Shame on Him
Author:Tara Sivec

I look down at Paige’s feet and sure enough, the black boots she wore here have been replaced with a pair of four-inch stilettos covered in crystals.

“Did you really think I would find the closet of a billionaire’s ex-wife and NOT try on a pair of her shoes? I can’t believe she left these behind.”

Paige twists and turns her foot so that the light sparkles off of her footwear.

“The shoes stay here,” Kennedy warns her.

Paige stomps her stilettoed foot. “But she doesn’t even want them! And she’s got six pairs just like them. These are from Daniele Michetti’s Summer 2010 collection. It’s Swarovski!”

“What are you, Russian?” Kennedy complains. “I have no idea what you’re saying to me.”

The cat growls at Kennedy.

“Oh, pipe the fuck down, cat. Put the shoes back and let’s get the hell out of here.”

Kennedy grabs my flashlight off of the ground and follows Paige as she stomps out of the room to put the shoes back. Kennedy pauses by the door and looks back at me when she realizes I’m not following her.

I resist the question in her gaze, giving her my best pout, and I pet the cat’s head. Finally, she throws her hands up in the air. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me.”

I huff. “Kennedy, I can’t just leave her here. She’s dirty and hungry and all alone.”

Kennedy shakes her head at me and sighs. “Fine. But if that thing so much as looks at me funny on the ride home, I’m opening the car door and shoving you both out into oncoming traffic.”





CHAPTER 5




After we got home from searching Richard’s house a few nights ago, I fed Snowball a can of tuna and attempted to give her a bath. I still have scratches up and down my arms and the wet cat didn’t come out from under my bed for a full day. Even dry, she still chooses to hide under there, hissing and growling at me all night long, every single night.

I’m now thinking the name Snowball isn’t very fitting for her.

In between research on Richard Covington and trying to coax the cat out from under my bed without injury, I looked up what I could find on Miles Harper in our alumni directory. It turns out he’s practicing law at my father’s old firm. Since I’m having dinner with my parents this weekend, I figured I’d wait until I’m out that way to try and talk to him.

In the meantime, I decided it was time to start questioning a few people. For the most part, Richard Covington led a pretty normal life. He was raised in an upper-class family, he had no siblings, and there aren’t any living relatives left. He went to school to be a doctor, invented a new type of mechanism for heart catheters, and made billions. He met his wife a few years ago while he was giving a speech at his alma mater. She was a student there, of course. Why should a fifty-five-year-old billionaire marry someone his own age?

According to all of the research I’ve done so far, he was an upstanding citizen and a philanthropist, giving to as many charities as he could. His only downfall was his addiction to porn. Or so said his ex-wife’s Facebook page. The majority of her status messages ever since they separated were along the lines of, “I struggled with this for so long, but it’s finally time to come clean. Richard and I separated because of his addiction to porn.”

I am so glad I didn’t grow up in the land of Facebook. Nothing like airing your dirty laundry for the entire world to see. This just makes her even more of a suspect now in my book.

Since I don’t want anyone knowing what I’m up to, I’m using a fake name and fake reason for all of the questions. I decided a good place to start would be the ex.

“Hello, Mrs. Covington, I’m Lori Wagner. We spoke on the phone the other day?”

Stephanie Covington stands in the doorway of her condo with a cup of tea in her hand and looks at me in confusion for a few moments.

“Oh, that’s right. You’re the reporter,” she says as she nods, holding the door wider. “Come in; I was just making taheebo tea. My herbalist told me I have a sluggish liver. Would you like a cup? Do you have a sluggish liver?”

I have no idea how to respond to this, so I just smile and politely decline as I walk through the doorway.

Stephanie Covington isn’t at all what I pictured when I found out she was thirty years younger than her husband. Well, looks-wise she fits that picture to a T. She’s twenty-five years old and supermodel gorgeous with long blond hair and a chest that has had some help, judging by the way she’s practically spilling out of her skintight red dress.

But to be honest, I imagined she would behave like an elitist, gold-digging child. But when we spoke on the phone, Stephanie was more than happy to answer some of my questions and was extremely polite.

“You’ll have to excuse the mess. I’ve just been too depressed since I heard about Richard to even think about having the maid come by,” Stephanie explains.

I glance around and briefly wonder what this woman thinks is a “mess.” The place is pretty spotless from where I stand.

“I’m so sorry for your loss, Mrs. Covington. As I said on the phone, I just need to ask you a few questions.”

She sits down on the love seat in the sitting room and gestures for me to take a seat across from her on the matching couch.

“Please, call me Stephanie.” She leans over the arm of the love seat and pulls a tissue out of a box, dabbing gently under her eyes. “It’s still such a shock. We had our differences and the divorce wasn’t going very smoothly, but he was still my husband, and I loved him when we married.”

I smile softly at her and give her time to compose herself.

“If you don’t mind me asking, Stephanie, why were you and Mr. Covington separating?”

Aside from the porn addiction.

She sighs and folds her hands in her lap. “It’s the same old story. A few years after we got married, he decided to turn me in for a younger model. I caught him screwing his secretary on his desk. I had decided to surprise him with dinner when he was supposed to be working late.”