Mrs. Perfect(6)

By: Jane Porter



“There’s my beautiful wife,” Nathan says, walking toward us with Tori still in his arms.

Nathan is a vice president for Walt McKee’s personal holding company, McKee being the founder of satellite communications, and that’s the name of the game here in Seattle: technology. Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Balmer, and Walt McKee are all practically neighbors and if not close friends, acquaintances. I’m not trying to name-drop, it’s just that this is my world, the one I live in. I see the Gateses and McKees and the Balmers everywhere. Our kids play together on the same sports teams, dance at the same ballet studios, swim at the same country club pool, and sometimes attend the same school.

Nathan leans down and kisses me before turning to greet my friends. In the late afternoon light, he looks even more golden than usual, his brown hair sun streaked from swimming, surfing, and playing golf, his warm brown eyes almost bronze. I think he’s more handsome now than when I first met him.

“Hello, honey,” I answer, reaching out to capture his fingers. “How was your day?”

“Good.” He shifts Tori to his other arm, oblivious that Tori’s damp little body has left his shirt wet as well as stained with a splatter of ketchup.

Tipping my head back, I smile up at him. “I didn’t think I’d see you for another hour or two.”

“Escaped early.” He puts Tori down, glances around. “I see Jemma. Where’s Brooke?”

“Eating something somewhere,” I answer.

He nods and pushes a hand through his thick hair—I’m so glad he still has his hair. “I’m going to get a beer. Anybody want anything?” he asks my friends. “Kate? Patti? Monica?”

They all shake their heads, but I can see their eyes feasting on him. I can’t be jealous, either. Let’s face it: Nathan’s feastworthy. Six three, very broad shouldered, and with very nice abs. He works out daily, always has.

“How about you, darling girl?” he asks, turning to me. “Gin and tonic with lots of lime?”

I smile up at him. “I love you.”

“I know you do.”

I watch him walk away, thinking again that I’m so lucky that it sometimes makes me feel guilty, having so much. I certainly didn’t have any of this growing up. Growing up . . .

Growing up was a nightmare.

I shudder, push the thought away, telling myself to focus on the here and now. Everything’s good today. Everything’s great. And it’s not as if I just fell into this amazing life. I worked to get here, worked to make it happen. Now if only I could relax and enjoy it more.

“Oh, my God.” Monica leans forward, grabs Kate’s arm. “Lucy’s here.”

“What?”

Monica nods across the pool. “She’s just walked in, and she’s got the kids.”

Our heads all swivel toward the pool entrance, and Monica’s right. Lucy Wellsley is walking around the deep end of the pool, a beach tote bag over her shoulder, a stack of colorful striped towels in her arms as her three kids, two boys—fraternal twins—and a little girl, all run ahead.

“Should we invite her to join us?” Patti asks, glancing at me.

“I don’t know.” I mean, I feel bad for her, but infidelity? Affairs? This is bad. Really bad.

“She’s brave,” Kate mutters. “I wouldn’t show my face here.”

“Well, I don’t think we have to worry about extending an invitation,” Monica practically purrs. “Because Lucy’s on her way here now.”





Chapter Two


Lucy stands next to us, her arms still bundled around the thick stack of fuchsia and turquoise beach towels. “Hi,” she says brightly. Too brightly.

I feel for her, I do, especially as she has to know that everyone’s talking about her. God, what a nightmare. I’d rather die than be discussed by all the other moms.

Patti stands and gives Lucy and her towels a quick hug. “Hi, stranger,” Patti says. “How are you?”

Lucy’s gotten thin, and not attractively thin. Her eyes look huge in her face, the skin pulled too taut across her cheekbones and jaw, ruining the effect of all her expensive work. “Fine. What are you girls up to?”

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