Chapter 16






"Reese? Would you mind?"

Reese's blue eyes softened, and he shook his head.

People milled around her as she walked slowly toward the small table. Away from all the others. What was her sister doing with Ethan Cr.Winthrop? "Whitney? Whitney, is that you?"

Whitney's hand shook as she set the styrofoam cup down and turned to her with a tight smile.

Ethan averted his eyes.

What was going on here? Why did she feel she was interrupting something?

"Simone! Honey! I'm so happy to see you! How long have you been in?"

Simone accepted her sister's hug. The past was the past. Whitney had been just as devastated as she to learn Chad-the boy they were both in love with at the time-was their half-brother. "Good to see you, too," she breathed. "Hi Ethan."

"Hello, Simone," Ethan greeted. "Listen.Whitney.we'll talk about this later. Okay?"

Whitney nodded her head.

Something about the way they looked at each other.it made Simone uneasy.

"So.how long have you been in?" Whitney asked. Taking a seat.

Her sister was so prim. So proper. "Just a few days." She waved at Reese.

Whitney's dark eyes grew round. "Is that.?"

Simone laughed. "Reese.come on over."

Reese's cheeks were stained pink. "Nice to see you again, Whitney."

Whitney bit the inside of her cheek in amusement. "You, too."

"I'll.I'll leave you two to catch up," Reese said graciously.

Simone giggled when he made a beeline for the nearest electronics store. Reese and his gadgets.

"Is something going on between you two?" Whitney smiled.

Simone's smile turned into a full-fledged grin. "Ask me again some other time. What's up with you? And Theresa's husband?"

Whitney paled at the mention of Ethan.

Simone perched on the end of the chair next to her and laid a gentle hand on her arm. "Problems at work? I still have a hard time believing it. My sister.working at one of Harmony's best law firms."

Whitney took a trembling breath. "Problems," she whispered. "You could say that."

Simone smiled warmly. "Lay it on me. I'm all ears."

Whitney cupped her little sister's hand around her cheek. "I've missed you so much."




@@@@@






"I can't believe that jerk! Where is he? I'm going to kick his ass!"

Theresa grabbed Paloma's arm. The hint of a smile on her lips. Her sister's loyalty warmed her heart. "Paloma."

Paloma lowered her voice and waved at Matthew.

Matthew was so embroiled in the adventures of Tarzan he could care less.

"I mean it, Theresa. I'll."

"I know you do," Theresa soothed.

"Sit down," Paloma ordered. "Before you wear a hole in your carpet. Do you know her?"

"W-W-What?" Theresa stammered. The possibility was too much to consider. Ethan had cheated on her with another woman. Devastating news in and of itself. But had he slept with someone she knew? Maybe someone from work? He'd been spending so much time there lately.

"I don't know. He.I wouldn't let him tell me anymore. I ran as fast as I could."

Paloma's brown eyes were pools of sympathy. "I'm so sorry."

Theresa clasped her hands and inspected her wedding ring. A symbol of their love. Their marriage vows. Broken. "Don't be," she said. Twisting the ring down the length of her slim finger. "Don't be."

The ring clattered against the coffee table's surface.

And the family in the silver picture frame suddenly didn't look so happy anymore.

"Damn him," Paloma muttered.


@@@@@





He felt like a child. Coming home after a long summer away.

Harmony had changed a lot these past several years.

He recognized the towering Crane Industries building. That office.that one on the very top.his son enjoyed that view.

Adam was as ruthless as they came. The child Father had always sought. The one with NO conscience.

The Book Café was bustling with activity this fine morning.

Why the feeling of dread? He was gong home. If you could call it a home. To his own bed. No more lights out. No more community showers. No more.

His eyes lit upon the Youth Center. Who ran it now?

The school. Empty. Lonely. But for a couple of kids shooting some hoops.

Harmony Hospital.

Where was Eve now?

His eyes met the driver's in the rear-view mirror as they neared the church. "Stop here," he ordered.

Saints and angels oversaw his journey.

He knelt in the soft ground before her headstone. "Mother," he whispered. His hand lingered on the cool marble as he raised his eyes to the heavens. "Forgive me."

Tiny white roses lay across the small mound beside her stone.

Nimble fingers placed one tiny bud in his pocket before he turned to leave.

"Andrew.Beloved Son and Brother.May Angels Watch Over You."