dear, what did Dane say he had to do that was so important?"
asked as she sat at a table with her daughter Sara.
"I don't know," Sara
Manchester grumbled as she glanced down at her watch. "He just
muttered something about having to be somewhere and left. Honestly!
My own aunt's memorial service and he can't even stay for the entire
"Well, this is
Annabelle we're talking about," Joyce commented with a thin laugh.
"From what I've gathered, she and Dane didn't necessarily get
Aunt Annabelle just couldn't stand Dane and always thought I could have picked a
better husband." Sara winced slightly when she realized that she'd
brought up a topic of conversation that she really didn't want to have with her
mother in light of recent discussions.
"My lord, I can't believe
it," Joyce exclaimed with a dramatic and overly pronounced gasp, "I
actually agree on something with that old barracuda! I think Dane's
beneath you, too!"
"What, dear?" Joyce
smiled innocently. "I'm only saying these things because I'm your
mother and I care." About causing trouble.
"Well, if you care so
much, can we please change the subject. I really don't feel like
discussing my marriage with you today."
nodded, more than a little pleased with herself that she'd managed to strike a
nerve. Taking a deep breath, she decided to broach another topic.
"So...what's going on between you and Stephanie?"
At the sound of her cousin's
name, Sara winced. It was a reaction not lost on Joyce who quickly
realized that there was yet another avenue to be explored.
"I don't know what you're
talking about," Sara muttered as she tried to avoid the question.
"Now, don't give me
that! I've got eyes and ears!" Joyce paused and took a sip of
her wine. "Remember, I was there! I saw all of those nasty
looks between the two of you...the ones you were giving when you thought she
"Momma, I'm not
discussing Dane and I'm not discussing Steph with you!"
"But you girls were
always so close when you were little." Joyce reached across the table
and grasped her daughter's hand tightly. "I just don't know what
could have happened to change all of that."
"Let's just say that
Stephanie doesn't know how to keep her nose out of my relationship with
Dane," Sara snapped angrily. "And you can take that as a
As Joyce leaned back into her
chair, she exhaled slowly in an attempt to fight off the quick retort that was
wanting to jump off of the tip of her tongue. No, a vicious argument with
Sara would definitely not keep her in her daughter's good graces. Joyce
fully realized that that was exactly where she needed to be if she were
going to be able to succeed in her plans.
Meanwhile, across the table,
Sara again glanced down at her watch and began to franticly wonder what was
keeping her husband.