After an hour, Monica sauntered through the kitchen door in her now wrinkled red dress, her face already dripping with an apology. Despite being somewhat clothed, she looked naked. Her hair was a bird’s nest and her feet were bare. Her Barbie-doll makeup had sweated off, exposing nearly flawless skin. And her eyes, usually the color of a cloudless sky was more azure and heavy.
“Don’t talk to me,” I said, too tired to be accusatory or rancorous.
“Sorry,” she said sweetly. “He loves me.”
I chuckled. “I understand.”
Monica started to play with her lower lip, squishing it from left to right with her front teeth as her eyes searched my face.
“Don’t be mad at me.”
“I’m not. I was there once myself.”
There was a hesitation in her posture like a 5-year-old who wanted to tell a secret but was questioning whether they’d be in trouble if they told. She squirmed, shifting her weight from side to side until she stopped suddenly.
“He’s going to ask for a divorce tomorrow. I’d thought I’d tell you that.”
“Figured. Thank you for telling me that.”
Silence fell and we stood there, the wife and the mistress seeing each other for the first time.
She was a cute blonde who stole my husband’s heart and I was the one she stole it from. We were there, in a place as unlikely as the time, dumbfounded by the sudden turn in events. Her hopelessness of earlier transferred to me and my place in Jim’s live was now occupied by her.
“He’s in the bedroom now. He asked me to fix him a drink.” She nodded to the nearly empty bottle of bourbon still clutched in my hand.
“Of course. His favorite.” I began to hand it to her when I asked, “Do me one favor? Let me fix it for him. It’ll be the last drink I’ll fix for my husband. Let me have that.”
I shuffled to the counter. And then I turned to her. “I don’t want him to have a dirty glass. I’ve been drinking out of this one for awhile. Could you get another glass for me from the wet bar?”
Monica obeyed. She returned soon with a new glass.
“Thanks. Another favor. Since we didn’t go through with it, do you mind giving me my prepaid cell phone? The tarp and rope are too bulky to carry out of here so I’ll pick that up later. I want to slip out of here after I make this drink.”
She handed me the glass and left the kitchen again. I poured the drink in the short glass. By the time Monica came in to hand me the cell phone, I was wiping down the sides of the drink, making sure it shined like a diamond.
“Don’t you put ice in that?” she asked innocently.
“Honey, please! You have to learn that this is a 107 proof liquor meant to be savored in its natural state.” I answered. “By mere suggestion you insult the entire state of Kentucky.”
Monica shrugged. I kept wiping the glass until I was done. I scooted it over her and she took the drink from the counter.
“He likes it neat. No wet spots on the glass. He’s anal that way.” Monica looked around the kitchen.
“Hey, what happened to the pots?”
“I’m going to throw them out. I was going to wash them but some of the poison could still be left behind. Are you going to need them?”
“Nah, I never cook. I was just wondering,” she said.
“That reminds me. I’ll take the trash out while I’m here.”
Grabbing my purse and the garbage bag, I followed Monica out to the living room.
“I’m sure he’ll be fair in the settlement,” she said, eyes like saucers. “I’ll make sure he is.”
“I’d like the house, please. He can have the condo.”
A polite smile curled at the end of her lips.
“And if you can do me a favor? Let’s keep this night between us. It’d be kinda awkward if he found out his woman tried to kill him.”
What. The. Hell.
I returned the smile as I left, feeling more empowered than I arrived.
There is no such thing as deviating from the plan. Even if your accomplice changes her mind…