Yvonne watched her husband across the table. He still wore the perplexed look that had been on his face since he had arrived home to find the table laid with the best silver and lit by candles.
....."Some wine, my love?"
.....He shifted uncomfortably in his seat and cleared his throat as she handed him a brimming glass.
....."What's all this in aid of," he asked, a weak smile crossing his wine dampened lips.
....."Well, Mark, I really wanted to talk to you about something, and knowing how things have been... a little strained, between us lately, I thought I'd make the atmosphere as relaxing as possible."
.....She uncovered the plate and passed it to him with an inscrutable smile, "It's you're favourite, darling."
....."Wow," he smiled as he lifted the cover and leaned in to sniff. "Stuffed heart! I haven't had that for ages. Lamb, or pig?"
....."Cow actually," she smiled.
....."Good! It'll be nice and beefy, then. Sage and onion stuffing too! I'll enjoy this. Thanks!"
.....As usual, he began devouring the meal without a single thought as to the time and care Yvonne had taken to prepare it. She picked up her knife and fork and began to eat her cheese omelette as daintily as possible as if to counteract his animal-like gluttony. She wasn't really hungry, anyway; her stomach was too tense.
....."You not having anything else?" he asked.
......"No. This is enough for me. I don't have your partiality for offal, anyway, you know that."
....."Offal's good for you, Yvonne. My mum always says...."
....."Yes. Your mum always says everything. Let's not get into that, Mark. I know I've been a little tardy in the kitchen of late, but I've decided to try spoiling you. It can't do any harm, can it? I might win back your affections, if I'm lucky."
.....She expected this remark to cause some sort of reaction and it did. He began to chew slowly and kept his gaze fixed to the plate that he'd already half emptied. He pursed his lips and a confused frown crossed his forehead. "How'd you, er, plan to do that?"
.....She chuckled "There's kidneys tomorrow and liver on Friday, how else can I spoil you?"
....."Nice. I'll be in my.... er, did you say Friday?"
....."Yes, Mark. Friday"
....."But I'm going out straight from work on Friday. You know, that thing with the 'lads'. I told you about it, remember?"
....."Oh yes, your night out with the 'lads'. Well I'm afraid it has been cancelled. Didn't you know?"
....."Cancelled? What do you mean? How...."
.....The eager consumption of the remains on his plate came to an abrupt halt and he looked hard at his wife. His brows knitted together as he waited for her to clarify her meaning.
....."You were never a one for going out with the boys, Mark. It seemed odd you suddenly were. Especially as the 'lads' are few and far between now. In short, Mark, I don't believe you. There is no night out with the 'lads' and never has been, has there, Mark?"
.....His knuckles whitened around his cutlery and there came a slight reddening to his cheekbones. "What do you mean? What..."
....."I know, Mark. I've suspected it for some time. You've been seeing another woman, haven't you?"
....."Now look, Yvonne, ...you always think..."
....."I said, you've been seeing another woman, haven't you? In fact, you've been seeing Julie Brown, the bimbo next-door-but-one. Haven't you?"
.....Mark sat silent for a moment, and then let his knife and fork fall to the plate with a loud clatter as he wiped the grease from his lips with a napkin. His head fell and he huffed.
....."Okay, you win. Yes, I have. I'm sorry. What can I say?"
....."Nothing to say, really. I suppose it's my fault too. We fell into a rut and you needed solace in someone else's arms. I understand that. But her, Mark? She's a painted whore. You even said that yourself."
....."That's before I got to know her. She's really nice. Kind even. A heart of gold as a matter of fact."
....."You think? Is that why she decided to come and tell me all about you and her this afternoon? Is that an act of kindness? I think not, Mark."
....."Oh, God. She said she'd tell you if I didn't. I never suspected for one moment, Yvonne that she'd carry out the threat. That was wrong of her. I'll have a word."
....."Don't worry so, my love. She and I had a good chat. I think I've persuaded her that I'm not going to give you up that easily."
....."No. How did you expect me to throw ten years of marriage away just so that silly tart could have you? She got the message. She won't bother us again."
....."Oh, Yvonne. You haven't been nasty to her have you? She's such a nice girl. I don't want her to think..."
....."A heart of gold, you said. I heard you the first time, Mark. Tell me, husband dear. How good was her heart?"
....."Yvonne, you're taking this a bit calm for my liking. What did you say to her? What did?"
....."I said, how good was her heart? Very good?"
....."I guess so. Wh ..."
....."Yes or no!"
.....Yvonne took a sip of her wine, leaned her chin on her hands and smiled peacefully. "Good. I'd hate to think my culinary efforts had gone to waste."
....."Her heart, husband dear. You've just eaten it. Now, tell me how you would like your kidneys tomorrow... devilled, perhaps?"