WEDNESDAY: Unequated Love

BY LIZ McADAMS

Copyright is held by the author.

MARION THREW down the cheap paperback in disgust. Why can’t they seem to get these things right?

As the lone person in the reception area, she said aloud. “You’d think they’d know better.” She frowned, thinking of words of advice. Or wisdom.

All too late.

Nothing — nothing about the story was right. For he, and she, to live happily ever after — why, and her to forsake her inheritance — all in the name of love.

Her thoughts trailed off as she glared at the book cover. A happy couple embraced on the beach, glowing sunset filled the skies behind them.

She knew how that story ended. The sheaf of papers tucked inside her shoulder bag was testament to that — documenting and clearly dividing assets, regardless of merit or sentimental value. Half of the total sum divided by two, and now, separated cleanly.

Basic division. Neat algorithms provided a soothing escape into rationality.

Marion reached out and flipped the book over in disgust, and the back copy stared at up her. Accusing. It was a mathematical formula that has spanned millennia. Boy meets girl, man meets woman, and they lived happily ever after. A plus B equals C. Of course, there were other factors at play — fate, circumstance, and other people — so perhaps it was A plus B to the power of D, but still, at the end of the day, it equaled C.

A perfect union. Happily ever after.

And here she was dividing it into more complex equations.

But, Marion thought, the whole situation was nothing but a fantastic dream anyway — as real as the airbrushed cover, a powerful illusion that hooked people in and left them angry and alone.

An office door opened and she glanced up, watching the sign for barristers and solicitors swing wide. A familiar face filled the doorway, and smiled at her. “Hullo, Marion. Sorry about the wait — did you bring your settlement papers?”

“Yes, everything’s signed.” Standing up, she glanced behind her, and picked up the book she’d discarded, tucking it into her bag.

The cover of the hero and heroine embracing now tucked amid her divorce papers; as Marion followed the lawyer into the office she frowned again, this time at herself.

For, she still believed.

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