"Supper was dull and Marie had hoped that Maxwell would go back to bed afterwards. He didn’t and at nine-thirty, everyone was sitting in the library. Maxwell and Jennings were talking and Marie was leaning against Maxwell’s side, half-asleep.
They must have thought she was asleep after a while, because the topic turned from rabbit season to more interesting topics. Namely, their marriage.
“Things seem to be working out well, Max.”
“She’s very shy, though.”
Hey! Would he rather have her be annoyingly loud?
“Max, are you even listening to me?”
“Of course, Jennings.” Marie had to doubt that. “Marie’s shy, I heard you. I’ve never been one for parties anyway, you know that.”
“You seem to be very fond of her.”
“Of course I am, she’s my wife.”
“You didn’t even know what she looked like before you married her.”
That went both ways, in case he’d forgotten. Why was Jennings so interested in this? It had nothing to do with him. She wasn’t about to throw him out, although she wasn’t going to be sorry when he left.
“I didn’t think you’d actually do it.”
“I don’t enjoy living alone.” Maxwell said quietly. “Besides, it worked out fine. Obviously.” She felt him lift his hand and imagined him gesturing towards her. “Stop worrying.”
“As long as you’re happy, Max.” Jennings sounded a little annoyed. “It’s just that since that last…”
“No. Not tonight.”
Drat. She would have liked to hear what ‘that last’ thing was. Whatever it was, Maxwell probably wasn’t going to share it with her.
They were silent for several minutes. The sounds in the walls were a little louder now and Marie wondered if whatever was in there had multiplied that afternoon.
“Sorry, Max.” Jennings said. He still sounded annoyed. “I just want to make sure you’re all right.”
“Are you sure? These noises you insist you hear…”
“There is something there.” Maxwell sounded uneasy. “We’ve both heard it. Something’s there, and if I have to tear the wall down to prove it, I will.”
“It’s talk like that that worries people.” Jennings said. “Perhaps a trip…for your health…”
His health? This was just a cold!
“My health is fine. Now drop it.”
Either Jennings didn’t hear the warning tone, or he didn’t care. Marie was inclined to think it was the latter.
“Max, I really don’t think…”
“Listen to me.” Jennings’ voice was harsh. “I know you feel fine, as far as things go, but we’re all worried about you. It isn’t helping that you’re hearing things that aren’t there. I’m your friend, Max, I want to help you.”
“I don’t need help. Now drop it.”
All right, maybe it was time to get up now..."