"Is there anything else you want to know? It's kind of a relief to tell you about it."
Nora knew what she meant. As distressing as it was to learn the details of Doug's affair, it also felt therapeutic, as if a missing chunk of the past were being returned to her.
"Just one thing. Did he ever talk about me?"
Kylie rolled her eyes. "Only all the time."
"Yeah. He always said he loved you."
"You're kidding." Nora couldn't hide her skepticism. "He hardly ever said that to me. Not even when I said it first."
"It was like a ritual. Right after we had sex, he'd get all serious and say, This isn't about me not loving Nora." She uttered these words in a deep, manly voice, not at all like Doug's. "Sometimes I said it along with him. This isn't about me not loving Nora."
"Wow. You must've hated me."
"I didn't hate you," Kylie said. "I was just jealous."
"Jealous?" Nora tried to laugh, but the sound died in her throat. It had been a long time since she'd thought of herself as someone other people could be jealous of. "Why?"
"You had everything, you know? The husband, the house, those beautiful kids. All your friends and your nice clothes, the yoga and the vacations. And I couldn’t even make him forget you when he was in my bed."
Nora closed her eyes. Doug had been foggy in her mind for a long time, but all at once he was clear again. She could see him lying beside Kylie, naked and smug after fucking her, earnestly reminding her of his family commitments, his enduring love for his wife, letting her know that she could only have so much, and nothing more.
"He didn't care for me," Nora explained. "He just couldn’t stand to see you happy."