The Battered Heiress Blues

The Battered Heiress Blues by Laurie Van Dermark Read Free Book Online

Book: The Battered Heiress Blues by Laurie Van Dermark Read Free Book Online
Authors: Laurie Van Dermark
just as tightly.
    “Thank you so much for today- for Connor. I love you, Tommy. I’m sorry if I was harsh.”
    “Don’t think of it again. I love you too. I’ll try to give you some space, but check in with me from time to time so I don’t worry. Will you do that?”
    I broke his hold and gave him an obedient smile. “I promise.” He threw me a skeptical look which I passed on to Henry. “Seriously, some of us can’t lie to a priest.”
    He smiled and then they were gone. I was alone for the first time in weeks with nothing to do. The staff had cleaned the house and everything was back in its place.

3
     

     
    I walked a lap through the downstairs trying to find a task for my hands, before stopping at the front door. Feeling compelled to open it; I reached for the knob, knowing what lay on the other side of the ornately carved wood. Slowly, turning the knob and pulling the door back, I could see the chapel in the distance and imagine his grave. My mind immediately posted a picture of the coffin in the ground and my son covered in dirt. I wanted to run to him, to dig him out with my bare hands, but my feet wouldn’t allow me to clear the threshold. I couldn’t do it alone.
    Leaving the door ajar, I stepped out of my black heels, and started making a path through the drawing room, into the dining room, then the kitchen, family room, study, library, and living room. There was the door again. Another lap. The door again. Another lap. The door again. I became obsessive about my new occupation. Eventually, I no longer stopped and looked out toward the chapel cemetery. Finally growing tired of the route, I began to count seams in the hardwood floors. Counting still made me feel calm and in control.
    Mental exhaustion finally took its toll and I withdrew to that same chair in the drawing room, sitting and fidgeting with my dress, straightening out the creases over and over again. The wind blowing hard against the house as the sun disappeared rattled the old windows. A storm was brewing. Lightning lit the dark room. My hand nervously twirled a loose curl that had fallen across my face as I rocked back and forth, trying to self soothe.
    A car’s headlights danced across the drawing room wall. The motor stopped and a door slammed shut. Within minutes, the figure of a man paused in the open doorway. Henry was back.
    “Jewels. Where are you, love? Why is the door open?”
    He made a reverse lap, hollering my name, as he proceeded through each room, turning on lights. I wanted to answer him, but I couldn’t. I just kept straightening my dress and twirling my hair.
    The bright light of the chandelier had no effect on me. Henry had a look of panic in his eyes. He knelt down and released my hand from its curling motion as I continued to rock.
    “Why didn’t you answer me? How long have you been here?”
    I couldn’t respond.
    “Jewels, have you been here all afternoon?”
    I wanted to ease his mind.
    “It’s okay. It’s been a long day. You just need some sleep.”
    I felt Henry embrace me and my rocking. We moved in unison as one hand held my back and the other was cupped around the back of my head. He was in over his head.
    Henry mumbled, not realizing that somewhere deep within me, I was in touch with this experience. “Holy shit Jewels…one of us needs medication.”
    I heard that.
    “We need to get you to bed. Grab hold of me.”
    Forcing my arms around his neck, he lifted me off the chair. Walking to the open door, he kicked it closed before we climbed the staircase to the bedroom.
    Once inside, Henry placed me on the bed and unbuttoned my black dress, pulling the sleeves down off my arms and revealing my black slip. Pivoting my body, he slowly laid me back against the pillows, removed my dress, and pulled the comforter over me. Sitting down on the other side of the bed, he took off his watch and dropped his shoes to the floor. He leaned over to kiss me goodnight; his hand pulling the covers up to tuck me in

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