Thought I Knew You

By: Kate Moretti

A Red Adept Publishing Book



Dedication





For Chip, who takes care of everything and everyone while I tap away. How’d I get so lucky?





Acknowledgments



First and foremost, without Chip, I wouldn’t have had the time to write a letter, much less a novel. The man has rearranged his life for my new, all consuming “hobby” and his patience is astounding. Thanks in advance to my future grown children for not holding the hours of neglect during their young childhood against me. Thanks to my parents, Pat and Patti and my sister, Megan, for their understanding. Thanks to Becky Riddle for reading (and in some cases, re-reading) many drafts and letting me talk it through; to my various beta readers, most notably Elizabeth Buhmann for reading this manuscript in full almost as many times as I have and offering endless encouragement; to Clair Gibson for her very extensive edit to the rough draft; to my best girlfriends: BethAnn, Betsy, and Sharon for their feedback and just altogether being amazing fan club presidents; to Aunt Mary Jo, Uncle Jeff, and Molly, my biggest fans and personal publicists; to Elizabeth Vega Casey, grief counselor, for her advice and insight; to Authonomy for introducing me to a network of writers and without which I would not have found a home for my book; to my small, but reliable group of writer friends who have navigated these new waters with me (Melissa, Collin, Elizabeth, Ann, and Clair). Thanks to Michelle for challenging me to do better and Lynn for never letting me get away with anything—you both turned a rough manuscript into a book. Finally, thank you, Sarah DiCello, without whom I never would have finished it. You did it first and encouraged without competing. We’ll always have reindeer fur.





Chapter 1



Greg and Cody disappeared on the same day.

One or two Fridays a month, Greg and I hired a babysitter for date night. The idea was to take some time for ourselves and reconnect. The reality was significantly less romantic. We typically ate at Pesto Charlie’s due to some combination of availability and timing. I’d order whatever seafood was on special, and Greg would get Chicken Piccata—light on the sauce, of course. The food was always dependable, we never had to wait for a table, and with the low lighting and heady aroma of Italian spices, the restaurant was atmospheric enough to check Date Night off our to-do lists.

A few times, we tried other places, but either the food wasn’t good, the service was poor, or we’d leave the restaurant late and miss the beginning of whatever movie we planned to see. Greg refused to go into a theater late. He called it rude and always clucked disapprovingly when others did so. So Pesto Charlie’s became something of a tradition, albeit not a very exciting one. We’d get home between ten and ten thirty, pay the sitter twenty bucks, and go to bed. Sometimes we’d make love, but not every time. Even date night wasn’t a guaranteed lay.

Greg was due back around one o’clock that Friday afternoon, having been on a business trip all week. He traveled for work more than I liked, but I’d stopped complaining about the monthly trips years ago and just accepted them as a part of life. Greg and I worked for the same company, Advent Pharmaceuticals. He was a professional trainer, not a weightlifting trainer, but adult education for the corporate set. He taught various courses on compliance, regulations, and the science behind Advent’s drugs. He was based in Raritan, New Jersey, about ten miles from where we lived in Clinton, but often flew as far as Canada. Greg was good at his job; actually, Greg was good at almost everything.



I worked part time as a technical writer. My job was less demanding, allowing me to work from home and take care of the children. I just worked for extra money. Something to do, Greg had once joked at a dinner party, his arm draped across my shoulders. My face had burned at that, even though I had said the same thing a million times.

“Mommy, I think Cody got out.” Hannah stood in the doorway between the hallway and the kitchen. Her earlier neat blond ponytail had fallen to the side, and she had some furtively acquired lipstick smeared on her cheek.

“What? Hannah, seriously, stay out of my purse, please.” No matter how hard I tried, Hannah seemed determined to look a mess. It’s like an age requirement for four-year-olds.

She pointed at the screen door. “Mommy, look!”

Sure enough, the screen swayed gently in the early October breeze. The opening between the mesh and the frame was jagged, as if it had been clawed. Had I let him out? I thought so. With the girls and the library, the memory of the morning blurred. I wasn’t concerned. Cody would have been more aptly named Houdini. Our yard was large, several acres, with a small patch of woods in the back, perfect for chasing small animals and sometimes bringing them back as prizes, dropping them on the doorstep with a triumphant thump. Given that our closest neighbors were a quarter-mile away, Cody had the run of the place, but he always knew where home was.

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