The Illusions of Prisms

by faithinthepoor

She has always been fascinated by kaleidoscopes, not so much by the variety of intricate images that can be created with each minor twist or movement but by the fact that if you tip them upside down all that is left to look at is a lens and multicoloured pieces of plastic, their randomness no longer so appealing to the eye. She not sure if it actually occurred this way but they have come to represent her realization that very little in life is what it seems and that all manner of ugliness can be covered with the right window dressing. It seems strange to be thinking about children’s toys right now, given what is taking place, but the analogy is probably as apt as any.

From one perspective, the moment is perfect; Bree stands before her, eyes dilated, breathing shallow, her gaze leaving Lynette’s face only when it becomes necessary to ensure thorough exploration of Lynette’s body, that same exploration meaning that her hands are somehow everywhere at once, making Lynette deliriously happy that her girl is such an expert in multitasking. Bree looks wanton and unbridled and so far removed for the person most of the world knows that it’s hard to believe that it is the same women. The knowledge that she has driven Bree to this is intoxicating, it’s very nearly overwhelming but unfortunately it’s not so all consuming that it prevents her from being able to look at things in a different light. She can’t fail to notice that the air is saturated with the distinctive scent of industrial strength cleaner nor that the ammonia is making her nose tingle. She is not blind to the fact that while her chest feels like it is burning in the areas that Bree’s fingers and lips have mapped, her bare back is against the cold wall of a bathroom stall partition or that the discomfort of the toilet roll holder that is poking into one hip is minimal when compared with the pain that Bree’s perfectly manicured fingernails are causing as they dig into the flesh on the opposite side. Bree’s kisses are needy and desperate but somehow it feels as though this is more about anger than it is about lust. Still it’s not until she watches as Bree pulls at the draw string of her pants, an unnecessary move given that they could easily be slipped over her hips without the restraint being removed, that she pauses to consider the virtue of continuing with what they are doing and realizes that while she wants this on so many levels, she won’t be able to live with herself if she doesn’t halt the proceedings.

She swats Bree’s hands away and as much as she’s able attempts to shrink into the corner while she replaces her top, “Don’t.” Bree’s only reaction is to up the ante - she slips her hand past the waste band of Lynette’s pants causing Lynette’s hips to buck in a mutinous display of just how much her body wants this even if the timing is completely inappropriate. Bree does not fail to register the movement of Lynette’s body and her eyes blaze with triumph as she slowly moves her hand lower causing Lynette to grab Bree’s wrist and protest more forcefully, “No! You can’t really want this, not here, not now.”

“Why not?”

“Do I really have to answer that, your husband is lying in a hospital bed down the hall and we are in a public restroom, I don’t know what this is about but you can’t seriously want us to do what we seem to be doing.”

“Because of the venue or because of the proximity to my sick husband?”

“Either, both.”

“I think this is the perfect place.”

“You don’t mean that,” she is getting more uncomfortable by the second.

“We’ve been kidding ourselves, wrapping our crimes up with neat little bows of love and romance but this thing between us is not about stolen moments and secret promises, it’s about unspeakable acts and unforgivable trespasses, we are depraved and what we are doing is disgusting so I can’t think of a more appropriate place for us to consummate this sordid relationship of ours.”

Lynette is not sure whether she wants to yell or cry but at the moment she doesn’t want to give Bree the satisfaction of either, “Fine then, do what you want to me if that’s how you feel.” She is pleased to note that Bree doesn’t take her up on the offer and in fact takes a small step back. “What’s this really all about?”

“I think I’ve made my position clear and don’t put all of this on me, you came to said hospital, after you knew what happened to my husband, in what I know for a fact are you pajamas so don’t pretend to be so innocent.”

“I don’t know what I was thinking, someone I care about needed me and I thought I should get here as soon as possible, obviously I misjudged the situation.”

“If that’s what you need to tell yourself you go right on believing that.”

Even as she feels the bile rising to her throat and is about to launch into a heated debate with Bree, the cogs turn in her mind, the inconsistencies in Bree’s actions come into sharper focus and suddenly the picture seems less distorted, “You want me to be angry with you.”

“It wasn’t meant to be so transparent, I hate that you know me so well,” the anger has drained from Bree’s voice and she looks small and lost, much as she had when Lynette and the girls had arrived at the hospital earlier, she regrets telling the others to leave as she would have been spared the current confrontation but then she had never imagined that Bree would react the way she has.

