Tis The Season_.For Romance(6)

By: Brenda Jackson

But not anymore.

He just couldn’t understand that the last time had been it. And because he didn’t understand, he had tried anything and everything to get her to take him back. There were the “I’m thinking of you” flowers he would send. The little gifts he would have delivered to her. But no matter what, she hadn’t budged. And she didn’t intend to. She had moved on… at least she tried to.

Needing to get away from the office for a while, she picked up the phone to call the one person she knew she could talk to about Rick’s visit, her sister.

Peggy picked up her cell phone on the first ring. “Yes, Barb?”

Barbara smiled. Even with the seven year difference in their ages, she and Peggy had always been close. “How about lunch?”

“Sure. Will the Cheesecake Factory work for you?” Peggy asked.

Barbara smiled. That was her sister’s favorite place to eat. “Yes, that will work for me.”

Moments later she was hanging up the phone, looking forward to meeting her sister for lunch.

* * *

Peggy was already seated at a table when she saw Barbara walk in. She knew that the past eight months had been hard on her sister. Another blow of her husband’s infidelity and in the worse possible way. The only good thing was that Barbara had finally realized that men like Ron never got better, they only got worse. She of all people should know since she’d been married to an asshole herself.

That was not the dream Lola Phelps had had for her girls. Wanting a better life for her daughters, Lola had sold family land close to fifty years ago to Disney, and had used the proceeds to educate Barbara and Peggy at some of the finest private schools and colleges. They had emerged as graceful, refined and stylish ladies who’d married well-educated men. Men who proved to be unfaithful and emotionally abusive.

At least her and Barbara’s daughters hadn’t been permanently damaged by their fathers’ behaviors. Peggy’s own daughter, Sonya, had married last year and she and her husband Mike were doing just fine and Peggy felt they had a strong marriage. Barbara’s daughter, Courtney, would be getting married next month to a wonderful man who loved her.

Peggy smiled. She herself was presently dating Willie Baker, a widower, who liked to travel and who didn’t mind coming to Orlando to see her. She liked the space that long distance dating provided and appreciated the time they spent together on occasion doing fun things they both enjoyed, like attending concerts and plays.

“Sorry, I’m late. I had an important call to take at the last minute.” Barbara said, sliding into the booth across from Peggy.

Peggy smiled over at her sister. “I’ve already ordered for you,” she said before leaning back in her seat. “Now I need for you to tell me why the last minute call for lunch.”

Idly wishing her sister didn’t know her so well, Barbara took a sip of the iced tea a waitress had placed in front of her and fought hard not to flinch under Peggy’s curious gaze. “Rick Blair came to see me today,” she finally said.

Peggy lifted a brow. “Detective Rick Blair?”

“Yes, but he’s no longer a detective. He retired from the force.”

Peggy nodded as she buttered a piece of bread and then popped it into her mouth. After washing it down with iced tea, she asked. “What was the reason for his visit? Don’t tell me your ex is in more trouble.”

Barbara shook her head. “No, his visit had nothing to do with Ron. He dropped by the office to ask me out.”

The smile that suddenly appeared on Peggy’s face was huge. “So where are the two of you going?”

“He mentioned the movies but . . .”

Peggy lifted a brow as she slid the basket of bread aside. “But what?”

“But I didn’t give him an answer because I’m not sure I’m ready to get involved with anyone.”

Peggy rolled her eyes. “I wish a man had shown interest in me after my divorce from Joe. Had that happened, maybe I would not have hit the bottle as hard and driven Sonya off the deep end with my behavior.”

Barbara remembered those days. Joe had asked Peggy for a divorce to marry a much younger woman. A woman he’d been involved in a secret relationship with for more than a year. A woman thirty-four years his junior. A woman younger than his own daughter. A woman who Barbara thought should be crowned the bitch of all bitches.

The one thing Barbara could say was that Peggy had finally moved on. It seemed she had gotten her ex out of her life and out of her system. It hadn’t even bothered Peggy when Joe’s child-bride had given birth to a son a few months ago. The jury was still out on that one since there were some who’d seen the baby and said there was nothing about the baby that looked like Joe. It would serve him right if his wife Suzette had gotten pregnant from someone else. What goes around, comes around.

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