Killer Curves

By: Naima Simone

“Mother, I’m just arriving home from Fallon’s engagement party,” Sloane said, interrupting her mother mid-admonishment. “I haven’t even walked into the house yet. Can I call you back?”

“Fallon’s engagement party.” Mallory tsked. “This is precisely what I’m talking about, Sloane. Even Fallon has found a husband. And here you are, school hasn’t even started yet, for goodness sake, and you’re already wrapped up in work. How do you expect to have any kind of social life or relationship when that’s all you ever do? A paycheck cannot keep you company or marry you or give you children. No man wants to play second fiddle to a job.” Most people usually reserved the sneer her mother applied to “job” for dog poop on the sidewalk or Justin Bieber. Only Mallory would consider honest employment to be on the level of shit and spoiled, mop-bucket-peeing pop stars.

“Yes, Mother, I know.”

This line of conversation was so old, cobwebs dangled from it. If her mother would allow her to breathe, then maybe Sloane could wedge into the exchange that she already planned on driving down to the Hamptons next Thursday. Yes, for her parents’ anniversary party, but also to get out of Boston for at least a few days.

She shifted her attention to the front door of her brownstone, and a slight shiver skated over her skin. She hated it—hated the unease that tripped through her when her home should only bring comfort and relief. But her haven had become tainted by ominous phone calls that ended in hang-ups and emails containing disturbing images like the one she’d received earlier that evening. Calls and emails bombarded her daily, fraying her nerves until she dreaded the ring of a phone or the notice of an unread message in her Inbox. A report to the police had resulted in a “There’s not much we can do” that infuriated her even as she understood the response. Their resources were limited, and with nothing to go on but a bogus email address and untraceable calls… She shook her head. At least they’d offered to subpoena Yahoo for the owner of the email address.

But God knew how long that would take or even if the records would reveal the identity of the person harassing her. As for the other incidents… Even if she could convince the police her tires hadn’t been a coincidence, no one had witnessed the incident. Because the vandalism hadn’t been a coincidence. A shiver crawled down her spine. She’d seen tires punctured by a nail or flattened by a slow leak before. Hers, on the other hand, had been slashed.

Yes, she needed to escape her home and the total helplessness she’d been experiencing these last few weeks, if just for a little while.

“Guests are arriving Thursday afternoon, so you need to be here by then to help greet them with the family.” Mallory’s world-weary sigh interrupted Sloane’s morose thoughts. “And with all that’s going on with your sister, now more than ever we have to appear like a strong, united front.”

“What? Wait. What’s going on with Chelsea?” Sloane and her younger sister didn’t speak often, but Chelsea was busy with her life as wife to a very successful attorney, mother to two gorgeous children, and a social titan. The two of them had almost nothing in common except genetics—and Sloane had questioned that at times.

Another heavy sigh. “She and Greg have separated. Chelsea’s tossing around divorce.”

Shock ricocheted through her. Divorce? What? How? God, Chelsea—

“So if work crops up between now and then,” her mother continued, “it needs to take a back seat to your obligations. I can only handle so much this weekend.”

“I’m not going to argue with you on an empty stomach.” And as if on cue, her belly grumbled. She’d been so nervous and acutely aware of Ciaran’s presence at the party, she’d only nibbled on the massive amount of food the restaurant had provided. “I need stamina to go another round about my impending spinsterhood.”

“Sarcasm is not necessary, Sloane.” Mallory sniffed. Jesus take the wheel, no one did a guilt trip like her mother. “But speaking of eating…” A long pause had Sloane squeezing her eyes shut. Oh. Hell. “Did you receive the name of the dietician I emailed you?”

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