Previous – All You Do Is Lie
I glance up from my computer screen at work, watching my boss’s wife pace back and forth past my office door. Judging by her moans, groans, and intense click-clacking of her heels, something is troubling her.
“Tehanie?” I call out. “Is everything okay?”
“No!” She stops in front of my doorway with hands on hips, frowning like I should already know why she’s upset. “It isn’t, Misa. Not one bit.”
She flops in my armchair, motioning me to sit in the other beside her.
I move fast.
“What’s going on?” I ask.
Tehanie’s tanned legs shake with worry, shining in the afternoon light. She looks like a movie star in her light blue minidress and long, raven hair.
“Girl, Weston missed his lunch break with me again. He didn’t even sleep in bed with me last night because he’s busy getting Khiana moved to the ranch now that they’re on better terms. I’ve been calling, texting, but he’s always busy, busy, busy. Lux hasn’t spoken to him either. Really pisses me off. I think he’s ignoring me on purpose. I swear, Weston doesn’t need a third wife when he can’t handle two, you know?”
Hopefully Emilian never wants multiple wives like his dad.
“I’m sorry you’re going through this. I can phone him on the emergency line for you… I heard Mr. Grim always answers that.”
“Oh, no need. I just wanted to rant, really. I’ll talk to him at dinner tonight. But if he misses it or tries to invite Khiana, ooh, I’m gonna lose it.”
“Don’t end up in the newspaper.” That makes her smile. “Kidding.”
Tehanie laughs. “Oh, never. I behave.”
I access Mr. Grim’s calendar from my computer, trying to shake the fear of Emilian wanting multiple wives out of my head before it manifests. “Mr. Grim’s agenda is full… But next week he has a lot of availability.”
This explains why I haven’t met him yet. And who’s Lux?
“That’ll change.” Tehanie shakes her head, looking defeated out the window. “Khiana left Weston before. She’ll leave him again. I know it.” Her hands fly in the air. “Pfft!”
Just nod and be a nice person.
“Things will get better soon.” I smile, trying to be as reassuring as possible. It’ll happen if she believes it enough.
“Maybe you’re right.” She groans. “Well, think I’m gonna call it a day. You should too, since Weston is out.”
“I will soon. Just wrapping up that report you wanted for Mr. Grim.”
“Kay. Don’t take too long. Get out and enjoy the sun.” We hug like we’ve been friends forever. “Bye girl.”
I’m walking across campus with Misa on my mind, and the text I have to send her at dad’s insistence.
My father is making me invite you to dinner tonight at the ranch with me, my terrible mother who crashed into your car, and my two stepmothers, Tehanie and Lux. Do you want to come? Please say no. Because I don’t want to go, but I will leave this decision solely up to you, although my mental health is at stake.
I wait for her response. She should be done with work now.
Just finished class. Miss you.
I add, so she doesn’t think I’m in a bad mood. Everyone always thinks that. I’m actually a cheerful person most of the time.
100P Misa texts back.
Huh? I read it again, unsure what she means.
Misa? I text back.
Her face pops on my phone. I answer quick.
“Misa, what did that text mean?”
“He took her!” she shouts, trying to catch her breath. “I texted the plate number!”
“Pace took your mom! Right outside of Grim Systems! With a woman–they just snatched her when she was walking out!”
Stay focused… Stay. Focused.
“Are you still at Grim?” I run across the campus lot looking for my truck. All these other fucking vehicles everywhere.
“I’m on Sharp Shooter road… he’s going so fast!”
“WHAT?” I yell, remembering the sharp turns and dead zone on that road. “Don’t follow him!” I spot my truck.
“But she’s in trouble! Wait, I didn’t call the—can you call the authorities, or your dad?! 100P, that was the plate. They can track it, right? Big man and a red head woman!”
“The authorities will handle it, but I’m coming for you. Okay? Misa? Just pull over, stop the car.” I get in fast and take off. “Do not follow them.”
“MISA TURN AROUND NOW!”
“I—” Her voice swims in static.
The call drops.