If only Della could see her predecessor. She’d freak out and ask Kit a hundred times if he thought she was prettier than Greer. Kit would have to lie. Della has always been unparalleled in her beauty, but Greer is not even human; she’s ethereal. I turn my back to the cannery and walk back down Main Street, the air whipping my skirt around my legs. I am in so way over my head. I’m not so sure the Sorting Hat would put me in Ravenclaw anymore. I am Slytherin. I take a selfie, Port Townsend outlined behind me. I call it, crazyperson.
When she walked back into the bedroom she handed me her phone.Play your games, she said. Let’s see if you’re right.
So free with her phone. What if that fucker Ryan texted while I had it? Didn’t she care that I’d find out? Maybe she didn’t. It wasn’t the first time I’d gotten the impression that Jolene wouldn’t hesitate to tell me to fuck off if I stepped over one of her lines. There was also the fact that I couldn’t hand her my phone even if I wanted to. It was a ticking bomb of incrimination.I tapped her internet browser and searched paint colors until I found one of a bright teal metallic paint we’d had in our first house. Jolene had seen it in a magazine and it had been hard as fuck to find once she announced that’s what she wanted. The photo was of a wall half painted, a roller propped on a ladder. It could easily pass as our house. I took a screenshot, cropped it, and posted it to her Instagram wall with a cheerful:I handed the phone back to her.
I don’t use exclamation marks, she said, blandly.I took the phone back, deleted the excitable punctuation and said, Wait and see. Then I pulled her onto my lap and let her ride me. No use wasting a good erection, even if you were afraid your wife was crazier than you.
I was sitting in my office at work, reading a conversation that was transpiring between Fig and my wife on the iPad. It was like reality television, you never knew what was going to happen or who would say what. They were discussing the merits of being with someone like Ryan. How perceptive he was. How sensitive and yet masculine. How beautiful his lips were. I’d scrolled through pictures of the guy on social media, and to be honest, I just didn’t see it.
To Jolene’s credit, she tried to change the subject multiple times, but Fig was relentless. I watched all of it with a mixture of anger and amusement. Fig Coxbury was working my wife just as hard as she was working me. A professional manipulator. The topic switched to Jolene’s ailing father. I was getting bored, but then Fig found a way to work Ryan into the conversation.Why don’t we go there for dinner? I say in a fake, cheerful voice, nodding towards Jaxson’s. Turner looks at me like the crazy woman I am.
There? he says. The disgust so obvious in his voice, I flinch.Sure. Don’t you ever get sick of all the frou-frou restaurants we go to? Let’s do something different. Come on… I stick my bottom lip out a little because that usually works with getting my way. He sighs dramatically and turns into the plaza. I wonder what the hell I am doing and why I am such a sucker for punishment. I want to prove to myself that this is just another food providing establishment. There is no magic, there is no escalated romance, and most of all, I want to be able to be in a place that holds old memories and not have a mental breakdown. Hellloooo Jaxson’s.
It was much the same as it was over seven years ago, the only thing missing from Jaxson’s is Harlow—whose absence is noteworthy. I see his picture on the wall by the register and beneath it are the dates August 10th 1937 to March 17th 2006. I smile at him sadly as we are led to our table by a gum snapping teen. She doesn’t have class. I think ruefully.Nice place. Turner’s sarcasm is not lost on me as I gaze at the unlucky and lucky table.