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Feigning the sleep that alluded him thoughts of Gabrielle and the box of condoms haunted Adriel. How many and with whom did he share her? Was she in love? Waiting for him to die so “they” could be together or simply satisfying an itch that he could no longer reach? She had been discrete, offering no details and in his impotence he had not asked. They both knew his time was running out and he had resigned himself to accepting what she gave, after all, she was very generous.

And the logistics? When did they meet? Where? Had the man, the men, been to his home? Anger welled inside. Anger with her for her discontent and physical need but greater anger for himself for his petty jealousy and lack of truthfulness when he’d told her he understood her needs. He’d always considered himself above such pettiness but truth was in the tasting of this pudding.

The images that ran through his head were the worst. When they’d first married they’d been adventuresome, rejoicing in their youth, strength and sexuality. Literally twice her size the athletic sexual positions they had tried had been fun and entertaining, now he was little more than an immobile dildo. Had she found a lover who superseded even their glory days?

It was a wonder she came to him at all. And she had thanked him. The sincerity had been real, not feigned. This woman was more than any man deserved and he was so narrow as to begrudge her her youth and vitality? Sometimes he was glad that he could not express himself, after all, what would he say that was worthy of her?

Tears dripped down his face but he could do nothing to remove them. He was glad she couldn’t see them, the last thing Gabrielle needed was more burdens.