Chapter 2 [Use Right & Left Arrow Key To Center Page - then Down Arrow]
Daniel Donnellan was waiting for her when she opened the hotel door.
“Where in the hell have you been?”
Her husband's tone was demanding and proprietary.
She sighed inwardly, drawing in her breath. She recognized the clues that Dan had worked himself up into an unyielding emotional place where the need for a face-to-face confrontation dominated his emotions.
She cautioned herself to find a way to stop the situation from spiraling out of control into just another ugly explosion.
“Dan... stop it,” she replied softly.
His eyes flickered with recognition at the warning tone. She moved around him. She could see that as quickly as he had remembered he was being alerted to his rage potential, he had instantly dismissed the warning. His body stiffened. He leaned down towering over her bringing his face close to her own, snarling, “Or little Ms Powerhouse is going to do what?”
Feeling revulsion at his angry posture and overbearing tone, she turned away from his contorted face. “I’m not going to play your unhealthy games,” she replied.
She completed the move around him and walked toward the bathroom turning slightly to avoid the corner of the upholstered chair.
Opening the door of the bathroom, she entered its interior. Glancing into the mirror, she saw that Dan wasn’t far behind her. His reflection in the bathroom mirror exposed his struggle for self-control. She hoped he would gain it. He saw her watching him in the mirror and suddenly bolted toward the door. She quickly shut and locked it.
She had shut the door in his face. She waited. Dan leaned his head against the door-jam, his arm fell to his side, his fist in a knot. His jaw tight, he abruptly turned around and walked back toward the small table and sat down in the closest chair.
After showering, brushing her teeth and putting on her white cotton night-gown, Lucky entered the bedroom and sat down on the edge of the bed. Dan was sitting quietly, his right elbow on top of the small table starring at the floor. She felt a rush of compassion flow through her. Briefly, she examined the thought that it might be a good idea to talk to him now, about the thing that was on her mind.
She waited to see if he would talk again. Without lifting his eyes from a spot on the floor, Dan felt the inward panic subside. He knew that Dr. Bowman had been right to warn him that his need for control could be classified as a pathological disorder.
For years, Lucky and he had been battling his intense reaction to their disagreements. Whenever Lucky went out on her own regarding decisions that he felt were impracticable or unwarranted, his inability to change her mind triggered an unrelenting anger.
He rose from the chair, stepping behind it. Placing his hands on top of its tall back, he leaned slightly forward to remind her, “I feel dismissed and ignored whenever you won’t talk to me about the possible consequences to us regarding what you are trying to do.”
Lucky felt relief flow through her. Briefly she wondered about the implications that hung over the words, ‘consequences to us.’ She said, “I’m sorry, Dan. We have talked about this situation and when you wouldn’t or couldn’t support me in it, I had to make some attempt toward finding out about Lyn’s death, myself.”
Dan's eyes swept toward her face, his voice raising, “Look! I came around to your way of doing this. But, I’m not ready to accept the idea that you get into a relationship with this guy. You’re my wife. You’re not a professional investigator and it is risky for you... for us.”
Lucky suppressed a second reaction to the repeated thought in his words, “...it is risky for you... us.” She wondered how he could think she could be drawn into an affair with a man who may have murdered her step-sister.
She made the decision to not increase the potential for a stormy debate and turned to face him directly, replying, “We have already spent a lot of money for professional investigators. Nothing new emerged. Finally, Mr. Evans has been willing to provide supportive technology and his know-how for three months. It’s Mr. Evans that found Jack Savage. We are here because he located his vacation destination. We are down to me attempting an entrance into his life in an effort to learn more about the man and their marriage."
Dan’s face tightened, "Don't include me in that sentence...”
Lucky looked out the window. Turning back toward him, she continued, “I don’t think it is a good idea that you remain here. You should go back to New York and I’ll do what I can for the next three months. If I come up empty or don’t find anything helpful that I can give to Ron, I’ll quit. I’ll try to forget that my step-sister has probably been murdered and no one is going to pay for it.”
Dan felt the renewal of panic. She was so focused. Stubborn. Unreachable. He felt anger course through him as he gripped the top of the chair. “This is not what we agreed to do.”
Controlling a surge of exhausted patience, she refused the desire to raise her voice, replying, “ You do not want to be here. You do not want me to be here. How can you not see that you are stretched to the limit already? I have barely gotten noticed by Jack and your anger has flared up. This is merely the beginning. I just met him...”
