By Rich Stachura All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Drama

Chapter 28

Emily arrived at the restaurant a few minutes late when she met Elizabeth for lunch. When she sat at the table, the server had already placed their salads on the table. When she took her seat the server asked if she would care for black ground pepper. "Yes, please," she said as she reached for the carafe of balsamic vinaigrette dressing between her and Elizabeth. After the server sprinkled some ground pepper on her salad she left.

"Doesn't that look delicious?" Elizabeth said sipping her Chardonnay. Then she immediately began to rant about her day. "I visited mom today. She's not doing well. You might want to see her soon. I don't understand why she insists on staying in that huge mansion all alone, when she'd be better off in a hospital or nursing home. She'd be more comfortable, don't you think?"

"She's not alone, she has her help, and she has us. I also think she'd be more comfortable in her own home where she's happy."

"Why do you always take her side? You know she needs special care. Her staff aren't qualified. What if something were to happen?"

Emily didn't answer. Whenever Elizabeth got like this, she wouldn't pay any attention to her. She was planning on seeing her mother soon anyway. So as Elizabeth babbled she drifted away into a distant time and place, back to when she and I were on spring break and went camping up at Pinecreek Campground in Newfield, New York. We went hiking and rented canoes. And then at night we'd sneak to the lake and go skinny dipping in the moonlight and make love.

Eventually, Elizabeth noticed that Emily seemed to be miles away. "Did you hear what I said?" Emily continued staring into space wearing a slight grin. "Emily, did you hear what I just said?"

"Uh, no, sorry. What did you say?"

"Oh, forget it. What's the matter with you?"

"Nothing, nothing at all ... except ... I saw Joey today."

"Joey who?"

Emily didn't say anything and gave her a despondent look.

"Cafaro? You saw Joey Cafaro?"

Emily nodded.

"You're kidding! Where?"

"Here, in the city."

"Did he see you?"

"Oh, he saw me all right."

"Did he say anything to you?"

"We talked briefly. He brought up being sent away, and seemed really bitter about it."

"Did he mention me or Matthew?" Elizabeth said biting her thumbnail.

"Why would he mention you or Matthew?" She noticed her nail biting, but didn't say anything.

"No reason, just wondering. So, where did you see him?"

"He actually owns a store here in Manhattan, more like a gallery really. He seems to be doing pretty well for himself. He looked good too, even more like Adrian Paul, now that he's older."


"Adrian Paul, the guy from Highlander, you know the TV show. Duncan MacLeod?"

"Oh yeah, that guy."

"He kissed me."

"He kissed you? Did you tell him that you were married?"

"No, it was only a goodbye kiss, and it was on the cheek. Then I left."

"You're not planning on seeing him again, are you?"

"No, of course not."

"Good," Elizabeth said. "You don't need that creep back in your life. Stay away from him, he's bad news."

"Let's not talk about this anymore," Emily said. "C'mon, let's eat."

They both ate the rest of their meal in complete silence—one of them, for all one knows, could be still interested in me, and the other, definitely worried of what I might do now that I was back in the picture ... well, not quite yet.

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