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you're the one that I love

by Edd Vick

"Out again?"

The words, so suddenly spoken, startled Scott Parkinson out of his post-fuck bliss. He almost dropped his shoes.

Rachel switched on the bedside light, dazzling him. When his eyes adjusted, he saw that hers were red-rimmed. She'd been crying.

Scott stood there, clothes in hand. He'd been about to lay them carefully over the chair, the shoes next to it, as they'd been a few minutes ago when Rachel and he had first gone to bed. But he was frozen, rooted by her glare.

"Well?" she said, settling herself back against a pillow. It looked like she was preparing for battle. "You've been to see her again." It wasn't a question.

"Yes, I--" It was stupid to stand there holding all his clothes, naked while she lay fortified under the blanket. He tossed everything aside and sat on the bed, half-facing her. "You knew all along, you had to." He tried to smile, just a bit, to show her he still cared.

"Sure I knew. Twice before, and now for a third time." The thought, the memory, had just come to her. Rachel looked down, then across at their wedding picture. "I'm not stupid." She was thirty years removed from that beaming bride, and suddenly Rachel hated her. Her firm breasts, her trim body, her stamina her energy her naïve love for this man grinning, goddamn grinning! At her.

Rachel bunched up the edge of the blanket in fists gone white. "Is she married?" Her voice trembled.

Scott rubbed his neck with one hand. "No," he said finally. "She's not. Not yet, anyway. It would be too much like--"

"Cheating," she said. "You're seeing someone who's not me. That is cheating. That's what they call it."

"No." Scott reached out a tentative hand, laid it on one of her fists. "I'm seeing you. It's you, it's always been you."

"I know," she said, tucking her hand under the blanket so he wouldn't see it shaking.. "But time machine or no time machine, it's still cheating."

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