She’s been standing here for almost 2 hours, excited to surprise him. His flight would have landed by now but he’d insisted on commuting from the city as he always did.
He was coming home today…his assistant confirmed his itinerary.
Soon, he would be in her arms and in their bed. Hers to pamper and please after three months spent on opposite coasts as he traveled for business.
The last few weeks they’d talked less, emailed less, and he hadn’t made a weekend trip home even once. Every time she tried to catch him he was “just stepping out” or “heading into a meeting” and she knew his deadlines were intense.
When she suggested a month ago that she would travel to him, even take time off, he told her it wasn’t necessary – they would be together soon enough.
She’d started to worry, to wonder. Checking his Facebook page became a nightly ritual when she got home from work. She’d laugh at herself when she saw nothing more than a few interactions with their mutual friends.
When she paid the credit card bills over the weekend and saw the charge for jewelry…it made her smile. She thought it might be the pendant she’d wanted for so long.
Oh, the plans she had for his body. How she would use her hands and mouth…all the new things she wanted to try…and have him try on her.
It had taken her hours to find the perfect lingerie, the perfect heels. She spent an entire day at the spa to make sure every inch of her body was smooth and soft. She dug out the raincoat she hadn’t used in ages and took it to the dry cleaner. It was lightweight enough to wear in the warm weather…and cover the fact that she was only wearing underthings.
She was ready for him. Perfect for him. Wanting him.
The arrival time came and went but he wasn’t there. He didn’t answer his phone or respond to her text so she waited for the next train and the next until it was dark and there were no more trains.
She felt faint from lack of food, the heat, and a rising sense of doom.
She called his office and his assistant would not confirm or deny whether his boss had traveled as planned. The young man had met her dozens of times over the years, had always been personable, but now answered her questions nervously or not at all.
Still nothing from her husband.
She walked back to the parking lot and stood beside her car for a long time, staring out at the small town where they lived. The “ideal place” – they’d both agreed – to finally start a family. She took a deep breath, got in and started the car, backing out to return to the house they’d bought together…with tears in their eyes at how perfect it was.
Part of her held out hope that he was already home, waiting for her. The empty driveway told her to stop lying to herself. The dark house mocked her earlier enthusiasm…as did the chilled wine, gourmet appetizers, and candles.
She shrugged off the jacket and stared at herself in the mirror. She knew she was an attractive woman for thirty-six, she’d taken excellent care of herself.
Giving herself a mental shake, she refused to question who she was. Her career was thriving. She wasn’t a spendthrift. She understood the value of working hard at everything important to her – including her marriage.
It wasn’t her. Nothing was going to make her doubt who and what she was because it wasn’t going to be something she’d done or not done.
It was going to be opportunity and distance.
After she peeled away the lingerie and dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, she returned to her kitchen and opened the bottle of wine. Relaxing at the small table that captured the best sunlight every morning, she put her feet up in his chair and began to think.
Hours went by and there was no word so she made two calls of her own. Her husband had checked out of his hotel but not boarded his plane home.
More than a little tipsy and far more furious than hurt, she sent him one final text.
“You’d better be fucking dead.”