Millicent peeked into the conference room and said Billy had a call from the missus. He excused himself so he could come out to answer it.

"She wouldn't back off," Millicent explained.

"Alright, I'll take it," Billy said.

No way in the world did he want to ‘diss’ his client. Never did he want his own people getting the idea that Mila had him on a short leash.

He took the call at the reception desk.

Mila spoke in brusque urgent tones. The time was now. They were going out. To The Roosevelt.

Billy glanced around at the office staff, then turned his back on them.

"C'mon, Mila."

"It's our tenth. It's what I want to do."

"It's not a good time for me," he said.

"You asked me what I want to do."

"We'll talk about it."

"No. This is what I want."



"Tonight. Shit. Alright," he said.

She must be climbing the walls. It was a familiar pattern. The pressure builds over months, months in which he's oblivious. Then, pow. He was jittery driving home. He would have seen it coming if he was just more aware. She'd been mentioning their anniversary. Not a big one. The tenth. Well, pretty big. But it was a sign, now that he thought about it. The kids were not at home when he got there. It was quiet in the house. When he came into the bedroom, she was sitting at her little table putting on the finishing touches. She didn't look at him, didn't say anything to him. Even when he pressed his face close to her cheek, she didn't say anything. They were in the zone.

She wore a half-slip and a strapless bra. He sat on the edge of the bed where he could watch her eyes in the mirror. She had on blue eye shadow and pastel lipstick. Her hair was piled up like she used to do it when they started going out back a century or two. She had gone to a load of trouble for this. He stretched out, resting his head in his hand and watched. She still didn't say anything. His eyes followed her into the bathroom. The slip clung to her girlish butt, revealing her white panties, garter belt, and sheer stockings which contrasted sensationally with her tan calves. He lay back on the bed. Still she said nothing. She stood in front of him fooling with her hair.

She took the yellow party dress from the hanger and stepped into it, drawing the top up over her breasts and the spaghetti straps over her shoulders. The dress followed her form from her ribs to her knees with no room to spare. She stood before the mirror, ran her hands along her sides to her hips, turned to view herself from behind, and caught him watching her. "Don't just lie there. Zip me," she said.

He hadn't spent a lot of time chasing her. Theirs had been the sparest of honeymoons. Where was it again? Cape May. He had made up his mind what she should be long before he even met her. He still had the photograph of her ice skating at Nolteen's Pond. It was still his total conception of her. In it, she was perfectly blond, perfectly ebullient, and she looked him straight in the eye. The Ice Queen. When he had called from Fort Benning and told her that he had something important to say, she came down, and four weeks later they were joined for life in the First Baptist Church of Cusseta, Georgia.

Those days were fast and full of excesses. He was proud and she was cool and they didn't have time to discuss much of anything, including two perfect babies that appeared from nowhere before his three year Army hitch was up. Now he was out and chin-deep in an electronics partnership in Paterson. They had enough money and plenty of everything it could buy. He often told her they would relax one of these days and start to live a little. But years flew by, three at a time, it seemed. He lived at the office. She stayed bolted to Girl Scouts and soccer games. It occurred to him sometimes that she maybe didn't care as much as she used to. But come to think of it, those times were like this time.

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