“Look at you! That’s quite a log you’re dragging around there, huh?” Andy leaned against his car with his arms folded, harassing me as I slowly made my way over. “Could you hurry up, please? I’m hoping we can get there before dinnertime.”
“Shut up, asshole,” I joked as I opened the passenger side of his car.
As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, my cell phone buzzed and Michelle’s smiling face popped up.
“Who’s that?” Andy asked.
“A text from Michelle.”
Michelle: Hey . . . we didn’t get to talk much this morning, but I just wanted to tell you good luck today. The kids and I are thinking about you and hoping for good news. Call me as soon as you can. Love you so, so much!
I knew she’d been trying so hard to keep my spirits up, and I appreciated it, but I just wasn’t in the mood. I also didn’t want to be a dick and completely leave her hanging, so I responded.
Thanks. I’ll take all the good news I can right now. Love you, too!
“You look like someone ran your dog over with a car, dude.”
I set my phone on my knee and stared out the window. “I feel like someone ran my dog over with a car. Actually, scratch that. I feel like someone ran me over with a car.”
“I know this sucks, but you gotta keep your head up. You’re a boss. You’ll have surgery, kick ass with physical therapy, and be back out there in no time.” His phone rang through the speakers of the car and Blaire’s name popped up on the screen.
“No way. Not today,” he said, hitting a button to reject the call.
Blaire was Andy’s crazy ex-wife, and I mean crazy. She sabotaged his friendships, treated their kids like shit, and was an all-around horrific human being. I had literally in my whole entire life never met a bigger bitch than Blaire—ever. “What’s going on with her?” I asked.
“Who knows? She probably wants money. She always wants money.” He clenched his jaw and shook his head. “I pay her more every month than most people make in six, and she still complains it’s not enough.”
“And she hardly sees the kids, right?”
“One weekend a month. It used to be two, but they were coming back so screwed up and weird for a couple days after that I offered her more money to go down to one weekend a month. She takes longer to figure out what she’s having for dinner than she took to tell me yes.”
“I don’t know how you do it, man. She’s such a bitch.”
“I don’t know how I did it for so long. I was so desperate to keep the family together for my kids’ sake that I just didn’t see it. And now they’re happier than they ever were when we lived with her.” He turned the car into Starbucks and looked over at me. “Want anything?”
I shook my head. “I’m good.”
He ordered his drink and pulled around to the side. “So anyway, I don’t know what to say about her. She’s ruined me for all women, I think. I’ve never been so jaded in my whole life.”
“That’s bullshit. You’ll get married again. That’s who you are.”
He laid his head against the back of the seat and turned toward me. “What do you mean by that?”
“I mean that’s who you are. You’re Andy Shaw, family man extraordinaire. You loved being married, even if it was to a heartless slab of concrete. And you really love being a dad.”
“I do love being a dad, that’s for sure,” he said with a nod as he faced forward again. “We’ll see. Who knows?”
I’d had enough of talking about Blaire. “Speaking of women and relationships . . . do you remember Kat?”
“Thank you,” he said to the barista as he took his cup and drove forward. Setting it in the cup holder, he pulled his brows in tight. “Kat . . . Kat . . . I don’t think I remember a Kat. Refresh me.”
“She was probably the only other girl that I kind of dated. I mean, I wasn’t ever faithful, but she hung around for a little over a year. Long black hair and tattoos all over. Killer body, too.”
He rubbed his bottom lip with his fingers as he thought about it. “Okay. I think I remember her. She was a bartender, right?”
“And didn’t you cheat on her once, with your maid or something?”
“And she got really pissed off. Like really pissed off.”
“Yep, she launched a picture frame at me and cut my face. I have a little scar on the corner of my eye from her.”
“Okay. I do remember. Why the hell are you asking about her?”
“So get this. Remember how I called and asked Ellie to help me find a nurse for Gam before we left for the road trip?”
Andy’s face fell. “Shut up. No way.”
“Yes way.” I nodded. “She’s Gam’s fucking nurse.”
“When the hell did she become a nurse?”
“I have no idea.” I threw my hands up in the air. “But we went over there yesterday and Gam was sitting on her porch and we started talking. First she yelled at me for hiring a nurse at all, then she was telling me how much she liked this girl.”
“I can’t believe that.” He shook his head incredulously as we pulled up to a stoplight. “What are the odds of that happening?”
“I know. I’m not happy about it.”
“So what are you going to do?” he asked as he rolled his window down.
On cue, an older homeless man who was sitting on the ground against a building walked over. He had a long gray beard and long gray hair and his clothes were full of holes. He took something from Andy’s hand and nodded. “Thank you so much, Mr. Shaw.”
“You got it, Douglas. Do something good with that today.” He rolled his window back up and repeated, “What are you gonna do about Kat?”
I stared at him in amazement. “Wait a minute. What just happened?”
Andy glanced at me quickly. “What? Douglas?” he asked nonchalantly. “He’s a nice man. One day a few months back I was driving into work and there was an accident at this corner. I was stuck and couldn’t move, so I rolled my windows down and turned my car off while I waited. Well, Douglas walked up and asked if I had change to spare, so I told him to get in and talk to me while I waited for the road to clear. We sat here for half an hour, and he told me all about his life and how he served three tours overseas. He was nice, and I liked him, so I offered him a job at my office.”