George called first. Myrine answered the phone. "Hello?"

"Nyello. This is George. Is Mercy there by any chance?" He sounded fed up.

Myrine would have liked to tell him what she thought of him, but she resisted the temptation. She covered the receiver with her hand. "It's George."

Mercy looked green, but she took the phone. "Hello?"

George started out on the offensive, scornful and accusing. "What kind of theatricals are you pulling this time? I want you to bring the boys home right now."

"It's not theatricals, George," Mercy said. She felt sick and mad. "I'm leaving you. And the boys are coming with me."

"You'd better reconsider, Mercy. I'll take you to court."

The same sneer was in his voice that he'd had on his face the night before. Mercy clenched the receiver, silent for a moment. Then she remembered what Virginia had suggested, remembered the friends at her back, and a trace of courage returned. "No, George, I'll take you to court. This state has laws against rape in marriage."

"Rape? What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about last night."

"I was drunk, Mercy."

"You weren't that drunk. Otherwise it wouldn't have hurt so much."

There was a pause on the other end of the line. "What do you want?"

"The house and the kids." Mercy told him in quiet but not uncertain terms that he had better clear out by the end of the week or she would bring rape charges against him. She was convincing and George was cowed.