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"Well, if you grow a pair, I'll be waiting right here for you." Another pause. "Cunt," Ian said and the line went dead.



At six-seventeen in the evening he arrived back home.

Ian's car was on the driveway, so he had to park on the road opposite his house. David wondered briefly whether Ian had got his car's oil leak fixed yet. Probably not.

He let himself into the house with his key. She hadn't yet changed the locks.

"Hi honey, I'm home," he called from the hallway in an American accent. He heard things being moved around upstairs and muffled voices. There were two suitcases, their sides bulging, standing against a wall. David threw his key into the empty ashtray on the hallway table, as he always did. As he turned to put his umbrella in the stand, he saw Ian standing at the top of the stairs. They looked at each other for a few moments, then Ian began slowly descending the staircase. He said, "You've got a fucking nerve, coming here." With each step, the loose flesh of his belly jiggled under his white t-shirt.

"This is my home," David said, his voice quiet and calm. "I live here."

"You think so?" Ian stepped down from the last stair and stood in front of David, his arms folded.

"I want to talk to my wife."

"That's unfortunate, because she doesn't want to talk to you."

"Ian," David said. "Ian, all I want is a chance to talk to her, to make it up to her, if I can."

Ian just stood there and stared straight at him. David saw something moving at the top of the stairs.

"It's all right, Ian," Anne said. "I can handle this." She walked down the stairs and stood beside her brother. "If he wants to talk to me then let him talk. It's about bloody time anyway."

"Are you sure about this, Anne?"

"'Course I'm sure." She pushed her brother's shoulder. "Take the stuff out to the car, Ian."

Ian stared at David wordlessly as he brushed past him and picked up the suitcases. David waited until Ian shut the door on his way out before speaking.

"Why are you doing this to me, Anne? To us? Are you getting some kind of pleasure from this?"

She looked at him as though trying to decipher something, then gave a wry smile. "How did you know Ian was here?"

He looked away from her. "I thought he'd be gone by now," he said.

She kept the smile as she said, "How did I end up marrying a spineless worm like you?"

He looked up at her. "There's a lot to be said for worms," he said. "Darwin was particularly impressed by


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