There was a knock at the bedroom door.
“What is it, John?” she replied crossly from inside.
“We need to have a talk.”
“It can wait, can it not?” she called out hopefully.
“I’d just as soon have it out, if you don’t mind. Are you not feeling well?” Mary sighed and relaxed her hand. She had been seconds away from a breathtaking orgasm after having spent the last half hour lying in bed picturing Irene’s porcelain skin, luxuriant auburn hair and exotic hooded eyes.
“I’ve a bit of a headache is all,” came her reply. “What is this regarding?”
“It’s about our house, Mary, and what we shall do with it now that we’re no longer…that is to say…” he tried to explain, but it was awkward with the closed door between them. Mary sighed again. There would be no recovering her fantasy, so she made a mental note to take up with the image of bouncing lilywhite breasts and solid pink nipples playfully teasing hers when she next found a spare moment alone.
Mary rose and went to the door. She opened it to reveal John’s sad and concerned face, and regretted speaking sharply to him.
“I presume you’re planning to move back to Baker Street?” she asked him.
“Yes, but I want you to know that I shall do my best to keep this roof over your head for as long as you wish,” he offered kindly.
“I appreciate that,” Mary said with a smile, “but it won’t be necessary. I will be staying with Mrs. Norton after she returns from Paris.”
“Are you certain you don’t want a little more security for the long term?” he asked.
“I can take care of myself, John,” she said with quiet resolve.
John placed one hand on Mary’s shoulder and cupped her cheek with the other.
“I know you can, Mary. And you deserve the fullest measure of happiness that the world has to offer.” The couple gazed for a long moment into each other’s eyes, acknowledging what had passed between them and existed no longer. They joined in a final embrace and allowed themselves a moment to share in the sadness of ill-fated love.