by Julieann Dove
Series: Amy #2
Genres: Chick-Lit, Women's Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Amy thought she had it figured out—followed her heart and moved forward…but life isn’t always so simple. Things tend to drag you back to familiarity, or in Amy’s case—people. Wesley returns from his stint of love and betrayal, and has a favor to ask of her. When Amy agrees to help, all that was moving forward in her life comes to a halt.
As Amy tries to fix the loved ones around her, she begins to lose all that she’s gained. And when the smoke clears, she’s more confused about what’s meant to be and who it’s meant to be with.
Leaving Amy by Julieann Dove is the second book in the Amy trilogy. It highlights a young woman’s struggles in finding herself, recovering from betrayal and the vicissitudes of love. I devoured Leaving Amy and became emotionally invested. I am excited to see what happens in the last book Finding Amy.
When we left Amy after the events of Waking Amy, she was following her heart and moving forward. We saw her grow throughout book one, but lessons are often two steps forward and three steps back. Tom her friend has been her supportive and has become her BFF. She and Mark are enjoying dating and Wesley is off with the bimbo.
All of that crumbles in Leaving Amy when Wesley shows up needing a favor, Mark has news that will alter everything and Tom well Tom is becoming complicated. Is this a love square? No not really but it is complicated. Unfortunately Amy has put others first almost all of her life. Her limited experience means we get to witness her stumble, fumble and fall.
The men in her life are an interesting bunch. Wesley is still an ass and I am going to add manipulator to his profile. Mark is successful, but not as perfect as we once thought. Career decisions quickly pour ice over the flames of their romance. Tom on the other hand is wonderful, caring, sensitive and a perfect gentleman. Sure, he needs to loosen up a little and lose the tie, but he can park his shoes under my bed anytime.
As I said, I read Leaving Amy in a single sitting and loved the flow of the story and all the complications. I found myself laughing and rolling my eyes. Amy made me yell, shake my head and yes at times I wanted to give her the Gibbs’ slap. (Leroy Jethro Gibbs, NCIS} She seriously frustrated me, but Dove allowed me to see really see Amy. She has good intentions, a powerful sense of obligation and her wish to please everyone needs to be STOPPED. From the commentary in her head of her mother’s advice and her description of what heat between her thighs felt like, it is clear our Amy has a long way to go.
Leaving Amy ends on a cliffhanger and the trilogy is best read in order. I cannot wait to see how it all works out in Finding Amy.
Read Chapter One
I looked around the apartment at the empty walls, the stacked boxes, the cable wires sticking out from the sockets, and wondered whether I was doing the right thing. I had signed a six-month lease when I moved in and now the landlord was forcing me to sign for another six months or I’d have to leave. Mark seems to think it’d be ridiculous for me to continue paying rent considering he had a large three-bedroom townhouse I could share. And this way, when he got off from his night shift, I’d already be at his house. He wouldn’t have to drive over to my apartment to see me. So he talked me into giving my notice to vacate.
It’s funny; my stomach clenches just thinking about living with him. Sure, I’m over there a lot, but until I’m formally divorced, I didn’t want to push my clothes in a drawer and cozy up my toothbrush next to his. My attorney is waiting on Wesley to sign the paperwork. I don’t know what the holdup is; I signed over my interest in the house and packed what I wanted before I took a last look around and pulled the door shut behind me. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. For four years, I lived a life I thought I’d be living for many more. I imagined that babies one day would be crawling around on those floors. I even reserved the back of the pantry door for growth charts. Mom had one for me and Ashley where the washer and dryer was.
Wesley never once showed up to pack things when I was there. I rummaged through some drawers and noticed he had already taken his underwear and suits from the closet. I touched the inside of the empty drawer in the bathroom that once held his deodorant, razor, and Q-tips. He must’ve cared less I was hiring a moving truck to come and take the living room furniture to my new place. From what I’d heard, he was living in Nevada with his new honey. She was so short and dark-haired. No one remotely similar in looks to me. Someone I definitely would’ve never thought he’d have gone for. Ashley and I were both strawberry blondes. I guess nothing would surprise me, now that I’d been dumped and mugged.
