Maggie's Marriage (The Cloverleaf Series Book 2)(2)

By: Gloria Herrmann


Maggie reached over for her daughter and pulled her close. “I’m so happy to be here with you, Mel.”

That was enough to appease her curious girl, and Maggie was thankful as another wave a nausea swept through her.

The remainder of the field trip went as smooth as a field trip with a pack of six-year-olds could go. There had been some mild horseplay, tattle-telling, and plenty of restroom breaks. Maggie counted the minutes until they were all rounded up to get back on the bus to the elementary school. She enjoyed spending the day with her daughter, who was now thoroughly obsessed with sea creatures thanks to a fantastic tour guide and a not-so-amused red octopus.

Melanie chattered endlessly about everything she had seen at the aquarium on the ride home.

“What should we get for dinner?” Maggie asked as she weaved through the congested Friday evening traffic. The rain had let up, but left enormous standing puddles on the narrow streets.

“Whatever you want, Mom.” Melanie was in the backseat, staring out the window.

“Fish and chips?” Maggie teased.

“Mom, that isn’t funny. I love fish, but not to eat.”

Maggie rolled her eyes. “I’m just kidding, Mel. How about pizza?”

“Yay, pizza!”

Maggie shifted the car and drove toward their favorite pizza place, which was near their neighborhood.



***



After reading Melanie her favorite bedtime story twice, she finally fell asleep. Maggie turned off her light and ventured out to the living room. Their small, two-bedroom condo was dark and quiet tonight. Maggie covered her mouth as she yawned loudly; she was completely exhausted by the time they got home from the field trip and pizza dinner. She stood by the large living room window and looked out at the glittering city lights of downtown Seattle. Where was Michael? She needed to talk to him. What she had to tell him couldn’t wait much longer. She dreaded having this conversation with him, but knew she didn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter.

When they had been on the camping trip, she felt like there was hope for their marriage. They agreed on the drive back that he would put their family first, but once they had returned things instantly went back to how they had always been. Maggie was tired of feeling like she was the solo parent raising their daughter. These lonely nights, not knowing exactly where he was or when he would crawl into bed, were driving her mad, and she had had about as much as she could take.

Then there were those itching suspicions. Was he having an affair with the young, attractive receptionist who always gave Maggie a chilly welcome when she would stop in to visit Michael for an impromptu lunch date? How about the paralegal with the legs that went on forever? Maggie knew her husband was still attracted to her, but she used to work at that firm. She wasn’t stupid; she knew the types of things that went on there. It didn’t help that Michael fit the tall, dark, and devilishly handsome type either. Maggie could recall different women at the office drooling over him right in front of her. She felt insecure, it was as simple as that. Sure, Maggie’s figure took a little hit when she was pregnant with Mel, but she tried to fight Mother Nature and gravity by going to the gym several times a week. She remembered being the young, attractive receptionist at one time, the one with the toned and tight body that all the attorneys stared at. Michael used to lavish attention on her, spoil her downright rotten, and he’d charmed his way into more than her heart. Sometimes things changed after you have a baby. She had been warned by some of the other attorney’s wives, who seemed so bitter and lonely, much like Maggie was now.

Maggie plopped down on the couch, misery quickly invading her thoughts, leaving her feeling empty. She placed her hand protectively over her belly. She had so much she needed to tell her husband.



***



Maggie’s eyes fluttered open as a moment of confusion washed over her sleepy brain. Her body was stiff from falling asleep on the couch. The room was still dark as she sat up to get her bearings. She peered over at the clock; it was almost three. Maggie stretched and pulled away from the couch and moved toward her bedroom. The bed was still made, and there was no sign of her husband. Slipping under the covers, Maggie felt tears of anger stinging behind her eyelids. Another night without Michael by her side. She was asleep again before she knew it.

“Can I have cereal for breakfast?”

Maggie could hear her daughter yelling from the kitchen. She started to rise out of bed when she felt her stomach flip flop. Maggie moved with a quickness to the adjoining bathroom and emptied last night’s dinner into the toilet. She could hear little feet scampering toward her.