Between the Lines

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Chapter 2

A couple of days after Mark had left, Keeley received a phone call from her mother in law. Joan Scott had always been critical of her son’s choice of wife, and Keeley was convinced that she had even gone so far as to try and talk Mark into canceling the wedding. Mark had denied this when she'd asked him, but not very convincingly. Although she had never come right out and said so, Keeley knew the woman did not think Keeley was good enough for Joan’s only son. Ed Scott had always been nice to Keeley, but he had never stood up for her against his wife’s criticisms and snide comments. If she had thought about the matter at all, Keeley would have confidently predicted that Joan would be ecstatic at the news that her son had finally come to his senses, and was divorcing his unsuitable spouse. Therefore, Keeley was very much surprised to learn that Joan was strongly and vocally opposed to the separation.

"You're adults, not children living in some fairy tale, Keeley. Occasionally men stray, it doesn’t mean anything to them, and it doesn't need to mean anything to you. You need to forgive and forget in order for all of us to put this behind us and get on with our lives. Mark can take you on a fabulous vacation or buy you something outrageously expensive to make this up to you. It's beyond ridiculous to throw ten years of marriage away over something like this."

Obviously, Mark hasn’t told her about the baby yet, Keeley realized. She was patiently listening as Joan continued trying to bully her into submission, as she had successfully so many times before, when it suddenly occurred to Keeley that she no longer had to put up with Joan’s interference in her life. She couldn’t quite make herself hang up in the middle of Joan’s harangue, but as soon as the older woman paused for breath, Keeley interjected.

"I guess Mark forgot to mention that he's divorcing me to marry the woman who is pregnant with his child." At Joan’s sudden, shocked intake of breath, Keeley added sweetly “Oh, and congratulations on being about to become a grandma!’ She then hung up the phone, feeling a sense of for once having had the upper hand over her mother in law. She’s Chelsea’s problem now, she thought with satisfaction, and a certain malicious amusement. She remembered when she was a little girl, and something unpleasant would happen, her father would always tell her that every cloud had a silver lining. Losing Joan was definitely a silver lining, possibly even solid gold.

Kira was a bastion of support for Keeley over the next few weeks. There was a seemingly endless list of tasks that had to be done. As the eldest child, and by far the most responsible, Keeley had been made executor of her mother’s estate. There were dozens of details to take care of to get the will probated, her mother’s house ready to be listed and sold, as well as her possessions distributed or given away to charity. Keeley's sister Erin and brother Aiden did not offer to help, and the few times she asked them to take on some of the responsibilities, they protested that they didn’t have the time. Keeley had taken compassionate leave from work to care for her mother the last few weeks of her life. Instead of going back to work after her mothers death as she had originally planned, she resigned from the accounting firm where she, Mark and Chelsea had all worked. It was a large firm, but there was no way she could face working there with all the gossip, and the probability of running into her ex and his girlfriend always present. So, she supposed that since she didn’t have to go to a job, and Erin and Aiden did, it made sense that the burden of responsibility should fall on her shoulders. At least she had Kira’s invaluable and unstinting assistance.

Keeley had told her siblings about her pending divorce, and was dismayed by the reactions of both. Aiden had just said “Really? That’s too bad,” and Erin had cynically advised her to get the best divorce lawyer in town and take Mark to the cleaners. Keeley tried to convince herself that they were focused on grieving for their mother, which would naturally take precedence over their sister’s problems. Still, the occasional phone call or text to see how she was doing would have been nice.

Ignoring her sister’s advice, Keeley had come up with what she thought was a fair division of assets, and when she presented it to Mark, he made no objection. At least they would not have to go through a bitter, acrimonious divorce. That was something positive in this whole mess that had suddenly become her life.

She listed the townhouse, continuing to live in it while waiting for it to sell. The realtor had been very encouraging, telling her it was a very desirable property in a great neighborhood, and that it was currently a seller’s market. Keeley had been astounded, and a little doubtful at the high listing price she had recommended. However, the realtor had obviously known what she was talking about. The third couple to view the house had made close to a full price offer, and now Keeley had just over six weeks to pack everything up, sell or otherwise get rid of whatever she didn’t want, and find a new place to live.

Kira had tentatively suggested that Keeley might want to consider seeing a counselor to deal with the grief of losing her mother, and the compounded issue of her marriage breaking up at the same time. Keeley had given the suggestion some serious thought, but decided she would reserve that idea for when, and if, she felt like she wasn’t able to deal with her problems on her own. She truly believed she was coping quite well at the present time. She was kept busy with all the work there was to do, and she was dealing with the inevitable stress of her situation by going to yoga classes, taking long walks, and journalling about how she was feeling. She wouldn't have wanted anyone to get their hands on her journal, but writing everything out was proving to be very cathartic. In addition, these activities were giving her some added insight into her life that had been lacking before. She still wasn’t sleeping particularly well, but she attributed that to her seeming inability to break the habit of drinking too much coffee, and the uncertainty of what her future would look like.

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