“I guess it’s really over between you and Paul,” Amy said. “I’m so sorry. I feel like it’s my fault. If I hadn’t opened my big mouth that day when you were in the shop…”
“No. It’s not your fault, Amy. It’s mine. I did a stupid thing because I was afraid of losing him. I was desperate. I thought I was pregnant because my period was late.”
“When you got your period, you should have told him that you weren’t pregnant.”
“I was afraid of losing him.”
“It’s possible that if you had told him the truth, the two of you might still be together.”
“I don’t think so. He might have used the possibility of me really getting pregnant as an excuse to break up with me.”
“It wouldn’t have been the end of the world if he ended your relationship. There are lots of other guys out there.”
“It would have been the end of the world for me, Amy. And I don’t want other guys. I want Paul. I will never stop loving and wanting him.”
“How did your family take the news of your annulment?”
“I haven’t told them.”
Amy stared at her aghast. “You haven’t told them as yet? What are you waiting for? They need to know that your marriage is over.”
“Maybe it isn’t really over. Maybe he’ll change his mind.”
“I doubt that, Angie. You lied to him about being pregnant.”
“I made a terrible mistake.”
“A mistake is throwing out pieces of clothing because you think you’ll never need them again or agreeing to crucial “terms and conditions” without reading them. No, what you did went way beyond a mistake. It was an impressive and ludicrous error in judgment. I warned you not to go through with it but you wouldn’t listen.”
“I did what I had to do to save my marriage.”
“Your plan backfired and now you’ve lost Paul.”
Angie’s eyes flashed defiantly at her. “I’m not going to give up on him.”
“I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to tell you this but you’ve given me no choice.”
Angie’s expression became wary. “What do you mean.”
“Last week, when I was walking through Independence Mall, I spotted Paul. He was with a pretty red-headed woman. He didn’t see me. They went into the Japanese restaurant, Sarku.”
Angie’s face was very pale. Jealousy ripped through her. “Maybe she’s a colleague and they were just having lunch. Maybe they were meeting other people there.”
“It was dinner not lunch, Angie. It was Saturday evening when I saw them.”
“I’m sure it isn’t what you think, Amy. He wouldn’t be dating so soon after the annulment. No. You’re wrong.”
“Maybe you’re right. Let’s drop it.”
“I’m heading over to ZIA Boutique. Would you like to come?”
Angie shook her head. “No, I’ve got something I really need to do.”
“All right. I’ll see you.” She got up and let herself out of the apartment.
As soon as she was gone, Angie changed and five minutes, she was on her way to the building where she knew Paul was living. She parked her car across the road. She got out and crossed. She stood outside for several minutes before she went inside.
As she debated whether or not to ask the security guard at the desk for his apartment number, Paul himself walked through the doors. He froze when he saw her. Then, he marched over to her. Grabbing her by the arm, he drew her away from the desk and out of the earshot of the guard.
“What the devil are you doing here?” he demanded.
“I needed to see you.”
“I had to ask you something very important.”
“Are you dating?”
“That’s none of your business, Angela.”
“You’re my husband–“
“Ex-husband. My personal life isn’t any of your business. And it’s time that you stopped living in misshapen realities and faced the real realities.”
“Now, I don’t want you coming around here anymore.”
“Amy said she saw you at Independence Mall with a woman. Who is she? Are you sleeping with her? Were you cheating on me with her?”
He thrust his face close to hers, his expression thunderous. “Get this into your little head. It’s over between us. There’s no future here. Now, leave before I call the cops.”
She backed away from him and then scurried past him and out of the building. Tears streamed down her face as she ran to her car. She would never forget the look on his face for as long as she lived. It took a long time for her to compose herself enough to drive back to the apartment she once shared with him.
Paul walked up to the security guard. “Bill, if that woman shows up again, tell her that I don’t want to see her and that if she comes around here again, I gave you permission to call the police.”
“Yes, Mr. Garbrecht.”
“Thank you.” He turned and walked briskly towards the elevators.