Authors: Bria Marche
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Romantic Comedy, #Contemporary Fiction, #Humor
PAYBACK and a BOTTLE of MERLOT
LIKE SISTERS, BOOK ONE
Copyright © 2014
All Rights Reserved
This book is a work of fiction by Bria Marche. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used solely for entertainment. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bria Marche is a freelance writer, relationship e-book author, and a member of numerous writer's organizations including, Fiction for All, Fiction Factor and Writers-Online. She currently has a series of Contemporary Romance novels in the works. She lives in the Midwest and enjoys travel, all forms of art, especially creating her own designs when she isn’t writing, and bicycling the countryside.
Book two in Like Sisters Series is available now at:
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Table of Contents
She went to bed alone, more often than ever, it seemed. Mia stirred from the familiar groan of the garage door opener struggling to lift the heavy wooden door. The sound caused her to roll over and glance at the clock: 11:58 p.m. Jack entered the house through the kitchen service door. She recognized the sounds as he went through the same motions he did almost every night. The liquor cabinet hinges squeaked when he opened the double doors. He poured Scotch into a waiting rocks glass. That was the norm.
He gets off work at six o’clock for God’s sake. Why can’t he ever come home then?
She jabbed at the down pillow and fell back to sleep.
The morning light streaming through the sheer curtains woke Mia like every day. She never needed to rely on the alarm, she knew when it was five-thirty.
Jack walked into the kitchen as Mia poured herself a cup of coffee. “Morning,” he said, in his typical monotone voice, not waiting for a response. “Where’s the newspaper?”
“It’s outside in the driveway. That’s where the newspaper boy throws it every morning, Jack.”
“Are we having an attitude today? I don’t like it when you have an attitude with me, Mia,” he growled, as he bent over and laced up his shoes to go retrieve the paper.
“I’m not having an attitude, but since you’re the one who reads the paper, I figured you can get it.”
Jack deliberately slammed the front door on his way out, and returned a minute later with the
Wall Street Journal
. “So what’s your problem this morning?” he asked, with a sneer, as he sat back down.
“Nothing, other than I can’t figure out why I eat dinner alone four nights a week.”
“Being the Regional Sales Director of Plan-It Kidz is a big deal. We’re the largest clothing and toy retailer for kids in the world. I’m going places, and I’m sure I’ll be at the National level within a few months. I have people to schmooze.”
“Yeah, you do go places, every night it seems! What about us? There are places we could go as a couple, like a vacation. When was the last time we even went out to dinner, or spent a night together relaxing with a good movie? We’re strangers passing each other in the kitchen getting a cup of coffee. You’re never here anymore.”
“Really, Mia? Do you have to be so dramatic?” he asked, as he poured a splash of coffee into his cup. With his dismissive attitude, Jack continued, “Just so you know, Friday night I’m going to stay in the city. Claire has a piano recital. She asked me to come. I’ll be home Saturday afternoon.”
“Saturday afternoon? Why not take the late train back Friday night, or even the Saturday morning train? So you’re saying I’m not invited then, right? It’s a ‘family’ thing and I should understand that spending most of your free time outside of work with your ex-wife and daughter is normal.”
“Damn it! Get off my back already. I’m tired of your constant complaining. I told you three years ago when we started dating that I had a daughter.”
“Yes, Jack, you remind me of that regularly. But what you didn’t say, was shared custody meant the three of you were going to be together all the time. Why don’t you ever have Claire visit us here and stay for the weekend? I’ve never even met her.”
“Claire hasn’t asked to meet you, and I’m going to wait until she does. Anyway, there’s nothing for a kid to do in this shit hole of a town and I don’t have time for this conversation.” Jack impatiently glanced at his watch. “Gotta go. I’ll be home late.”
“Whatever… Claire doesn’t know me because you don’t give her a chance to,” Mia yelled out.
You didn’t hear a word I said, as usual, damn you.
Jack grabbed his briefcase and walked out through the garage. The heavy door opened and Mia watched out the kitchen window as he backed down the driveway without as much as a wave goodbye.
Mia wore a blank stare on her face until Jack’s car disappeared out of sight. She grumbled and dumped her cold coffee down the drain. It was time for a quick breakfast and a shower. She had plenty of errands to do this morning and a dentist appointment at eleven.
Her cell phone came alive to the music of “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi, as she opened the driver’s door of her flawless black 1969 Camaro Z28. “What’s up woman?”
“Hey, Chica. I got an invitation in the mail for my cousin’s wedding on July 26. You have to go with me, Mia. I’m not about to go alone like a total loser. The invitation has my name on it and ‘plus one’ so it looks like you’re my date.”
