Just a little context: this is an exercise I had to do as part of my Creative Writing class last semester.
Take an introductory sentence from the handout and continue writing in the same register. (up to 500 words)
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. The time had come for the Bentley household’s happy facade to slip and reveal the inner intricacies of their domestic life. Clarissa Bentley, née Goldestein, had recently discovered her husband’s affair with their long-term nanny after coming home early from the salon and walking in on them in her bed of all places. She had thrown out the nanny, telling her society friends that she was a no-good thief – she had caught her stealing the silver from her prized mahogany bookshelf, simply outrageous. Her friends comforted her and she nodded along, her pursed lips concealing her rage. She put on a brave face for the media. In front of cameras, Clarissa was all smiles. No one could sense the revulsion that was stirred inside her every time her husband put his arm around her waist as he gave an interview. She had to remain the prim and proper wife of Senator Bentley, faking laughter at his awful jokes that made her want to roll her eyes and drink herself silly.
Behind the closed doors of their seven-bedroom Georgian mansion, they did not speak. They avoided each other as long as possible during the day. He left early in the mornings and stayed at his office for as long as he could, flirting with the receptionist and the young intern from across the hall. She would go shopping, spending more money from one of his credit cards. Crystal dining glasses, diamond earrings, a gold necklace, an antique dollhouse. Last week she had bought a Vera Wang. She had no use for it, it just cost him a lot of money. She would collect the children from the temporary nanny at six in the evening; they couldn’t stay longer than that. She would be driven home with them, wishing that a bottle of wine was at her disposal. She couldn’t deal with the crying. Every night the couple ate their dinner quietly, sitting on opposite ends of the dining table that sat twelve people. The movements of their maid and their own knives and forks were the only sounds that intruded on the silence.
Matthew Bentley did not care. For the past three years, he felt no love towards his wife, only obligation. Marrying her had given him access to her father’s company and a higher status and now they were the only things he cherished from their marriage, apart from Natalie and the twins, of course. He did fear that she would tell her parents about the affair and they would convince her to divorce him, taking away the company and the children. But he knew she wouldn’t do that. She couldn’t handle being the woman who, despite her beauty and riches, couldn’t keep her husband faithful. They would question and doubt her. The whispers would fly around at the galas, hurrying out from empty champagne glasses and encircling designer dresses. Did you hear, about Matthew and Clarissa? Mmm, quite the news these days. The poor woman. Do you think she’s… crazy? I heard she’s been popping pills after the birth of the twins, couldn’t handle it, they say. Not the mother-type, I knew when I first saw her. I heard the nanny was like a younger version of herself, less wrinkles, a brighter complexion. She’s not aging too well, is she? No wonder he went looking for something else. I’d feel more sorry for her if she wasn’t so dreadful. You know what they say, a pretty face doesn’t make up for a dull personality… Matthew knew if the news went public it would cause quite the scandal in high society and he knew that woman never wanted to appear as anything less than perfect.