Did you really think Sam's ploy would work? Table of contents here. I really like some of Sam's analogies/metaphors/what-have-yous at the start. This doesn't give people the come-uppance that everyone wanted Peter to get, I think, since Sam ducks out before it happens. But, then again, Sam has no real desire to get in the middle of this, so I think it makes sense.
* * *
It didn’t work. That’s the politest way of saying that no one was fooled. The wool remained firmly off their eyes. The cat did not merely get out of the bag, it burst forth like a Giger creation from Kane’s chest. It was spectacularly the wrong thing to say. A sort of, “Besides that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” or, for more modern audiences, “Besides that, how was the drive in Dallas, Mrs. Kennedy?”
You can’t blame a guy for trying though. Certain things are just expected to run their course. The flu. Measles. Desperate attempts to stop a train wreck. Following that analogy, I was like the guy who had to decide whether to flip the train to a different track and kill someone or let it plummet off the track. I had decided to flip the switch, and then the train hit the guy, who caused it to flip off the track anyway.
“I’m not stupid,” Chelsea said.
“Then just who are you?” Christine said. The two women had relegated Peter to an afterthought at this point. I think there was a bit of a temporary truce to determine who, exactly, had the right to tear into him.
Peter, for his part, was gamely trying to fade back to Mr. Dawes. I caught his arm and pulled him back, just shaking my head. “You made your bed, now lie in it.”
“What exactly does that mean Sam?”
“This is your own fault, face the music.”
“This is your doing, isn’t it?” Peter said. He looked to Mr. Dawes. “Can you believe the balls on this guy?”
“Now, see here,” The old man said. “What exactly is going on here?”
That was when Chelsea answered, quite brusquely, that she was Peter’s wife, so really, the question was, who, exactly, was Christine. Christine’s answer was a sudden blanching followed by covering her own mouth. A light seemed to click on Chelsea’s head, and she followed up with a simple query: “You didn’t know, did you?”
I’ve never seen any two people suddenly become more united in purpose so quickly than the U.S. and the commies when Germany flipped off Russia during World War II. “How could I? I just thought he was working late when he couldn’t see me.”
“Why the hell did you do this,” Peter asked me as the two women exchanged quick notes. I thought it was right decent of them to have put aside their own differences to focus on the real villain of this little soap opera.
“This is karma,” I said.
“Introducing a man’s wife to his mistress is bad form,” Mr. Dawes said, audibly tsk’ing at me. “That’s double the cock blocking.”
“Honestly, it wasn’t me,” I said. “This is like the chickens coming home to roost.”
Chelsea and Christine looked at each other, and then I felt their hot, burning glare turn in our direction. I can’t say that I’m proud about what I did next, but I pushed Peter in front of me.
“Is what she’s saying true? Is she your wife?”
“I’m not going to dignify —”
“Is this where you were all those nights you stayed late at the office?”
“In his defense,” Mr. Dawes said, “There were probably several nights he really was at the office.”
I was about to get involved, then I decided I didn’t want to get involved. Instead, I let the women have him, and drifted away. Once I was out of sight, I ran. I’m not too proud to admit to that either. Besides, I wanted to check on Lucy.