A Business Trip
"Cal, I canít do this anymore!" Two months had come and gone. Calís visits had persisted, but, upon each departure, Rose felt hollow.
"What? What canít you do?" They were sitting on facing chairs on the balcony of the hotel room. Inside, Jacob and Jayvelin, Roseís children, could be heard squealing over the new toys Cal had brought them.
She broke down and bowed her head. He rubbed her hand with his thumb. "I canít keep this stupid charade going. Everyone thinks weíre sleeping together anyway. They look at me as if Iím lower than dirt. I wouldnít normally care what the hell they thought, but Iíve seen the way they look at my children. My children."
"Rose--Rosie, I know. Itís hard. But Isabella and I are working through it. Weíre all trying our best."
Rose looked at him with wide eyes. Did he think she was stupid? "Cal, you and Isabella are trying to work through your marriage troubles." It all poured out. "God, itís not them at all. Itís you. Youíre the one putting on the charade. You make promises to your wife and then turn around and do the same to me! You need to choose. Youíre trying to have the best of both worlds and screwing everything up in the process."
He looked at her. He didnít want this moment to come. That was the problem. He couldnít choose. It was terrible and made him feel as if he didnít deserve either of them. And I donít, he thought bitterly. But he had to say something. "Okay. Weíll go away together. Just you and me. Iíll pick then. I promise."
"Cal, you know I canít. What about the children?"
"Donít worry about it. They can stay with my nanny. Iíll take care of everything."
"Cal, you wonít believe what Daddy just sent me. Tickets to the opera! Itís been so long since weíve gone. Oh, I canít wait!" Isabella hugged Cal close. He had been so sweet lately, buying her jewels and taking her to fabulous parties. Honestly, she would rather just have him home more often, but it made him happy to give her things, and she didnít want to interfere. Lately, it was the only way they ever even talked to one another. This was why she was so happy that her father, George Tallingsworth, had sent her the tickets.
Cal glanced at the pieces of paper. "Oh, honey, I canít. In one week I leave for a business trip. Iím sorry." The lie naturally seeped out of his mouth, but it still left a bitter taste.
Cal was at the train station as Roseís train pulled in. It was already nearing sunset, but he had purposefully gotten there earlier that morning to sort through his thoughts in peace. But it hadnít worked out. In fact, his thoughts were now in an even more complicated jumble that seemed impossible to unweave.
She finally appeared. The air caught in his lungs and he couldnít breathe. It was worse than when he first saw her in the park so many days ago. She was wearing a sleek white dress that fit her body like an angelís wings fit her arms. The high heels clicked on the pavement as she walked towards him. He was in heaven. She looked like a movie star, a princess, a goddess. No. She looked like someone that could steal a loving husband and father with the snap of her fingers.