Living Two LivesBy: Erin Wade
To the one who has always supported me in everything I have ever undertaken. You have encouraged me and have always been my biggest fan. Life is sweeter with you.
A Special Thank You to my wonderful and witty “Beta Master,” Julie Versoi. She makes me a better storyteller.
A heartfelt “Thank You” to Laure Dherbécourt for agreeing to beta read for me. She has added insight and an incredible knack for catching incorrect homophones.
The attractive woman pulled the collar of her raincoat tighter around her neck. The drizzling Texas rain was cold for May. She squinted, trying to bring into focus the gorgeous brunette who was accepting condolences from everyone. She sincerely regretted that Jules Divine was suffering from the loss of someone she deeply loved.
Hidden in the shadow of the lone oak, the woman watched the pomp and circumstance going on below her as mourners paid their respects to the woman she had murdered.
Julie Adair Divine walked to the massive front door of her grandmother’s house in Kingston, Texas. She pushed the oversized key into the lock and turned it. She could hear the deadbolt slide back to allow her admittance into the home where she had grown from a gangly teenager to a responsible adult.
Her mind flashed back to the day she had arrived on her grandmother’s doorstep looking for a place to live. On her fourteenth birthday, she had announced that she was a lesbian and her parents had thrown her out of the house. Her grandmother, Nana, was the only one she could turn to.
Nana had taken her in and christened her “Jules,” exclaiming that Julie was too severe a name for her lighthearted granddaughter.
Nana had provided her a home filled with love, mutual respect, and laughter. Nana had taken her everywhere she traveled and introduced Jules to so many wonders of the world that Jules had lost track of the locations of the splendors Nana had shown her.
Although Nana would never admit it, Jules suspected that she took great joy in showing up for church on Sunday morning with her granddaughter proudly sitting beside her. She took even greater joy in explaining why Jules’s Baptist minister father—Nana’s son—had turned his back on his only daughter.
Community leaders and staunch examples for Christians, Warren and Martha Divine refused to acknowledge their daughter, saying that “Jules was dead to God and to them.”
Nana’s response to their ridiculous declaration was less Godlike. “As if God would ever let those two hypocrites know what he thought,” Nana had huffed.
Nana—Daphne Adair Divine—made certain that her granddaughter and namesake had all the benefits and opportunities money could buy. Jules worked hard to justify the faith and pride Nana had in her. She had graduated valedictorian from high school and college and earned her master’s degree in English from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. At the age of thirty-four, she was head of the English department at a high school in Waco, Texas.
Jules’s heels clicked on the highly polished wooden floors of Nana’s house as she walked through the foyer into the great room. She slipped off her heels, dropped her purse and jacket onto the sofa, and then collapsed onto the overstuffed furniture. She buried her face in her hands and cried.
Nana’s funeral had been simple, with almost everyone in their rural town in attendance. Nana was their most famous local celebrity. A well-known mystery writer, she had been writing for over thirty years and had many best sellers to her credit. Thanks to a good investment banker and over a hundred books under her name, Nana was a wealthy woman.
Suddenly, Nana’s doorbell jerked Jules from her reverie. “Money, money, money. It’s a rich man’s world,” echoed through the house. She had to chuckle at her eccentric grandmother’s choice of chime tones. She wondered who would be ringing the doorbell.
Through the opaque glass of the massive door, Jules could make out the figure of a medium-height person. She pushed the intercom button. “May I help you?”
The figure held up something to the door and said, “Yes, I am police detective Tanner West. I would like to speak with you, ma’am.”