He talks about compartmentalization a lot. He also rambles about subtext and cycles and denial. She may as well go and read a thousand interviews spouting similar stock phrases and annoyingly pretentious words for all the good this talk is doing. What he won't do right now, isn't even close to doing, is give her a straight answer. Tapping her fingers on the kitchen counter, she bites her lip as he fumbles through another wholly enlightening response. Her usual patience is about to desert her if her husband doesn't stop wriggling in his chair like an errant child and answer her rather simple question.

"Did you sleep with her?" she repeats through gritted teeth, wanting to roll her eyes at his wide open mouth. Like he hasn't just heard the same question asked a dozen different ways in the past fifteen minutes.

"Sleep with her?"

"Have sex with her? Hump her? Bed her? Fuck her? I'm going to run out of words soon, Lindsey..."

"Fornicate with her?" he suggests with a small grin and then frowns, obviously thinking better of his far too quick comment. Far too late, she thinks bitterly. The man claims to have a large measure of self-control but his cock and mouth seem to disagree. "I didn't mean that."

"You did."

"It's a nice sounding word," he says sheepishly, looking down at the dining table, fiddling with the sports pages at the back of the newspaper.

"Divorce is a nice sounding word to me right now. On the grounds of adultery is a similarly lovely phrase."

He sits up straight at that, his eyes large and his eyebrows raised. Oh yes, Mr. Buckingham, that's better. The surprise almost seems genuine. Of course, she thinks, he probably assumed she'd pretend yet again that she knew nothing, knows nothing.

"Isn't it, honey?"

He sputters a bit and she takes pleasure in the way he can't seem to construct a coherent sentence. Sometimes she wishes he wasn't so hard to stir, to rile. Stevie seems to have her beat on that count, that's for sure; she could and can ruffle his feathers with a single word or gesture, and seems to take immense satisfaction in that power she has from what Kristen herself has observed over the past decade and a half. Oddly, Lindsey doesn't seem resentful of that at all in the way he so often seems resentful of even one of her smaller requests. She's able to admit (even if just to herself) that that hurts.

"So?" she continues, wanting him to look her in the eyes, to admit it.

"Kristen..." And he sounds hesitant. "Please..."


His eyes are downcast and even if their children are trying to eavesdrop on the coversation (please god, let Will not disobey her instructions for once), Kristen's fairly sure the way Lindsey is mumbling ensures some of this talk won't be understood. Small mercies.

"Please what, Lindsey?"

"Don't," he grits out. "Don't leave."

"Why not? You checked out years ago."

"I did not!" he says, eyes flashing with anger and what she hopes is a little fear (she still can't read him much of the time, frustratingly). "I've been here. I've stayed."

"You've strayed."

"I'm here as much as I can be."

"Yeah, until she calls. Or wants you. Or you need her. Or a thousand other times when I've been at home, waiting, wanting for you to come back to me."

"I tour, you know that. It can't be helped," he says, his voice nearing a recognizable petulant whine now. "It's my job."

"It's what you want to do. Leave. Spend time with her, preferable. Or even alone." Her husband huffs a heavy sigh and turns away from her. "What, that's the end of the conversations?" she asks acerbically.

"I can't do this right now, sweetheart," he says and he's not allowed to say things like, he can't just use endearments in that tone... She feels like telling Lindsey that that right has been forfeited.

He winces as she grips his arm tightly, turning him back around to face her. She's glad she's wearing her new heels; sometimes the extra inches of height help give the illusion of power and strength where she knows it doesn't exist.

"What the fuck, Kit?"

"Admit it."

"What?" he says, forehead furrowed in a way it has no right to be; he knows exactly what she's talking about. He always does. Smiling sadly, she watches the way his fists clench. Yeah, he knows. "Admit what?"

"Did you sleep with her?"

"Back to that, are we?" Lindsey volleys, eyes rolling. He'd never been good at lying outright - not to her, not to anyone, she didn't think - but god, he enjoyed using avoidance and evasion as tactics.

"It's what I always come back to - the way you can't keep your dick in your too tight pants."

"I can," he retorts, sounding angry in a way he hadn't been before. Apparently he's proud of that (self-proclaimed) control. Which doesn't exist when it comes to Stevie, though she doesn't think he'd ever admit that. Naturally.

"When did it start this time?" she asks. "The sex. With Stevie." Clarification. Just in case he was going to play dumb again. The 'this time' was the crux of the matter, in truth. It was patently obvious to her whenever they were hooking up again and sometimes she laughed to think that anyone was fooled. Any Fleetwood Mac tour was pretty much a given but it was clear that, aside from maybe a night here or there, she HAD had him for most of their marriage. Except the Mac tours. That didn't count. It couldn't count or she would've been driven out of her mind. Now, though, it had been years since the last time they'd toured together and there had been too many occasions where their solo tour locations had oh so coincidentally overlapped; where Stevie just 'needed' his help for a small matter ('I won't be long', he'd say, not returning from her home until the next day); where he's come back to the house (his HOME) sheepishly, her scent still lingering on his clothes and his body. The scratch marks she'd seen last week on his bare back as he'd slept facing away from her in their too large bed had been the last straw. He wasn't even trying to hide it anymore. "I actually need to take Leelee over to a friend's house to work on a science project so if you could answer me at some point, Lindsey..."

"When did it start? This time?"

"That's correct. Your listening skills are so fucking impressive."

He frowns at the sarcasm; she knows it's unusual coming from her but god knows he needs to hear the frustration and anger she feels right now. Clearing his throat and avoiding her eyes, he mumbles an answer in her general direction. "It didn't start again, exactly."

"Lindsey, when I can see the scratches on your back and know it wasn't me who put them there, there's not much point lying."

"I'm not. It didn't start. It, um, well, it didn't stop. Exactly."

She doesn't think what she feels is surprise or shock. Just weariness. She walks out of the room - back straight, head held high ("you're a beautiful girl," her mother had always told her. "Be confident.") - and doesn't look back.

Her husband doesn't bother going after her. He never does.

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