"That's nonsense Abby. What's gotten into that girl's head now?"
The two women sat in Rose's kitchen as the afternoon sun sloped behind golden maple trees casting shadows in the house. Late summer cicadas thumped their raucous tunes and the aroma of a tomato casserole bubbled from the oven.
"What about Jonathon?" Rose asked cautiously.
Abby took a shaking breath. Humiliation and anger lined her face as she recalled the intimate embrace she had witnessed.
"I always thought he was too young for you," Rose said then as she reached a comforting hand across the table to her.
"I know, you warned me!" Abby exclaimed as she wiped her eyes.
"My dear, I just can't believe Lisa would say and do such things, my God, you've been like a mother to her all these years."
Abby sat hunched over, as if protecting her heart. "Rose, what did I do wrong? I tried my best after our parents were killed in the accident."
Rose got up and came around the table and putting a arm across her shoulders said, "Now Abby, you did a wonderful job raising that girl." And sitting down again she poured another cup of coffee for each, but went on hesitatingly, "My dear maybe you did too much!"
Abby looked at her friend in surprise as Rose continued, "she was only two years old when you had to move back home and take care of her. You were in college. My God, I remember how you struggled, how you saved money later to send her to college. How you still have to bail her out of debt when she goes hog-wild with her charge cards. Good lord, she has more designer clothes in her closet than I've had my whole life!"
"I know Rose, but I've always taught her to buy quality."
"But Abby, you know she's impractical. Wake up for heaven's sake!"
Abby sat looking sad now.
"What are you going to do?" Rose asked anxiously.
"I don't know if I hurt more from Lisa's threat or Jonathon's two timing. He must have been sleeping with both of us," she continued horrified. Then standing up quickly, she said, "I need to go home Rose, I need to think!"
"Abby, put some cold cloths on you face and be careful," her friend said hugging her at the door.
Abby got in her car again and drove home. She wondered through her house which was a luxury condo in Wayzata. Tonight, however the comforts did little to soothe her aching heart and she slept badly as Lisa's face haunted her in her dreams.
Could Lisa really kill her to take her business and Jonathon?
She awoke with a feeling of inadequacy, the same thing she had felt years ago at trying to be both a father and mother to her sister. She went into her office early, as this felt more like her real home. It was carpeted and furnished in creams and beige and felt like a soft mellow cocoon of warmth and elegance. Samples of materials, portfolios, pictures, antiques and modern art warmed the rooms in an orderly fashion. Numerous times over the years, she had spent an exhaused night on the couch, then rushed home in the morning to change and hurried back to start another day.
Abby Andrews Interiors was well known in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area and her exceptional work was known for miles around as well. Right now, she had three contracts to fill, well into thousands of revenue dollars for her company. Two multi-million dollar homes in North Oaks and a penthouse atop the new Meridan Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. And, she needed all her energy to concentrate on them.
Lisa came in then going to her desk. "Good morning," she sang, every blonde hair in place and today her slim body encased in another new suit. Armoni, Abby surmised. "How was your week-end Ab?" She asked then.
"Fine," Abby answered curtly, studying some swatches of material so she wouldn't have to look at her sister, then asked, "Did you check on those shipments Lisa?'
"I did yesterday, and I called Jonathon to come in to help me unpack. Everything is ready in the warehouse."
"Call him again Lisa," Abby said slowly keeping the irritation out of her voice, "and have him meet us at the penthouse, will you please? I need you both to help me today."
"Abby, he called me at home and said he wouldn't be in today."
"He called you? Why you?" Now Abby was pissed.
"Yes Abby, he didn't want to bother you." And putting a hand up to her head, Lisa complained, "And I'm afraid I won't be of much help today either, I've got a bitch of a headache."
"Are you coming down with something?" Abby asked forever the worrier.
"I doubt it," Lisa smiled, "After we got done unpacking yesterday, Jonathon and I opened that bottle of Dom Perignom you got from the Pillsbury's after we finished their penthouse and it was pretty late when we left here."
Abby could only stare at her sister in unbelief.
But, did she want to want to go to jail for what her thoughts were prompting her to do?