As it can be imagined, our little town was all agog with excitement of having a murder in our locality especially as it appeared to be drug related. People were going around making claims, true or otherwise that they knew the murdered man and suspected something was amiss and on and on. Because the Jones Warehouse was now a crime scene, I might have to change our plans about the next project.
I had a whole bunch of little projects that between them didn’t amount to beans but I took them as a good PR. Sometimes they led to bigger projects. They would probably last the guys about two weeks while I got the next project ready for them. Louis Johnston’s garage was also ready as they had finished the slab and we were ready for framing so I sent Glen and Matt to work on that and Bill and Harvey to work on the little stuff. I know they hated that small work but it would not stop them from doing the best they could do.
In the meantime, Jody and Valerie were becoming bosom buddies as they spent so much time together both on horseback and in some of the activities that both were already involved in. They each became a part of the others activities and more and more, I had this terrible feeling that our marriage was drifting further and further apart. Although our sex life had never been the sort to set the world on fire it had been consistent and comforting. Now, it was becoming more and more sporadic and I had the feeling that Jody was not really interested in it and maybe not in me anymore.
The police had put out an all points bulletin in the search for Suarez who was now the principal suspect in the case. Suarez, it appears had left town as there was no sign of him. Apparently, he was wanted as a suspect involved in other drug deals closer to the border.
The police had taken statements and the Coroner had held a hearing and given the verdict as murder by persons unknown. The town began to slip back into some semblance of normality and we all looked to get on with our lives. We had organized a memory celebration for Mike and several hundred people showed up making a lot of donations for Mike’s family. Between them, they raised over $20,000 dollars which was put into a trust fund for Kathleen and the kids. The Bar held its own collection and raised enough money to pay for the funeral and life moved on. Patricia quickly got over the loss of her boyfriend and considered herself lucky that she had not succumbed to his charms enough to smoke the dope.
I got a call from Louisa Johnston asking for me to stop by. I was not sure what it might be about as I had been a regular on her project while the slab was being prepared and poured. She was always her usual friendly self and I still seemed to exude desires in me whenever I got too close to her. I couldn’t explain why but it was very discomforting. I made a point to fit her into my schedule and duly arrived on her doorstep later that evening.
“Come in, come in” she exclaimed, “Thank you for seeing me so promptly”. “No problem and the pleasure is all mine” I replied “How is the project coming along”. I knew perfectly well the stage we were at with her project but I was giving her an opening to complain if that is what she was aiming to do. “Oh the men work so hard and the job is coming along splendidly. I have no complaints over the work at all. No, I wanted to talk to you about something else”. My ears perked up and my mind started to wonder what was it that she wanted to talk to me about that couldn’t have kept until the next time I was on her job, which was practically every day. She asked if I would like a drink, a beer or maybe a scotch. I settled for the scotch and we went outside to sit on her patio.
“I know it’s none of my business and I am a little afraid to even mention this but Jody and Valerie are spending a lot of time together and I wondered how you felt about it” she said. I thought for a minute as I was a little taken aback from the conversation. It was not what I had expected. “Yes, that’s true. Jody had too much time on her hands and no one to spend it with as I am so busy all the time. Why are you concerned, if you don’t mind me asking”. I almost told her that it was really none of her damn business but a part of me wanted to see where this was going. “Now you are annoyed” she said “I was hoping that you wouldn’t get annoyed. I know it’s none of my business and you have every right to tell me to butt out but I am concerned for you and don’t want to see you hurt”. I was taken aback by this turn of events as I just couldn’t for the life of me see how Jody’s friendship with Valerie was going to hurt me. “Go on, you have my attention. How can I get hurt”? I said.
I drank the scotch in one swallow and Louisa stood up and went in the house to fix me another one. She didn’t ask if I wanted another one but must have read my mind. I nearly told her to bring out the bottle as I would probably need more before this conversation was over. “I knew Valerie long before she married her poor husband. We went to the same college where I first met her. She was not like the rest of us as she was a switch hitter who liked both men and women rather than men alone. She married her husband because she needed someone with money to keep her in the good life. It was unfortunate for him but very fortunate for her when he was killed in the wreck. There was nothing fishy about it and it was a genuine accident”. She paused and looked at me. Somehow, my glass had got empty again and I couldn’t remember drinking it. Louisa went back into the house and refilled my drink. While she was there, I began to wrap my head around what she was telling me and if I was hearing her right, Valerie was setting her sites on Jody to be her next mate. Louisa came back out and handed me the glass and then sitting in her chair and looking at me she said, “You know where I am going with this don’t you”? I nodded and said to her,”What makes you think that Jodi will be so inclined”? I didn’t think that Jodi had any lesbian tendencies but what the hell do I know. “Well, for one thing, Valerie has made more than one pass at me and I had to be firm with her” she said. “It’s each to their own and I am not trying to judge any of them but I didn’t think that you would put two and two together”. “Your right” I said, “It would never even have occurred to me. To be truthful, I had designs on Valerie myself and she never tried to stop my advances although it never got any further than one kiss and a lot of unspoken words”.
I didn’t realize just how easy it was to talk with Louisa. I had been so concerned with the feelings she aroused in me that I never really got to see the real woman underneath. We sat there not talking, me deep in thought and Louisa worrying that she had said too much.
“What are you going to do” she asked. I thought about and said, “I don’t know really, I think I will see how it pans out before I say anything. It would account for a few things like the extraordinary amount of time they spend together and the fact that she has cooled off towards me”. We sat there quiet for several minutes. I was not as upset as I should have been and this was probably due to the fact that in my own mind, I had already resigned myself to the fact that our marriage was on the rocks. What I wasn’t prepared for was the turn of events and I was hurt that my wife might choose another woman over me and not another man.
I sat with Louisa for another hour. We didn’t mention it again and instead she told me about her life and I filled in some of the blanks in mine. I found her to not only a very attractive lady but also with a really nice personality. She was cheerful and had a ready smile and whether it was because of our previous conversation which left me feeling very vulnerable or that I had spent some time talking to her, I began to look at Louisa in a whole different light.