Nikki knew what she had to do. There was really only one thing to do. Their love for each other had always been based on being open. She knew that there couldn’t be the same kind of love, even the chance, if their future was based on lies and hiding parts of themselves. So, when Joe came home they would have to talk this through and she would have to accept whatever the consequences of his disappointment or anger.

Joe wasn’t due to return home until late Friday night. So early Saturday morning when Joe turned in bed and didn’t find Nikki next to him he was curious. He was even more curious when he smelled coffee already. Nikki never got up early on Saturday. Not knowing if he should be curious or concerned he got out of bed and proceeded downstairs to the kitchen where he found Nikki at the breakfast nook in her short nightgown just staring at her mug of coffee. After pouring himself a mug, he took the stool opposite Nikki and asked, “What’s up, Nikki. Bad week? You look worked up about something.”

She looked up at his eyes still a little sleepy and said, “I don’t know how to explain this.”

“Sounds serious.”

“Just let me talk, okay? I need to just spill this out and then we can talk.”

“You’re not leaving me!”

“God, no!! Please, just let me get this out.”

“If you’re not leaving me, I’m all ears.”

“God, Joe, you make it sound like the worst thing that could happen to you is me leaving you.”

“Babe, I think I could handle almost anything but that. You’re what gives my life it’s life.”

“You’re making this so hard. Okay, here goes.” Raising her moistening eyes to his, she starts. “Joe, I cheated on you while you were gone. Just listen, first. Don’t say anything until I finish. Wednesday night I went out to one of the clubs with Jane, from work, and we drank, did some dancing, some flirting, just having fun. But then we went right back to Jane’s by midnight.”

“Having some drinks and dancing isn’t cheating.”

“No, it isn’t. But once at Jane’s we drank more wine and got VERY comfortable. Pretty soon we were making out. Then I was naked and she was …. making me feeling REALLY good. We had more wind and I got her naked and was making her feel good.”

“With Jane?”

“Yes. But that’s not all. See, Jane has this big dog and I guess while I was on my knees with Jane …. he decided I was available. I mean I was apparently in the right position for him, being aroused, otherwise occupied.”

“The dog did?”

“Joe! Anyway, heck, HE MOUNTED ME! Not only did I eat out Jane but the damn dog fucked me! I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how it happened, it just did.”

Silence. It didn’t necessarily feel golden, either. Nikki wanted to look up at him, to search his eyes, but she just couldn’t. What she did see was Joe getting up and standing. Then he just reached for her mug and with his went to refill both mugs with fresh coffee. He paused there as though in thought. For seconds that seemed like many minutes. Then he returned, sat down, and slid over her mug. “Nikki, what do you know about me above all else?”