She stood as they always stand when I make my presentation, stiff and even haughty, as though an armour of professionalism will somehow shield them from what I am about to show, will somehow protect them from feeling anything.
Of course it does not, it cannot, but I play along. I get paid either way, so I always make my little speech.
“Mrs. Templeton, I know that you engaged my services because of suspicions you have about your husband. I assume you engaged me in particular because of my reputation for discretion, and for getting results. Is that so?”
“Quite correct,” she said, stiffly. She was staring at the large envelope in my hand.
“In my profession, I have seen many women like yourself come in to my office and stand where you are standing. I always tell this: as of now, at this moment, all you have is suspicion. As of now, you have the option of forgetting this whole thing, going back to your husband and finding another approach to your difficulty. You stand at a crossroads, and there is no going back. So I ask you frankly, are you certain you want to see these photographs?”
“Quite certain,” she said, her eyes gleaming.
They always say that, too.