Dictionary.com defines vex as “to torment; trouble; distress; plague; worry” or “to irritate; annoy; provoke.” I’m sure most of us are familiar with the condition. I can think of many people I know who are good at vexing people, myself included. Lainie, being the intelligent and talented woman that she is, has actually managed to vex her husband in such a way as to meet both definitions of the word at the same time. That takes skill, doesn’t it? 😉 See for yourself.
He waited, and waited, and waited. The time that Lainie was supposed to be home came and went with no sign of her. Restless, Grant got up and wandered around the house pacing. Had something gone wrong at the dance? Could something have happened to her? Surely not. If anything had happened, someone would have called him. Anyone in the community knew how to get in touch with him. Though he wasn’t technically one of the police officers assigned to Corbin’s Bend, everyone knew he was a cop, and as such he served as a kind of informal backup. Not to mention he would have been contacted just as a matter of course if Lainie were involved. Nothing could have been too wrong. Someone would have called him. Maybe she had just gotten caught up and was running late. He didn’t need to get ahead of himself.
He went on waiting, finally shouldering back into his coat and walking around outside, convinced he could hear the lights and sirens if there was any kind of disaster. There was nothing to hear. The night was still and cold. After a while, an insidious thought made its way to the forefront of his mind. Lainie had never really wanted to leave the dance early. It was entirely possible she had just decided to ignore his instructions and do as she damn well pleased.
He didn’t want to believe that. He had asked her if she had made arrangements, and she had indicated that she had. However, thinking back on it, Lainie had never actually said yes or no explicitly. She had just murmured and nodded, leading him to assume she had done as he requested. Dammit, he knew better than to fall for that quiet, complacent act. She had slipped it right past him.
That realization solidified in his mind exactly what was going on. There was no crisis. Nothing had gotten held up. His wife had just decided to do exactly what she wanted and to hell with what he had told her to do.
Worry morphed quickly into fury. Despite what most people thought when they saw his red hair, Grant was a patient man who rarely lost his temper. However, when circumstances brought him to the end of his very long fuse he was capable of exploding quite spectacularly. Realizing what Lainie had done brought him to the verge of just such an explosion. He stopped back in the house, slamming the door behind him hard enough to rattle the windows. The resultant draft extinguished several of the candles, but Grant didn’t care. He was going to kill Lainie when he got his hands on her.
Yep, I’d say Grant is most definitely vexed. If you want to find out what happened when she finally did come home, the story from which this excerpt was taken, Unexpected Surprises, can be found in Love in the Rockies.
For their first Valentine’s Day in Corbin’s Bend, Grant Taylor is determined to do something special for his wife Lainie. Lainie, however, has plans of her own. As a middle school teacher, she has volunteered to help plan and chaperone the Valentine dance that is being held for the middle and high school students.
When Grant hears this, he insists that she is working too hard and needs to cut back on the things she has committed to, the first and foremost being the Valentine’s Day dance. Lainie insists that she can’t do that and finally he reluctantly agrees to let her work part of the dance and then come home.
Under extreme protest, Lainie agrees, but when the time comes to admit to her supervisor that she can’t chaperone, she changes her mind and decides Grant is being unreasonable. She determines to chaperone the dance anyway and deal with Grant later. Unfortunately, Lainie’s plan doesn’t work out quite like she intended it to and she is in for quite a few unexpected surprises.