Missi Brandt had emerged from a rough few years with a new sense of solidity.
He was always canceling plans, or not showing up when he was supposed to.He could be a little awkward, but Missi chalked that up to his inexperience—he told her he hadn’t been with a woman in eight years. Richie had a taste for nice things—expensive restaurants, four-star hotels—and he always insisted on paying.He kept a motorboat docked at a nearby marina, and he’d take Missi and her daughters out for afternoons on the water. Richie mentioned that his cousin Vicki worked for the same airline as Missi. “One day we’ll show up together to some family event and surprise her; it’ll be great.”A few months into their relationship, she missed a shift at work and got fired. He told her that he’d take care of her bills for the next four months, that she should relax and take stock of her life and spend time with the kids.Richie liked to say he didn’t “do drama,” but drama seemed to follow him nonetheless.It got to feel as if every text from him was an announcement of some new disaster: He had to check his daughter Sarah into rehab; he had to put his beloved shih tzu, Thumper, to sleep.