Kathleen got out of her car and paused before climbing up the steps to Scott’s grave, surveying the surrounding area. This was the last grave site in the cemetery, next to the area where vaults hold cremated remains. A large tin shed stood off to the left and a piece of metal from the shed rattled in the wind, making the cemetery sound as forlorn as it looked.
She climbed up the three steps, not wanting to do what she knew she must—confront her loathing. Despite her feeling of shame at her behavior at Scott’s funeral, Kathleen hoped her emotional release there would make her feel whole again, but it had not. Perhaps, she could shuck off this passion here, and lay her malice to rest along with Scott.
The Buckleys had buried four of their own here: Helen and Lawrence Buckley, Scott’s parents. Morgan Buckley, Scott’s first wife, lay next to Scott. A slight pang of jealousy flickered in Kathleen, despite her animosity. She wondered where she was supposed to lay when she was dead. On the other side of Scott? Not likely.
On Scott’s bronze grave marker was his full name, Scott Lawrence Buckley. The marker underneath read, “Received into the Lord’s loving care.”
Kathleen felt a twinge of surprise when she read it. Could that possibly be true considering the life he led? She did not think beyond that momentary wonder and bent down, running her hand over the marker, remembering.
She fell hard for Scott, changed her life to have him for her husband by moving to Sedona after a romantic two-month courtship, abruptly ending her newspaper career at the Los Angeles Times. But soon after the marriage, after the initial euphoria, she realized she made a disastrous mistake.
The adoring, fondling lover who publicly kissed her passionately on the mouth was often impotent as his drinking escalated. And with the drinking came the violence—from a sharp punch to her arm, to the attack the night she left him.
The longer she was married to Scott, the more she realized what a bastard he was, particularly in his attitude toward her. Scott knew how to make Kathleen feel like a married whore, doling out money when the mood struck him. If she did a particularly good job hosting one of his political dinner parties, Scott would leave several hundred dollars next to her bedside table just as if she’d favored him sexually.
When he first did it, about a year after their marriage, she was puzzled, and asked him if he put the money on the table by accident.
He smiled his dazzling smile. “No, it’s for you. You did a nice job handling those political assholes from the county. They think they can sweet talk me out of pushing for Sedona becoming a city. It may take a few more years, but I’ll make sure it happens.”
“I did a nice job? Why are you giving me money when all I did was act like your wife?” There was anger in her voice.
“It’s insurance, baby; insurance. Just to make sure you stay on my side.” He pulled her to him, kissed her hard, fondling her breast.
Kathleen crumpled the money in her fist. “Honest to God, Scott! Sometimes you’re such a son of a bitch. I don’t want your goddamn money anyway. Not like that! Not like I’m some whore. I’m your wife, remember?”
He shrugged his shoulders as if he did not understand her anger. “Do as you please. If you like, I’ll give the money instead to Jessica or Natalie.”
Scott knew that would raise Kathleen’s anger to a fevered pitch. Instead, Kathleen placed the crumpled money on Scott’s dresser.
“If you want to treat your daughters like the whores they are, that’s your business,” was her level-voiced response.
Scott’s smile never changed, but he grabbed her by the elbow and squeezed hard, hard enough to bring tears to her eyes.
“My daughters know how to fuck for pleasure and for profit. I don’t think you know how to do either, Kathleen. That’s what comes from being too good a Catholic.” He laughed. It was a nasty sound, humiliating her.
Kathleen yanked her arm from him and he walked into the other room to get his usual nightcap from the bar.
She went into the kitchen and put an ice pack on her elbow, knowing she would have to wear long sleeves for two weeks to cover the bruise.
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