Their main courses arrived, and Luca ordered more wine, and they ate and talked about other things. Nina steered the conversation elsewhere, into their respective trips and what they’d seen and eaten. But when the plates were taken, Luca reverted.
“Promise me one thing. If ever you decide you need a divorce, you think of me first.” He thought he saw in her eyes that she took him seriously. What else could it be, that strange intense look in them? He went on, “But you’re right, of course you’re right. Our marriage is only perfect because it never happened. We haven’t had to deal with dishwashers and bills and recycling and dull sex.”
“Dull, is it? That’s a shame.” The back of her neck felt as if it was seizing up.
“Francesca lost interest years ago. Even before she got ill. The cancer has been a big sex drought, and now she’s losing interest in me in general, I think.”
“Oh I see, you’re in need of a cinq à sept.” It wasn’t possible to smile. “On the way home from the office.”
“I think the French are an enlightened nation. Shall we say five o’clock tomorrow? But I’m getting on a bit. I may not need two hours.”
She hid her disappointment in him in checking her phone. “A quickie on the way home. Lovely.”
“It’s these little adjustments in life that make it tolerable.”
“I’m glad I know that you’re joking.”
Luca could have joined her there. It might still all have been salvageable but instead he said, “We should get another bottle.”