Heart to Heart. Kayla Perrin
Deanna couldn’t help asking.
And that was when she saw the first sign of discomfort flash in Eric’s eyes. So much so that she quickly said, “You don’t have to tell me. It’s really none of my business.”
“We just…we just didn’t see eye to eye on everything. Irreconcilable differences, if you will.”
Vivian returned with the two glasses of wine. With an amiable smile, she placed them on the table and then went on her way. She seemed to be the type of server who believed in being unobtrusive, and Deanna appreciated that.
“I made mistakes,” Eric went on, still talking about his marriage. “I was focused on my career. I’m not saying I ignored my wife, but she wanted me to take her out to dinners all the time, to the movies, the theater. And we did go out—don’t get the wrong idea. But not all the time the way she wanted. And one other thing she really hoped for that I hadn’t realized when we got married was that I would travel with her during the summer. She had dreams of going to Italy with me, to a cooking school in Tuscany for a few weeks—which I wasn’t opposed to, but the summer after we married was out of the question. I was working on completing my second master’s, and she wasn’t happy that I wouldn’t go with her.” Eric sighed softly. “I knew that I wanted to achieve certain goals by a certain time. I was focused on that. So focused that I didn’t realize I was losing my wife.”
He had recited these facts so casually that Deanna had to wonder if he had been at all heartbroken over the downfall of his marriage.
“You didn’t even make the two-year mark?” she asked.
“One year, nine months. Ellie said it wasn’t working, that we weren’t on the same page. And I agreed.”
Deanna sensed that there was more to the story, something important that he was leaving out. Or was it just that in her experience, things weren’t so black and white? “You seem so…I don’t know—comfortable about everything?” she said to him. “I’m sure it must have been a terrible time for you.”
“Ellie is a great girl, and I wish her nothing but happiness and success. But we weren’t right for each other. We were two friends who both wanted to get married and thought, hey, why not to each other? But we weren’t meant to be.”
“You say that so matter-of-factly.”
“We’re still friends. Ellie has gone on to marry someone else. Now she’s the wife of some cruise ship director, and I understand that they travel quite a bit. She’s happy. And I’m happy for her.”
“I see,” Deanna said. Maybe she was reading into things, thinking there was more to the story than there really was. “Well, it happens.”
“And sometimes things happen for a reason.” Eric held her gaze as he raised his wineglass. “To new beginnings.”
And as Deanna looked into Eric’s magnetic eyes, she was struck once again with just how gorgeous he was. She clinked her glass against his. “To new beginnings.”
The patrons applauded as Trey finished his first song, and he promptly began the second one. “What about you?” Eric asked. “I’ve never heard any reports that you were married, but that doesn’t mean you never tied the knot.”
Deanna shook her head. “No. I never got married.” She paused. “Perhaps I was a little like you. Very focused on my career.”
“I bought your albums,” Eric said. “And I’m not saying this just because I know you, but you’re supremely talented.”
“Thank you,” Deanna told him.
“You have anything new coming out?” Eric asked. “I’ve been waiting for the next album to drop.”
Deanna deliberately lifted her wineglass to her mouth and took a sip. Eric watched her every movement. She felt as though a spotlight were on her as she swallowed, then finally spoke. “Well, not right now,” she answered, hoping he didn’t pick up on the discomfort in her tone. “I was working on some stuff, but…not anymore.”
Eric gave her an odd look, but he didn’t press her for details. Maybe it was obvious to him that she didn’t want to talk about it, and for that she was glad. She didn’t want to get into the story about Brian.
“I’m surprised you haven’t asked me about Marvin.” Eric chuckled softly.
Deanna rolled her eyes in a playful manner. “I think it’s fair to say I did more than enough talking about him nine years ago. I can’t believe how pathetic I was.”
“You weren’t pathetic. You were…passionate.”
Deanna’s eyebrows shot up. “Passionate?”
“Yeah. You used to be so full of fire whenever you spoke to me about Marvin. You got so heated when you complained about him doing you wrong.”
Deanna cringed as she remembered just how often she had complained about Marvin. Had she been smart, she would have dumped him without a second thought the moment she had learned about him and her sister and not looked backward. Instead, she had fought for him—and helped ruin her relationship with Natalie in the process. “Ugh…so young and stupid.”
“Not young and stupid. Young and hopeful was more like it.”
“You always were good at putting a positive spin on everything.” Deanna sighed. “I guess I may as well ask—what happened to Marvin? What’s he doing with his life?”
“My brother.” Eric rolled his eyes. “Same old Marvin. You talked about being young and foolish—well, he’s now older and still foolish. I hoped he would grow out of his player ways, but he didn’t. He’s on a second divorce now.”
Eric nodded. “Yep. He was married to a girl from here, really nice girl he met in college, Beverly.”
“I remember Beverly. Beverly Bonaparte?”
“Yeah, that’s her.”
“I can’t say that I’m surprised.” Deanna shook her head. “Wow.” Then she said, “Okay, I’m over it. What happened to their marriage?”
“What you’d expect of Marvin. Beverly loved him, but, yup, he cheated on her. Time and again. They have two kids, twins. A boy and a girl. The so-called perfect family. But not for Marvin. Nope, he wasn’t happy unless he could have more women. Sometimes I wonder how it’s possible that we’re related.”
“I wondered the same thing many times myself.”
Something changed in Eric’s expression. Giving her a pointed look, he asked, “Is that all you wondered?”
Butterflies fluttered in Deanna’s belly. Suddenly, she didn’t know what to say.
Eric held her gaze for a moment longer, then smiled softly and reached for more corn bread. “Anyway,” he went on, “Beverly and Marvin divorced, then Marvin headed to New Orleans to be with some other woman. Beverly moved to Cincinnati, so we hardly see the kids.”
“Oh, that’s awful,” Deanna said. But she was all too aware that Eric had just let her off the hook concerning whatever he had been curious about.
“Tell me about it. The twins are five, and I try to stay in touch with Beverly as much as possible. But she’s remarried, so she doesn’t have as much time for us as she used to. I think in the beginning she stayed away a lot because she didn’t like the reminders of Marvin. And because things had gotten ugly between them. Sometimes, the extended family can’t help but become casualties when divorce happens.”
Deanna nodded. She was thinking about Callie. Callie and Nigel hadn’t divorced, but she hadn’t been able to know her nephew until now because Callie had left, fearing that any contact with any of them would’ve led to Nigel finding out that she’d had his child. Thank goodness, they had all reunited—and now Callie and Nigel were