Author's Note: I really enjoyed writing this scene. There's been a lot of build up, and even as I reread I forgot I'd written it. That's always a good sign. So, get ready. I had to bleed for this one. I used some real life funeral experiences with this. So, my blood might still be warm all over the pages. Enjoy!-Marilyn

Chapter 21

The limo pulled up to the curb in front of the church. Peter reached for the door to pull it open, but looked at me first. "Are you ready?"

"Yes. Are you?"

He sighed. "It's got to be done."

"Remember, I'll be here for you."

He opened the door, and I followed after closing it behind me. He waited, and grabbed my arm, squeezing my hand. Other people were swarming around us, wearing black, and coming up to Peter when they saw him. They offered their condolences as he thanked them quietly. I stood by him, feeling his arm interlinked with mine. I felt like he was clinging to me for strength. I wanted to give it to him.

We walked up the stairs to the entrance, and a couple of people came up to him to talk. We were standing there awhile before a woman came up behind him. She had dark glasses and long brown wavy hair hanging down over her low cut black dress. He turned and stopped dead.

"Peter." She reached for him, wrapping her arms around his neck. He grabbed her by the waist, and she leaned her head on his shoulder. I felt the coldness of his hand as it left my palm. Who the hell was this?

Peter answered my question with his greeting. "It's good to see you."

I folded my arms, looking at the both of them on the steps of the church. They each just looked at the other for an awkward moment. Neither one of them broke the spell. So, I did. "Who's this?"

Peter looked like I broke his concentration. "Julie, this is Jessica. She's a long time, friend." The pause was notably long.

I put my hand forward, and she shook the fingertips. Then, focused her attention back to Peter. "How are you doing Peter?"

"As well as can be expected. This is Julie. She's my assistant." The look in her eye when he said assistant brought a smile to her face. I felt like I wanted to disappear into the ground.

She glared at me for a moment looking me up and down. "Well, sorry to meet you this way."

"Likewise." The smirk I felt matched her glare.

"Peter, can I talk to you? I've been meaning to talk to you about something."

"If I'm able Jessica. It's going to be a rough day."

"That's why I need to talk to you now, really. It's important."

He turned to me. "I'll just be a moment."

Jessica went by his side and they moved to the inside atrium of the church. I had nothing else to do, but move inside to the main chapel and walk near the pews. I didn't know anyone, and had nothing to do but watch everyone walk past me to sit down. I felt stupid standing there waiting for them to talk. I thought about going over to see what was going on, and then I saw them walking down the aisle to the front pews. I got cut off by others in front of me coming in the church, and had to wait for them to find seats. By the time I got up to the front pew where Peter was, it was full, with Jessica sitting next to him with another woman on the other side that looked so much like him, she had to be his sister.

I stood just in front of Peter feeling dumb. I didn't know where to sit. Peter was looking down as Jessica held his hand. People started to sit down around the front as the pastor stepped up to the dais. I looked around at the pews behind them, and saw there was a seat behind two pews back. I slipped into the row and the people eased over to give me more space on the end. I didn't want to upset Peter by making a scene. But I knew this was horribly wrong. The bitch was sitting next to him, and not me. I longed for his hand in mine again.

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