None of our old life or routine mattered to him. I bet he didn’t once shed a tear over closing the door and memories of our house. Me, on the other hand—it was two weeks before I stopped taking a right-hand turn at the intersection of Sycamore to go home. But now I don’t anymore. Well, at least I don’t by accident. Now if I turn right, it’s for pure self-punishment. To kick myself in the butt for not seeing what was right in front of my face. One day I’ll cut myself some slack and realize the broken road took me to Mark. Where I’m pretty certain I belong. That’s why I didn’t sign the six-month extension on the lease, right?
Knock, knock, knock.
I stopped folding my pajamas from the laundry basket and looked at my watch. Mark had told me on the phone earlier he’d be late tonight. I wasn’t expecting him for at least another hour. I dropped my gown on the sofa and walked to the door.
“Who is it?” I asked the painted inside of the door. For some reason, there was no peep hole to look out. Reason number two not to sign the lease. Not the safest apartment complex in the city.
I heard someone clear their throat. My eyes darted back and forth as I waited for the response.
A shiver rippled up my spine. I hadn’t heard his voice in at least eight months. All of our negotiations about things in the house had been done through text messages and my attorney. My body jolted at the reality that he stood within five feet of me. The guy who hurt me eternally by cheating on me, my friend…my husband. I slowly opened the door. What I saw wasn’t who I remembered.
“Wesley, what’s wrong?” I fought the urge to reach out and touch him. To comb over his messy hair. What was it doing being longer than Bon Jovi’s when he was touring with his first album? Okay, so I was exaggerating. But it seemed as though he hadn’t had it cut since the last time I’d seen him. Totally not Wesley. And was that smell of a distillery coming from the pores of his skin? My eyes moved to his outfit. His shirttail hung out of his pants, and the collar on his jacket was tucked in on one side while the other looked as though it was saluting the empty air. Lumberjack never looked good on this guy, either. Tom Hanks looked better at the end of his stay on the island in Castaway.
“Can I come in?” He almost stumbled in while asking the question.
“Yeah, sure.” I stood back and watched as he headed to the living room. I noticed he wore his tennis shoes with his dress pants…his wrinkly dress pants. I don’t remember taking the iron.
“Have a seat.” I moved the laundry basket and stuffed the unfolded pajamas on top. “Can I get you something? Have you eaten?”
I know: stop trying to fix every stray that comes knocking. Especially if they’re wearing a collar that reads: “twotimer, soon-to-be ex.” But that’s just who I am. I’m a doctor of all who are sick. No matter what they did to me. And the time we’ve spent apart has certainly helped me forget the initial sting. Maybe in his convoluted, cheating way, he did both of us a good deed. I certainly felt happier in this life versus how the old Amy felt: listless and meandering, sitting in a giant waiting room called our marriage, waiting for things to get better.
“God, I’ve missed you.” He looked at me with a drunkenness in his eyes, but with sincerity in his tone.
My posture straightened and I nonchalantly inched away from him, grabbing at the back of my neck. A sure sign I was uncomfortable. I hope he didn’t notice. The last thing I needed was this kind of drama in my life. For the past six months, I’d been in a really good place. It turned out Mark could be monogamous and has been with only me. At least I think he has; I totally missed the signs of cheating with Wesley. With Mark, though, he’s always texting me, trying to see me, or sending me flowers. Okay, just once I got flowers from him, but it’s one more time than with Wesley. And so what if they were sent as an apology for him working late and missing another date? The walls to his heart have, I feel, officially melted away.
“Wesley, have you been drinking?”
He ran his fingers through his unruly hair. I saw one finger straggle a knot before it broke free. His eyes squinted from the overhead light and focused on mine. “I stopped by the bar on the way over here. I needed a shot of courage in order to see you.”
“A shot of courage? To see me?” I palmed my chest the way Vivian Leigh did in Gone with The Wind. Little ol’ me? The one who he slept nightly next to for the past four years? Seriously. The cat was already out of the bag of what a liar he was. I hadn’t sought retaliation thus far. He knew I was a bigger person than that, I hoped. Never mind the thoughts I had right after it happened that all his hair would fall out spontaneously and his teeth would rot out of their roots. But I’m over it. Truly.
