The annoying ring of the phone interrupted a strange yet beautiful dream. Alex Carter groped for his cell and mumbled a greeting. Instead of the husky voice of the answering service, hearing his sister’s voice confused him. She spewed a stream of words with the force of a flash flood. “Megan, slow down. Do you know what time it is?”
“Six a.m. and I have to work and Lauren arrives this morning and I was supposed to meet her but I have to work and can’t go so do me a favor and go to the airport and be there by ten when her flight arrives.”
Alex pushed to a sitting position. “It’s Wednesday.”
The sarcasm in her voice made him clench his teeth. “Brat.”
“I know you’re off and since I can’t go and neither can Jenessa, you have to and just think you can do this favor for me without rearranging your office hours. Were you planning something special with Johnny?”
“Noooo.” He dragged out his response. Who was Lauren?
“Please say you’ll go. When she called the other day I was so excited about her coming here I never thought about who would meet her.”
Convinced her non-stop to take a breath delivery wasn’t healthy, he interrupted her stream of words. “I’ll do it.”
“Great. See you.”
“Wait a minute," he shouted to gain her attention. “How will I know her?”
“Brown hair, brown eyes, tall, slender. She was here the summer Mom got sick. She roomed with Jenessa and me at Grantley.”
“My memories are vague.”
“Alzheimer’s so soon.”
”I’ll remember that.” Alex stretched. “Once I have her what will I do with her?” Megan’s giggle pressed a warning button. “No way, sister mine.”
He imagined her cat in the cream smile. “Megan.”
“I’ll leave my key under the mat. Have her call the minute you arrive in town. See you.”
Alex held the receiver until he heard a dial tone. Why did he have the feeling Megan had just orchestrated a crescendo in his life? His sister had a habit of trying to match every unmarried acquaintance, friend or relative with someone. He shook his head. Being involved in one of her schemes was the last thing he wanted.
Should he take Johnny or arrange for his housekeeper to pick him up from kindergarten? He wasn’t sure.
After he finished dressing in jeans and a cream-colored knit shirt he decided that while a five year old might find the airport fascinating if the plane arrived late his son would complain and fidget.
Alex remembered the hours wasted at the airport waiting for his wife to return from one of her vacations in
Europe with her “beautiful” friends. Though nearly three years had passed since the divorce and a year since her death, his anger remained strong.
Pushing thoughts of Rhonda aside, he ran down the stairs of the post-Revolutionary farmhouse. The aroma of fresh coffee made his stomach rumble.
While he breakfasted he reviewed his memories of Lauren Richmond. Bit by bit he build a picture of a tall, slender girl with huge amber eyes and a propensity for popping into his presence as thought she’d set an ambush.
His hand tightened on his coffee mug. Poor little rich girl. The comment had been his mother’s. Lauren Richmond was an heiress. Megan! Not me. There was no room in his life for another spoiled rich woman.
He’d been there, done that. Money bred selfishness. His dead wife was proof of that. The moment her trust fund had been under her control she’d run toward destruction. Drugs, parties, alcohol. She hadn’t had a thought for her son or the man she’d professed to love.