She slipped some in his tea.

She slipped some in his tea.

He drank two cups a day. An Earl Grey in the morning as he read his paper, then chamomile in the evening, after settling in for the night. He was a man of routine, so she knew this was the perfect plan. A sure fire way.

She watched from the sink as he took the first sip. She almost expected him to blanche. Cough. Cringe. Something. But he did nothing but swallow down the dark liquid as usual before setting the cup back down on the coaster.

The first thing she would get rid of once he was gone— after his body, of course— were those damn coasters. Every single one of the cork stacks, scattered around the house: The kitchen table, the living room coffee table, every side table, desk, and flat surface where one may think to set a cup in the house had a stack of fucking coasters on it.  Oh, and God forbid you didn’t use one of them. Even for one second, God forbid.

“Nancy?”

“Yes?” she replied quickly. She was jumpier than usual this morning. The sensation of her nerves was prominent in the pit of her stomach. They always were, every moment he was around. She was always on guard, always waiting. Like sitting across the room from ticking time bomb whose clock was due to expire at any time. But this morning… this morning she could barely keep her hands from shaking.

He turned in his seat to look at her. “Are you feeling alright?” he asked. “You look pale.”

“I feel fine,” she lied.

The morning sickness was beginning to kick in. It was getting harder and harder to hide from him. This, on top of her anxiety, was nearly debilitating. Just a little while longer, she told herself. Just a few more cups of tea.

After another moment of scrutiny, he turned back to his paper. “Is my breakfast almost ready? I have to leave for work soon.”

“Almost,” she replied, quickly turning back to the stove. She gasped to see his scrambled eggs were beginning to brown. He hated that. She quickly pulled the pan off the fire, nearly burning herself as she shook the eggs onto his plate. Glancing back to make sure he wouldn’t notice, she picked a few of the darker pieces out of the bunch before setting his toast on the plate beside his turkey bacon. “Here,” she said, setting it in front of him.

“My juice?” he snapped. “Jesus, Nancy, where the hell is my juice? Tea, juice, food. That’s how it goes. You know this.” 

“I know, I’m sorry. Your juice is coming—”

“It shouldn’t be coming,” he shot back, his voice rising. “It should be in front of me. I should be drinking it right now. Weren’t you a waitress in that shit-hole café I found you in eight years ago? I have to tell you that I expect my juice before my meal?”

She didn’t reply. She knew it was best not to reply. It was best to just let him say what he needed to say, no matter how insulting, degrading, or down right cruel he got. Because as long as he was speaking, he wasn’t grabbing. Or shoving.

 Or hitting, or choking.

 “You can be a real simpleton sometimes,” he mumbled, taking another sip of his tea. Just a few more cups, she told herself, pulling the orange juice from the refrigerator.

 “Tea, juice, food,” he recited. “Maybe I should send you back to that café, jog your memory. Hurry up, already! Before my eggs get cold! I swear to God, if these eggs get cold…”

She poured the juice into his cup and turned to give it to him before deciding against it. Glancing back to make sure his eyes were still on his paper, she slipped some in his orange juice as well.

*Prompt submitted by Emma

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