Dinner that night had not been the gleaming success Karen had hoped. As angry as she still was at Harry, she had hoped he would have been more interested in dinner. She foolishly still wished the events of Christmas would evaporate, and she would have him back. As rare as they had become, she missed the adoring looks he used to give her. The slightly seductive smiles he occasionally gave her over dinner. But having pushed him aside earlier, he didn't seem as interested in her. She knew he was putting on a brave face for the children. The smiles he gave her were not genuine, the uncertainty and tension was obvious in his eyes.
With the Harry safely putting the in bed, Karen retreated into the kitchen to wash the pots. She aggressively attacked the remains of the bolognaise stuck to the bottom of a pan. Pearl like tears began to seep down her cheeks, the salty taste resting on her lips. She wiped them away with her trembling hands. She threw the pan and scoured back in the warm soapy water.
"For goodness sake!" she breathed. She wanted to be angry, she wanted to be furious, livid. But she couldn't. For all his faults, Harry was her husband and she did love him. She did. She put her hand back in the washing up water to fish out the cloth. As she lifted it, she noticed it was turning crimson in her hand. Then she felt it. A jagged gash across her hand, streaming with blood. Realising she'd smashed the wine glasses in her fit of rage, she wrapped a dry tea towel around her hand. She lent against the side and sank down to the floor.
"Harry" She murmured, feeling a wave of dizziness glide over her. Gently she let her eyes close for a moment.
Harry kissed his daughters' forehead and stroked her hair back across her pillow. She smiled up at him adoringly, trying to decide whether he really deserved such a beautiful daughter. Considering his actions before Christmas he very much doubted it.
"You do know that I love you don't you, dad." Daisy said, taking hold of his hand.
"I know you do, Daisy. I'm sorry if I am grumpy sometimes." He sat back on the edge of the bed.
"Daddy?" Daisy said, in that slightly sing song voice, which Harry knew she wanted something. He smiled at her knowingly. "Please talk to mummy. She doesn't smile as much anymore, and she keeps looking like she has been crying. She thinks I haven't noticed."
"Oh, Daisy. I'm not sure she wants to talk to me."
"Why?" Daisy questioned and Harry instantly wished he had just said "yes he would see what the matter was and fix it."
"Because I did something I shouldn't have done, and she is right to be upset about it. Will you be a good girl and go to sleep, if I agree to go and talk to her now and fix it?" He hoped she'd say yes, he really didn't want to explain to Daisy what he had done to Karen, she'd hate him forever. Daisy adored Karen, Harry knew it. Daisy nodded and rolled onto her side, closing her eyes.
Harry descended the stairs, trying to decide how to talk to Karen. He had repeatedly told her he was sorry, he'd tried to kiss her and make it all go away, he'd tried to talk to her, but she had simply brushed him away. He didn't know what to do or say. Instinctively he headed for the kitchen, knowing she would be in there, most probably washing and stacking the dishes.
He opened the kitchen door and looked around. The pots were still in the sink and those that had been washed were stacked on the draining board, still covered in soapy suds.
"Karen?" He asked the kitchen, taking a few steps in and looking around. It was then he saw the red tinge to the washing up water, the pool of blood on the work surface, and Karen. His wife, slouched against the cupboard under the sink. Her eyes were closed and her face was pale, her hand was clutching the now deeply stained tea towel.