"You must be Kadence," she said.
"No, I must be pissed. Who are you?"
She smiled. "Terrence told me about you. I'm Sheila. Please, come in. Terrence baby, we have company."
Her voice had that sing-song quality of many of the island woman. She pointed to a pair of new high-back armchairs in the corner. The ratty old chairs we'd had since forever were gone. There were lots of new things here. Before, I could flop down anywhere in a wet swimsuit and not care. Now, I felt like I should have left my shoes at the door.
Sheila saw me checking things out. "We've been decorating. Let me see what's keeping Terrence. Some days I practically have to pull him out of bed."
The woman didn't walk; she glided. My hips swished; hers swayed like the rolling waves of the sea. I had my back to the bedroom, so I heard Terrence's booming voice before I saw him.
"You're here early, Reverend." Terrence and Sheila walked over to me, hand-in-hand.
Despite Sheila's presence, it made me happy just to see him, like that first warm day after a harsh winter. Just when you think you'll never be warm again, the sun comes out, the snow melts and everything is better.
Terrence had grown a beard. He always did when we visited the island. I loved how it felt against my skin, like--
"Kadence?" Terrence looked to Sheila. "Thought you said the Reverend was here."
"I lied... Forgive me? I didn't want to spoil your surprise."
He dropped her hand, then turned to me. "I didn't think you'd ever come."
"I know. Don't worry. I understand about Hootchie-Momma Barbie."
Sheila came over and patted my arm. "Now, now, that's not nice."
She got in one good pat before my eyes told her she'd better not try for two. Sheila pulled Terrence to the loveseat on the other side of the room, like somehow putting that little bit of distance between us would help her cause.
"Now that I'm here," I said, "we can just wrap Miss Thing up in a Hefty bag and set her out with the rest of the trash."
Sheila smiled at me like everything was wonderful. What was wrong with this girl? Surely she realized she was about to get gone.
"I need to talk to Kadence alone," Terrence said.
Sheila turned sideways, dangled one leg over Terrence's, and stroked his face. She was marking him like a dog marks a tree.
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