Plan B

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Like most affairs, they end. They rarely end clean. They sometimes end badly. But what’s important is to cherish the good moments and to move on. This is the last story for Ryan and Summer. As all the other stories about them, it’s a combination of fantasy and truth. Changes to protect both parties were made. But this is based on what really happened. Some variation of every part of this took place. Except the ending – hope is a hard emotion to reject.

Ryan sat across from his newest client at a working dinner. At least that is what he thought it was. He realized that the client had other plans. Robin by any standards, should have excited Ryan. Successful, well dressed, warm, confident, and clearly hinting at more than desert or the project. Robin had done her research. She had prepared and was trying to seduce him. At any other time in his life, he would have let her. But Ryan was heartbroken. His head and mind was at the table, but his heart and soul were somewhere else. They were back at the hotel. In the room he shared with Summer. The woman he loved and has now lost. And there was nothing he could do about it.

Summer and Ryan had a wonderful affair. It has been going on for almost six months. Ryan traveled to her hometown of Detroit for work. Dinners, breakfasts, and a few sleepovers. More than sex, but a deep friendship. Both married with families, careers, and everything that came from being in their forty’s and being executives. Not the first affair for either, but what they had was more than an affair. They were in love. They had a connection that neither had had before. Soul mate is such an overused word, but it’s what they felt. Neither were going to change their lives – no talk of divorce. But they were both content and happy to have each other.

Outside of Detroit, they had shared a long weekend in Miami. It was something they both remembered. Not just because of the sex, but because they had been a couple. Out in the open. Together. They had been making plans for two business trips that would conveniently overlap in London and Paris. Plans to attend the Kentucky Derby the next year. How they could celebrate each other’s birthdays properly. Close moment’s together, fun shared. And then the walls had come tumbling down.

Two weeks ago Ryan just getting into town and checking in. He had dinner plans with Summer. He had meetings the next two nights. He was about to leave his room when he got a text. “Family Emergency. I am ok. Need a rain check.” Ryan was worried, but family came first. He texted back “Of course. I am here if you need anything.” Unknowing to Ryan, it was the emergency that would end their relationship.

Ryan didn’t reach out until the next day. He tried to check in, but Summer would text back with short answers. Never revealing too much. It was obvious something was wrong. Ryan got the clear message to give her space. He decided to do so, but never go dark. He engaged her in trivial items. The news, the local sports. Work. She would interact more around those. But she held him at arm’s length. And no mention of their next visit. Ryan finished his week in Detroit and went home for the weekend.

Their texts continued, but with the same invisible walls. Ryan had no idea what to do. He was back in Detroit the next week. He pulled into the hotel and decided it was time to figure out just what was going on.

‘Any chance of us getting together this week for dinner?’ was his simple text. Thirty minutes later his phone buzzed. The text read ‘It’s a no. Sorry’ and that was it. Ryan was shocked. Confused. Frustrated. Hurt. Sad. He knew something had gone wrong. But what? The last time Ryan and Summer miscommunicated, they talked about it. First angrily, but soon with understanding. They had gotten through it and moved on. It seemed this time would be different.

Ryan sat down at his computer. He needed more. He started to write. He asked what was wrong. He asked for information. He wasn’t going to just walk away. He would fight for Summer. Never abandon her. He wrote for about 90 minutes and then knew he needed food. To clear his head, he left his computer and phone in the room. Down to the hotel bar, he got a burger and a beer. He was still in shock, but he needed fuel. He figured it was going to be a long night of silence waiting for a response.

An hour later he walked back to his room. Two beers in his hand, he got into the room. He picked up his phone – he missed a message from his wife. He called her and they talked. He talked with the kids. As he was saying goodnight, he sat down at his computer. There it was. A response to his email.

“Ryan –

Thank you for your note. And for being so supportive and honest. I have enjoyed our time together, and I do love you, but I need to end this. My life has made it impossible to continue. Please understand and give me space. Lots of space.


Ryan stood at the screen. He stared at it for what felt like hours. It was thirty minutes. He then wrote back.

“Summer –

Thank you for the wonderful experience. görükle escort I will give you all the space you have asked for. If I don’t hear from you in a week, I will reach out. I will always love you. I miss you. I am here for you.


Ryan walked over to the nightstand and grabbed the two bottles of beer. He opened both. He drank both quickly. He then crawled into bed, turned out the lights, and cried himself to sleep.

