Chapter Two continued…

“She changed her will just a couple of days before she died,”  Chris said after Mr. Cartwright’s vanished out of our driveway.  “She dreamt this scheme up just a few days ago.  We should be able to break this will.”

I walked into the kitchen and said over my shoulder, “She wasn’t addled or feeble-minded.  She was brilliant right up to her collapse. She may have been ninety-four, but she wasn’t demented.”  I paused for a moment, then turned to face him.  “Does the idea of spending a couple of months in a car with me repulse you completely?”

“No,”  Chris said;  “No, of course not.  I am not repulsed by you.”

“There is simply someone you would rather spend time with.”  He didn’t even bother to deny it. The names I wanted to call him filled my head.  He put a hand on my shoulder and I jerked out of his reach.  “I’m going to bed.  Stay out of my room.”  I said, turning away from him.

“I get the guest room, again?  That bed is hard as a brick.”

“Christian Matthew Archer Junior.  You can’t have it both ways.  You can’t sleep in my bed and hers.  I draw the line,”  I told him.

Lily stood in the doorway of the kitchen.  “You guys are still fighting?”  My daughter looked like her father with dark curly hair and blue eyes. At fifteen, she towered over me by a head.

“We aren’t fighting, dear,”  Chris said to her.

“That’s all you two have done for the past two years, since Trip died.  You have gotten a lot worse lately.”

Chris hung his head and I walked to her to cover her in a hug.  “When did you get so smart?” I asked her.

“Doesn’t take a genius to figure this stuff out.  You know what I think Grandma Lillian is trying to do?  She is trying to get you two together.  Think about it.  By making you go on a trip together, you two have to talk. You have to get along.”

“It’s not that simple,”  Chris said.

“Yeah, Dad, it is that simple,”  Lily countered.  “If you and mom can survive together on a road trip, then maybe you will stay together.  Everyone gets divorced, today.  I was really proud of the fact that my parents are still together.  I am the only one of my friends who lives with both parents.  That is pretty cool.  Don’t screw it up, Dad. Work it out with Mom and tell that skank you’re screwing to get lost.”

She spun on her heel and stomped up the stairs.

“What’s a skank?”  Chris asked me.

“From her tone of voice, I don’t think you really want to know,”  I replied.

Photo by Rene Böhmer on Unsplash





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