“It’s more than that though; you want to make me to break up with you.”

“I’m not strong enough to do it myself but we have to stop this, look at what has happened,” Bree’s eyes water but no tears fall.

“You think what happened to Rex is some sort of punishment?”

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we did what we did and now he might die.”

“You think your God smote us?” she is unable to keep the incredulous tone out of her voice.

“I know you don’t believe in such things but I really do.”

“Bree that’s crazy, it’s not even the first time this has happened, we hadn’t done anything back then, we hadn’t even really talked about how we felt so how can you possibly think the two things are related.”

“It doesn’t matter that we hadn’t done anything because I certainly wanted to and that may have been enough.”

“Rex had a heart attack because he’s middle-aged, he drinks too much wine, eats too much rich food, only exercises on the golf course and has a type A personality, it has nothing to do with us.”

“What happened to he’s young and he’ll bounce right back?”

“Yeah that’s just what you say to your best friend when her husband has had a heart attack.”

“So you didn’t mean it?”

“I don’t want him to die Bree if that’s what you’re implying.”

“Neither do I,” Bree whispers. The ground between them seems a lot less unstable now and she allows Bree to collapse into her arms. Bree doesn’t cry but she does make small keening noises as Lynette strokes her back. Eventually the sounds subside but she leaves her head buried in the crock of Lynette’s neck, “We can’t be together.”

“I’ve already told you that’s crazy.”

“You don’t understand, even if this isn’t punishment, we can’t be together. I am poison and I ruin everything that means something to me, my marriage, my children, my friendship with you, everything.”

“No you don’t.”

“You wouldn’t say that if you knew everything about me.”

“I know enough and I am a big girl and I am not going to let you go.”

Bree extricates herself from Lynette’s arms and leans against the opposite wall of the stall, “Why do you have to make this so difficult? I am trying to save you. If this is what you need to hear to believe me then I’ll say it, I officially end our relationship.”

She can not even contemplate that possibility and she is certainly not about to accept it, “Well I don’t.”

“Lynette you can’t do that.”

“Just watch me. You need time, that’s fine but I will be waiting when you are ready.”

“I am not worth waiting for.”

She leans over and kisses Bree’s cheek, “Doesn’t matter, I am still willing to wait”

“You’ll be waiting a long time and you are not good at waiting.”

“May be not but when it comes to you and me, if I have to, I’ll wait forever. Now go and spend time with him,” she exits the cubicle without waiting for Bree to respond. Her confidence deserts her the moment she reaches the car but at least no-one witnesses her breakdown. As she wipes the last of the tears from her eyes and blows her nose she berates herself for her unforgivable selfishness, Bree and Tom are both alive and well and she should be counting her blessings.

It’s funny how things can fall apart so fast because it’s not long before the situation with Bree becomes the least of her problems. She knew that it would destroy Tom if he ever found out that she sabotaged his promotion, she’s never even seen him act this way and for the first time she truly questions whether their relationship will last. His suggestion to go back to work isn’t so ludicrous, she can admit without hubris that she’s far better at the job than he is and that financially they will be better off, what is so surprising is that she isn’t sure that she wants to go. She has spent the best part of six years dreaming of returning to the workforce and resenting the shackles of motherhood but now she finds she doesn’t want to miss watching her children grow up and knows that if she returns to work it will consume her and she will miss so much but then she wouldn’t have to watch Bree distance herself either so may be it is for the best.

Tom doesn’t even argue when she tells him that she has to go, so she stores away the ‘you’ll need to practice looking after the kids if you are going to be a househusband’ retort, that she’d been planning on using, for another occasion. The bedroom floor is covered in assorted piles of male and female clothing and Lynette would be willing to wager that it is the first time that Bree has allowed the floor to be carpeted in such a way. Bree herself is lying on the bed, “What are you doing here?”

“Danielle called me.”

“I should never have taught her how to use a phone.”

“She’s worried about you, she says you won’t let her go to the hospital, you didn’t cook dinner tonight and you let her order pizza, she’s scared Bree.”

“I should never have taught her how to speak. So did she call everyone?”

“No, just me.”

“Do you think she knows?”

“I think she knows that you need someone and that we are close,” she replies as she crosses the room and climbs onto the bed.

“You have your shoes on.”

