Betty Draper felt the slam of the front door as she shivered in her swimsuit and wrap. What had seemed like an interesting idea the other day – a way to maybe spice up her marriage, which was beginning to feel increasingly stale – backfired in what seemed to be the worst way possible. Her husband, Don, had managed to cut her down in a matter of moments, turning a fun idea into a cheap and desperate ploy.
Betty lowered her head, biting her lip to keep the tears from coming. Doesn't he like desperate women, Betty scoffed. The perfume that he wears when he comes home from Manhattan says otherwise. Wiping a stray tear, Betty inwardly cursed herself for going out on a limb. She was a former model, and still had the beautiful body to show off, but now that she was a married mother of two, that was expected to be kept under wraps – part of her old life that her husband rarely saw, and when he did it was on his timetable.
Betty fidgeted her feet on the carpet. She wasn't ready to face the kids yet – to deal with their questions about why she was crying or complaints that breakfast was not to their satisfaction. She would be spending all day with the kids, a pattern that grew increasingly harsh over the summer, and right now all she wanted was some time to herself.
Betty was so lost in her thoughts that she didn't hear the door open behind her, or hear her husband's footsteps and call.
"Betts, have you seen my briefcase?" Don asked, checking the hallway. "I've got paperwork that I need for a morning meeting with United Fruit." As Creative Director at Sterling Cooper – one of the biggest advertising agencies in Manhattan, Don spent the majority of his days making sure that the needs of his various clients were met, leaving him little time for much else.
"Betts!" Don hollered louder, frustrated that he was not finding the briefcase or a response from his wife. Don narrowed his eyes at his wife's lone form in the living room, her body hunched over, huddled under her wrap. "I could use a little help," he requested, coming toward her.
Betty's body made a slight shudder as she fought a losing battle to keep her tears at bay. "Check the bedroom," she mumbled, refusing to look at him.
"What?" Don asked, coming up behind her. "I'm running late and…" Don stopped midsentence as Betty dropped her glance lower. "What's wrong?" he asked curiously.
Betty wiped a stray tear. "I'll get your briefcase," she said quickly, rushing up the stairs.
Don shook his head, following her lead. He did not have time to stop and take care of his wife this morning. What he couldn't understand was that she seemed perfectly fine before he left for work.
Betty opened the bedroom door, nearly slamming it in Don's face. Tearing off her wrap she angrily tossed it in the nearby trashcan, untying the top of her swimsuit.
"Hey," Don commented, picking up her wrap from the can, "I thought you liked this."
Betty picked up Don's briefcase from the dresser. "I wouldn't want to look cheap and desperate," Betty hissed, thrusting Don's briefcase into his arms.
"Betty…" Don said warily as she pulled out one of her bathrobes, slipping the top and bottom of her swimsuit off. She ignored his presence as she sat in front of her vanity mirror, letting her hair down.
Don rested his hand on her shoulder. "You asked me what I thought."
"And you had no problem telling me," Betty shot back, pushing his arm off of her.
Don shook his head. "I can't deal with this right now."
"Then go to work!" she shouted. "You'd rather be there than here anyway."
Don crossed the room and closed the door. Crossing his arms he stood there, waiting for her to continue. "Well?" he said expectantly, ignoring her previous comment.
"I bought the swimsuit for you – I thought you'd like it," she muttered, grabbing her hairbrush.
"It looked beautiful on you," Don said. "Too beautiful really." He knelt down next to her. "Can you blame me for being jealous?" he laughed.
"Glad you think this is so funny," Betty shook her head, standing up. "What exactly do you think would happen between me and those men – those tennis pros, and loafing millionaires, not to mention the young male lifeguards sitting on their perch watching the pool?"
"Betty!" Don warned, standing up, holding up his hand to her. "It's them I don't trust," Don quickly reasoned.
"I hate being locked in here with the kids all day while you go to the city," she mused bitterly. "You have all the fun you want but no one else gets to."
Don stood up, shrugging his shoulders. "You want to go swimming, go swimming - but in a decent swimsuit."
Betty took the wrap and shoved it into the closet. "I might as well return it to the auction."
A small smile lifted on Don's mouth. "Or you could wear it today when we go to the community pool."
Betty glanced up at her husband. "But you have to work."
Don took the wrap out of the closet. "I don't have any meetings this afternoon; I'll come home from work early and I'll go with you and the kids to the pool. And I will kill the first man who dares to make a pass at my wife."
"It's a date," she agreed, handing her husband his briefcase one more.
Don kissed Betty's nose. "See you in a few hours," he promised.
Betty waved and shut the bedroom door. Lifting her swimsuit off the floor, she held it in front of her body. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all, she mused, looking forward to an afternoon with her husband.