Home > Sunrise on Half Moon Bay(5)

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay(5)
Author: Robyn Carr

Scott and the woman he was with materialized again. The bastard was stepping out on her sister. She briefly thought about rushing over to them and pouring something over their heads, like a pitcher of beer. Luckily, she didn’t have anything like that on hand.

She noticed out of the corner of her eye that Jake looked at her, looked in the direction of her stare, looked back at her. Her mouth was open and gaping, and a large piece of pizza drooped limply in her hand.

“Addie?” he asked.

“Shit,” she muttered. She closed her mouth and looked at him. “Jake, I need a favor. Can we get a box for the pizza and leave? Right now? I can explain when we’re in the truck.”

“Something happened,” he said. “What happened?”

“Shh,” she said, hushing him. “Can you go back to the kitchen, ask for a box, pay the bill and get me out of here? Quietly?” she whispered. “The guy in the front booth with the blonde—that’s my brother-in-law. And that is not my sister he’s making out with.”

Jake couldn’t resist. He looked again. “Whoa,” he said, probably recognizing Scott at last. Then he slid out of the booth and made tracks to the kitchen. He was back with a box very quickly, and they transferred the pizza into it.

“I hope everything was okay,” Bonnie said as they were leaving.

“Oh, it was fine, I just remembered I left the stove on,” Adele said with a smile. By the time she got to Jake’s truck, she felt weak. When he got in and closed his door, she was shaking. “That bastard!”

“What’s he doing here?” Jake asked. “He lives in San Jose, right?”

She held out her hands, examining her trembling fingers. “He probably thinks no one knows him here, which except for me, maybe no one does. And he probably thinks I’d never be out for the evening, because what are the odds? While my sister is home worrying about her job, her husband is out deep kissing some woman—”

“Cat,” Jake said.

“Huh?”

“Cat Brooks. She owns that kayak and snorkel shop on the beach. Cat’s Place. It should make a killing, but it’s been through three or four owners in the last dozen years. I think she owns it with her brother or something.”

“Well, that makes sense,” Adele said. “Scott works part-time at a sporting goods store in San Jose where he gets a discount on all the gear he can stuff into his car. That’s what he does—plays. He loves to kayak. And golf and scuba dive and play ball and you name it. I bet his salary doesn’t even cover the cost of his toys. Justine works such long hours, he complains that she works so much and this is what he does instead.”

Jake put his truck in Reverse and backed out of the lot.

“And I’ll have to tell her,” Adele said.

“You have to?” he asked. “Why do you have to?”

“Come on!” she said. “I can’t let Justine get caught unaware! Telling her now might not even help. Clearly he’s into something serious, and he can’t support himself and his fun times. Justine has been the primary breadwinner for at least twenty of their twenty-eight-year marriage! And he has the nerve to complain about her hours. As if the income would just materialize while she took time off to entertain him. Oh! I want to kill him right now!”

“Addie, don’t do anything too soon here,” Jake said. “I’ve seen it before. She might hate you for telling her.”

“Now why would she do that?” Adele asked.

He took a breath. “It was Marty who told me Mary Ellen was cheating. I hit him in the face.”

“Because you didn’t believe him?”

“No. Because he ruined the illusion I had that I could make it work in the end. It was like a knife to the heart. It was in that instant I knew it was over. And it was going to get ugly.”

“I’ll tell you what’s going to get ugly—me driving to San Jose.”

* * *

Justine felt confident she’d made an impression on Adele. Surely her younger sister would finally get serious about getting her life on track so that Justine wouldn’t feel obligated to support her forever. Just from looking at the comparable sales in the area, she judged the house to be worth roughly six hundred thousand, and it was paid off, free and clear. If she could get her own Realtor and decorator involved in cleaning up and staging the property, it could be worth more. She’d worry about how to scrape up the money to help in that effort later.

Adele would probably have to put off going back to school for a little while. She had to get a job. Justine was determined to make it up to her. Somehow. Eventually.

It was true that her company was struggling right now, downsizing here and there, and the stress was overwhelming. But she was hoping she could repair her real problem before she talked to anyone about it.

Scott had informed her that he didn’t love her anymore. He was sorry but he couldn’t help it. He didn’t have much hope for the marriage; he thought it might be best if they broke up. He wanted to cash out. She was holding him back, expecting too much from him.

