Monday, May 2, 2011
“You’re running away, Miss?” Harry, the butler, asked her.
“Yes, I am. I’ve had enough. Thank you for all your kindness
over the past five years. You helped to make unbearable times
better,” she said, warmly, shaking his hand.
Harry, a non-descript, plump, fifty-year-old man blushed,
putting color in his sallow cheeks.
“Don’t know what’s wrong with Mr. White. When he has you
here, why would he…? Well, it’s not for me to understand, I guess.
But I wouldn’t be doin’ that if I were him.”
She was grateful for his sweetness, but it was time to get
started. She had a long trip ahead. Caroline Davis White dashed
into the sunroom to grab her sketchpad and her fawn pug when the
“It’s Stanton Cauley, Mrs. White,” Harry said, returning to
Caroline went to greet her visitor, a tall, slim, attractive man
with gray hair, dressed in casual pants and a button down shirt.
“Stan, nice to see you, but I was just going out. Is there a
problem with the collection?” she asked, smoothing down her long
“No, no, Caroline. My people have packed up your paintings
now that the show is over, and I wanted to deliver them to you
“That’s nice of you, but unnecessary,” she said, looking at her
“You’re looking ravishing as ever,” he said, his eyes roving
over her body, focusing too long on her cleavage, unconsciously
licking his lips before raising his eyes to hers.
“I’d love to invite you for coffee, Stan, but as I said, I’m on
my way out…” Caroline said, uneasy under his stare. She backed
away from him, crossing her arms over her chest defensively.
“Always working, Caroline, you’re such a gifted artist, but
even a driven one takes time off to…ah…play once in a while,” he
“Yes, well, today is not the day for that, I’m afraid,” she said,
moving toward the front door, hoping he would follow her.
“Come on, Caroline. Let’s stop beating around the bush. You
know why I’m here.”
“Honestly, Stan, I don’t have a clue. But whatever it is will
have to wait.”
“But love can’t wait.”
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t pretend, Caroline. You know I want to have an affair
with you. I’ve wanted it for a long time. Brad has his…other life…so
why shouldn’t you have yours?”
Caroline’s face flushed with anger and embarrassment.
“What happens between Brad and me is none of your
business. I’m married, Stan, and even if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be
interested in sleeping with you. Never have been, never will be. I
suggest you leave.”
“Come, come, don’t be like that. I can show you a good time,
believe me. We can sail away for the weekend together on my yacht.
I’ll treat you well, just say the word.”
“No way. If Brad knew you were coming here with this…this
“But he does know. He thought if you had some diversion of
your own, you wouldn’t mind so much if he had his,” Stan said,
stepping closer and reaching for her hand.
Caroline moved back away from him.
“Come. Don’t be childish. You know you want this,” he said,
advancing toward her.
Anger from the past two years of pain and humiliation
pooled in her chest. Stan Cauley’s proposition was the last straw.
“Get out, Stan. Get out. You’re disgusting. Leave. Now! Get
out!” she screamed, her voice escalating in intensity.
She picked up an umbrella from the stand and threatened
him with it.
His face turned purple with outrage and when Harry opened
the front door, Stan stormed out.
Caroline put down the umbrella and took several deep
breaths to calm herself. She blinked back tears.
“That’s the way, Miss,” Harry said, shutting the door quickly.
“Harry, did you get the paintings unloaded before you
escorted him out?”
“Of course,” he said, smiling.
Caroline sank down in a soft chair in the foyer. Trixie came
and sprawled out at her feet. Harry brought her a cup of coffee. The
foyer of the Riordan twenty-room house in Greenwich, Connecticut,
one of the richest towns in the country, was grand. Great art hung
on the walls, the floor was pink marble and the room was painted a
The foyer was elegant like all the rooms in this house.
Bradley Riordan White lived in the section of town zoned for fouracre
estates, a cut above the area zoned for a paltry two acres.
Caroline paused. She thought about how great life could have
been in this amazing home with an art studio and a greenhouse.
