When Danny walked in the door at home carrying two bottles of wine and a six pack of beer he could see the look on Tracey’s face as she stood at the kitchen bench with a coffee mug in her hand. Although she was greeting him she wasn’t looking at him, she was looking at the six pack of beer.

“Hello,” Danny saw her glance drop to the beer before she spoke again, “dear.”

Danny’s drink driving was something that was never spoken about, ever! Tracey was more than aware that it happened and happened on many occasions, but there was only a handful of occasions where she’d thought he was completely blitzed behind the wheel, not that she thought ignoring it made it acceptable. Before she’d walked out on him the previous year she thought she was strong enough to say something to him about it but when he’d told her he was going on the end of year trip she realised that he was just not ready to hear what she had to say.

On the other side of the kitchen when he saw her gaze drop Danny’s mind tweaked more than it had any other time. He knew that Tracey had known about his old habit of drinking on the drive home from work, how could she not, but since she had never said anything it was easy to ignore. It was even easier to pretend it didn’t happen.

Whatever it was that tweaked in Danny’s mind was more than just a brain snap because he immediately found himself going on the defensive.

“I didn’t drink any of these on the way home!” There was no accusation, or temper just words that seemed to want to be spoken.

“I’m sorry Danny, I wasn’t thinking you had. I just looked down at what you are carrying. Honestly I didn’t think anything else.” Tracey said. It was only a little white lie, the sort many couples keep to save hurt feelings and it was the sort of reply she’d never have been brave enough to say before. But Tracey knew telling Danny that her first thought had been that he’d drunk some on the way home, although she be sad for him, would not be the best thing for their relationship.

Danny stepped up to the fridge to put the drinks inside. It was the first time he could remember ever having words with Tracey about his drinking and it wasn’t really the way he hoped it would be brought up, although in reality he’d hoped it would never be brought up so there wasn’t really any other way.

Danny was prepared to let the conversation slip, like any difficult conversation either one of them had started over the past few years, but as Danny put the six pack onto the bottom shelf of the fridge unopened he started to speak and the words that came out of his mouth were as much a surprise to himself as they were to Tracey.

“It’s ok Tracey,” Danny came up from behind the fridge door and shut it. “I understand. I’m not entirely sure I want to talk about it, but I understand and I promise you that I did not drink any of them on the way home. The receipt from the bottle shop is in my wallet if you want to see it?”

The reaction to put his hand on his back pocket where his wallet was was not something he did consciously, it just happened as he brain spoke and defended what he’d done or hadn’t done.

“No Danny.” Tracey said putting her coffee mug down on the bench. Her voice was calm and collected because she was not mad at Danny, she was proud of him. “Don’t be silly I don’t need to see any receipt. I trust what you say.” She was nearly about to add something relating to the wrapper still being sealed and no stubbies missing but she quickly decided that less words was more in such a situation.

Danny stepped around the kitchen bench and dropped his keys, wallet and phone in the usual place next to where all the bills, mail and other small junk that didn’t really have it’s own place sat.

“Thank you.” he said hoping the conversation was over. After a few seconds silence he then said to Tracey, “I’m going to have a shower before dinner. If you want to hang off for a little while I’ll help you cook when I get out.” The words were more of a statement than a question because before Danny and finished what he was saying he was headed off towards the lounge room door and on a path to the bedroom.

However that didn’t stop Tracey replying and in a slightly louder than normal voice so that Danny could hear as he walked through the lounge she said. “Okay Danny, and thank you for coming along today it meant a lot.” She wasn’t sure if she heard him say anything in reply or not.

Tracey stood at the kitchen bench slowly sipping her black coffee, it had been several minutes since Danny had left the room to have his shower and his wallet seemed to be calling her. Of course she wanted to see that receipt that Danny had gotten from the bottle shop and the fact that he offered it up to her was no proof of innocence.

Danny was a long shower sort of person, not an hour and come out looking like a shrivelled prune long, but thirty minutes from entering to exiting was not uncommon so Tracey knew she had plenty of time to look inside Danny’s wallet, find the receipt, read it and put it back before he came out. She was even fairly sure she could pick up the wallet and put it down in the same position so that it wouldn’t appear to have been moved, she’d done it before.

“One quick look is all it will take.” Tracey said to herself as she placed her coffee mug down on the bench.

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