Amber’s right leg was stiff from the half crouched position she had been laying in. She slowly opened her eye lids. The dried tears formed a cloud over her eyes and it looked like she was seeing everything through a thin veil. The house had an almost eerie feeling to it. Everything was dark, empty, lifeless. Amber remembered seeing Bill driving away. She knew it was useless but she had to try. “Bill,” she yelled out, “Bill, please answer me, please Bill, I need you, please, oh God, please answer me.” Her voice trailed off and she began to sob knowing her Bill was not there to answer her.
Amber had been all over the world in lonely hotel and motel rooms, away from her friends and family most of her life, but never had she felt so alone as she did then. She turned and braced her back against the wall, lifted her knees to her elbows and put her face in her hands. She couldn’t think. She needed to think. Somehow there had to be a way to fix this. Bill loves her, she had no doubt of that, and she knew how much she loved Bill. Love conquers all…right? I’ll find him, I’ll explain, he has to take me back. He just has to!
Amber jumped up and headed to the shower. She had to look her best when she found Bill, she would do whatever she had to, to get her man back…anything!
Amber had no concept of the time when she stepped out of the shower. Amber’s beauty was about as natural as it could be. She required very little make-up, but did what she needed, to look as beautiful as she possibly could.
She picked up her cell phone to check the time. She was shocked to learn it was one thirty five in the morning. She knew there wouldn’t be any, but she checked for voice mails from Bill…nothing. She didn’t care what time it was, she walked out to her car and started her search.
Bill was still tossing and turning, trying to get some actual sleep. He could see a little light coming from the windows and reached over to check the time on the motel’s desk clock…six a.m.
He had left word for a seven a.m. wake up call but there was no need to wait for it, he hadn’t gotten any real sleep up till now, it was silly to think he would get any with-in the next hour.
Bill stepped into the shower and tried to mentally set up his itinerary for the day. Bill knew what he had to do. He really had no choice anymore. He would call into work and take the day off, something he hadn’t done since he first started there over ten years ago. He would call an attorney and start divorce proceedings. Amber had given up her modeling career when they got married so he would make sure she got the bulk of the assets.
On the way out to an all night restaurant, Bill stopped in at the motel office and cancelled his wake up call. He went down the street and sat at the counter. He was trying, desperately to hold it together. He didn’t want to break down in front of the entire restaurant. He sat there for awhile, nibbling on his eggs and pancakes, just staring into space. He didn’t even hear the waitress ask him if he wanted more coffee so she just filled his cup with a shrug of her shoulders.
Bill thought back to all the pain he had experienced over the years knowing Amber had been cheating on him; he also thought about his love for her and all the great, great times they had together. Was it worth the pain, he asked himself? You bet it was! Would he ever do it again…hell no! Never again! From this point forward he knew he would never love another woman. He wouldn’t give himself a chance to. Even if he tried it would never work. He would compare every woman he met to Amber. There wasn’t a woman in the world that would measure up, at least as far as he was concerned.
Bill took a cup of coffee to go and drove back to the motel room. It was time to start things rolling. He had turned his cell phone off when he left the house. There was no way he could talk to Amber right now and he knew she would be trying to call him, so he used the phone in his room. The first call would be to the company. His boss, he thought, wasn’t going to believe this. Mr. Anderson, or as Bill now called him, Ed, and he had become pretty close friends over the years. Ed had been Bill’s boss from the first day he worked there. Together, mostly from Bill’s extraordinary efforts, they rose through the corporate ranks together. Ed appreciated Bill and gave him whatever he needed to succeed. Bill appreciated the latitude.
Bill’s secretary, Anne, answered the phone. “Bill Meyer’s office.”
“Hi Anne, it’s me.”
“Mr. Meyers,” her voice sounding concerned that he wasn’t in the office yet. “Is everything okay?”
“Not really Anne, but it’s nothing I can go into right now. Can you put me through to Mr. Anderson, please.”
“Sure, Mr. Meyers, I’ll put you through right now. I hope you’re alright.”
“Thanks Anne, I’ll be okay.”
Mr. Anderson picked up on the first ring. “Bill,” he said with a question in his voice, “what’s wrong, are you okay?”
“Well, I’ll be okay but I need some time off, Ed.”
“Ah, Of course Bill but please, what’s wrong? Is there anything I can do?”
“Amber and I are having problems, Ed. I’m going to file for divorce.”
There was a brief silence, Bill knew Ed was having trouble digesting what he just said. Everyone who knew them thought they were the perfect couple. “Bill,” Ed finally said, “I’m so sorry to hear that. It’s actually hard to believe, Bill. Are you sure divorce is the right thing to do, what ever it is, it can’t be patched up?”
