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This seems to be flowing out pretty well.  I am concerned that the ideas are about to dry up.  I don’t do so well on following action as it happens.  The confrontational part is difficult, but I will try.

 

Object of Obsession

by Nova

2 of ?

 

She rolled down the window of the little used compact she now owned.  The fresh air felt great.  Her first automobile, purchased with her own money, in her own name.  ‘Angie Marks’ looked good on the title.

Burke and his friends had thought she was just a penniless kid when they married.  Gold digger was mentioned more than once.  So sure that she had nothing, Burke hadn’t asked about her finances.  Her father had left her a large trust fund.  Uncle Bob had a savvy mind for investments and it had grown well under his management.  Burke had been to her mother’s farm and must have made some assumptions about their financial situation based on their casual surroundings.  Mother hated to waste money, so preferred to do repairs herself if at all possible.  The house was the same modest structure her father had built before she was born.  It was perfect for just the two of them.  Their little farm bred thoroughbreds, it wasn’t a cheap profession.  Her mother had been lucky and done quite well, but chose to keep her operation small.  To Burke it must have looked poor.  After they were married, he started sending a monthly check to the farm.  He said to cover the loss of her help and income.  Later she would realize it was to make her Mother dependent on him.  He used that assumption to try and control her.  When she threatened to leave him, it was a favorite threat to throw at her.  How easy it would be to cut off the money and ruin the farm.  He had no idea that her mother was putting the money in an account in Angie’s name.  Grace Marks hadn’t touched a cent of his money.  The money didn’t matter, but Burke did have the power to ruin the farm through gossip, rumor and bribes.  Reputation was everything in the racing industry.

If her mother thought for a moment that she had stayed in a marriage she hated to protect the farm.  Angie shuddered to think of the reaction.  No, that hadn’t been the only reason.  Just one of many excuses she had fed herself.  Her fear, insecurities, and Burke’s overwhelming personality had all worked to keep her prisoner.  Mostly though, she had to put it down to pride.  She had made vows to god, for better or worse.  Yes, often she had felt more like a child than an equal in her marriage, but it had been her marriage.  He had provided for her, never raised a hand to her, she had wanted for nothing.  With the exception of self-respect.  She had done what women have been doing for centuries, bowed to her husband and behaved as he wished.  Even if that meant sometimes she wanted to vomit in self revulsion.

For nine years she had played the quiet obedient wife.  Now, as the California border slipped behind her, Angelica Harding was left behind.  Ahead lay Montana and Angie Marks’s future.

Devlin pounded on the door.  He wanted to put his fist though it.

A small dark hair woman answered the door.  Bright blue eyes pierced him, just as angry as he felt.

“Where is she?” he demanded.

“You must be Burke’s son,” came her calm reply.

“Where is she?”  How dare she not be intimidated by his temper?

Frustration ate at him.  For a month he had been making calls and inquiries trying to find Angelica.  Her hotel room was found full of her possessions, only she and her purse were missing.  At first he had feared she’d been in an accident.  They had scoured every hospital in San Francisco looking for her.  It finally, a week ago, it occurred to him that she had left.  When he received the box of her things from the hotel.  While going through it he found the wedding ring.  It wasn’t normal for a woman who just lost her husband to take off the ring immediately.  If she were mourning him, wouldn’t she want it with her?

Part of him had been relieved to know she was most likely alive and a dark part, happy that she wasn’t grieving like a woman who had loved her husband.  That quickly passed to be replaced by anger, that she would just walk away.  No call, no explanation, just disappearing into the dark without a word.  Who did she think she was to just throw their family away?  He didn’t care that his anger was completely irrational.  She was supposed to come back to him so he could take care of her.  Her place was by his side.

At once he called her mother.  She denied any knowledge of Angelica’s whereabouts and hung up on him.  He would have been on the first plane to Kentucky, if Burke’s lawyers hadn’t contacted him.  He had to stay in town for the reading of the Will.  He’d asked for a delay, till he could find Angelica, so she could be there.  They had informed him that she was not in the Will and was not necessary.  He had been shocked.  Turns out Burke had left everything to him, not a single penny to his step-mother.  At first he was thrilled.  Angelica wouldn’t have any money to rely on and would need to contact him.  Then, maybe she already knew there was nothing for her? It had been 25 days and she had not used a credit card or attempted to withdraw cash from any of the accounts.  How was she getting by?  He pictured her working in some grease covered diner, scraping enough tips together to make rent on some one room roach infested apartment.  Damn it, she needed him.  Where was she?

Now he was standing on Grace Marks’s front step.

He could feel her anger snapping around him, but her voice came out cool and in control.  “Not here.”

She moved to close the door in his face.  He grabbed it, holding it open.  “Where did she go?”

“I don’t know.”

“Bullshit, if you didn’t know, then you would be this calm.  Where the hell is she?”

“Watch you language boy.  I know she can take care of herself.  That’s all I need to know.”

He snorted in derision.  “You’re telling me the girl my father practically spoon fed, can handle this world all on her own?  I don’t think so.”

Grace Marks looked like she was going to crack at the offense of the last remark.  Unfortunately she got herself back under control.

“Think what you like,” she ground between gritted teeth.  “If she needs you, she knows where to find you.  Now, get out of my house and off my porch.”

He leaned in, ready to bully the information out of her if necessary.  “What if I don’t?”

She gave him a tight smile, “Then you can explain it to the police listening to this conversation.”

Devlin looked down to see her holding a cell phone in her hand.  It was lit up and counting the minutes across the screen.  The number dialed was 911. “Fine!” He turned and stormed back to his rental car.

He would order the house watched.  Angelica would show up here sooner or later.

It never occurred to him that it would take two years.

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