heir first date was at Houston’s, a restaurant in Irvine, where he opened the door for her and put her napkin on her lap.Candles flickered along the polished-mahogany bar; jazz drifted from speakers; conversation purred. Her cornsilk-blond hair fell in waves over her shoulders.
Her 24-year-old daughter, Jacquelyn, who lived there with her, made it clear she thought he looked like a loser. She said she didn’t like the way his eyes roamed around the place, among their velvet chairs and jewelry and fine art. She thought that if any of her kids would give him a chance, it was Terra, her youngest.
Or the way he seemed so curious about the contents of her safe, where she kept her collection of Birkin and Cartier bags. Jacquelyn’s reaction didn’t shock Debra, since her taste in men often exasperated her children. The family’s quietest, most docile member liked to daydream about the end of the world.
Terra discovered the truth the day before Thanksgiving, when she opened a closet and found a nursing certificate bearing John’s name. ” Terra left, badly shaken, with the sickening feeling that her mother was choosing John over her.
Her mom said she was getting his certificates framed, but Terra knew, and she did something uncharacteristic. He had an explanation for why he had a nursing degree but called himself a doctor. When Jacquelyn showed up, John asked for a private word with her. He acted like a kid himself, vulnerable and sweet, and single-mindedly besotted with her.
She went to bed thinking, “Jerk.” She thought, “Cross off another one.” The next day she was back at her office, a little sad, trying to lose herself in work.