Life could have been wonderful with the right man. Instead, this
house had become world’s classiest prison with Caroline as the only
She had been planning to leave Brad for the past three
months. Her suitcases were packed, but the time never seemed
right. After Stan’s visit, if she had any thoughts about staying, they
were gone. Her relationship with Brad had deteriorated beyond
repair and she had to leave…immediately before she had to face
another degrading situation like the one with Stan. She finished her
coffee and called for Harry.
“Would you please help me load up my car?”
“Right away, Miss,” he said.
Caroline led him into her bedroom to get two suitcases and
several small oil paintings.
“Harry…don’t put the luggage and things in the Bentley,” she
“You’re not taking the Bentley?” he asked, raising his
eyebrows in surprise.
“No. Put everything in the Mazda, in the trunk. I don’t want
anything showing in the back seat,” she said, ready to be rid of the
trappings of wealth.
“Yes, Miss,” he said, picking up the two heavy suitcases.
He carried the luggage and artwork out to her car and loaded
it expertly into the trunk, fitting all the luggage, paintings and
sketches together snugly so nothing would get damaged.
“A long trip, Miss?” he asked her.
“Yes, Harry. A long, private trip. You’re not to tell anyone,”
“What should I say if Mr. White asks me where you’ve gone?”
“Tell him you don’t know. Because you won’t know.”
Harry packed up Trixie’s things and put on the dog’s harness
and fastened her safely in the car while Caroline paused again to
take one last look at the magnificent house, her home for the past
five years, a two-story structure of wood painted white with dark
blue shutters. The long, graceful circular driveway was paved with
gravel and the three acres of rich, green lawn behind the house
seemed to stretch to the next town. The grass was clipped to
perfection, thanks to a team of gardeners. The azaleas in the front of
the house, under the large windows of the living room were
blooming in pink and white. May was the most beautiful time of the
She thought for a moment about the fabulous parties they
threw there, especially the ones introducing her art shows. Brad
urged her to expand her art subjects, and he became her biggest
promoter. He threw elaborate parties to introduce his rich friends
to Caroline’s art. His money and influence got her work shown in
the toniest galleries in New York City and Connecticut. She became
a celebrity in the art world.
Brad saw her as his creation and took credit for her success.
Caroline, a shy twenty-eight-year-old woman when they married,
was uneasy in the spotlight but she kept painting and doing what
Brad directed in an effort to make him happy. She was born to
please but try as she might, she didn’t seem able to please Brad into
being faithful to her.
She felt sad to leave. This would be the first failed marriage
in the White family for one hundred years. Remaining married was
an important tradition for The Whites. They had all lived,
reproduced and prospered in this house, even the staff had been
there before Caroline arrived. Her day-to-day existence with plenty
of household help had been one of great comfort as well as her own
Caroline knew where she was going would not be nearly as
lavish, but still she had to leave. After a few years of a decent
marriage, Brad had cheated on her. In the last two years, the
cheating had become so blatant Caroline could barely endure it. Yet
when confronted, Brad told her he had been faithful to her for four
years, counting the year of their engagement, the longest he had
ever been faithful to anyone; she should be flattered and take this in
Gradually, the hurt and humiliation from his cheating
eroded her affection for him, which had never been overwhelming
to begin with. Her mother, Linda, wanted her to marry rich so she
would be well taken care of and not have to struggle, like the Davis’
did, so when Brad proposed, she did what her mother wanted and
Unbeknown to Caroline, Linda had been terminally ill when
Brad proposed. She worried about who would take care of her
daughter after she was gone. It never dawned on her Caroline could
take care of herself. They were married the next year and the year
after that, Linda died, content in the knowledge that her daughter
would be well provided for.
Now at thirty-three, Caroline was ready to shed the skin she
wore for her mother and strike out on her own.
“Will I see you again, Miss?” Harry asked as he closed the
door on the Mazda for her.
“I don’t know,” she said.
“Then I wish you well. Been a pleasure drivin’ you and all,”
he said, bowing, his limp brown hair falling in his eyes.
“Thank you,” she said, starting the engine and putting the car
TO BE CONTINUED...TOMORROW, CHAPTER TWO!!
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