Early Work: A Novel by Andrew Martin:
It probably wasn’t a great idea for me to be driving, legally speaking, but I felt good, floating but focused, directing the car’s movement rather than steering. And I loved the blunted calm radiating from Leslie, the coiled potential. I was bringing her back with me. It didn’t matter that nothing could happen between us; it was better that way. She would be in our little house, sleeping under the same roof, and she wouldn’t leave until the morning. On the less positive side, she’d see what a shithole our house was. Which, I realized abruptly, was the thing that would upset Julia about Leslie coming over, rather than anything about her particular. It was 11:30; I could do a quick straightening before she got home. But the fundamental bombed-out quality—the mountains of dog hair, the grime on the windowsills, the creeping mold on the coffee table—was unalterable. I would have been very surprised if Leslie gave a shit about the cleanliness of the house, but Julia would say that wasn’t the point. She cared about how it would look, about what it would say about us, our carelessness as humans. And she was right.