When we left off last week Miranda had gone to the Caribou bar in search of the men who shot Vin and run into the CIA agent Christina instead. Now we return to the Cardinal Bar where Miranda left Drew and Suzie slow dancing.
Suzie could feel Drew’s body plastered to hers from breast to thigh. She had her arms around his neck and he had his around her waist, the better to pull her closer. The music was slow, and if anybody on or off the dance floor objected to the way they danced – from side to side an inch at a time – they weren’t saying anything.
Drew leaned back, putting a little distance between them, and Suzie sighed in disappointment. For a while she’d been able to forget everything that had gone wrong in her life and simply herself. She supposed you couldn’t sway on a dance floor forever. But instead of leading her to their table, Drew lifted her face toward his, and kissed her.
“My God, Suzie! What do you think you’re doing?” The voice was all too familiar. Rob. Her EX-husband, who had the power to make her flinch even as she told herself he had no right to cop an attitude on her.
Suzie let Drew go, but didn’t try to break free. She took a deep sigh.
“What do you want, Rob?” She sounded every bit as bone-weary as she felt whenever she looked at him.
A girl was with him. She couldn’t have been a day over 21, if even that. Long, black hair plaited into an I-Dream-of-Jeanie do, Madonna bustier, teenybopper attitude, she fit right in at The Cardinal. She clung to Rob, who – with his balding pate, bear belly, and worsted wool suit – didn’t fit in at all.
“Who is she?” The teenybopper sneered her question.
“My wife.” Rob answered with little attention to his date or the truth.
“You’re married?” The teenybopper’s lip curled up in revulsion. Rob grabbed the girl’s wrist, but she pulled free and disappeared into the crowd.
“Now see what you’ve done? It’ll take me weeks to fix it.” He would try to shift the blame. Couldn’t he take responsibility once in his life?
“Rob, where’s Ben?”
“Your son. Where is he?”
“Oh. Home, I guess. He wasn’t back from school when I left. Why do you ask?”
Suzie put her forehead against Drew’s shoulder and groaned. First thing in the morning she’d have to call around and see if she could find someone better to take Ben until it was safe for him to come home.
“What’s it to you? You’re the one who dumped him on me with no explanation.”
“You need to keep a close eye on him. Some guy tried to pick him up a while ago.” That was as much explanation as Suzie intended to give her ex-husband.
Rob grunted with a distinct lack of interest. He was busy looking around, probably worried about his precious reputation. He’d never had a realistic idea of how people thought of him.
“Are you at least dealing with Mrs. D,” Suzie asked.
“Who? Yeah, sure. Sure.”
The girl who had been with him stalked past, chin up and in a severe huff. Suzie found it hard to take the attitude seriously in a girl half her age. Rob turned like a dog catching the scent of a bitch in heat. He took a step toward the girl, his hand stretched out to her. The pose was ultimately pathetic in a man old enough, but not mature enough, to be her father. He was a visual reminder of the mistakes Suzie was capable of when she didn’t hold herself in high enough esteem.
“This is your fault,” he snapped at Suzie, gesturing toward the girl as she disappeared in the crowd. “You shouldn’t even be in a place like this. You’re too old.”
“And you aren’t?” Suzie shot back.
For a minute she thought he’d hit her. His face went to a blotchy red and he balled his fist. Suzie stepped away from Drew, her own hand tightening for a punch which she dearly wished to unleash. Rob glanced from her to Drew, then took a couple of steps backward.
“Never mind. You aren’t worth it.” He turned in the direction the girl and gone and fled.
For the first time since Rob spoke, Suzie looked up at the man she thought she might take as a lover. He hadn’t moved an inch, but the transformation was complete. He looked like the kind of stone-cold, calculating, rock-solid man it takes put a bullet in someone. If she reached around him now and found his gun and holster she wouldn’t be surprised. Actually, it might really be under his loose-fitting shirt. She’d had her arms around his neck, not back.
She told herself the thought of him as FBI through and through shouldn’t be such a turn on.
“Is he always like that?” Drew spoke with his eyes still on the part of the crowd where Rob had been.
“I didn’t divorce him on a whim,” Suzie answered.
Even though she was a little tipsy from the beer, she was pretty darn sure she wasn’t making a mistake this time as she put her arms around the man.