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The Last Move

The Last Move

Page 38

Alyssa glanced up at him. “Don’t leave.”

“Not going anywhere, kiddo.”

She hurried down the hallway, the phone pressed to her ear.

“So what’s up, Sherry?”

She sipped her vodka. “I’ve been transferred.”

He dropped the remains of his slice and wiped his hands with a paper towel. So his and Alyssa’s gut reaction had been right. “To where?”

“Washington, DC.”

He’d uprooted his life when he moved from Chicago to San Antonio. Now he and Alyssa were trying to make this place home, and Sherry wanted to leave again. He’d pulled strings to get the San Antonio job but doubted he had any more aces up his sleeve. “When?”

“Four weeks.”

He balled up the napkin and tossed it on the counter. “Have you told Alyssa?”

“Not yet.”

“You’re going to pull her out before the semester is over?”

Sherry drew in a breath. “I was hoping she could stay with you. I can get an apartment there and get my bearings. The first few weeks on the job are going to be crazy.”

“Of course. And then at the end of the school year, are you going to move her east?”

“I thought the end of the semester. Holidays are never great for the three of us anymore.”

“And I’m supposed to just find another job?” Frustration and anger bled through the words. Sherry had had to petition an Illinois judge to take their daughter out of state, who’d reluctantly agreed.

She traced the rim of her glass with a polished nail. “I never asked you to move here. I don’t expect you to move there.”

“I’m supposed to watch my only living child walk out of my life.”

Ice clinked in the glass as she swirled it. “I’ve never denied you visitation.”

“No. You just keep trying to put distance between me and my kid. If I want to see my daughter on a regular basis, I’ll have to move again.”

A muscle pulsed in her jaw. “She’s growing up. Soon she won’t need either of us.”

“She’s not there yet, Sherry. And until she does really leave the nest, I’m going to be a part of her life.” He didn’t want to get into a pissing match with her, but he was finding it hard to be civil. “She can move in with me at any time.”

“It’s only temporary, Theo.”

“So you’ve said. By my count, I’ve got a month before Alyssa and I have to turn our lives inside out again for your fucking career.”

“This is a really good job, Theo. I’ll be making the kind of money that will allow Alyssa to attend the best schools. She’s smart and can go to any college in the country now.”

He’d known from the start he’d married over his head when he said I dos with Sherry. She was smart and savvy, and he was always a little surprised she’d never reached for the big time. After their son had died, reaching higher kept her mind off the pain.

“When do you fly to Washington?”

“Saturday.”

“You’re shittin’ me. You just said four weeks.”

“I’m looking for a place to live and need to meet the people in the DC office.” She raised her chin. “I have no choice.”

“We all have choices, Sherry.”

She sighed. “I don’t want to fight.”

He did. But with Alyssa in the other room, he’d have to find his pound of flesh somewhere else. “I’ll be ready for her.” His voice sounded tight. “Do you want me here when you tell Alyssa?”

She looked up, eyes filled with pain. “It’s not necessary.”

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