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"Maybe it's a good thing we're going on strike," Lily was saying heatedly as she paced back and forth in Myrine's bedroom, telephone in hand. "It will give you time to devote yourself to your new flame."

"My new flame?"

"Don't act so innocent, Adam, it doesn't become you. You know--the woman who answered the phone this morning. The child with her heart in her eyes."

"I can't imagine her with her heart in her eyes, but she is only about two-thirds my age, if you mean who I think you do."

"You mean there are more?"

"No, I don't mean there are more. But after you called this morning, she took off in a huff. That might well be the end of that."

"I hope you're not expecting any sympathy from me," Lily said, gesticulating wildly with the telephone. "Why didn't you at least tell me? It's so humiliating to be the last one to know."

"The last time this happened, you told me you didn't want to know when it did."

"Well, I changed my mind!"

"So you're just insisting on another jealous quarrel, huh?" Adam asked.

"Not this time."

The tone of her voice didn't sound forgiving, but Adam took her at her word. "Good. Then you'll forgive me?"

"You know, Adam, I think maybe I've had enough."

"Now look, I'm not the only one who's had a few adventures on the side."

"But I haven't had any for a long time. I've lost the taste for them, if I ever really had it. They were usually conducted in self-defense."

"Does that put you in the right?"

"Not necessarily, but it doesn't change the fact that I'm getting sick of it!"

"So you are jealous."

"I don't know what it is," Lily said with emphasis. "I thought we were settling down a bit. I thought things wouldn't be so nerve-wracking anymore."

"Why is it nerve-wracking? Your infidelities never bugged me."

"Sure they didn't."

"Well, not much."

"So do I have to react like you?"

"Well, why weren't you honest with me years ago about how you felt?"

"Oh, come on. We've had this argument so many times it's starting to sound like a rerun of Gilligan's Island."

"But you never made that big a deal about sexual loyalty before."

"I thought it was my duty to be liberal and open-minded. I didn't know what I wanted."

"And now you do?"

"Now I do."

"And what is that?"

"Security."

"Security. You mean marriage-security?"

"Eventually perhaps, yes."

"The examples of security I've seen don't attract me much."

"Me neither. But I'm pushing thirty and I'd like to have a kid someday."

"You can have them without marriage."

"Certainly. But not without a father."

"Why didn't you marry your football player way back when, if that's what you want?"

"Maybe I should have. At least I would have been spared all the pain and humiliation I've had to go through with you. One thing you can be sure of--I'm not putting up with it anymore!"

"Are you trying to manipulate me with threats?"

"I'm not just threatening, I'm doing it."

"Calm down, Lily. You're overreacting. You always get so emotional about everything."

"We'll see how you feel when you realize I'm serious."

"Well, I'm going to disappoint you. I won't get desperate or sad or mad."

Lily laughed without humor. "You're already mad."

"No, I'm not."

"Yes you are. I'm not complying. You think you have the right to do anything you want, no matter how it makes me feel! But I'm sick of it. I'm sick of you. So why don't you just go back to your besotted child and leave me alone?" Lily was saying things she might well regret later, but she was too far gone to be careful.

"Oh, she'll probably go on strike too."

"Isn't she besotted enough to abandon principles?"

"I doubt it."

"What kind of love is that?"

"It's not love, Lily. I've told you that before."

Lily laughed wildly. "Okay. So you know, and I know, although I'm less than sure about it, but does she know?"

"I've told her where I stand. I've told her about you."

Lily gave a disbelieving snort. "Maybe you have. But what have you told her about me?"

"The truth."

"I'm glad I don't know what the truth is. And I really don't want to hear any more of this hypocritical bullshit. Don't call me, Adam--I won't call you."

"Lily...!"

"Bye."