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Gabrielle slumped in the corner of her spare room, phone lying discarded on the floor, her shaking hands covering her face as she held her head and consciously in and exhaled. She had taken the first step, she had told Bill that while he was dear to her she would no longer continue to create a larger and more deceitful web of lies; that their illicit love affair was over. ‘Of course that was the easy part,’ she thought as tears rolled down her elbows and dripped to the floor, ‘the truly hard part will be telling Adriel’.

What do you say to someone who’s given you the world? ‘Hey, just wanted to let you know, I’ve been having an affair with that guy who bought us drinks the other day? You know, at Bar Louie? Bill Finger. And just to clear up any questions you might have he’s Sean’s dad and Jenny’s boss too. So, we cool now?

‘Wicked web’ indeed,’ she thought as her lip curdled in an ironically sardonic caricature of a smile. ‘Even when I’m thinking about coming clean I’m already trying to figure out how to spin this.’

She stood, opened the door, stepped out of the spare room and made her way to the master bath where she washed her face and steeled herself for what she was going to do next. Making her way to the bed she shared with her husband she gently rubbed his shoulders until he grunted, “Huh?”

“Adriel,” she said as she continued to massage and knead, “I have to tell you something. It’s been eating away at me and I have to get it out. I’m going to cheat and tell you now while you can’t really answer. I’m doing it this way because otherwise I’ll never do it. I’m sorry but I have to do it this way.”

Adriel pushed his head in his wife’s direction but remained silent. She didn’t know what he knew or suspected, if he thought she’d had fling after fling or simply betrayed him once and then gone back to honoring her vows but her mistake had conceived a monstrous beast that separated them and she had to slay it. She had to slay the beast while simultaneously protecting her husband from things he didn’t need to know: Balance truth with compassion.

“Christ,” she said in way of preamble, “I can’t even give you an honest confession. Let me start this way; I met a man over two years ago. We were friends but it became more than that. He is the one that, well, that I was with when you were in New York getting treatment. I’m sorry. It’s over. But it’s complicated. I think you need to know what’s been going on.”

A confession as monologue has advantages and disadvantages. Without his voice giving voder there was very little that Adriel could give to Gabrielle in the way of feedback. She inhaled, held her breath for a moment and provided the details she thought he needed and deserved.