In the Running (Dee Lloyd) – Chapter Thirteen

When Maura/Reenie wakes the next morning, catastrophe awaits.

“Oh, no!” she cried aloud.
Almost instantly, Matt half-stumbled into the bathroom.
“What?” he asked, looking around him wildly for whatever or whoever had upset her.
She threw herself into his arms and burrowed her face in his chest.
“What is it?” He took her face between his hands and repeated, “Reenie, tell me what is it?”
“My eye,” she wailed, both blue eyes wide open and horrified. “The swelling is gone. I look like myself again. And I have to go over to the house.”

I was half expecting Matt would just hit her to give her another blue eye. Drama, baby! Instead he suggests getting coloured contacts. Boring, baby. But the day is saved, because it turns out that the optometrist is Sandra Field. If you remember, she’s the woman who was so desperate after her divorce, she basically jumped Matt’s bones. So, drama, baby!
Pete doesn’t have a problem with his assistant being gone for half a day, but he does point out that it probably isn’t a good idea to go to that optpmetrist. He’s ignored.

Doctor Sandra Field was not a tall woman but she radiated personality and her feminine assets were impressive. [Feminine assets? What exactly are feminine assets? I mean, you can’t tell me that only breasts are feminine assets, there has to be more. And if there’s more, what exactly is it and how would you know from your first meeting?]

Matt is a little uncomfortable with the good Sandra, as she launches himself at him and asks why he hasn’t called (he “mislaid” her number). He finally manages to point out that Maura/Reenie is his girlfriend.

Dr. Field’s smile dimmed a few kilowatts, but she was pleasantly businesslike when Reenie said she wanted chocolate brown contacts. [I bet she wants them chocolate brown to match his taste…] She explained that she wanted to surprise some people.
“They’ll be surprised all right. Most women would kill for eyes your color,” she said, giving Reenie a quick evaluative once-over. She smiled at Matt again. “I’ll have to examine Reenie’s eyes. We’ll be right back.”

One questions keeps coming to my mind: Why doesn’t Sandra recognise Maura/Reenie? I mean, there you have a beautiful blond woman with blue eyes so recognisable that you only need to hide them to make her seem like a completely different person. And this woman is officially missing and has been all over the news. And then an optometrist, who should at least notice eyes, doesn’t recognise her? I don’t get it.

Anyway, because Sandra is so businesslike, she tells Maura/Reenie everything about her past with Mattie (they were high school sweethearts, when they both still looked awkward).
A few minutes later, Maura/Reenie has her contacts (I’m amazed. I always had to wait weeks for mine) and they leave.

They were almost back at the lake when Reenie voiced her main concern about the lenses. “Your explanation was great for your old cheer leader girl friend,” she said, unable to hide her resentment of the other woman, “but how do we explain the change of eye color to Pete and Bronwyn?”
“How about something dumb like you did it to cheer yourself up? Or maybe tell some of the truth. You’re hiding from an old boyfriend. Pete and Wyn should buy that. Other people might not even notice. Your swollen eye and bruises were pretty spectacular. That’s what most people would remember.”

Matt noticed that Maura/Reenie was pretty jealous of Sandra and manages to calm her doubts a bit. And suddenly we have a car full of sexual tension and they speed home to act on it.

Unfortunately, when they arrive home, Matt has to work (yes, he does work. I was wondering already, too) and they have to cancel the afternoon quicky. Instead, both take off to their respective jobs.

Pete did a double take when he saw her, but did not comment on her new look. [Just as well.]

Pete asks her if it would be okay if Tommy had his birthday party at the house on friday. Because it’s Maura/Reenie’s house, it’s not suprising that they have to ask for her permission.
Wait a minute.
It’s not her house. It’s theirs. Why do they ask, then? No one knows.
Anyway, Maura/Reenie gives her consent and suggests to cook and bake for the kids instead of having the food delivered.

Then Pete asks her another thing for Bronwyn [Why doesn’t she ask herself?]: the GEL are having a bake sale and it would be just great if Maura/Reenie could make a dozen tarts. She agrees to that as well.

Pete acts a little weird the whole day. Maura/Reenie wonders if he suspects something about her or why she has the brown contacts.

In the evening, she plays housewife with Matt. He got a contract with a local ski lodge to repair the plowers, so that their shop would have another way of earning money in the winter, when there’s not so many boats around. [I wonder about that. Don’t you need to be a mechanic to repair a plower? And isn’t it different from repairing a boat?]

They then look at the papers from the envelope again. Matt made copies and put the originals in his safety deposit box in town. Apparently, the safe in the Sailing Solution wasn’t safe enough for the papers they don’t even understand…

Reenie picked up the top memo – the one that was written in large round letters and signed with an L. It said Glenlivet 2-4 – Hilt 923 and had Gran C. R.B. and some numbers slanted across the bottom as a kind of postscript.
“I don’t recognize the writing,” she said thoughtfully. “The ‘L’ could stand for Danny’s cousin, Lucy Spadafore. She was with Jon in one of the photos.”
(…)
“Hilt 923 could be a room number at a Hilton hotel,” Matt added. “But which city?”
“Jon and L. could have registered under the name Glenlivet.” Reenie brightened. “And the dates could be the second to the fourth of the month. But what good does that do us?”

