After the Final Rose

Now boarding all passengers. This is it. Kevin sauntered up to the agent at the gate and presented his ID. He flashed his amazing smile one last time on domestic soil. The beginning of his new life. The final chapter. His phone buzzed in his pocket. Glancing down he sees it’s her. Again. Resisting the urge to just chuck the phone. He turns it completely off and heads to the plane. In no time he will be in the air and she will be a blip in his rear view mirror.

Having nothing but mini panic attacks she thought she’d call his office to get the best place to send him a surprise gift. Just a little congrats on the deal closing and gooey love stuff. Mixing business and pleasure would be her new hobby. But when she went to the website to get the number the site was not there. Error 404. Page not found. She tried again. Checked her internet connection. Googled. What was going on?? She frantically emptied her purse looking for his business card. The knot in her stomach was becoming a giant boulder. Please let this be a nothing. Please let him text me back. Oh. My. God.

She fumbles hysterically through the junk in her purse. Admonishing herself for being so lax and then realizing a messy purse is the least of her problems at the moment. When she spots the card she dials then number on it as fast as her shaking hands will allow. Beep … we’re sorry that number … Disconnecting she starts to cry. This is not happening. This can’t be real. Her crazed thoughts flip and flop between hurt, anger and embarrassment. In random order. Her money! Her pride! Her heart! All fizzling by the minute.

Barely stumbling to the couch she slides into a slumped over heap. She is too stunned to move. What should she do now? Her mind races trying to formulate a plan. There has to be a way to salvage this mess. Her instincts were right. Her friends were right. If it’s too good to be true it probably is. She could hear her mother’s voice clear as a bell. Let’s start by calling the financial guy. Doubtful that he can do anything at this point she tentatively calls his office with her fingers crossed. Voice mail. This would be the message that makes his day. Ha ha.

Kevin relaxed comfortably into his seat. He needed a drink. The last few days were a blurry buffet of activities. He pulled it off. He actually beat his own timelines. He reviewed the chronology in his mind. His buddy sparks the flame: come down south and live the life; all you need is $70 G’s. $20 to invest in some gear and a place and the rest is gravy in the mattress. Cash for life. With that goal in mind he evaluated the best way to “get rich quick”. Find a desperate broad. He hit pay dirt on the first one who responded to his lines. His charm was, after all, his best (and only) asset. But the lightening speed he got it all done was still amazing to him. He thought he’d be couch surfing for months putting everything together. He remembered his silenced phone and pulled it out. Turning it on one last time he reads her last text: when you get settled give me a call; I want to chat about the venture … having some second thoughts. Just being cautious.

Too late for that! He laughs to himself and closes the phone. He slips it into the seat pocket where it will stay until someone finds it (or not) and leans back. Have a nice trip!

Stuck in a dither she has polished off a bottle of wine. She needs to deal with things with a clear head. That’s not happening tonight. Two Advil and bed. She’d think about this again tomorrow. It takes forever to fall asleep and her foggy thoughts are a jumble of woe. As she finally drifts into an exhausted state her final thought is verging on panic and utter grief.

When her eyes crack open the next day she has a myriad of sensations. The rock in her gut is pulsating. Her head is pounding. Her heart is aching. She’s filled with dread. She pulls the covers over her head and sobs. Sobs become gasping heaving jerking waves. Her breath is shallow; heart racing and pounding. A full blown panic attack. Then nothing. No tears. No panting. Just nothing. Blank. Bleak. She needs a pen and her notebook. A list is what she should do. She needs a plan. She needs action.

While her coffee is percolating her phone beeps. There’s a fraction of a second where she feels a glimmer of hope. No. It’s her finance guy. This should be fun. He says he got her message and wanted to call first thing. He’s so sorry but there’s nothing he can do at his end. The draft was solid and it’s been cashed. No. There’s no way to sue. It wasn’t a standard investment with a firm; it was personal at her request. Nothing could be undone. Bright side: she still had the bulk of her retirement savings and he could up the risk margin to recoup the loss more quickly. Don’t make any decisions now. Call me when you’re ready. Or just to talk. As a friend. So sorry.

Nothing like pulling the band aid off quickly. And still having a gaping wound. The hurt was profound. She started to sob again. Then shook it off. Wallowing was not her style. And neither was being played the fool. Her phone campaign today would be a mission. Revenge with a capital R. He was not going to get away with this. She would make sure of it.

But after several calls and a lot of “so sorry this happened to you” blah blah she knew she had to move on. Maybe revenge was a therapeutic thought but not a feasible reality. It would cost her precious time and money to exact the punishment she felt he deserved. The guy was a mirage. Nothing about him was real. Except his smile. That was real enough even though it was also a masquerade. When he smiled it wasn’t genuine. She would never be fooled again.

Chiding herself was becoming a rut she thought as her phone beeped. Her best friend. Call me, her text said. Ok. Why not. She would have to engage at some point. Dialling she predicts the conversation. The finance guy, a mutual friend, called her to say there could be trouble. He didn’t divulge details. But what could she do to help?? Great. Just the discussion she didn’t want.

Time to come clean. The entire charade barfed out. Every last detail and slimy truth. When it was done she felt purged. Revived. Energized. This too shall pass.

Didn’t you say your husband’s friend was still single. Might be just the prescription for this ailment. Set it up.

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