She paused, then finished, “There is enough tension inside me now. How can I continue with you here... and angry all the time?”
“Too distracting...?” Dan snarled. He struggled for control Gripping the top of the chair, he fought the piercing impulse to throw the chair through the window. Instead, he suddenly dropped back down on it.
Lucky smiled sardonically. Shaking her head in wonder that he had agreed to come with her in the first place, she said, “ This is what I mean. I can’t concentrate on getting information about their relationship or even attempt it under the constant pressure of your reservations or disagreements regarding strategy. You are hovering negatively over every step that either I or Mr. Evans suggests to do."
Unexpectedly, Dan took a deep breath, got up from the chair and walked to the bed. He pulled back the blankets, speaking quietly, “Let’s talk about this tomorrow. You’re tired. I'm tired.”
Sliding under the covers, she noted to herself that nothing was settled. The decision regarding what Dan would do or not do would have to wait. For the first time since they had begun discussing her step-sister’s death, she felt an uncomfortable sense that Dan was hiding something.
He had not reacted the way she had expected when she emerged from her bath. It was unusual for Dan to become that angry and then let it go so quickly or had he, she wondered. Her mind now drifting toward sleep became aware of the slowly rising thought that perhaps no human being is ever able to really know another human being.
She felt terribly alone.
* * * * * *
The Mother of “Lucky” Harrington, who had grown up to become Mrs. Lucky Donnellan, had been the only child of the wealthy, criminal attorney, Nathan Grey, of New York City, New York.
It had been long rumored in their circle of society that Lucky's grandfather, Nathan Grey, had come from the blood-line of the famous, Betsy Grey, who, with her brother along with her lover, fought and died at the battle of Ballynahinch in County Down, Ireland.
Within the family history, Betsy Grey had been remembered as a beautiful girl, dressed in green silk, mounted on her gallant mare wielding her burnished sword above her head, who, side by side with Munroe, had led one victorious charge after another.
Lucky never knew if this family tale had been started by her Grandfather, merely because he fancied it or because there actually had been truth to the story, but she had always enjoyed his often repeated daring tales of this single-minded courageous woman, Betsy Grey.
Lucky’s Mother, Geraldine Grey, Nathan Grey’s single offspring grew up, carrying the nick-name, “Racy,” through-out her lifetime from nothing more than the mundane circumstance that she had loved horse-racing from the time she had seen her first pony race at the age of four years.
By the time Lucky's mother had become an adult she had never seemed to have flushed out any of her father’s alleged genes that might be considered a genetic encouragement toward great daring such as that which had been within Betsy Grey or that which had emerged, if, of less esteemed motives and practices at times from within Nathan Grey, himself.
Racy's daughter, Lucinda Harrington, picked-up her nick-name “Lucky” when she fell out of a tall tree during childhood without breaking her neck. The nick-name stuck.
Lucky had grown up watching her usually quiet and unassuming Mother, live out her life for the most part in quiet acceptance of what happened to her. Later, Lucky would wonder if there could have been some greater courage within her Mother that hadn’t been tapped.
Lucky accepted the reality that she would never know if her Mother would have attempted to rise to meet the needs of the circumstances of her second daughter’s death, with or without courage or perhaps with nothing more than Lucky's own stubbornness. For some reason, Lucky wished she knew which it would have been.
Lucky had never thought of Lynette as anything but her sister.
Her step-sister had entered the world because Lucky’s mother proved that love could activate an unusual risk-taking in her.
During a brief period of rare personal daring, Lucky’s usually unassuming and quiet Mother had left Lucky’s Father, Jim Harrington, with quick notice. Soon after the divorce she had married the man who would become Lynette’s father, Ian Green.
Ian Green had chosen to become a self-styled piano man. A versatile pianist who loved nothing more than entertaining an audience within a range of songs from broadway plays to every Irish ballad that had ever been published or remembered songs that had come down to him through family lore. He would often create music for his favorite poetry
He especially enjoyed the humor, irony and pathos expressed in the The Girl I Left Behind Me.
The dames of France are fond and free,
And Flemish lips are willing;
And soft the maids of Italy,
And Spanish eyes are thrilling;
Still, though I bask beneath their smile,
Their charms fail to bind me.
And my heart goes back to Erin's Isle,
To the girl I left behind me.
