Hate Notes(4)

By: Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

“He’s going to do the same thing to you.” I wagged my finger at the screen. “You know why? Because once a cheater, always a cheater.”

The damn feathers on the gown tickled my leg again. It had happened a dozen times over the last hour, yet each and every time, I swore it was a bug crawling up my leg. When I reached down to swat again, my hand brushed against something, and I realized what it was. The blue note.

Lifting the hem, I pulled the inside of the dress up and read the note again.

To Allison—

“She said, ‘Forgive me for being a dreamer,’ and he took her by the hand and replied, ‘Forgive me for not being here sooner to dream with you.’”—J. Iron Word

Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

Your love,


My heart let out a yearning sigh. So beautiful. So romantic. What had happened to these two that this special dress had wound up on some drunken girl instead of being cherished and passed down to their daughters? It was a long shot, but I couldn’t stand to look at Todd’s face anymore anyway. So I typed into Facebook: Reed Eastwood.

Imagine my surprise when two popped up in New York. The first guy was probably midsixties. Although the dress was a little sexy for a bride his age, I stalked to be sure anyway. Reed Eastwood had a wife named Madge and a golden retriever named Clint. He also had three daughters and cried while walking one down the aisle last year.

Even though part of me really wanted to stalk Reed’s daughter’s wedding photos to torture myself a little more, I moved on to the next Reed Eastwood.

My pulse jolted me back to sobriety when his profile picture popped up on the screen. This Reed Eastwood was drop-dead gorgeous. In fact, he was so incredibly handsome that I thought it could possibly be a model’s photo someone had used as a joke or to catfish. But when I clicked into the photos, there were others of the same man. Each more gorgeous than the last. He didn’t have too many, but the last one I clicked on was of him and a woman, taken a few years back. It was an engagement photo—Reed Eastwood and Allison Baker.

I’d found the author of the blue note and his love.

My cell phone was dancing like a Mexican jumping bean on the nightstand. I reached over and grabbed it just as it went to voice mail. Eleven thirty. Damn, I’d really been out. I tried to swallow, but my mouth was drier than the desert. I needed a tall glass of water, Motrin, a bathroom, and the bedroom blinds drawn to block the god-awful, glaring sun.

Dragging my hungover butt to the kitchen, I forced myself to rehydrate, even though drinking made me queasy. There was a distinct possibility the water and pills were going to travel in the opposite direction in the near future. I needed to lie down. On my way back to the bedroom, I passed my laptop on the kitchen table. It was a painful reminder of the fuzzy night before—of why I’d finished a bottle of wine alone.

Todd is engaged.

I was pissed at him because I felt like crap today. And even more pissed at myself that I’d allowed him to ruin yet another day of my life.


My memory was hazy, but the picture of the happy couple was, of course, clear as day. A sudden panic came over me—God, I hope I didn’t do anything stupid that I don’t remember. I tried to ignore the thought, even made it back to my bedroom door, but I knew I’d never be able to rest with the unsettled feeling I had. Returning to the table, I woke up my laptop and went directly to my messages. I breathed a sigh of relief finding I hadn’t messaged Todd and then crawled back to my bed.

It was early afternoon before I finally started to feel human and took a shower. When I was done, I pulled my cell from the charger and sat on my bed with my hair wrapped in a towel, going through my texts. I’d forgotten my phone had woken me up earlier until I saw I had a new voice mail. Probably another temp agency that wanted to waste a day interviewing me when they didn’t have a job to offer. I hit “Play” and grabbed my brush to comb out my hair as I listened.

“Hello, Ms. Darling. This is Rebecca Shelton from Eastwood Properties. I’m calling in response to your request to view the penthouse at Millennium Tower. We have a showing today at four. Mr. Eastwood will be on-site if you would like to tour the space after, perhaps around five this evening? Please give us a call to confirm if this works with your schedule. Our number here is . . .”