I have a guilty pleasure that I don’t often confess to: I love reading romance novels. My favorites are those written by Danielle Steel.
I’ll admit they’re on the fluffy side, but some days I just need a bit of an escape. Nothing quite does it like losing myself in one of Ms. Steel’s books.
They’re an effortless read, and I can polish one off in about an hour if I get that much time to myself. If not, they can take me about a day.
My husband is well aware of my affection for these books. In fact no holiday is complete, from our anniversary to Super Bowl Sunday, without a gift of one.
Joe was feeling pretty proud of himself when he was at the library a few weeks ago and came across a sale of old books just before my birthday. He bought four Danielle Steel novels for a dollar apiece. He thought he scored a bargain for a great gift.
How lucky could a guy get? That was until he was getting ready for work the other day.
It was early and still pitch black outside as I started to open my very sleepy eyes. The clock read 5:00 am. I was a little surprised to see Joe dressed and putting on his tie at that hour.
“Do you have another trade show today?”
“Yes. Well it’s the same one from yesterday. It’s going on for two days.”
“How was it yesterday?”
“It was a bunch of bankers and lawyers. It was really exciting.”
We both laughed and I started to drift off to sleep when I remembered something.
‘You know that’s how it starts.”
“How what starts?” Joe was in a hurry to catch his train.
“Well first it’s the early morning meetings. Of course I don’t think anything of it because you have always worked hard. I’m already accustomed to you coming home late, so I would never suspect anything. Why would I? I’ve trusted you all these years. Then one day, after the dinner party that I’ve worked all week on in order to help your career, you tell me you’re no longer in love with me, and that you’re leaving me for a younger woman after 25 years of marriage.”
“You read another Danielle Steel book?”
“Yes. Paris’s husband leaves her. Now her kids are all grown, and she has nothing. She is 46 and alone. All alone.”
“I hate when that happens.”
I start laughing when he adds, “I probably shouldn’t have bought you four at one time.”
“Hey, you gave me the book. Were you trying to tell me something?”
“No. Have you read all of them?”
“How long did it take you?”
“I shouldn’t have let you overdose.”
‘I noticed you changed the subject,” I say, laughing. “That’s very clever.”
Joe comes over to the bed, kisses my head, and tells me that he loves me and promises not to leave me for a younger woman after I give a dinner party.
I start to fall asleep again, feeling glad that I married a guy who can still make me laugh after almost 22 years of marriage.
Then I wake up again and remember he also gave me Gone Girl.