Authors: Mary Campisi
Tags: #General, #Fiction, #Romance, #betrayal, #womens fiction, #Sisters, #daughter, #secrets, #mistress, #father, #e book, #downs syndrome, #secret family
When Christine Blacksworth’s larger-than-life
father is killed on an icy road in Magdalena, New York, a hundred
miles from the ‘getaway’ cabin he visited every month, she
discovers a secret that threatens everything she’s always held to
be true. Her father has another family which includes a mistress
and a daughter. Determined to uncover the truth behind her father’s
secret life, Christine heads to Magdalena, prepared to hate the
people who have caused her to question everything she thought she
knew about her father. But what she finds is a woman who
understands her, a half sister who cherishes her, and a man who
could love her if she’ll let him. The longer she’s around them, the
more she questions which family is the real one
A Family Affair
Copyright 2011 Mary Campisi
First published 2006 by Jocelyn Hollow
A Family Affair is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, and situations are all products of the author’s
imagination and any resemblance to real persons, locales, or
events, are purely coincidental.
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to
other people. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If
you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not
purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com
and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work
of this author.
To my children,
Danielle, Nicole, and Alexis,
and my stepchildren, T.J. and Laura –
for all you are today and
all you will become. . .
A Family Affair
He sat in the dark, staring at the slit of
moon illuminating the small of her back. She was asleep, the slow,
methodic rise and fall of the chenille spread taking her dreams
away from him, safe, protected, while he hung caught between sleep
and wakefulness, dark and light, too afraid to close his eyes lest
he miss these last few hours with her. It was always like this, the
dread mixing with the longing, pulling at him, shredding his
Perhaps, this month, he’d find the strength,
merge past with present. He fell back against the soft cushion of
the wing-backed chair, closed his eyes. Perhaps this month. . .
Christine Blacksworth scanned the jagged red
and black lines on the computer screen, one crossing over the
other, peaking, sliding back, inching forward again. She glanced at
her watch. It would take at least fifteen minutes to run
comparisons, ten more to analyze them, and another five to make
recommendations. If she started right now, she’d be done in half an
hour . . . the twenty minute drive would put her at her parents’
house around 7:25 p.m. Twenty-five minutes late for her father’s
welcome home dinner.
Unacceptable. Her mother planned these
gatherings with such precision that walking in even ten minutes
late would upset the entire evening not to mention what it would do
to Gloria Blacksworth’s emotional state. Christine rubbed the back
of her neck. Twenty-seven should be old enough to just pick up the
phone and tell her mother she’d be late, or not be there at all.
She’d tried that once a year and a half ago when she and Connor
opted for the theater instead of a family dinner. What a disaster
that had been.
It was time to go. She dimmed the computer
screen, gathered up her papers and placed them in a folder to the
side of her desk. Uncle Harry was probably already there, draining
his first scotch and antagonizing her mother. They tolerated one
another for her father’s sake. He insisted that Harry attend,
though after the initial pleasantries and somewhere part way
through dinner, the conversation usually turned to business, which
left Uncle Harry and her mother staring at their wine glasses.
Christine promised herself every month that she would try harder to
include them, perhaps inquire about Uncle Harry’s latest golf game,
or her mother’s garden club meeting, anything to avoid business, at
least until coffee was served. But the pulse of the Dow was in her
blood, surging up and down; the need to connect with her father
emerging past the ‘hellos’ and ‘isn’t this Veal Oscar
She understood the necessity of her father’s
monthly trips to the Catskills. The success of any great executive
was down time and Charles Blacksworth, CEO of Blacksworth &
Company Investments had found his own piece of Nirvanna seven
hundred miles from Chicago in a tiny cabin just outside the
And he deserved it.
Didn’t anyone ever teach
you that overwork is one of the great sins, Chrissie girl?
Especially on a Sunday?”
Christine tipped her glass of chardonnay at
her uncle, smiled. “I think it was you, Uncle Harry.”
He let out a loud laugh, downed the rest of
his scotch. “No, girl, I would have said work on any day is a sin,”
he winked and headed toward the liquor cabinet. He was a handsome
man, tall, tan from hours on the back nine and frequent jaunts to
Bermuda, or St. Croix with his latest intrigue. Just shy of fifty,
he was more fit than many of the men Christine knew, perhaps from
the daily trips to the gym or, or perhaps because Uncle Harry
worked at staying in shape and it was the only type of work he
While other men were carving out their
careers, striving for betterment in wealth, recognition, and fatter
portfolios, Uncle Harry closeted himself in his office on the 16th
floor practicing his putt, reading Golf Digest and managing one
solitary account; his own.
Christine saw the way other people watched
him when he came to her office, their eyes moving over him, taking
in the Armani suit, the silk tie, the Italian loafers, and then
discarding him as though he were the morning courier come to pick
up Fed Ex packages. They laughed at the crude, off-color jokes he
told them every morning at the coffee station and then moved past
him, to their offices, to their work.
I’m getting worried about
your father,” her mother said, picking up a linen napkin, folding
it just so, setting it back down. “He should have been here by
now.” She moved to another napkin, picked it up.
Maybe his plane was
delayed. You know how flying on the east coast is in January, one
minute you’re boarding the plane, thinking about getting home in
time to watch your favorite TV show, and the next, you’re stuck in
your seat for two hours while they de-ice.”