For she's as fair as Shannon's side,
And purer than its water,
But she refused to be my bride
Though many years I sought her
Yet, since to France I sailed away,
Her letters oft remind me
That I promised never to gainsay
The girl I left behind me.
She says: "My own dear love come home,
My friends are rich and many;
Or else, abroad with you I'll roam,
A soldier stout as any;
If you'll not come, nor let me go,
I'll think you have resigned me."
My heart nigh broke when I answered "No,"
To the girl I left behind me.
For never shall my true love brave
A life of war and toiling
And never as a skulking slave
I'll tread my native soil on.
But were it free or to be free,
The battle's close would find me
To Ireland bound, nor message need
From the girl I left behind me.
It has been early in her growing years that Lucky had heard the history of her mother’s life. Her mother's youth, had been a childhood, much like Lucky’s own, lived out under the financial security provided by Lucky's, Grandfather Grey.
Later, at her step-sister's birth, Lynette's life had turned out to be supported by that same financial legacy.
Lucky’s upbringing and later Lynette’s, had been filled with the best schools, the most qualified nannies, the safest tourist destinations and in the end, for Lucky's mother, a failed and abandoned marriage, which, had from its beginnings, been directed and obtained for her mother by Lucky's grandfather to the famous criminal lawyer, Mr. James Harrington.
Her Mother’s sudden and open rebellion to that directed marriage, five years after Lucky had been born, had startled the immediate family and their wider circle of family friends.
The relationship with Lynette’s father, Ian Green, had brought her mother a unique happiness, lasting until her mother’s unexpected death, four years ago.
“Now Lynette is gone as well,” she thought.
Her mother's divorce from her father had not impacted Lucky's love for her father. He had been and would always be her mentor on many levels, especially on how to examine life's problems within a carefully examined rational perspective. His, was a wisdom learned and honed by the experience of his law practice.
Her mother's divorce from her father had not impacted Lucky's love for her father. He had been and would always be her mentor on many levels, especially on how to examine life's problems within a carefully examined rational perspective. His, was a wisdom learned and honed by the experience of his law practice.
Lynette’s father, Ian Green, loved life within an exuberant and ironic humor, that had brought a contented joy to Lucky's mother; and Lucky, in spite of her loyalty and love for her father, couldn't fault her mother for falling in love with him.
Lucky had tried many times during her growth toward adulthood to find fault in her mother's choice to divorce her father. Yet, whenever she looked for fault, she couldn’t overlook the reality that her mother hadn’t chosen her father to marry in the first place. She had been an obedient daughter complying to her, sometimes overbearing, father’s wishes for her.
Lucky had wanted to talk to her father about her decision to investigate Lynette’s death, herself. She had refrained from involving her father because of the stress it might put on him. He had just gotten out of the hospital after having a recent heart attack. He hadn’t yet learned how this would effect his future case load.
Lucky’s final decision had been to not involve him in her attempt to find out more information regarding Lynette’s death.
At the hotel, the next morning, Lucky had showered and dressed by the time the in-room breakfast she had ordered, arrived. Dan’s breakfast was to be brought up to their suite later.
She left him a note suggesting that he fly back to New York as soon as possible and she would keep in contact by phone.
Moving out into the hotel hallway, she carefully shut the door behind her, wondering if the note request might work where argument had failed.
Entering the waiting taxi, she heard a spirited, “Welcome to Cal - e - fornia.” from the muscular man behind the wheel.
She smiled, “Are you related to your governor?”
He laughed outright and said, “My mother wouldn’t tell me if I were...” and with an added deep-throated chuckle turned back to look for a way to enter moving traffic.
She settled back into the seat and said, “La Brea and Melrose...”
He glanced into the rearview mirror, “Got Ya.”
They moved out into the traffic toward the offices of Ron Evans. She listened with half an ear to the taxi-driver’s willingness to provide tourist information regarding the area she was going into. She heard him explain that the area had become a hot spot for art galleries with many restaurants and commercial buildings built in the 1930’s of Spanish and Art Deco vintage designs. She wished she had time to explore the art galleries.
After the taxi-driver’s initial introduction regarding the area which held the offices of Ron Evans, P.I., she felt herself drift away from listening to his tourist spiel and wondered if the trip to the offices of Ron Evans would prove worthwhile before she met Jack Savage to share lunch at Noon.
