"So, it's my fault you want a divorce?"
Melody grasped the chair, not believing her husband Jim's words
"Yes, Melody. I don't love you anymore. You were useful years ago with your good looks and style. I needed you for my career. But you've let yourself go. You've gotten fat, your hair is a mess and your makeup is a ghost. I'm going to be the most successful lawyer in this town, this state; after that, politics." Jim stated. " I need a younger, prettier wife to help me."
OH MY GOD Melody thought. "What?" she said.
"I met her last year at the allergy clinic," Jim continued. "We discovered we had the same allergy, bees. And, well, things just happened."
"I've supported you through medical school, worked two jobs to pay the bills, even entertained potential clients here. I've done everything you demanded." shouted Melody. "And now you want to dump me for a newer model?"
"Melody, I've already prepared the divorce papers. I'll give you a small settlement but you'll have to find a job to support yourself." Jim told her. "You have two weeks to move out."
"I have to move out?" screamed Melody. "I worked very hard to make this place a showcase. This is my house, too."
Jim replied, "No it's not. We put this house in my name, remember? Anne wants to live here, she admires your tastes and sees no reason why we can't live here."
"How does she know what my tastes are? Have you brought her here? You have, haven't you! Did you make love to her in our bed?" Melody started to cry.
Jim said coldly, "You have two weeks," and walked out.
Melody sank into a chair. What just happened?
Things happened very quickly after that night. Within a week Melody have moved into a motel, taking only her personal belongings. Sandy, a real estate friend of hers, offered to find a new place to live. The "settlement" Jim had given her would barely pay for a mall house but at least she wouldn't be homeless.
Sandy called a couple of days later, saying, "Melody, I think I've found something for you. I'll pick you up in an hour. It's nothing fancy, certainly not like your old house but I think it'll work".
Driving into a neighborhood Melody had never seen, Sandy parked in front of a small scruffy house. Melody looked at it and shuddered. But she got out of the car and joined Sandy as she went up the uneven brick walk.
After showing Melody the tiny living area/kitchen and the even tinier bedroom, Sandy said, "Melody, here's the best part. There's a small deck outback you can use to relax in the late evening." Opening the back door, Sandy stepped onto a small wooden deck. As Melody followed her out, Sandy said, "Oh no! The previous owners were supposed to get rid of that," pointing to a huge bee's nest in the corner.
"I'll take care of that, Sandy. No problem." said Melody. "Draw up the papers, I want to get in here as quickly as possible."
And the plan was formed.
Next Melody bought a cheap second-hand car. She planned on following Jim to see who this "Anne" person was. She had to know.
Spying outside her old house one night, she watched Jim rushing out of the house carrying a blonde woman. She followed Jim as he turned into the local hospital's emergency room, pulled the woman from the car and rushed inside.
Melody waited until Jim and the woman left. She used to volunteer at this hospital and, hopefully, she'd see a familiar face. She needed information. Going to the reception desk, Melody recognized the girl sitting there. "Hi, Julie. How are you? I know it's been a while since I helped out here but I'm thinking about coming back.
Julie jumped up and hugged her. "Hey, Melody. I'm so glad to see you. How are you doing? We heard Jim left you for.......," Julie stammered.
Melody responded, "It's been rough but I'm making it. By the way, did I just see Jim here? Is he ok?"
Julie, not sure where this was going, said "Yes," and stopped.
"Julie, I've had plenty of time to get used to Jim's being with someone else. It's ok to talk about her. I can handle it." Said Melody.
Julie answered, "Well, it wasn't about Jim, Melody, it was his girlfriend. Apparently, she has severe bee allergies, even life-threatening. Jim rushed her here because she couldn't find her medicine."
"Do you know her?" asks Melody.
"Yes," answered Julie, slowly, "She's one of our surgical interns. I don't like her. She's good at her job but she's very superficial. I think she actually she picked Jim because he's the best lawyer in this town. She thinks he can get her everything she wants."
"Thanks, Julie," as Melody prepared to leave. "You've been a big help. I'll call you in a couple of days about my volunteering. See you soon." and Melody was gone.
Melody's plan kept evolving, fitting together.
At home, Melody started thinking about priorities. First, she needed to recreate herself. She knew Anne had been in her bedroom and, curiosity being what it was, had surely seen all the pictures. The next day she joined a gym. Then a visit to the hairdresser. The lighter hair color and shorter cut dropped ten pounds. After working out for a couple of weeks, she could even fit into clothes she hadn't worn in years.
Then she called Julie. "Hey, Julie, it's me. I've got some free time and I'd like to start back volunteering. Do you have anything?"
"Yes, Melody, thank goodness you called. The girl scheduled for the front desk just quit. Can you start tomorrow?"
"Yes, Julie, and thank you. By the way, I've gone back to my maiden name. I hope that won't be a problem."
"No problem for me." Julie replied. "I'll see you tomorrow.
