She stood in the doorway of the veranda, the moon shining through the branches, casting eerie shadows over the lawn. She watched as he pulled out of the circular drive, his taillights disappearing into the night; remembering his last words, wondering if she’d ever see him again, knowing full well she didn’t want to live without him, not certain at this point if she even could.
The music and laughter from the house full of guests below wafted up on the breeze and assaulted her; when all she wanted was to be alone. She was torn between two worlds; the one it seemed she had always known, was safe, comfortable and accustomed to; and the one unknown, where she dared to tread.
She hadn’t meant for it to happen, didn’t even know such a thing was possible; but there she was, center of the circle, completely in love with two different men. And though the last thing she wanted was for anyone to be hurt, the pain she now felt she was certain would kill her.
Dante hadn’t flinched when he walked in and found her in Alexander’s arms; her back against the wall, Alex’s hand under her dress exposing her bare naked thigh, as they stole a forbidden kiss at the party she was hosting, where Alexander was an invited guest. Dante spoke not a word, but the look in his eyes revealed all she needed to know. He loved her completely, unconditionally, and if she chose to stay and end this now, she was certain he would do everything within his power to make certain she never regretted it. That’s just the kind of husband he was.
Alexander had demanded a choice. He was not willing to share her any longer. He loved her and wanted to make a life with her. He begged her to leave with him right then and there, was furious and hurt when she hesitated in her response. He told her he was leaving for home on a morning flight to Tuscany; where there would be a ticket for her waiting at the gate, should she choose to join him.
She was a fool to believe it could continue as it was; her having the best of both worlds. In her heart she knew it would one day come to this, but still she was not prepared to make a choice, to give either one of them up. She couldn’t. She wouldn’t.
She kicked off her heels and stripped out of her dress, leaving it where it fell on the floor. Thunder crashed outside as she made her way to the closet, the wind whipping the lace curtains of the veranda doors, causing her to shiver as it licked at her naked flesh.
She stepped inside and turned on the light, pulling on a pair of jeans, a sweater and her favorite leather boots. She took off her wedding rings and the crucifix Alex had given her and placed them on the bedside table. She stopped when she reached the door, turned back and looked at the room one last time, before she made her way down the servant’s stairs and out into the garage.
Lightening streaked across the sky, illuminating the treetops, as she put the Jag in reverse and pulled out of the garage. She put the windows down then pushed the overhead button and the sunroof fell back into place, exposing the night sky that was dotted with black clouds; the moon disappearing then coming back into view.
She drove for miles on those winding country roads, ones she knew so well she could maneuver with her eyes closed; something she did often, to ease her worried mind, but did absolutely nothing for her on this particular night.
She was almost to the marsh when the sky opened up and the rain pelted down upon her, but she did nothing to protect herself against it. The bridge over the Intracoastal was just a few miles ahead and so she began to accelerate on the wet, slippery road. She put on her bright lights so as to better see through the rain, but it was only a brief downpour that didn’t last.
She maintained her speed as the sign came into view, warning drivers to slow over the bridge that was just up ahead. She set the cruise control, then reached down and pushed the button at the side of her seat, holding the wheel as it reclined. It wasn’t until she was lying all the way down that she let go of the wheel and in a loving gesture, cradled her arms over her belly, as if to somehow protect the child that grew in her womb from what was to come; a child created from absolute love, whose father she would never be certain. She took a deep breath and gazed up through the roof into the night sky, the moon showing itself to her one last time.