Fifteen minutes later, she arrived at her destination. Leaving the taxi, she entered the office building and located the offices of Ron Evans. Entering the office suite, she found him standing by the desk of his receptionist with a cup of coffee in his hand, talking to her.
The receptionist turned her head to see who had entered the office and said, “You must be Lucky Donavan.”
Lucky smiled at her, nodding her head in agreement. Ron Evans was dressed casually in bluejeans and white T-shirt. Of medium build and in spite of a slightly-receding hair line, reddish brown hair turning into grey, he had managed to retain a youthful appearance through a commitment to daily workouts.
Smiling at Lucky, he waved his free hand toward the door of his office. He waited until she approached him to walk alongside her toward his office. At his office door, he suggested she go in and then followed her through the doorway.
Entering his office, she heard the sound of classical music cascading softly into the atmosphere. Tall bookcases, filled full of books and magazines, covered three walls. The outside wall held a large window that overlooked the street.
A fresh smile spread across her face, “That’s Mozart’s, 'Così fan tutte,' isn’t it?”
He grinned, “Yes... roughly translated, Women are like that.’”
She lifted one eye-brow and revealed a sardonic smile. He chuckled at her gentle show of scorn at historic generalities. He reached the desk and placed his coffee cup on a small heating plate. While he was looking through a desk-drawer he had opened, she glanced around the room, taking note of the titles of many of the books on the shelves.
There were books covering law, history, literature, forensics, medical research, several referencing the emergence of western civilization, the Bible, religious ideas, paganism, philosophy, poetry and music.
The thought passed through her mind that he either had a genuine wide interest in reading materials or he was passively marketing his own intelligence. Perhaps this display was expressive of both his intelligence and his skill in the marketing of himself.
Ron found the folder he had been looking for and handed it to her, saying, “This is the report I thought you should see before you meet Mr. Savage today. I didn’t think it was a good idea I bring it to the hotel.”
She reached for the folder, thinking that he was probably right in keeping their meetings absent of Dan. Each meeting they had arranged at the hotel had triggered Dan’s anger more. She sat down in the chair in front of his desk before opening the folder.
Ron Evans watched her focus intently on the material, wondering what she was like when she wasn’t under the tension of attempting something she knew nothing about. After he had met her husband, he wondered why she had married him.
Ron Evans wondered about a lot of things.
Ron Evans didn’t like Daniel Donnellan, but he was experienced in looking closely at relationships. He knew that it probably wouldn’t matter to his client that he might not like her husband. Lucky stopped reading and looked up at Ron to remark, “You said that this is new information?”
“Yes.” he replied.
She paused, then said, “When you had finished the initial investigation into Lynette’s husband, you hadn’t found anything that suggested that he had a violent past.”
He nodded, “I said we hadn’t uncovered a violent past. Investigative process consists of implementing a long series of professional undercover methods through which accurate information may be provided to a client. There are people who protect their privacy so well that sometimes facts that might have been known don’t get uncovered for years... maybe never in some cases.”
He glanced toward the window and finished his response to her remark by reminding her of something, he believed, she already understood, “While it is easier today to find out personal information, people still have a right to privacy in this country and it is reasonable that they would use it to their advantage.”
Lucky found herself experiencing an unexpected feeling of sadness within a fresh sense of alert caution. She went back to reading the information in the folder.
To Ron Evans, she had a look of alarm on her face. Her body posture, itself, now seemed as alert as a startled deer.
He made the decision to provide her an opportunity to reexamine her personal attempt at becoming involved in her step-sister’s case, “Mrs. Donnellan -- Donavan. The material that you have examined in the folder does not provide proof of a violent nature in this man. It does provide new information that we hadn’t uncovered earlier, that in the past, a woman had accused him of being an abusive man. He has never been convicted of any crime that we know of... ”
He paused and then added, “You can step back from this idea of personal involvement with this man, any time.”
Lucky stiffened in her chair, “Am I right in assuming you wanted me to see this information before I move any further into his life, because you really believe, I should leave Lynette’s case in the hands of the police?”
She stopped speaking for several seconds, then asked, “Or are you thinking this new information is good enough to re-activate the police investigators into solving my sister’s murder and would take me out of the picture entirely?”
Ron Evans withheld a clear response to her comments, “Not in my view. I doubt that it would carry much weight with the police. It happened a long time ago and he was never convicted of any violence regarding this incident. They would probably feel it isn’t material to your sister’s death.”
