Stormy Surprise

What the hell am I doing here? I'm such an incredible idiot. I don't even know where I'm going. What if he won't see me? How will I ever live this down? God Valerie, you are such a dumbass...

Valerie looked at her watch. After five, no chance of catching him on his way out of work. Damn. She had tried to keep in touch with Michael, but he was being an jerk, as usual. Valerie couldn't understand the allure of the city. She had always aspired to live out her life in Maple Grove as Mrs. Michael Callahan, having a passel of dark-haired children, and making lunches for the kids and her husband. Instead she was here, freezing her butt off on this snowy street corner, and trying to figure out what to do next.

She wasn't quite sure that Michael would even be happy to see her. When he left, they had fought about it, one of those good, long, in your face screaming matches. Valerie had said something to the effect of "I'll be glad if I never see your face again," and Michael had warned her never to darken his doorway again. It probably hadn't happened quite like that, but imagination has a tendency to embellish old stories. Time also has a knack for softening old arguments, which was why Valerie was here.

Valerie knew from the old ladies in the salon where she worked (as stereotypical as this sounds, the old ladies gossip network was the best source of information in Maple Grove) that Michael was working as an Administrative Office Assistant in some place with a weird name. It started with a Z, she remembered that much. Valerie wanted to surprise Michael, to remind him of how much he was missing back home. But now, having thought about this for more than thirty seconds at any given time, she was getting cold feet.

Valerie stood on the street corner outside the bus station, her duffel bag sitting next to her, rubbing her hands together. She knew that she had to make a decision, whether it was to get back on a Greyhound and head home or to go on with what now seemed to be a fool's errand. She picked up her duffel, hailed a taxi, and asked to be taken to the nearest Motel 6.