Confessing
By DonnaG
Published: October 16, 2007

“Hold my hand. This isn’t going to be easy.”

“Nothing ever is with you! What have you done now?”

“No, come on, Jen! Hold my hand. I need to feel your fingers, your soft palm. Squeeze hard.”

“You’re sweaty. This is serious, isn’t it? You haven’t been made redundant, have you? Or … oh, Christ. It’s another woman …”

“You cook the best Shepherd’s Pie on the planet. How the hell could it be another woman? I want to tell you a secret.”

“Hon, we’ve been married for nearly twelve years. I wash your underwear and try not to comment on the smell when you come out of the bathroom. We do practically everything together. This isn’t about the way I wouldn’t …”

“… go naked under that dress out to the pub last Friday? No. I’m willing to let you get used to that idea … No. It’s … I’ve always known deep inside that I was meant to be …”

“Gay?? You can’t be … you …”

“Jen. Sweetheart. Squeeze my hand harder. Look at me … see? Not gay. Not by any stretch of anybody’s imagination.”

“You know I have a wild imagination, hon. And right now, I’m imagining way too many things … the best one of which is …”

“Uh huh. Later. I’ve written a novel.”

“A … book? About … what?”

“Yeah. Well, it’s taken me ages. Had to work away at it when nobody was paying attention at the office. And those nights you woke up and I was downstairs playing Solitaire and you joked ‘cause you thought I was looking at porn or chatting to iffy women … well, I was writing. I just always kept the Solitaire handy in the background, you know? I didn’t want anybody to find out in case I couldn’t finish the damn thing. I’ve been writing since I was fourteen. But the kind of stories I wrote weren’t very macho … no men flying around on horseback slicing off other mens’ heads. I wasn’t into the Stephen King stuff and I was sure no Hemingway.”

“Stephen King?”

“He writes horror, blood and guts and scare the crap out of you kind of books. He’s made a lot of money. You wouldn’t like it, Jen. Give you nightmares for months. No, the book I’ve written is more like … ‘Gone with the Wind’ … sort of.”

“Historical epic?”

“In a way. It’s about a castle in East Anglia where people go to enjoy themselves.”

“Oh. Like a holiday resort?”

“Like. It’s … ummm … well, I’ve sold it and it’s being released next week and I was hoping you’d come with me to the book launch. It’s in London where nobody knows us …”

“Of course I will! Ohmygawd! I can’t believe it! My husband, an author. So, what’s it called and can I read it. Where’s this launch? Do I have to dress up … there’s only that one black dress you like …”

“The black’ll be fine. It’s called ‘Dying for Punishment’. Not my choice for a title but the publishing firm insists it’ll catch the eye and …”

“Punishment? What kind of …”

“Corporal.”

“Oh.”

“Keep squeezing my hand, Jen. You’re going all slack …”

“You mean … it’s about … whipping people’s bottoms and stuff?”

“There’s a cheque in my pocket. Made out to me even though the book’s got another name on it … they picked Carissa L. Honoria even though I liked Miranda Wonder much better …”

“Bondage? Tying people up and doing painful things to their private parts?”

“Yeah. But nobody we know is gonna know I wrote it, Jen. Trust me. The advance is £5,000. We can go on that holiday to Spain now. And I’ve proposed three more … if the first one sells at least 1,000 copies, we’re laughing.”

“Oh … my …Can I let go of your hand now, please? I need a drink. Order me a double scotch, will you?”