Glancing down at the folder, she stared at it for several seconds. Bringing her eyes back up to meet Ron Evan’s steady gaze, she asked, “If you felt that this information is not particularly impressive enough for the police to be interested in it, I’m wondering why you wanted me to see it before I begin this relationship with Jack Savage. Did you get me here today because you are covering your suable ass and recording that I have seen this folder before I meet Jack Savage today?”
Ron Evans felt a renewed respect for her flow through him. He said quietly but firmly, “I am obligated to cover my suable ass.”
Lifting her head, she laughed. When she brought her head forward a small strand of blonde hair fell over her left eye. “Cute!” he thought. The earlier tension he had seen in her a few moments earlier had disappeared.
“I am thinking, Mr. Evans, that you may not be confident that the contract we signed goes far enough to protect your firm in case anything unpleasant happens to me.”
Lucky got up and placed the folder carefully on his desk, “You and I both know that I could have done what I’ve started without you. You have an excellent reputation, Mr. Evans, that is why I came to you. But if you are uncomfortable with me going through with this personal effort regarding my sister’s case, we can tear up our contract regarding your consultation services.”
Mr. Ron Evans, private investigator, had learned early to make quick decisions. It had been within his experience that most of these decisions had been good ones.
Mr. Evans had made another quick decision the moment she had leaned back her head and laughed outright.
He lifted himself from his desk chair. Placing his hands on the top of the desk, palms down, he said, “No, Mrs. Donnellan, our contract holds. I could have simply continued taking your money and allowed you to believe we felt that more pertinent information could have been uncovered by us. I’m not a dishonest man. I don’t take money under false pretenses."
Wondering why he began this explanation, he paused, looked toward the bookcases, then continued, "We covered every known base and came up with nothing strong enough to present to the police investigators. When you insisted arranging another contract, I went along with it because in spite of your limitations of having no professional investigative training, I do hope that you uncover information strong enough to attract a renewed interest in the case by the police. No doubt, stranger things have happened.”
It had been a long speech. He reached out to shake her hand. Ignoring the outstretched hand, Lucky asked, “You will make every attempt to find this ex-wife of Mr. Savage, so that I may talk to her?”
Ron Evans cleared his throat and assured her that in spite of it being an early marriage and the likelihood that she had remarried long ago, including the possibility that she also may have remarried, divorced and remarried again, they were willing to keep looking for her.
For several seconds, she captured his eyes within a look of quiet observation. She shook his hand. She turned around and left his office. Mr. Evans sat down, adjusted the alert organ between his legs and remembered that he loved his wife.
Walking toward the exit of the building, Lucky was feeling torn between relief that Lynette’s husband might have a history of violence that the police had not yet uncovered and the unexpected intensity of an emotion that had erupted within herself when she had realized that she didn’t want to believe it.
“I’ve got to maintain perspective,” she repeated over to herself when the information in the folder made a bid for her attention once again. The accusations of abusive behavior had made by Jack’s ex-wife at the time of their divorce.
Lucky couldn’t remember her father talking about Lynette mentioning an earlier marriage for Jack Savage. Apparently, if the information turned out to be correct, there had been at least one failed marriage and combative divorce, long before Jack had met Lyn. Not exactly unusual.
After hailing a taxi and settling back into her seat, she went over the information contained in the folder. Jack had married early. The paperwork noted that he had been nineteen years old and enrolled in college at the time. Two years later he was divorced. No report of any child having been born to the couple.
It was a bare-bones report with nothing significant about the girl he had married, in it. She realized that if there weren’t another undiscovered marriage after this girl, he must have waited nineteen years before marrying again. This time it was to her step-sister. Their marriage lasted four years.
She leaned her head against the back of the seat. Lucky glanced out of the taxi window without focused awareness of what was passing in front of her eyes, deep in thought, wondering about the short duration of either marriage.
She pictured Jack in her mind. She couldn't accept the idea that there hadn't been other women in his life during those nineteen years between his first marriage and Lyn.
Asking herself if he might be a man not easily satisfied, she concluded, arguing with herself, "Sure, that's possible, but did it automatically follow that Jack Savage has a hidden dark side?"
Lucky had known her step-sister well during her early childhood, teen-age years, and through her young adult period. She wouldn’t have been surprised that Lynette would have been drawn to a man who was as emotionally misdirected as she was, herself.
