“Thank you for inviting us to the party. The gingerbread was excellent. Next week the potluck is at our place,” Cassidy shouted across the driveway to Patsy, her next door neighbor. She dragged the trash can down to the curb. Wrapping her polka dotted robe tighter around her doughy middle, she waved to Mr. Miller walking his geriatric Peaches across the sun-drenched cul de sac. Cassie fetched the newspaper from the dew damp lawn and headed back inside.
Cassie scrambled eggs while she packed her husband’s lunch. Josh kissed her on the cheek before heading to the plant. She never looked up from the sink. Cassie loaded the dishwasher, started a load in the washer, and headed into her real life.
Her office was in Trevor’s old room. His Fast and Furious posters had been replaced with a pretty pink paint and a floral wallpaper accent wall. There were shelves of scrapbooking supplies and a new Cricut machine set up under the bright frilly window, but the real magic was the monitor and desktop. Cassie drew the blinds. She pressed the glowering red button. She sat her sweet tea on her Grumpy Cat coaster and waded into the electronic blue.
First her favorite online gaming site to place a few bets and see who was lurking in the corners. Cassie was gone. LuckyLeggs7 lost $300, flirted with some old pals, got invited to a late night poker game, and made promises she never intended to keep.
Next was the ‘gram to track her favorite stories and connect with her high school besties. HollistownHottie talked about who was hot and who was not. She had been stalking Bree, Trevor’s ex, teasing Bree about her size, her failed attempt at college, her nowhere job. Bree hadn’t logged on in a few days. Hottie was relentless. Condensation ran down her glass as she tapped furiously at her keyboard. Hottie scouted the internet and then sent a handful of inappropriate emails about the girl to Bree’s boss and Bree’s aunt in Wisconsin. Laughing, Cassie picked up her glass and drank it down.
Finally there were the chat rooms. Cassie rubbed her hands together. PrettyDangerous96 was provocative and like to push boundaries. Pretty was naïve and innocent. She had a folder of pictures of herself from 30 years before and carefully cropped nude photos from adult sites. PrettyDangerous96 was feisty and fun. Pretty was whatever she needed to be to be the center of attention. She flitted from chat to chat until AmericanSun logged on and begged her to answer his calls. Pretty purred and licked her lips.
“Honey?” The sound of Josh’s keys hitting the hall table wrenched Cassie away from the blue. She shut down. Arms open, Cassie ran to Josh. Her husband of thirty years was in kitchen with the mail in one hand and the other on the cold oven.
“Will dinner be late?”
Cassie leaped into his arms with a kiss. Josh held her wondering how did he get so lucky. The letters scattered across the linoleum.