The four pages preceding this excerpt were spent painting Steve Winkle as the biggest asshole this side of the Mississippi River. By this point, you really want to skin the s.o.b. alive.
The first thing Steve noticed when he pulled into the drive of his home (the most expensive home on the block) was that someone had newly decorated the yard with everything he owned. He sighed, and braced, for what he knew would be an ugly confrontation. The little prick must have run home to tell mommy. Wonderful.
Samantha was pacing the floor with her cell phone glued to her ear. Mascara streaked down her face in angry black lines. Did she seriously expect him to grovel before a clownish raccoon? Couldn’t she have tried to pull herself together? He was lost in his self-absorbed thoughts when she spotted him.
Who knew that cell phones could be weapons? She threw it with the precision of a marksman, hitting him right between the eyes. She hurled herself at him, shrieked like a deranged banshee, her fingers claw-like talons digging into his skin. Her words were unintelligible, but her meaning clear. Die or get the fuck out.
He tried to speak to her, but she was clearly not herself. So he began backing up slowly to the door. He reached the doorknob before he realized that he had lost his power. He was no longer the master of this house. He saw Jerry hanging over the railing, watching the madness in silence. The boy’s eyes were red and raw, his jaw set, shoulders slumped. Steve never noticed how much Jerry resembled his father before. The kid looked just like the old man in his WWII pictures. It felt strange to note that now, of all times. The girl was nowhere in sight.
Part of Steve wanted to knock Samantha out and reassert his position in the house—to squelch this insurrection. But in his heart (who knew he had one?) he knew that it was deserved. His hand shook as he turned the doorknob. His palm was sweaty and slipped on the cold metal. Samantha’s fists were weakened from her onslaught. She slid down the length of his body—the closest she’d been to his penis all year. Steve pitied her as he watched her. She lay limp and puffy like a macabre Barbie, painted and broken.
He swallowed hard over the lump in his throat. He supposed that she hadn’t been screwing Eric after all. Her voice sounded like a ninety-year-old smoker, rough from screaming. “I loved you. I did everything you asked. You didn’t deserve it—not ever.” Her voice broke on the “ever” and fresh tears added to the mess her beautiful eyes had become.
She was a proud woman. Tomorrow morning would bring shame over this tantrum and that shame would morph into anger. He knew that her rage would target him. He needed a lawyer—tonight.
He looked one last time at the life he’d burned for the sake of banging Jenny-what’s-her-name. He branded the feel of the molded oak door cutting into his back, the pain stricken face of his wife, the detached expression of his son, and of course, his daughter’s absence to his memory. It was the last time they would all be in the same house. He stumbled onto the porch and closed the door in front of his face. If life was about choices then he had made his with that first smile in Starbucks.
Without a word Steve Winkle walked away leaving chaos in his wake.