A NOTE BEFORE READING: I began sharing weekly excerpts from my novel, The Somebody Who, on June 26th. If you want to begin at the beginning, go here. If you want to read the book in its entirety, head over to Amazon and purchase a copy. (There’s a button on the left that will take you there).
“Good morning, Claudia,” Evelyn says somewhat groggily, as she enters the kitchen at 9:00 on Friday morning.
“Good morning!” Claudia responds, always surprised to see Evelyn at an “early” hour. “You’re up at the crack of dawn! What’s that about?”
“It’s just so nice to have Joy here,” Evelyn explains, walking to the coffeemaker. “I want to spend as much time with her as I can.
“Do you know if she’s up yet?” Evelyn then asks, yawning like a lion on some Discovery Channel special.
“Oh, Evelyn,” Claudia chuckles, “you make me laugh.”
“So glad to provide a service.”
“Joy is already out. She is taking Davy for a walk.”
“Really?” Evelyn asks.
“They left thirty minutes ago.”
“God bless the child,” Evelyn says, shaking her head, as she meanders out of the kitchen.
Evelyn is enjoying her coffee on the front steps when she hears the phone ring. “Claudia!” she calls into the house. “Will you pick that up?”
A few seconds later, Claudia appears at the door. “It’s a woman named Ashley Morgan. Do you want to speak with her?”
“Ashley!” Evelyn says. “Oh, shit!”
“Ashley!” Evelyn repeats, a half minute later, this time into the telephone and without conveying any “oh shit” nuances, “I’m so glad you called.”
“Yes, hello, Mrs. Bennett. I wanted to confirm our appointment for this weekend. Um, should I come up tomorrow or Sunday?”
Having not begun to look for the drawings she’s promised to the auction, Evelyn goes for the option that will buy her more time. “I think Sunday will work best,” she tells Ashley.
“I’d love to help you look for the drawings!” Joy says, pouring herself some coffee after returning with Davy from their walk. “That’s so great that they asked for them, and I’m glad you said yes. Will you go to the event?”
“I think so. Ashley said she would give me two comps.”
“So, I guess you’ll be taking Angie?” Joy asks, refilling her mother’s mug.
“Not sure,” Evelyn responds, her mood changing subtly. “Angie’s been a bit of a flake lately.”
Then, off her mother’s glance, Joy adds, “Sorry. That was a little catty of me.”
“That’s okay,” Evelyn says, “I’m actually curious about your opinion. Angie seems so different to me these days, but maybe she’s always been this way.”
“Well,” Joy says, mirroring her mother’s now pensive, analytical tone, “how do you see her these days?”
“I don’t know,” Evelyn responds, hesitant to articulate, yet knowing the words are probably there. “Insincere, I guess. Self-involved. Her energy seems a little compensatory, you know, a little—”
“Frenetic?” Joy suggests.
“Maybe,” Evelyn replies, nodding. “Maybe. So, what do you think?”
“Not a fan,” Joy responds, matter-of-factly.
“Nope. I’ve never trusted her.”
“How do you mean?” Evelyn asks.
“I think her interest was always in Dad. I think she had a major crush on him when you two first met and started hanging out. I don’t know if she thought she could do anything about it, but I think that attraction is what kept her coming back. Now, unfortunately, the object of her affections is M.I.A. So, what’s in it for her?”
Evelyn lowers her head as the tears well up in her eyes. “That’s sad,” she says quietly.
“I’m sorry, Mom. Candy-coating it would have been disrespectful. And, it’s just my opinion. I could be completely off the mark.”
“No, no,” Evelyn responds, her voice cracking a bit. “It’s okay. And I think you might be right. I think if you were completely off the mark, it wouldn’t sting so much.”
“I’m sorry,” Joy says again, as she brings her mother into a hug.
* * *
to be continued on December 18th .
In the meantime, if you want to read a short piece about the back story, click here.