“Try to understand. This isn’t a debate. Nothing you say will affect my decision.”
“Then why did you even tell me, Danielle?”
She turned away, her voice taut. “I had some rudimentary idea of fairness, I suppose. And because Michel thought you should know, that he would want to in the same circumstances.”
“Hurrah for Michel. How did he become part of this?”
“How do you think?” She tried unsuccessfully to keep the contempt from her voice.
Luc stood with his back to her, watching her in the mirror across from him. “This was the one thing I didn’t want. I thought I was clear on that from the beginning.”
“You said you didn’t want it. Not that you wouldn’t want to know if it happened.”
“I would have thought that the one implied the other.” He ran his hands through his thick black hair in desperation and then turned to look at her, to survey the face he had loved once and bruised more than once. “So now what I am to do?”
“I don’t know. I don’t expect you to know right now, either. I know I just dropped quite a bomb on you. It’s no surprise that you would need some time to think about it. I’m not sure that there’s anything for you to do.”
“Merci bien for that consideration, at least.” He took his blazer off the chair where he had thrown it and walked to the door. “I’ll be in touch when I’ve figured out how I feel — though how it matters, I can hardly imagine.”
“Cher, wait.” Her voice softened. “I tried to think how you would feel ten years from now if we ran into one another and you found out.”
He turned back to face her. “Yes, there is that. I suppose it would be quite a shock then. And oddly painful, as well, to know you kept it from me.”
They stood across the room from one another, no longer lovers, not friends, but not quite antagonists.
“Luc — ” She paused, suddenly unsure. “Despite everything, I still… love… you enough not to want to be the one who hurts you. I hope you one day find the man you could be, that I believed you were.”
He watched her tunic jump as the baby turned inside her and pushed his hands outward, reaching for the world awaiting him.
He slowly extended his own hand, almost expecting a rebuke, but she didn’t move — nearly a miracle, really, when you considered how many times his gestures had been much less gentle. He stepped forward and touched his son’s hand through her for a brief moment, whirled away suddenly and walked out the door.
He made it to the sidewalk before his tears began to fall.