Sometimes life can get in the way of love. A novel about enduring friendships, and second chances at love and life.
Vanessa had it all: handsome husband, two beautiful children, a lovely home, and a successful career. She was living the dream life she and her friends fantasized about as girls over hot fudge sundaes…until her husband miss-dials a call and throws her plans for the perfect life off track.
Now recently divorced, Vanessa attempts to re-kindle a love interest from her past but lets down her walls too late. Her well-meaning friends decide an intervention is in order, soon discovering dating post-40 is harder than it seems. The dating pool they all once knew has become a puddle, with each blind date being crazier than the one before.
Will she ever be able to live a life that makes her happy? Or will she regret her decisions and go running back to the world that she once knew?
The late afternoon sun was still warm that day as Vanessa crossed the parking lot; swinging her trendy brown recycled grocery bag and clicking her high heels on the pavement. She had skipped out of work early hoping to have time to stop at the market, pick up her two daughters from her parents house in the Flats, and be home before her husband, Scott, returned from a three day business trip. It promised to be a perfect spring night for grilling the steaks she just bought and there was a special bottle of red wine waiting at home.
Checking her phone for the time as she approached her SUV, she noticed a missed call. If the woman in front of her with eleven items in the eight items or less line had played by the rules she wouldn’t have missed her husband’s call. Cursing the supermarket with its spotty reception, Vanessa dropped the bag down on the passenger side and slid in across the sun-warmed seat.
Dialing her voicemail, she listened to Scott’s familiar deep, yet road-weary, voice telling her the meeting didn’t go as planned and he had to stay another night. She listened with a frown as he said he missed her and the girls and couldn’t wait to get home tomorrow. Vanessa felt for him and thought the girls would be disappointed – but wasn’t that the life of a regional salesman? It had been harder to close deals lately and his
time away from home had been increasing, like it did a few years ago. Automatically she shook her head to force those thoughts from her mind.
They had shared nine years of marriage. Most were okay, the last few not so good. But what marriage doesn’t have some ups and downs? They were in their prime, had two beautiful children, good health, great jobs, and lived in an affluent community with friends close by. What happened a year ago had just been her own insecurities, or so she was told – constantly.
The phone chirped again as she was listening to the end of his message, alerting her to another call that must have just come in. Hitting delete, she moved on to the new message. In less than ten seconds, she realized her husband was the no-good, lying snake she had suspected all along.
Listening to the second message she heard Scott’s voice again. Stronger and happier this time, if not slightly distracted by traffic, saying, ‘hey honey, it’s me. I told my wife I had to stay in New York tonight but I’m heading back to Boston now. I should be able to pick you up by six. Oh shit’ Click. Silence. The coward wasn’t even smart enough to wait and go through the prompts to delete his own message but, being flustered, hung up saving his lie for her to hear.
Vanessa stared blindly at her dashboard before her stunned brain turned to anger and she realized she was very hot either from the rage coursing through her veins or the simple fact that she had not started the car to lower the windows. Her hand forcefully turned the key in the ignition and the engine roared to life, all the windows racing downward. Anger quickly slid that slippery slope into a deep blackness of utter fury. Fury was good. Vanessa’s typically controlled and refined ways gave out to her hot-blooded Italian nature. She would finally do something about this troubled marriage.
Quickly she swung the SUV out of the supermarket’s lot onto Main Street, cutting off a car in the process. Her foot pushed down on the gas pedal, speeding through her quiet little town north of Boston, heading to her house on west side hill.
Punching her speed dial, Vanessa’s first call was to her father. Struggling to keep her voice calm she asked him to keep the girls overnight and promised she would explain later. Let him think it was a work emergency for now, if he knew what was going on he would be at the house when Scott got there and she wanted a piece of him first.
Her neighbors were next on her list. Darcy was her first call and the second was to her next door neighbor Barbara. Although she would prefer to call her close friends, she knew her neighbors were a better choice at the moment given their proximity.
Expertly maneuvering her SUV up the winding cul-de-sac, tires squealing, she saw Darcy up ahead jogging across her front yard. Barbara was already waiting on Vanessa’s front porch, her arms crossed in front of her tall, thin frame like she was the one waiting for Scott. Vanessa pulled into the driveway like a crazy woman, slamming the car into park and jumping out; adrenaline running through her veins.
“How much time do we have?” asked Darcy, or it might have been Barbara, she didn’t know or care at the moment.
