Melania and Matt were in her apartment. It was early Friday evening and he had come to see her. Cameron was with Gina. Since the child was now living with him, Gina had him for the weekends. She picked him up from the daycare on Fridays after leaving work. Matt had called Melania that afternoon to ask if he could see her now.
She really wasn’t in the mood to see anyone, but she agreed to see him. It was just after seven, after she had forced herself to have dinner, when he showed up. They hugged after she let himself inside the apartment.
They went to the living-room. “Would you like something to drink?” Melania asked.
“No thank you.”
“He’s with Gina.”
“Oh. It’s reversed now. She gets him for the weekends now.”
Things seemed so awkward between them and she was still reeling from seeing Tanner earlier that day. Where was he? Was he with Gina? She had to stop torturing herself like this. Matt was here. She needed to focus on him and their relationship. “Any plans for the weekend?” she asked.
“No. What about you?”
“No, I don’t have any plans.”
“Mel, I wanted to talk to you about something.”
She tried to appear relaxed but she was nervous and tense. “What did you want to talk to me about?” she asked.
“It’s about Tanner.”
She stiffened at once. “What about Tanner?”
“Did you and he have more than a working relationship when you were in New York?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Please, just answer the question.”
“Yes, Matt. He and I were in a relationship. It lasted for two years and then, we broke up.”
“Why did you break up?”
“I thought I was pregnant and when I found out that I wasn’t, I believed that it was a sign that I should concentrate on my education. I broke up with Tanner.”
“I see. And since leaving New York, you and he haven’t been in touch until that day when you bumped into him at Yorkdale?”
“Yes. I didn’t know he was here in Canada until that day.”
“Did he know that you were here? Is that why he moved here?”
“No. He moved here because of a job. I don’t think he knew that I was here.”
“And after you and he saw each other at Yorkdale, you have been in touch.”
“Yes. We went for lunch. Remember, I called you and told you.”
“Yes, you did. Have you seen him after that?”
“Yes. We’ve been to lunch a few times.”
“Are you and he friends?”
“Does it bother you that he’s and Gina are dating?”
“Yes, it does.”
“You know why. I dislike Gina.”
“Is that the only reason?”
“What other reason could there be?”
“Gina came to see me last night and she said things.”
“She mentioned that you and Tanner went for a walk in Bayview Village park while she was playing tennis with Natalie. How come you didn’t tell me about that?”
“It must have slipped my mind.”
“She said that you and he were gone for a while when we were at Natalie’s cocktail party. Were you and he together?”
“I went to the bathroom where I ran into Gina. We had words as usual and then, she returned to the party while I went outside for a breath of fresh air. Tanner joined me.”
“What happened when he joined you?”
She stared at him for several minutes, her heart racing and then, she admitted, “We kissed.”
Matt’s face turned pale. “You and he kissed?”
“Yes.” There was no point hiding that from him now.
“Mel, I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to be very honest with me.”
“What’s the question?”
“Do you still have feelings for Tanner?”
“Yes. I’m still in love with him. A year after our breakup and shortly after my high-school graduation, I went to see him to tell him that I had made a terrible mistake breaking up with him and that I wanted him back. Then, I saw him and a beautiful woman coming out of a restaurant, with their arms entwined. I wanted to die because it hurt so much seeing him with her. I turned and headed for the escalator.” Tears ran down her face and she brushed them away. “If he hadn’t been with the other woman, we would still be in New York, married and have a least one child.”
Matt dragged his fingers through his hair. “If things had turned out differently, you would be with him in New York and I–I would be here, a single father, raising Cam.”
“Matt, I’m sorry…”
“Why are you sorry, Mel? It isn’t the first time that I’ve fallen for a woman who’s carrying a torch for someone else. The only difference, is that I had no idea about Tanner. I knew about Gina’s feelings for Joel.”
“Matt, I never thought that I would see ever Tanner again. And then, he showed up out of the blue.”
“And started dating Gina. Now, it all makes sense. Your reaction when I told you that they were dating and your behavior at the cocktail party. I saw the way you looked when Gina told you that Tanner went to get her a drink. I didn’t want to believe that you were jealous. I wanted to believe it was because of your dislike for her.”
“I hated seeing them together.”
“So, what happens now, Mel?”
“I saw Tanner earlier today and told him that we couldn’t see each other anymore.”
“Why did you tell him that when you’ve just admitted to me that you’re still in love with him?”
“I did that because I didn’t want to hurt you, Matt.”
“It would have hurt me even more if I knew that you were with me when it’s really him you want to be with. It would have hurt to be with a woman who was in love with another man. It would have been living another lie and I couldn’t go through that again. It’s best to know the truth even if it hurts like hell.”
“Mel, I want you to be happy even if it’s with someone else.”
“Oh, Matt.” She began to cry.
He hugged her briefly and then, let her go. “Goodbye, Mel.” He walked briskly out of the living-room. Moments later, she heard the door close behind him.