She knew it now, even if she hadn't then. One year ago today he had returned to her. He had clawed his way back to their life together while she had been living a lie. Even now she could remember how it felt to have his arms around her, to hear him call her 'Red', to feel safe in his presence.
So even with all that-even with all the memories and all the history, why was she sitting here in a crummy bar avoiding going home to her husband.
Phyllis sat up straight, pushing away from the bar slightly. She had a good life-a beautiful daughter, a loving husband, a man she couldn't get off her mind. If only that man were her husband. But she couldn't think about that now. All she could do was try to rebuild her life.
Sighing heavily, she reached into her purse. "Can I get my tab, please?" she asked quietly, forcing a smile for the bartender.
"Why don't you let me take care of that?"
The voice behind her sent shivers down her spine as she turned around, her mouth slightly agape. "What are you doing here?"
Billy stared at her for a moment. He shouldn't be happy to see her. He shouldn't step up to the bar and take the stool right next to hers. He shouldn't lean close enough to her that the warmth of her body could be felt on his own. He shouldn't, but he did.
"I'm not following you, if that's what you're thinking."
She nodded. "I thought you'd be spending the night with your little friend, Bethany."
Billy drew in a sharp breath. Her words felt like a slap in the face. "Well, I thought you'd be spending the night with your husband." The instant the words left his lips, he regretted them. One look in those green eyes-which were now filled with tears and he would give anything to take them back.
"Phyllis, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. I..." He reached for her hand, flinching as she jerked away from him.
"This is over." Phyllis turned, her red hair glistening as she stood under the lights. "You're right, I should be home with my husband and you-you can do whatever the hell you want with whoever the hell you want. Just stay away from me!"
She was gone before he had a chance to protest. He headed for the door, his eyes scanning the parking lot. The sound of squealing tires echoed through the night. Leaning back against the door, Billy closed his eyes, "Dammit Phyllis".
Tears streamed down her face as she turned onto the main road. The streetlights nearly blinded her as she drove. Her cell phone rang and she glanced, only for an instant, at the screen. Fresh tears streamed down her face as she looked back at the road, just in time to see the lights of the oncoming car.