Mortal Bonds

Free Mortal Bonds by Michael Sears

Book: Mortal Bonds by Michael Sears Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michael Sears
nice to have had at least one speech today. Okay, not Bill Clinton or Denzel Washington, but maybe Kathy Bates or—”
    “Margo Martindale?”
    “Okay. I was going to say Meryl Streep, but Margo Martindale would have been okay, too.”
    “Allow me to give a speech?”
    “Hmm. You’re no Meryl Streep.”
    “Thank you,” I said. “May I?”
    She bowed her head. “You may.”
    I waved for the waiter and indicated another round of Bellinis.
    “Stalling?” she said.
    “No. Refueling.”
    A moment later the fresh drinks arrived. I held mine up and began.
    “You are the world to me. A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, you, and a grilled cheese sandwich for the Kid, and I am in heaven. Every morning I wake with your name upon my lips.”
    “Every morning?”
    “Most mornings. Well, some mornings. This morning, at any rate. Because this morning marked the beginning of your special day. After three years of study at one of the most prestigious—and rigorous—educational institutions in the world, today you get the recognition you so much deserve. Today, you held in your hands a document that testifies to your soaring intelligence, your diligence, and the massive outlays of cash by your ex-husband.”
    “It was the least he could do, the bum.”
    “We will not drink to him.”
    “I should hope not. Are you finished?”
    I shook my head. “Just getting started.”
    A busboy appeared, removed the ravaged oyster shells and offered more bread. Skeli took another piece and gave him a smile that would have melted the last glacier. I wasn’t jealous. Sometimes she smiled at me that way.
    “There,” I said as he left. “A perfect example of your bottomless well of kindness. Though you seek approval from no man—or woman—you are attentive to busboys, coat-check girls, taxi drivers, even the cashier at D’Agostino’s, a woman who could have provoked Mother Teresa herself into using the F-word. You are a true democrat—small
. And yet you never let them forget that you are a queen. No, a goddess.”
    “You’re doing pretty good, for not being Meryl Streep. Continue.”
    “Give me a minute.”
    “Running out of subject matter?”
    “The contrary. Too many positive aspects to choose from.”
    “Aaahh. Flattery is cheating. But it just may get you laid tonight.”
    The waiter returned with my duck and Skeli’s rack of lamb, and for a few minutes we all smiled and fussed over the cutlery and fresh pepper and a choice of red wine. We each opted for a single glass of pinot noir rather than a full bottle—there was an incentive for remaining relatively sober.
    We ate in silence for a few minutes. I spoke first. “I’m not stalling. I’m enjoying my dinner.”
    “And I am eating a perfectly cooked New Zealand rack of lamb and basking in adulation. I could get used to it.”
    I took a long sip of water. “To return to that very subject. You. I love you for yourself—who you are. I love you for what you mean to me. And I love you because you love my child, which I have reason to believe is not always easy. What have I missed? Of course. Have I mentioned your legs? Your perfect legs?”
    “Are you going to eat your carrots?”
    “I never eat my carrots.”
    “Pass ’em over.” She sipped the pinot noir. Her eyebrows shot up in surprise. “This is excellent. What is it?”
    “I didn’t pay attention. Pinot. From Oregon.”
    “Find out. I want this to be our house wine.”
    “Ah. Does this mean you will finally agree to move in with me?”
    “No. I would have to give up my apartment, which is more than twice the size of yours.”
    There was another issue that neither of us wanted to address. Skeli had recently accepted an offer to be the staff physical therapist for the national tour of a Broadway show. A show that had already racked up more injuries per performer than
. Except for the fact that she would be out of town for the next four months, the job was perfect for her. Whether it was perfect

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