“Thank you for coming.” Roy shook another man’s hand while she tried to hold focus and nod and listen to the kind words of Melinda and Shane’s friends and neighbors. The church steps were filled with people dressed in somber clothing, each introducing him or herself and offering anything they might need during their stay in Corbin’s Bend.
“And if you need someone to watch Ben while you put things in order….” The middle aged woman smiled down at the little boy holding Roy’s hand. “He and I are old friends, right Benny?”
He kept his gaze fixed on the ground and didn’t answer. In fact, hadn’t spoken a word since their arrival. Shock, the pediatrician in Denver said. To be expected when a child lost both parents so suddenly. Nothing to worry about. Just try to keep things as normal as possible for him.
Like…. Don’t move him to the city right away. Give him a little time to adjust.
And Roy, helpful as always, informed the doctor that they would stay until Ben spoke, however long that took.
She shifted from one foot to another. What was the purpose of standing here talking to complete strangers who she would never see again? Sure, she’d accepted her sister and brother-in law’s funeral arrangements. Not that there’s been a choice. By the time they arrived, the very efficient attorney had everything in place and the service scheduled. Everything as laid out in their will. All she had to do for her only living relative….
She swallowed the tears that threatened. Melinda was no longer a living relative, but the little redheaded boy who stood in silence was. And her every instinct insisted she get him out of the backwater town and home to the city where he could get therapy. And preschool. The child was nearly four and had never been enrolled in anything.
She’d need to get started right away if he stood a chance of getting into a good school. Most of her co-workers had their kids started much younger than Ben was. And a nanny. Interviewing for a nanny would take time. They had only taken a one week leave and they’d already been in Corbin’s Bend for a day. Surely a small child couldn’t stay silent much longer. She’d get her PA on the phone and have her line up some interviews with nannies and preschools. After she determined which were the best agencies and institutions.
“Ben, we’re going out to lunch now. Would you like that?” Come on, nephew, talk to me. Auntie needs to get back to the city.
He stared up at her with her sister’s sea-green eyes. Her own eyes, but wide and without a trace of guile or the shadows underneath that greeted her in the mirror each morning. A young woman paused in front of them and dropped to her knees. Freiya, the kindergarten teacher who’d stayed with Ben until their arrival the night before.
“Hi, Benny, you doing okay?” She offered him a soft smile and patted his cheek. “Of course you are. You’re a big boy.” Standing again, she brushed at her skirt and nodded. “He’ll be okay. He just needs a little time to adjust.”
Roy released Ben’s hand and shook the teacher’s. “Yes, that’s what he needs. And we’ll give him as much as necessary. Family comes first, after all.”
Teri cringed inside. Yes, she’d agreed to give the child time, but how much would it require? And how long would it take the local authorities to find the culprit who’d left her sister and Shane to die at the side of the road?
“I’m new here, too, you know, but it already feels like home.” Freiya rested her other hand on top of their joined ones then released him. “You’re good people and we’re all so glad you’re here. Just be sure to approach the Board for temporary residency if you’re here longer than a week.”
What? “We need permission to stay in the home my sister and her husband owned?”
“They didn’t own the unit, per se. None of us do…it’s a co-op. Melinda never explained that to you?”
“No, she certainly did not.” Teri’s blood pressure rose, and her voice. What more complications could arise that would take up their precious time. “So some board of strangers has to decide if we are allowed to stay long enough for my nephew to recover his voice after being orphaned? I cannot believe what I am hearing.” She listened to herself as if from a distance, wishing, but unable to stop herself. What kind of an ass shrieked at near-strangers at her only sister’s funeral. But somehow it kept the sobs at bay, the sense of loss under control.
“Now, now, what’s going on here?” The priest, Father…Father Henry, who had conducted the archaic ritual over the combined ashes joined them. “Is everything all right? Mrs. Sims, Teri, you are not yourself.” He cast her a glance and then spoke to Roy. “Perhaps you should take your wife home and let her rest. She’s undergone a huge loss.”
The condescension sent her temper the rest of the way out of control. “Speak to me if you would. I do not need to rest. What I need is to go to my home in the city and get back to work. Every day I am away could cost me clients. They depend on me for their financial well-being.” To her shame her shrillness wouldn’t stop until she clamped a hand over her mouth. God, would this horrible day never end?
Hi to everyone back at the office!
I just wanted to take a moment and send a thanks for your kind wishes for our new life here in beautiful Corbin’s Bend, Colorado. A very …unusual community. The summer days are long and lazy but soon Ben will be in pre-school and I will be working hard again. Just not in the City with you.
I am doing my best to fit in, but some days are harder than others. After all, a family can only eat sandwiches and cereal for dinner so many nights before I start to worry about their health. At least we can grill outside in this beautiful weather and I’ve been practicing a few other things, like rice. Did you know that’s hard?
And I miss sushi.
Don’t tell any clients but I’m like as not in pajamas until late morning…a real benefit of working from home. Roy surprised me with a pair of red silk PJs that makes me feel glamorous…anyway TMI about the pajamas. Just picture me in a suit.
I will be flying back to New York next month for some meetings and I will be so glad to see you all! I guarantee you I will be in a suit then.
I just heard a loud “Oops” from the bathroom and I need to rush off and see what Ben has gotten into now. The little imp has an endless curiosity. And he’s smarter than me.
But don’t worry, I’ve got my clients under control. I’m not completely domesticated yet.
For Ben is available here
Here is a little something from my WIP…hope you enjoy!
He fought his usual reaction to her words. He’d zipped up and walked away before when she became shrewish, but this time he brought his hand down on her cheek in a flurry of slaps, holding her in place with the other. “But, wife, surely you don’t expect me to leave you hanging, just to take my own pleasure.” He spanked over her upper thighs, making handprints that overlapped to his great satisfaction. But this time anger was not in the game. He was hot for her form and anxious to bring her back to the soft woman he remembered, who he’d glimpsed in the living room. “This is our evening together and we are going to enjoy it.”
Roy’s passion for his wife surged along with the flush on her backside. Cherry red suited her, and if she couldn’t sit down at work in comfort the next day, perhaps she’d remember how she had attempted—yes, attempted, because this time he was not going to let her have her way—to change their plans. If she insisted, they were over.
Visit all the Saturday Spankings participants!
Have a great weekend!