Read an Excerpt

Angels Unaware

     It was early evening. Jordan had come home late from work and eaten a warmed-over dinner.
     Not hungry, Kat sat with him at the table, then cleared the few dishes before joining him in the cozy den. It was by far the most comfortable room in the house, with a big, cushioned sofa and a fireplace that now cast a warm glow that was reflected by the collection of crystal animals Jordan had given her over the years.
     Jordan gave her an appraising look and said, “I’ve been waiting to find the right time, and this is as good a time as any, I suppose. Kat, I’m not going with you to treatment. Not this time, or any other. I can’t stand that doctor, I can’t stand the atmosphere of sickness and…”
     For a ghastly minute, Kat thought he was going to end with, “I can’t stand you,” but he only made a wide, encompassing motion with his arms, as if his reasoning should be apparent to all but the most dense.
     With a little more enthusiasm, he continued, leaning forward and looking at a point somewhere behind her right ear. “You know I’ve been thinking of opening another office nearer to Charlotte. I found a good opportunity in Matthews and I went up there today to seal the deal. A three-room office, and I decided to hire that accountant who sent in a resume last month. As soon as I find a clerk we’ll be open for business. I’ve already run an ad in The Charlotte Observer and I’m going to start interviewing some of the candidates Monday.”
     “But…what about this office?”
     “Pete—Peter Carter, that’s his name, he graduated with a degree in accounting in December—will run it. He’s excited about it, and the girls like him. And of course I’ll check in via phone and e-mail, and come down at least once a week.”
     “That’s—that’s wonderful,” Kat managed, even as she wondered exactly how she could have not known about all this. Surely Jordan had told her. Annie had mentioned something called “chemo brain” and how it affected your memory, but she had thought that it appeared much later in treatment. She pressed her fingertips to her temples. “I know it’s been your dream to expand; I had no idea it was so close to reality. Congratulations. But won’t it be a long commute from here to Matthews? It takes me over an hour to get to the mall there.”
     “I don’t plan to commute from here. Didn’t you hear me say I’ll come down here once a week or so? I plan on moving to Matthews.”
     “Moving?” Kat looked around the room, unable to grasp what he was saying. “You want us to move now, when I’m in the middle of treatment?”
     “That’s what I’m getting at, Kat. I’m moving, not we.”
     Kat just sat, her eyes wide. It was as if her husband was not only speaking in a foreign language, but shouting down a long tunnel. After a long moment, she whispered, “You’re leaving me?”
     “That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Yes, I’m leaving.” He finally met her eyes, then as quickly looked away. “Don’t you see I have to?”