Welcome to Tuesday Tales - word prompt "rough". Here's a bit about the last episode of this story, "The Big Lie". 

After no contact for over 20 years, Dale and Cliff bump into each other at the old barn, home to their high school trysts. Each questions the other as to their reason for being there.


“This place holds a lot of memories for me,” Cliff said in a rough voice.

“Me, too.” Dale moved toward the road. He placed his hand on her arm, stopping her retreat.

“Don’t run off. I haven’t seen you in over twenty years.”

“Twenty-three to be exact. What difference does it make?” You chose to marry someone else then. What do we have to talk about?

“Thought we could catch up a bit.”

“Catch up on what? Desertion?”

“Interesting you bring that up.”

“Is it?” She shook his hand off her arm. It’s so long ago, why do I still care. Why is seeing him again so painful for me?

“What are you mad about? I’m the injured party. I should be furious.”

“You? That’s a laugh!” She moved quickly toward home. Cliff followed. 
 “Wait a minute!” He called, but she ignored him. Run from the pain, girl. Just like you did then. Run, run, forget about him. He caught up with her and placed both hands on her upper arms, trapping her.

“Hold it. I have a right to speak.”
“Do you? Your excuses won’t fix things. She’s a lovely woman. I get it. You preferred her to me. I’m not stupid. Now let go.” She struggled but he held fast.

“What the hell are you talking about? You were engaged when I married Sylvia.”

“Are you out of your mind? I wasn’t engaged until long after you’d tied the knot.”

Cliff dropped his hands. “Believe what you want. I’ve forgiven you. Just wanted to tell you that face-to-face.” He walked away with long, purposeful strides.

A sudden coldness gripped Dale. He did marry first. Mom told me. She saw the announcement in the paper. Her last conversation with her step-mother nagged at her. “Forgive me, Dale. Sweetheart. Forgive me. Please.” The old woman held her hand, her eyes repentant.
A shiver ran up Dale's spine. Her knees shook, forcing her to lean against a tall pine tree. Covering her face with her hands, she moaned. “She wouldn’t. She didn’t. It can’t be true.” As abruptly as her energy left her, it returned with a vengeance. She ran home, climbing the three stories to the attic as fast as her legs would move. Stuggling for breath, she pawed through the dust an inch thick on musty cardboard box after box, to no avail. Then she tried the old trunk.
Digging like a squirrel uncovering buried nuts in the winter, she found it. At the bottom, under a sheaf of papers was a yellowed, crumbling newspaper clipping. Cliff’s wedding notice. Date: August 10th. Not March twentieth! 

She covered her face with her hands.

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