Robert's house was beautiful, more like a mansion than a common home. The doors were detailed with gold trim on white, the floors either quality stone or dyed wood, and there was a grand staircase leading up to the second floor. One of the seven rooms on the upper floor was mine, and each had a two-person bathroom included.
Though my old home was never quite this extravagant (Or this clean) it still reminded me of my house. Then it lead me to think of my family, and that is where I made myself stop thinking altogether.
Robert's family was marvelous. His wife, Maria, was a tall woman, with long brown silky hair and a tan complexion, even in winter. Her daughter, Lorena, looked much like her, though I could see some of Robert in her. She was 14 years old and a freshman in high school, though she already had an eleventh grade boyfriend. She was texting him all during dinner. But she seemed like a nice girl when her attention wasn't divided.
Robert and I stayed up talking until late, at least a few hours after Maria and Lorena had gone to sleep. He asked me many questions and I answered them fully and truthfully. I was sure he didn't want a complete stranger sleeping in his house.
I awoke from the first peaceful sleep in weeks at 10 o'clock the next morning to the sweet smell of pancakes. I didn't want to get up, the bed was so comfortable and I was so warm, but I eventually dragged myself out of the bed, took a hot shower, and threw on the fresh pajamas and bathrobe that was waiting at the end of my bed.
"Good morning, Chris!" Robert greeted cheerfully as I appeared at the doorway. I smiled and he took another glace back.
"Well don't you look spiffy!" I rubbed the side of my face, feeling nothing but skin. I didn't know how much of a beard I had growing until I saw it all flowing down the sink that morning. Maria then rounded the opposite corner already dressed in a tan suit and bright red lipstick. Her eyes widened when she saw me.
"My goodness Christopher! Is that really you?" I laughed and so did she and Robert. Then Lorena came into the room, a textbook in one hand and her touchscreen phone in the other. She didn't say anything or even look up as she sat down at the table and started eating the pancakes her father had made for her. Her mother stared at her oblivious figure then shot an apologetic look at me. I shrugged, as it was really no big deal.
"Lorena, say good morning!"
"Good morning Mama, Papa," she replied, still looking down.
"Lorena Alexa Johnson! We have a guest." Her head snapped up and her eyes scanned the room until they fell on me. At first, she said nothing. Then her eyes sparkled and she smiled.
"Mr.Bronsely! I didn't recognize you!" She exclaimed, incredulous. "I thought you were one of my mother's "lawyer friends"," she rolled her eyes. So Mrs. Johnson was a lawyer. My wife was a lawyer too. I wondered if she was still in the business, then caught myself, refusing to go back to that pain.
"Excuse me," Maria interrupted, reaching for her purse. "I have to take this call." She glanced at the screen of her blackberry, then rolled her eyes at her husband.
"It's Ms. Lehigh again." My breath caught. My wife's maiden name was Lehigh. As Maria walked into the hall, I rushed behind the stove to Robert.
"Ms. Lehigh?" I whispered. Robert looked at me confused and set the pancake pan on the counter.
"Yes, Madison Lehigh. She's one of Maria's clients. She calls all the time. She has one child I believe, recently divorced..." he trailed off, realization sparking in his eyes. "Oh."
"Robert, you have to help me get my life back."