Friday, September 13, 2013

Too Many Secrets (Cleo Sims Mysteries) by Lynn Osterkamp

Chapter 2

Back at my office for the afternoon, I was busy with grief-therapy clients until 5:00. Exhausted, I grabbed a ginger ale and flopped down on my couch to try to get some perspective on my miserable morning with my boyfriend, Pablo.

The morning’s squabble had started at my kitchen table. I was focusing on the sunlight streaming through my kitchen window as I took deep breaths and tried to ignore the nausea the smell of Pablo’s coffee brought on. I didn’t want to turn into a whiny pregnant lady, so I didn’t mention the nausea even though my stomach was rising into my throat. Then out of the blue he said, “Cleo, living in two places makes our lives so complicated. I feel like we’re always negotiating about where we’ll spend the night. I want to get this settled.”

I gagged. I couldn’t summon the energy for yet another Longmont vs. Boulder debate. I thought he might drop it if I didn’t respond, so I just sipped my herbal tea and said nothing.

He spread some blackberry jam on his English muffin and waited, his intense brown eyes boring a hole in my forehead. I ignored his gaze, focused inward and stayed quiet. He continued staring as he finished his food and coffee, then got up and headed for the bathroom. “Fine,” he said in a quiet strained voice, “I’m going for a shower. We can talk about it while you're taking me to the airport.”

Not if I can help it, I thought. But of course I couldn’t stop it.

Don't get me wrong, I give Pablo credit for trying to be supportive. We didn’t plan this baby, but when I told him, he was as excited about it as I was, and wanted us to get married and live happily ever after in Longmont. But I wasn’t ready to do that. I was ready to be a mom, but I had well-founded reservations about how happy Pablo and I would be as a married couple, and I definitely didn’t want to move to Longmont. Fighting about our future got so intense, we agreed to a moratorium on the marriage discussion until after the holidays. But we continued to haggle about where to hang out.

I love living in my grandparents’ cozy old historic house nestled against the Boulder foothills. Its sloping hardwood floors, small closets and noisy plumbing are more charming than annoying, and memories of my grandparents and the happy childhood summers I spent with them fill every room. When I need comforting, I snuggle into this house. It hugs me and holds me safe like Grampa used to do before he died.

But Pablo doesn’t really get my attachment. For him a house is just a place to live. He rents a generic two-bedroom ranch in Longmont. Only his artwork makes it interesting and he can easily move that to another place.

We’d compromised on spending some nights together—either in Boulder or Longmont—and some nights apart. That worked for me. I love him and I especially love spending nights together. Now Pablo was leaving for a weeklong training session in California and suddenly he wanted to settle our living arrangements.

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Genre - Mystery

Rating – PG

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