Melinda found two plane tickets in her husband’s briefcase, one in his name and the other in the name of an unknown woman, which made her suspicious for the first time during the marriage. But she was not expecting what happened when she arrived at her destination.
«I’m so sorry, darling. I know I promised this weekend would be all about us, but I have to go back. It was completely unexpected. I couldn’t say no to my boss,» David told Melinda as he drove up to her house Friday night. Melinda shrugs her shoulders in defeat as she sits in the kitchen.
She really wanted to walk on the beach in their town mainly because her husband travelled a lot for work. She missed him terribly, but she should understand that. She too had a career, but a much more stable one, without the business trips.
«It’s all right, sweetheart. Next time, I guess,» she replies, pulling herself up to kiss him.
«I’m going to pack my bag and briefcase for tomorrow,» David said, answering her kiss.
«Do you want me to do it?»
«No, I can do it. You’ve already done so much to prepare our dinner. By the way, it smells wonderful. I’m going to go pack, take a shower, and we can eat and talk. Okay?» — He says and heads for their room.
Melinda agreed. Her dish smelt really good, and at least they could have a good time at the meal. She was disappointed, but there was nothing they could do.
Hearing the shower turn on in the bathroom, she decided to check his briefcase, as he was always forgetting things. She made sure his wallet was in place and shifted the rest of the contents of the suitcase. At that moment something caught her attention.
A plane ticket was sticking out of the side pocket. She took it out to put it on top of the rest of his personal belongings so that it wouldn’t get lost, but to her surprise there were two tickets. One had his name on it: David Sherburne, and the other had the woman’s name on it: Annamarie Simmons.
Melinda froze with the sheet in her hand as all sorts of feelings overwhelmed her. She read on and saw that the tickets were for Miami, Florida.
What kind of business did David have in Miami? Who was the woman? He usually travelled alone, that’s what he always told her. Why were there two tickets? Why had he lied to her? But the scariest question in her mind was: Was he cheating on her?
Suddenly the shower in the bathroom stopped and Melinda got up from her seat. She put the tickets back in their place in his briefcase and left the room. When her husband came to dinner, she acted as if nothing had happened, but different thoughts swirled in her head. She had to do something about it. But what could she do?
Sunday morning in Miami, Florida
Melinda arrives in Miami not knowing exactly what her plan will be. David had left early Saturday morning, and she spent the day mulling over the situation. Finally, she dug through his Google history and emails — she knew it was wrong to spy on him, but she was desperate — and discovered that he had booked a room at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Her suspicions intensified. David could have been fooling her; perhaps he had been doing it all along. Could it be that his business trips all along had just been a ruse?
«No, I can’t think like that,» she told herself, but she booked a ticket to Miami anyway, booked a room at the same hotel and hoped to find David there. She needed to see the truth for herself.
The taxi dropped her off at the hotel, and she checked in as soon as possible. She does not know what hotel room David has been allocated, but decides to go to the pool and possibly walk on the beach, hoping to catch him, so to speak, at the crime scene.
After a few hours she still hadn’t found him, and she was beginning to lose hope. «Maybe I should go back and wait for him there. I should have asked him last Friday night,» she thought quietly as she walked from the beach to the hotel. But suddenly she saw David, and, as she assumed, a woman was hugging him.
However, the situation was not at all what Melinda had imagined. The woman must have been eighty years old or more. Had David cheated on her with an older woman? That doesn’t make sense. David’s mother had died years ago, and this older woman could be another relative, right?
Anyway, she needs to know, so she quickens her stride and catches up with them. David frowns his eyebrows and his eyes widen in surprise when he sees her.
«David! What is the meaning of this? What kind of business trip are you on? Who is this woman?» — she begins, becoming more and more hysterical as the questions sound.
The other hotel guests turn to them and David grabs her hands, urging her to calm down and let him explain. But Melinda finally shouts: «Tell me the truth, here and now!».
«It’s Brandon’s mother!» — he quickly mouthed before she could scream any further.
«Brandon’s mother?» — Melinda asked, her hysteria completely dissipated. Brandon had been David’s best friend since childhood. He had died in a terrible accident a few years before Melinda and David had met. But she knew how important he was to him.
«Yes, Melinda, this is Annamarie,» David introduced her to the older woman and Melinda wiped her sweaty hands to shake the older woman’s hand.
«It is a pleasure to meet you, my dear,» Annamarie smiled in surprise.
«So am I, madam. I’m very sorry for my outburst,» Melinda added, embarrassed.
«Oh, don’t be ashamed. It looks like David was lying or wasn’t entirely honest. I’ll go back to the room so you two can talk,» Annamarie offers. She pats David on the arm, shaking her head, and leaves.
When they are alone, David explains everything. Before Brandon died, he promised to look after his mother, which he has done for years. But Annamarie has had health problems of late, and apparently she has always wanted to see Miami for herself. David impulsively bought the tickets, but he didn’t think Melinda would understand the situation.
«Why didn’t you trust me?» — she asks him, her eyes showing how hurt she is by the lie.
«You begged me to spend the weekend just for us, and I didn’t hesitate to buy the tickets. I felt bad. I thought you’d get angry, so I said it was a business trip, because you never complain on such occasions,» David explained, but she shrugged, realising how unconvincing her arguments looked.
«I would have understood. Hell, I could have gone with you,» Melinda added, gesturing with her hands in front of the entrance to a beautiful hotel on the coast of one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. «This place is amazing. I wish I could have met Annamarie under better circumstances. I know what Brandon meant to you. Why didn’t you ever tell me about her?»
«Honestly, I don’t know,» he continued, his shoulders still slumped.
«Okay, we need to work on our communication, and I think couples therapy is our solution. But I’ll postpone the matter for now. I don’t want to ruin this trip for Annamarie or for you, for that matter. Can I stay?» — she asks, looking at her husband from under her lashes.
«Really? You want to stay and have fun? All three of us?» — David replies, a smile appearing on his face. «Thank you! Thank you, darling! And I’m so sorry. I promise to work on our communication. I will NEVER lie to you again, even in ignorance.»
«Okay,» Melinda replied and took a deep breath. She grabbed his arm and pulled him towards the hotel. «Let’s go find Annamarie.»
They found an older woman at the hotel bar and decided to do some sightseeing. They had a great time and returned to Westport on Tuesday.
When they got home, David finally asked how Melinda had found out about the trip, and she sorrowfully explained that she had seen the tickets and checked the email. Fortunately, he took matters into his own hands.
The couple underwent therapy and David never broke his promise again. Melinda often invited Annamarie to her house, and she cried terribly when the old lady died a few months later.
«Whatever happened before, I’m so glad you took her to Miami,» she tells David after the funeral. David just nods with tears in his eyes and hugs his wife tightly.