Jess could hear the unmistakable chiming ringtone of her husband’s phone. She had heard it ring before but was too tired to care, but now, in the dead of night the ringtone was like a siren in the middle of the room. Her husband, Tom grabbed the phone and slurred a hello into the speaker. Jess could only hear garbling on the other end, wrong number she thought, and was about to fall back asleep when she heard Tom reply “No I can’t. Not right now.” She heard the caller respond,
“There is a car waiting for you at (voice muffled). You don’t want to ignore this.” Click. Tom begins to stir and rise from the bed.
“Who was that Tom?” Jess’ heart pounds in her chest. She feels Tom freeze.
“It was uh, Mark.” He stutters. “He is pretty drunk and needs a ride home. I’m just going to get him and take him home. I’ll be right back.” Tom pulls on a pair of joggers over his boxer briefs and grabs a white t-shirt and shuffles out the door. Jess quickly rises pulling on her discarded t-shirt and sweats by the side of the bed and tip toes out of the bedroom carrying her flip flops. She silently checks on the kids whispering to her eldest daughter that she was going to step out for a sec and to keep an ear out for the baby.
Jess hears Tom’s Honda back up and spurt down the road. She quickly jumps in her Jetta and follows him at a safe distance.
After 20 minutes the Honda comes to a stop at a closed down gas station. Jess parks on the street leading and hides the car in the shadows by a large bush. She sees an SUV screech across the intersection and pull into the empty gas station. Tom slowly gets out of the car and approaches a woman with blonde hair who slinks out of the SUV. Jess quietly opens her door and slips into the shadows attempting to sneak up as close as possible.
“Thanks for meeting me.” The blonde woman coos. Jess’ blood boils.
“I had no other choice.” Tom responds grumpily. “Can you help me or not?” The blonde woman nods seductively and curls her finger in a “come here” motion.
“Follow me to the back.” She walks to the back of the SUV and Tom follows as she pops the trunk. Jess had enough, with adrenaline pumping she runs toward the couple and flings herself at Tom.
“What are you doing Tom?!” She yells but chokes when she sees the scene in front of her. Tom stares at her with wide eyes as the blonde woman next to him holds a brown box attempting to place it in his outstretched hands. The back of the SUV was filled with boxes of different sizes.
“Who is this?! I told you not to bring anyone!” Blondie screeches. Tom’s horror struck face moves from Jess to Blondie and back.
“Uh…well it’s my wife. Um Jess what are you doing here?” he hisses.
Jess was beyond confused and angry. “What am I doing here? What are you doing here? This doesn’t look like Mark!” As Tom opens his mouth sirens suddenly fill the air.
“Oh crap!” Blondie screams and throws the box into the back running toward the car door tripping over her heels. Police cars surround them, officers jumping out and pointing guns in their direction.
“Don’t move!” Blondie slowly puts her hands in the air as Tom and Jess shoot each other confused looks and comply.
After an hour of talking with the police and giving statements Blondie is handcuffed and taken away and a confused Jess stares at her sheepish husband. “Tom, what is this all about?”
“Jess, I wanted to surprise you. I know you wanted that computer to start your business but it was just too expensive. To see you work so hard and not be able to get it well…I felt like a failure. So I figured I could look on Craig’s List and find one. I found a seller who was going to sell it to me at half the price so I said we could meet up. I thought I was doing the right thing.”
Jess closed her eyes and rubbed her temples. “All those boxes…they were stolen computers weren’t they?” Tom nodded his head slowly, pitifully looking at her with sad eyes. Jess sighed and smiled at him. “Tom you’re so naïve. I TOLD you not to buy things off Craig’s list! What am I going to do with you?” They laughed as Tom stood and wrapped her in a warm hug.