The telephone rang, jarring me out of my misery. I started to stand up, but just as quickly changed my mind. The answering machine could get it.
This was the third time in the last half hour I was kneeling in front of the porcelain throne, trying to convince my stomach to calm down. I simply didn’t have the energy to talk to anyone. Or the desire.
Here it was one o’clock in the afternoon. That meant I couldn’t be suffering from morning sickness. Right? It had to be a bug. Something I ate. A germ. The stomach flu.
I couldn’t be pregnant. I was on The Pill.
The phone kept ringing, and I squeezed my eyes shut. My head ached, my mouth tasted like garbage, and I was exhausted. Too tired to move. Besides, who would be calling me on a Saturday afternoon? I’d already talked to my grandmother. She’d said Mom was off with her boyfriend, attending the Rib Fest at Arcadia Creek. And Wade was on his boat on Lake Michigan, with his six-year-old son Jason, Wade’s ex-wife, Linda, and her new husband. It was supposed to be just a fishing trip with his son, but his ex had insisted on going along. I think maybe she thought Wade would try to run off with Jason.
Anyway, Wade had said not to expect a call until tomorrow, and my regular clients know I don’t work on weekends. “Too taxing” I like to tell them, playing on the fact that, as a certified public accountant, taxes are my job. That meant whoever was calling my home phone number was either a new client or a salesperson.
If they left a message, I would know.
The phone stopped ringing. I expected my answering machine to click on, and that I’d hear my message and then the caller’s response. But the answering machine didn’t come on. For a moment there was silence.
I sighed in relief.
Then my cell phone started ringing.
My dog always does that when my cell phone rings. Rhodesian Ridgebacks have floppy ears, but they hear quite well, and there’s something about the ring-tone I picked for my cell phone that sets my dog off. I know, I could change the ring-tone, but when I’m away from the phone, such as outside or working in a different part of the house, his howling alerts me to any incoming calls.
At the moment, his howling grated on my nerves, but since I only give that number out to a select few, I decided I’d better answer the phone.
“Okay, okay,” I said, pushing myself to my feet. I just hoped my stomach stayed calm long enough for me to tell the caller I couldn’t talk.
I stumbled into the dining room and grabbed the cell phone from the table as it began to ring again. “What?” I practically yelled.
I recognized Wade’s sister’s voice immediately. Ginny has a sexy, throaty way of talking that always reminds me of Marilyn Monroe. She’s also a very nice person and certainly didn’t deserve to be yelled at. I softened my tone. “Yeah, it’s me.”
“I tried your home number. I don’t know where you’re at, but there’s been an accident.”
“Accident?” I sank onto the nearest chair. “What kind of an accident?”
“Wade’s boat,” Ginny said. “It’s . . . it’s blown up.”
(And thus starts EAT CROW AND DIE which will be available July 2015 as a hardcover and in August 2015 as an ebook.)