It isn’t raining or
Christine shrugged as she watched her mother
pinch a droopy leaf from a poinsettia. “He’ll be here, Mother.”
He’ll be here, Gloria,”
Uncle Harry said, swirling the ice in his drink. “Do you think he’d
miss an opportunity to get back here to his lovely
She didn’t answer, merely, pinched another
leaf and then another. She looked beautiful tonight in her beige
dress, but then she always looked beautiful, so tiny and delicate,
like a porcelain doll that’s been constructed with the utmost care.
Christine had always felt awkward next to her, graceless, like a
colt who can’t quite find its legs. Even now, as a grown woman,
attractive in her own right, she couldn’t match the ethereal beauty
of her mother.
I say, we start without
Charlie,” Uncle Harry said, his deep voice filling the room. “Damn
sorry luck if he misses out on the lamb.”
Christine glanced at her mother, who was
picking specks of glitter that had fallen from the petals of the
red poinsettia onto the white, linen tablecloth. “Mother? What do
you think? It’s almost 7:30. I could try his cell phone again?”
Gloria pressed her forefinger against the
cloth, her gaze on the glitter stuck to her skin. “If we don’t eat
now, the lamb will be ruined,” she said, her lips tight, the
muscles around her mouth strained. Then in a low voice, “He knows
dinner’s at seven . . . he knows.”
The highlight of her week had been to create
the perfect meal in the perfect atmosphere only to find out that
the guest of honor had not arrived. It was amazing enough that her
mother still carried on this ritual for him, after all these years
of marriage, or that, he took great pains to accommodate her wish,
to be where he said he’d be, when he said he’d be there, at least
most of the time. Several of Christine’s friends had parents who
were alone, whether by choice or divine intervention and even those
who still shared a name, didn’t often share a bed or a
Sit, sit,” her mother said
in a loud, bright voice. “Harry, pour the wine, will
He eyed her a moment, opened his mouth to
speak, closed it. “Wine for three, coming up.” He picked up a glass
He’ll be here, Mother. You
know he will.”
I know that, Christine.”
She picked up her wine glass and took a healthy swallow. Her face
flushed to a pale rose. “Would you please tell Greta to serve the
salad?” There was something sad and disappointed tucked away under
the smile, beneath the serene calmness of her poised exterior as
Sure.” Christine headed
for the kitchen and the radicchio salad. Next month would be
different; she’d make sure her father showed up an hour early with
a dozen red roses and a bottle of Chanel #5.
That would make her mother smile; make her
forget all about tonight.
How many times did he have to tell her that
he didn’t like all this crap in his salad? Iceberg lettuce, that
was it, with tomato, cucumber, and a little bit of red onion.
Period. Was it that damn hard to remember? So what if iceberg had
no ‘nutritional value,’ if the real nutrients were in the darker
greens, like romaine or Boston, or this radicchio shit? He didn’t
like the stuff, didn’t like the looks of it, the feel of it, the
taste of it. If he were a goddamn rabbit, then he’d eat it, but he
wasn’t. Harry pushed a raspberry to the side of his plate. And what
was with fruit stuck in the middle of a salad? Who the hell thought
of that? Armand, at The Presidio was the only one who didn’t try to
get fancy, who didn’t put mesculin mix or dandelions, or
raspberries, in his salad.
Gloria was so hopped up she probably didn’t
know what she was telling Greta to put in the salad. Next she’d be
sprinkling Crown Royal on top. And he didn’t buy that bullshit
about her constant pain. She’d fallen off that damn horse sixteen
years ago, and broken back or not, she should have enough dope and
booze running through her veins to make her numb.
Harry laid down his fork, took a drink. He’d
need two more scotches just to block out the pathetic look on her
face. So what if Charlie was late? Maybe he was holed up in some
hotel room banging some young piece of ass and forgot about the
time. He almost laughed out loud. That would really make Gloria
But Charlie was too straight for that kind of
behavior. That was Harry’s style. Given the opportunity, he’d be
the one shacked up in a hotel room, screwing some young piece of
ass, wife or not. And that’s why there wasn’t a wife, why there
would never be a wife.
Just thinking about screwing made him hard.
Bridgett was only a phone call away; six foot, blond, blue-eyed.
Twenty-three, great tongue. Shit. Why was he sitting here with a
hard-on when he could be banging Bridgett?
He knew why. Christine and Charlie. They
counted on him being here for this circus, one night, every month
and he wasn’t going to disappoint them, even if he had to put up
One night a month. No one ever depended on
him for anything, not his work, not his women, not even his
cleaning lady who demanded he pay her at the beginning of the month
because he kept forgetting the weekly checks. Maybe they thought
him incapable, uncooperative, or merely uninterested.
And maybe they were right.
The phone rang in the background. It was
probably Charlie, trying to pave the way for his late entrance.
Good old, diplomatic, Charlie.
That might be Dad.”
Christine half rose from her chair.
Sit down,” Harry waved a
hand at her, stood. “I’ll go see.” He grabbed his drink, let out a
small laugh. “I have to warn him to put his boots on before he
comes in here or your mother’s tears will ruin his
He swung open the kitchen door and Greta held
out the phone to him. She was a pretty thing, close to forty,
divorced, two kids. He’d thought about banging her when he first
met her a year ago, unwinding that long, blond bun and wrapping it
around his fist while he pumped into her, but he’d quickly
dismissed the idea; too much baggage, and he liked her, which
didn’t make for a quick, mindless screw.