George shrugs. “John does what John wants.”
Boy, does that sound familiar.
“he said he can’t afford to lose both of his best investment bankers.”
“What does that mean? has Drew not been going to work?”
A small, wishful flame flickers in my stomach. Maybe Drew is just as devastated as I am. Maybe he’s gone into hibernation again—like he did the last time.
George quickly douses my poor little flame. “No, no he’s been there . . .”
“. . . twice, actually. And drunker than a longshoreman on leave, from what I heard. When John asked him about your resignation letter, Drew told him to mind his own business—in his own colorful way, of course. Needless to say, his future at the firm is . . .
fluid . . . at the moment.”
I interpret this information the only way I can, considering who Drew was keeping company with the last time I saw him.
“Wow. he must be having a really good time if he’s still drunk the morning after.”
George tilts his head to the side. “I wouldn’t quite look at it that way, Kate.”
I clench my jaw stubbornly. And lie. “It doesn’t matter. I don’t care anymore.”
There’s a moment of silence, and George stares at the pattern on the teacup. Then he purses his lips. And his voice is hushed— reverent—like talking in church. “I don’t know how much Drew told you about my Janey.”
Quite a lot, actually. Janey Reinhart was a wonderful woman— kind, bright, warm.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer when Drew was ten and fought it for four years. Drew told me the day she passed away was the day he realized that bad things really happen—and not just to people you read about in the newspaper.
“When she died . . . I wanted to die too. And I would have, if it wasn’t for Steven. Because that’s what children are, Kate. Life renewed.”
I know he means well. Really I do. But I can’t handle this.
I’m not ready to deal with the speech about how lucky I am to be pregnant.
“Still . . . it was . . . awful. For a long time, it was just one terrible moment after the next. You know Steven has his mother’s eyes. Looking at him is like looking at Janey. And there were some days—really bad days—that I almost hated him for it.”
I suck in a quick breath. This isn’t the pep talk I was expecting.
“But still, time marched on. And things became . . . bearable.
I gained a daughter-in-law and a beautiful granddaughter. And eventually, it didn’t hurt to breathe.”
Tears creep into my eyes. Because I know what he’s saying. I know that pain.
“But it wasn’t until I met your mother that the part of me that died with Janey came back to life. That I was whole again.”
I rub my eyes dry and scoff, “So what are you telling me, George? I’ll find another Drew again? It may just take fifteen years or so?”
Bitterness? Not attractive. Yeah—I know.
George’s shakes his head slowly. “No, Kate. You’ll never find another Drew. Just like I’ll never have another Janey, and your mother will never have another Nate. But . . . what I’m trying to tell you is . . . the heart heals. And life goes on . . . and brings you with it . . . even if you don’t want to go.”
I bite my bottom lip. And nod my head. I put the cup back on the tray, ending the conversation. George pulls himself out of the beanbag chair and picks up the tray. he walks to the door, but he turns back to me before he goes through it.
“I know you probably don’t want to hear this right now, but . . .
I’ve known Drew his whole life. I watched him grow up with Matthew and Steven and Alexandra. I’m not defending him; I have no idea why he’s made the choices he has. But . . . I can’t help but feel sorry for him. Because one day he’s going to open his eyes and realize that he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. And because I love him like a son . . . the pain he’s going to feel that day . . . well . . .
it breaks my heart.”
I don’t want to hear this. I don’t have the patience to feel sorry for Drew.
But I appreciate his effort. “I’m really glad you’re with my mom, George. I’m . . . grateful that she has you. Thank you.”
he smiles warmly. “I’ll be close by. Just give a call if you need anything.”
I nod. And he closes the door behind him.
I want to be moved by George’s words. Inspired. Motivated to drag my ass out of this bed. But I’m just too . . . tired. So I lay back down, wrap myself up in my blanket cocoon, and go to sleep.
On the third day, I rise again.
I don’t really have much of a choice anymore. Lying around and breathing your own stench isn’t exactly effective in lifting the spirits. Oh—and I’ve still been having morning sickness, like clockwork, in the same bucket my mother used to put beside my bed when I had a stomach virus. Yummy. Plus, I’m pretty sure if I squeeze my hair, I’ll have enough grease to cook up a large fry at McDonald’s.
Yeah—I’d say it’s time to get up.
I drag myself to the bathroom, my movements stiff and slow.
I take a long, hot shower—almost scalding. And the steam billows out behind me as I walk back into my room.
My mom’s a saver. Not like the hoarders you see on that TLC show, but she’s kept all the little mementos I didn’t take with me to college and beyond.
See them? On those freshly dusted shelves? Little League trophies, science fair medals, and field day ribbons, next to framed photos of Delores, Billy, and me at graduation and halloween and Delores’s eighteenth birthday party.
I grab my bottle of body lotion out of my bag, but as the smell hits me I freeze. Vanilla and lavender. Drew’s favorite scent. he can’t get enough of it. Sometimes he drags his nose up my spine, sniffing and tickling me.
My chest tightens. And I toss the bottle in the trash can.
Glancing back to my bag, I notice my cell phone. It had been lying under the bottle of lotion, almost as if it were hiding on purpose.
It’s been off since the flight. I consider calling Delores, but I quickly scrap that idea. Why ruin her vacation so she can rush home to commit premeditated murder?
Okay—you’re right—I’m lying. I haven’t called Delores because there’s still a small, shriveled part of me that’s hoping Drew will change his mind. That he’ll find a way to fix this. And I won’t have to give my best friend a reason to hate him. Well . . . another reason.