Step. Aside. Modestes steely face matched his cold, clear voice.
His wifes black eyes narrowed as she spread her arms to bar the door. You will not leave me.
Lenore, he sighed, placing the tall top hat on his black and grey hair. Im just going to visit some friends, and I expect to be back this evening.
She held up a small piece of paper with a heavy sigh.
He tore the note from her hand with a glare. Where did you find that? he hissed, patting his shirt pockets in shock.
Does it matter? she asked. Her shoulders hunched in defense as he stepped toward her. Its from Pyotr; youre off to elope with him now or whatever it is youre calling it, am I wrong?
As she spoke, he calmly folded the letter and slipped it into his coat pocket, keeping his green eyes glued to the wooden floorboards. His shoes seemed exceptionally black and shiny; when was the last time he wore shoes this clean? In fact, now that he thought about his current wardrobe, when was the last time he took the time to comb his hair back, or to wear a coat and tighten his necktie, before today? He vaguely wondered how his wife could be so upset with him while he looked so goddamned dashing.
Lenore scoffed at his silence, and clenched her jaw edgily. Modeste, you cannot be serious about this. You cant just get up and leave anymore. Things are different now; you have a family. You have a son. What will I tell Ludovic when he asks where his father is? That hes off fornicating with a man, and he didnt love us enough to stay?
Well, Modeste answered without thinking, Im sure youll have to tell him something like that eventually. I have something of a reputation, you see. He winced guiltily.
Yes, Im aware of that, she hissed venomously, spreading her arms across the doorway. But the fact remains that I lo
Im afraid I dont see what the problem is. Husbands and wives split all the time, darling. You cannot stop me, so step aside before you make me angry, he spat.
Dont make me say it again.
Lenore, he snapped.
I love you.
He felt the prickling adrenaline running through him more intensely than usual. His hands were twitching, curling in and out of fists. This woman stood between him and Pyotr; she had to go. The wiry muscles in his arm tightened. He wondered what she would do if he hit her. Too softly, and she would come after him. If he hit hard enough, it would certainly knock her out, but too hard, and she could be seriously injured. Then again, once he made his escape, was her broken nose really his concern? He could make it quite a long way before she regained consciousness. There was only one option, then: hit her hard.
Her eyes widened, then shut tightly as his large hand came toward her face. A small noise came from the stairwell, causing him to jerk back and his strike to fall short. His neck cracked audibly as he whipped around to glare at the sound on the flight of stairs. A small boy, no more than two or three years of age, had rested himself at the bottom step, half of his tiny hand stuck in his mouth. His flat, black eyes stared up at them innocently.
Ludovic, Lenore whispered shakily, closing the distance between them quickly. What
what do you want? A small chill ran up her spine as she passed her husbands stiff form.
The boy merely smiled and held out his arms. As she bent down to pick him up, she heard the front door swing open and slam shut violently. A heavy sigh escaped her lips.
Itll be alright, she murmured. At least you wont miss him.