“Only you make my heart quicken,” said Kenneth, sitting on the edge of the bed. He had loosened his tie, and his shirt, a size too big in an attempt minimize his weight gain, bunched around his abdomen. He was pale and white.
They were in the Presidential Suite at the Four Season’s Hotel. Outside the windows, city lights twinkled and dimmed. Lydia was seated in a dove grey, faux suede sectional couch, long legs crossed. She was, as usual, fresh, fragrant, and immaculately groomed.
“Thank you, Kenny,” said Lydia. “Will we be in bed tonight, or simply talking as we did last time?”
“In bed, Lydia,” said Kenneth. He went to the bar and poured them both a vodka, brilliantly clear over brilliantly clear, crystal, half-melted ice cubes. “You know my story. I’m in danger.”
“I do,” she said. She stood and walked to where Kenneth sat on the crisp linen bedspread. She stroked his thinning hair. “How is Magda?”
“She’s good, the kids are good,” he said. “Everything is good.” He then spoke quietly and precisely, as if he’d prepared a speech. “If you leave quietly later on, so much the better.”
“I understand,” said Lydia. “But I’m not sure.”
“I can’t think of a better way.”
“Yes, for me, but I am also sparing Magda,” said Kenneth.
Lydia raised her eyebrows as if to say, Now?, and Kenneth had the perception to blush. It had been a difficult six months. The salacious scandal, the humiliating reveals, the financial losses, the intense stress, the devastating health problems, and the loss of face and reputation, all while clinging to the deadening belief that enough lies would temper the pain.
They made athletic love in the king size, pristine white-sheeted bed. If the dead have memories, then Lydia provided lots of those. He left in the perfect way that only those who choose can know. His heart quickened, and he died.
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