Some Things Are Meant To Be
Chapter 6

Copyright┬ę 2007 by DREMAN

´╗┐

Monday and Tuesday came and went. Colleen met her classes, did her usual things around the house, and seemed normal with the children. She appeared to be lost in thought at times. I wondered if she was feeling depressed. She had taken her sleeping pills each night and had gone to bed earlier than usual. Wanting to have more family time, I got the guys at the shop to cover for me so I could tuck Jill and Jack into bed and read them their stories.

By Wednesday morning I couldn't bear it any longer. She had been acting too perfunctorily and it was bugging the hell out of me. I felt that I needed to make a move toward resolving some the issues that she appeared to be ignoring. For example, she was still acting as if she had done nothing wrong.

I knew that Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays were days when she had a big hole in her teaching schedule from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. She had no classes during those hours and would often use that time to run errands, meet with students, or come home for a while. I poured myself a cup of coffee and considered my approach.

As I climbed the stairs I heard Colleen in the bathroom. I approached her from behind and put my free hand on her waist. She tensed a bit but didn't reject me. I looked over her shoulder into the mirror in front of us and said, "Colleen, I love you and I want to try to work this out. I don't know all that's going on but I believe that whatever is happening is not good for us as a couple. If it's possible, and not too late, I want to prevent anything from happening that would destroy our marriage."

She stared back at me in the mirror and asked, "What do you think might happen?"

"I'm not sure," I responded, "but I have come up with several scenarios that I don't like."

"Well, are you thinking that I have decided to leave you, Ed? If so, I haven't yet, have I?"

"Don't be sarcastic, Colleen. You know as well as I that there are numerous other things that could happen even if you didn't leave me," I responded.

"Like what," she queried?

"Colleen, why are you playing games? You know as well as I do what can happen. You could have an affair, for one thing. Some of our divorced friends who had affairs convinced themselves that it would actually help their marriage. What a crock of crap that kind of thinking proved to be. I don't buy it and I could never accept it if you chose to go that route, no matter what."

"Is that all you're interested in, whether or not I'm going to have an affair?"

"No," I replied, "that is not all. That's only the tip of the iceberg, Colleen. I want to know what has driven you to the point that you could viciously lash out at me as you did without any hint of regret. I want to know what's wrong with our marriage that we haven't been working on. I also want to know what Bill could say that would make you turn against me and make me out to be the enemy."

She moved forward and turned to face me. "Why would you think Bill turned me against you? He simply helped me see our life as it really is and to understand the truth about things I was not aware of. Now, you'll have to excuse me. I must get the children to school and go to work. If you have more on your mind, we can talk about it later. Okay?"

I could hardly believe her patronizing tone of voice, but I wasn't finished.

"Nothing is okay, Colleen. How about meeting me for lunch sometime during your four-hour break today. If we're going to salvage our marriage, we need to start talking now rather than later."

"Uh, I can't work you in today," she said. "It's not a good... what I mean is, I already have an appointment with someone."

I noticed she had sort of fumbled with her words, but I didn't really pick up on it.

"Who is that," I asked?

She paused for a moment, then she said, "Uh... Dean Schmidt."

I couldn't figure out why the two of them would need to meet unless they were working on a school-wide project together. So I asked, "Dean Schmidt... the head of the Business Department? Why would he need to meet with the Acting Dean of Music?"

"I'm not sure," she replied. "He just asked me to come see him today."

I turned and walked away. As I went downstairs, it occurred to me that even the college was another source of people who might want to have an affair with Colleen. What world had I been living in that it had never occurred to me before? How could I possibly watch her all the time if she were to decide to fool around on me? I was acting paranoid. I knew that I couldn't keep thinking thoughts like that or I'd drive myself crazy.

Colleen had blown me off when she said, "I cannot work you in today." She had a four-hour break. Why couldn't she work me in for at least one hour? I had tried to set up a time to talk with my own wife and she had made me feel like I was just another prospective appointment. My stomach was in knots and my mind was spinning as I left for work.

