“Um…What the…?!” Clyde was use to receiving emails from people that he was not familiar with; his position required him to correspond with constituents from all over Ohio but he knew that this was not going to be a business related message. Emotions rushed over him and he had not even moved his computer mouse to open it yet. He took a deep breath and clicked.

“Hi, Clyde! I hope you had a safe trip home and the week is starting well for you. I’d like to chat with you this evening. I’m free after 3:30 and can talk on my commute from Montpelier. Please let me know if that will work for you. Thanks, Melina!” Clyde shook his head in disbelief. This is real. This is happening. The married woman that he just shared an electric connection with just reached out to him. He wondered now how he was suppose to react.

Clyde replied with a short message, “Hey there, Melina! I’ll available after 4:30. I’ll call then. Take care!” After finishing his workday, Clyde hurried out to his car to call Melina; he pulled her contact info up on his phone, stared at it for a few moments, then dialed. Melina answered almost immediately. The two started off with small talk but then dove into what had happened the previous weekend.

“I’m not sorry for what happened,” Melina said, “It came about from honest and true feelings. I don’t take any of it back.” “I don’t know what triggered it but I feeling that I can’t bottle this desire to have you. I didn’t even know that it existed,” Clyde replied. The two talked for hours that evening. Melina’s husband was at his law office late into the night so she was able to continue with Clyde until they fell asleep on the phone.

That was just the first of many extended phone conversations. Melina and Clyde would started connecting daily. They would chat online or via email during work hours then call each other during the evenings. The more they were in contact with one another, the closer they grew to each other. Some nights were challenging because Jake, Melina’s husband, would be around and the only way that the two love-struck moonlighters could communicate would be through text messages. No matter the obstacle, Melina and Clyde would find ways to connect.

A few months had passed. Melina had not seen Clyde since they first met earlier in the year but the big national conference was going to be taking place in a few weeks. She was sitting in her office at home when she heard a door slam somewhere in the house. This was confusing to her since Jake was usually out working with clients in the middle of the day. She was slightly frightened and reached for her cell phone but then she recognized the angry voice yelling for her. “Melina! Where are you?! Are you here?!” “Shit,” she whispered to herself. It was as she knew the accusation and punishment to follow. “I’m in the office,” she replied as he was rounding the corner and entering the room. “Do you want to explain what’s been going on?” “Um, I need to know what you are referring to. You can’t just storm in here and ask a question like that.” “Bitch, don’t play with me! You’ve been acting differently for the last six months or so.” Melina took a moment to gather herself; she wanted to fight back because she felt that she was being attacked but she also knew that her affair with Clyde had been exposed. “I really don’t know what you want me to tell you,” she timidly pushed out while fighting the tears that pooled in her eyes. “You’ve said enough. You’ve certainly done plenty,” Jake said. “Did you think that you would get away with this? Don’t you know the resources that I have?” Melina completely broke down crying as Jake explained that he had her phone tapped. He had recorded phone conversations, transcripts of text messages and emails, and he even showed her a salacious segment of an online video chat she and Clyde shared.

“You know me,” Jake continued, “and you know that I have contacts everywhere. I’ve been watching him in Ohio, too. Not as much as I’ve had on you but I’ve seen enough from both of you.” Melina was completed distraught and speechless. “I don’t know what to say but I need to figure some things out,” she said to a fuming Jake. “How about you get some things and get the hell out while you’re thinking. I don’t care where you go but I can’t stay here at all. Go now,” he demanded. Roughly twenty minutes later, Melina was on her was to a hotel.

In Ohio, Clyde had just returned to his desk from his lunch break when his cell phone buzzed with a new text message. From Melina: Shit has hit the fan. He knows. Will call later. Clyde’s heart skipped a beat. He was went through a host of thoughts and questions but the most pressing matter to him was Melina’s condition – Was she safe and how was she holding up? With his anxiety boiling over, the workday sped to an end and he sped to his car where he could privately call Melina. “Hey…Are you okay?! What happened?!” Clyde wasn’t prepared for Melina to answer the phone crying but she had to take a minute to compose herself and answer, “I don’t know. I just don’t know what happened or what to do.” “I’m sorry, dear. I wish there was more that I could do right now. What do you need from me?” “There’s nothing for you to do,” she started, “I need to get my shit together. My husband just found out that I’ve been having an emotional affair with someone. I never thought that I would be that wife. The problem is that I’m in love with you. You may not love me as deep as I love you but I feel that you love me back. We have a strong connection that I don’t think I can live without.” Clyde was now starting to struggle to maintain his composure but had started driving home, “What do we do now? Where do you and I stand?”

“I don’t know.”

Clyde thought he had misheard her and did not response but actually pulled his car into the first available parking lot. He heart was racing, practically on the verge of a panic attack. “What exactly are you not sure of?” “Us,” she replied. An extended moment of silence was shared by the two when Melina broke the pause, “I’m sorry, Clyde but I have to be realistic about this. I know that you started looking for jobs here in Vermont but you are happy where you are and I would feel bad pulling you from that. Plus, Jake and I have been together for five years, married for three. It may be something worth fighting for.” “Have you always felt this way? Is that the reason why you always shut down when I suggest you get a divorce?” Clyde’s tone had changed from sadness to annoyance on the way to full blown anger. “Just a couple of days ago, we were making plans for each other at the next conference in Texas. Now, you seem prepared to just turn away from me. I can appreciate the difficult situation you are in, although I’m not the married one here but I do have strong and deep feelings invested in our relationship.” “I know and I’m sorry but right now, I can’t make a decision on us. I hope that you can give me some time to figure things out. I promise that I will let you know as soon as I get my head cleared. I’m sorry, Clyde. I really am,” and with that, Melina hung up the phone.

Clyde’s heart felt like it had fallen into his stomach. The next conference that they were planning on spending time with one another was just two week away but it appeared that all was lost between the two. Melina was wanting Clyde to be understanding and give her the time and space to figure out her next move in dealing with their relationship and her marriage. Clyde was wanting Melina to finally separate from Jake so they could take their relationship to another level.

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