Monday morning, still hungover from Saturday afternoon, Camille checked out of the hotel and back into reality. As she waited for the appliances to be delivered at the house, Jana called to say that Delia’s funeral was scheduled for Tuesday morning. Camille hung up the phone and started making calls to transfer the electricity, gas and water into the new tenant’s name – not a student, thankfully, but a visiting professor of European history.
Bunny called in the afternoon to inform Camille that one of the firm’s forensic accountants had taken a look at Walker’s finances. As it turned out, Walker had created a holding company with Dusty Hamilton and had already purchased a house in foreclosure at Lakeway.
“I want alimony,” Camille replied.
“The State of Texas isn’t kindly about alimony, but how about we ask him to buy you out of his assets at ten thousand dollars a month with adjustments based on tax assessments each year.”
“How much is it worth?”
“Right now, maybe five hundred thousand dollars, but at the rate the economy is booming, it’ll be worth much more later on. You could have payments for a few years,” Bunny said.
“Do you know what his law practice is netting?”
“No,” Camille said, feeling like one of those stupid women that get victimized by putting their husbands through medical school and getting left for the beautiful Asian pediatrician.
“The bankruptcy business is booming,” Bunny said. “You’re entitled to money from the business?”
“I want two thousand a month from the business,” Camille said.
“Don’t be silly,” Bunny said. “You need to ask for ten thousand.”
“Really? Can he afford it?”
“Who cares. We’ll ask for it,” Bunny said. “It’s just a negotiating point. Since the house is paid off, he can afford a bit more.”
“What! I’m lost. The house isn’t paid off. I’m still making checks out each month for my half of the mortgage to Redbud Holdings. We refinanced eight years ago and they gave us a low rate.”
“Redbud Holdings?” Bunny said. “What an asshole. Him. Not you. That’s the holding company he formed with Dusty Hamilton.”
“But when did he pay off the house?”
“Eight years ago.”
“Eight years ago! Did he have this thing, this company with Dusty Hamilton all this time?”
“No. They formed that four years ago.”
“Oh. Oh my god. I’m going to be sick. Oh.”
“Hey, butch up. This is your chance to get even.”
Bunny said. “Bring me copies of your last ten years tax returns.”
“Walker took everything.”
“Pick up copies of your tax returns from the IRS this afternoon and get them to me.”
What a fool she had been, Camille thought to herself. What a dope. What a dummy.
“Why would he do this? Was he planning to leave me?”
“Oh honey, you’ll never know why he did any of this, and you might as well stop trying to understand it.”
“Do I ever have to see Walker again?”
“No,” Bunny replied. “I just need you to calm down. You don’t want to be hasty and feel like an idiot later on.”
“I was giving him a check from my personal account every month to pay half a nonexistent mortgage. How much more idiotic could I feel?”
Bunny said, “I’ll call you soon.”
“Thanks, Bunny,” Camille said, unscrewing the top on the bottle of Jose Cuervo.
On Tuesday morning, Camille took a seat in the back row at the funeral home on Lamar Boulevard. Jana looked bleary-eyed. She had seen Delia pulled from the wreckage and was sitting with Delia’s family. Delia’s mother occasionally let out a wail for the loss of her thirty-seven-year-old daughter. Paul and eight-year-old Lindsay sat like soldiers at attention. Delia’s brother gave the eulogy.
“Delia wouldn’t want us to be crying,” he said, which elicited another wail from Delia’s mother.
Delia wouldn’t want anyone to be crying, Delia would have preferred everybody to be dancing, but Camille wished she could cry. It would feel much better than the stony feeling of dread that was lodged in her chest. She stared at a wreath of flowers on a stand until people started getting up to leave, surprising her. At the door, she gave her condolences to the family and went to her car where she sat until every other car, except two, had left the parking lot to join the procession to the cemetery. Camille did not go.
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Genre – Women’s Fiction
Rating – PG13
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