Loyalty"Returns the female detective to the heart of the hard-boiled tradition." - Sara Paretsky
If I'd known this was our last morning, I'd have rolled over in bed and held her. But of course, if it had been possible to know something like that--if I could have somehow seen into the future--I wouldn't have let go. And then things would have been different. I'd been staring at the ceiling for a while when I finally threw back the covers and planted my feet on the hardwood floor.
"How'd you sleep?" Sheila asked as I rubbed my eyes. She reached out and touched my back.
"Not so good. You?"
"Off and on."
"I sensed you were awake, but I didn't want to bug you, on the off chance you were sleeping," I said, glancing over my shoulder. The sun's first rays of the day filtered through the drapes and played across my wife's face as she lay in bed, looking at me. This wasn't a time of day when people looked their best, but there was something about Sheila. She was always beautiful. Even when she looked worried, which was how she looked now.
I turned back around, looked down at my bare feet. "I couldn't get to sleep for the longest time, then I think I finally nodded off around two, but then I looked at the clock and it was five. Been awake since then."
"Glen, it's going to be okay," Sheila said. She moved her hand across my back, soothing me.
"Yeah, well, I'm glad you think so."
"Things'll pick up. Everything goes in cycles. Recessions don't last forever."
I sighed. "This one sure seems to. After these jobs I'm doing now, we got nothin' lined up. Some nibbles, did a couple of estimates last week--one for a kitchen, one to finish off a basement--but they haven't called back."
I stood up, turned and said, "What's your excuse for staring at the ceiling all night?"
"Worried about you. And . . . I've got things on my mind, too."
"Nothing," she said quickly. "I mean, just the usual. This course I'm taking, Kelly, your work."
"What's wrong with Kelly?"
"Nothing's wrong with her. I'm a mother. She's eight. I worry. It's what I do. When I've done the course, I can help you more. That'll make a difference."
"When you made the decision to take it, we had the business to justify it. Now, I don't know if I'll even have any work for you to do," I said. "I just hope I have enough to keep Sally busy."
Sheila'd started her business accounting course mid-August, and two months in was enjoying it more than she'd expected. The plan was for Sheila to do the day-to-day accounts for Garber Contracting, the company that was once my father's, and which I now ran. She could even do it from home, which would allow Sally Diehl, our "office girl," to focus more on general office management, returning phone calls, hounding suppliers, fielding customer inquiries.
The card security code is an added safeguard for your credit/debit card purchases. Depending on the type of card you use, it is either a three- or four-digit number printed on the back or front of your credit/debit card, separate from your credit/debit card number. To make shopping at The Mystery Guild® Book Club even more secure, we require that you enter this number each time you make a credit/debit card purchase. Please note that your security code will not be stored with us even if you have saved your credit/debit card information.