Lips still warm from Geoff's more passionate than usual kiss
goodnight, Liv backed through the door of her condo and pulled the
lapels of his jacket close around her face. Breathing deeply, she
smelled his cologne and felt as though she still stood in his
Not wanting the magical night to end, after she locked the door
behind her she swung the jacket out in front, curtseying deeply and
holding the arms as if it were her partner. She let the jacket lead
her into a waltz around the room and she hummed along with the
one-two-three tune in her head.
Eyes closed to slits, she imagined this was the first dance of her
wedding day, her first dance as Mrs. Geoffrey Bartholomew Quigley
"You look different, Mrs. Quigley," Geoff said, staring into her
eyes as he tightened his grip on her waist.
"I'm more in love with you now, than I ever was before, Mr.
Quigley." She prayed her two left feet wouldn't betray her on this
memorable occasion. "It must show on my face."
Geoff skillfully guided her into the waltz, circling the floor. Her
wedding dress skimmed the tile and she felt dizzy from the depth of
her emotion and the speed with which Geoff spun her around.
"I love you, too, Lee Lee." Geoff smiled… and spun her into the
"Ow!" Liv sprawled on the floor beside her glass table, arms thrown
out in front, and Geoff's jacket a few inches from her fingertips.
She sat up and rubbed her shin, cursing her lack of grace yet
again. No wonder she'd all but flunked out of finishing school as a
She grasped for the jacket, which was lying nearly inside out on the
soft carpet. As she dragged it toward her, bits of paper fell out
of the inside pocket. Maybe they were receipts for the carriage
ride around Boston this evening, a celebration of the one month
anniversary since Geoff proposed. She'd love to keep it for her
She opened the first piece. It was for two dozen roses, dated ten
days ago but didn't include delivery information. She frowned,
trying to remember if she'd gotten flowers from him then. Maybe he
got them for his mother. He always was a thoughtful son.
The next was for the Torch Restaurant, their special place, and she
smiled until she noted it was for three nights before, a Thursday.
She and Geoff always went there on Sunday. Maybe a business
Liv twisted her two-carat diamond engagement ring around on her
finger, thinking she should probably stop going through his things,
hating that she wanted to continue. Geoff was so thoughtful, loving
and attentive. He didn't deserve the suspicions that were swirling
around inside her head.
One last one, she decided. Then she would stop.
She chose the yellow paper, bigger than the rest and neatly folded.
Her hands shook a bit when she opened it. When she saw the business
name her throat tightened, though she wasn't sure whether it was
from sorrow or anger.
Lucky Lady Lingerie. Two hundred dollars worth of sexy underwear
she'd never seen and in sizes far larger than her spare frame would
hold. Clearly, she wasn't the lucky lady in Geoff's life. She
wondered how Geoff, always proper and worried about appearances, had
managed to buy women's undies without dying from embarrassment. She
could only imagine how uncomfortable he would have been.
"Pardon me, miss," Geoff gained the attention of the
provocatively clad saleswoman in the lingerie shop. "I need
clothing appropriate for a mistress. My fiancée, of course, wears
only practical cotton undergarments and I want something completely
different for the woman who stirs my blood. Can you help me?"
The woman's full, red lips turned up into a cat-like smile. "Of
course, sir. I know just the thing. Follow me." She turned and
sauntered to the back of the store, hips swaying hypnotically
beneath her leather miniskirt.
She stopped in front of a display with teddies and thongs. "See
anything you like?"
Geoff's eyes grew wide at the selection and he randomly chose
several. "Wrap them up for me, please. In something non-descript."
"Discretion is our middle name," the woman assured Geoff and wrote
up a quick receipt.
Liv, vowing to go tomorrow and buy a bright red thong and garter
belt, crumpled the receipt into a ball and threw it across the room,
but the action did nothing to allay her anger. She tried throwing
his jacket, but when it only traveled a few feet it only made her
rage worse. Finally, she yanked off her engagement ring and hurled
it. It smacked the wall and bounced away. That felt good.
Was Geoff buying roses and sexy underwear for someone else only
three weeks before their wedding? Was that woman the reason he
never did more than indulge in a bit of necking now and then? He
said he respected her, wanted their wedding night to be special --
but was he frustrated and needing to relieve his urges somewhere
Didn't he love her?
She shook her head. Of course he loved her. Surely her suspicions
were completely unfounded. Tomorrow she would take his jacket to
him at his office and confront him with the receipts. She knew he'd
have a good answer for everything. Even her father liked Geoff; had
introduced them, in fact. Geoff was a good guy. The best: kind,
thoughtful, loving. And perfect for her in every way.
He'd absolutely have a good answer for everything and shame on her
for doubting him. Her heart contracted tightly in her chest,
squeezing a tiny sob out of her throat.
Suddenly panicked about her bare ring finger, she scuttled on her
hands and knees in search of the precious symbol. Not by the wall,
nor under the bookcase. How far had it bounced?
Stretched out on her tummy she reached underneath the entertainment
center, but felt nothing but a few dust bunnies the maid had missed,
something she'd address with her service first thing in the
morning. Didn't anyone have a good work ethic these days?
Exhausted by the fruitless search, she laid her head down on the
carpet, tears filling her eyes. They dampened the spot beneath her
cheek but she didn't move, eventually falling into a restless sleep.