Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
© 2014 Pamela Jones. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Summary: Loretta Mills is married to the love of her life. However, is her marriage in jeopardy now that her husband’s first love is back in town?
Loretta moved around Mills Meals pushing up chairs and wiping tables. With lunchtime over, the once bustling restaurant was now quiet.
Then in came Sue Rockston: Des Moines’ biggest gossiper.
Loretta glanced up at her. “Hi Sue,” she spoke. Fully aware of her gossipy nature to spread information like a reporter, she continued, “what news you got today?”
Sue sighed while closing her blue eyes. Although she enjoyed gossiping, she didn’t want to tell her friend of 30 years her latest news. “It hurts me to tell you this,” she began while reopening her eyes, “but I think you have the right to know.”
“A right to know what?”
Loretta stopped working and observed Sue’s somber face. She frantically clinched Sue’s petite hand. “Has something happened to Richard?”
“No.” Sue bit her thin, bottom lip to stop talking. However, her gossipy nature couldn’t be tamed. “I saw Richard having lunch with Beverly Banks.”
Loretta’s eyes bulged. “She’s back in town?”
“Yeah. I heard she might be staying.”
A chill as icy cold as wintery ice rushed down Loretta’s spine. The thought of Beverly living in the same town as Richard worried Loretta. And with reason: Richard and Beverly were once lovers.
Loretta undoubtedly knew that if Beverly hadn’t left town 25 years ago, Richard would’ve married Beverly instead of her.
Knowing that Sue’s information was always accurate, she knew this was true. She knew too that she’d be honest about Beverly’s appearance. “How does she look?” she asked through trembling lips.
“She’s still as gorgeous as a beauty queen: soft skin, hourglass figure … she doesn’t look a day over 35 although she’s over 40.”
Loretta pulled out a chair and slumped down in it. Unlike Beverly, she had a major appearance change: her once slender body was now 210 pounds. This bothered her as memories of Richard and Beverly’s five-year love affair played in her mind like a romantic film.
She remembered watching them walk through the halls of their high school while lovingly holding hands and kissing. She envied that the young man she secretly loved was in love with someone else.
Loretta snapped out of her flashback after seeing Richard enter the restaurant. “Hello Richard,” Sue said dryly.
He frowned at Sue. Her presence was as unwelcoming as a fly. “Hello Sue,” he mumbled.
Sue leaned over and hugged Loretta. “I better go. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Okay,” Loretta said, hugging her back.
Good riddance, Richard thought. He smiled as she exited through the glass door.
“The doctor said my blood pressure is good,” he told Loretta while heading to the back of the restaurant.
Loretta’s mind was too occupied with Sue’s information to digest Richard’s medical report. Tuning him out, she rushed up from her seat and into his face. “Did you have lunch with Beverly Banks today?” she boldly asked.
Without hesitation, Richard calmly replied, “yes.” He narrowed his eyes. “How did you know I did?” Remembering that Sue was there, he snapped, “Sue told you, didn’t she?”
Loretta angrily eyed him. “Why didn’t you tell me you were having lunch with that woman?”
“It was spontaneous.” He shrugged his shoulders as he further explained, “She saw me coming out of the doctor’s office. We talked a few minutes, and she invited me to lunch. It was just a friendly lunch – nothing more.” He rolled his eyes. “Sue is a messy, miserable woman … no wonder her husband left her! How in the world do you trust her?”
Loretta put her hands on her thick hips. “A better question is can I trust you?”
Shrugging his shoulders questionably, Richard yelled, “What do you mean can you trust me? I’m your husband … of course you can trust me!”
“Yes, you’re my husband, but I also know that you were deeply in love with Beverly!”
“That was a lifetime ago, Loretta!” His angry voice softened as he concluded, “I love you now.”
Loretta shook head. “You never looked at me in the same loving way as did Beverly.”
“Loretta, Beverly is my past.”
“Yes she is! She’s also the same selfish woman who left you to live her life in New York City. I, on the other hand, stayed here and helped you get over her. I’m the one you married, started a family and this business with.” Moving closer to his face, she concluded, “I’m the one who loves you … not her.”
“Then since you love me, do you trust me?”
Silence fell between them. The days of watching Richard grieve over Beverly’s departure flashed in her mind. “You loved that woman so much,” she retorted through clenched teeth, “it nearly destroyed you when she left.”
“Yes it did. Times have changed though … I’ve changed. Have you?” Richard knew that Loretta was always insecure regarding his and Beverly’s relationship.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Beverly is moving back here, but it’s no big deal to me.” Gently grabbing her arms, he concluded, “I love you, not Beverly.”
Loretta looked away from Richard. She didn’t want him to look into her eyes and see what haunted her soul: insecurity. Nevertheless, he knew of its existence when she said, “it took you a long time to get over her and start loving me.”
“I know, but she’s my past. You’re my present and future.” His curled finger lifted her fat chin. “I love you. So, do you trust me?”
Loretta gazed into Richard’s eyes. She loved this man from the minute she laid eyes on him 30 years ago in their 9th grade algebra class. Even though she dated other guys in high school, she still prayed every night that someday Richard would hers.And now he was.
She smiled. “Yes, I do trust you,” she finally said. They kissed and afterwards hugged tightly.
As she rested in her husband’s loving arms, however, her mind wondered into its own world. Can I really trust you … or Beverly, she wondered.
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