Sleep's Secret Scent (2)

Stein Willard © 2014



The characters in the story are a product of my own imagination and hopefully have no resemblance to any living persons. But if it does it is entirely coincidental. Some of the places mentioned are either fictitious and or adapted to suit the plot of the story.

Archiving : This work is copy written and should not be posted anywhere else with the writer's expressed permission.

Special mention to my beta, Rose.

Feedback: Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated, so feel free to drop a line or two at or sent me a friend request on Facebook .


My eyes burned as I read through the document.

Irreconcilable differences.

Emotional desertion.

I sighed deeply. How many times have I not encountered these terms in my many years of being a divorce attorney? And every time it made my heart ache to think that something that had started off so beautifully could end with these words. It always made me wonder how people could let things get to this point. I mean weren't there any warning signs? Or were they to blind to see them?

The lawyer in me scanned through the document with practiced skill. I stop halfway as my eye caught the names, blazoned in bold letters. I leaned back in my chair and fixed my eyes on the man sitting opposite me. He looked slightly uncomfortable and he had every reason to be. After fifteen years I was the best in my field and my track record is testament to that. He was also someone whom I've considered a friend. Maybe still do.

“You've read this?” Of course he did. He was the one who drew up these papers, after all.

He nodded curtly. “Yes.”

My eyes tracked to his client and I prayed the ache I felt at the moment was not showing on my face. She sat quietly, her usually expressive eyes devoid of any emotion. I realized at that moment that they had been like that for a very long time now. How could I have missed that? How could I have let things get this far? After twenty years together, I was supposed to be in tune with her moods, her wants … even her pain.

I looked down at the document before me and out of the corner of my eye caught sight of the modest ring on my finger.

We were rich.

We owned properties in places people couldn't even pronounce the names of. But not once did it cross my mind to upgrade the modest ring with the almost pinprick sized diamonds.

Because she gave it to me.

I can still remember the day she slid it on my finger on the steps of City Hall, a day after my graduation. The look of love and pride on her face was unforgettable as she kissed the ring first before she slid it on my finger. I realized then that she had worked hard to save up for it. Out of the blue she had started to work double shifts at Wells & Gold and knowing guiltily that my studies were taking the biggest chunk of her hard earned money; I was too ashamed to ask. So I would lay in bed at night listening for her key in the door and waited patiently as she fell into bed next to me, exhausted. But she never complained and nor did she break her ritual.

A faint smile tugged at my lips. She thought I didn't know. She thought I was asleep all those nights she would lay next to me and delicately smelled my hair, my skin. With my back to her, she never saw the silly grin that came over my face when she sighed contently afterwards and settled in to sleep. Besides keeping house and cooking for her, I sometimes couldn't help but think I did more by just lying in bed and waiting for her to slide in next to me.

I slowly looked at her again. It was all thanks to her that I am where I am today. We both came from broken homes, but managed to create a home together. She was my anchor, my everything. She still is and will be forever.

What went wrong? And where?

After all wasn't it my turn to take care of her now? Wasn't that the promise I made her when she, so in tune with my feelings, knew that not being able to fully concentrate on my studies were frustrating to me. She selflessly put her dreams on hold to help me pursue mine.

I quickly averted my gaze as my eyes shot full of tears.

The last ten years had gone by in a blur. It seems that in that blur, I lost the most important thing in my life. I took for granted what was so freely given…for money and prestige. I foolishly thought I was doing it for us, but I know now that I was mistaken. The evidence was here…in this impersonal document lying before me.

She wanted nothing…not a scent. Of all the millions she had access to, all she wanted was only her freedom.

It was unacceptable…and it hurt.

She deserved everything and more and yet, she wanted nothing. She wanted nothing for all those long, exhausting hours pushing a mop down endless hallways. She wanted nothing for all those lonely nights she waited and I stood her up.

A teardrop rolled down my cheek and splashed on the document. I sensed the others in the room's surprise instead of witnessing it. I raised my eyes to her. She looked at me with clear concern and I know that it was costing her to sit there and not come to me at that moment. I knew that because it was just the kind of person she was. She always took care of me. I was always her priority.

I accused her, unfairly of course, of the one thing I had missed the most over the years.

“You stopped sniffing me.”

Her eyes widened in surprise. She still thought I didn't know. I rose slowly and walked over to where she sat next to her lawyer. I knelt down next to her chair and looked up into her eyes. Surprise and confusion played on her face.

“Please give me a chance to keep my promise to you.”

She looked at me long and hard. I am scared that it was too late, for her eyes were dark and unreadable as she studied me. My heart almost exploded in my chest when after a long while she leaned forward and delicately sniffed my hair. I shook my head.

“You're doing it wrong.”

Her cheeks shaded to pink as she chanced a quick look at her lawyer. She slowly rose and helped me to my feet. Her eyes were awash with love as she wiped my tear-stained cheeks.

“Then let's go home,” she said in the gentlest of tones.

I took her hand and together we walked out of the boardroom. At the door I turned around to look at the stunned face of her lawyer.

‘Get rid of that document, Jason. In fact, I would appreciate it if you could burn it.”




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