Sherilyn made over certainly validated Arlette’s original appraisal that made over she’d be the prettiest girl anywhere she went. She turned heads, and men stared at her.
Even Rick, who had been a party to the makeover was overwhelmed.
Katie chuckled, “Told you so,” she said.
Sherilyn herself was embarrassed by it. She had been a frumpy, plain looking schoolteacher, at least in her own mind. Rick started to change that by telling her she was pretty. The makeover was gradual enough that she didn’t put it all together until she looked in the mirror fully dressed, after Arlette did her hair and Katie did her make-up. She wasn’t a model or dancer type. She was curvier, more like an athlete, a tennis player maybe. The club had done that, given her the body. She usually wore mousey brown hair in a ponytail, now dark blonde hair with golden highlights softly framed her face. The make-up she had owned, until this week, consisted of three lipsticks and some blush. Katie had given her a dramatic look, widening her eyes raising her cheeks with a softly pouting look on her lips. She had trouble identifying with her new self the gap was too great.
Following Katie’s scenario, they were the last to arrive at the table.
“Sherilyn,” said Rick, “I think you know everyone but Craig and Alexandra. This is Sherilyn Dunphy.”
“You’re using Dunphy again?” Said Craig.
“I only use Roberts at work, it would be confusing to the kids to go from Mrs. Roberts to Miss Dunphy.”
“I’m sensing that there is something here that needs an explanation,” said Arlette.
“Craig and I used to be married,” said Sherilyn.
This elicited an appraisal of Sherilyn and Alexandra and ended with everyone looking at Craig as if he were seven hundred and ten kinds of idiot.
“Isn’t this awkward?” said Katie.
“You never mentioned this at the club,” said Arlette.
“I was taking Thumper’s advice,” said Sherilyn, “you were my exes’ bosses. Since I really couldn’t say anything nice, I elected to say nothing at all.”
“I assume that the parting was not amicable?” said Arlette.
“I went to work, got him the degrees that got him here. Then got dumped, because I wasn’t enough of a trophy.”
“I find that a little hard to believe,” said Roger. “I mean you’re sitting at a table with three women who get in the tabloids regularly as trophy wives and you are easily their equal.”
“I have to agree with Roger,” said Jerry. “There is more to it. No one ever turned you away because you weren’t pretty enough.”
A tear slid down her cheek. “He did,” she said.
Alexandra whispered to Craig and they left.
Craig came back alone.
“Alexandra didn’t feel well, she went home to lie down,” he said.
Rick took a memory stick from his pocket and put it in front of Craig.
“I stole that from the terrible two here,” he said. “Pay particular attention to the look in your wife’s eyes at the end.”
“I did it all, cowboy, she was a spirited little filly who was dangerous to ride, get with Roger and understand what I did to break her. I don’t want to be the third party here. The two of you could easily be in love. And what has happened can make that better. She isn’t the same woman she was when you left to go to Hong Kong; she’s different. Explore that a bit before you get as stupid as you were with her,” and he put his hand over Sherilyn’s. “Though I suppose I need to thank you for that.”
“So, go look at the fucking stick, the band’s setting up and you don’t have a partner,” said Arlette.
“You’re too nice Rick,” said Katie. “If I have to put up with more Alexandra I’ll never forgive you. Even though what you did was incredibly nice.”
Craig watched it all. Came back and discussed it with Roger, then walked over to Rick.
“She’s terrified, isn’t she?”
“Pretty much, but get together with Arlette or Katie about what she’s going through physically. Rog and Jerry did it to them before we learned the side effects.”
“She took the car,”
Rick dug in his pocket and gave Craig the valet key. “Take the Jaguar, silver-blue XJ8. Talk to one of the girls, then go take care of her.”
“I had flashes for about a week,” said Arlette.
“That’s about right, a week, you’re going to have to go slow,” said Katie.
“No woman really likes that kind of pure physical domination,” said Katie, “and what Rick did, well domination in that area is usually a woman’s prerogative. Alexandra went overboard with it.”
“We’re partners,” said Jerry, putting his arm around Katie “every way, every how, build that. Now go, take care of her.”
Craig drove home to Palo Alto. She was halfway through a bottle of Pinot Noir. He dumped what she was drinking, poured a full glass, drank some and killed the bottle, then he grabbed her around the waist and kissed her. “We need to go to bed,” he said.
He stripped her and moved against her took her leg and put it up on his side, then reached behind her, she exploded and rolled off the bed.
He got up and walked around the bed. He took her hand and helped her to sit on the bed.
“You actually thought I didn’t know how?” he said.
“You’re scared and you’re hurting, I know that. I’m the guy that takes care of that. Stop fooling yourself, we don’t get through life alone, we get through it together.
“Despite what Sherilyn might think, or for that matter all of them but Rick, I love you. So, if you feel like being unfaithful, don’t do it for the cameras.”
“You saw it all?”
“Just enough of it to know how it hurts you, and we’re going to fix that.”