The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Author:Laura Dave [Dave, Laura]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: 2021-05-04T00:00:00+00:00

One Year Ago

“You think you can just pop in here whenever you want?” I said.

I was joking. But I was surprised that Owen snuck up on me, showing up at my workshop unannounced, in the middle of the workday. He didn’t usually do that. He spent his days at the offices in Palo Alto, sometimes heading to downtown San Francisco for a meeting. He was rarely home on a weekday, except when Bailey needed him for something.

“If I popped in whenever I wanted, I’d be here constantly,” he said. “What are we making?”

He rubbed his hands together, happy to be in the studio with me. He loved my work, loved being a part of it. And every time I saw how genuinely he felt that way, it was another small reminder how lucky I was to love him.

“What are you doing home so early?” I asked. “Is everything okay?”

“That depends,” he said.

He lifted my face shield to give me a kiss hello. I was in my work clothes—which consisted of a high-necked jacket and that face shield—a combination that made me look like I belonged in the future and the past at the same time.

“Is my chair finished?”

I kissed him back, draping my arms around his shoulders.

“Not quite yet,” I said. “And it’s not your chair.”

It was a Windsor chair I was making for a client in Santa Barbara, for her interior design office, but as soon as Owen had seen it in progress—the dark, chiseled elm; a heightened hoop back—he decided we couldn’t let it go. He decided it was meant for him.

“We’ll see about that,” he said.

This was when his phone buzzed. Owen looked down at the caller ID, his face darkening. He clicked decline.

“Who was that?” I said.

“Avett,” he said. “I’ll call him later.”

He clearly didn’t want to talk about it, but I couldn’t leave it there—not when I felt the heat coming off him. Not when he was getting this worked up just from a call he didn’t take. “What’s going on with him?

“He’s being a little irrational. That’s all.”

“About what?”

“The IPO,” he said. “It’s not a big deal.”

But it was flashing in his eyes—a mix of anger and irritation. Two things he rarely displayed. Two things he had displayed more recently. And, of course, he was standing in my workshop as opposed to in his own office.

I tried to choose my words carefully, wanting to help, but not wanting to undermine him. I didn’t have to work in an office, didn’t have to deal with the politics of having a boss I had to answer to—someone, like Avett Thompson, with whom I might not agree. And yet, I wanted to figure out how to say it—that I saw Owen’s stress level rising. That it was just a job. That, as far as I was concerned, he could always find another.

Before I said anything, the phone buzzed again. AVETT showing up on the caller ID. Owen looked down at his phone. He looked down at it, like he was going to pick it up, his fingers hovering there.


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