“Yeah, it actually took more like five or six shots of courage. I had to take a cab.” The more vowels he enunciated in the air, the more I realized bourbon was his choice of courage.
“How did you know where I lived?”
“I saw the return address on the attorney’s copies you had mailed to me.”
“Well, I can hardly wait to hear what you’ve come all this way for. Isn’t it a couple hour plane ride just to get here?”
“I’ve sort of been living here for the last three months. I only took leave from the office after the accident and never formally quit, thank God, so I got my job back. And of course, since you left me the house, I’ve been living there.”
My head was reeling. What was going on? This was certainly not a part of the plan. Wesley was supposed to have moved far away with the bimbo and live a miserable life, realizing every day what a mistake he made, although still functioning enough to think he’s currently happy. And I was supposed to be packing tonight, waiting for Mark to bring dinner and then moving in with him next week. To outside appearances it seemed sensible, but to me and my dear ol’ Reverend, it probably sounded like bed-hopping. No marriage certificate to validate such behavior was slightly driving me crazy. Like a mosquito that kept buzzing in my ear at the most fantastic outdoor party I’d ever been at. Not that I wanted a proposal; that would really seem presumptuous. Anyway, his coworkers and the Willises thought we were already married. I could conjure up the same kind of lie in my head to help me sleep better at night next to my live-in boyfriend. At least that’s what I was hoping.
“Where is—?” Her name shot from my memory like a stray bullet. I purposely willed both her name and her face from anywhere it could hide inside my brain. I couldn’t torture myself about what their life was like together and how little I meant to Wesley after so much time together.
“Violet? Hell if I know.” His head swung low. The very mention of her name seemed to have taken out the top vertebrae of his spine and left his neck dangling in midair.
“What do you mean? Isn’t she living here, too? I mean, if you are?”
The very thought of that homewrecker in my house, washing my dishes, sleeping in my bed, taking showers in my bathroom, boiled my blood to a dangerous level. Not that I wanted to be doing those things, but I wasn’t, so no one else could. It put me at ease that I knew Wesley had left the state to do all of those sorts of things with whatever-her-name-is. Great! Now that I was reminded it was Violet, I’d never be able to buy that flower ever again. That’s okay; they’re slow bloomers anyway.
He rubbed his pants with the palm of his hand. It’s a shame it wasn’t hot enough to press out a few of those wrinkles. “It’s a long story, Amy.”
“Well, we have a few minutes. Spill it. And we wouldn’t want all that bourbon go to waste. Isn’t that why you stopped for a drink before coming over?”
He spread his legs apart and lunged over them in a going-to-get-sick position. I kind of felt sorry for the guy. Obviously he was in pain about something.
“It’s over with Violet.” His stare never left the carpet patch his shoes were resting on in front of him.
A second of happiness coursed through me. Did that mean I was jealous? I thought I was just hurt. Jealous meant I still cared, didn’t it? Hurt was for the past. The times I thought we were in the hopeless marriage together. For better or worse. But jealous? I tucked my hand between my legs. Maybe it was to stop from rubbing the shoulder of his jacket. I wasn’t sure. I just needed to keep to my side of the sofa. This guy was no longer my affair. Didn’t he have coworker friends he could go out and get drunk with and cry in his own beer? Why bring his mess to me?
“I don’t know what to say, Wesley. To be sorry that your extra-marital affair that destroyed our marriage broke up is a little out of my comfort zone. I suppose I’ll just say that I’m sorry you’re so torn up by it.”
Was he this broken up about us? Did he go and cry to Violet that we were over? Did I? I think I just sat there for a while with a confused look on my face. Like the people you see in movies wearing a straitjacket. Why couldn’t he have just driven some place different tonight? Why did I have to be home? I can’t deal with this. I don’t know how. One more week and he couldn’t have found me here. I’d safely be tucked in at Mark’s house. At Mark’s house… would I ever think of it as my house, too?
He sat up and looked at me with all the intensity of trying to figure out if I was speaking Japanese or English.
