I blushed, wondering if he somehow knew what happened in his conference room yesterday. Or had he peeked at Sylvia’s unapproved mural? Struggling to seem casual, I removed my apron and asked, “Should I bring the expense reports?”
After Dwight Jr.’s midlife crisis ruined our marriage, my father-in-law stepped in to take care of Amber and me financially. To get me out of the house, he hired me to be a legal secretary in his estate planning law firm, but after a week, he could tell office work wasn’t for me.
“What do you think you would like to do,” he had asked.
My reply that I enjoyed interior decorating gave him an idea. His firm would buy the country store across the street from his office and let me fix it up as a coffee shop. He assured me that the café didn’t have to make a profit because his law partners planned to “use the losses to offset some gains,” creating dream jobs for Sylvia and me.
“No, don’t bother with the reports. I just want to know how you’re doing. I worry about you in that big house by yourself.”
“I’m okay, Dad. Thanks for asking. When the divorce is finalized, I’ll sell it and find something smaller.”
Dwight Sr.’s mouth was full, so he nodded. After a pause, he asked, “Has Amber started speaking to you again?”
My eyes filled with tears as I shook my head.
“I’m sorry I brought it up. She’ll come around soon, don’t you worry.”
When Dwight Jr’s affair came to light last fall, Sylvia offered to let Amber stay with her. At the time, I thought it was a good idea. I wanted to spare Amber the ugliness of our fighting. But I soon regretted it. Amber was so angry at Dwight and me when we told her we were divorcing that she stopped speaking to both of us. From then on, she confided in Sylvia the things she used to share with me.
Dwight Sr. wiped the crumbs from his mouth and looked at his watch. “Not long now.” He pointed outside at the volunteers setting up for the ceremony. On his way out, he hollered over his shoulder toward the back room, “Big day, Sylvia—bet you’re anxious to see how your work looks three stories high.” Without waiting for her response, he strode through the door saying, “Put it on my tab.” He cracked himself up since he owned the place and didn’t have a tab.