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SIX

I NEVER REALLY KNEW what feeling the term "thunderstruck" referred to until that moment. But it seemed to cover the stomachswooping, knee-buckling sensation those last words engendered.

Hannah responded to my silence with a perky, "Okay, then. Thanks."

Then she turned and walked down the narrow sidewalk to a nondescript economy rental car and got in. I stood stupidly in the doorway, and she waved at me as she pulled away. Of its own volition, my right hand lifted in response.

I remained rooted there for a hundred years or so, inhaling floral calm, thinking thorny thoughts, unwilling to turn around and go back inside. So I didn't. Ultimately, I walked the rest of the way out, locked the door behind me, and went to my own vehicle.

Doppelganger.

Wife?


Of course Barr would have a good explanation for all this. Maybe she was crazy. I'd picked up a stalker a few months back; maybe it was his turn.

A stalker who looked almost exactly like me, only… better.

Sure.

I thought about living in that little house with him. I thought again about leaving Meghan and Erin, Brodie, the chickens only recently housed in the backyard. The chicken project had been my baby. They'd only laid five eggs so far.

What was I thinking? I could leave all that to move in with… a married man? Hardly.



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