Cruel Infidelity

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Heather rummages through drawers and counter tops, searching frantically for her keys. She can’t be late to work again, she can’t continue to disappoint the love of her life. She’s on thin ice as it is. “Ah huh!” she shouts, snatching her keys from under her purse. She turns to leave when an unexpected knock on the door stops her in her tracks. She stares at it for a moment. Could it be the neighbor? Had she been too loud? Her nose crinkles and her lips push to the side of her face.

She pulls the door open to find Tammy looking up at her. “Oh, Uhm, I’m about to leave for work right now, so—”

“We had a fight,” she blurts, pushing past her and walking straight into the kitchen. “Chris and I had a big fight and I have nowhere else to go.” She spins around, her arms folding tightly over her flat chest. She stares hard at the lower left corner, not making eye contact.

Heather glances at her phone, noting the time. “Tammy, listen, I gotta get to work.”

“Can’t I just stay here? I don’t have anywhere else to go.” She throws her arms to her sides, staring up at her.

That can’t be true, but she doesn’t have time to argue with her right now. If she loses this job she might lose Andrew to another woman—a far more capable and successful woman. She gives herself a little shake, just thinking of it makes her nauseous. “My shift starts in less than 15 minutes, so I’ve really got to go.”

Tammy smiles, walking down the short hallway into the living room. She picks the remote up and asks, “Do you think Andy will mind if I hang out here?”

That thought alone was terrifying; the two of them here without supervision. She sighs. “No, I guess not,” she answers, clutching her purse strap. “I guess I’ll see you later, then...” A knot forms in her throat.

Heather rushes out to her car. Her mind races and her heart slams hard against her chest. She swallows hard, trying to quell the bile that threatens to rise from her esophagus.

She glances up at the apartment as images of Tammy disrobing infiltrate her mind’s eye.

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