Frances knew Marcus would thrive in the modern glass-and-beam building, would blossom in the more structured, attentive environment of private education. That fell squarely on the shoulders of stay-at-home mom Frances. It took a moment to recognize her clean-cut spouse in the fedora he’d donned for the fund-raiser, but she knew his confident stance in his pleated trousers, his strong broad back in the cherry satin blazer.
She wandered self-consciously through the school gymnasium, taking in the neon streamers and hand-painted posters. Despite their plethora of articles devoted to the psychology of overeating (“Feeding Emotional Pain,” “Replacing Love with Food”), the magazines still recommended loading up on crudités to stave off the assault of caloric party fare.
Jason had disappeared, swallowed by the crowd of parents, all of them made indistinguishable by their mullet wigs and neon garb. I love that the kids made them themselves.” “So cute.” It came out an unappetizing glug. She knew that people, especially women, were surprised to learn she and Jason were a couple. She could beat Allison to death with the chocolate fountain. The wisp of a woman set her strawberry fork on the table.
She made a beeline for the glistening brown geyser. Frances frantically tried to swallow, but the sponge cake and chocolate had formed a thick paste that seemed determined to stick to the back of her throat. Allison forked a strawberry and put it in her mouth, forgoing the chocolate entirely. The contraption probably weighed less than twenty pounds, and, once unplugged from its power socket, could be easily hoisted and swung like a club. “With all the money we’re paying, they couldn’t have hired a professional decorator? “I should get away from this chocolatey temptation. You said you hate these things.” Kate picked up a fondue fork.
As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart—one of these women is not who she seems. Robyn Harding’s novels include The Party and Her Pretty Face, and she has written and executive produced an independent film.
She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and two children.