sign in the yard and demanded that Lane pull over.

"We can just have a peak through the windows," she said, turning that adorable pouty face on him.

He sighed. But instead of starting an argument he just gave her a tired smile and nodded.

The house was sleek and modern. It was all harsh angles and big glass windows, steel and deep cherry wood. There was a stone accent wall on the façade. There was a louvered pergola leading up to the front porch, and the surrounding lawn was meticulously kept, freshly mulched and dotted with a rainbow's array of flowers and shrubbery. Kelly's eyes danced with excitement as they walked up the long drive, taking it all in.

Lane bit his lip, hoping she wouldn't get her hopes up. He knew the house was out of their budget for sure. Again, though, he held his tongue. Better to just let her see the outrageous price on the flyer, that way she wouldn't blame it on him.

It was times like these when Lane was reminded of how Kelly was used to getting everything she wanted. Daddy bought her a new car; Daddy took care of her school bills; Daddy paid for her dream wedding to a man he despised. Lane had told her time and time again that he couldn't give her as much as Daddy could, but she had married him anyway, and she'd held it over his head ever since. Sometimes he wondered why—and how—they ever got married. He never said it aloud, not even when the fights got bad, but sometimes he wondered how long it could really last.

He loved her more than anything of course; back in college she had been the sweetest thing. She still was sometimes, but ever since the engagement she had been shrewder with him, snippier, and she never surrendered an attempt to remind him that she could have had anyone but she chose him. As if he hadn't had a choice in the matter at all. He had always thought she loved him as much as he loved her, but lately she hardly had a kind word to say to him.

Except when she was trying to get her way.

"Oh, Laney! It's perfect," she beamed, tiptoeing through the mulch and flowers in her high-healed Louis Vuitton's—a wedding gift from daddy—to peek in through the large front window next to the pergola. "Come see!" she said.

He sighed and followed her through the plants. He stood next to her and cupped his hands to peek inside. The inside was just as contemporary and expensive looking as the outside. The furniture was dark and stylish, shiny leather and glistening metal. There was a black couch set before a large, dark brick fireplace. The mantle looked like solid oak, and it was lined with decorative photographs that Lane couldn't make out. The walls were painted a light gray with white trim and crown molding. He had to admit, it was a handsome house. The kind Daddy would have bought for her if she were still his responsibility.

"It's a good looking house," he said, still looking around the den inside.

Kelly was just about to say something when a man jumped up in front of the window inside the house and Lane jumped back with a "holy shit!"

The man inside laughed and mouthed an apology, waving away his antics with one hand. Lane caught sight of the gold watch at his wrist. He straightened himself and nodded back at the man. Then the man pointed toward the door, cocking his head in the same direction before he started moving that way.

Kelly began laughing and nodding emphatically, her loose blonde hair bobbing back and forth with the movement, and she and Lane made their way back through the flowerbeds and shrubs and circled around to the front door. Lane took a deep breath and watched his wife's back as he followed her through the pergola. The louvered roof cast harsh, lined shadows across her form, one across her neck, one across her waist, one across the back of her knees. The thick black lines made her body look disjointed for a moment. Lane thought it was as if the pergola shadows were the living embodiment of how chaotic and disconnected she'd been the last few months.

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