Ryan woke up late. He was still in his clothes. He stripped and headed into the shower. He rushed to get dressed and grabbed his laptop. He stopped and looked. No reply. A deep sigh and he packed it away. Ryan had a busy day of meetings and work with his clients. He looked at his phone and email a couple times during the day. Nothing.

By the time he got back in the room, he wanted to crawl back into bed. But he couldn’t. He could not hide. And anger started to set in. Ryan knew he had to get out of the room. He headed to the pool. He swam for 60 minutes. Then to the treadmill. Another hour. Not wanting to brood, he reached out to his team and offered to buy them dinner. Wings and beer. A good evening bonding. Finally back in the room, Ryan had figured out how to handle the emotional rollercoaster. He needed space as well.

Ryan plugged his phone into his computer. Not knowing what would happen going forward, he didn’t let the anger set in. But he knew that if he didn’t do something –he would reread her texts and emails. Look at her photos. He would be doing emotional cutting. It was time to do something about them. He took all the texts, photos, and emails and exported them to his computer. He created a new Dropbox account and uploaded everything. He password protected it all. He then deleted it all from his phone and computer. Nothing was left. This took an hour or so. Ryan decided to end his day with a glass of wine from the bar and a soak in the hot tub. By the time he got back to the room, it was midnight. He crawled into bed and everything hit him. He again cried himself to sleep.

The next day Ryan had two meetings and then his return home. He woke up, quickly showered and dressed. He packed his suitcase and then sat down at his computer. Nothing. ‘Stop it’ Ryan told himself. You can’t keep looking. She said goodbye. You have to move on. But Ryan didn’t want to move on. He wanted Summer in his life. With a deep sigh he packed his laptop in his briefcase and left the hotel.

During his first meeting of the morning, Ryan received a call. He didn’t answer it at first, but then noticed it was international. ‘What could this be about?’ was Ryan’s reaction. He excused himself from the conference room, stepped out into the hall, and answered the phone. It turned out to be his Uncle by marriage. His mother’s sister’s husband. His aunt had a heart attack. Ryan’s brain went into overdrive. Where? Is she stable? What’s the plan? I will be there today.

Ryan’s mother had passed away a few years ago. Realizing that it was May, it was the month his mother had passed away. Mother’s Day. Her birthday. Now this. What a month. Ryan ended the call and went back into the conference room. He quickly told everyone he had a family emergency. He was leaving.

Within 10 minutes Ryan was on the road back to Indianapolis. Driving well past the speed limit, he quickly pushed his emotions aside. A call to his wife. A call to his cousin – his aunt’s daughter. A call to his right hand man at work. And then a call to the airlines. A frequent traveler, the airline took his call. He needed to get himself, from Indy, and his cousin, in New York, to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. As quickly as possible. No, I don’t care the cost. Make it happen please.

The next 12 hours were a whirlwind. Getting home. Hugging his wife and crying. Packing. To the Indianapolis airport. Meeting his cousin at LAX. The flight south. Getting to the hospital. But they were there.

Ryan’s aunt and uncle owned a bed and breakfast in Cabo San Lucas. The second marriage from both, they had escaped their careers and the US for Mexico. They wanted a more relaxed life. The hotel did well for itself. Highly rated on the travel sites, the 8 bedrooms were always full during the busy season. Ryan had not seen his Aunt for a year, since his younger brother’s wedding. As he traveled, he thought about his family. His mother. How much he missed her. And about his Aunt. How she had become a second mother to him. He was not ready to lose her as well.

Once there, everyone ended up doing a lot of waiting. The hospital in Mexico were good. But the language difference and the ICU visiting rules kept them in the waiting room most of the time. Ryan pushed aside his emotions. He ended up being the liaison between the insurance company and the hospital. By Sunday night, bypass surgery was complete. His aunt was awake and talking. Things got more stable. His first night of sleep in days that was sound.

Monday morning brought new challenges. How long was his aunt staying in the hospital. Who was going to care for bursa görükle escort her? Who was going to run the bed & breakfast. So many things to do. His phone rang a few times during the day, mostly work stuff. He ignored them. By the end of the day, Ryan and gotten most of the things in order. He saw his aunt and then went back to his hotel room. He was going to work through email and get a few hours of business in. As he replied, deleted, and forwarded emails, he also looked at his phone. He listened to voice mails. There were 6 calls and 5 voice mails. What was that last number? A quick web search found that the number came from a community college in a Detroit suburb. Another search found the schools website. Ryan dug deeper. And there it was. On the faculty page. The person who tried to call him. Summer’s husband. A professor at the school. Ryan sat back in his chair and took a deep breathe. It all now made sense.

