Crossroad to Love (Fab Five Series)
Author:Anna Kristell

chapter 3

Lizzie Hart looked around the bedroom of her suburban Columbus, Ohio home for one last, quick check to make sure she had everything.

“I’m ready,” she yelled to her husband.

Rex walked into the bedroom and picked up her bags. He was a fairly handsome man of average height and muscular build. He leaned over to kiss his wife and proceeded toward the stairway, Lizzie following closely behind.

“If we time this right, Babe, we can have breakfast together before you have to board.”

“Sounds nice, we so rarely have any time together. You’re always so busy at the agency.”

“I know. I just wish Colt had decided to come to work for me instead of taking that other job after graduation. That would have freed up my time.”

“Sweetie, don’t go there. He didn’t want to come right in as the boss’s son. I still think he will eventually come around to your way of thinking.” Lizzie often acted as the buffer between father and son these days. That, and the fact that lately she was suffering somewhat from empty nest syndrome, had not made her a very happy lady the past several months. I need something in my life to keep me busy. Perhaps Katy or their other two friends would have some ideas for her.

They arrived at the airport and, after checking Liz’s luggage, went in search of a restaurant. Finding one near her gate, they ordered a light breakfast and watched the other passengers walking through the airport. Lizzie took a sip of steaming hot latte and sat back to relax. She looked at Rex and noticed the lines of weariness beginning to show on his face. If only there was a way to help him. I wonder what he would think about me working in the ad agency. As they made pleasant small talk, Lizzie thought more about working with him. It would ease some of the pressure for him and fill her days. I could kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes. It was not like she did not have experience. Writing had always been her forte and she had helped him in the past with slogans when he was struggling to come up with something. It was something to think about, and this week away would give her the chance to do just that. She would bounce the idea off the girls and see what they thought.

It was time to go, so Rex walked her to the gate, kissed her goodbye, and watched her walk down the hallway to the plane. Then he walked to the window and watched the plane until it was out of sight.

Lizzie settled into her seat, buckled her seat belt, and leaned her head back onto the headrest. Thoughts of working side by side with Rex came to mind and she spent most of the flight wondering how she would approach him with the idea when she returned to Columbus next weekend. I will find a way, she thought, smiling for the first time in many months. She sighed as she thought about the week in Dallas with the ‘Fab Four,’ as they had always called themselves, and a bright, new career waiting for her at home to look forward to. What more could she ask for?

And as Katy, Angie, and Lizzie were making their way to Texas, Marianne Jacobi stood gazing out the window of her home in McKinney. She filled her crystal glass with wine and carried it to the great room. The girls will be arriving this afternoon. I wonder what they will say when I tell them what a cheating bastard Jon has become.

They would probably be like everyone else and think she was crazy. A friend who worked at the hospital had walked in on him and his slut one day in the lab. Of course she had promptly told Marianne. That had been months ago and Mari had been agonizing over it ever since. She did not know whether to confront him, wait for him to come clean, or ignore it and hope it ended. Dr. Jon Jacobi did not act like anything was going on at all. He certainly was a good actor, she’d give him that.

She lay down on the gray sectional and fell asleep, not hearing her husband come into the room. He looked at the empty wine glass and sighed. Why is she so unhappy lately? He pulled the soft, blue afghan from the back of the recliner and covered her. Picking up the glass, he carried it to the kitchen, cleaned it, and put it away. He poured the rest of the wine down the drain and disposed of the bottle. After that, he made a pot of strong coffee, poured a mug and carried it into the great room where his wife was still sleeping soundly. Leaning over her, he gently kissed her and said, “Time to wake up, Honey. You have to get ready to go to the hotel and meet the ‘Fabs.’”

“What?” she answered sleepily as she slowly sat up. She took the mug of coffee from Jon and wondered why he was home in the middle of the day.

“I came home early to see you before you left for the week,” he explained. “It’s a good thing I did. You might have overslept. Seems you were starting the party a little early, weren’t you?”

“What… oh, the wine… I was just relaxing a little before it was time to leave.” She finished the coffee and rose from the couch.

“Stay here, Mari. I’ll get your luggage and load it into the SUV for you. Are you ready?”

“Yes, everything is ready to go. It’s all in the hallway.”

“I’ll drive you to the hotel.”

“I am fine, Jon. And I may need a car. The girls are renting one, but if some of us go different places at different times, we’ll need an extra.”

“Well, if you’re sure you’re ok.” He sighed as he picked up her bags and walked through the kitchen into the garage. After he had loaded her things, he went back in and poured another cup of coffee for her and one for himself.

Mari walked into the kitchen. He noticed she had fixed her makeup and hair as he leaned over to kiss her. She edged away from him and took the coffee.

“You will spend some time with Jordan while I’m gone and make sure he does his homework and all that, right?” She wondered how much time he would actually make for their youngest son during the coming week.

“You don’t need to worry about a thing. I’ve lightened my schedule this week and will spend some time with Jordan. When he’s home, that is. He’s the busy one around here.”

“I’d better go. I want to get there early and make sure everything is ready when they all arrive.” Mari set down the mug and turned to get her purse.

He stopped her, put his arms around her, and said, “Have a good time. Don’t worry about Jordan or me. I think this week with the girls is just what you need, Hon.” He leaned down to kiss her. She returned the kiss, and stepped away with tears in her eyes. She silently walked out the door, leaving her husband standing in the middle of the kitchen with a puzzled look on his face.

As she sped down the expressway, Mari wondered if the week apart would make them or break them.