“Ed, to tell you the truth I’m not sure about much of anything right now, but I just don’t see anyway out of it. I wish I did. Ed, is there anyone in our corporate law firm that also deals with divorce?”
“Ah…ye…yeah, I…ah, I think so,” he was just so shocked, he couldn’t believe Bill was serious. “Let me get you their number a minute, give me a second.”
A few seconds later Ed gave Bill the number of the law firm his company had been using for years. Bill wrote it down on the complimentary scratch pad supplied by the motel. “Thanks Ed.”
“Yeah, of course Bill, no problem. Listen Bill, I know it’s hard to believe but we can get along her without you, for a few days anyway, you take as long as you need. Damn! I hope you guys can work this out though, you and Amber just seem like you belong together.”
“Thanks Ed,” Bill said with a sigh, “I just don’t think that’s going to happen.” With that Bill said good-bye and dialed the law firm’s number. He explained the situation and told the lawyer he wanted to file under irreconcilable differences and he wanted to give Amber the house, all the furniture, her car, and most of the money. The attorney told him it wouldn’t be a problem and as long as she didn’t fight it, things should go through quickly. Mr. Baker, his attorney, gave Bill an appointment for the following day so they could get together and hash out the details. He said Amber would probably be served with the papers by the end of the week already. In the mean time, he told Bill, to go to the bank and take out half of the savings and half of the checking, then open accounts in another bank under his name only. After that he should call the local newspaper and run an ad stating he was no longer responsible for Amber’s debts.
Everything was moving so fast. Bill hadn’t even had time to really ponder what life will be like without Amber. As he tried to picture his life without her he broke down again and started to cry. He laid on the starched sheets of his motel bed and bawled like a baby.
An hour had passed. Between the lack of sleep and his crying, Bill felt like he had been hit with a truck. He still had to get to the bank. Before he left he found the number of the local newspaper and ran the ad. He then headed for the bank.
After doing what he had to do, Bill went down town and just started to wander around. It had been awhile since he had been in the loop. He remembered he used to go to the show to keep his mind off Amber when she was still working so he thought he’d give it a try. He found a movie that sounded interesting, got some popcorn and went in. It didn’t work. He just sat there thinking about Amber and what he was going to do without her. He finally got up and left in the middle of the show.
He wandered around some more until he realized he was hungry. He still hadn’t turned his cell phone back on yet, in fact, he realized he had left it on the desk in his room. It didn’t really matter. It looked like it was starting to get dark already and he hadn’t eaten since breakfast.
Bill needed something beside a hamburger. He looked around and found a place that offered a good steak. He ordered a beer to go with it and took his time. Hell, he didn’t have anything else to do.
By the time he got back to the motel it was ten p.m. He sat and watched the news on TV before going to bed. He hoped he would be able to get some sleep. He was absolutely exhausted. He laid for awhile with an occasional tear running down his cheek. Tomorrow he had to call Amber, he didn’t want her to get blindsided by the divorce papers was his last thought before drifting off to sleep.
Bill was wakened by a knocking on the door. At first he thought it must be the door to the next room, but no, there it was again and it was definitely his door. Still a little groggy, he looked at the clock. What the hell? It was just past three in the morning, who the hell could be knocking on his door at this hour? Then he heard her voice. “Bill, please let me in, please.” It was Amber.
Bill jumped out of bed and just through on his trousers with no underwear. “Just a minute Amber,” he yelled as he grabbed his shirt. He opened the door. There she stood, looking up at him. She was different. She didn’t look like the self-confident, independent fashion model he always knew, she looked scared, vulnerable.
“May I come in?” she asked in a semi hoarse voice.
“Yeah, sure, of course, come on in,” Bill said in a voice that expressed his shock. “How the hell did you find me?” he asked.
Amber slowly walked over to the edge of the bed and sat down. “I’ve been driving around searching for your car in every hotel and motel parking lot I could find,” she said.
“You have to be kidding me.”
“No, I’m not kidding. I left the house about one thirty yesterday morning and I’ve been driving around ever since. I waited for you in the company parking lot for awhile, but you didn’t go in to work. So I just kept driving until I saw your car. I haven’t eaten, I haven’t slept. I had to find you, Bill. I had to talk to you. I know you, I know you’re planning to leave me, but you can’t Bill, you just can‘t. I would die with out you. I will just die.”
She broke down and started to cry uncontrollably. Bill ran over to the bed and sat down next to her. He put his arm around her and tried to console her, he couldn’t stand to see the woman he loved in so much pain. Amber laid her head on his chest and held on to him. He held her tightly and let her cry herself out.
After awhile Amber’s sobbing started to subside. “How long have you known?” she asked.
“Since Paris,” Bill answered.
