Penelope turned away from the mirror and looked her husband directly in the eyes for the first time in two months.
‘Martin,’ she said, ‘I don’t believe you.’
‘You don’t...’ He stopped, breathed, clenched his fists. ‘You don’t, do you?’
’No.’ She turned back to the mirror. ‘I don’t. You see, after Michael left that evening, I found your notebook – the one you had tucked under the corner of the carpet.’ There was silence for a few seconds.
After the ensuing argument, Penelope filed for divorce, although the process proved more costly than she had anticipated and the loan she took out to cover her legal fees would have bankrupted her had it not been for Michael’s intervention. This, though, brought its own set of problems, as Michael’s wife assumed (wrongly, as it happened) that Michael’s interest in Penelope’s wellbeing was a result of something beyond merely friendly concern. This led to an estrangement between Michael and Susan which, although not as rancourous as that between Penelope and Martin, nonetheless took its toll on all concerned. So it was that both Penelope and Michael found themselves, some months later, nominally single; it is at this point that we resume our tale...