Olga tottered away on her mortgaged heels, clutching Everhardt under one arm and grateful the encounter had been brief. David Christopher was such a nice man. Funny, kind, and so easy to be around. How on earth had he ended up with that woman? Not that Selena was offensive. Not exactly. She just didn’t talk, and so Olga had babbled away about an upcoming appointment at the puppy salon, and Beverley’s Suzuki piano lessons, and Cal’s promotion at the firm, while that woman stood there and smiled. No class. Not a touch of it. Though she honestly could be touched in the head. That would explain her bland clothes and her ridiculous obsession with kayaking, whatever the weather. What a mess that had been. Dog puke on the deck and David’s wife lying there staring at the lights like some kind of catatonic. And not a word from the guests about the decorations or the fundraising goal. Not one word.
She grimaced at the thought of it, all that wasted effort. Never mind the money and the time. And the look in Selena’s completely unremarkable, common brown eyes when Aidan Smith had nearly knocked Olga over in his rush to help them out of the water. It was the same, today! Selena had acknowledged her neighbour with a gaze that was too aware, as if this Chanel summer shift and these calf hair sandals didn’t matter at all. And that was before Everhardt’s scrabbling claws raked the vintage pink silk to shit. If Olga were a lesser person, she would wonder if David’s sweet story about meeting his wife was fabricated to cover an ethical misdeed. Wouldn’t it be appropriate if Selena were actually a former patient of his?
There was a stranger waiting beside Olga’s tungsten Bentley Mulsanne. He had short, dark hair, oily skin, and an excess of filthy denim. She took in his stubble, his cheap leather hikers, and his thoroughly offensive half-smile. Then she planted her feet, closed her eyes, and prayed for a moment of patience. No. She had caught her absolute limit.
“Remove yourself,” she hissed at him, sweeping around to the driver’s side door. There was a terrifying moment when her heel rolled, and she was certain she was going to fall in the dirt at this hobo’s feet with the dog flopping over her face. But she managed to grab the hood ornament without breaking stride, scoring the paint with her keys. Everhardt growled low in his throat, quite possibly a first in his life.
“I know how you feel, sweetums,” she cooed, settling him into his sporty blue carseat and forcefully zipping the sides. The little dog bared his teeth.
The man outside met Olga’s glare with naked incredulity. She pressed an upraised middle finger to pursed lips painted Spring Blush pink, then tipped it toward him, juvenile in fury. He stepped back only when the car spun away, spraying his pants with wet gravel. She kept him centred in the sideview mirror. Go on, try something.
“Hah!” she shouted when he turned toward the Christopher’s drive. A friend of Selena’s, of course. How appropriate.
© Desi S. Valentine, 2012