Ryan sat there at dinner. Robin was really putting on a show. She had figured out all his likes. He wondered how – facebook? Instagram? Backseams. Louboutins. Hermes. And a suit to stop traffic. She was flirting – shamelessly. Ryan should be making plans to ravage Robin. But he could not. He wasn’t ready for something new. And the connection between Summer and Robin was too close.

The week after Ryan returned from Cabo San Lucas, he realized what had happened. Summer’s husband had found out. Summer did what she had to do. She made a choice. She made the only choice she could have. Ryan would have made the same choice. But it still hurt. It hurt that Summer hadn’t told him. It hurt that they couldn’t have met one more time. A proper goodbye. A tear still came to his eye when he was alone in a hotel room and thought of her. Much more than his lover. But someone he loved. And one of his best friends. That loss was great. It was a loss he still had not replaced.

After getting back from Mexico, Ryan remembered. He had a presentation and sales call at Summer’s company. He had gotten it all on his own – but he had invited her. It was Friday morning of the week after things ended. Ryan was prepared. As he was ushered into the conference room, he began to setup. People from the company started to file in. Ryan introduced himself to them. Ryan was dressed to his best today. He was in the same suit, shirt, and tie as when he first met Summer. He was anxious. He was nervous. Summer walked in just before the meeting was supposed to start, with a woman in her tow. Summer introduced herself to Ryan, barely looking him in the eye. ‘Ryan, my apologies, but since we scheduled this meeting, there have been some changes here. I am moving from marketing to take over our customer service division. This is Robin. She is our new Vice President of Marketing. She is just getting to speed. I am sure you will work well together going forward. I am going to excuse myself and let you get started’ said Summer. She looked at Ryan directly for just a second, and he could see the hurt and fear in her eyes. And then she left.

Ryan always new that Summer had a ‘Plan B’ option. He had one too. He just never expected it would get used. Ryan had texted Summer once after the meeting and her exit. She never responded. Ryan wrote her a goodbye letter. It was his way of moving on. He never got any response. Ryan threw himself into his work. He focused on his family. And yet, once or twice a week, he found himself remembering Summer. And finding a tear in his eye.

6 months later

The Detroit Auto Show was in full swing. Ryan’s clients had multiple events, but the big one was for Robin and Summer’s company. Ryan had worked closely with Robin for 3 months on the event. It was a huge win for his boutique agency. The event was spectacular. The CEO has found Ryan at the cocktail event after and was ecstatic. He congratulated Robin and thanked Ryan and his team in front of the entire crowd. As the speeches finished, Ryan headed to the bar. He needed a drink. He had seen Summer on the other side of the room. Ryan had come to terms and moved on, but it still hurt when he saw her. Ryan ordered a vodka and soda with a lime. It was his new drink. It was some of Summer’s influence that had stuck. He smiled. As he turned around he saw Robin headed for him. Robin gave him a big hug. Not just a thank you, but much more. He looked at Robin and realized that she never stopped trying to seduce him. An amazing bespoke pinstripe suit. Silk French cuff blouse. A Hermes scarf around her neck. Black seamed stockings – which had become her new trademark. And tall heels with the red soles. Ryan had gotten used to the constant temptation – but it was hard not to notice just how she looked.

‘Congratulations to both of you’ Ryan heard from behind him. He knew that voice. As he moved away from the embrace, he turned to see Summer. She looked radiant in a cobalt blue dress and nude heels. Ryan had a hard time finding his voice. They had seen each other from afar a few times in the past 6 months. They had spoken at a few meetings. But bursa eskort they had not been this close. Before Ryan could reply, Robin said ‘Thanks Summer. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without you. You recommended me for this position and supported me. Thank you!!!!’ and Robin gave Summer a big hug. Summer looked directly at Ryan. She then took a step back and looked at Robin. ‘You look fabulous. Your have embraced your executive style I see. New scarf?’ Robin replied ‘The scarf was a gift from Ryan. It’s what he gets all his female clients. Sweet yes?’ Summer smiled and said ‘It is gorgeous. I have a special scarf as well.’ As Robin reached up to adjust the scarf, Summer noticed a sparkle from her cufflinks. ‘Now those Robin, those are stunning. A gift?’ Robin replied ‘No, not a gift. More like an enticement’ and her eyes quickly glanced at Ryan – hoping no one noticed. ‘Did they work?’ asked Summer. ‘No, they have not. At least not yet’ and Robin walked away to talk to a member of her team.

