Two weeks had elapsed. Melina and Clyde had no contact with one another except for one text message sent from Clyde to Melina but he received no reply. The big national conference was taking place in Austin, Texas and the day to travel had arrived. Itineraries had been distributed to all participants and both saw that Melina was to arrive at 8:32 in the morning while Clyde was arriving just before welcome session at 4:02 in the evening.

Melina spent the majority of her day out of her hotel room and walking the streets of downtown Austin. It was her time to finally prepare herself to confront Clyde. The two were bound to have interaction on at least a professional level because they both were slated to participate in a featured panel discussion on the first full day. When she returned to the hotel, she hung out in the lobby. She notice other conference goers from around the country checking in even had brief conversations with a few of them but she was really hoping to at least catch a glimpse of Clyde. She checked her watch around the time she thought that he would be arriving from the airport but he was not even off his plane. Clyde had just landed — roughly forty minutes behind schedule. Melina decided to head back to her hotel room.

On the other side of town, Clyde just got onto the shuttle to get to the hotel. His cell phone flashed with a text message: Are you okay? The message was from Melina. Relief washed over the anxious Clyde. Yeah…My plane was late but I’m okay. That was the first exchange they had with one another since Melina revealed that her husband had found out about them and kicked her out of the house. Clyde arrived at the hotel during the welcome session but he was in no rush to get there and be questioned about the panel discussion that was going to take place the next day. Instead of going to the banquet hall where everyone was meeting, Clyde unpacked his luggage then checked his email. He reached for his cell phone and texted Melina: Do you want to meet me in the lobby? Let’s get out of here for a bit. Less than a minute later, he received a response: On my way.

Clyde was pacing in the lobby thinking about seeing Melina for the first time in almost a half of year. Clyde turned toward the elevators as one began to open. No, that was not her. A second elevator reached the lobby level just behind the first. The door opened. All planned speeches and composed thoughts evaporated from their minds as soon as they saw each other. Clyde and Melina did not even try to hide their longing for each other as they ran and embraced one another. Melina was crying tears of happiness as she threw her arms around Clyde’s neck. “I’m sorry,” she muffled into his chest, “I missed you so much and I still love you.” Clyde had Melina off the ground and in his arms, “Let’s go outside.” The two walked down the street from the hotel. Melina still wiping her face and fixing her makeup. “It’s good to see you again,” Clyde said. Melina looked up and smiled back at him. They walked a block away from the hotel when Clyde stopped in front of a restaurant.

“Let’s grab some dinner and chat,” Clyde said. The two went into a small diner and ordered a couple of small appetizers. Clyde started, “What’s been going on? Last time I saw you, we had one of the greatest moments I’ve ever enjoyed. Last we spoke, you told me that we had been discovered and you went into hiding,” Melina nodded in agreement, “I was worried about you, Melina.” “I know,” she replied, “I’m sorry about that. Things just got complicated. But know that I missed you and never stopped loving you. I just needed to work things out for myself.” Clyde’s eye flooded but he fought the tears back from falling down his cheeks. “Can we just take the moment that we have here right now and just live it as if this is all we have left? As if nothing and nobody else matters? Let’s just enjoy the now and deal with the aftermath as it comes.” “You’re reckless,” Melina said with a smile, “You dive in head first with no helmet and no fear. Who’s to say that we won’t get our hearts broken?” Clyde smiled back, “Sweetie, we’ve already had our hearts broken and it’s either going to end happily ever after or it will be a spectacular catastrophe of love.” Melina paused for a moment with her face in her hands then looked up at Clyde, “I’m scared. I’m scared of making the wrong choice and not recovering.” “So am I but I’m willing to chance it.” Clyde and Melina stared at each other for a while then she took him by the hand, “Let’s get outta here.”

The two rushed out of the diner with Melina leading the way. “There! Let’s go,” she pointed at a bar. They found a table near the stage; the couple ordered drinks and started bouncing to the music. They lost themselves in the moment. It was as time stood still and they were doing what they just agreed to do – enjoying the present. Melina got up to dance while Clyde sat back and watched her. He thought about how amazing she was and how he felt when she was around him. He smiled. At the same time, Melina danced and turned toward him thinking how happy she was that he was close. She made her way back to the table and pulled the reluctant Clyde from his seat to dance with her. The two danced non-stop. Melina looked up at Clyde, “Do you want to go back to the hotel?” “Absolutely.”

When they returned to the hotel, they ran into the elevator passionately kissing each other. They went to Clyde’s room and could barely wait to get inside as Melina started ripping his clothes off before he could open the door. The two tripped over a chair and fell onto the floor. They tore into one another like two love-struck teenagers. Clothes were flung in every direction within the room. Clyde took Melina as if he had been away at war for months and was seeing the love of his life for the first time in ages. Melina embraced Clyde like they were in a fairy tale. They climbed from the floor up to the chair. She mounted him and grabbed his face. Staring into Clyde’s eyes, Melina declared what she wanted to for the past few months. “I love you, Clyde. I promise. And I plan on leaving Jake.” Clyde immediately picked up Melina and carried her to the bed.

Like their first encounter, the passion and fire reached a high like nothing else they had experienced. After the night of ecstasy, Melina and Clyde got ready for the conference. They were preparing final notes for their respective parts for the panel discussion. Both were anxious about the discussion as it was featuring two of the youngest conference participants. It was a chance for both of them to boost their credibility within the organization; Clyde embraced the opportunity as a challenge while Melina was nervous. When it was over, both received high remarks and were praised on their presentations.

“Great job up there earlier,” Clyde complemented Melina, “I had not considered a few of your points and I thought they were pretty important debates.” “Thanks. You’re policy proposals were very well laid out and make total sense,” Melina replied, “If you’re not spearheading some of those in your state then be ready to get tapped by other states to help them draft language for them. You ruled the room today.” “We both had a good day and I think we owe it to ourselves to celebrate. Let’s find a new spot in Austin to check out tonight,” Clyde said. The two planned to venture out after the dinner and networking session. They found a new bar to enjoy a few drinks, the music, and each other. Again, they were like newly weds who were on their honeymoon; they were very affectionate in public, not minding who was around or who see them. When the bar was closing, they made their way to the hotel where they spent another night together – this time in Melina’s room.

The same routine repeated for the next two days. They would participate in the conference then head out to find a new place in the city to party then they would return to the hotel to make love all night long. But then the final day came and it was time for the conference goers to return home. Melina had indicated throughout the days they shared that she wanted for them to continue their relationship once they left Austin.

“What time is your flight today?” she asked. “I have an early afternoon flight at 12:47. I wanted to get home before sunset,” Clyde replied. “Let’s not go for weeks not talking again,” Melina started, “I’m sorry that even happened. With the distance between us, we can’t afford not talking for any reason.” “I agree with you. I love you and if this is going to work then we have to find some way to attack our issues head on and deal with them.” “It makes me happy to hear you say that. I feel more comfortable to know that I have a partner in all of this craziness,” she said with a smile. Clyde reached out grabbed Melina’s hand, “I’m in this all the way until you give me a reason not to be.” The two kissed. They had been hiding the affair from their colleagues within the organization but this moment was carefree; neither one of this cared if anyone from the conference had seen them. They shared a long and intense kiss. Passers by could tell that they were in love. When they stopped and Melina pulled back from the embrace, one person in particular was able to witness the display of genuine adoration between the two – Jake, her husband.

end of Book 1

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