Shelly capped the lipstick tube, studied herself in the mirror: fantastically blonde wig concealing her brown locks, sunglasses, and an obnoxious shade of pink on her lips. She was completely unrecognizable.
She was going to catch the cheating bastard.
For weeks she’d suspected Brett was sneaking around. Always stepping out of the room to take phone calls, and too often home after dinner with some lame excuse about work running late, with that dopey, angelic grin that she could see right through.
Oh yeah. She was so on to him.
After yet another hushed phone call, he’d snuck out this morning with a distracted “see ya later babe.” She tried to brush it off, tried not to let it get to her.
Then she found the Post-It on the kitchen counter.
Glendale Park. By the gazebo. Noon.
What an idiot Brett was, leaving behind a note that stated exactly when and where he was meeting his hussy.
She’d been annoyed enough at the thought of her husband’s infidelity, but this – oh, this was the last straw. The park was their spot. Where they met six years earlier, where Brett bought her an orange rose off a vendor and charmed the pants off her. Literally, in fact, though after they’d moved to a more private secondary location.
Just before noon, Shelly strode purposefully through Glendale Park, feeling invisible, and invincible, in her disguise. She settled onto a bench liberally decorated with dried bird droppings and pulled a compact from her purse, squinting into the small mirror to study the goings-on of the gazebo. Looking for Brett, the unfaithful son of a bitch.
There was no one behind her but a pair of skateboarding teenagers trading high-fives. That was fine. She could wait.
Shit. Shelly startled and dropped the compact, but instead of Brett standing over her, she found a stranger, a gorgeous specimen of a man. For a moment, she forgot what words were. “H-Hi.”
A grin crinkled the corners of his sky-blue eyes as he bent to retrieve her compact, and Shelly nearly forgot why she was in the park altogether. “I saw you sitting here and just had to say hello.” He sank to the bench beside her, his gaze intense. “You’re gorgeous.”
“Oh.” Their fingers touched as Shelly took back the compact. Cheeks burning, she reached up to smooth the wig’s blonde curls. “Thank you.”
He placed a hand on her leg. “I’m Jason.”
“Shelly.” It had never been said that she didn’t appreciate a forward man. She stared at his hand. “I shouldn’t . . . I mean, thank you, but I’m married.” She laughed, shaking her head. “I’m actually here to catch my husband cheating on me.”
“That’s terrible.” Jason frowned, scooted closer, his presence invading Shelly’s senses. He was dangerously handsome, and smelled dangerously good.
Shelly was on a precipice. Here she sat, the righteous victim, the wronged party, the spurned lover. She’d given six years – good years, too – to a man who had thoughtlessly tossed her aside. Brett probably left that note to throw Shelly off, was holed-up in a tacky motel with his whore for some illicit afternoon delight.
She didn’t have to sit here and take it.
“Screw it.” Shelly threw herself at Jason, gawking teenagers, dried pigeon poop, and cheating husband be damned. It had never been said that she wasn’t something of a forward woman, herself. Their lips mashed together, Shelly’s lusty passion fueled by a sudden thirst for revenge.
Suddenly, Brett was standing over them with a massive bouquet of roses, looking absolutely devastated.
She disentangled from Jason and jumped to her feet, removing her sunglasses with the swiftness of a TV detective. She narrowed her gaze at the bouquet. Orange roses. Their flower. Of all the nerve. “Are those for your tramp?”
“They’re for you.”
Shelly gaped at her husband. “What?”
Jason slid between them, awkwardly wiping bright pink lipstick from his mouth and neck. “I think that’s my cue. “
“N-no,” Shelly stammered, face flushing. “I found the note. You’re meeting someone here.”
“Yeah, Shelly.” Brett raised his eyebrows. “You.” Delicate rose petals fell to the ground as he lowered his arms. “The note was for you.”
“But you’ve been sneaking out – “
“To find you the perfect anniversary present.” He pulled his cell phone from his pocket and showed her a picture, a gorgeous, fluffy Golden Retriever puppy. Her dream dog, what she’d been asking for since Christmas. “We’re supposed to go pick her up now.”
Shelly floundered for an excuse but found none.
Wordlessly, Brett shook his head and dropped the beautiful bouquet to the bench, then turned and walked away.
And with that, Shelly stood in Glendale Park by the gazebo, at noon, alone.
Chrissie Rohrman is a training supervisor from Indianapolis, Indiana. She likes dogs, cats, writing competitions, and white wine (and beer.) She’s currently drafting her first novel, and probably yelling at her dog to come inside.