Kirsten smiled as she stirred the sugar into the teacup. She placed it on the breakfast tray along with a large plate of scrambled eggs, a smaller plate with a chocolate chip cookie and a small vase in which she had placed a single daffodil from the garden.
"This will be one anniversary Paul will not forget," she whispered to herself. Before picking up the tray, she checked her hair and make-up in the mirror that hung on the kitchen wall. Her blonde hair was showing dark at the roots and there were small fragile lines under her eyes. Her blue dressing gown heightened the blue specks of her hazel eyes.
Smiling, she balanced the tray on one hand and swung through the kitchen door. She had spent many years working as a waitress to help fund Paul through his medical course. She had not lost her sense of balance, despite the years and pounds that motherhood had generously bestowed upon her.
"Aw, honey, you shouldn't have gone to all that trouble." Paul was still lying in bed. The duvet was covered in various supplements taken out the newspaper.
"No trouble at all, love." She murmured as she reached down to kiss him. He moved his head slightly, avoiding the brush of her lips against his own, her lipstick leaving a pale pink smudge on his cheek instead.
"I am going to be busy for most of the day," said Paul as he worked his way through the plate of scrambled eggs. He frowned slightly, looking at the pile of egg at the end of his fork. "These eggs….they taste…"
Kirsten held her breath, her face beneath the make-up blanching just a little.
"Really nice." Paul smiled as he piled the mixture onto his mouth. He explained to her that there was an important meeting with a neuro-surgeon from Bay City Memorial Hospital today. Dr Shearman had developed a new diagnostic technique and was going to give a lecture.
"Sure.." muttered Kirsten under her breath. Had Paul been watching her more closely he would have noticed the tightening of the muscles along the top of her shoulders.
"Mmm… this muffin…it tastes…"
Kirsten sat very still on her side of the bed, willing herself to breathe normally.
"Wonderful." He waved it in the air, punctuating the rest of his words with small short stabs as he explained in more detail Dr Shearman's new diagnostic technique. He finished off the last mouthful of coffee, swilling it around his mouth.
"That coffee…there was something about it…the taste…"
Kirsten stood up carefully smoothing the satin of her dressing gown and walked gracefully to the dressing table. He reflection in the mirror showed her a slight narrowing eyes.
"Colombian coffee…yes?" He didn't wait for her affirming answer, but swung himself out of the bed and disappeared into the bathroom. Within just a few minutes she could hear the water from the shower thrumming off the tiles.
She went downstairs and slowly packed last night's and this morning's dirty dishes into the dishwasher, with deliberate and careful movements. She progressed to the laundry pulling things from the basket and putting them into the washing machine. As she was pulling the small draw open to tip in the powder she heard Paul descend the stairs.
He put his head around the door, giving the car keys a shake.
"Oh, by the way, just in case you think I forgot our anniversary I have left a little something on the bed." Before Kirsten could say another word he skipped out of the house and was gone.
As Kirsten was eating her way through the box of chocolates that Paul had left she thought it was a shame that he had remembered this one year. It almost made her regret her lacing his eggs with strychnine, the chocolate muffin with rat poison and the coffee - well he was right about that - just pure Colombian coffee. Dr Shearman was the pert little brunette her husband had been having an affair with for the last six months.
As Paul began to descend the hill, he thought about the chocolates, laced with arsenic, that his rather over weight and unattractive wife was eating. Soon he would be proposing to his darling Dr Shearman and they would not be discussing a new diagnostic technique! He began to feel a little light headed as he drove the car into the hotel car-park.
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