After Hours with Her Ex(6)

By: Maureen Child

 The woman laughed a little. “That I understand.” Her gaze lifted to the top of the lift at the mountain’s summit. “I’ve got plenty of fear, but my husband loves skiing so...”

 Lacy smiled as she watched her assistant help a little boy up from where he’d toppled over into the soft, powdery snow. “You’ll love it. I promise.”

 “Hope so,” she said wistfully. “Right now, Mike’s up there somewhere—” she pointed at the top of the mountain “—with his brother. He’s going to watch Kaylee while I have my lesson this afternoon.”

 “Kristi Wyatt’s teaching your class,” Lacy told her. “And she’s wonderful. You’ll enjoy it. Really.”

 The woman’s gaze swung back to her. “The Wyatt family. My husband used to come here on ski trips just to watch the Wyatt brothers ski.”

 Lacy’s smile felt a little stiff, but she gave herself points for keeping it in place. “A lot of people did.”

 “It was just tragic what happened to Jack Wyatt.”

 The woman wasn’t the first person to bring up the past, and no doubt she wouldn’t be the last, either. Even two years after Jack’s death, his fans still came to Snow Vista in a sort of pilgrimage. He hadn’t been forgotten. Neither had Sam. In the skiing world, the Wyatt twins had been, and always would be, rock stars.

 The woman’s eyes were kind, sympathetic and yet, curious. Of course she was. Everyone remembered Jack Wyatt, champion skier, and everyone knew how Jack’s story had ended.

 What they didn’t know was what that pain had done to the family left behind. Two years ago, it had been all Lacy could think about. She’d driven herself half-crazy asking herself the kind of what-if questions that had no answers, only possibilities. And those possibilities had haunted her. Had kept her awake at night, alone in her bed. She’d wondered and cried and wondered again until her emotions were wrung out and she was left with only a sad reality staring her in the face.

 Jack had died, but it was the people he’d left behind who had suffered.

 “Yes,” Lacy agreed, feeling her oh-so-tight smile slipping away. “It was.” And tragic that the ripple effect of what happened to Jack had slammed its way through the Wyatt family like an avalanche, wiping out everything in its path.

 While the kids practiced and Lacy’s assistant supervised, the woman continued in a hushed voice. “My husband keeps up with everything even mildly related to the skiing world. He said that Jack’s twin, Sam, left Snow Vista after his brother’s death.”

 God, how could Lacy get out of this conversation?

 “Yes, he did.”

 “Apparently, he left competitive skiing and he’s some kind of amazing ski resort designer now and he’s got a line of ski equipment and he’s apparently spent the last couple of years dating royalty in Europe.”

 Lacy’s heart gave one vicious tug and she took a deep breath, hoping to keep all the emotions churning inside her locked away. It wasn’t easy. After all, though Sam hadn’t contacted the family except for the occasional postcard, he was a high-profile athlete with a tragic past who got more than his share of media attention.

 So it hadn’t been difficult to keep up with what he’d been doing the past couple of years. Lacy knew all about his businesses and how he’d put his name on everything from goggles to ski poles. He was rich, famous and gorgeous. Of course the media was all over him. So naturally, Lacy had been treated to paparazzi photos of Sam escorting beautiful women to glamorous events—and yes, he had been photographed with a dark-haired, skinny countess who looked as though she hadn’t had a regular meal in ten years.

 But it didn’t matter what he did, because Sam was Lacy’s ex-husband. So they could both date whomever they wanted to. Not that she had dated much—or any for that matter. But she could if she wanted to and that’s what mattered.

 “Do you actually know the Wyatts?” the woman asked, then stopped and caught herself. “Silly question. Of course you do. You work for them.”

 True. And up until two years ago, Lacy had been one of them. But that was another life and this was the one she had to focus on.

 “Yes, I do,” Lacy said, forcing another smile she didn’t feel. “And speaking of work, I should really get to today’s lessons.”

 Then she walked to join her assistant Andi and the group of kids who demanded nothing but her time.