If You Only Knew

Page 95

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Leo, always interested in my personal problems-though he never shares his own-glances at me sharply. "Wow."
We're home again. Loki rises stiffly and burps in my ear. I turn off the ignition and stay put, my hands still on the wheel. "So she recognized my name, and now I know she knows I know. You know?"
"Uh...sure." He smiles a little. "Were you okay, seeing her?"
"It was shocking. A little distressing." I swallow.
It made me miss my dad, oddly enough.
Leo tucks a strand of hair behind my ear, his eyes intent on the task. "Would you like me to come to your apartment and you can tell me about it and cry on my shoulder, and then we can fool around?"
"It's kind of our thing, isn't it?"
He smiles again, that heartbreaker smile, because, hand to God, that's the best smile I've ever seen, so wide and unexpected, his whole face transformed, and that slightly tragic shadow flies out the window when he smiles.
No doubt. I'm in love.
Rachel may be right. This is a disaster waiting to happen.
A few weeks after my weekend in the city, a package arrives. It's a gift-wrapped book from a little bookstore the next town over-Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. There's a handwritten note card, too. How rare is that? "Thought you might like this. -Gus"
I know the premise of the book-the serial killer who only offs the bad guys-but I never had the guts to watch the show on TV. Neither did Adam, who has no tolerance for gore.
I think Gus is probably wrong. I've never read that type of book. But the fact that he thought of me-is thinking of me-is a little pearl in my day. A day which could use a whole string of pearls, because the girls have had springtime colds for six days now, and they view blowing their noses on the same level as having their hands held over an open flame. I've smeared Vicks VapoRub on their chests and the soles of their feet-it works, trust me. I ran the humidifier and cuddled and made chicken soup and got up in the night when Rose cried because "my tongue is hard!" Gave them long baths and ran the shower so the room would steam up. Slept in the guest room with Grace the night her cough was a little scary, took her to the pediatrician the next day with the other two to rule out pneumonia. Somehow, the cold made Charlotte revert back to pants-wetting, so I had to change her outfit four times one day, and she insisted on wearing the red turtleneck which is so hard to get off her extremely round head, and she screamed when it got stuck.
And still, I managed to keep them happy.
So today, when all three are finally mostly over their colds and back on their regular sleep schedules, I pour myself a glass of wine and sit down on the screened-in sunporch. It's that time of early June when the sun sets over the Hudson in a long, lingering fade of pink and yellow, and the birds serenade each other in long ripples of song.
I bring the book with me and start reading.
I was wrong. Gus was right.
I love the book.
I only go in when it's too dark to read, and then I curl up in my big chair and keep reading. Adam is doing something on the computer, surrounded by papers and files. He's grouchy, but I'll hand it to him. No more long days at the office. He's home by six every night. We've been doing couple things. Dinner with Jared and Kimber last week. Adam was devoted and affectionate and kind of a perfect date, but I found myself looking at Jared and wondering if I should warn him. Tell him never to cheat on Kimber, to take care of her heart, because it's clear that she loves him so, so much.
Obviously, I didn't say anything. I don't think Jared's the cheating type. I'd swear to it, really.
Very conveniently, Emmanuelle has left Triple B. Adam told me last week. He told her he couldn't work with her and he'd be looking for another job. Surprisingly, she jumped ship and took another job in the city before he needed to quit. It was a huge relief; I wouldn't run into her at the grocery store or post office. And Adam said he was glad, too; he did love working so close to home. Translation: I'm a devoted family man, see?
I didn't quite believe him, so I drove into Ossining, tracked down a pay phone and called Triple B and asked for Emmanuelle in a bad British accent. "Ms. St. Pierre no longer works at this office," Lydia said. "Can I transfer you to-"
I hung up, relieved and disgusted with myself at the same time.
But she's gone.
So I win.
Adam looks up from his work. I can feel his stare, but I don't stop reading. This book is a little barrier. A gift from a male friend, and since I never did tell Adam about Gus, it feels delicious and secret.
Adam and I are sleeping together again. Having sex. A couple of times, anyway. I can't say I'm really in the mood, but we have to, almost. That's what husbands and wives do. We are, however, using two condoms.
"Why are you reading that book?" he asks now, scowling at the cover.
"It's giving me ideas on how to get rid of your body," I answer without looking up.
"That's not funny," he says. "Honey. Really."
Oh, it's pretty funny. But I grant him a little smile over the pages, then keep reading.
* * *
A few days later, I make plans with Jared to have lunch. School is winding down for the girls; next week is their last, so I want to do a few grown-up things while I still have the time. Donna is happy to pick them up.

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