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Maggie woke the next morning to guilt, as though it were a rainstorm, or a flock of birds passing over in their migration. She pulled herself up in a sitting position in her bed and contemplated her fate. Did her New England ancestors ever hang women such as she? Was there a fate worse than death for her in such places as Iran and Iraq? Asleep in the bed beside her lay Eliot Flaubert. Maggie listened for a time to his breathing, watched him twitch in his sleep, the perfect outline of his nose and lips and chin. Eliot. He had driven her back in the gray light of morning, with all the birds alive around them, with the world coming to life, with yellow lights beginning to blink on around the lake. Early risers. He had driven her home as though they had been on a date, and she had let him follow her up the narrow staircase to her little apartment. Then, with the magic of the night still at work, it seemed exactly as it should have been. They had united themselves against the world and now they were lying safe in each other's arms. As it should be. But there is something about the magic of night that washes away with the light of day. Whether right or wrong, the magic diminishes, wanes, tapers off. Sometimes it's impossible to get it back.
Now Maggie had to wonder about what had caused that magic in the first place. Was Eliot the only way she could get close to Robbie, the only avenue left open that could bring her nearer to him? And, if so, was it an avenue she should have taken? And what about Eliot? Did Maggie represent his father's past, someone his father loved that he, too, could love? Was Eliot looking for that same avenue back to Robbie? As he slept besideher, she could still feel him between her thighs, the soreness of her muscles where her legs had arched themselves to hold him. She could smell the musty perfume of sex, she could feel him, still, could feel his lips on her breasts, the burning on her back where she had been pressed backward into the earth. Maybe at first Eliot had represented the only way she could find Robbie again, maybe that was it at first, but in doing so, she had fallen in love with him. She knew this as she watched him, a little twitch playing around his mouth, his eyes wavering with sleep. He was Robbie, and yet he was more than Robbie. She could appreciate him in ways she could never appreciate Robbie, because she hadn't been wise enough, hadn't been laden enough with life to understand the wonder of it all. She had been given a second chance, pure and simple. But could she take it? She told herself that this wasn't what Joe was doing with Bridgette. She hadn't come looking for Eliot while a family waited at home, in the lovely brown Victorian house on Beauchemin Street. She hadn't walked away from twenty-five years of marriage to take up with a younger man because she looked into the mirror one day and saw crow's feet kicking out about her eyes. Was she being fair to Joe? Was it youth he saw in Bridgette? Just pure lust? Or had he watched her day after day before he touched her, the way Maggie had done with Eliot? Had he seen in Bridgette something so precious he was willing to give up everything he once believed in, in order to just pursue it?
"I doubt it," Maggie whispered aloud, as Eliot slept. "I suspect it was lust." Eliot turned in his sleep, brought his arm up to reach out for her, and, finding her there, fell back into sleep. She wanted to say things to him, but now she knew she couldn't. The light was destroying the magic. The light was rushing in with some awful truths. What would the girls say? Lucy would predict that Maggie was just reacting to the news of Bridgette's pregnancy, and that might even be partly true. But maybe that news had edged her toward what she'd wanted to do all along: get close to Eliot, touch Eliot, love Eliot. And Diana? "Go for it, no matter what pushed you there, Mom. Grab that brass ring."
Maggie lay in bed, knowing that it must be past ten o'clock, knowing it was a Sunday after the harvest moon dance, after a rigorous three weeks of hard work. No one would be stirring early. Late in the afternoon she would hear from Claire, who would then tell her that the lawyer from Coreyville was either the next Mr. Right or a walking dud. Maybe Gil and Maudy would call to comment again on how magnificent a thing it was to see the Moon in such good hands. Before he had fallen asleep, Eliot had told her, "We're going on a picnic tomorrow, just the two of us, no Claire. We'll sit beneath the birches by the dock. I'm going to spread a tablecloth on the grass. We're having a picnic tomorrow." With his head resting against her stomach, Maggie rubbed his temples gently, lightly, so as not to wake him. He needed his sleep. She wondered now if he'd slept at all in the past four days or, like her, had been running on pure adrenaline. She ran a finger along the taut muscles of his arm. She wanted to say things to him. She wanted to say, "Listen, Eliot, I've fallen in love with you, you who are only two months older than my oldest child, Lucy, who will spend years trying hard to dislike you. There's no doubt that I love you, but consider this: It was your father, Robert Flaubert, that I first loved in you, that brought me to you. If he hadn't been there, you'd have been just a wonderful person that I might've met and enjoyed and passed by."