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This Is Where We Live: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle) by Janelle Brown

This Is Where We Live: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle) by Janelle Brown

Author:Janelle Brown [Brown, Janelle]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780385524049
Amazon: 0385524048
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Published: 2011-05-17T00:00:00+00:00


She waited. Waited until the pizza squares were gone, and Daniel and Cristina had finally climbed into Daniel’s old Saab to drive cautiously back down the rutted hill; waited until the quiet house was a drained fishbowl, emptied of life; waited until they were mutely shuttling emptied glasses and smeary plates to the kitchen sink, to be washed in the morning. It was then that Claudia finally turned to Jeremy and revealed the inferno of emotion she had been stoking all night.

“Did you know?” she stuttered at her surprised husband, who stood at the stove munching on an abandoned pizza crust. “Did you know that Aoki’s painting is worth over half a million dollars?”

Jeremy stopped chewing. Crumbs clung to his half-open lips. “Did Cristina tell you that?”

“Is it true?”

Jeremy shook his head. “Jesus. I mean, I knew it was probably worth a lot, but that’s a lot more than I imagined.”

“What did you imagine?”

He ducked his chin, spotting a tomato sauce splotch on the front of his button-down shirt. He swiped at it uselessly, avoiding her glare. “I dunno, maybe high five or low six figures,” he said quickly.

“And you didn’t tell me? You didn’t think it was worth mentioning to your wife that we were in possession of something that could alleviate our financial troubles? When we were at the bank, and I brought it up—and you didn’t say a word ….” She dropped the plates in the sink, where they landed with an ominous crack. “We are this close to losing our goddamn home! I had to get a teaching job, Jeremy. We took in a roommate! And all this time we had the money just hanging there on the wall?”

“I guess I didn’t think about it like that.” His voice was low.

“Well, think about this: If we sold that painting we’d be able to pay off almost our entire mortgage. We could own the house free and clear. Or even if we just pay off half the house—think of everything we could use the rest of the money for. It could let me try my hand at film again, or finance your next album—or, if we wanted to be responsible, we could invest some of it, use it for retirement savings, or—I don’t know—put it away for college for our kids. We could set ourselves up for the rest of our lives!”

Jeremy looked like a cornered animal. “Maybe I don’t want to sell it.”

“You don’t want to sell it?” She repeated his sentence slowly.

“Not really, no.” He leaned up against the hulking antique stove and fiddled with the cuff of his sleeve.

“It’s just a painting, Jeremy. How could a painting possibly be more important than—oh, say, our future?”

Jeremy shook his head at the linoleum floor. Before she could stop herself, Claudia finally blurted out the fear that had been haunting her for longer than she cared to admit. “Is it that you’re still in love with Aoki?”

“That’s not it.” A strangled sound came out of Jeremy’s throat.

“Then what is it?”

“I don’t think you’d understand,” he said.



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