Charlotte unlocked the door to the apartment while she pulled her phone out of her purse to check her messages. Upon entering, she saw a huge bouquet of flowers on the table. She stopped short. She looked around and saw the apartment had been straightened up. She slowly closed and locked the door behind her. Approaching the flowers, she found no card, no explanation, nothing to indicate what they were for. It wasn’t their anniversary or any special day between them. It wasn’t anyone’s birthday. What could they be for?
Charlotte dropped her purse on the table next to the flowers and walked into their shared office. On Ryan’s desk was a slip of paper – Randi, room 1608.
“A business trip?!” Charlotte shouted. “You son of a -”
Charlotte screamed in frustration and stamped her feet, slamming her phone down on his desk. She looked and found the ring box empty. Grabbing the box and his note, she went to the table with the flowers. She dumped out the water and jammed the flowers back into the vase. She wanted him to see a vase of dead flowers when he got back. Putting the ring box and the note next to the vase, Charlotte found a scrap piece of paper and wrote a note to Ryan. Have a happy life with your stupid whore! I’m leaving!
The luggage was in the closet in the office. Charlotte grabbed the four pieces Ryan hadn’t taken and began packing. She grabbed clothes, shoes, and make up – things that were only hers that they hadn’t shared. She didn’t want a single reminder of him or the life they had together. When she got to Portland, she would start over. She would find her own place on her own – she didn’t need Melanie’s help!
Charlotte popped online to her bank account. She had saved up over four thousand dollars for their wedding. She would leave first thing in the morning – hit the bank, clean out her account and use cash so they couldn’t follow her using her credit card. She spent the rest of the evening packing and planning her route. She decided she would follow I-80 and I-84 all the way to Oregon – straight across the country. She should avoid all the mountains that way, too.
Charlotte’s phone chirped that it was running out of battery, but she ignored the sounds. She would plug it in before she went to bed so it would be fully charged in the morning. Finally Charlotte collapsed from exhaustion onto her bed and slept. She slept heavily and dreamlessly.
Charlotte started awake, not sure what had woken her. She turned to look at her clock – 7:13 am. Slowly the memory of yesterday’s events returned to her. More determined than ever to leave, Charlotte changed into her traveling clothes, not even bothering to shower. She threw yesterday’s clothes into the top of the largest bag. She had even thought to write Ryan a check last night for her share of rent for the next two months, until the end of their lease. Even if he was a cheating, lying, scumbag, her name was on the lease too and she wanted herself covered.
Charlotte loaded herself up with the bags, grabbed her purse, popped her sunglasses on, and left the apartment. She locked the door, unhooked her apartment key, and slid it under the door. She’d had enough! Charlotte loaded up her car, stopped at the bank and cleaned out her savings account, filled up on gas, coffee, and snacks and headed toward the freeway.
“Oregon, here I come!” Charlotte shouted as she blew west out of Pittsburgh on I-80.