Continued from August

Angela arrives at the office where her friend and colleague is waiting for his daily coffee fix. As soon as she walks through the door of the Wingate Real Estate agency, she is met by Mark Chambers, a man in his early 40s with jet black hair and a penchant for overdressing. 

“As requested,” Angela says, handing him his order from Farm & Flour. “What’s on your agenda today?” Taking a sip of his coffee he answers, “I have a listing appointment at 2pm on Cove Way.” Angela’s face lights up with interest, “That’s a beautiful property! It’s the house with a view of the Carquinez Straits that overlooks that lovely little beach… that’s waterfront living at its finest. That house is worth 2.0 million at least, how did you…? Never mind, I don’t  want to know, just make it happen.” 

“Of course! That’s what I do, you know” he says, preening a bit…”and I have a date tonight,” Mark boasts. Looking at her watch, Angela says, “I have a showing at 4 today and then I have to run home and change to meet Bruce at Bella Siena for dinner.” At that moment, Angela notices a black sports car slowing almost to a stop in front of her office, then quickly accelerating down the street.

“Angela? Hey, Angela! You okay?” Mark asks, concerned. “I’m not sure,” she answers, “let me ask you something. Have you heard who’s buying the Baxter house? I already poked around on the MLS and found nothing.” Mark replies, “No… but I’ll see what I can find. It could be a private sale.” “Yeah…  maybe,” Angela murmurs with a somewhat worried tone.

Later, Angela heads home to change for dinner with Bruce. She pulls into the driveway and heads into the house, only stopping to grab water from the fridge. Angela slips into a green vintage strapless dress she picked up from Rags to Riches and gold heels to match her gold accessories, one of which is the bracelet Bruce gifted her for her birthday earlier that year. 

Angela hears the door close downstairs. Apprehensively, she calls out, “Payton, honey…. Payton, is that you?” She slowly creeps downstairs and looks around the corner into the dining room. “Hi, Mom.” Startled, Angela reels backward, letting out a scream. Payton grabs her before she can fall. “I’m sorry, Mom! Are you okay?” asked Payton. Catching her breath, Angela manages to speak, “Yes, I’m fine…” Then, chiding her son, “Boy, why didn’t you answer me?”

“I had my headphones in! You sure are jumpy…”  “Yes, I am a bit. I left $40 on the table for food, your dad and I shouldn’t be too late.” “Okay, cool.” Shrugging, Payton starts walking upstairs, but pauses. “Did we get a new car?” he asks. Angela turns to look up at him. “What are you talking about? What car?” Payton responds with a surprised look on his face, “The one in the driveway!” Striding toward the front door she thinks, what is he talking about?

She opens the door and, suddenly, she can’t breathe. 

Right there, right in front of her, is the past she so desperately tried to leave behind. Barely getting a breath out, Angela says in a low voice, “Connie …what are you doing here… How did you find…” Angela stands frozen, not believing her own eyes and anxiously hoping this is a nightmare she’ll wake up form at any moment.

Connie looks back at Angela like a cat that finally caught the mouse. “Hello Ree – I mean, Angela… that is what you’re calling yourself these days, isn’t it? I’ve come to talk to you about a house.”  

To be continued…