Lynette had grown into a woman who did not enjoy a lasting peace. If excitement disappeared from her life, Lynette would see to it that all hell would break loose. Most of her life, Lynette had swung between exhibiting a sweet and caring personality to presenting an impatient, demanding, often arrogant, grandstanding display of self-serving behavior.
Lynette had always reminded Lucky of the child in the poem, she remembered as, “When she was good, she was very, very good and when she was bad, she was horrid.”
Lucky had accepted early in Lynette’s teen-age years, that Lyn had become, in her own words, an adrenaline junkie. Her “extreme sport” had been, for the most part, wrecking havoc in her life and those she knew.
When Lynette had passed the teen-age years, entering early adulthood, it hadn’t surprised her that her step-sister had remained unmarried and that none of her many relationships had lasted for any length of time.
It had surprised her when her father sent the message that Lyn was finally taking the “big” step. Later, when the wedding date drew closer, her father had informed her that he liked Lynette’s choice for a husband and that, Ian Green, Lyn’s father had taken to him also.
It had been the one statement from her father that had almost brought her back to the States for the wedding. If Lynette would have invited her, she and Dan might have been at the wedding. It hadn’t happened.
Back at the hotel, Lucky entered the suite, expecting to be confronted by an angry Dan. Instead, she found the note he had written, folded under the hotel telephone with a hastily written reply from Dan. It was short and not sweet, “You win again! I’m outta here!” She could feel the anger in it.
Taking her cell-phone out of her purse, she called him. He didn’t pick-up. She left a message, “Thank you, Dan. I’ll call you later.” Dropping the cell-phone back into a corner of her purse, she glanced at the clock. She had thirty minutes before meeting Jack Savage for lunch.
Moving toward the bathroom, she thought, “Why does Dan have to see most contesting situations between us as either a win or a lose?”
After freshening up, changing to bluejeans, a white shirt, and replacing her earrings to small, dangling, silver-plated ringlets, she slipped into a pair of soft white leather-like moccasins.
Picking-up her cell-phone, she placed it into the side pocket of her jeans. At 11:45A.M., she entered the hotel hallway and rode the elevator down to the lobby.
The two men in the elevator took quick note of her. She was concentrating on how to get at anything Jack may have kept of Lynette’s. She didn’t notice their obvious appreciation of her good-looks between themselves.
Jack Savage was waiting for her. They spotted each other at the same time. When their eyes met, Jack felt an instant refreshed sense of that earlier question on the beach; Who is this attractive Lady? He had wanted to ask her about their unusual beach meeting from the moment he first saw her.
Watching her walk toward him, he made the decision that finding out what had been behind her behavior on the beach could wait.
Moving toward him, she drew into some deeper part of her womanhood, the magnetic picture of his tall masculine form, his virility as vibrant as a glorious sunrise on a mountain peak, his quiet strength of presence seemed to flow out of him as consistently and soothingly as a cascading waterfall.
The bluejeans, sneakers and blue shirt with its opened collar, the shirt sleeves rolled half-way up his arms caused her heart to pick-up its beat. His brown hair fell below the collar of his shirt revealing a slight curl at the ends.
A sensual picture.
The closer she came to where he was standing, she found herself fighting the urge to touch him. The thought crossed her mind that Dan may have had some correct instinct about this man and herself that she had refused to consider.
Lucky shook off this idea to instantly drive home within herself that she was recognizing the male appeal of Jack Savage and that was all there was to her reaction to him.
When she reached him, he smiled at her and said, “How about lunch?” She looked up at him to say lightly, “I’m ready.”
Entering the restaurant, he asked for a table that overlooked the ocean. At the table, Jack pulled back a chair for her. He pulled out the chair next to her instead of accepting the restaurants' across from her.
Reaching for a Menu, he opened it with a flip of his finger, handing it to her, then reached for the second Menu, placing it open in front of himself.
Glancing toward her, he asked her if she knew what she wanted. Lucky was struck by the irony of the question. She suddenly wanted to laugh and say that no, she wasn’t really sure what she wanted.
Telling herself to stay on task, she kept her eyes on the Menu and chose a chicken sandwich with a bowl of vegetable soup. Jack Savage chose the same meal, choosing iced tea, instead of her choice of coffee. While they were waiting for the order to be brought to their table, Jack’s eyes met her own and he said, “I would like to know all about you.”