“What?” I asked.
“Amy, are you blaming my affair for the reason we broke up?”
I cleared my throat. Are you kidding me? Wasn’t the brown-haired, skirt-hugging bimbo, standing over his hospital bed, gushing over him, the reason we broke up? I needed a second. I’m pretty sure I’d diagramed this one correctly in my head. What else was to blame? Who else, for that matter?
“Amy, we were practically strangers the last year we lived together.” Suddenly he had sobered up from his five shots at the bar. “We hadn’t had sex for six months. I even spent my birthday on a business trip. When I got home, you handed me an envelope with a gift certificate in it for the golf course.” He situated himself to the edge of the sofa and gestured with his hands. “I don’t even play golf, Amy.”
Suddenly feeling on the defense, I raised my voice. “I was giving you a new hobby, Wesley. Forgive me for trying to spice things up in your life. The sport of television-watching was putting a few pounds around your waist.” So it was a cheap shot; I instantly regretted saying it.
“Golf? You think golf spices up things, Amy?”
Okay, so now that he said it like that, it certainly didn’t. But, I was grasping at straws with how to make him happy. Marion, from work, said her husband always came home from playing golf a happier man. I just wanted Wesley to be happy again.
“Let’s face it, Amy: we were the reason our marriage ended. Violet was just the next step in making it final.”
More than a slap to my face, his comment punched my gut, too. “Oh, really? Well, I wish I was privy to the knowledge you’d moved on. It would’ve been nice to have had that told to me instead of reading a note on the stupid refrigerator that you didn’t love me anymore.”
He inched closer to me, raising his index finger almost within inches of my face. “Now you hold on one minute. I never said I didn’t love you anymore. Short of you cutting out my heart and handing it to me on a plate, I would never stop loving you.”
Well, well, well. That certainly took the wind out of my sail. My gun was empty of ammunition. Why would he say something so stupid? So utterly stupid. Did this mean he still loved me? Because until a few seconds ago, I never allowed myself to define what I felt about Wesley. I didn’t have to. He was out of my life. Someone else’s problem. Somewhere else.
Currently, however, he was now here, in my living room, in my face. Throwing around a finger, saying he loved me. Or was I just reading more into it than what it was? He was just lonely and confused. Who wouldn’t be with all that extra hair and crazy outfit? I swallowed hard and resurrected my self-assertive posture. “What did you come here for, Wesley?”
“I’m sorry, Amy.” The hinge on his neck broke again, leaving it to hang between his shoulders. His imposing finger joined his others and held on to his other hand.
“It’s over, Wesley. Let’s get past it. We both were at fault, but you more so for having an affair behind my back. At least I never gave up on us. That night you wrecked, I was home waiting for you in this godforsaken lingerie I’d bought at the mall. You would’ve gotten a laugh if you’d seen me come through those doors of the hospital, pulling closed a trench coat I’d pulled from the closet on my way out the door.”
He looked up and grabbed his mouth. “You didn’t! Amy! You bought lingerie for me?”
“Wesley, you missed the point that I was wearing it in public.”
His eyes changed. They were full of sober sincerity when he looked at me now. “I’m just touched that you bought and wore lingerie for me. I know how you think it’s trashy to see girls in those kinds of things.”
“My mother taught me that. I was just self-conscious of what I looked like in it. I never thought I’d be pretty in something that showed so much of my body.”
His hand roamed over to my knee and rested on it. “Amy, you’re beautiful.”
I couldn’t move. How was his hand controlling my ability to breathe in and out? I’d never once felt uncomfortable with Wesley. Somehow not even when I accidently tooted in the car on the way to the movies that one time. I just shook my head and smiled, knowing he’d heard it but would never give me grief about it. I had enchiladas and beans, for goodness’ sakes. No one is perfect when it comes to beans and gas!
“Well, I’ve got packing to do. And Mark is on his way over here.”
I stood up and hoped he’d do the same. Instead, he broke down. His face buried in his hands, he wept. I knelt and took him into my arms. All of the discomfort of his visit disappeared when I saw him crying. Jim Beam-scented air puffed from his mouth as he spoke into my chest.
