Rubicon Ranch: Secrets ~ Chapter 7: Monica “Nic” Bryan — by Claire Collins

Monday, December 23, 4:00am

If he didn’t stop snoring, she was going to take great pleasure from shoving a sock into his mouth. If he was lucky, she would choose one from the drawer and not one from the laundry basket.

Another guttural outburst from the depths of Seth’s palate and diaphragm vibrated the room.

Nic threw back the blankets and jumped from the bed. She slammed the bedroom door open, letting it hit the wall as she stalked down the hall. She stopped with her hand in place to yank open the bedroom door when another snore rattled the doorframe.

She couldn’t do it. He had been up most of the night working on the latest Rubicon Ranch death.

Her hand fell from the doorknob. She turned and walked across the cold floor back to her own room. She slid back between the sheets and pulled the warm blanket over her.

Then she put the pillow over her head. It didn’t help. She briefly considered going back in and waking him up but just as quickly discarded the idea. He only snored like that after a couple of beers. In this relaxed state, his bedroom would be dangerous ground for his wife.

Sharing his house and sharing his limelight didn’t include sharing his bed or allowing him to touch her. Drawing that line between personal and business was not always easy to do.

She put another pillow over her head. It amplified each snore. With a heavy sigh, she slipped her feet over the edge of the bed to the floor.

In the adjoining bathroom, the image in the mirror was a tired looking old woman. She sighed again as the mirror rattled with another snore.

Her blonde hair was starting to show dark roots if she stared hard enough. “I miss my hairdresser.” The reflection said nothing but stared at the bags under her blue eyes. At least some parts of her were still youthful and perky. Those assets were purchased when Seth was still her knight in shiny armor. Now the gold had faded just like her hair.

In her shorts and t-shirt, she padded down the hall past the smaller bedroom where the sawmill slept and past the hall bathroom. The short hallway went into the open kitchen, dining, living area and beyond it was the doorway into the single car garage.

Her Mercedes was parked in there. It was the small things with German engineering that made life livable.

If the sun was up, she would do yoga on the cozy back patio to relax her. At least there she wouldn’t hear Seth snoring. The December nights in the high desert were chilly. She returned to her room and threw on jogging pants and a sweatshirt. She laced on her running shoes and headed for the street.

Her feet hit the pavement but each one felt like a brick instead of a spring. It would be so easy to go back to her house in Greene City, the big beautiful house with two stories, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a two car garage and a pool boy. She could just go back to the house and get in her car and go. She earned that house after being married to a cheater for a couple of decades. She should have more than just a nice house. She should be the beloved wife of the Chief of Police, held to a higher standard. Respected. In high school, she was the envy of everyone. She was beautiful and talented. She gave everything she had to earn the attention of the star quarterback.

She pushed herself harder, running faster in the dark suburban streets. Somehow, everything she had wasn’t enough for Seth. He was charming and conniving. Those qualities made him the best detective on the west coast. Those same qualities made him a terrible life partner. The cheating may have even begun in high school. She had her suspicions but no evidence. There was definitely a girl at a party in college but Seth swore it would never happen again.

She wasn’t surprised when Seth told her about Lieutenant Lydia Galvin. She had no choice but to believe the words as they fell from Seth’s lips. The lover threatened to tell Monica if Seth didn’t leave. The tramp thought she could lure Seth away and take Monica’s place. Lydia was more than a little surprised when Seth showed up on her front doorstep with Nic in tow. She was even more surprised when Nic told her she could keep Seth in her bed and keep her legs open to him as long as she kept her mouth shut.

Lydia couldn’t do it. She wanted Seth’s bed and his ring on her finger. Nic wasn’t willing to give up her claim to Seth without adequate compensation for the years she’d given him. There was no price for her lost youth.

Her feet slowed their murderous assault on the pavement. The cold air stung her lungs as each sucked in breath froze her lips and each exhale sent a plume of her warmth into the air.

Her surroundings were unfamiliar. She had run out of her comfort zone. She turned and began walking back, collecting her breath and thoughts at the same time.

She would never again let her heart override her mind. Maybe someday someone could love her, and only her. Maybe it would even be Seth if he would think about what he was doing with his heart or his mind instead of his…

A car sped by too close to the shoulder where she ambled on in the dark. She automatically picked up speed. It was no use feeling sorry for herself. She had to make plans for her future. It was a good thing she was with Seth when the call came in about the latest death in Rubicon Ranch. She had been with him all evening. He told her about the death of the realtor in passing as he drove her back to his house. He was quiet, only speaking enough as his thoughts came together. He was already working out the details in his mind as soon as the call came.

He dropped her off at his house before he went out to Rubicon Ranch to investigate. Nic had tried unsuccessfully to convince him to take her with him. She wanted to be in the middle of the throng, standing beside Seth. Instead of being there, she watched the action unfold on TV as reporters harassed Deputy Midget and the locals. At least she didn’t have to look at Lieutenant Rosaria Frio on the newscasts. Seth had probably spent personal time with his tall, beautiful, well-built lieutenant. At least Frio would be a step up from the last Lieutenant Seth and his nightstick gave a raise to. Lydia Galvin wasn’t even pretty.

At the first familiar street, Nic took a right and headed for home. Home. She frowned. This little closet Seth lived in wasn’t her home. She really needed more sleep. She had still been awake when Seth arrived at about 3 am. She heard him open her door and was aware that he stood there for a few moments before leaving her in peace. Part of her sleeplessness was due to concerns about who Seth had been keeping company with. Part of it was due to her excitement at a new development in the Rubicon Ranch fiasco. But most of the lack of sleep was due to her fear of what may happen when Seth reviewed Nancy Garcetti’s records and realized that Nic had been looking to buy houses in Rubicon Ranch.

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