Leslie presses her forehead to the window of the cab, feeling the tears gather in her eyes. Even when John was tough on her, he was still so full of love. He did it because he believed in her. He believed with all his might that Leslie would get better, that she would heal from her past. Every time she said she was ruined and broken, he would say she was damaged, but not broken. It was as if thought he could heal her by the sheer force of his beliefs. Leslie roots through her oversized purse for a tissue (John liked to joke that she could carry a small child in it) and blows her nose. She wonders how long it’ll take before she doesn’t cry every time she thinks of John. She has a hunch it’ll be a long time.
“Here we are.” The cabbie pulls up to what looks like a gated mansion, at least to Leslie’s eyes. “I hope they’re expecting you.”
“They are.” Leslie is about to say something when an intercom crackles to life.
“Tell her Jacqueline Kim is here,” Leslie tells the cabbie. He does so with little fanfare. They are buzzed through the gate. “Will you wait for me?” Leslie asks the cabbie.
“Sure.” The cabbie nods at Leslie before pulling a book out to read. Leslie sees that it’s A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens. Leslie exits the cab and marches toward the front door. She takes a deep breath and rings the doorbell. The door is opened by an older woman with faded blond hair and faded blue eyes, wearing a faded pink housedress. Though she is neatly attired and her hair is combed, there is something vaguely slatternly about her. It might be the way she is clutching her oversized wine glass, though it isn’t even ten in the morning yet. That doesn’t daunt Mrs. Robertson as she gulps the red wine from her glass.
“You’re Jacqueline Kim. Friend of Rose Duffy. You want to talk to me about Amy.” Mrs. Robertson’s words are slurred. She steps back from the door and gestures for Leslie to enter. Leslie glances around her and sees nothing but taupe and beige and ecru. Everything is of fine quality and very tasteful, but it’s fucking boring. Mrs. Robertson leads Leslie to the living room, which is at least done in dusty rose rather than beige. But, the furniture is beige, and so is the floor. Leslie would go nuts living in this soulless house. “Sit.” Mrs. Robertson motions to a beige leather couch, and Leslie gingerly sits down. She and leather don’t get along very well. She has a tendency to slide off it. “I need a refresher. I’ll be right back.” Mrs. Robertson disappears without asking Leslie if she wants a drink. Leslie blinks. There is something off-putting about Mrs. Robertson’s manners. It’s as she knows what she’s supposed to say and do, but she can’t quite do it. Leslie waits tensely for Mrs. Robertson to return. Once she does, she seats herself in a hard-back chair directly opposite of Leslie. Mrs. Robertson continues to gulp at her wine, staring at Leslie without saying anything.