Ryan had watched the chatter and wondered what was going on. Why did it seem like Summer was encouraging Robin? Ryan was confused. He decided it was time to leave himself. As he said goodbye and turned, he felt a hand on his arm and heard ‘Please Ryan, stay for a second.’ He turned back and looked at Summer. Emotion washed over him. He waited for her to speak.

‘Ryan, I am sorry. I know I hurt you. I know I handled this poorly. But I had to walk away. I think you know why. We always knew this was a possibility’ Summer said softly.

‘Of course we did Summer, I just don’t think I would have done it so coldly.’ Ryan worked hard to contain any emotion, especially anger.

‘You are right Ryan. I am so sorry. I apologize. I never wanted it to end that way.’

‘I know Summer. I accept your apology. I dealt with it and have moved on’ said Ryan.

‘Moved on? Are you sure? I put Robin on a silver platter for you. Encouraged her a bit. Even hinted on where to find out what you liked. And you didn’t do anything?’

Ryan was shocked. He had not seen this part. ‘Really Summer? You tried to set me up with a new lover?’

‘Yes Ryan. I knew you would be hurt. I knew I had to stay away. So I tried to take care of you from afar. Robin is exactly your type. Maybe even more than I was. That woman is head over heels for you. You should take advantage of that.’

Ryan thought for a second and ordered another drink. Summer told him to make it two. They didn’t chat until the drinks came. They toasted. Ryan finally spoke. ‘Summer, no woman can replace you. I love you. Always will. But I don’t need anyone to take your place. I have spent the last few months focused on me and my family. Not the same, but it’s been good for me. I have no intention of trying to measure what we had against anyone else. Ever.’ A tear formed in Ryan’s eye. He wiped it away. ‘Great to see you Summer.’ And he leaned in for a hug. ‘I miss you’ was whispered and then he walked to the other side of the room.

For the next hour, Robin and Ryan were toasted and congratulated by everyone in the room. Ryan knew this was going to help his business. He also made sure that he didn’t look around the room for Summer. Control was his only friend. His heart and soul were screaming at him to go to her. His brain told him otherwise.

As the event was winding down, he and Robin beamed. They were both the stars. Ryan gave Robin a final hug and watched her leave. Not more than five minutes later, his phone buzzed. It was from Robin. It was a photo. In the photo, there was a bed. It must have been her hotel room. A champagne bucket filled with ice and a bottle. On the bed was a corset. A collection of scarves. A text followed. ‘We should celebrate properly. Please join me. Rm 22010. Check your left jacket pocket. Don’t keep me waiting!’

Ryan checked his outside pocket on the left side. There was a hotel key. How did that get there? And then he felt that hand on his arm again. He turned around. ‘I am leaving Ryan. It was great to see you. Congratulations again’ and Summer reached out to hug him. He heard her whisper ‘I miss you too’ and then she looked directly at him. They disengaged and took a step back. ‘Be safe driving home Summer’ Ryan said. Summer’s eyes sparkled with passion as she replied ‘Not heading back home tonight. Not with all the drinks. I have my favorite suite tonight.’ And she turned and walked away. For the first time, Ryan noticed her stockings. Backseams. The same ones she wore their first dinner together. Ryan took a deep breath and put his hand back into his pocket. He was trying to decide if he should visit Robin when he realized something didn’t feel right. He pulled what he thought was Robin’s room key out of his pocket. It was still there, but so was something else. A hotel key wrapper, with a room number and a note. ‘I miss you too’ and a lipstick imprint. Summer’s lips.

Ryan was floored. Summer was asking him to come to her. To come back. He knew the room number without evening thinking about it. They had shared it on many occasions. And Robin, offering herself for a night of celebration. Ryan held each key in one hand. Summer. Robin. Go back to his room alone. Three options. One choice to make. Ryan put both keys in his pocket, shook a few more people’s hands. He left the event. He had made up his mind.

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