1. harmful; injurious: deleterious influences.
  2. injurious to health: deleterious gases.

The house was quiet. Everything was in its right place, but something was markedly different.

As Michael Griffin opened the front door, a bevy of aromas beckoned to him from the kitchen. He glanced at his watch. It was slightly after 6. His wife usually got home after he did and she rarely cooked.

She wanted something.

Just then, Jessica Griffin came around the corner in a green dress and heels, her hair pulled back. She looked stunning.

Yeah, Michael observed, she definitely wants something.

He didn’t have to wait too long to find out what was on his wife’s mind. No sooner had he begun savoring the tender piece of lamb on his plate than she began the small talk. His workday, how well the lawn looked, all the good things his supervisor’s wife had mentioned to her recently.

“I think someone’s definitely going to be up for a promotion in a month,” she said with that infamous smile of hers. It still made him a little weak in the knees to look at her. They’d been married 11 years and she had only grown more beautiful.

Michael smiled.

“Jess, as much as I’m enjoying this meal, it’s not escaping me that you’re after something.”

His wife smiled.

“A month in Paris,” she said, calmly, as if she had just stated the thermostat reading.

Michael almost choked on his lamb. It took him a moment to regain his composure.

“That sounds like a great plan for after we retire–in 25 years,” he said.

An all-too familiar expression settled on his wife’s face. She was ready to win.

Michael resumed his meal, taking a hefty bite from of the mound of creamy mashed potatoes on his plate. Jessica headed to the refrigerator to retrieve her secret weapon. With a deft hand, she made quick cuts, slicing up her husband’s favorite dessert. He was a man of extreme self discipline, but it was still hard for him to resist a delicious slice of chocolate pie.

Within minutes she was back at the table, by Michael’s side. Now at his side, he could tell she was wearing one of his favorite perfumes, the one she only seemed to wear on anniversaries or his birthday. He looked up at his wife.  A mischievous grinned crossed her cherubic face.

The youngest of four, Jessica was a master of getting what she wanted from her three older brothers.

Michael looked down at her hands as she slowly slid the deleterious concoction toward him. She picked up the dessert fork she had laid on the table and placed it gently on the plate beside the pie.

Between the jubilation in his mouth, the sight of his favorite dessert, and the smell of his wife’s perfume Michael felt transfixed like a small woodland creature caught in the middle of a road, staring at an oncoming Mack truck.

She kissed the top of his earlobe. His wife was too good.

“Micheal Griffin, you are up for a promotion and a long time ago you promised me a luxurious trip to Paris,” she whispered into his ear. She loosened his tie and undid the first button of his dress shirt.

“Eat up, darling. Because tonight you are going to freely reassure me that within the next couple of months you are going to follow through on that promise you made so long ago.”

Micheal watched his wife saunter back to her seat at the table and resume her meal, that same knowing smile decorating her face. He inhaled the remainder of his food, as he barreled toward the pie and his wife’s convincing strategy to get her way, knowing he had better get his passport ready.


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