“I wasn’t sure if you’d let me stay and it seemed pointless to take them off just to put them back on again straight away.”

“Take your shoes off Lynette.” Lynette removes her footwear and then settles herself on the bed, ensuring that there is a respectable distance between Bree and herself. “Why are you here?”

“I told you, Danielle was worried.”

“I mean after the things I said, why would you come? You could have asked Gabby or Susan to come instead, not that I am not glad you are here”

She feels a weight lift off her chest, her breathing is suddenly much less constricted and the knots in her stomach untie themselves, “You know why.”

“You’re weak?”

“Mmmm that too I guess.”

“Then why?”

“I don’t think this is the time that I should say it.”

“Three small words?”

“Three small words,” she agrees and Bree seems satisfied with her response, so much so that she maneuvers herself under the covers and gestures at Lynette to do the same. They lie facing one another and for once in her life Lynette has no idea what to say, she has a pretty good idea what has happened but can’t think of a tactful way to broach the subject, she has been running through alternatives in her mind but no matter how sensitively she tries to phrase it, she finds all her options seem about as delicate as saying, ‘So Rex croaked it after all, huh?’ would be, so she dances around the issue, “Do you want me to come to the hospital with you?”

“No. Yes. May be. I don’t know what I want right now. I have a lot that I need to tell you but I am not ready to talk about it yet.”

“I know what you mean but now is not the time to talk about my stuff either, still you should know that I may not be around so much.”

Bree reaches out and grabs her arm as though she fears that Lynette will float away if she’s not anchored, “I don’t think I’d like that. I’ve been thinking a lot and it’s possible that part of the reason that I took Rex back, was that if the divorce proceedings didn’t go my way, I might have had to move and I wouldn’t get to see you, it’s nice and ironic that I may have stayed with my husband to be closer to the woman I wanted to cheat on him with and that my marriage was more of a sham than even I imagined – it wasn’t anything conscious, I’m not quite that much of a monster.” She plays Bree’s confession over in her mind and there are parts of it that certainly seem to confirm that her suspicions about Rex’s demise may be correct but it’s possible that she is manipulating the facts to suit her theory. “My life didn’t turn out the way I planned. I didn’t turn out the way I planned.”

She moves closer to Bree as she replies, “I know what you mean; I thought I was going to change the world but nowadays I am lucky if I can be bothered to separate my recycling.”

“I don’t really know what I thought I would be. I know I didn’t picture anything quite like you.”

“Is that a compliment or an insult?”

Bree looks as though she wants to turn away before she asks the next question but manages to retain eye contact, “Have there been other women?”

“What?” this was certainly not where she had thought the conversation was going.

Bree sighs before continuing as though annoyed that Lynette is making her spell it out, “Have you been with women other than me?”

“Why would you ask that?”

“It’s something that I need to know.”

“No you don’t, there is no possible answer that I can give that will comfort you.”

“I was kind of hoping for the truth.”

“If I say yes then you will be worried about having more ghosts to compete with and you will think of me as more immoral than you already do and if I say no then you will worry that all I am doing is experimenting and that this is about me being curious, so I can’t win, there is no way to answer that question that will satisfy you, so I all will say is that, right now, the only woman I want is you.”

“You’re not immoral, you may have a different set of standards to me but you always do what you believe in and I admire that, at least you know who you are.”

“So do you it’s just that you spend too much time worrying about what people will think about you. All you need to know is that I want you. All of you Bree, not just the cookie cutter, Donna Reed, Martha Stewart pre fall from grace image that you want everyone to buy, I wouldn’t even really be friends with that person.”

“You were friends with that person you know?”

“Yeah I like to think it’s because I saw more in you but I wonder now if it was always about this,” she indicates the bed they are lying in, “and I just didn’t know it yet.”

“Are you going to stay with me tonight?”

“If you want me to, absolutely, haven’t you worked out yet that rightly or wrongly, I belong to you?” she says as she rolls over and adjusts herself against Bree’s body, pleased that instead of flinching, Bree molds herself around her.

“But you belong with him.”

She wants to tell her that that’s not true, that she’s just known him longer and the situation is complicated. She wants to tell her that it doesn’t mean that she loves him more. She wants to tell her that she would do anything for her, give her everything if she could. She wants to tell her a million other half truths and make thousands of other promises that she is in no position to keep but if anything, this moment should be about honesty, so instead she replies, “Not tonight I don’t.”

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