“Where’s Eliza?”Aunt Lillian asks, after a quick air kiss. “I thought she’d be flying in with you.”
I swallow the lump in my throat. Coming to Costa Rica together was what I suggested, what I insisted on, but Eliza, my sexy estranged wife, was adamant about needing to go to an important meeting and catching a later flight. So here I am, at the villa my family rented to celebrate my grandma’s 80thbirthday for the long weekend.
No shit, it’ll be a long, long weekend.
Four nights sharing a room with Eliza, who I haven’t seen in months.
“She’ll be here in two hours. Had a meeting she couldn’t postpone.”
“I can imagine. I see her jewelry line everywhere,” she says, patting my arm. “You did really well, dear. I only wish we saw more of you two.”
So do I. Besides my sister Jessie and my business partners, I haven’t told anyone else about our breakup nine months ago. I wanted to, but back then my grandma told us that she found out her breast cancer returned, and I didn’t want to give her any bad news and jeopardize her health. Especially if she found out about the miscarriage. I know for how long she’s been wanting me to settle down and have my own family.
Both my parents died in a car crash when I was ten. Mimi raised me and Jessie. Thanks to her, I have some of my best childhood memories.
“Hey everyone,” Jessie says, walking into the living room. “We’ll have some cocktails out on the terrace later, and then dinner.”
Aunt Lillian touches her puffy hair. “Oh darlin’, I’d better go freshen up.”
A few of the guests—including Lillian’s two daughters and Uncle John, plus a couple of longtime friends of grandma’s walk around. She told me this celebration would be a very small affair, by grandma’s standards, that means about fifteen people.
Jessie erases the distance between us. “She is coming, right?”
“Yes. She texted me this morning.”
Jessie touches my arm. “How are you doing?” she asks, and does that thing she’s always done, that big sister sympathy look, even though she’s only eighteen months older than me. How would she act if she knew the real reason that drove us apart? Even more pandering, no doubt.
“I’m good,” I say, then square my shoulders. “I’m good,” I repeat, louder.
A small smile dances on her lips. “Have you thought about what will happen? I mean, you can’t be separated and not signing divorce papers forever.”
“Why not?” I ask, regressing to a freaking bratty seven-year-old kid. Deep down, I know that my thinking about Eliza, my missing Eliza, my chastising myself for my mistake won’t fix the situation if I don’t take action.
She tosses her blonde hair to the side. “Eliza is twenty-six. What if she meets someone else and wants to marry them?”
“Thanks,” I say dryly. The idea of Eliza moving on with any man is a punch to my gut. I can’t picture her with anyone else, nor want to. Just because I screwed up after she lost the baby, doesn’t mean I never considered winning her over again. Or at least talking about it. I suck at that, that’s for sure.
Though I was a shitty husband for the brief period of two months. When she had the miscarriage, before we even told people she was pregnant, I withdrew. I wasn’t the supportive spouse I should have been. And that came with a price. I lost the only woman I’ve ever wanted to have a family with. The only one I’ve ever loved.
“Are you ready to see her again?” Jessie asks, poking like she loves to do whenever she senses a particular subject makes me uncomfortable.
“Yes,” I lie. “Seeing her won’t be a problem.”
“Bienvenida!”The driver greets me then switches to English. “I’m Mario, and I’ll be taking you to the villa.” He quickly grabs my suitcase and opens the door to the car that’s parked at the curb of the airport entrance.
“First time in Costa Rica?” he asks once he turns on the engine.