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Installment 4


"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. "Andi? Rick!"

Rick smiled crookedly. "Hi, Lee."

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 teasingly.

"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 contents.

"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 sharply.

"Last year." she corrected, reaching out and grabbing the kettle. "Would you like some coffee?"

"Yes, thanks."

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 for me."

"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 asked curiously.

"No. A bit puzzled at your attitude, but not angry."

"Why puzzled?"

She cocked her head to one side. "Don't you think your brother is smart enough to know who really cares about him?"

"Well...." he stared at his coffee.

"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.