And move on is exactly what I did immediately following the main course (which, by the way,
consisted of prime rib
au jus, a dinky rosemary potato, some limp green beans and an
unidentifiable garnish I kept wanting to swat to make sure was dead). Stuck in a dark corner of
the room with tablemates I'd never met allowed me to slip out unnoticed, which I did as soon as  
Silver's ex-publicist rose to give a toast.

My early exit gave me plenty of time to drive back to Ventura which I decided on for two reasons.
One, I didn't relish checking into the hotel with a Texas-sized stain on my dress and two, after all
that familial love, I needed a strong dose of John. Besides, I knew it made him nervous when I
drove his car.

Two hours of Norah Jones later, I punched the remote and waited impatiently for the garage door
to lift as visions of John's welcome arms flitted through my mind. One whole week had elapsed
since we'd made love, and a romantic getaway had been part of my strategy to make up for lost
time. Now, as the last strains of music dwindled down, and I poofed up my hair and checked my
make-up, I was glad about the way things had turned out. John's got a phobia about hotel
bedspreads anyway.

Finished with pre-lovemaking prep, I switched off the car and climbed out.
And immediately sensed a presence.

The forty-watt bulb overhead didn't shed much light, but I peered around discarded bikes, an old
treadmill gathering dust, and other bits of (mostly) John's junk to find...nothing.

No bogey men out to get me.

Relaxing, I chalked up my overreaction to stress, tucked my keys back in my purse, and made
my way to the door that led inside. With my hand poised over the garage door button, I paused
and took another visual tour.

Again, nothing.

Shake it off, idiot.

But as I put the key in the lock, the sound of a female giggle, quickly muffled, came from behind
me, and I froze.

What the hell?

What kind of thieving bastard brings his girlfriend along on a heist? And what are they doing in
my car?

Okay, so I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Give me a break. I was scared shitless.

And man, they must be too, judging from the fracas. In fact, it sounded like...well, it sounded
like...two teenagers scrambling to put their clothes on in the backseat of a car.

I swallowed hard and would have prayed but wasn't sure what to pray for.
Instead I stood with feet locked to the top step of the stairway leading inside. Leading to safety
and John.


Befuddled by the site of John himself emerging from my car, I fell back against the door. His hair
was mussed and his shirttails hung cockeyed from being buttoned wrong. He leaned an elbow on
the car and looked over at the woman getting out from the other side, then back at me. "What
are you doing here?"

Now I knew what I should have prayed for: anything but that question.
Hey, honey, glad you
came home early. Meet my long-lost sister. Or, welcome back, dear. Mother Theresa rose from
the dead and we're working  the homeless shelter tonight. Wanna join us?

Anything but what are you doing here?

I licked the sweat from my upper lip and opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out.
Maybe nothing ever would.

"I can explain, Rose."

Bingo. The second sentence you don't wanna hear under the circumstances. "Something tells
me you can't. Who the hell is she, your surgical complication? The reason you flaked on me
tonight? Jesus, John. What the hell are you doing?"

"We need to talk."

Oh, God. The deadliest one of 'em all.
Randy Jeanne. . . Romance With Attitude