The sudden downpour bombarded the ground. Alyssa looked up, let the pellets smack her face, hoping they might cleanse her. She hadn't meant for their friendship to turn into an affair, especially with Madeline. Not that Alyssa wasn't attracted to her daughter's teacher.
She'd broken it off with Madeline. At least, she hoped she had. The yearning hadn't evaporated from her completely. Sometimes, an urge arose in Alyssa when she smelled perfume similar to Madeline's, or heard the classical music they both liked. Alyssa'd quit smoking three years ago after many tries. Now, that seemed easier than erasing Madeline from her life.
Dan was a stickler for routine. Breakfast at 6:30. Dinner at 7:00. Church at 9:00. Shirts hung by type, then color, buttons to the left. The kids well-behaved in public. Alyssa thought this was what she wanted—needed. She shook her head, thinking about how wrong she'd been, and wondered if being unlike Dan was what she found attractive in Madeline.
Alyssa knew what Dan would think about her unconnected triangle of lovers. She wasn't surprised he hadn't caught on. He wasn't the think-outside-the-box kind. Plus, she and Madeline had become pros at keeping a secret, even in a smallish city. Polite hellos at teacher conferences, quick hugs at the grocery store, hands “accidentally” touching while watching their girls' soccer matches.
The affair hadn't lasted long, just three rendezvous in a not-so-nearby town, but Alyssa's feelings for Madeline went deep. She knew Madeline felt the same way. Alyssa had cried at their last encounter. Madeline knew why immediately. Alyssa wished Dan was as perceptive. The two left the motel, agreeing not to see each other romantically any longer. Now, standing in her driveway, Alyssa protected the family picture she kept in her wallet from the rain, and sighed. She'd chosen her future. Now she needed to make it work.