“I screwed up, Amy.”
Slightly rocking him like a baby, I smoothed back his coarse hair. “We screwed up, Wesley. But life goes on. You’re going to be fine.”
He pulled back and looked at me with hurt in his brown eyes. “I’ve lost everything. Not just you, but Violet took all my money and I haven’t been able to find her.”
I backed up from him. “What? What do you mean she took your money? Certainly you mean the money in the checking account. Not your money in the trust fund? Tell me you didn’t give her access to that, Wesley.”
We had a deal from the beginning: Wesley kept his trust in his own account and I kept mine in my separate account. At one time I had an account for Ashley, but she burned through that years ago.
His eyes shifted back to the carpet. I saw a small tear crawl down his cheek and he wiped his nose with the back of his hand.
“How much are we talking?”
“Well let’s just say, the bank has no need to send me a statement anymore.”
My eyes nearly popped from their sockets. “Wesley! There was fifty thousand in there, last time I saw the statement.”
“That’s not the half of it. I put that into an account with Violet after I signed for a restaurant, a new car, and a one year lease on a house in Nevada.”
I didn’t know how to shut my gaping mouth. In none of my thoughts about wishing Wesley a ping of weekly hurt for cheating did they include him going down in financial ruin. I shook my head like a parent does when their child confesses to spending their last dime on a piece of gum that loses flavor in ten seconds.
“What are you going to do?”
He pushed himself back into the cushions of our still shared sofa and spanned his legs wide apart again. “Well, let’s see. I spent the first two weeks she left me in a stupor on the floor in the kitchen. When I finally came to consciousness from my drunkenness, I didn’t have far to grab a box of cereal and eat it. I needed to maintain my strength, you know.” He looked at me briefly, puckered out his lower lip and shook his head up and down. “Then, about week three, I called Jeff and asked to come back to work. Thank God I didn’t completely mess that up. I never checked back in after my medical leave. As far as he thought, I was still recuperating.
“I saw Margaret in the store a couple months ago. She asked how you were. I said fine and left it like that. I pretended to be running late so she wouldn’t ask anything else. I didn’t want to go there with her. Not in public, at least.”
I sunk back, matching his broken posture.
Jeff and Margaret are husband and wife and were dear friends of Wesley’s father and mother. Jeff was an attorney in our dads’ law firm. After our dads died in the plane crash, Jeff became sole owner of the firm and kept Wesley on, hoping one day that Wesley would take his law board exam and take over his dad’s position. Years later, it remained open in the air.
“Thank goodness. As far as everyone is concerned, I was pretty banged up from the accident and now I’m back to work. It didn’t hurt that Jeff’s been occupied with something personal that’s taken him from work. He’s none the wiser of what’s been going on and I haven’t breathed a word of it to anyone there. I don’t need that right now. At least I took my problems to Nevada and kept them there.”
I snapped back up on the edge of the sofa frame. “What? Jeff and Margaret still think we’re…that we’re? No one still knows that…” I couldn’t say it. Why was this happening?
“It turns out it’s the only thing I did right by not saying anything. You wouldn’t believe what he called me into his office yesterday and said, Amy.”
I waited with bated breath. “What?”
He pulled himself out of the contour of the comfortable chair. This looked serious as he took a breath before saying whatever it was.
“He said that there’s a second trust.”
“Huh?” I heard him; I just wasn’t sure what it meant.
“It seems that Dad, in his infinite trust that I wouldn’t be a total screw-up, had a trust for my thirtieth birthday. But the contingency was that I had to be married for at least five years to get it. Of course, it also stated that if I was partner in the law practice, more was waiting for me, but I certainly can’t fake that.”
“We only had four years and we’re getting a divorce. Certainly you can’t fake that, either, Wesley.” I was a bit relieved and saddened at the same time. It was out of my control, but I felt this was his dad’s way of screwing him over from the grave.
Mr. Whitfield never made it easy for Wesley. He always called him a momma’s boy and that he’d probably end up in an apartment, gaming all day, letting some woman take care of him. The Wesley I knew never gave him any reason to say those terrible things. I wasn’t sure why there was so much animosity between those two.
