Alyssa pulled her purple Ranger into the driveway with enough speed and gusto to make her fiancée Ryan cringe. He gripped the “oh shit” bar and was about to comment on women drivers as she came to a notably abrupt stop, but thought better of it. He didn’t want to put Lyss in a pissy mood. He jumped quickly out of the truck, thanking heaven he was still intact after the ride.
“I’ll get the mail!” He offered cheerily, already making his way to the mailbox.
Alyssa grabbed her purse and climbed out of the driver’s side, grinning to herself. She loved getting to Ryan like that. She admitted that she wasn’t a cautious driver, but she knew he didn’t consider her a good driver anyway, so she did shit like that just to bug him. She hummed as she stuck her key in the door, but stopped when she noticed the overwhelming smell of roses as the door swung open.
There were white rose petals EVERYWHERE. Alyssa’s eyes widened as she looked around. The ancient door normally swung back into whoever was walking through it, but the carpet of flowers made it stick half way open. The floors and countertops were crowded with crystal vases of every size, stuffed with long-stemmed white roses. Every step she took sent up a floral aroma, because there was no way to step around the carpet of petals. She was still standing completely awed in the middle of the kitchen when Ryan walked in the door.
“What the-” Lyss grew more bewildered when she saw the look of confusion on Ryan’s face. He smiled when she looked at him. “You tryin’ to butter me up, Baby? I prefer beer to roses.” His joke fell flat when Alyssa responded.
“I didn’t do this. How’d you afford all this?” Alyssa was still too overwhelmed to say anything else. She looked around and noticed the envelope with Ryan’s name sitting on the table the same time he did. Ryan shuffled through the matting of roses, and Alyssa giggled at how ridiculous he looked. He picked up the envelope and tore it open as Alyssa leaned forward to sniff a vaseful of flowers. She breathed in deeply and her eyes slid shut as she luxuriated in the smell, so she didn’t see Ryan’s facial expression darken from confusion to rage.
“WHO THE FUCK IS JACK?” The question reverberated throughout the room, making the many roses shiver. Alyssa jumped at the unexpected outburst, and knocked over the vase of flowers she’s just been enjoying.
“What?” she whispered. Her heart pounded in her ears as she waded through the mess. Ryan flung the card at her ferociously, and backed away from her. The look of utter malice in his eyes as he did so made Alyssa’s stomach drop. She looked down at the card in her hands and mouthed the words as she read them.
You’ll never be able to give her this. You can’t even afford to pay the electric bill, can you? She’s too good for a loser like you, and you know it. Alyssa is mine, and I can give her everything you’ll never be able to. Take a hike, buddy.
Alyssa looked up from the note, and Ryan mistook her wide-eyed expression as guilt. He backed even further away, shaking his head in fury.
“I know I’m broke, but what the fuck?! You find some rich asshole to have an affair with and talk about what a loser I am? What kind of sick cunt do you have to be to do that?”
It felt like Ryan had just punched her in the face when he said the words. He had never once called her any offensive names, and as far as she knew, he’d never found her untrustworthy. She felt tears prick the backs of her eyes, and she stuttered to correct him.
“No, no, no,” She put her hand out to grab his, and he swatted her away. “Jack is that creepy guy I told you about that stops by the store; the one who kept asking me out, even after I told him about you. I’ve never seen him outside of work.” She felt herself becoming hysterical the more she thought about it. “He had to have gotten in here somehow- he had to have followed me- oh my god, Ryan, he was in our house.” The moment she said it, she began shaking.
“Well that’s probably because you fucking let him in, Alyssa.” Ryan’s tone was cold and unforgiving. “How else would he fucking know I’m broke unless you told him during one of your sex romps?”
Alyssa squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head furiously. She didn’t know if the tears were from shock or betrayal, but they would not be stopped. She could hardly breathe, but she refused to let Ryan think she’d cheated on him.
“No, I never told him that. I swear I never did sex with him! I was nice to him at the store, that’s all. I kept telling him I had a fiancée, but he kept asking me to have a drink with him. He said he just wanted to talk, because I was nice to talk to. I didn’t- I would never, EVER do that to you, Love. You have to believe me.” She opened her eyes, and squealed in surprise. Ryan was still looking at her like he wanted to strangle her, but her focus was behind him. Jack was standing directly behind Ryan, with a deadly-looking bowie knife gleaming in his hand.