“My guess is an hour.” Not knowing who ‘honey’ was or where she lived, she only knew he would be in the Boston area by six o’clock. From the many past accusations of infidelity, she expected Scott would rush in with a plausible explanation, words of love, and looks of indignation, as soon as possible.
Immediately the three women took action. “I’ll call a locksmith.” Darcy yelled out. She was sure it was Darcy this time as her brain registered her neighbor with a phonebook in hand.
“OK, Barbara, come with me – we are going to get rid of everything of his from this house!” The two women raced up the stairs to start in the bedroom.
Darcy stood at the bottom of the stairs, still holding the phone and peering through the window next to the front door keeping a lookout.
“Where does he keep his clubs?” Darcy yelled up the stairs. In the bedroom, Barbara was opening the two front windows as Vanessa grabbed clothing from his bureau drawers. They turned to each other and both women smiled. It was the first smile since discovering he was cheating and it felt good on her face. Vanessa yelled back, “Great idea, Darcy! In the garage!”
Two hours after that fateful voicemail error, Scott’s black Audi raced up the curved, tree lined street. The car immediately slowed as the disaster on his front lawn came into view and he pulled the car to a stop at an angle to the curb. Jumping out, Scott jogged around the car to the lawn, looking shocked at the mess and screaming for Vanessa.
The front yard looked like a marital war zone. Clothes, shoes, golf clubs and everything else Scott owned covered their well manicured
lawn. With every door and window locked and dead-bolted on the first floor, Vanessa watched from an open second floor window as he ran across the lawn and tried to enter the front door.
“Vanessa!” Bang, bang, bang. Scott’s fist pounded on the midnight blue front door. “Let me in!” Bang, bang. “This is ridiculous and you know it! I can explain everything, honey!!”
Vanessa remained quiet in her perch, watching as he stepped back off the front porch and looked up. Still in his white shirt and tie from his business meeting, the shirt accentuated his typically handsome face as it turned from red to purple with frustration. Watching him bend down to grab red striped boxers off the lawn she smiled with some satisfaction of what they were able to accomplish in a short period of time.
“Where are my girls? Are they in there, Vanessa? Let me in!”
Leaning her chin on her folded hands, she stared down nonchalantly which just enraged him. Scott stamped his foot on the stone walkway like a child having a temper tantrum.
“I just want to talk to you!” He yelled, tightly clenching his striped boxers in his hand. “This is MY house, do you hear me?” His Italian loafer kicked at the wooden box that held his watches and cufflinks; contents flying up in the air and settling into the deep, lush grass. He bent over to retrieve what he could and losing all control he screamed, “You are being a complete bitch!”
The floodgates opened and Scott only stopped screaming when he finally grasped that Vanessa was not going to respond. Looking around, he realized a group of neighbors had gathered across the street to watch the show; all finding the need to walk their dogs at the same time. Scott picked up his golf clubs, replaced them into the Nike golf bag and lovingly placed the bag in the trunk.
Thousand dollar suits were stuck in the trees and hanging on bushes like some deranged fashion designer’s decorating scheme. Boxer shorts dangled from the lamp post at the end of the walkway and his cashmere sweaters were lying in puddles in the driveway that came mostly from the sprinkler, with some assistance from Darcy and a handy garden hose.
Muttering to himself, he gathered his clothes as quickly as possible under the scrutiny of Barbara and Darcy standing at the end of the driveway with looks to kill. Darcy encouraged Champ, their prized Great Dane, to lift his leg and relieve himself copiously on the hood and grill of Scott’s car.
“Jesus Christ! Darcy? Control that beast!” He yelled, pointing at her dog. Darcy waved with a triumphant smile on her face, seemingly oblivious to her dog. Barbara laughed which provoked him even more.
Scott shoved everything he could into the duffle bag and carry-on he had found in the bushes, and what he couldn’t fit he threw into the trunk and backseat.
Vanessa smiled as the locksmith truck arrived. Scott paused only for a second to tell off the portly locksmith as the poor fellow hustled towards Darcy who was waving him over. Vanessa was fairly sure the locksmith had seen this crazy scene played out before.
About the Author
Lynn Ricci was born and raised in the Boston area. Her professional background is in financial communications and she pursues her artistic endeavors of writing and painting while enjoying an active family life with her two children and dog, Fenway. In the summer, she enjoys relaxing in Chatham, on Cape Cod.
A writer of several published short stories including Daydreams which was picked up for an anthology collection through Outskirts Press, The Dating Intervention is her debut novel. More information on novels available and underway can be found at www.lynnricci.com.
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