"I understand where you're coming from when you say things like 'I love you.' It's easy to feel that way after what we did. Our emotions get all riled up and we don't know which way to turn. You'll feel that emotion for a long time, maybe forever. But we're adults and we must face the reality of our normal lives.

"I know those are easy words to say and difficult words to make happen. Don't despair too much. I'll be here to help and so will Lanie."

Flashing a goofy smile at him, Marcy said, "Yes, I do love you. I don't want to be apart from you. You did things to me that I've never had experienced before. I want to do them again and again and again. I know I have another life to live, but right now, I don't want to go there. I don't have a clue how Fred will react when he sees me again. He might hate me forever."

Tears started to fill her eyes.

Cade pulled up the divider between them and urged her to lay partly on him so he could hug her. "That's it. Cry all you want to. I'm not going anywhere."

When the stewardess came by asking if everything was okay, Cade told her things were fine. Besides her physical issue, some emotional events had happened, and she was still processing them.

As soon as the announcement came allowing them to turn on their phones, Cade did so. Immediately came the ping of a message from Lanie.

You guys are safe from Fred's wrath. It's okay to come to the gate together. We'll be there waiting for you and you guys can go pick up the luggage while Marcy and I chat and make our way to the cars. EEW P.S. No email. I'll just fill you in when we're alone.

He told Marcy she needed to check her messages right away. "I know you're afraid of hearing from Fred, but there's a super good message from Lanie that you need to read first."

Lanie's message to Marcy read the same except for the P.S.

He helped Marcy slowly walk off the plane. Once they were through the cabin door, attendants provided the wheelchair he'd requested and he helped place the ring cushion pillow properly. He wheeled her to the security gate where she got up and made her way through.

Outside Fred stood with a somber look on his face. He walked over to her and kissed her gently on her lips.

"What's wrong," he asked.

"My hemorrhoids flared up," she said with her face downcast to cover her partial fib. "Crappy time for that to happen. I haven't had an attack for years. It's better now, but I must move slowly. Where are the kids? I expected you to bring them.

"No, I think we need to talk," Fred replied. "Not here though. There's a lot of stuff I need to tell you and I don't want the kids or anyone else to hear us. We can start in the car. Right now, I'm just glad you're home safe."

Marcy shot him a strange look, then turned to ask Cade "what's going on" with her eyes. She found Lanie's eyes instead who smiled at her reassuringly as she hugged her husband.

She was awash with anguish. She knew she loved her husband, but even now, only separated by feet, she felt like a part of her soul was being ripped from her as Cade walked away.

When tears began to flow again, she faced Fred and snuggled into him. "I know you have a hard time being still, but would you just hold me for a while?"

Fred wrapped his arms around her and placed his head on top of hers. Silently they stood there for nearly 15 minutes, people flowing past them like water around a bridge support. When she felt comforted, she turned her face up to him for a kiss. He pressed his lips against hers. She felt his love flowing into her mouth for the few seconds they kissed.

Feeling reassured, she slowly walked toward the baggage area. He grabbed her hand, asking "May I" as they moved.

She shot him a startled look. In all their 15 years together, he'd never asked if he could hold her hand. Even when they first dated, he'd either just grab her hand or hold his hand out so she could take it.

"Here's a good place to wait," he told her as they neared the baggage claim area. He put down the ring cushion on a chair. "I'll go pick up your luggage. This is close enough you can get to the exit door when I bring the car around."

As she sat waiting, she reflected on the past 20 minutes. She wondered where the Fred she had known in the past had gone because this was a man she'd never seen before. She knew Fred loved her, but he seldom put her desires and interests before his. She never remembered him just holding her for 15 minutes even when they were in bed together. Or holding her hand as they walked. What had happened over the weekend? She knew she was changed because of the intensity of sex with Cade. It appears Fred had changed too, but she didn't know why. That needed to be determined soon. She'd known her feelings for Cade would prove a challenge to manage. But now Fred seemed to want her, actually want her and she didn't quite know what to do.







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