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“I haven’t got the time, no,” she responded to his question. She longed for his touch, his gaze, yet oddly answered as though she was indifferent to his inquiry.
“Oh, it’s just because that clock over there says it’s half past two, although it shan’t be later than one o’clock.” He realized that they must have been sitting there past an hour, just looking at all the books and all the chairs, just listening to the ticking of the clock. He hadn’t paid much attention to her, and why should he? He had other things to do, other things to see. For instance, he had all those books that must be looked at.
“If I had a watch, I’d for sure tell you, perhaps.” That was an odd, paradoxical comment on her part. Why did she add the perhaps at the termination? Why did she not just admit that she had a watch all along? Her mouth said statements that her brain just detested, and she didn’t understand why. She never understood why.
“I think I’ve got a watch in my pocket,” he said lazily, looking down. He felt around, moving about a handkerchief and a wallet until he found the watch. “Ah, I do, actually. Luckily, else we wouldn’t ever have known the time.”
“It’s not like it matters much, we’ll still be in here. Unless you’ve got something else to do until dinner. Marie is preparing it all, she’ll come in here when it’s finished, no matter what time it truly is.”
“Yes,” he rebutted, cloyingly, “But it helps me to know what the real time is. I shouldn’t like to go around thinking that it’s half past two when it’s really one fifteen.”
“Is it one fifteen?” she asked, feigning interest.
“Not quite, but almost. I’m not quite sure what has happened to this little clock, I got it from my grandfather.”
“I’ve heard the story, quite some times.” She looked away, but not for long: she hoped that maybe, perhaps, he’d look her way. But not even a glance.
“It’s gold plated, and with silver lining. I’m quite terrified that the time is off. It’d be no good here, maybe in a room where no one needs the time, like the guest room.”
“But what about our guests?” She asked this deeply, yet really had no interest in the conversation. She was simply elated that they were talking again, a long hour of silence really pained her.
“They can go without the time for a few hours.” A quick, easy, painless explanation. That’s all he gave. He knew she wasn’t listening. It hurt him, vaguely. Yet he wasn’t paying attention to her. He hadn’t since last month, when she poured him a glass of brandy and he had to tell her when to stop. Before that, it had been on their wedding day, when she told him she loved him. Perhaps he would listen to her again if she ever repeated those words?
“Jack, I feel as though we’ve grown distant.” She grasped onto the chair, awaiting the worst.
“Darling, what do you mean? Is this about the clock? I don’t quite grasp your point.” She had obviously been feeling it too. An hour of silence often brings the minds closer to another, especially while sitting in the library.
“I just feel as though we haven’t been ourselves lately. Remember those days when we would stay out and drink and live? When no society ruled us, and we lived on our own?” She was aware those days were long gone, but maybe she could rekindle some spark in him.
“Those days are long gone, and I fear that we may never get them back.” He spoke slowly.
She stood in awe, about to stand up and storm out—
“Dinner is served, Monsieur et Madame.” The servant curtsied robotically.
“But it’s only a quarter past one.” Jack was highly appreciative for his salvage, yet highly perplexed about the hour. “I’m not even hungry.”
“Why, sir, it’s half past two. Is this old clock causing trouble?” She seemed genuinely dismayed.
“Why, I don’t quite know. I just really, don’t quite know.”