"Do you want me to wait out
here?" Rick asked uncertainly as they approached Lee's private room.
"Why? I assure you that he won't
throw you out."
"I'm not so sure." he told
her but followed her into the room.
Lee was looking toward them expectantly.
Rick smiled crookedly. "Hi,
Andi tried to hide a smile... Lee
was trying very hard to be casual, almost as hard as Rick. She moved to Lee's
side and grasped his hand.
"Rick got in about two hours
ago." she told him.
"How was your flight?"
Lee asked, sitting up straighter.
Andi moved to the window and settled
onto the plastic yellow couch under it.
"It was fine. Long but easy."
Rick nodded before slowly approaching the bed. "How are you doing?"
Lee grinned and motioned to the chair.
"I don't know what Andi's been telling you..." he began as Rick sank
into the chair.
"Lies, all lies." she called
"You should have called me when
you found out." Rick interrupted their banter.
Lee sighed. "There's nothing
you could have done."
"I could have been here for
you. I'm your brother for god's sake!"
"I have Andi. She's always
been here for me." Lee said pointedly.
Rick shot to his feet, his mouth
open to yell.
"Don't." the word hung
heavily in the air.
Lee lowered his eyes at his wife's
voice. Rick whirled around, ready to do battle.
Andi was still sitting on the couch,
her hands folded neatly in her lap. "This is not the time to be arguing.
If you can't talk without fighting, then Rick,
you might as well fly home right now."
"I'm sorry, Rick. I shouldn't
have said what I did." Lee apologized.
Rick whipped around to face him.
"Did I actually hear my brother apologizing to me?"
"Rick, there's so much time
lost. I don't want to waste any more of it arguing."
"I agree." he slid back
onto the chair. "How long will you have to stay in here?"
"Who knows. I may be here for
the rest of my days or I may be able to go home for a few months."
"Lee, is there anything I can
do for you?"
"Stick around for a while."
Lee said hopefully.
"You got it."
"I'm glad you and Lee got to
talk some." Andi was saying as they entered the house. "Tomorrow you
can take Lee's car and go visit him alone."
"I appreciate that." Rick
closed the door behind them.
"What would you like for dinner?"
"Don't you guys have a cook
or a maid or something?" Rick looked around.
"We used to but we let them
go a while back." she shrugged. "I don't really need help with just
Lee and me."
"Do you guys still have the
big house on Tamarack Lane?" he followed her into the kitchen.
"We still have that place. It's
all closed up, though." Pulling open the refrigerator, she studied its
"How long have you known Lee?"
Andi's shoulders tensed. "A
little over six years." she answered, closing the door and turning to face
him. He was bent over, leaning his forearms
on the counter.
"When were you married?"
"Last month?" he asked
"Last year." she corrected,
reaching out and grabbing the kettle. "Would you like some coffee?"
She filled the pot and set it on
the stove. "What else would you like to know?"
"Why did you marry my brother
last year when you'd known him for five years before that?"
"He asked me."
"It had nothing to do with him
being terminally ill?"
"Whatever you're trying to say,
spit it out." she said calmly.
"I spoke with Lee's attorney
before I left Europe."
"I suppose you know," he
snarled. "that Lee is leaving everything to you, his wife."
"Who else would he leave it
to? You?" she asked. "From what Lee has told me, you don't want for
much. And he has no other family but me."
"This is all a little too convenient
"I'm sorry you feel that way.
I hope you'll change your mind in time." She turned to retrieve the whistling
kettle. Pouring the boiling water into two
cups, she hummed quietly under her breath. She carried a mug over to him and
placed it carefully in front of him. "Now, what would you like for dinner?"
"You're not angry?" he
"No. A bit puzzled at your attitude,
but not angry."
She cocked her head to one side.
"Don't you think your brother is smart enough to know who really cares
"Well...." he stared at
"What you may not have found
out from Lee's lawyer are the amounts that Lee will be donating to charities
and schools. What you couldn't have heard from the attorney is how I begged
Lee to change his mind and leave you most of his estate." She gazed unhappily
at his skeptical look. "But I guess you don't believe any of that, either."
Sighing, she turned away. "Help yourself to anything in the 'fridge. Suddenly,
I'm not hungry anymore."
Rick watched her leave, wanting desperately to trust her, but knowing he couldn't. Things just weren't adding up and he was determined to find out her story.