After I arrived at the shop, I decided to do something I had not done for some time. I went to a florist in the mall and asked them to prepare an arrangement of one dozen roses. I said I would come back around noon during my lunch break. At 12:05 PM I picked them up as promised. Then I drove to her college to deliver them.

I honestly did not have an ulterior motive when I decided to take her flowers. I just wanted to surprise her with them even if I didn't get a chance to see her while I was on campus. As Colleen says, sometimes things are just meant to be. Little did I know that a surprise was in the offing for me, too.

After parking in a guest spot, I entered the Administrative Building. As I walked down the corridor that was Dean's row, I came to Dean Schmidt's office. I could see that he was talking with a student and that Colleen was not there.

"Great," I thought, "maybe she will be free for a few minutes after all."

However, when I turned around I was struck by the fact I was also standing in front of Colleen's office. Their offices were located directly across the corridor from one another. In fact, the way they were positioned, they could see into each other's offices when the doors were left open.

I turned and walked into Colleen's office. Her secretary greeted me, and I said, "My wife said she had a meeting with Dean Schmidt during this break time. Is she finished or is the appointment for later?"

"No," she replied. "She isn't scheduled to have a meeting with Dean Schmidt to my knowledge, and I'm usually one of the first to know things like that."

"Well, I am certain that's what she said, but I see that she's no longer there, or here for that matter. Do you know where she is?

The young lady must have become suspicious of something because she looked at me with a questioning expression and cast another glance into Dean Schmidt's office. Then she looked back at me and said, "I don't know where she is, actually. She just told me that she was leaving campus and would be gone from 11:00 until 2:00 PM. She has her cell phone with her so she can be reached if you need to call her."

"I do. Would you please call her for me? I'll take the call in her office."

It didn't add up. Why would Colleen go off campus for three hours when she had a meeting with Dean Schmidt? And why didn't her secretary know of the meeting? I surmised that the meeting was probably impromptu and had been cancelled before Colleen had a chance to tell her.

I was still holding Colleen's flower arrangement, so when the secretary said, "It's ringing," I set them down on her desk and pushed the button for the speakerphone.

Colleen answered on the fourth ring. She simply said, "Yes?" as if she expected the call to be from her secretary.

"Hello," I replied. "I apologize if you're still in your meeting, but how would you like to go to a concert if I can get some free tickets? I need you to make a decision like right now if you're interested. Would you like to go?"

"Ed, I really cannot talk to you now. I'm still in Dean Schmidt's office and you're disrupting us. Can't this wait until I get home tonight?"

Ding! The liar bell just sounded. She had just told a blatant one, too, and both her secretary and I had heard it clearly! Colleen obviously didn't know I was calling from her office, otherwise she would have known that I could see that she wasn't where she said she was.

When Colleen said what she did about being in Dean Schmidt's office, her secretary rotated in her chair and looked at me quizzically. I just shook my head and smiled. She, too, knew that Colleen definitely was not with Dean Schmidt.

"Well, I guess I'll just have to pass them up," I said. "Sorry to have bothered you. Have a good meeting with Dean Schmidt."

There was pause before she said, "Okay, Ed. See you tonight."

I turned off the speakerphone, jumped out of the chair and started to run out of Colleen's office. As I rushed by her secretary, I handed the rather dazed young lady Colleen's roses and said, "Here. These are for you. Thanks for listening. I may need you as a witness," and I ran out the door.

Our place was a straight shot down the street just a couple of blocks from the college. On a hunch, I drove by our house. I did not recognize the car that was in the driveway but I had a sickening feeling I knew who owned it. I parked in the street, rather than in my driveway, and I quickly walked to the front door. I retrieved my house key and quietly put it in the lock. As I did that, I looked into the living room through the window in our front door. Colleen was sitting on the ottoman talking to Bill, who was on the couch. Once again, he was holding her hands. Bill glanced up with a look of panic on his face when he heard the door opening.

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