Even the Score(15)

By: Beth Ehemann


“Last time I checked, Blaire, we were divorced. That pretty much means you don’t have the right to know about anything of mine anymore, especially my business.” Thirty seconds into a conversation with her and as usual, I was wondering how we managed to stay married for almost nine years.

“You’re right, Andrew, we are divorced, but I do have a little bit of a stake in your business, so when I hear things that concern me, of course I’m going to ask you about them.”

“Why the hell would me hiring another agent concern you?” I bit back, suddenly so frustrated I was ready to flip my desk.

“Well, I’m assuming that means that you’ll now be sharing commissions, which means you’ll be making less money overall, and that obviously concerns me.”

Holy shit. She’s unbelievable.

“It always comes down to money with you, doesn’t it, Blaire?” Blood zipped through my veins like a jet-engine car. My heart started beating faster, and I desperately wanted to reach through the phone and shake the hell out of her and her fucked-up priorities. “You call . . . do you even ask about the kids or how their summer’s going so far? Nope. You just want to make sure that your alimony checks aren’t gonna shrink because I’m hiring someone. You are so messed up.”

Silence.

A normal person might assume that I had hurt her feelings with what I’d said, but for that to be true, one would have to verify that she actually had feelings in the first place. I knew Blaire. I knew exactly what she was doing right that second. Like a scary tornado on an Oklahoma summer night, she was back building. The pressure was swirling and swirling up in her platinum-blonde head, and she was about to blow.

“You’re damn right I need to make sure my checks won’t be shrinking!” she spat out, just like I expected. “I earned every cent of the small amount you give me every month after putting up with you for so many years.” Her voice cracked as she spoke . . . just another one of Blaire’s ploys. “And my children are special to me. As a matter of fact, I have all sorts of fun activities planned for this coming weekend. You’re the one who’s messed up, Andrew.”

Click.

Had I known she was going to call, I could’ve scripted out exactly how that conversation would go.

Blaire snaps. I defend. Blaire snaps again, pretending to be hurt, then she hangs up or walks away before you can respond. She always has to have the last word.

Always.

That’s how all my conversations with Blaire went. Even when we were married.

I sighed and turned my phone off before I set it down, just in case she decided she wanted to freak out about something else and call back again. Gloria had my cell number, the office number, my direct office line, and both Ellie’s direct office line and cell number. If there was an emergency, the important people in my life knew how to get a hold of me, and that’s all that mattered. For all I cared, Blaire could yell at my voice mail. It wouldn’t be the first time.

As I turned back to my notes, my office phone rang. Narrowing my eyes, I stared at it for a split second, wondering how the hell she could have gotten my direct number. I shook the thought from my head and picked up the phone. “Shaw.”

“Mr. Shaw, your first appointment is here,” Ellie said in the happy, professional tone she always used when there was a client in the office.

“Already?” My head spun toward the wall clock, and it was two minutes to eight o’clock.

“Yes, sir. Your second appointment, too.”

“No way.” Between Danicka’s pictures and Blaire’s call, I’d lost all track of the few minutes I had to do any real research. “Okay, for today especially, let’s keep the coffee brewing and make sure the fridge is stocked with Gatorade. Maybe some snacks, too?”

“Already taken care of, Mr. Shaw.”

“You’re the best, El. Wait three minutes and send him in, okay?”

“Yes, sir.”

I hung up the phone and raced to the bathroom to give myself a quick once-over. “You can do this. You’re in control. They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t want to be,” I said to myself in the mirror as I adjusted my tie.

Closing the bathroom door behind me, I strode confidently to my desk, ready to shake some hands and ask some tough questions. Just as I sat down there was a light knock on the door.

“Come in,” I hollered.

And just like that, we were off . . .



“I’m so sorry,” Marty Leonard apologized for the tenth time in two minutes.

I nodded as I walked him to the elevator. “I know you are.”

“Can I have another chance?” he pleaded, his hands shaking like teenage boy asking a girl to prom.