Fifth Column, Part Nine

Continued from Part Eight

A ghost walked through the door. Sariah gripped Jesse’s desk and took a sharp intake of breath. “Rick?”

“My dear,” Rick swept in and planted a most unwelcome kiss on her cheek. “It’s been a long time. Too long.”

Not long enough. It’d been three years since she’d made her choice. Jesse, not Rick or the Sword—who turned out to be Jesse, but that was another story.

 What was Rick Westinghall doing back in her life? And being so forward? Her husband was supposed to be in a coma, not dead. Which he wasn’t. Whatever happened to that plane, the Sword would find a way back. He always did.

“Rick, what brings you here?”

And who gave him an appointment?

“I’m here officially as a courtesy call on behalf of my new employer.”

She glanced at her Blackbery’s appoint-ment calendar. “1:30-2:00 Awesome Com-ics. Courtesy Call.” Had she seen the name, she’d have cancelled. Handling competitors were Jesse’s forte, not her’s. “What’s your position with Awesome Comics?”

“Executive Vice-President. I run the place. Still manage a little drawing on the side. Who thought four years ago, when the hottest date we could afford was Wendy’s, that we’d command the two largest comic book empires in the world?”

I’d rather be at home taking care of my son, thanks. “Tell me, Rick. Did they train you to be a jerk at Awesome Comics, or did you have to take outside classes?”

“I’m not presenting myself well I take it?”

“The only reason I’m heading this com-pany is because my husband is in a coma. I can’t believe you would have the chutzpah to come here for social reasons.”

“Personally, I think you should pull the plug, grieve, and move on. It’s both selfish and unhealthy to hold on to him like this.”

She glared and pointed to the door.

He sent her a formerly-disarming smile and put up his hands in surrender. “But I can respect you not being ready to start dating a-gain—yet. If you need someone with you when you find the strength to do the right thing for Jesse and say goodbye, I’ll gladly be there for you.”

Why did I ever consider marrying this guy? “Not a chance, pal. Out.”

Rick chuckled. “Now, now. I meant as a friend, of course, and I do have business.”


But be prepared to leave in a hurry.

“Times are tough, and I know this isn’t up your alley. I’ve been reading the product line, and it’s not been the same since Jesse left us. Your writers can’t function at a nor-mal comic book company, where you can’t talk to a hero and get their latest exploits down. At Awesome Comics we have the finest writers in the business.”

“What are you suggesting, Rick?”

“I’m suggesting that you sell us Sword Comics.”

Continued…Next Monday

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