“Technically, but this past year, while we’ve been…whatever, counted as our fifth.”
Lights came on in my brain. This was the reason for Wesley’s visit. The reason he had to stop off and drink himself courage to come over and ask me to lie in order for him to get what was owed to him. What did it matter? As much as I felt betrayed as his wife, I didn’t wish him to suffer for eternity for it. Obviously he needed it now more than ever.
“What do I have to do? Go and sign a document or something?” I shook my head and let out a sigh, as if it was an inconvenience to do it. But truthfully, it wouldn’t kill me. What would signing a paper cause me? He deserved something bad for cheating on me, but not from his father. And hadn’t Violet already taken care of that mission? He was penniless, in a bad lease, owner of a bad business deal, and now needed some living room furniture to replace all of it I had taken. Oh, and let’s not forget most of the dinner plates, treadmill, and towels and washcloths.
The tension in his back released and he let out a sigh. “Oh Amy, you don’t mind agreeing we’re still married?”
“Well, like you said, technically we are. You’ve refused to sign the paperwork making it official.”
I stood up and grabbed the basket of clothes, carrying them to another chair. I felt this time together had to end soon. Mark would be home any minute. I’d just sign the paper and have Wesley out of my life again. And knowing he was not in financial distress would let me sleep better at nights.
“Where is it?”
“Where is what?” He stood up and pulled his pants down that had ridden up on him while sitting. “I can’t believe you’d do this for me. After all that’s happened.”
“Yeah, well, I can’t see your dad holding this back from you just because we didn’t make it.” I stood in front of the mirror and pulled my hair out of the ponytail. I took out a lip gloss from my purse that was sitting on the floor and glided the pink across my lips. “Did you bring the paper with you or do I need to go to the office to have it notarized? I really hate to speed this up, but I’ve got Mark coming over with dinner. It wouldn’t be cool if you were here when he arrived.” I pursed my lips, trying to talk while applying the color.
“What are you doing?” He walked closer to me.
“I’m getting ready.”
“Ready for what?” He stood against the wall and crossed his arms, looking at me with arched eyebrows.
“Isn’t he just bringing takeout? You’re not even leaving the apartment, Amy. You never wore lip stuff when we’d eat.”
I closed the gloss and threw it back in my bag. “Well, you never bought me a restaurant, a new car, and cheated with me on your wife.” I smiled a snotty smile at him and winked. “So, I guess we’re even for not doing things that we used to.”
“Now, give me the paper so I can sign it so you can leave.” I can’t be burdened any longer with your unkempt appearance. It’s not my problem anymore. It’s not my problem anymore. Repeating the mantra helped with my
determination to get him out of there.
“Whatever I need to sign to say we’re still married.”
He scoffed, throwing his head toward the ceiling. “It’s not really a paper.”
I stopped mid-stride from the living room to the kitchen. “Well, what is it then?”
He cleared his throat and coughed quietly into his balled fist. His expression changed from at ease to seriousness. “You remember what’s coming up, right?”
“Wesley, I don’t have the time to play a guessing game. What do I have to do to ensure your money?”
He rushed to me, clasping his hands in pleading fashion. “Amy, you have to come.”
I swung around and almost bumped into him. His liquored breath lingered in the clean air around me. “Come where?”
“It’s my birthday on Friday. You know we always go to the cabin with Jeff, Margaret, and the others for Thanksgiving. They’re expecting us. And if we don’t go, Jeff will know something is up and he won’t sign over the trust to me.”
He spoke so fast I had a hard time deciphering what he was saying. All I heard was: if we don’t go. We. We go? Oh, no, no, no. Not me. I couldn’t. I was with Mark. This was not something I could do now. Not ever.
“You’re going to have to think of something to say then, because I can’t go with you.”
He grabbed my hands and held them tight to his chest. I could feel the warmth of his body and the erratic beats of his heart. His eyes pierced me right to the core of everything I ever felt for this man. “Amy, I’m on my knees.” He actually dropped to his knees, still squeezing the life from my hands. “I’ll go bankrupt if you don’t.”