This theory, unfortunately, doesn’t help them at all. Matt says that they would need the whole file to understand any of it. Which meant they had to find either the laptop or the back up. Of course, the back up would be in Maura/Reenie’s office at the lodge. That was the only logical place to hide it. [If you can’t see the logic, you’re not worth it.] Therefore Matt asks her if it could have been anywhere there, hidden.

“The only thing besides invoices in that drawer was a box of candy. Probably Franz squirreled it away there. He’s the apprentice who accepted all the deliveries and passed the paperwork on to Danny. He’s the only other person who did any work in my little cubbyhole. Franz would know his marzipan was safe from me. Everyone knows I hate the stuff.” She hit her forehead with the heel of her hand. “Wait a minute. Franz is diabetic.”
“So Danny would know neither of you would touch the box. [Why not hide in his own office. Or in a safe deposit box? Or anywhere else that isn’t a box of marzipan in another person’s drawer? And why is it important that Maura/Reenie or Franz don’t find it? Wouldn’t it be more important to hide that stuff from Jon?] What do you bet that’s where he hid the back-up disk?”
“If it even exists.” Reenie breathed a long discouraged sigh. [Oh, yeah, we don’t know for sure that there’s a backup. Maybe Danny just likes marzipan? And why would she not care about stuff in her drawers? I mean, maybe I’m a possessive bitch, but my desk is my desk and no one gets to put any stuff in there without talking to me first…]

Anyway, they both agree that they should go back and look for it. But she thinks, she should go there alone and Matt thinks, he should go there alone. In the end, Maura/Reenie goes for the evasion.

“I think Pete recognized me.”
The diversion worked. The look of panic on his face made her wish she’d led up to it more gently.

After worrying for a bit, they end up in bed.

His kisses worked their spell and swept her away to that amazing and exciting place that was becoming increasingly familiar. The only difference tonight was that her sense of being cherished was almost as strong as her absolute knowledge that Matt wanted her as desperately as she desired him. [I don’t get it… what wasn’t there the other night? The feeling of being cherished or Matt’s desperate desire. Because to me, it definitely felt like both was there… and more than enough of it.]

The next morning, Matt takes off to get some things to work on the snow machines (wasn’t it plowers? I’m sorry if not. I don’t want to go back and read it again to check… Snow machines it is, then.)

Maura/Reenie stays behind with Pete.

When Matt had left, Pete announced, “Ella and Emma should be here soon.”
“Ella and Emma?”
“Sisters,” he said, as if that explained anything. “Widow and spinster. Used to own the hardware store. Now they come to clean and do laundry Tuesday and Friday morning. They do Gus Thursday.” [What the fuck did he hire Maura/Reenie for? Somebody comes to do the cleaning anyway… and it seems like before, both men were able to cook for themselves. And workind and cooking is something you can combine. Working and cleaning on the other hand, not so good. I know from my own experience. So, the question remains, why the fuck hire her?]

Before they come, Sandra Fields calls. She speaks to Pete, inviting Matt for a high school reunion on saturday. And then, Ella and Emma are here. Pete introduces Maura/Reenie.

“I hope, Peter, that this doesn’t mean we have to find someone else to work for,” Emma said with a little frown. [Actually it should mean exactly that. But it doesn’t, so no worries.] She turned to Reenie. “If we didn’t have Peter and Gustav to do for, we wouldn’t have any excuse to avoid all clubs and organizations people have expected us to join since we sold the hardware store.” [Oh, I can understand that…]

Ella says that Maura/Reenie looks familiar. But before they can ponder more about it, Pete ushers Maura/Reenie out the door, saying that he needs help in the shop. On the way over, Pete admits that he knows, who she is.

Pete reached over and patted her hand awkwardly. “No matter what Glad Fitzpatrick says, you are not a flighty woman, Maura Irene. [Nobody ever said flighty. They said drug addict, psychotic and simply crazy, but never flighty.] I figure you must have a good reason not to want Jon Casen to find you. It’s not up to me to send you back to him.”
“I can ruin him. He intends to kill me before that happens.”
“Kill?” Pete’s eyes opened wide. “Good Lord! You’re serious.” [And of course, he believes her without hesitation. What’s to a death threat? I get death threats all the time, that’s quite a normal thing. Usually it’s writers of bad romance novels who google themselves and somehow find my blog.]
He cocked his head and peered into her face for a few tense seconds. “Don’t worry, girl,” he assured her, apparently convinced that she was in her right mind. “Matt and I won’t let that happen.” [He is Superman and I am Batman, so we have the power to fight the evil and protect the swooning lady.]

Maura/Reenie tells him the whole story. Pete is saddened by Gran’s starting loss of mind.

Finally, they come to the shop and Pete ends the conversation and the chapter with an epiphany.

“Sometimes, it’s tough to accept that your kids’ dreams and yours are different. Well, Reenie, my girl, let’s get into the shop. We might even accomplish something today while we hide out from the eagle-eyed sisters.”
Reenie followed him inside.

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