"Why does your mother have to come on the same weekend that I made plans with the guys to go on the best golf retreat in my life?" Ray yelled.
"Because she is my mother and your children's grandmother and she wants to spend time with us before she goes on her trip!" Debra screamed back at him, her face red with fury.
"Well, then, maybe she should start acting like a normal grandma and bake cookies instead of traveling the world!" Ray replied.
"Oh, so she should act like your mother and barge into our house every day and interfere with every aspect of our lives?" Debra asked angrily, narrowing her eyes.
"At least my mother is involved in her grandkids' lives!" Ray retorted furiously.
"So my mother should be involved in our lives like your mother. I guess that means that she should redo all the laundry and clean the house after I have done it. And then maybe she insult you like your mother does me about your hair, your clothes, and the way you raise your children!" Debra said sarcastically.
"Well, my mother wouldn't have to do those things if you could do your job right in the first place!" he replied.
Debra took a step back, her mind spinning at what her husband had just said. She could feel tears of hurt welling up behind her eyes, but she forced them back as she yelled, "Get out! Just get out!"
Ray looked at her and walked quickly out the door, slamming it behind him. As the sound reverberated in her ears, Debra allowed a tear to slip out the corner of her eye as she turned back to the kitchen sink to finish washing the dishes she had started before she had started fighting with Ray. Her shoulders shook slightly as silent tears fell into the soapy water.
The door opened again, and she quickly wiped her eyes as Robert entered the kitchen, "Hey, Deb. Amy sent me over with a book she borrowed from you since I was going to watch the game with Ray. Do you know where he is?"
"I don't know where he is right now, Robert. Do you want to wait for him here?" Debra asked.
"Sure," he replied, heading to the living room. He looked back at Debra and frowned slightly, "Deb, are you upset about something?"
She shook her head, "No, Robert, I'm fine."
He walked over to her, gently turning her away from the sink, "What happened?"
She sighed, fresh tears threatening to fall from her eyes, "Ray and I had a really big fight over my mother because she's coming to stay with us on the same weekend he was supposed to go on a big golf retreat with the guys. I don't know. Just, some of the things he said really hurt my feelings."
A soft sob escaped her mouth as she finished, and Robert gently folded her into his arms, "It's okay, Deb. I'm here for you."
She just buried her head into his shoulder in acknowledgement of his words, sobbing quietly. He just held her a little tighter and laid a gentle kiss in her silky hair, the scent of her shampoo tickling his nose.
A few minutes later, she lifted her head from his shoulder, "Thank you, Robert."
He looked down into her shimmering brown eyes and felt his breath catch in his throat as he realized exactly how close he was to her. Her smooth lips were parted slightly in a smile, awakening feelings within him he had thought were long dead. In a split second, he crossed the boundaries that had kept him from her. As his lips met hers, he was overcome by a feeling he had never felt before, something that arose from the very core of his being. She struggled hesitantly against him for a moment, but his gentle hold and his lips on hers forced her to surrender. Every inch of his body screamed at him to let her go, but he ignored his instincts as he felt her respond slightly to his kiss. The moment ended all too soon, though, when she pushed him away, trembling.
"Robert, I…" her voice trailed off, her mind unable to comprehend her whirling thoughts and feelings.
Robert took a step towards her, but as he began to realize what exactly had transpired between the two of them, he stopped. His hands shook slightly as he thought about the repercussions of what he had just done.
"I'm sorry, Debra," he whispered before walking out the door.
Stunned, Debra just stared at the kitchen door before sliding down the side of the counter to the floor.