“Yeah, well, Steve has more than a million invested in the mansion’s renovations,” said Laura. “A half million on the construction, and another half in the decorating. Those custom doormats cost $500 a piece, when you add in what our logo cost.”

She pulled open the door to The Cupola, laughter from the bar audible. “So, I think he feels he owns part of it now, too.” I wish he owned whatever is dropping tiny hankies all over my house, she thought. Those were something she would never share with Samantha, not after that nightmare.

“What did you mean ‘good at first’?” asked Laura. Sam assessed the men at the bar, making note of those who turned their heads to look at her, and chose two seats, between a silver haired man in a beautifully tailored dark grey pinstripe and a Giorgio Armani closer to her own age. Neither was wearing a wedding ring, though she knew from experience how meaningless that was.

“At first?” asked Sam, smiling at the Armani she slid onto the bar stool. “Mezcal margarita,” she said to the bartender as he approached. “Just a coke for me,” said Laura. “I can’t afford another DUI.”

“Last night,” Laura sighed, “when you screamed? You said it was ‘good at first.’”

“Oh, right,” replied Sam. “At first, I was dreaming of Mark, I was wearing the red velvet dress in my portrait downstairs.” She shivered, remembering how his hands felt on her body. “Then I was wearing a black silk dress, and I turned into Matilda. That’s when I screamed.” She turned to the Armani and asked, “do you believe in ghosts?”

Armani smiled, glancing downward at the cleavage exposed by the unbuttoned two top buttons of her red leather sheath. “I do,” he said, “I’m Josh, and you are?”


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