Alice settled into the window seat as she pulled off her hat. Sighing deeply she was glad she had made the train. Thank goodness Mr. Green drove by just as her tire hit the snowy rocks causing her to crash. As she brushed herself off, he quickly picked up her bike and placed it in the back of his Suburban then hopped in the driver’s seat and raced for the train. “I’ll drop your bike at your home after work today,” he said as he sat down next to her. “I’m glad you weren’t hurt and it looks like you didn’t damage your bike, just a flat tire. Maybe you slipped on some ice. Say, there’s my business associate. If you need a ride tomorrow just give me a call,” he said standing.
Alice watched him go, thinking about all the times she’d babysat his kids before she started commuting to New York City this winter. She and her best friend Sally were so lucky to have been selected to participate in the new trial high school project. Her hectic schedule left no time for a part time job. Mr. and Mrs. Green and his three children were an example of the American Dream and she missed them but she had new responsibilities.
The Long Island Railroad jerked to a stop and Alice realized they had reached Cold Spring Harbor. Looking out the window she spotted her best friend, Sally, knocking snow off her boots as she walked up the steps. They always sat together on the hour ride to Pennsylvania Station.
“Hi,” Sally said dropping her heavy backpack on the ground and pulling off her gloves, “boy, it’s cold outside.”
“Yeah, I crashed my bike today. Fortunately, Mr. Green spotted me and gave me a lift so I didn’t miss the train. We have our big test today,” Alice said, looking at her friend.
“That’s lucky, and, I know, I’ve been cramming all night. Who’s Mr. Green?” Sally asked between bites of her breakfast bagel. “Boy this weather makes me hungry.”
Alice pointed to her neighbor sitting further up in the car.
“The blonde guy? He sure looks cute,”
Sally said. “How do you know him?”
“Oh, his wife knows my mom, and I think your mom knows her, too. Before we got selected for this program I would babysat his kids. I never thought of him as cute. He’s got a solid family.”
The conductor came by clicking tickets and the friend’s conversation was interrupted. At the next stop more people piled on and soon the miles wizzed by and they were pulling into Penn Station in New York City.
“Well, let’s hope we ace this test,” Sally said lifting her heavy backpack.
“Yeah, this experimental pre-college class is harder than I imagined,” Alice said walking off the train towards their downtown subway. “It leaves no time for fun or babysitting!”
The next morning the friends met again. “Same time, same place,” Sally said as she sat down. The friends gossiped together and Sally looked up when the train jerked to a stop.
“Hey, look at that beautiful woman coming on board. She sure has style. Hey, look, she’s hugging your friend Mr. What’s his name,” Sally said.
“What? That’s crazy, look at how friendly they seem. What? This is crazy!” Alice exclaimed.
“You think something’s up? You think he’s having an affair?” Sally asked.
“Oh, Sally, let’s not jump to conclusions. I told you, he’s got the American Dream. His wife is beautiful, too,” Alice said, but frowned as she cast her eyes in Mr. Green’s direction.
“Well, my family psych class says around 60% of men cheat and infidelity is responsible for over 20% of divorces. Hey, text your mom, see if she knows anything,” Sally said excitedly.
“Oh, she‘ll just say I’m jumping to conclusions, that I’m imagining things,” but looking again at the couple, she didn’t think she was imagining anything. Reluctantly, she reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone.
“Well,” Sally said, “my parents split because of my dad and his secretary. Nobody ever thought that would happen. It really sucks.”
“I’m sorry, I know it’s been hard for you,” Alice said looking down at her phone. “Are we just imagining this or should I text my mom?”
“Oh, forget your mom. My mom won’t flinch. She’s all about the betrayed wife. And just look at those guys, I’d say there’s some definite hanky panky.” Sally said looking directly at the couple whose heads were bent close together deep in conversation. Unfortunately, they were close enough to observe but not close enough to listen.
Sally quickly texted her mom. “Say, do you know Mr. and Mrs. Green?”
Her mom quickly responded. “Sure, Pam Green is in my yoga class. Why? Has something happened to them?”
Sally stood for a moment, casually lifted her phone and snapped a photo and sent it to her mom.
“Who’s the gorgeous blonde? I can’t see her face but their body language sure looks cozy,” Sally’s mom texted back.
The train jerked to a stop and they were in Pennsylvania Station and their hectic day was about to begin. Sally quickly texted “Bye,” put her phone away and scrambled out of her seat.
Rushing off the train they had hoped to follow the couple but unfortunately they were too late, the couple had vanished. Riding up the escalator they scanned the throngs of morning commuters with no luck.
“Well,” Sally said, “we’ll do better tomorrow. Wow, the snow has started to fall. Hopefully we get home tonight.”
Alice and Sally did make it home, just as the Nor’easter hit the East Coast. Several feet of heavy wet snow fell overnight and in the morning all of New York City and Long Island was blanketed and silent. The railroad had stopped running the night before and the highways were closed. No one was going anywhere.
The friends were housebound and texted all day, the conversation mostly about the ‘cheating’ Mister Green.
“Apparently he never made it home last night. And recently he’s been coming in late most evenings. My mom has been texting with his wife.” Sally texted.
“Yeah, my mom heard Mrs. Green wants her husband to move out. Apparently he’s been really weird. And she found notes on NYC hotels. She’s convinced he’s fooling around.” Alice texted.
Midday the storm stopped. The next morning life was back to normal. It was Saturday and the friends got together to devise a plan to get solid evidence against Mr. Green.
“We can do this, Alice, but it really doesn’t matter. Mrs. Green might take charge herself. We started this and she’ll finish this. We should be proud of ourselves,” Sally said smiling.
Monday morning Alice was late again. She hadn’t fixed her flat tire and it was a slow walk on the slippery sidewalk. She heard a toot and a car stopped. The passenger window rolled down and Mr. Green was behind the wheel.
“Hey, hop in, we have just enough time to catch the train,” he said pleasantly.
Alice hesitated but jumped in. He was right, she didn’t want to miss the train. As she climbed in she pushed aside a large stack of large beige envelopes.
Mr. Green noticed her actions and said, “Oh, take one and bring it home. It’s an invitation to my wife’s surprise birthday party. She turns forty later this month. I think my wife is upset about this birthday because she’s been super cranky. My sister and I have been planning a big party. We’ve done a lot of work on our morning commute. Anyway, it’s gonna be a great bash in a hotel in Times Square.”
Alice gulped and blushed red. She hoped Mr. Green didn’t notice.