Sweet Anger(5)

By: Sandra Brown

“That was no small concession,” Pinkie said. “This place is worth a million at least.”

The estate, located in Cherry Hills, Denver’s most exclusive area, sprawled over three acres. A blue-spruce-lined drive led up to the fifteen-room Tudor mansion that boasted a swimming pool in back, as well as a lighted tennis court and stables. The grounds were as spectacular as the house.

She spread her arms wide and painted on a bright smile as she asked, “What would a working girl like me do with all this?” She could tell by their dubious expressions that they weren’t convinced. “I won’t be entertaining in the fashion Thomas and I did. Most of our friends were actually his friends. I’ll take my things and find a smaller place.” She looked down into the brandy snifter and watched as the afternoon sunlight made its rich color jewellike. “Besides, I don’t want to live here anymore without …”

It became necessary to dam a fresh fountain of tears. When she was more composed, she said to Pinkie, “I still have a job, don’t I?”

“Don’t worry about your job,” he grumbled and ambled toward the bar to refill his empty glass.

“With Sally Jenkins just itching to get a spot on the air? No, sir. I’ll be back to work in a week.”

“For crying out loud, Kari,” Pinkie shouted, whirling around. “Take your time. Let it heal. Forget Little Miss Hot Pants. She’s filling in for you now, but when you come back, your spot on the news is waiting for you. You know that. And that Jenkins broad can itch all she wants to.”

“What does that mean?” Bonnie asked suddenly, sitting up straighter.

“What does what mean?”

“The way you said ‘itch.’ ”

“It means that there’s a much more descriptive word for what she’s willing to do to land a spot on the air.”

“Like sleeping with someone who could put her there?” Bonnie’s teeth were clamped tight.


“She offered?”

Pinkie’s meaty fists found his waist and dug in as he faced her. “Yeah. What about it?”

“What did you do?” Bonnie asked coolly.

“Nothing. I don’t use the sack as a bartering table.”

Bonnie smiled benignly and settled back into her chair. “What do you use it for?”

Growling like an angry dog, Pinkie faced Kari again. “You know your job is secure.”

She had been fascinated by the exchange between her two friends. “Thank you, Pinkie. But I don’t want to take extended time off. As soon as I’ve moved from here, I’ll need to go back to work. Thomas would want me to,” she finished quietly and bowed her head. Her finger trailed in endless circles around the rim of the snifter.

Bonnie gave Pinkie a speaking glance and stood up. “We’ll leave you now, Kari, if you’re sure there’s nothing we can do before we go.”

Kari stood with them. “No. Thank you both. I’ll be fine. I need to be alone for a while.”

At the front door, Pinkie took her hand. “Come back to work when you want to, when you feel like it; but don’t be too hard on yourself.”

“I’m not, really.”

“That’s what I like about you. You’ve got guts.”

She smiled at him fondly. Even in his dark suit and tie, he looked rumpled and unkempt. “Don’t forget my great legs,” she teased softly.

He kissed her cheek and then awkwardly turned away. Bonnie was waiting on the opposite side of the car for him to open her door. “Well, what are you standing there for?” he said to her. “Get in.”

He squeezed behind the wheel and Bonnie had no choice but to open her own door. She slammed it solidly and they drove away.

A smile curved Kari’s lips, but it quickly faded as she turned away from the door and faced the emptiness of the large house, the emptiness of her life.

The beer was cold and biting. He didn’t even taste it. He set the can aside.

He was slouched in his favorite chair. It conformed to his spine as if designed to do so. Over the tent formed by his fingers, he stared at the television screen. The sound was turned down. He already knew the audio portion of the news story by heart. But the video continued to intrigue him.

He must have been the only one in the city who hadn’t attended that funeral. The First Presbyterian Church had been packed to capacity. The overflowing crowd had been forced to stand in the churchyard. Most everyone in attendance had joined the motorcade to the cemetery. This funeral had warranted news coverage on all of Denver’s television stations.

Thomas Wynne, real estate entrepreneur and community servant, had been highly respected. He had had a bright and beautiful local television star for a wife. Together they had represented the American dream. But the dream had come to an end.

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