Martha’s guilty thoughts spiral downward to the dark side, back to those first moments when she met Miranda Templeton. Excerpted from Interior Designs.
It was right after Christmas, when I first met with her. She’d shot those e-mails in my direction; I’d tried ignoring her; and then, finally, we’d met. By then, the affair had been full-blown for a year. Amber had already had her baby, left town, but she and Hal had connected again.
I could still recall the first meeting with Miranda in that downtown condo. It was in a supposedly gentrified neighborhood, but to me it was still a terrifying place to go and I kept looking over my shoulder as I slowly drove through the streets and pulled into the underground parking garage. I rode up in an elevator and pushed the buzzer on the door of the third floor apartment.
Miranda was a total surprise to me. I wasn’t sure what I’d been expecting, but this sleek, slender, and model-perfect young woman with sculpted cheekbones, short dark hair, and a designer outfit had not been who I had envisioned.
I must have stood there with my mouth agape, because she laughed and gestured, inviting me in.
“Have a seat,” she’d said. Just like someone in a movie or on TV. None of it felt real, but I sat down on the sleek sofa and looked around. Of course I would do that, being an interior designer and all. I took in the art on the walls, stunned at her apparent good taste. Splashes of color in the otherwise black and gray room showed me that this young woman went in for the dramatic.
Certainly I should have guessed that part, since our exchanges had been highly dramatic.
“So how can I help you?” So polite, I thought.
Smiling, I laid it all out for her. Information that I needed about Amber, about anything she knew about Hal’s business dealings. I had surmised that she had a connection to the two of them, and finally realized that she and Hal had had a liaison as well. Perhaps she had even set Hal and Amber up that first time. So she must know him pretty well. Had she been a client at one time?
All of these unanswered questions.
When I left her that day, she had her tasks and I had given her half the cash. The rest would come when she delivered the information.