“Vic, there’s nobody in the world who would ever remotely think of you as a loser. You’re the most savvy, hippest, coolest babe, this side of Manhattan.”
“Yeah, enough about me. Just commit already, or at least say you’ll give it some serious thought. We’ll have to go dress shopping before that anyway, so I need your answer soon.”
“I’m not sure. I’m so tired of being yelled at every time I want to do something with my friends, especially on a weekend. You’ve listened to me whine about Jack a million times.”
“Really, Mia? You’re right, I don’t want to hear you whine. You shouldn’t have to. He’s your husband for crap’s sake. You make excuses left and right while that idiot does whatever the hell he wants. You know he runs your life, right? I’m giving you more than two months’ notice. That’s better than anything he does. He tells you on his way to work in the morning that he’s not coming home at night. How often has he said that? You know what I say?”
“Well, yeah… I do know what you say. Screw him, right?”
“That’s exactly right, plus he’s a control freak. You need to get away from him and hang out with us girls more often. The only time you can do anything is when he’s at work. Jeez… say yes already. My family is huge and my cousin has a million friends. You’re bound to meet some hot hunk of manflesh there.”
“Vic, you’re nuts. You should be looking for a man of your own instead of worrying about me. I’m married already.”
“Yeah… and there lies the problem. We need to un-marry you so you can find Mr. Right instead of Mr. Totally Wrong. So, do you want to do lunch?”
“You’re seriously deranged, and that’s why I love you. Okay… how about twelve-thirty at Bottoms Up?”
“Sounds perfect, Chica. See you soon.”
Mia hung up and chuckled. Victoria Maria Alonso, or “Vic” for short, had been one of her best friends since kindergarten. Her other best friend, Tina Lawrence, felt like a sister, and they knew everything about each other’s lives. They were nicknamed “The Three Stooges” or “The Three Musketeers” by everyone in town who were friends of theirs.
Vic and Tina were co-owners of Hair Brained, an upscale hair and make-up salon downtown. They took turns touching up Mia’s blonde highlights monthly while they gossiped and drank wine.
Vic definitely wasn’t Jack’s biggest fan. She had plenty of names for him that shouldn’t be repeated out loud, but Mia knew deep down Vic only had her best interest at heart. She shook her head and laughed as she backed out of the driveway and headed into town.
Going to Daniels Camera Shop in downtown Tarrytown to get film was something Mia loved to do. It was like going back in time. She parked the car and decided to walk a bit before going in. The downtown area was her favorite place to be at peace. She loved everything about the village, from the enormous hanging flower baskets on every street corner, to the Victorian gazebo smack in the town center. Taking the train to Manhattan was super convenient for work, but not having to live there was the real bonus. Tarrytown was beautiful, quaint, and just the perfect size. People knew each other by name, and it was home to Mia. She grew up there, and never wanted to live anywhere else. Jack regularly talked of moving back to Manhattan, loving the fast pace of the big city. He often commented on how drab and boring small towns were, just to get her goat. It was almost a taunt, as often as he brought it up. It irritated Mia to no end.
She opened the old oak door with the glass panel and stepped over the threshold into Daniels Camera Shop. The bell above the door and the squeak of the wooden plank floor was a constant reminder of the things she loved about the building.
“I’ll be right there,” a voice called out from the back.
“It’s just me, Aaron. I need some film,” she replied.
Aaron Daniels was the owner of the camera store that had been in his family since 1933. His grandfather originally opened the shop and passed it down to Aaron’s father before him. The senior Mr. Daniels still worked there part time on Saturdays. Mia had digital cameras, but loved working with film now and then, plus it was a good excuse to visit Aaron. Mia knew Aaron most of her life, but they became close friends in high school. He’s heard her relationship stories, whether good or bad, far too many times. He listened to her every word while his heart ached. He loved her, and made no attempt to hide it. Aaron was a man in love, unconditionally, with Mia James.
“Hey, beautiful, how’s it going?” he asked, as his eyes lit up by her presence.
“Stop it, Aaron,” she kidded.
“Stop what? Telling the truth? It’s not a crime to say you’re beautiful, you know. How about dinner tonight?” he asked, for the thousandth time.
“Aaron, you drive me nuts! And no, I can’t go out to dinner with you.”
“You know perfectly well why not. I’m married to Jack, remember?”
“Jack… Jack who? I don’t want to stick my nose in your business,
you do know I’m crazy about you, right? I love you, Mia, and that’s no joke,” he said, with his beautiful smile and huge brown eyes. “Someday you’ll come to your senses and realize Jack’s not the man for you.”