Amber’s head jerked upward. She looked at Bill with a shocked face. “Paris,” she exclaimed, “but I haven’t been to Paris since before we were married.”
“Yeah, I know,” said Bill sadly. He rubbed her shoulder trying to still comfort her as much as possible.
“Oh my God, honey, you’ve known all this time, I’ve been hurting you all these years. Oh my God, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” Just starting to realize the pain she had put him through, Amber started to cry again.
It had only been the last few months Amber thought that Bill was getting suspicious, she didn’t understand how he could have known all this time. “How?” she asked between sobs, “how could you possibly know about Paris?”
Even after ten years, the call he received back then was still very vivid in his mind. “Your boy friend called me,” he said, “some guy called me and held the phone up so I could hear water running, then said you needed a shower because he had been fucking you all night.”
Amber was horrified. She had no idea Jon Paul had done that and never realized how cruel he was until just now. “Oh my God,” she said, “I never knew. I’m so sorry honey, you never said anything, I didn’t know.”
“I know,” Bill said, “I was going to say something. When I picked you up at the airport that day. I had a whole speech all ready; I was going to ask you right out if it was true. Then you came running and hugged and kissed me and somehow it just didn’t seem important anymore.” He smiled slightly as he remembered their reunion that day.
“I was trying to convince myself the call came from a jealous model who had her boyfriend call,” Bill said. “But then I saw you with another guy after we were married and I knew the call from Paris was for real.”
Amber was shocked to hear Bill had seen her with someone. She had always been so very careful. No one, absolutely no one except Judy ever knew she was having affairs. “You saw me?” she asked. “where, when?”
“It was about six months after we were married,” said Bill. “I had a luncheon appointment to go over some software applications with a client but he had left the paperwork in his room. So, after lunch we went back to his hotel and went up to his room to get it. Just as our elevator doors were closing the elevator doors were opening across the lobby. I saw you walking out; there was also a man in the elevator with you. I almost yelled to you and waved, then I saw you turn and kiss the guy. I almost threw up right there. That was at the Marriott down town.
Amber listened in horror. That was Steve she was with. All these years she thought, what Bill didn’t know would never hurt him. That was something she never wanted to do, hurt Bill, and here that’s all she did for years, hurt the man she loved.
Since Bill walked out Amber thought, if she could just talk to him she could smooth everything over, but now, knowing what she now knows, reconciliation was looking more and more like a real long shot. She straightened up and looked at him. She wondered why he stayed with her all those years. Now, when she looked into his eyes, she could see the years of pain she had caused. Suddenly she felt unworthy of any joy ever again in her life, she certainly knew she was unworthy of the man sitting beside her. She accepted the inevitable. Even though she knew the affairs were over, she knew she had to let him go. There was no reason for him to ever trust her and the last thing she wanted now was to hurt him ever again. “Could you just hold me honey, can we just cuddle one more time?” she asked.
He smiled. They laid down on the bed wrapped in each others arms and went to sleep.
The next day Bill and Amber would share their last meal together, breakfast at the little dinner down the street from the motel. They had each accepted their fate. Amber asked if she could ask him a question. “Why did you stick with me all these years?” she asked.
Bill smiled, “because I love you, Amber, I love you more than life itself. Because, in spite of knowing you were with other men once in awhile, you always came back to me. I know a lot of guys would call that being a wimp, and I guess they would be right, but some things in life just aren’t that easy, that black and white. Yeah, I was hurt…more than once that’s for sure, but my love for you and the good times we had together more than out balanced the pain.” Bill looked into her gorgeous eyes, “Honey, I wouldn’t trade the last ten years with you for anything on earth.”
That was the last time Bill and Amber saw each other. Julia, Amber’s friend from the modeling agency years ago, had started her own agency. When she heard about Amber’s situation she offered Amber a job as a liaison lining up jobs for the new models. The only hitch was, Amber had to move to New York.
Bill threw himself into his work and was instrumental in landing some of the biggest accounts the company had ever seen.
Years later the long, still shapely legs of a former fashion model clicked down an upper Manhattan sidewalk in her four inch high heels. As she passed by a news stand something caught her eye. There, on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, was a picture of Bill Meyers, a little gray around the temples maybe, but otherwise looking the same. “Bill Meyers,” read the headline, “named C.E.O.” Amber smiled while, at the same time, a tear ran down her cheek.
She threw some money at the attendant and grabbed as many papers as she could carry. She hurried to her office where she could sit down and read the rest of the article. She was sad to read that Bill Meyers, a resident of Chicago, Illinois, was divorced and was now a confirmed bachelor. She had hoped that he really would find a woman who deserved him.
Amber sent him a telegram congratulating him and said she would love to have dinner with him if he ever got up to New York, but he never did.