Clyde had just stepped off the airplane that landed at Charleston International Airport. “Where did I just get sent?” Clyde thought to himself. “South Carolina?! I thought my boss said this new position would send me to fun and exciting places.” After having trouble finding the shuttle, he finally made it to his hotel. He checked in and received his itinerary for the next two days. He was nervous because he was one of the youngest and least experienced in his field but Clyde Wilkerson was excited to take on the challenge and make a name for himself while laying the foundation to his new career in policy development.

The conference was a very informative and a huge networking success for Clyde. To cap the weekend, the conference goers always plan an outing which usually consists of some late night partying. Clyde was pretty beat from the meetings but wanted to turn down the invitation to spend more time with a few of the movers-and-shakers of the organization. He and a dozen others decided to head to a local bar for unwind — drinks, music, and dancing. Professionals are allowed to party and these people were going to make the most of the final hours that they had in Charleston.

There was one other young conference goer, actually three years younger than the 29 year old Clyde. The dynamic Melina Hogan was an extremely intelligent lady from Vermont who made her mark during what was her second conference. She was the youngest participant in the meetings but had a little more experience than Clyde because he had only been in this field less than a year. Melina was an academic prodigy who received her undergraduate degree at age 18, her first masters degree at age 20, her second masters degree at age 25, and working on her PhD at age 26. Melina was an accomplished star back home in Vermont where she had assumed a number of influential government positions. She was also married to a well established and high powered attorney.

Lynn, the conference event planner, and Melina were having a conversation at the bar when Clyde made his way nearby to buy another drink. “Hey, Clyde! C’mon over here,” Lynn yelled. “Hey, Lynn. Great job organizing all of this. This was a great,” he replied. “I want you to meet Melina from Vermont. She’s pretty amazing at everything. Excuse me. I have to use the restroom,” and like that, Lynn disappeared.

“Clyde Wilkerson from Ohio. Nice to meet you.” “Hi. I’m Melina Hogan. This was my second time here. Your first?” “Yeah. Very interesting and informative.” “These things bore me.” “Oh?! Why? I thought it was pretty good.” “These substance of the conference is always great but nobody take us seriously. You and me, we’re too young to really know what we’re talking about.” “I did notice that my writings were better received when someone else was presenting them besides me.” “If you’re under 40 then your just an unproven fake to them. Wanna find another fun spot?” “I’m game. Let’s go.”

The two slipped out of the exit and headed to another bar just down the road. They made friends with a few of the locals there and share a few rounds drinks. Being among a younger crowd, Melina and Clyde felt more comfortable and relaxed. They played a few games of pool, took a few tequila shots but then Clyde noticed the time. “Shit! It’s damn near three in the morning. I have an early flight back to Columbus. I need to get going.” Without any hesitation, Melina placed her half drank gin and tonic on the counter and headed toward door. They stumbled back up the road toward the hotel where the conference took place and where all of the participants were staying. When they got into the lobby, Melina laid on one of the couches. “I’m going to sleep right here. Night night.” Clyde paused for a second, looked around, then scooped up the drunk Melina and headed to the elevator.

“Melina, what floor is your room?” Clyde asked. “515!” she shouted back. “Okay. So you’re on the fifth floor. I’m going to get you to your room then I’m heading up to mine,” he replied. Then doors opened and the two almost fell into the hallway. Clyde helped Melina to her room. Once she found her room key, Melina gathered herself and went straight to the sink to prepare a glass of water. “Come on in. Can I get you some water or a glass of wine?” Clyde, still standing in the doorway, looked down both ways of the hall then looked at her, “I’ll take some water, thanks.” The two sat down then almost simultaneously busted out laughing. “That place was crazy,” Clyde said, “How did we become every person’s friend in that bar?” “We’re just awesome people,” Melina suggested, “People like us. I know that I sure like you.” “Thanks, Mel–” Clyde started but was cut off when Melina kissed him. It was a deep and long kiss that neither was really prepared for.

“Whoa! What’s going on?!” Clyde exclaimed. “I’m sorry but I’ve wanted you every since I first saw you.” The two shared a brief stare then threw themselves at each other, passionately kissing while aggressively ripping their clothes off and strewing the articles all over the room. Melina and Clyde wrestled from the sitting area to the bedroom. They embraced each other like they had been in love with one another for years. He ran his fingers threw her hair, down her neck, to her side then pulled her as close as he could. She kissed him from his ear to his neck then worked down his torso. The room was hot and full of steamy ecstasy. Over and over they would erupt; their zeal for one another barely gave them time to recover before the next passionate explosion.

They finally exhausted their energy. The covers had been crumpled into a pile on the floor completely saturated in sweat. Clyde rolls over to kiss Melina on her forehead; she smiles and rolls into him positioning her back to his chest. They looked outside while the sun started to come up. Clyde ran his hand down her left arm to hold her hand. “What’s this?” Clyde asked while fixed on Melina’s ring. “Yeah…I’m married,” she replied. Clyde laid there is total shock. He wondered how did he miss the wedding ring and what was going to happen next. It instantly thought about the husband and how he would feel if he found out about what had happened that evening.

After a long silence Clyde looked at Melina and said “I should probably get out of here but we need to talk.” “Yes, I think we should. Here is my number,” and with that, Melina wrote her cell phone number on the stationary and handed it to Clyde while he gathered his clothes. Just before he was walking out of the door, Clyde turned back to Melina. “I’m not sure what happened or how it came about but I’m glad that it did.” “I let you get a hold of me and I don’t think I can shake you.” “I’m just a mid-western boy you just met at a conference. You may be giving me too much credit.” “You’ll learn quickly that I correct almost every time I speak. Remember this: We have something special,” Melina said then kissed him on the lips. Clyde let go of the door and it closed slowly between them; he stood in the hall for a moment to gather his bearings then he hurried to his room to pack his things and catch the shuttle for his flight home.

On that flight home, Clyde tried to focus his mind on anything besides Melina but failed miserably. He was normally a nervous flier that concentrated on the crew and the airplane but his thoughts were completely preoccupied on the lady from Vermont. This woman just crashed into his life while he was on a business trip and he was trying to cope with the aftermath of what had happened. Clyde thought to himself, ‘I don’t want to be the other guy to a married chick. But I don’t think that I can easily let her go. Something happened between us that wasn’t just fleeting occurrence to not be further explored. But how can we go any deeper while she is married. Nevermind the fact that she livesthree or four states away!’ Clyde’s mind and heart tussled the whole plane ride and for the next few upcoming days.

The following Monday, he returned to the office. His workday was pretty typical. Clyde was finishing a report to be presented at a staff meeting later in the week. He was getting ready to email his notes to a coworker to edit and noticed a received messages from someone he had never gotten an email from before; Melina Hogan.

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