Two weeks later, Erin was due to leave Sunset Valley. She had been transferred to the military base on Mercury Island. When she remembered the deep contempt that was in David’s voice when he had testified against her during her disciplinary hearing, she was angry. She wanted revenge.
Calling Alana had worked before, and she decided to try it again.
“Hello.”, Alana answered.
“Oh, Alana!, Erin said, sounding surprised. “I must have dialed your number by mistake. Your number and David’s are just one digit off.” She waited for Alana to ask why she was calling David. When Alana didn’t ask, she continued speaking.
“I just wanted to see what time David is going to stop by my house to say goodbye. He said that he wanted to say goodbye, privately, rather than at the airport. It must be so hard for you to know that David is only staying with you for the children’s sake!”, Erin said.
Alana was filled with rage! She couldn’t even speak.
When Alana didn’t say anything, Erin felt that she had made her point. “Well goodbye Alana. I’ll call David now.”, she said and disconnected the call.
Alana called a babysitter. After the sitter arrived, she grabbed her keys and headed over to Erin’s house. Erin answered the door and was shocked to see Alana standing there.
“May I come in?”, Alana asked, as she pushed her way past Erin and into the house.
“What can I do for you?”, Erin asked surprised.
Alana just looked at her contemptuously.
She placed her hand on her hip and surveyed Erin from head to toe . “You know, I can’t understand how I ever believed that David would find you more attractive.”, she said. Alana’s rage boiled over.
“Erin, you caught me at a vulnerable time, and you took advantage of that. Well I am here to tell you that won’t work again. Living on that island I forgot that there were skanky women like you! You can’t get a man of your own and so you have connived and schemed to try to get my husband.” She moved closer to Erin.
“That ends now!”, she told her firmly.
Erin stood there red faced.
“Do you have anything else you want to say to me?”, Alana asked her. When Erin didn’t say anything, Alana said,” I didn’t think so!”
Then she turned her back on Erin and returned home, leaving Erin standing in shocked surprise.
That evening, I took Alana out for a romantic dinner with just the two of us.
Although she did not believe Erin, Alana asked David about her. “David has Erin left Sunset Valley yet?”, she asked.
“I have no idea. I hope I never have to see her again. Just hearing her name creeps me out.”, I said. The music started. “Come dance with me!”, I told her.
As David guided her around the dance floor, Alana felt as though she were floating. She knew that there would never be anyone else for her accept David. She knew that she was to blame for their separation, and for all the pain that it had caused David. She vowed to do all that she could to make it up to him.
“I love you!”, she told him.
David smiled at her. “I love you too!”, he said and pulled her closer to him.
David’s new commanding officer was Jack Bunch. Their two families got along well. One afternoon, when David was at work, Jack stopped by to talk with Alana.
Alana sat with Jack in the family room.
“I don’t know if we have ever told you this, Alana, but all of us at the base are sorry for the pain that Erin brought you and your family.”, he told her.
“We all think the world of David. He is a fine officer. The reason I am here is because David is turning down a great opportunity to advance his career.”, Jack said.
Alana looked at him puzzled. “What opportunity?”
“I didn’t think he had mentioned it to you. I know it was because you two haven’t been back together very long. There is a special training session being conducted for select candidates. At the end of the training session, a special entrance exam to the astronaut program will be issued. The candidates with the highest scores will be accepted into the program. We believe that David is a natural. He could easily pass the test.”, Jack told her.
“That sounds wonderful! I know he would make it into the program. Let me talk with him Jack. He has to do it. He has wanted to be an astronaut since he was a little boy.”, she said.
“I knew you would feel that way. The training session lasts for two weeks. My family will be here for you and the children if you need anything at all.”, he said.
Alissa fed the children early and got them settled upstairs. She wanted to be able to talk with David alone. When David came home, she had a nice dinner ready for him. They loved to eat out on the patio, so she set the table out there.
While they were eating dessert, she decided to talk to David about the program.
“David, Jack told me about the astronaut program. I know you’re not going because of me.”, she said.
“I’m not going because of us! I don’t want to leave you alone, Alana. I want to be with you and the children. You are more important to me than my career.”, I told her.
“I know that we are the most important to you, David. I love you, and I want to help you reach all of your goals. I promise you that we will be fine, and I will be right here waiting for you to come back. I want you to go!”, she told me.
“I’ll think about it.”, I said. Between Jack, Alana and my parents, I decided to go.
The day for my departure came too quickly.
“I’ll call you every night!”, I told Alana. My father pulled up in his car. He was driving me to the airport.
I pulled Alana to me and kissed her deeply.
“I love you, and I’ll miss you, David!”, Alana told me.
“I’ll miss you too!”, I said. “Don’t forget to keep the alarm set.”
“They will be fine, David. Your mother and I will check on them.”, my father told me after I got into the car.
I still felt uneasy about leaving Alana alone. I wondered again if going to this seminar was a good idea.
Thornton was having lunch when he struck up a conversation with Jack Bunch. Jack knew that he had represented Alana in David’s divorce case.
“Isn’t it wonderful that Alana and David are back together now?”, Jack asked Thornton. Thornton didn’t respond.
“I never did like that Erin! I can’t believe the way she went after David!”, Jack continued. “At least she didn’t hurt David’s career. He is attending a seminar at Fort Sim that will put him on the fast track for becoming an astronaut.”
“How long will he be gone to the seminar?”
“He’s been gone for a week now. He’ll be back in another week.”, Jack answered.
Thornton tuned him out after he heard that David was gone. He decided to go and see Alana that evening after he was sure that she would have put the children to bed. He had called her a couple of times since the divorce hearing. She had been polite, but not as friendly as before. He believed that David must have been around, and that was the reason for her restraint.
