Delicious, as always, Doctor Johnathan Phelps thought, fingers thrumming on the steering wheel. He'd parked his Porche across the street from Emerson's Convenience just to study her through the large window.
Her name was Madison, but she'd called herself Midge when she'd set up an appointment at his office three months ago. "Honestly, I didn't know if I'd show," she'd admitted, blushing. "So I used an alias." Now, he always called her Midge, an in joke between lovers.
He'd wanted to see her tonight, if only for a couple minutes. Amidst the backdrop of a street lamp, a light snow peppering windshield, John watched Midge through the store's large front window. She stood at the cash register, handing change to some scruffy customer who'd purchased a pack of smokes.
John delicately ran a thumb and forefinger down the edges of his goatee. The fact that Midge was beneath him academically only intensified his passion for her. He was, after all, a well respected psychiatrist in private practice.
Fifty-four, he was; Midge, twenty four...
Age didn't matter, not really, he thought feeling himself grow hard. Neither did profession. Not where love was concerned.
Sighing, John checked his Rolex. Better head home to his wife. Angela. Soon he'd divorce her. Naturally Midge would be thrilled. He suspected she'd feel more secure in their relationship if he was unattached, although, she hadn't even hinted at him ending his marriage.
She would never demand that...
Driving away from the downtown core, John recalled that first session with Midge, the instant attraction he'd felt for her as she sat across from him.
"I always pick the wrong guys," she'd said.
"On some level, you realize, they're not right for you," John said, admiring her blond hair, her full lips, long legs... "Perhaps, you find that safe."
"I was raped when I was a teenager -"
"It's hard to trust men period." Sadness reflected in her eyes, he analyzed. Didn't want to be anybody's victim now.
"I want to meet someone decent."
"You will." Me...
"My father left my mother when I was little, too."
"You don't trust men; you sabotage each relationship..." I'll never hurt you...
He guided the Explorer into his paved driveway, and stopped before his two hundred and fifty thousand dollar home. Sighing, he thought of his wife inside. Hands gripped the steering wheel, index fingers tapped lightly. No, did not want to go in. Did not want to hear Angela's damn stories, her questions, their upcoming plans together, did not, no did not, want to sleep beside her.
Tomorrow he'd ask for a divorce.
His mind returned to Midge.
A week after meeting, John had helped Midge on with her coat as she prepared to leave her session. Next, they folded in each others arms.
That first time, they'd gone to a motel room. They slept briefly after. She woke him, nuzzling his ear. He didn't mind.
"You kept saying my name in your sleep," Midge whispered.
"I did, did I?" he mumbled.
She said, "I feel loved."
John admitted he did, too.
Fixing his tie the next morning, John gazed in the bathroom mirror at his thinning hair. Have to do something about that...
The water ran in the shower.
"Will you be home early tonight?" she asked through the shower curtain.
"Late patients." He'd booked a room at a posh downtown hotel, intending to spend an entire evening wrapped in the clerk's arms. "Probably just grab something there."
"Our anniversary's coming," Angela said, as though what he'd said was of no consequence. "I thought we might go away. Somewhere romantic."
I'll end it before then, he thought, leaving the bathroom quickly.
Seconds after Midge came in the hotel room that evening, John sensed a change in her. She didn't run into his arms as she usually did.
Something was wrong...
"It's over," she said.
"What? Why?" His legs felt weak. Why is she doing this to me?
"You're married, that's why!" She ran both hands through her hair. "I'm messed up. I shouldn't have come... and seeing a married man..."
He blocked the door as she tried to leave. "I'm divorcing her. I wanted to tell you tonight."
Her eyes widened as if he'd struck her. "You've been married for twenty years. You can't! No, I won't be the cause of ..."
Before he could stop her, Midge pushed past him, flung open the door and was rushing down the hallway, her footsteps echoing as she flew down the stairs.
Reasoning with her now would be futile, John knew.