“Stand up, Wesley.” I shook my hands from his grasp and pulled him up. “Surely, I can be sick or something. There has to be another way around this.”
“There isn’t.” He was now eye level to me and not much air could drift between where we stood apart from each other. I swore his eyes were tearing up. “Just go and I’ll make something up why we have to leave early. All I need you for is Thanksgiving. Then you’ll never have to see me. If you don’t want to.”
I could’ve melted in those eyes at one time. Several times, actually. I was sad to admit it to myself, but he still had the ability to get me to do anything for him. No matter what a cheating louse he’d been. Because deep down, I knew there was truth to what he’d said. We were already finished, practically before flower-girl arrived in the picture. She just pushed the knife through for the final split.
He let go of my hands and embraced me with a most fierce grip. I felt my air push out from my lungs most forcibly. He hadn’t hugged me that tight in maybe forever. I shoved him slightly away. “I mean, okay, I’ll loan you the money in my trust fund. That way you can get back on your feet and see what your options are.”
“What?” Tiny lines around his eyes webbed at the realization of what I was offering. “Amy, we’re not talking twenty thousand. I’m in hock for two hundred thousand, or more. I don’t know what I can get for that restaurant. If it’ll even sell. I think I bought into a bad investment.”
“Why would you go and buy a stupid restaurant, anyway? You wouldn’t even buy me a new mixer. You said the one I had worked just fine.”
“She’s a chef, Amy. She wanted to start her own restaurant. What can I say? I was stupid.”
“Yeah, say it a few more times. I like the sound of it.”
I know that sounds mean, but seriously? I was with the guy practically all my life and he still wouldn’t let me eat French fries in his precious Jeep. And this girl gets a restaurant and a new car? Come on.
“This trust fund, Amy, is seven hundred thousand dollars.”
I had to catch myself from falling over. “You mean to tell me your dad has seven hundred thousand in an account and it’s with the stipulation you’re married to get it? How completely absurd.”
“I’ll give you half, of course. Who knows what I’d get if I’d made partner.” He shook his head. “I can’t think of that.”
Wesley might be stupid about slut-like extra-marital affairs and moronically buying restaurants. And he might even be stupid about some of the times in our marriage. But I’d have to give it to him for fairness. He would give me half of it if I let him. But I didn’t want it. This was his. And I no longer was a part of that now.
“No, I don’t want it. It’s yours, Wesley. I’m just sorry your dad was such a terrible man to hold it hostage with conditions.”
“So, then will you go to Thanksgiving dinner with me at the cabin? Just for dinner? I’ll think up a reason to leave afterwards.”
What could it hurt? I had plans to go with Mark to his mother’s, but I could tell him and he’d understand. Okay, so maybe he wouldn’t, but this would be the last time for sure. I’d go like every year, smile, and collect Wesley’s trust fund money and be done. With him, with the money, with everything. It would finally be over.
“Fine. But just for the dinner. We have to come back that evening. I’ll still get to see Mark and he won’t be that upset.”
I was certain I saw Wesley roll his eyes when I said the part about Mark. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” He swung me around in the air.
When he let me go, he pressed a quick kiss on my cheek. I stood, unable to move. As soon as he backed up, I guess he realized how inappropriate it was. His hands held my hips as he looked me in the eyes. “I’m sorry. Was that wrong to do?”
I pulled at my shirt and tried to get my wits. “Kind of.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll go.”
He walked toward the door and suddenly I felt bad. He was just happy. I shouldn’t have looked as though he did something wrong. God knows he has no one now. Great! Something new I’d have to worry about.
“Hey, Wesley. Don’t worry about it. It’s all good. If we can’t be friends after all this time, something’s wrong, I guess.”
He turned back to look at me before he put his hand on the doorknob. “I hope there never comes a day that we can’t be at least friends, Amy. I’ll call you later and we’ll decide on what time to go.”
I smiled and waved.
At least be friends? I should’ve thought about that. What did “at least” mean?
*Disclosure – I work as a VA for this author and received my copy for free. This did not influence my review and all opinions are my own.