"No," Bruce said, "absolutely not."

Winifred Seerie stared at her son in astonishment. She wasn't used to having him defy her, but now Bruce,
who had been described as "parent-ridden," [although not to Winifred] Bruce, who had been brought up to believe that "Mother knows
best," was actually defying his mother.

"What do you mean, no?" Winifred demanded.

"I mean," Bruce said, "I will not break up with Stacy."

The antique clock on the living-room mantelpiece ticked, as if in counterpart to their discussion.

"But can't you see," Winifred tried to reason with Bruce, "that you are entirely unsuited to each other?"

"No, I don't see that at all," Bruce retorted.

"But there are so many other girls, so many lovely girls," Winifred pointed out.

"Yes, there are, but there is only one girl for me, and that girl is Stacy Belford."

"How can you say that," Winifred asked, "after what I've just told you?"

"Mom, you didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know," Bruce said.

"You knew?"

"Yes, Mom" Bruce said, "I've known for a long time, and," he added, "it's never made a bit of difference."