The Daylight Marriage

The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor Read Free Book Online
Authors: Heidi Pitlor
a bouquet of roses to him, this time from his cousin, and the following week a basket of carnations and only then did she suspect anything. He did not deny it. “I was hoping—I mean, I thought I might see you again,” he managed when she questioned him, and she smiled and said, “There are less expensive ways of getting in touch with me. The number for Fanciful Flowers is right here.” She pulled a business card from an envelope attached to the plastic wrap.
    Lovell invited her to dinner and she accepted. She needed a distraction after Doug. She returned to Lovell’s apartment for his homemade chili and corn-bread muffins a few nights later, simple, boyish food that he seemed to think impressed her. But he did not flirt or puff himself up in the ways that so many others did with banter or feigned disinterest. Even now, so many years later, men at the bank or grocery store or in restaurants lowered their voices when they spoke to her. They punned, they joked, they rushed to pick up her fallen purse or napkin.
    Over dinner, Lovell described his studies of tornadoes. The previous summer he had driven with a friend to Alberta just after “an F4” tore through Edmonton to help with cleanup and disaster relief, and he even played a small part in developing the province’s emergency public warning system. He was earnest and polite and attentive; he asked about Boston University, her family, her childhood on Martha’s Vineyard. She decided that she had never met anyone with this combination of innocence and intelligence. “I have ice cream too,” he said after clearing the wobbly card table he and his roommate used as a dining table in the kitchen. “Neapolitan—I wasn’t sure which kind you liked.”
    He told her about his graduate program at MIT in earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. “But part of me just wants to go on the road and storm-chase next semester and defer. Of course my adviser is totally against this.”
    She wanted to know what a tornado looked like up close, and why tornadoes and not hurricanes?
    â€œGood question,” he said. “Well, I’ve got this theory that hurricanes might be like these barometers of climate change. If you look closely at sea temperatures and whatnot, you see these patterns.”
    She said, “Tell me more,” and he replied, “Glad to.”
    At the end of the night, he walked her to his door and said, “Can we do this again?”
    â€œDinner, talk—or whatever you’d want to do.”
    â€œSure, I’d like that.” She waited for him to close his eyes and lean down and in toward her face. But he only said, “Do you want to borrow a coat? It’s cold out tonight.”

Chapter 6
    O n Monday, Lovell let the kids decide whether to attend school for the first time since Hannah’s disappearance. Both said they wanted to go back—he guessed that a sense of normalcy and routine was important for them right now. “But if you hear anything at all about Mom, can you come get me?” Janine asked.
    â€œMe too?” Ethan added.
    â€œOf course,” Lovell answered.
    A while later, he herded Janine out the door and watched as she stepped inside the bus. She half turned to wave good-bye to him, brushing her hair from her face, and then off she went to the other kids and teachers and her school. Maybe he would in fact have to go to their schools later today. What if he had to walk inside the front office and tell the secretary . . . that what?
    He wandered back to the house to get Ethan breakfast—a bowl of Cheerios—and help him pack up for school. “What else do you need? What does Mom do in the morning?”
    â€œCan I just have some milk? And a napkin? And a spoon?”
    â€œOf course,” Lovell said.
    â€œChocolate,” Ethan commanded when Lovell handed him a glass of plain milk.
    â€œThis is better for

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