Happily Ever After?

Happily Ever After? by Debra Kent Read Free Book Online

Book: Happily Ever After? by Debra Kent Read Free Book Online
Authors: Debra Kent
society,
     and maybe I’ll buy myself a new car, and buy a whole new wardrobe and get a tummy tuck, or at least liposuction, or maybe
     I’ll buy a summer house up north and a winter house down south or in the Caribbean, or even in Italy, but I don’t speak Italian
     so maybe that’s not such a great idea, but I could hire a tutor or even an interpreter who could translate for me wherever
     I went, but maybe I’d skip the house in Italy and get something on one of those gorgeous little islands off the coast of Florida.
    I could feel my heart racing as I sped home. I’d neverknown such a feeling, I swear, and even now as I write this a part of me fears that it is all too good to be true, that I’ll
     wake up and find myself huddled beneath some overpass wearing newspaper shoes and toting all my worldly possessions in a Hefty
     bag.
    ’Til next time,
    V
June 9, continued
    By the time I got home, there was a message waiting from my mother, to congratulate me again, and another from Omar. Then
     the doorbell rang. I pulled open the door, expecting to see Diana with a bottle of sparkling grape juice in one hand, a pair
     of goblets in the other. But it was Lynette. Her eyes were swollen, her nose pink and dripping. She asked, “Can I talk to
     you? Please?”
    I led Lynette into the house and closed the door. I gestured toward the living room. “Do you want to sit down?”
    Lynette nodded and shuffled in. I noticed that Pete had left his socks on the coffee table. I swiped a dirty sneaker from
     the sofa as Lynette slowly lowered herself to sit. Unfortunately I didn’t notice the garlic press. Lynette pulled it from
     under her behind, and even in her distress, managed a little smile. “You might need this,” she said, handing it to me.
    “Probably,” I said, then realized with a quiet thrill that I could buy a million garlic presses if I wanted to. Or I could
     hire a cook. Or I could cater dinner every day for the rest of my life. “Excuse the mess,” I said. “This place is a pit.”
    Lynette waved away my protests with a weary hand. “It’s fine.” She blew her nose. “Your house is fine. Relax.” The high priestess
     of domestic hygiene had given me absolution. I tried to forget the mess.
    “Tell me what’s going on. Do you want a cup of tea? A box of Kleenex?”
    “Tea would be great. I’ve brought my own tissues.” She pulled a small tissue case from her bag. It was made of calico fabric
     and trimmed with yellow rickrack.
    “You didn’t make that, did you?” I asked.
    Lynette shrugged sheepishly.
    “You’re amazing,” I told her, and meant it. I’ve grown to admire Lynette’s homemaking skills and realize now that it wasn’t
     hostility that I’d felt, but jealousy born of admiration. She dabbed her eyes and I wondered, What could have transformed
     this unflaggingly perky woman into a sniveling mess? I would soon find out. I went into the kitchen to boil water, but I could
     only find a single stale chamomile tea bag. “Lynette, is water okay?”
    “Fine. Anything. Nothing. I don’t care. I just want to talk.”
    I returned with a glass of water and sat beside her. “Okay. Tell me. I’m listening.” I quickly sent up a smallprayer: Please, God, don’t let it be that Hunter has some terminal disease. I knew that Lynette could handle anything else,
     but not that. “Is everyone okay? Is someone sick?”
    “No, no, it’s not that.” She laughed bitterly.
    “So what is it?”
    “This is very embarrassing.” Lynette was staring at my coffee table. I thought she was looking at the dried mustard stain,
     then realized she probably didn’t even see the table. “I don’t know where to begin.”
    “Anywhere.” I patted her knee. “Don’t be embarrassed. I’ve heard everything, believe me. I’m your friend.”
    She blew her nose. “Okay.” She took a deep breath.
    “It’s Curtis. He’s got this idea in his head.”
    “What kind of idea?” I asked, figuring midlife

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