Authors: Carolyn Brown
Tags: #Married Women, #Families, #Contemporary, #Fiction, #Romance, #Family Life, #Dwellings - Remodeling, #Inheritance and Succession, #General, #Domestic Fiction, #Dwellings, #Love Stories
This title was previously published by Avalon Books; this version
has been reproduced from Avalon Books archive files.
If I wiggled again, Great-aunt Gert was going to sit straight
up in that pale pink coffin and give me an evil glare the way
she used to do when I was a child and couldn't sit still in
church. Not even in death would Gertrude Martin abide wiggling at a funeral, especially when it was hers. She'd been an
outspoken, caustic old girl the whole time she was alive, and I
had no doubt she could resurrect herself at the faintest whisper of queen-sized panty hose rubbing together as I crossed
and uncrossed my legs.
I should have gone to the ladies' room before the service
began. But my four cups of coffee that morning and the thirtytwo-ounce Coke I'd drunk on the way to the church hadn't
made it to my bladder until the preacher cleared his throat and
began a eulogy that sounded as if it would go on until six days
past eternity. If the poor man was trying to preach Aunt Gert
through the pearly gates, we'd all starve to death before he
finished. Thank goodness I had a Snickers candy bar and a
bag of barbecued chips in my purse and twenty extra pounds
of pure cellulite on my thighs. At least I wouldn't be the next
one knocking on heaven's door.
I crossed my legs yet again and tried to concentrate on what
the preacher was saying to take my mind off the pressing matter. After two minutes nothing worked. The space between
the far end of the pew and the wall was just barely passable for
an anorexic teenager, so I had to walk sideways. It was unforgivable enough that I was leaving in the middle of the funeral
sermon, but to trouble ten members of the congregation to get to the center aisle would have had Aunt Gert doing more than
sitting up. The tirade she'd have produced would've withered
my poor bladder into a dried-out raisin.
I trotted all the way to the ladies' room. By the time I was
inside one of the two stalls, I already had my tight black skirt
jerked up. I grabbed the top of the ultracontrol panty hose and
tugged hard, only to push a thumbnail through the fabric. I'd
thought that they were made of the same stuff that was used to
construct space shuttles and that neither excess weight nor blistering fire could destroy the material.
I was carefully pulling up my ruined hose when the door
opened, and Marty and Betsy, my cousins, rushed into the
small room. I recognized them the minute they began to talk.
They've smoked since they had to hide behind the barn to do
it, and their voices proved it-plus they smelled as if they'd
just walked through the sulfurous fires of Hades.
"We'll just blend in when the service is over, like we got
there late and sat in the back pew," Marty said.
How stupid was that? Everyone would know they hadn't
been at the service. Of course, everyone would also know I'd
left in the middle of the sermon, but at least I'd been there
through part of it. I wished I had the nerve to really fuss at them
for being late and hiding out in the bathroom, but I didn't. Not
at a funeral. Not even in the ladies' room. It wasn't the place or
the time. I had my hand on the stall lock when I heard my
name mentioned. I quietly put the lid down on the toilet and
"Did Trudy come to this thing?" Betsy asked.
"Of course Trudy is here. God knows she'll do what's right.
Good old dependable Trudy. She's never rebelled and never will.
She'll be the good child to her dying day. Only reason I'm here
is to hear the will," Marty said.
"What if Aunt Gert leaves that house to you? What are you
going to do with it?" Betsy asked.
"I'll hire a bulldozer to raze the thing and sell the lot to pay
the bill. I wouldn't go through all the old junk in that house for
a one-night stand with Brad Pitt."
Betsy giggled. "If she leaves it to me, I'm callin' an auction company. They take a healthy cut of the money, but they do all
the work. I'm going to auction everything off in one day. Then
when I get my share, I'm going on a cruise."
I heard the flick of a cigarette lighter before Marty commented. Thank goodness there were no windows in the bathroom, or lightning would have zigzagged in and zapped her
dead for smoking in the church house.