Over the next couple of weeks, Melody made it a point to interact with Anne. Of course, Anne didn't know who she was so it didn't seem odd when Melody started getting more personal. She told Anne she was divorced and living by herself. Anne told her she was engaged to a rich lawyer. They plan to marry as soon as his wife gave him a divorce. The wife seems to be dragging her heels so Anne wasn't exactly sure when that would happen. Melody wondered at that. Her divorce papers had been finalized weeks ago. But she said nothing.
One day leaving the hospital, Melody noticed Anne slamming her phone shut.
"Anne? Is something wrong?" she asks.
Anne replied, "That ex-wife of Jim makes me so angry. We were supposed to go to the club tonight but, apparently, she's whining about something. Jim's going over there and I'm not going to the club."
"I have an idea," Melody said. "Why don't you come over for supper. It won't be much but we can relax, talk a little. How does that sound?"
"I'll do it. And I won't tell Jim where I'm going. Let him worry about me for a change." Anne agreed.
"7:00 OK? Here's the directions to my house."
"Great, Melody. I'll see you later." Said Anne, taking the directions.
As soon as Melody got home, she went to work, finalizing the last steps of her plan. She made a simple salad and put a frozen chicken casserole in the oven. It had to look like they were actually going to have a meal. Then she made a gallon of tea, using too many cups of sugar. She knew it was too sweet but that was part of the plan. Going to the back bedroom, she removed the window screen and dropped several small stones on the bedroom floor she'd gotten from the yard. Looking out of the window, the bee's nest was only a stone's throw away. Grinning, she thought I'm not even nervous. Glancing at her watch, she had enough time to jump in the shower.
Setting the table, she saw Anne's car pulling in the driveway. She greeted her at the door. "I'm glad you made it. Did you have any trouble finding the place?"
Anne answered. "No. Your directions were easy to follow although I don't think I've ever been in this part of town.
Handing Melody a bottle of wine, Anne continued, "OK if we get a little tipsy? "
"Sure." replied Melody.
Taking the wine, Melody pointed to a small table just inside the door, "We'll have it with dinner. Drop your things there. Supper will be ready in about thirty minutes. I've made some ice tea. We can sit out of the back deck and talk." Anne followed Melody outside and sank into a plastic chair. Melody handed her the tea and sat beside her.
"Have you lived here long, Melody?" Anne said.
"Only a few months, Anne, my ex-husband took everything and left me with nothing." Melody answered.
"That's awful," Anne said, taking a sip of the very sweet tea. Shuddering, she sputtered, "Melody this tea is too sweet. Do you have any without sugar?"
"In the kitchen, Anne. I'll be right back." As Melody grabbed the tea, it accidentally spilled all over Anne.
"Oh Anne, I'm so sorry. Let me get you a towel."
Going inside, Melody quickly ran to the back bedroom, grabbed the stones and threw them at the bee nest. Angry bees catapulted out of the hive and zeroed in on the sugary tea staining Anne's dress.
Anne gasped. "Melody, I'm allergic to bees. Hurry! Get my purse."
Melody said. "I know you're allergic. Let me introduce myself. I'm Jim's ex-wife."
Anne looked at Melody with horror and stopped breathing.
It worked! It really worked thought Melody. Now to get rid of the body.
Driving Anne's car around to the back door, she opened the passenger side door. She lifted Anne into the front seat. Before driving away, she ran back into the house and took an orange soda from the refrigerator. Picking up a few dead bees off the deck, she drove the body away.
Finding an empty stretch of highway, she stopped the car, pulled Anne into the driver's side, spilled orange soda on her and tossed the dead bees into the floor. Then she pushed the car into the ditch.
Smiling, Melody walked home.
The next day when she arrived to volunteer at the hospital, she found Julie frantic.
"Melody? Did you hear? Anne is dead. She crashed her car outside of town last night, the cops said something about a bee attack. Anne must have spilled the orange soda she was drinking and that attracted bees. You know, she had a severe bee allergy. Anyway, we have to reschedule her appointments and all of her surgeries. Let's get to work"
Melody said. "Sure, hand me those files. I'll start rescheduling her appointments."."
Later that week, she noticed Jim entering the hospital. When he saw Melody, he hesitated a bit, straightened his tie and headed towards her.
"Melody? Did you hear? Anne died in a car wreck. She was attacked by bees. The police seem to think the soda she was drinking attracted them. Funny, I thought she only drank that high-priced fancy water. "
"I heard, Jim," said Melody, "I can't say I'm sorry."
Jim continued, "I've been wanting to call you but I was afraid you wouldn't want to see me. I treated you very badly and I'm sorry. Is that a new hairstyle, Melody? You are definitely looking good. Let me take you out to dinner." said Jim.
Shallow as ever thought Melody.
Smiling, Melody said. "I have an idea, Jim. Why don't you come to my place? I'll cook dinner and afterward we can sit on the back deck."
Word Count 1979