Written By Special Guest Author Becca O.
“Want to talk about it?”
“Not really.” Becca’s sobs had quieted to an occasional sniffle, and Sarah patted her on the hip.
“In either case, you need to move. My thigh is going to sleep.”
“I’m sorry,” Becca said, immediately contrite. Sitting up, she reached for the tissue box on the end table and blew her nose noisily, pushing her hair off her face with her other hand. “I wish you hadn’t come. You should be at home.”
“I promise I’ll rest extra hard tomorrow.” She watched Becca carefully before speaking again. Maybe too carefully.
“He’s never hit me, if that’s what you’re looking for.”
“How long has this been going on?”
Becca shrugged. “Right after Christmas, I guess. No, maybe before … hell if I know. I’ve analyzed it so much I’m reading things into places where I shouldn’t be.”
“Becca this is just so … strange. I never ever thought I’d see Nick like this, especially with you. He loves you so much.”
“I know that, Sarah. I really, truly know that. It’s what makes this all so much harder to take.”
“Something must have happened to set him off.”
“SomeTHING? More like someONE.”
“Bec, you’re not making any sense. Who did this?”
“Andrew? Becca, Andrew is-”
“Dead. Yes, I know. And even dead he still has this hold over me that I can never get rid of.”
“Becca it’s been almost a year since Andrew died. I’m sure that given a little more time his memory will fade and you can move on. Coming back home hasn’t helped either. There are so many memories here …”
Becca laughed, but the smile never reached her eyes. “His memory will never fade, Sarah. Not as long as I get a monthly statement from my accountant.”
Sarah was lost. “What? What ARE you talking about?”
“I’m a wealthy woman, sis. Andrew saw to it that I’d never want for anything for the rest of my life.”
“Bec?” This was becoming more bizarre by the second.
“Andrew left me his entire estate, Sarah. Millions. He was a millionaire.”
Sarah sat back and the breath she’d been holding rushed out. “Whoa.”
“That’s putting it mildly.”
“Does Nick know?” She winced at the withering look Becca shot her, and rolled her eyes. “Duh. Of course Nick knows. This is what set him off, isn’t it? Bec, none of this makes sense.”
“I suppose it’s not the only thing, but it was the final straw.”
“Okay sis, go back and start at the beginning.” Sarah moved into a more comfortable position and watched as Becca gathered her thoughts.
“We went out for New Years’ Eve and had a wonderful time.” Becca smiled, remembering their leisurely drive down the Gulf coast to the sleepy retirement town of Naples, Florida. “We had dinner at a local club and then walked on the beach till after midnight. It was so nice.” She sighed and seemed almost lost in her thoughts.
“So what happened, Bec?”
“We got home the next morning, and there was a message from Heidi.”
“Your attorney? What did she want? And why did she call on a holiday?”
“She was very cryptic. She just said that it was imperative that we meet her in her office at 2:00 the next afternoon. Nick wanted me to call her, but it was New Years’ Day and I didn’t want to bother her. We didn’t have any plans for the next day, so we just decided to show up and see what was going on.”
“Heidi was all smiles. We asked her what she’d done the night before to have such a secretive smile on her face, and then we realized that she wasn’t alone. There was another man in her office, and you’ll never believe it.”
“God, you’re killing me here. Just TELL me!”
“Remember last fall, out in Denver?”
“Becca, for god’s sake, of course I remember Denver. You ran away there. I came and got you.”
“No, goof, last FALL. The meet and greet?”
“Well sure, that’s when we got those awesome donations for the foundations.” She paused then, and Becca could see her begin to make the connection. “Wait a minute … the checks we got…”
“Were really from Andrew’s estate.”
“But I thought-”
“The man who presented them? Rob-”
“Rob David, I remember now.”
“’Rob David’ is, in reality, Robert David Callahan.”
“What? Becca, come on. Get to the point.”
“Robert Callahan is … ‘was’ … Andrew’s partner. His lover.”
Sarah sat back, completely speechless.
“The day that Nick proposed to me, Christmas Eve, Andrew came to see me at the church. I was ugly to him, and I blew him off. Apparently, he came to tell me everything, and to try and set things straight. After I basically threw him out of the church, he amended his will. He knew he was dying, Sarah, and he wanted to make sure I was taken care of. He left the bulk of the estate to me and made Robert promise to keep it confidential for six months following his death.”
“By then you’d married Nick and were pregnant with GT.”
“Uh huh. He decided to wait till after the tour to tell me, but then he found out how big a fan his niece was. So he concocted this plan to get backstage for her and to also give us a preview of the money.”
“Bec, that’s great!”
“I don’t want Andrew’s money! Can’t you see what this is doing to me?” Becca was on her feet and pacing the length of her living room. “This is an eternal reminder of what he did to me, Sarah. I don’t need the money, and Nick-“
“Nick is jealous.”
“What!? He is not.”
“He most certainly is. How did he react?”
“He was polite, Sarah. Well, a little ‘cool’ maybe, but he was gracious enough.”
“Can’t you see what you’re doing here? In one breath you say how awful it is to be reminded of him every day and then …. I don’t know, Bec. In the next breath you almost have some sort of reverent tone of voice when you talk about Andrew. You need to make up your mind how you really feel about him.”
“I don’t know how I feel any more,” she replied weakly.
“Then Bec, how can you expect Nick to know how to act?”
“Oh my god.”
“Sis, relax. Don’t do this to yourself.” Struggling to her feet, Sarah walked slowly to the kitchen, returning with a glass of red wine.
“I can’t drink that.”
“You need to calm down, now bottoms up. Besides, you don’t have the breastfeeding excuse any more.”
“Alcohol won’t help.”
“Normally I’d agree with you, but not tonight. Drink.”
Becca drained her glass and poured herself another before speaking. “Nick hardly said another word the rest of the day. He disappeared for the rest of the afternoon, to the studio I guess, and never came home for dinner.”
“And that night?”
“I got the call from one of his old buddies that he was in lockup.”
Sarah wanted to ask why Becca hadn’t called her, but something made her hesitate. Somehow she knew that this time, it was better to just listen.
“They wouldn’t tell me anything,” Becca continued, her voice subdued. “I called the police station, and I explained who I was, but I think they assumed I was just another curious and semi-hysterical fan, so they never told me anything.”
“I called Heidi. I didn’t know what else to do, Sarah.” Becca anticipated the comeback and never gave Sarah a chance to even utter it. “No, I couldn’t have called you. It was bad enough that Nick had been photographed and filmed being shoved into a squad car, can you imagine the press if Howie had shown up?”
“I would have come over here, Becca. I could have at least sat with you while you waited.”
“I know that.” Becca dashed away the tears that seemed to fall so easily lately. “I just … I’m sorry, Sarah, I just couldn’t.”
“Bec, it’s okay. I think I understand, and … just stop worrying about it.” It had been a long time since Sarah had seen her friend this torn up, and she ached for her. She wanted to say something to help, but until she had a chance to hear what Howie would have to say, she was resigned to just offering silent support.
Chapter 11 Index