Tea for Two

In this excerpt from An Accidental Life, a mother ponders her recent life choices, including her worries about her daughter.

Vanessa Atkinson was worried about her little girl.  She and Charles had spent hours discussing the situation, with that dreadful murder in Molly’s apartment complex.  So when Molly had called asking for their help in getting into the new apartment, they’d been only too willing to assist.  Charles had quickly arranged for a transfer of funds into an account for Molly.  He would replenish it as necessary.  In the past, when they’d offered to help out, Molly had been so independent, proud to be handling everything on her own.  She must really be frightened to go back on her earlier decision.

Charles hurried down the stairs, slipping into his jacket and snatching up his briefcase from the hall table.  Ever since their move here a couple of years ago, his law practice had slacked off some, but that was only natural; they were both anticipating an early retirement.  Charles would be fifty in three more years, and she would be forty seven.   For years, Charles had made some excellent investments and as a result, he enjoyed the luxury of being able to take on fewer clients in his law practice.  Now he considered only the most lucrative cases so that he could spend more time with Vanessa.  They had become reacquainted in a whole new way; they were almost like newlyweds, but with an emphasis on companionship rather than passion.

Her eyes lit up when she saw him, still so handsome and appealing after all these years, with his dark hair only slightly graying around the edges.  He was strong and muscular from his athletic pastimes, and he looked wonderful in his dark slacks and light blue shirt with that red tie.  Gratified that he still cared enough to keep himself fit, she smiled lovingly and rose to embrace him.  They kissed warmly, companionably.   “Hi, Sweetie,” he spoke, patting her behind.  “I won’t be gone that long today.  Maybe we can plan a little dinner at that seafood restaurant in Pismo Beach?”

“Sounds lovely, Darling.  I’ll call and make a reservation.”

He took his coffee to go in his traveler’s mug and headed out the door.  She didn’t mind the way he dashed off in the mornings, knowing that he would be returning early.  She looked forward to her time alone, too, for even though she enjoyed their companionable time, she liked shopping and antiquing alone.  And she needed to check out that little place in Cambria.  She was in search of the perfect little hutch for the dining nook.

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