cabinet?” she asked, stroking the glowing wood.
“We don’t need a wine cabinet.”
“But we really do, if we’re going to be entertaining. Besides, you know that I like a little glass of wine with dinner.” Brian shrugged, thinking of how infrequently they had a sit-down dinner at home, and Adrienne returned to the salesman. “We’ll want this wine cabinet also.”
The salesman smiled. “Of course,” he said, writing on his order pad. At least he’s got something to smile about , Brian thought. He’s probably anticipating the huge commission he’ll make on this sale.
By the time Brian and Adrienne left the Fine Furniture Salon, they had on order a complete mahogany dining set with pedestal table, two armed chairs, four side chairs, wine cabinet, china cabinet equipped with a set of service-for-eight Lennox and a set of crystal. There was a crystal chandelier in addition to a damask sofa, two arm chairs, mahogany coffee and two end tables along with lamps for all the tables and framed prints for all of the walls.
The level of Brian’s indebtedness had suddenly rocketed.
Months passed and Brian struggled with the mounting debt. After paying the monthly bills, he had to be careful of every small purchase he made. He could not remember when he had been in such a financial straightjacket. The only small flickering light signaling an end to the tunnel of debt was that, if the new business did well, he would receive a substantial year-end bonus. That seemed to be the only path to regaining control. But, if he were to earn that bonus, he had to make sure the business was a success. He began working increasingly longer hours. When Adrienne worked evenings, she would sometimes get back to the condominium before he did.
One evening as summer waned, she came in just as he was getting out of his suit and ready to take a shower.
“You’re working a lot of long hours lately,” she commented with a frown. Brian shrugged. “Have to get this business up and running.”
“I just don’t know how I’d make it without you working so hard. If anything happened to you . . .” Her voice trailed off as she stared sadly into space. He walked over to her and took her gently in his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said.
“Nothing’s going to happen to me.”
She looked up at him, tears welling in her eyes. “I just don’t know what I’d do without you.”
S-s-h-h-h-h-h,” he murmured, stroking her hair. “I’m perfectly fine. There’s nothing for you to worry about.” He held her at arm’s length. “Now, I’m going to go take my shower. We need to be getting to bed.”
While he was in the shower, Brian wondered about Adrienne’s sudden concern over anything happening to him. She had never before seemed to be worried about anything like that. Had something changed to make her begin considering such things? He tried to think of anything different about their relationship but could find nothing. Everything seemed to be going pretty much as it always had. He shrugged off the mystery, stepped out of the shower and got ready for bed.
Later, as Adrienne snuggled against him, she whispered against his shoulder,
“Seriously, Brian. What if something did happen to you? What would I do? I couldn’t possibly make the payments on the car. I couldn’t afford the rent. I would be booted out on the street with no place to go and no way of getting there.”
“But I’ve told you, there’s no reason to worry.”
“But you never know when you might be in an accident or something. What would I do then?”
“I have good long-term medical benefits at work. They’d cover everything.”
“But what if you were killed ? What then?”
Brian gulped. He had never thought about his mortality. He was too young to be concerned about dying. Yet it happened every day. Young people, even teenagers, were killed in automobile accidents or any other of a hundred different ways. Maybe Adrienne was right. He’d never
Maddie Taylor, Melody Parks