shall we call it an affair?
Under the table, their wrists curl into each other.
“So, do you two bump into each other often?”
It’s his mother and not hers, (surprise surprise) and his shoulders stiffen under the heavy fabric of his coat. “Does who bump into each other, often?”
“Why, you and Severine, of course. You’re in the same city, now. Don’t you run in the same circles?”
Her fingers slide through his, and over the table top. Run circles over the lace as she talks and her fingers are pretending, too. Pretending that they've been sitting by her plate the whole time and really, you never saw them there? “I’m afraid not,” she answers, smoothly. “We keep quite different company.”
Last night, he asked her to go dancing and she laughed till she was blue in the face. “I thought you liked dancing,” he’d muttered, almost sulky.
“I do,” she’d replied, fingers splayed over his cheek with a mark of rare affection. “Just not with you.”
The table cuts him back to present, his mother’s eyebrow raised in question. He nods his assent, not quite as smoothly as her. She’s good at this, the lies served cold. What to hold back, what to offer.
She knows what she’s doing. She has done this before. This is not new to her.
He doesn’t want to think about how.