Alana checked the clock after she put the children to bed.
“I still have time to take a bath before David calls.” , she decided. He had made it a habit to call and speak with the children before they went to bed and then he would call her again about nine, so that they could speak privately together.
Just as she headed toward the bathroom, she heard the buzzer for the front gate sound. She checked the security camera. It was Thornton. She let him in.
“It’s good to see you, Alana! I have really missed you.”, he said.
“It’s nice to see you too.”, Alana said politely. She wondered why he was there.
“So David is not here?”, he asked, looking around him. This was his first time in their home.
Alana’s instincts told her not to answer that question. She was getting a bad feeling from Thornton.
“What brings you here tonight?”, she asked him.
His eyes returned to her face. “You!”, he answered.
Alana stopped smiling. “Thornton, you know that I am back with David. There is nothing between us.”, she told him.
“You knew the attraction that I’ve had for you from the moment we first met. You teased me for weeks. You owe me, Alana.”, he said.
“We paid your bill. I even gave you a bonus because of everything that you did for me.”, Alana said.
“David doesn’t have to know. We will keep our relationship between us.”, he told her.
“I think you’d better leave now, Thornton!”, Alana said firmly.
“At least one kiss to remember.”, Thornton said. “That’s not too much to ask.”
“No, Thornton.”, Alana told him. She knew he wanted more than a kiss.
Thornton’s expression changed. He became angry because she had told him that she was attracted to him. If she weren’t, she would not have agreed to marry him. David wasn’t home. There was no reason for her to behave this way.
“I risked losing my law license for you, Alana.”, he said. “You should show me some gratitude. I want you, and I mean to have you.”
He rushed towards her, and pulled her roughly into his arms. Then he tried to force his lips onto hers. Alana jerked her head away from his. When he tried to touch her, Alana kneed him in the groin. When he released her, she tried to run.
“Never fight me, Alana. I always win every fight one way or another!”, he told her.
He reached to grab her arm and pulled her dress instead, ripping it. She ran down the hall into David’s office and locked herself inside.
She had just locked the door, when she heard Thornton speaking with someone. It was Alissa! She jerked the door open and rushed into the hallway.
“Come here, Alissa!”, she called. Alissa came over to her mother, looking at her curiously. Their argument had awakened her. Her mother’s face was tear stained and her dress was torn. She looked at Thornton. She had never liked him, and she knew that her father did not like him either.
“My daddy is going to be mad at you again, when I tell him that you made my mommy cry!”, she told him.
“It’s okay Alissa! “, Alana told her.
“No, it’s not okay Mommy. I heard daddy tell granddad that this bad man was keeping you from seeing him, every time he asked.”
Alana looked at Thornton. Is that true Thornton?”, she asked him.
“You said you didn’t want to see him.”, he answered.
“I know I did in the beginning, but you still should have told me that David wanted to see me.”, she said.
“Why don’t you go back to bed now, Alissa. Your Mom and I need to talk.”, Thornton told her.
“No!”, Alissa cried.
“Thornton you need to leave now, before anything else happens!”, Alana told him.
Thornton started to say something else, but thought better of it. He left out through the front door. Alana quickly locked it behind him and reset the alarm.
“Are you okay Mommy?”, Alissa asked.
Alana forced herself to smile. “Yes, sweetheart. I’m sorry we woke you up. Mr. Wolff and I just had a misunderstanding. Let’s get you back to bed.”, she told her. She took Alissa upstairs, back into her bedroom.
She hugged Alissa. “I love you, Alissa.”, she told her.
“I love you too, Mommy.”, Alissa said.
Alana went to the bathroom to wash away the tears and then rushed into the study to take David’s call.
As she waited, she began to tremble. It was a delayed reaction to what had happened between her and Thornton. She didn’t want David to know. She knew that he would kill Thornton if he found out.
The computer screen flashed letting her know that David’s call on Skype was coming through. She straightened her dress, arranging it so that the tear didn’t show. David’s face appeared on the screen.
“Hi, sweetheart!”, I said cheerfully.
Alana was almost in tears. She fought for control. She didn’t want David to worry. He would drop everything and come straight home. She wanted him badly, but she knew that he needed to be there.
Hello, David.”, she made herself say.
I could see her face. She was trying to hide it, but she was close to tears.
“What’s wrong, Alana?”, I asked her anxiously.
“I’m just tired. I don’t feel very well this evening.”, she answered with a wavering voice.
Since my call earlier that evening, I knew something had happened that had really upset her. Whatever it was, she didn’t want to worry me.
“Alana I know something must have happened. You don’t want to tell me what it was because you know I will come home tonight! Just tell me if you are okay now. Tell me the truth!”, I told her.
“Yes, David. I am fine now. I feel better just hearing your voice and seeing you. You really don’t need to come home now, and that is the truth!”, she reassured him.
“Are you sure that you don’t want to tell me what happened?”, I asked.
“No. There is nothing I need to tell you.”, she said.
I thought about the ambiguous words that she had used, but decided not to push her. I would make her tell me when I got back home.
The next morning, Alana called Thornton.
“Thornton, I know that a lot of what happened was my fault, and I am sorry if you feel that I led you on. During that time period, I wasn’t thinking straight. I know that you really cared about me, but you still took advantage of the situation. You should have told me that David wanted to see me. You knew that he wasn’t with Erin and you didn’t tell me. You let me think they were together. Please leave me alone now!”, she told him.
“Alana, I am sorry for last night. I don’t know what I was thinking. Please don’t cut me out of your life!”, Thornton pleaded.
“I think it would be best if we cut all contact with each other. “, Alana told him firmly, and then she disconnected the call.