Sophie had to give in. You know it, and I know it. Or there’d be no story, right? But you also know there has to be a problem. In this case the problem is the ex, a specter from her past, and a suddenly violent one at that.
Her past mistake knocks on the door randomly – right when things are starting to go good, of course – and when she lets him in, and refuses to continue being a fool, he hits her. In this unedited snippet, our heroine has managed to hide the truth from Lado, the new boo, but her girls are not so easily fooled.
“Where are you?”
“On my way home.”
“Good. We’re letting ourselves in. We’ve got some clothes for you to try.”
Shit, she thought, listening to the dial tone while she thought about how to explain away her bruised appearance. It would have to be the fall. It was what she’d told Lado, and it wouldn’t be kosher to have him hear a different story than the one she’d already told him. The only problem was, she knew perfectly well there was no way Tommy would believe it.
And she didn’t.
“There you are! The one day I need you to stay home, you’re –” she froze, two hangers dangling from a heavily beringed hand. She tossed them over a chair. “What the hell happened to you?” She touched the bruised cheek gently. “Who did this to you?”
“I fell.” It was worth a try.
“Bullshit. Was it Robert? He came here?”
And no cigar. “Tommy – ”
“You answer me right now. And don’t you dare fucking lie to me again.”
Sophie shuddered. She hadn’t heard that cold, evil tone in years. “Yes.”
“He wanted money.”
“And you told him to fuck off.”
Sophie nodded, collapsing tiredly into a chair next to the clothes. “How’d you know?”
“It was a safe guess.”
Sophie shuddered. “I’ve never seen him lose his cool like that. It was, scary.”
“Times are hard,” Tommy said, sitting down on the arm of the chair. She put a gentle arm around Sophie’s shoulders and squeezed. “He’s been doing without all those lovely extras your money provided for quite some time now. And you know with every quarter, rising costs make fools of even the most frugal.”
Sophie scoffed. “Robert was never frugal.”
“No, but he’s always been a fucking fool. We have to deal with this.”
“No.” Sophie pulled herself wincing from the chair and turned to catch her friend’s hand. “Tommy, no. I do not want any of our girls mixed up in any kind of retribution. This is my battle to fight, and I will not have anyone getting in trouble on my behalf.”
Tommy’s mouth opened to argue, and Sophie kissed the back of the perfectly manicured hand she held. Her friend subsided with a tiny smile. She knew she was being managed, but she allowed it.
“I can’t afford bail or lawyers,” she said practically.
Tommy rose and picked up the hangers. “And we won’t need either one. But I’ll be cool. For now. It happens again, that bitch is toast. Now, come upstairs and lie down while Lani and I show you your new wardrobe. She’s already upstairs.”
Sophie rolled her eyes. “I hope y’all didn’t spend too much of Lado’s money. I am not comfortable with this. I should never have agreed – Actually, I didn’t agree –”
“Oh, shut up. He was very generous, as he should be.”
“My pussy does not have a price tag, T.”
Tommy smirked at her over her shoulder. She was swanning up the stairs rather slower than usual to accommodate her friend’s painful steps. “Well, it should. And it should read, priceless.”
Of course, the various outfits were beautiful. Sophie’d planned to pick a few things and pay for them herself, but her girls wouldn’t hear of it no matter how much she whined. She daren’t think how much they’d spent. Tommy believed in well made, unique and elegant clothes. Lani liked top of the range designers and lux details. None of those adjectives came cheap especially not with tags from Bloomingdales, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue.
“Is it inconceivable that your bourgesoie ass could shop from Marshalls once in awhile?”
Lani tossed a Marshalls bag into her lap.
Surprised, she looked up; both Tommy and Lani winked, and Sophie burst out laughing.
“I love you two.”
“We know,” said Lani. “Now you wanna tell me what the fuck happened to your face, and why you’re limping like you just got bit in the ass by a dog?”