Everyone stood still and silent as Eric Somers took the bag from his caddie, paid the boy, then walked down the 16th fairway. He had gone about 100 yards when the voices began.



“I’ve never seen anybody caught cheating!”

He walked across the 16th green and cut across the 17th and 18th fairways to the parking lot. He put his clubs in the back seat of the old, wood-paneled Wagoneer, got in, and started for home. One dreaded question wouldn’t go away: “What is Allison going to say?”

It was Labor Day weekend, and summer was over. Last night, they had packed up everything, and this morning, the au pair had flown back to Cincinnati with the children. He and Allison were scheduled to go back this evening. Eric had imagined ordering champagne on the flight. What better way to celebrate winning the club championship? He liked the image: flying into the evening sun, winging off in glory.

Ten minutes ago, Allison had walked off the course -- before the official made his ruling. She had followed the match from the first hole, part of the crowd of New England Yankees, all dressed in khakis, summer colors, and straw hats. The older women gathered around Allison and, between shots, he heard them saying, “Oh, this is so wonderful! You won yesterday, and now Eric can win today! Allison, it’s been decades since a husband and wife won the men’s and women’s championships! Not since your parents! The Scotts are back on top -- just like old times!”

The Scotts. The great Scotts, he thought. They were everything here in Catiannet, the wealthiest summer community on Cape Cod. It was the Scotts who won the golf tournaments and the tennis tournaments, who threw the best parties and who had the most beautiful daughters.

The three Scott girls had married men so similar-each of them being tall, square-jawed, and handsome-that one neighbor said she was pleased that "husbands are finally being genetically engineered." Good looks, brains, and athletic ability were the entrance requirements for the Scott family, but once you were in, it was made clear you were expected to be the best – at everything.

Jack had played tennis at Yale, and Mark had crewed on an America’s Cup boat. “So, Eric, what’s going to be your sport?” he was asked several times at the wedding reception on the family’s wide, back lawn, overlooking Nantucket Sound.

“I was thinking about golf,” he lied; having never considered the question. Most of the responses were hearty, back-slapping enthusiasm -- except one. “Bad choice,” someone said, and walked away without explanation.

(End of excerpt)