Husband and Wives

Husband and Wives by Susan Rogers Cooper

Book: Husband and Wives by Susan Rogers Cooper Read Free Book Online
Authors: Susan Rogers Cooper
business either, but he decided to risk it. ‘So,’ he said, after their iced teas had arrived. ‘What’s up with you and Holly?’
    Anthony watched as Dalton’s big, usually pale face turned bright red. ‘Nothing,’ Dalton said.
    ‘You like her, right?’ Anthony insisted.
    Dalton shrugged.
    ‘Well,’ Anthony said, ‘I’m pretty sure she likes you.’
    Dalton stirred four packets of sugar into his iced tea. ‘She seems really happy at work,’ he said.
    ‘You must have gotten to know her pretty well, when y’all were lost in the woods that time with your nephew,’ Anthony said.
    Yes, Dalton thought, he’d gotten to know Holly pretty well out in those woods last summer. In those few hours, OK, bunch of hours, that they were lost with his young nephew, he’d discovered how strong, caring, and giving she was. And he knew that some day she was gonna make a good mom. The thought made him blush anew. Truth be known, he thought about that time a lot, and probably thought way too much about Holly.
    Dalton shrugged again and Anthony decided enough was enough. He needed to get home. He downed the rest of his tea and stood up, throwing a couple of ones on the table. ‘It was good talking with you, Dalton, but my wife needs me to stop by the store on the way home, so I’d better get my ass in gear.’ He grinned when he said it and, after several seconds, Dalton reluctantly grinned back.
    Dalton stood and held out his hand. Shaking Anthony’s hand, Dalton said, ‘Thanks for your help, Anthony. That was real nice of you.’
    ‘Hey, no problem, man. Any time.’ He patted Dalton on the shoulder. ‘You take care now, hear?’
    Dalton nodded as Anthony left the diner.
    Milt Kovak – Thursday
    The next morning on the way to work, me and Jean dropped by the house of Thomas Whitman and his wife Sarie, another plural family from the New Saints Tabernacle. Their house was a two-story farmhouse on the outskirts of town, on our side of downtown. When we pulled into the long driveway we saw a man at the barn, wearing coveralls and a wide-brimmed hat. He was standing by a tractor, half its hood opened, and he was wiping his hands on a red work cloth.
    I turned off the Jeep’s engine and rolled down the window. Didn’t get out, though. I called through the window, ‘Mr Whitman?’
    ‘Yes, sir,’ he said, still standing by the tractor.
    ‘Sheriff Kovak, sir. May I get out?’
    He nodded his head and Jean and I both got out of the Jeep. Whitman met us halfway and held out his wiped-clean hand. We shook and he said, ‘Can I help you, Sheriff?’
    Up close he was a lot older than I’d figured, wearing one of those beards that doesn’t have a mustache with it – just goes from sideburns down to the chin. The beard was white and the hair I could see under the wide-brimmed hat was salt-and-pepper. His eyes were a washed-out blue and his face was ruddy from the sun and just being a farmer.
    ‘We’re interviewing the members of the New Saints Tabernacle concerning the death of Sister Mary Hudson—’
    ‘If you’re here because I’m a polygamist, you can just go on home now, Sheriff. My wife Marie died last year and now it’s just me and Sarie and the kids. Not breaking any of your laws.’
    ‘No, sir, I’m not concerned right now with the number of your wives. This is about the murder of Mrs Hudson. I just need to interview you and Mrs Whitman, see what y’all know about Mrs Hudson.’
    ‘I didn’t know the woman at all. Not my place to. Sarie mighta knowed her,’ he said.
    I pointed at the farmhouse. ‘May I?’
    He shrugged his shoulders, sighed, and said, ‘Well, come on then,’ and led the way to the house.
    The house was freshly painted white with no trim color or anything – just all white. But it had a big front porch with white rocking chairs sitting on it. He opened the screen door and hollered, ‘Sarie? Got company!’
    A young woman came in from the back of the house, drying her hands on a

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