Kathleen put her arm through Charley’s and held his rough hand. A carpenter by trade, his hand, despite the calluses, was the most soothing she ever felt. Kathleen confided in Charlie ever since she could remember, everything from her girlhood dreams of becoming a newspaper reporter to her sudden decision late in life to give up her career to marry Scott.
“I’m so glad you’re here.” Her hands were shaking.
Charley leaned over to Kathleen, avoiding the brim of her hat and looked into her eyes that were beginning to tear.
“Don’t cry, Kathy. He was nothing but a bastard to you. He’s not worth your grief.”
“I think that’s why I am crying. There’s so much, Charley, so much hatred and despair in me because of…of, you know! And now, you see how his friends, our friends, act like I was some kind of leper because I left him.”
“But it can only get better for you now. Just think, you won’t have to go through a bitter divorce, which you dreaded. He’s dead, caused by his own hand. You’re alive, and you have your whole life ahead of you.”
“God, Charley, what an optimist you are!”
He laughed softly. “I know. I wish you were too.”
At that moment, behind them, a woman moved into the pew next to Kathleen’s friends from the newspaper. A man from the Altar Society came over to notify her that the pew was reserved for Kathleen. Red-headed and in her mid-thirties, she spoke loud enough for everyone in the surrounding pews to hear.
“I don’t give a damn if this is reserved for her! I’m a good friend of the Buckley family and there isn’t any place else to sit!”
She spoke in a menacing tone as she pushed herself some space by planting her large purse between herself and Kathleen’s editor, Rebecca Adams, who was forced to move closer to a coworker.
Kathleen turned to see who invaded her reserved pew and quickly turned back, feeling as if she’d been knifed. The woman was one of Scott’s whores, Elizabeth Ashton, resplendent in black, as if she were the widow, not Kathleen.
Through years of habit, a quick prayer flew to Kathleen’s lips. “Dear God, please, get me through this! ”
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