...Tom kept his eyes on the board. 'But I agree we should guard against being too acquisitive.'
'Dad.....pompous or what?' Emily poked his arm.
Tom grinned. 'Games are useful in this way. The government should demand everyone plays Monopoly once a week in order to allow our rotten impulses full rein and to purge the system. Wouldn't you say, Annie?'
Was this his way of making up for being so unresponsive earlier? Once, he had used this easy good humour to woo Annie and she had loved it. She hadn't thought back to that time very much in recent years but when she did so her heart took on a life of its own.
She got up, ran water into a glass and drank it thirstily.
Jake threw a six for the second time running and edged into the lead. Emily stared at him suspiciously. 'Are you cheating, Jake?'
'How could you ask such a thing?'
This is good, this is pleasant, Annie thought. Jake looked better, Emily was enjoying herself, Shed man was happier, Hermione was (relatively) silent.
In this companionable way they played for half an hour or so. Then Tom took a look at Jake's hotels and properties - and competitiveness kicked in. ''You are cheating.'
The edge to his voice was unmistakable. Testosterone Rivalry. Annie knew them well. 'Tom......' she warned.
Jake flushed, and took his time to move his top hat forward. 'Actually, Dad, that's a bit insulting.'
Tom leaned over the board and counted up Jake's properties, then did the same for his own, lower, tally. 'That can't be right.'
- Debolina Raja Gupta