Exasperated, he plopped back on the king size bed and stared at the ceiling, a suffocating emptiness filling him. Midge wanted to be the only woman, not the other woman. Damn, he should have known that! He was trained to read patient's thoughts, to read feelings. Midge wouldn't stand for him to abandon his wife, like her own father had...No, if they were to be together Angela needed...
He was surprised how fast he'd considered killing Angela, then realized he must have been thinking of the plan for quite a while.
Buried in the psyche...
He sat up, invigorated. Angela said she wanted to go away together for their anniversary, and that was two weeks away...
...and they hadn't skied together in years!
As he thought further, he realized it was a perfect opportunity.
Midge had taken him on a ski weekend excursion to Mt. Kinleyside weeks ago. They had spent more time in bed at the chalet then on the slopes, but on one particular early morning they'd skied out to a narrow precipice that over looked a valley.
But it wasn't the breathtaking scenery captivating him now, but rather envisioning the fall, the impact from such a height.
Almost absently, he wrung his hands together like some mad man from a cheap B movie. Only his mind raced. This was feasible. Yes! A tragic accident, the authorities would assume. "Too close to the edge, Officer..."
During the next week, John plotted the anniversary get-away with precision. Whether shopping for ski equipment, or dining at fancy restaurants, John pretended to enjoy every minute of his time with Angela. Sometimes he picked up the phone to call Midge, but resisted the urge.
The day before the trip, Midge called him at his office, asking to see him. Anxious, excited, he'd arrived at her apartment and within minutes they'd ended up in bed, like nothing had changed.
He held her for a long time after, stroking her hair.
"I'm moving away," she said. "I had to see you. This is our last time together. I do love you, but it can never work."
He drew her closer to him. When she's gone, we'll have a long life together..."Where are you going?"
"I want to start fresh somewhere, anywhere," she said.
"Okay," he said, lump in his throat. You'll comfort me after Angela dies, I know you will...you'll hear and race back to me...
"You should go home," she said.
"I just want to sleep for a while."
His dreams were filled with Angela falling to her death, of Midge comforting him.
When he woke, the sun was slicing through the blinds.
Midge was gone.
The drive up to the Mt. Kinleyside Ski Resort took two hours, and upon arrival, they soon found themselves stretching their legs on one of the cross country trails. Their coats were top of the line, bright green florescent. The wind was biting, and he snickered as Angela drew her hood up tight around her head, pulling the draw string until darkness closed about her, leaving her face in shadow.
At least he wouldn't have the memory of her face haunting him.
Pulling his hat down tight over his ears, he plugged both ski poles into the snow and slid off. He left Angela behind. Last thing he needed right now was conversation...
"Come on," he hollered as he neared his destination.
She appeared around a couple spruce trees seconds later. He pushed on and within seconds, positioned himself near the precipice. No one else around...
He flipped off his skis, pretending to admire the scenery. "We wanted to rest, enjoy the view, Officer..."
He said, "Isn't it breathtaking?"
His wife plopped down and removed her own skis, massaging her ankles.
Come on, he mentally urged.
Angela moved in close to him. He moved back quietly, away from her.
Okay, here goes...
Placing both hands on her back -
Suddenly, she moved...
One of her hands locked on his wrist, and she flew to the right, and then she was behind him, twisting his arm high up his back, driving him to his knees.
He gave a sharp intake of air between his teeth, raw pain flaring up his shoulder.
"You talk in your sleep," she whispered by his ear. Her perfume wafted to his nostrils.
His mind reeled. "Midge!?!"
"Yeah," Midge said. "I met your wife two weeks ago. I told her to lag behind. We wore the same outfit. You were planning on killing her and I couldn't let you. After my rape years ago, I took self defense classes." Her voice was fueled by anger. "I called your wife to warn her about you, but she already knew about me, everything. She was so scared about this trip...I always pick the wrong guy."
"Midge, please, I love you," he said. He'd make her understand his motive.
She whispered, "My therapy ends now."
She released him. He started to rise, turning, when Midge's boot slammed hard against his spine. He pitched forward -
Over the edge.
And he screamed, morbidly aware, that he would in seconds, check out, thanks to a clerk.