Say You'll Never Love Me(9)

By: Ann Everett

Says the socialite with a nanny. “I appreciate that. I’ll be happy to do the carpool. From now until the end of school, I want to keep Silbie’s schedule.”

Greta pulled a monogrammed linen notecard from her purse. “Here are the times and addresses of where you’ll pick up and drop off the kids, with a chart of who drives each week. I talked until I was blue in the face to get Charles, my husband, to send Katie to private school, but he wouldn’t agree. He insists I do some of the same things his mom did with him, which carpooling is one of them.” She sipped again. “May I have a napkin?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Where are my manners?” Raynie ripped a paper towel from the roll and passed it to Greta. She grimaced like she’d been insulted, dabbed the corners of her mouth, and nodded toward the list again. “I also included the sitters we use, so if you’d like a night out, you can relax and not worry about leaving her.”

That’s exactly what Raynie needed. That, a few drinks and a one night stand with an inked bad boy. If Silbie was in the hands of a good sitter, what would it matter? “That’s great.”

Greta lifted her pencil thin frame to full height. “I’d better get going. Along with mine, I listed the other mom’s phone numbers.” She walked to the front door with Raynie on her heels. “As sad as it is to be without Celeste and Evan, I guess the good Lord took them so they’d always be together. We should find comfort in that, I suppose.”

“Thank you for coming by.”

After Greta left, Raynie wondered if all Celeste’s friends were as shallow. The remarks she’d made about the cute house and simple design pissed Raynie off. The woman was uppity. So unlike Celeste.

She rinsed the cups and put them in the dishwasher, then got to work. Finished with Evan’s clothes, she concentrated on his shoes. And he had a lot for a man. She tossed the final pair into the box and ambled into the bathroom.

Picking up a bottle of cologne, she unscrewed the lid and held it to her nose. Mmm. Rico came to mind. His defined muscles, tatted arms, and how they felt around her. When he’d opened his tattoo parlor in the storefront next to hers, he’d become an instant convenience. Bad boy deluxe. Just her type. Sex on demand and no strings. Okay, so he wasn’t a terrific lover, but he was handy. An orgasm was an orgasm even without foreplay. Giving herself a mental slap, her eyes popped wide, and she set the fragrance back on the counter. Yep, she needed an evening out all right. Either that or a cold shower.

She turned to stare at the couple’s bed. She’d not slept in it. Didn’t seem right. She wondered how it’d be to sleep with the same man—forever. The longest she’d lasted was a few months. But if Bronson hadn’t asked for a divorce, would she still be with him? And second husband, Rory? If he’d kept it in his pants, could she have stayed with him?

Tears spilled onto her cheeks. What brought that on? Her marriages ended a lifetime ago, and she wasn’t proud of how she’d handled either break-up. At least Celeste had found happiness.

Going through her things, Raynie expected memories, but the recollection of her exes surprised her. She’d gotten over them. Or had she? Did a woman ever get over heartbreak?

She abandoned the bathroom and walked to the antique desk. Paperwork should be easier to deal with. In the first drawer, she found pens, pencils, paperclips, and all the other generic office supplies. From the closet, she retrieved an empty shoe box, then dumped all the items into it. No need to get rid of this stuff. It would come in handy, if not for her, Silbie’s schoolwork.

The next one held medical insurance forms, copies of filed claims, and two boxes of business cards. She shuffled through them and found a surprise. Evan had a vasectomy. Odd. Celeste wanted another child. Apparently, he didn’t.

She took a business card out and stared at the stagecoach logo. Evan M. Collins. Vice President. Wells Fargo Bank and Trust. She dropped them into the trash can, then pulled open the last drawer.

A manila envelope. No markings. Unsealed. Slowly, she raised the flap and slid the contents onto the desk. In the past two weeks, each time she’d tackled a new area, she worried she’d discover a deep, dark secret. Whips. Chains. Porno movies. Ridiculous as it sounded, all couples shared hush-hush things.

A vision of Celeste with a whip and Evan constrained caused Raynie to giggle. The throaty sound brought her back to reality. She focused on the document. All humor gone, she staggered to the bed and sat on the edge. A chill scraped down her spine and Greta’s earlier remark rang in her ears. I guess the good Lord took them both, so they’d always be together. The statement sounded like an attempt to console. But now meant something different. Raynie’s hands trembled as she gazed at divorce papers.