Secret Rendezvous

secret-rendezvousReilly had become a little too laissez faire with his correspondence concerning the matter he was trying to keep secret. He used to wipe the history clean from his phone after every message. It was getting too laborious to keep up with it. Besides, Kelli was never the techie type anyway. She could barely navigate the internet, let alone dig through his message log.

“Aren’t you going to check that?” asked Kelli from across the table. They were enjoying a meal at their favorite restaurant in the uptown district. Everything had been perfect up to this point in the evening. A few glasses of merlot, an oak grilled bacon wrapped filet, and a succulent pair of lobster tails shared between the two of them.

Reilly distinctly remembered his instructions not to call or text him at this hour. It was too risky. “Nah, it’s probably just someone phishing for me to come back into the office.”

As the lead prosecutor on the team of lawyers at the firm, Reilly was often called in for advice on lesser cases, but he knew that wasn’t the case this time around. The double chime originating from the phone in his left pocket was different from the single ding for all other senders.  Reilly knew it was her.

The signature chime beckoned again from his pocket. “Excuse me, honey.” Reilly stood up and retreated to the lobby of the restaurant and checked his phone. The message read “Meet me tomorrow, usual spot and time.” The second message had read, “Actually, an hour earlier this time.”

Reilly punched at the keys with aggravation, “Don’t text me anymore tonight. She will pick up on it eventually. Will see you tomorrow.” In haste, Reilly pressed the send button to quell any hint of suspicion from Kelli in his absence. To be safe, he deleted the message thread before quickly returning to his seat.

The message that arrived on Kelli’s phone before Reilly returned was unexpected to say the least. The message itself was disturbing, even more so when she realized the sender was her boyfriend, from the lobby.

As Reilly arrived back at the table, Kelli kept her cool. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, just as I thought. Someone from work. The nerve of people, right? On our one date night each month.” Reilly seemed irritable over the disruption. Kelli thought that perhaps he was unsettled for the wrong reason.

The next day, Kelli feigned sleep before sneaking out to tail Reilly on his route to work. If he was cheating on her, she would catch him red-handed. She had no reason to doubt him, but that message, it was damning.

Kelli watched from across the parking lot as Reilly rapped his knuckles on the door of room 312, peering left and right down the corridor with a suspicious look on his face. The brunette who answered the door let him inside. It wasn’t even three minutes before Reilly emerged from the room, got in his car, and drove away.

Kelli peeled across the road, came to a screeching halt in front of the hotel, and waited. When the brunette emerged, attaché in hand, Kelli confronted her.

“Who the hell do you think you are?”

“Do I know you? I’m sorry, I think you have the wrong person.”

“No, I’m pretty sure I don’t since my boyfriend just walked out of this room. You obviously know he’s already committed, or so I thought, based on the messages you two have been sending each other.”

The woman sighed with remorse as she realized their little secret was out of the bag. “You don’t understand, I …”

“I understand perfectly well, you promiscuous bitch. I should level you right here, right now, before I go give that deceitful excuse for a man a little piece of my mind.”

“You’d better think twice before doing anything else.” The woman reached into her attaché and withdrew her business card. “Here,” she sighed as she handed it over to Kelli. “My name is Gina Stewart. I was hired by your husband, yes. I flew in from the other coast because he heard I was the best. To custom design your engagement ring. It was supposed to be a secret.”

“I’m sorry, I mean, I didn’t mean to …” Kelli stuttered, looking for words that would help her backtrack, to rescind the occurrence of the previous two minutes. There were no words to excuse or conceal her jealous rage.

“Don’t worry,” Gina said. “Just know that you have a good man. There aren’t many guys who would go through as much as he has. Reilly obviously thinks the world of you.”

Kelli couldn’t help but feel the guilty weight pressing down upon her shoulders. The surprise that was forthcoming from her future fiancée was replaced by surprise at her own indignant temper.

She bit the inside of her cheek, looking for the courage to ask the unthinkable. “Please. Don’t …”

“I won’t say anything,” smirked Gina. “If your future husband is entitled to a secret, I suppose you are too. This little one will be ours.”

House Call

house-callAuthor’s Note: This is the first part of a fifteen part short story that I have been working on developing in the suspense/thriller genre at the Amazon WriteOn community. All fifteen parts have now been published and may be read in their entirety at House Call. Thank you to everyone who has followed along on this journey, taking the time to read and comment. Stay inspired.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 – 3:13 am

It wasn’t until the second ring that Chris realized the phone call was not originating in his dream, but was instead coming from the cell phone on the nightstand beside his bed.

“Hello?” He spoke groggily into the phone without checking who was calling at this unthinkable hour. The voice responding to his salutation was indiscernible, but the man’s tone left no room for misinterpretation.

“There is a car waiting for you outside your house. Get inside. You don’t want to ignore this.”

The announcement was followed by the silence of a dead line. Whoever was on the other end did not feel the need to confirm that his message was received. Angela had always been a light sleeper. So, it wasn’t a surprise when she rolled over and wondered why her husband was hunched over, sitting on the edge of their bed.

“Everything okay, honey?” The pale light of the moon filtering through the cloudy window was not enough to show the disconcerting look on his face.

“Yeah, I gotta go in though. There was a bad accident, some sort of emergency operation needed.” He never lied to his wife. He never even considered it. But, for some reason, his gut was telling him to do so this time around. He was actually quite surprised how easy it was, despite the gnawing criticism from his conscience.

Looking over at the ice blue numbers displayed on his alarm clock, Chris felt an involuntary shiver run over the entire length of his body, head to toes, as the last digit transformed from a four into a five. 3:15 AM. His birthday was March 15th, which ironically, was today.

Chris pulled on his pants laying over the wooden chair, buckled his worn leather belt, buttoned his oxford shirt, and slipped on his glasses. With the palm of his hand, he cleared away a small peep hole through the condensation on the inside of the window. The dark four door sedan sitting in front of his house was emitting exhaust from its tail pipe, but its lights remained extinguished. He gathered his keys and wallet, the short passage of time allowing his logical mind to process the events of the previous two minutes.

He cycled through the history on his cell phone. The number he had just been called from was listed as Private – Unknown. As an accomplished surgeon, Chris had to leave the comfortable warmth of his wife’s body in bed too many times to count. But, he would never depart before giving her a tender kiss on the forehead. Whether it was due to the mental distraction or an intentional choice, he slipped from the bedroom quietly on this occasion.

Chris sneaked out the side door through the garage. Walking past the matching luxury sport coupes in the driveway, his black and Angela’s red, he noticed the out of state plates on the sedan still polluting the air in front of his house. Something didn’t feel right.

And then, something really didn’t feel right as the pain originating from the back of his head intensified, followed by a slow and steady constriction of the light filtering through his pupils. The blackness in the physical realm was quickly followed by a void in the mental realm as Chris succumbed to the darkness washing over him.

Resting comfortably with her head on the feathery pillow, Angela stared at the shadows on the wall, with something between a grin and smirk etched on her face. Upon hearing the car door shut, she reached under the mattress, retrieved the prepaid cell phone, and pressed the redial button. Just like him to lie to me, she thought. With angry adrenaline coursing through her veins, the sadistic tone in her voice could not be veiled as she initiated the conversation. “What’s next?”