The latest chapter in my collaboration with Fictional Kevin: Double Seduction. If you missed the opening chapters, find them here: Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five. And now…
Chapter 6 – Connection
Mel hauled the groceries out to her Acura and stowed them in the trunk. She was sore from this morning’s workout with Anton — he’d been tough on her because she’d been distracted. He’d taken her down enough times that she was suffering the consequences. She relished the thought of a nice long soak in the tub, a glass of wine and the steak she’d just had the butcher wrap up for her.
Ten minutes later she turned onto the tree-lined avenue where her home office was located. A beater of a Ford Taurus was parked across from her driveway. Probably a commuter student, too cheap to pay for parking in the Bryn Mawr College lot several blocks away. She pulled around to the back door of the home and parked. After hauling the bags inside, she turned on lamps to dissipate the gloom from the approaching twilight.
While the grill heated, she opened the wine —an old vine Zinfandel— poured herself a glass. Some music would be nice. Powering the stereo on with her phone, she scrolled through her collection until she found just the right thing. Anita O’Day. Perfect. A sip of wine. Savoring, she closed her eyes and swayed to the first song in the playlist: “When Sunny Gets Blue.” She glided sound the living room, humming along to the song and drawing the curtains closed on her front windows. The old Taurus was gone from in front of her house.
She grilled the steak till it was seared on the outside, still red and juicy within, and ate it with a fresh spinach salad, while Anita’s sad voice serenaded her. The music and the wine were making her maudlin. It was this time of day, eating and drinking alone, that squeezed her broken heart all over again.
“Get a grip,” she grumbled.
She rose, left her plate in the sink and refilled her glass. She’d been ignoring her blog and her blogging buddies. It was high time she got caught up. Not to mention David. She had decided to confront him about the nasty comment and the image from that other guy’s Facebook. Maybe he could explain. She‘d give him the chance, anyway. He had to know she’d check him out. Any woman would be a fool not to. If he didn’t like it, well… then she’d have her answer. Stay away.
Her study was at the back of the house, facing the trees that separated her from the neighbor on the next street over. Switching on the desk lamp, she settled into her leather chair and powered up her iMac. She opened her e-mail, found a new post from David. It was titled “Heartbreak.” She clicked on it to take her to his blog.
The phone call was devastating. He hadn’t seen it coming.
“I’ve met someone else. I’m so sorry.”
She returned his heart, slightly damaged and not in the original packaging, and like a beautiful moment, she was gone. He cried. He yelled. But no one cared, no one heard. He was alone, once again.
It was tagged “Savannah,” and he’d turned off comments. “Oh, David,” she whispered. “I know just how you feel.”
“Well, this changes everything,” she murmured. She re-read the post, sipped her wine. “But I still need to know…” she thought.
Flash. Mel jumped as the lights from the motion sensors illuminated the back yard. Probably an animal, she thought. They’d go out in a few minutes.
She opened a new e-mail, began typing.
Sorry I took so long to respond. I’ve been trying to find the words to ask you something. First of all, I want you to know how much I enjoy our online banter. I’ve really felt a connection to you over the last few months. So it’s not easy for me to ask this. You must know that out of curiosity and for my own protection, I did some checking on you. I found a few things that troubled me. On the surface at least. I wanted to give you a chance to explain…
Flash. The lights flared on again. Frowning, Mel rose and went to the window. She peeked through the blinds at the grassy expanse. Nothing. She watched for a few minutes to make sure. The lights winked out again. She returned to the e-mail.
She asked about the comment first.
I came across a comment you made on another blog. It was from a couple months ago. Bread and Roses. Sound familiar? You called the blogger an ugly bitch. Insinuated she couldn’t get a man. It was completely inappropriate. Not to mention totally out of touch with the tone of the article. Which, by the way, I happen to completely agree with. Why would you attack another blogger like that? For providing a balanced commentary on a legitimate women’s issue? I couldn’t reconcile the hateful remarks with the David I know. Please enlighten me.
Then she asked about the Facebook page she had found.
I searched your image, thought maybe I’d find your Facebook or Twitter. Instead, I found a man named Kevin Campbell from Upstate New York with a wife and two children using the same pencil drawing you use for your blog. I am going to assume that’s not you. But I’d feel a lot better if you could confirm it. Or is the image yours and this guy borrowed it from you? If that’s the case, I thought you should know.
Finally, I also want to tell you that I read your post today. I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you. I’ve been in that situation myself. A wound like that doesn’t heal easily or quickly. I’m here for you if you need to talk.
Crash. Mel gripped the arms of the chair, goosebumps rising on her skin. Had she set the alarm? She couldn’t remember. Pressing a fist to her sternum to steady her heart rate, she hit ‘send’ on the e-mail and hurried from the study to check the control panel. Anita was singing “The Party’s Over.” The panel lights were off. Damn. She checked the front door. Locked.
“Ok, ok, relax,” she sighed in relief. “You are fine. It’s all good.”
Just to reassure herself, she rushed to the kitchen to check the sliding doors that led to her patio. They were locked as well. She laughed out loud, relieved. “Shit.”
“What the hell?” she muttered, as angry as she was scared.
Taking a deep breath, she willed herself to calm down. She grabbed her flashlight and strode toward the patio doors, intending to investigate. Just as she was sliding the door open, the e-mail alert pinged.