Chapter 14: Martin
Melanie and I end up in her car.
It smells much better than mine, but is a lot smaller.
That’s not a problem.
She is so much fun to be with, and the thought of going home to Susan fills me with dread, but I know I can’t stay out much past ten, or she’ll get suspicious. Never mind that she’s probably having an affair with that disc jocky.
At 9:45, I say good night to Melanie and drive home.
I press the button on the remote, and the garage door opens.
Susan’s car isn’t there. She must have gone out with Mr. Disc Jocky Jeff.
The people who listen to her show know who she really is now. I bet she hasn’t even told Mr. Disc Jocky Jeff, so that must be what she’s doing now. She’s at his place, talking up a storm about why she didn’t tell him and trying to convince him she still likes him and didn’t mean to lie.
Too bad. I could have stayed out with Melanie longer.
What time will Susan creep back home? Will we have a discussion about this? I’ve waited for months for her to actually talk to me instead of just walking away and ignoring me. And, I’m innocent. I’ve been here all along, so who’s having the affair? Only her. I’ll agree to let it go if she promises never to see him again, and to always have my dinner ready on time, no excuses, no running to her so-called office, oh, and she’ll have to phone her mother and apologize for ignoring her dad.
But do I want her here? Yes and no. I can’t stand her, but I need her. That’s the truth. I can’t live alone.
I want Melanie in my bed and Susan in my kitchen. Heck, I’d be happy if Susan became my housekeeper. In exchange, I’d rent an apartment for her so I wouldn’t have to live with her. She could work from five until dinner time.
What would Melanie say?
She probably wouldn’t like it. No, she’d want to be the one to cook for me. It will have to be one or the other of them, and I only want Melanie.
It’s time to go inside. I don’t want Susan to come home and find me still in my car.
I open the back door and step into the silent kitchen.
There’s something on the kitchen table.
I walk over and look.
It’s the house key. It’s still on the keychain Susan uses.
Has she forgotten her keys?
No, that doesn’t make sense. She never leaves them on the table. They’re always in her purse. If she forgets them, she also forgets that. The only logical answer is that she’s put them here on purpose. She’s left them for me to find.
What does this mean?
I have a strange feeling in my stomach as I walk into our bedroom. I open the closet. Her clothes aren’t there. I go into the bathroom. Her toothbrush and shampoo are gone. We don’t like the same toothpaste, and hers is gone. I go to the linen closet. Some sheets and towels are gone. I go into the guest room and open the closet. The sewing machine and books I bought her are gone.
As I walk back through the guest room, I notice something terrible.
All nine of her books are lined up neatly on the shelf. Her computer’s on the desk. The chair’s pushed in. The screen’s dark.
Susan is gone, but Tina’s still here. The thought makes me shiver. I leave the room and close the door.
I check to see if there are any messages, but there aren’t.
Maybe I should call her.
No, better not. I don’t want to hear her voice.
Well, it’s time to go to bed.
The next morning, I wake up at five as usual. Susan’s not in bed beside me. That’s not unusual, and in fact, since I’ve been with Melanie, I haven’t wanted to share a bed with my wife.
Strange, I don’t smell anything cooking or even hear Susan in the kitchen.
Maybe she’s overslept.
I go to the guest room door.
“Susan, get up. It’s breakfast time.”
There’s no answer.
“You know we don’t sleep in. Come on, up you get.”
She must have been up late.
There’s something at the back of my mind that doesn’t feel right, but it must just be that she’s hardly ever up late.
Well, I suppose I can wait five more minutes.
I go into the kitchen to see if there’s any coffee left, and that’s when I see the key on the table.
Susan isn’t here.
I check the guest room, and she’s definitely not there.
There’s nothing to eat, and it’s too early to order something. Besides, I don’t want to order every meal I eat.
There isn’t even any coffee from yesterday.
Well, I’m going to call her and make her come back and cook breakfast. She can leave Mr. Disc Jocky Jeff without breakfast, but not me.
I press her number.
I listen to a recorded voice telling me the number is no longer in service.
I check the number, and it’s definitely correct.
I call her again and get the same message.
Well well, somebody hasn’t been paying the bills lately.
I check, but can’t find the bill.
I’ll have to go somewhere and eat. On a Sunday!
By lunch time, I’m almost tempted to call Mom and ask her to cook something for my dinner, but no, she’s done her job as a wife and mother. She should be spoiling grandchildren, not cooking for me, and besides, I’m not ready to tell her about Susan, Mr. Disc Jocky Jeff, or even Melanie.
Maybe I can call her.
I’m just about to enter her number, when a thought crosses my mind.
What if she sees something of Susan’s lying around?
I put down my phone and walk through the upstairs. Besides the key and her books, I don’t see anything obvious.
I pocket the key and take the books out to the trash.
I call Melanie.
“Martin! I was just thinking about you. What’s up?”
“Not much. I was thinking of you, too. Would you lkike to come over?”
“Sure, I’d love to. Is this for the day?”
“For the day, for the night, and for as many nights as we’d like. But I have to work tomorrow.”
“I understand. So um, I’ll pack a bag and be there soon. Where do you live?”
I tell her.
The next morning, she’s up before I am.
“Rise and shine!”
Her youthful voice is so much more pleasant than Suasn’s nagging, raspy tones.
“Good morning,” I say as I go into the kitchen. “What’s for breakfast? I’m starving, which is kind of scary, given how much I ate last nivght.”
I almost don’t want to leave for work, but of course, I have to.
“I’ll be right here when you get home.”
She smiles at me and I know she’s telling the truth. I’ll never have to order pizza again, and she’ll always be cheerful and welcoming after long, hard days.
Melanie has lived with me for two weeks, and everything is going great. I feel revitalized at work, and I even start to become better friends with Rick and Luke.
I change my schedule to be from six to two.
It’s Monday afternoon, and I’ve just come home to find Melanie in the living room.
Instead of her usual smile, her face is serious, and maybe even scared.
“Is everything okay?”
“Yes, but sit down.”
I sit beside her on the couch.
“I have something important to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“I’m expecting a baby.”
My heart does a double take.
“Wait! Do you mean I’m gonna be a dad?”
“Yes, that’s what I mean. I’m gonna be a mom.”
I look at my watch.
I touch Melanie’s Apple Watch, and the same time shows on it.
At least the expensive thing is accurate.
“Do you know when you’re due?”
“No. I haven’t even madde an appointment yet. I just did a test this morning.”
She looks into my eyes.
“Do you think I’m strong enough to do this?”
“Without a doubt, you are.”
“But I didn’t do HIIT.”
“It doesn’t matter. You’re young and healthy, and you work out a lot. You also eat well.”
“Thank you. So now we need to discuss a few things.”
“I don’t understand. What do we need to discuss?”
Oh no! I’m still married to Susan. We need to get divorced, and Melanie must never know about her.
I need to think fast.
Before I can think of anything to say, she says, “Before we figure out marriage, we need to meet each other’s parents. I’d better tell my parents I’m expecting before they meet you. What about you?”
I’m going to have to tell Mom the truth, but that’s better than worrying about her mentioning Susan.
“Yes, I’ll tell Mom. She has a bit of a cold, so she probably won’t invite us over until this weekend.”
“Makes sense. I’ll tell my parents tomorrow, and they’ll probably invite you over on Wednesday.”
She smiles at me.
“Now we need to discuss who does what.”
“Who does what?”
“Yes. If we’re gonna get married, we need to be a team.”