Experiencing the seductive allure of the statement, she told herself that she couldn’t afford to fall prey to the lure of a word embrace. She felt a shiver of caution run through her and once again realized how inexperienced she was in presenting a fabricated account of her life.
She responded with a soft laugh, “Where would you like me to begin?”
He smiled and said, “Let’s start with where were you born...” She said, “That’s easy enough. I was born in Vermont. Later my family moved to New York.”
Lucky wanted to shift the conversation toward Jack and away from herself. She asked, “Now you know where I was born. Tell me where you began your life.”
Looking at her thoughtfully, he said, “I’m a son of the midwest. Born in Chicago, pre-teens were spent near Cleveland. Raised on a farm, I was drawn early to the city. Thinking about college, I decided to pursue a couple of degrees. This choice ultimately produced a Masters in Economics and a Masters in Business administration.”
“Did the education take you where you wanted to go?” she quickly asked.
"Pretty much. I ended-up working for a brokerage firm in New York. A job that is known in the business as a high-profile account manager position. It was fast-paced and financially rewarding. Long hours, yet, excellent opportunities toward a comfortable retirement.”
He paused, looking at her carefully before continuing, “Not always a job that is necessarily supportive of a happy family life, however.”
Lucky leaped into the opening, “You have been married?”
A sparkle erupted in his eyes. He asked, “What makes you think I’m single now?”
Lucky asked, “Are you?”
Jack smiled , “Yes.”
Before she could think of another question to continue to keep the focus of the conversation on himself, the waitress brought their order placing it in front of them.
They quietly ate their meal for the first few minutes, thinking their own thoughts. Lucky felt a contentment in the comfortable silence she hadn’t felt for a long time. A few minutes later, Jack picked-up his iced tea and after taking a long drink of it, said quietly to Lucky, “She died.”
Startled, she hoped her face didn’t show the surprise that she was feeling. He had abruptly brought her step-sister’s death into open view. Lucky turned to look at him directly and said with a gentle tone, “I’m sorry. You are speaking about your wife, aren’t you?”
He nodded, “The police believe she may have committed suicide” Lucky’s throat felt thick, “When did...?” She began, then hesitated and went in another direction, “Did you say, ‘may have...?’”
He recognized where she was going and replied quickly, “It’s been over two years now since it happened. In spite of what the police accepted as the reason for her death at the time, the case isn’t officially closed and I am glad that it isn’t.... Lyn would have never killed herself.”
Lucky felt as though someone had thrown a glass of ice water into her face. Would a man who had murdered his wife, deny she died of her own hand? Everything that had seemed logical within the possible scenario she had built-up in her mind about her step-sister’s death for two years, seemed to evaporate into thin air.
She felt as though she had been climbing a solid staircase for months, and now, attempting to put her foot out toward the next step, she had found only empty space. She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
She did neither.
Lucky realized that Jack had continued speaking. She forced herself to once again concentrate and heard him finish his remarks with, “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I got started on Lyn’s death. I suppose what happened is still raw. We had gotten a divorce, yet, I never wanted any injury to come to her.”
She said, “I’m sorry, Jack, perhaps we moved into the personal too quickly.”
The ocean drew her eyes for several seconds. Bringing her eyes back to meet his, she said, “There might be some comfort in talking to a stranger about what happened. If you want to tell me about it, please feel free to do that.”
She glanced down at her plate and finished her thought, “We have the rest of the day, don’t we?”
He turned slightly away from her steady gaze. When he didn’t reply to her question, she wondered if his mind had left the conversation.
She decided to remain on the subject of Lynette’s death, “When suicide, accident or murder happen to people we have known and loved, it is always a traumatic event that doesn’t go away.”
Jack turned back toward her. He did not acknowledge that he had heard what she had just said. He smiled a slow lopped-sided smile, “Yes, we have the rest of the day, if you want it.... I want it.”
She nodded yes.
He suggested, “Let’s get out of here?”
Jack wanted to be moving. He felt the tension increase in him. He didn’t feel comfortable continuing the conversation regarding Lyn. Walking toward the restaurant exit, Jack realized that Lynette’s death still had a grip on him.
He argued with himself that he didn’t find anything appealing about his vacation time focusing on the painful past. Glancing toward Lucky, he reminded himself that what happened is over.
For the first time, in a long time, he was cautiously enjoying what was taking place between himself and “Lady Luck.”
You have finished Chapter 2 Of Hit The Sand Running By Duke Stevens