She was completely caught off guard. She had been asking him to apply himself a little more to what she thought had been a pretty satisfactory partnership. Their relationship was hardly perfect, but then whose was?

They’d been seeing a marriage counselor for three months, and she had no grasp of how that was working out. Some days Scott would say, I think we’re making progress here—I know I’m feeling better about things. Other days he’d grumble that she wasn’t really involved in the marriage, or their family life for that matter. He told her she was “emotionally unavailable” too often. “When was the last time you watched me play ball?” he asked. “When was the last time we went to a movie?”

Her work was very difficult and demanding, what more could she say? If she wanted to keep her job, she had to be on top of it. She worked sixty hours a week and brought work home, as well.

It was when he started saying things like, “I feel like I have a hole in my heart,” and “I’m not really living, just existing,” she began to suspect there was another woman. Those were women’s words. Scott didn’t say things like that. In fact, he had trouble sitting through a chick flick with dialogue like that. It made him roll his eyes. Now he was saying those things to her with a straight face.

In their thirty years together, two dating and twenty-eight married, she had suspected there were other women now and then, but there was never any clear evidence. Just a name that came up too frequently, that faraway look in his eye, a very unreliable schedule. He’d go MIA for a while. During their first decade of marriage, he traveled all the time while he was in sales. She’d had trouble getting pregnant and blamed his travel schedule. When she passed the bar, he was more than happy to take a less demanding, less lucrative job to improve their odds at reproduction. Seventeen years ago she had Amber and eleven months later, Olivia. He was a stay-at-home dad and she was so happy; her baby daughters were everything to her. She was a successful businesswoman with a supportive husband and two beautiful daughters. She didn’t have a jealous bone in her body.

But she had to work. She was the bread and butter of the family. Getting home to her husband and babies was her reward for every hard penny she earned. She was successful, Scott urging her on every day while he stayed home and planned their vacations. In more recent years when he had so much time on his hands because the girls were self-sufficient and he only worked part-time, she never wondered where he was—he was busy every minute. They texted and spoke several times every day.

Maybe she should have worried sooner. Now she didn’t know what to do. She had asked him about other women and he’d said, “Don’t be ridiculous.” That wasn’t a real answer, was it? Should she get a detective? It was a thought. She didn’t know what she would do, how she would live. What would the girls say? Do? Would Scott try to take them from her? They adored him. Would they want to be with her, when she worked sixty-hour weeks?

At first she thought she couldn’t let him leave. She didn’t know how she’d get by. It never once occurred to her that her life might be slightly less tense without him constantly keeping score on her hours and familial contributions.

Now that she thought about it, Scott had always been a lot of emotional work. It wasn’t easy trying to get a law degree while making sure she was always a good wife. True, she couldn’t do all the wifely chores and work as an attorney, but a good balance was that she made enough money for a weekly cleaning lady. What she did do was never mention she was the breadwinner, never minimize his contributions. She took time to praise his every effort, compliment his mind and frequently mention how stimulating she found him, scream with joy during mediocre sex. It wasn’t until he said he no longer loved her that she realized the enormous emotional weight of that effort.

Scott ran the house and made sure the girls got to school and every extracurricular activity, lesson or practice. Now that Amber was driving, he had even more free time. It took him roughly two hours a day to do his chores—she still did the laundry, stopped for groceries on the way home, cleaned the kitchen after dinner. The hours left over—some six or more a day—he could devote to biking, kayaking, working out, running, hiking, swimming or various sports training. He was a member of two bowling leagues and one baseball team. He watched hours of sports on TV, most of it recorded for later. He worked part-time at the sporting goods outlet off and on, never more than twenty hours in a week.

How dare he not love me, she thought angrily. If anything, I shouldn’t love him!

* * *

There was a time Adele was an adventurous soul, like back in college and grad school. But for the past six to eight years, she’d done little driving, staying close to home, rarely leaving Half Moon Bay.

This was an old town, originally called Spanishtown and settled before the gold rush, officially becoming Half Moon Bay in the late 1800s. The history of the town was carefully preserved. It was a sweet town on the ocean that attracted tourists. This part of San Mateo County was known for farming of vegetables and flowers, surfing and other water sports, a quaint and quiet getaway filled with and surrounded by beautiful state parks, redwoods and wonderful beaches. It got its name from the crescent-shaped harbor just north of the city.

   
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