Excerpt of Envy by Kathryn Harrison
(Page 3 of 4)
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Wow, Will is about to say when Sue turns to her husband and says, "Rob,
this is Will Moreland, an old fuck-buddy of mine."
Whether Rob is mute or only, like Will, horrified into silence, he
thrusts his big, freckled hand forward without saying a word. The two
men shake, silent in the clamor all around them, and then each drops his
hand to his side and looks at Sue to see what might happen next.
"Rob's a debt analyst," she says.
"Really!" Will exclaims.
They all nod.
"Hey, hey," Sue says. "How about that brother of yours, huh? We're major
"He has had a spectacular ride." For once, Will is relieved when the
conversation turns to his brother.
"Oh, I don't know. There's heaps of athletes that are celebrities."
"Of course, yes," Will says. "I know that. I just"
"Is he here?"
"At the reunion. Here at the reunion."
"No. I'm afraid not."
"Oh, too bad. I really wanted to catch a glimpse of him."
Me, too, Will thinks as Sue and her husband move off. Having not heard
from his brother for fifteen years now, during which time Mitch went
from being known in the world of elite swimmers to being known by just
about everyone, Will fantasized that Mitch might actually show up. If
he's honest with himself, the hope of seeing his brother was at least
part of what persuaded him to attend the reunionespecially after he'd
learned that Andrew Goldstein, the one friend with whom he'd kept in
touch after college, wouldn't be coming because his wife's due date fell
on the same weekend. Not that seeing Mitch would be pleasant or, Will
imagines, anything less than traumatic, but he's fed up with having to
manage his private anguish even as he's forced to admit sheepishly to
friends, colleagues, neighbors, and now alumni that he's no better
informed about his brother's latest stunt swimas Will has come to think
of themthan the average reader of Sports Illustrated.
"Hello," says a voice behind him, startling Will out of what Carole
would call one of his social desertions, when he becomes a spectator
rather than a participant. He turns in the direction of the flirtatious
tone he almost recognizes. As for the face: arresting, angular,
unforgettable. Thinner than she used to be, but no less substantialshe
looks concentrated, a distillate of her younger self.
"Elizabeth," he says.
"William." She tilts her head to one side, lifts her eyebrows. "Were you
looking for someone?"
"You, of course. Who else?" Will unbuttons his shirt collar and loosens
his tie. "Do you think I didn't scour each of those e-mail bulletins
listing who was planning to attend, hopinghoping against hopeto see
"Can it be?" Elizabeth says. "Has Mr. Fatally Earnest developed a sense
"Only in extremis."
Elizabeth glances around herself. "I guess this qualifies," she says.
from Envy by Kathryn Harrison Copyright © 2005 by Kathryn
Harrison. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of
Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be
reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the