RIP Jean Simmons. I really liked her and I guess we all love to hate Laura! Thanks to Molly for editing this story!
TCOT of the new Mrs. Roberston
It had been a bad idea to come. She didn't even know why she had agreed to meet him here. There was no reason after all, was there? Della exhaled. Her nails hit the white napkin on the table. One by one. She checked her watch. He wasn't late. She was too early.
She hated to be nervous, but it was something she couldn't help to be. At least she had learned to appear calm and reasonable in most situations. Unfortunately, everything that was connected to Laura Robertson made her nervous. She became a nervous wreck when that woman was around. Her presence was like a deep would in her heart. A wound that opened from time to time when she saw her face in the newspaper or when the telephone rang and she heard her voice asking for Perry.
Actually she had hoped those days were over now that Laura was prosecuted for murder – manslaughter she reminded herself. Della wasn't someone who believed in bad luck in general, but with Laura it was like being cursed by a higher power. It just didn't stop. Laura was always there. Like a worm in a garden. You dig, turn the earth and there it is – the same worm you saw 5 minutes before. Only that worms in the garden were considered as useful.
She checked her watch again and when she raised her head he was there. He took her hand, shook it. It was cold and he looked grey. Older somehow. Winter in Denver.
Glen Robertson sat down on the opposite side of the table and said nothing. He just looked at her, trying to estimate her.
"How are you?" Della asked politely, because someone had to talk.
"I'm fine. Laura isn't."
"I can imagine."
The waiter came and they ordered their drinks. In general she didn't drink at lunch, but she had the feeling she needed one. Martini.
"What is it that you wanted to talk about, Glen?" She asked while he lit a cigarette. She noticed he had a new cigarette box. Apparently he was sick of the old one. Understandable. She was sick of everything that was connected to Laura.
"I think that's obvious. I can't imagine you're happier with the situation than I am."
She raised her eyebrow and he added quickly: "You know that Perry came back to Denver because Laura is determined to hire him as her attorney for the upcoming trial."
"Of course I know that." She was the one who had taken the call. She had thought her fingers and her ear must have been burned after she had passed the receiver to Perry. As usual she had left the room to allow them to talk and one day later she had found herself at Perry's side in a plane to Denver. He hadn't explained anything and she hadn't asked. What was there to explain anyway? Laura called and he ran. Nothing new there.
"Are you asking me to tell him to refuse the job?"
"I tried to talk to Laura. She isn't listening to me."
Of course not, Della smiled bitterly. Deep down inside Della doubted Laura's love for Glen, but she had never shared that thought with anyone.
"I'm not in the position to tell Perry whom to work for," she said instead and leaned back as the waiter served their drinks. Both ignored the menu while she waited for Glen to explain himself.
"Actually, I thought we had a common interest here." He sounded unhappy.
He gave her a long look. She knew that kind of glances. Question and answer were both written all over his face: 'You're the long-time mistress, right? You have a right to tell him not to look after other women. My woman. My wife.' She had sensed that silent thought only too often over the years. It was true to a certain degree and she learned to ignore the underlying insult underneath those words, but this was about Laura and not her so called status in Perry's life. Larger-than-life- Laura. The woman no man ever forgot. Gosh, Glen knew what he was talking about. He had been sitting in her web for how many years now? Twelve? Fifteen?
"I don't know how to help you, Glen," Della said finally. "It's not my style to influence other people."
"Compared to Laura you mean."
Della bit her lower lip. But Glen just continued as if he didn't mind her faux pas: "I know what you think about Laura, but she's not as cold-blooded as you might think. Right now she's just scared."
Laura and being scared. That was a new one.
"And I'm not as naïve as she told you I am."
Glen leaned back. Now he seemed surprised about her openness and for a few moments silence fell between them. Then he recovered and lit a new cigarette. "I'm aware you're different from the way Laura sees you. And that's why I think you should ask Perry not to defend Laura. Your request would be an honest one."
"I don't think I have to ask Perry for anything."
She was sure he had his reasons for not discussing Laura with her. He didn't mention it, because he knew it hurt her and that was something he couldn't chew. But he couldn't change it either and that was the heart of the problem. It was Laura and Laura was different. And yet… suddenly she remembered the day he had forced Laura to admit what she had done in front of the whole world. She had waited for him and he had taken her home. Laura had been left in Glen's care. Della straightened up.
"Glen," she gave him a small smile. "I can understand your problem, but I'm not the right person to ask for help. My friendship with Perry is built on trust. I trust him and his judgement. If he thinks defending Laura is the right thing to do then I'll support him."
Glen Robertson looked as if she had slapped him. Then an expression of exhaustion appeared on his face and he had to take a deep breath. Then he looked straight into her eyes that were so different from the ones he knew and had loved for so many years now and said lowly: "Laura once called you a sphinx and then she corrected herself and said you had more of a loyal dog than an enigma," he made a pause and raised his glass to her. "Maybe she should correct her statement."