He sat on the edge of the bed to think. She would have written in it when he couldn’t see. She had to have known he would be curious and try to read it. Where was her most private corner?
It came to him. Of course, the bath.
The woman lived in there. She’d probably only have been half as wrinkled if she hadn’t constantly stewed herself in hot water. He strode through her walk-in closet and entered the elegant powder room presided over by a giant circular bath. She wouldn’t put it in the hamper, that would be too untidy. After scouring the room, he finally found it behind a false backing In the hair dryer cupboard.
The diary was uncharacteristically plain. He would have expected something ornate with a matching pink feather quill. He opened to July 1995.
Tennis coach flirted with me today. I can’t imagine what he sees in me. That’s a lie, he sees Rockford’s money. But it was good to be treated like a girl.
Damn. This was going to be revealing. He flipped forward a few months.
He loves me. That bratty ex-girlfriend (Crystal? Carine?)
Martine, Jeff thought. Jesus.
…made it clear when she tried to warn me off. She was livid, called me an old dried up hag and threw her drink on the Chanel bag. So coarse. Jeff was darling. He told her in no uncertain terms that it was over between them, right in front of me. He kissed me in public! I feel sorry for that girl.
Jeff flipped through a few more pages. This was it.
I don’t want to seem like I’m desperate or a sad cliche. He’s kind but distant. He spends a lot of time at the library. I know it’s where he goes because I followed him there. I’m sure he didn’t see me.
He snorted. He’d seen her all right. Did she think that Mercedes was invisible just because she didn’t use her driver?
But I’m glad he’s at the library. He says he doesn’t care about not finishing his education, but when I talk about Cicero and Hobbes, he asks intelligent questions. He must be trying to expand his horizons, like we discussed, and doesn’t want me to know.
The pages were stuck together. Jeff licked his thumb and separated them.
…suspect something. I heard him on the phone this morning.
Damn. He would have to destroy this. Good thing her friend had tipped him off at the funeral today.
Jeff, I know you’re reading this.
His pulse halted. He read that again. Turned the page with another flick of the tongue on his thumb.
By now you’ve turned enough pages with your adorable habit of licking your thumb. And I’m looking down on you from heaven, or wherever the innocent go. But my dear boy, I’m sorry to say, I have a parting gift for you. I’ve left it on the bottom corner of each page. You’ll begin to feel the effects very soon. You might find the antidote if you hurry, but you’ll need to make it to the library in time. Hope it’s not a Sunday.
Jeff’s throat began to close up.