Husband Rollover (Husband Series Book 4)(4)

By: Louise Cusack

Five minutes later the pins and braids were out, and my hair was fluffed around my head like a lopsided orange poodle. “Shiny,” I said and shot her my best sarcastic glance in the mirror. But she ignored that and pulled a miniature hair straightener out of her tiny clutch purse.

She held it up and gazed at me in the mirror. “I will fix this,” she promised, “If you will stop drinking.”

I frowned.

“Just tonight. Not forever,” she clarified, clearly assuming, as Nick and Kamal had, that I was drunk.

“Oh. Okay.” It wasn’t bad advice when I had tears so close to the surface. Besides, being comatose wasn’t the best way to experience sex although, embarrassingly, I had been there in the past.

“Sit still,” she said and I obeyed. Over the next ten minutes while other guests came and went in the bathroom, she straightened my waist-length red hair a section at a time with that tiny straightener, before scraping it back into a high ponytail and redoing my smudged makeup with some seriously smoky eyeshadow.

When she was done, I looked like a different Fritha. A sexier, edgier version of myself. She’d even added blusher to highlight my cleavage so I looked like I had more than I was packing.

She winked at that. “Skinny girl’s secret weapon.”

“Thank you.” If I couldn’t get laid now, there was something fundamentally wrong with the world.

She took my hand and helped me up. “Thank you,” she replied. “You’ve distracted me from some very maudlin thoughts. Weddings!” She shuddered.

I shook my head. “I thought I was the only bad fruit nobody buys.”

“Oh, I’ve got a husband,” she replied. “Or at least, I think I have.”

A beat of awkward silence followed while I frowned.

“He has affairs,” she said softly, even though the bathroom was empty except for us. “But please don’t tell anyone. I’m not even sure why I’m telling you.”

“Jill is the blabber. Don’t tell her,” I warned Rosie. “But I can keep secrets even when I’m drunk.” Which I wasn’t, and in fact, I was feeling soberer by the moment. “So why do you stay with him?” Not that it was any of my business.

She looked like she was regretting her disclosure, but at last she said, “We have daughters.” Then she shrugged, clearly trying for nonchalance but her eyes were dark and tragic. “He’s a fabulous father.”

“And a terrible husband.” Why wasn’t she angry about this? “Have you cheated on him?”

She shook her head, definitely embarrassed now. “But I work long hours. I’m away from home a lot.”

Was she justifying his behavior? “So while you’re off breadwinning, he’s rooting around?”

“When you say it like that—”

“He’s a shit, and you shouldn’t put up with it.” I couldn’t say it any plainer. “And not only that, by staying, you’re being a bad role model for your daughters.”

Rosie blanched, and I had a moment of thinking I’d gone too far. I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings, but I also didn’t want her to go on accepting his bastardry.

Jill’s father had been a cheater and I didn’t want Rosie’s girls to grow up with trust issues like Jill had. But I also didn’t know Rosie very well, so I said, “I’m sorry. It’s shit having kids stuck in the middle of that. But you don’t want them growing up thinking it’s an okay way to be married. Because it’s not,” I added, in case she’d somehow managed to convince herself it was some version of normal. After all, a lot of celebrities were unfaithful. She moved in that world.

Instead of being insulted, however, Rosie’s scarlet lips quirked into an almost smile. “Angela told me you were a straight shooter.”

I gave her a look.

“Okay, they told me you were embarrassingly frank.”

“Is that why we’re talking in the ladies’ room?”

She shrugged. “I have no idea why, but you’re the first person I’ve admitted that to—that Dave is cheating on me.” We gazed at each other for a moment before she went on. “I came in here to distract myself from feeling sad about romantic dreams not coming true. But…” She shrugged. “You’re easy to talk to.”