photo credit: www.searchlightphotography.com
A searing bile rose up in his throat. He ran to the bathroom and heaved noisily. His mind began to race. How could she have found out? He thought that he covered his tracks. His world was about to implode.
Maybe Joe would have a clue. He inhaled deeply as he pressed the contact number on his phone. “Tom, buddy! How’s it going out there?” Joe answered in his usual hearty voice. “Karen and the kids and I thrilled that Ella and your brood will be coming down. And we are so excited to hear about Ella’s job offer and her ideas for the studio!”
Tom quickly shifted gears. He explained that Ella’s good news was the reason for his call. Without missing a beat, Tom told Joe that he was planning to catch the next flight home and surprise everyone down at the beach. He would probably be there tomorrow. Joe promised to keep it to himself.
With that decision, he bought himself some time. He took a long hot shower and scrubbed himself until his skin felt raw. Last night’s shenanigans, his abbreviated sleep on the sand, the strange journey back to the motel and his recent emotional state had left him drained. He crawled to bed and fell into a deep sleep.
When he woke up the next morning, he was ready to go. He had enough clean clothes since he only had worn his cycling outfit for the past 48 hours. If his wife asked about the bike, he would just say that he stopped off at the office to get it after he landed.
He pulled into Joe and Karen’s place bursting with confidence. And there they were: his beautiful family: The boys with their jet black hair and his daughter an exact replica of her mother. Flowing auburn hair and those deep green eyes that you just lost yourself in.
He had returned to safer harbor. Or so he thought.