The Way We Lied

“So how was your hard day in London?” Sarah snarled when Nick walked into the kitchen that evening. She half turned to look at him, while she rinsed salad leaves in a shining stainless steel colander. “Tough day sitting around in some swanky hotel, was it?”
He opened the enormous larder fridge she had insisted was essential when the bespoke kitchen was designed and reached for a cold beer. He knew she was about to complain about her day of sacrifice and hardship.
“It was interesting and worthwhile actually,” he said, then took a long gulp of beer, thinking he might need another very soon.
“Good. I’m glad one of us had a productive time. I had to wait in all day for that bloody computer printer you ordered, then the stupid idiots tried to deliver when I finally went off at the end of the afternoon to do the school run! I’m sick of wasting my time over things like that. You can get it sent to one of your offices next time. I’m not waiting in any more!”
Nick waited for her to finish. “Fine. I’ll do just that, though the printer’s for you and the kids, not me. I don’t need it at the office.”
“I know, I know. But you have people who are paid to sit around all day and sign for things, don’t you? I’m sure it wouldn’t be that inconvenient!” Sarah vigorously wiped the gleaming granite work surface around the sink, restoring order in her efficient domain.
She sighed and poured herself a glass of wine. “Sorry. It’s just been one of the those days. I had to race all the way back to the school this morning, because your daughter had forgotten she had to return her library book today. Supper will be ready soon. So was the conference worth it?”
He told her a little about the charity and its developments, then added, “They’re putting a sculpture in the communal gardens of their next project. Specially commissioned. I was thinking we might do the same.”
Sarah turned round from the spaghetti she was forking in the pan of boiling water. “Are you serious? How could you justify that sort of expense? You’re always banging on about watching the margins on the developments.”
“Yeah, I know. But sometimes you just have to give things a bit of an edge over the competition. Stand out a bit, you know.”
“Well Nick, I’m sure you don’t have to go to all the trouble of actually commissioning something. It’s bound to cost a bomb. Why don’t you just pop down to that wonderful architectural antiques place instead ? They have some brilliant pieces and I bet they wouldn’t exactly cost the earth.”
Nick finished his beer quickly. “I wouldn’t be so sure about that. But look, it’s just an idea at this stage. I thought I might have a chat with the artist the charity is using. Mary Reid. Get her round to look at Dover Court perhaps. It could give the project a touch of class.”
“Touch of crass more like,” Sarah sniffed and began furiously grinding black pepper into the sauce. “Have you seen her stuff? Well, Nick? Have you?”
“What? He turned from putting more bottles of beer in the fridge. Sarah never made sure there was enough cold beer.
“Well, have you actually seen any of her work?”
“No, not yet.” He sighed and hoped Sarah was not going into one of her rants. “But of course I will be taking a close look at her previous commissions and in my view if it’s good enough for the Rural Homes Society then it’s good enough for me.”

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