Maggie’s Road to Riches in Her New Garter Belt
The names may change but the story is the same
The straw spun aimlessly on its own. The remaining slivers of ice cubes swirled as the vodka with club soda diluted in the late afternoon warmth. The curse of a sunny waterfront patio bar never outweighed the visual magnificence of the super-yachts docked all around it. Mentally a thousand miles away, her eyes weren’t focused on the setting sun leaving its magic across the water. Brilliant reds and oranges danced across the top of the slow-moving current.
The heaviness in her heart was off-putting. She despised succumbing to emotional weakness and did her best to avoid it. Maggie had no time to wallow; plans must be made to cover her tracks.
Moving the straw to the side, she emptied her glass in one long swallow. The bottom was predominately vodka, and it burned the back of her throat with its harsh reality. She nodded to the server for a fresh one. “And bring napkins, please.” Nothing was worse than a puddle of condensation pooling in the heat.
One stray tear rolled down her cheek, mocking her with insult. She brushed it away with the determination to cut off any more. She needed to finish this and move on. Maggie downed her drink and welcomed the newfound determination as she stood and pushed in her chair.
~ ~ ~
She broke her cardinal rule by stupidly falling head over heels for the forbidden fruit. He was off-limits to love. She reminded herself of that every time she smelled him behind her. His perfect blend of Tom Ford’s woodsy cologne with a dash of testosterone ignited her senses.
He was a beautiful beast of a specimen.
She always maintained an impenetrable emotional wall to keep her work life separate from her personal endeavors. This test was by far the most difficult.
Frank was not only married for 10 years but also her superior. These two factors sealed him firmly in the untouchable zone. Her moral compass certainly did not mimic most people’s, but it was at least set to protect her heart.
Rules were made to be broken, she supposed.
And, when he told her they would be together forever, she believed him. They were soul mates. Love boiled to the surface, overflowing in pools of sweat as they lay spent. His fingers lightly traced her lips, trailed to her eyes, and caressed her ears. He whispered pictures of their future and the bliss that would continue to unfold.
Upon delivering the news that they would be bringing a child into the world, Maggie immediately saw right through his forced smile.
He lamely professed his loyalty to her and their future. His eyes revealed his duplicity. The truth couldn’t be denied. He instantly proved to be no different from the others. She suffered from this misstep in judgment, and her heart began to bleed.
He, and now the baby, would have the same classification for very different reasons.
Until the baby washed out of her in the ladies’ room at work, that is. The irony sickened her, and anger was born instead. Left to the shame of her body’s betrayal, she refused to mourn her losses.
Being slapped in the face by the cruel twist of fate triggered a new life force of vile and venom. She stood there in the cold stall, transfixed by her future that circled away as she watched it disappear down into an abyss.
Why had she believed that this time would be different?
It wasn’t difficult to right the wrongs. She had to be creative and deviated from her normal M.O.
Rules were made to be broken, she supposed.
~ ~ ~
It was clean-up time. Maggie entered through his sliding door conveniently left unlocked from the night before. She easily navigated in the darkness. There was no need for silence. There was a need to eliminate any trace of her presence.
Time was not of the essence.
Maggie perched herself at the head of their dining room table. The moonlight caught the Swarovski crystals, dangling like snowflakes from the chandelier, and cast a slow-motion dance across the rich cherry top.
Scanning the room allowed her to picture herself in every setting.
Lounging on the settee under the picture window would have been her coveted spot. The plush throw draped lightly over her legs in a winter’s chilly draft would provide additional warmth as she sipped brandy from her hand-blown glass snifter.
The baby grand piano enticed her to touch the exposed keys and tinker a bit. The eerie echo of random notes added to the somber task that awaited. Wiping everything down, she covered the keys and shook off the fantasies.
Maggie pulled herself back to the present and closed the door on the future that was never hers. Time to get back to business and the one she originally started months ago.
Fueled by a renewed energy to finish this chapter of her life, her eyes shifted to the rounded staircase.
Focused on the job at hand, she headed to their master suite with one purpose in mind.
The night before was surprisingly easy. They were slumbering so soundly that she stood in their darkened doorway and painfully listened to their rhythmic breathing. She watched them with envy, assisted only by the streaming moonlight. Maggie was filled with self-loathing that she had ever desired such intimacy.
Lightning struck as she controlled their fate. She scurried out of there and needed time to clear her head. She knew she could return to clean up later. Maggie didn’t trust her movements or judgments at that point. She would not be sloppy. The trauma of her actions required a grace period to settle.
She was reminded of the horror by the small spattering of brain matter stuck to the wall just above the headboard.
Her head had cleared overnight and laser-sharp attention could be directed to a proper staging now.
Positioning them was easy.
His wife was a little thing, quite pliable, really. Maggie’s keen eye came in handy as she carefully intertwined arms and legs to legitimize the manufactured scene. As his faithful secretary, Maggie knew he was left-handed.
Others may miss that detail, but she did not.
The only twinge of regret came from having to smell that damn cologne as her reenactment required her to practically lay atop him.
The cleaned steely weapon would only have his prints and she dropped it as he would have.
She stood back several times to double and triple-check her handiwork. Once satisfied that no more adjustments were needed, she went to the wall safe and emptied the contents. The painting hung flush in front of it with precision, and for just that fleeting second, she wondered if anyone else even knew it was there.
The sting of unrequited love diminished in direct proportion to this year’s earnings. He was a cash hoarder. She was much closer to retirement now and blew a last kiss of thanks Frank’s way. She imagined it landed on the half of his face that was still somewhat intact.
She packed his wife’s pink leather Kate Spade suitcase with care. Leaving it full and half-open in the bottom of her closet was a nice touch, she thought to herself. She backed out of the room, wiping every item she touched. It took great restraint to leave all of the jewelry in place, but the silk garter belt was stunning. Once rolled it fit snugly in her pocket.
A personal souvenir that was also purposeful would be delicious to wear. Only Maggie would know where it came from, and it fed her sense of power.
~ ~ ~
She always arrived at the office first on Monday mornings and today was no different. Coffee in hand, she turned on the lights and fired up the equipment and computers. Frank’s heavy stone coaster, trimmed in leather, was placed on the left side of his keyboard at his desk. She always had a fresh cup, black with one sugar only, waiting for his arrival.
She clicked on his files and highlighted the documents that contained sensitive information. She didn’t need them anymore.
A few bank transfers took mere seconds.
He had tightly protected his documents and passwords. She had a great view and a keen memory from when she was straddled upon his lap after hours. Ecstasy closed his eyes but opened hers.
Rules were made to be broken.
Delete, delete, delete.
Hopefully, the investigation would be closed long before anything could be unearthed. There shouldn’t even be questions, at all. She was confident in her skills.
As the other staff filed in sporadically, curiosity brewed. A permanent fixture at the massive desk, Frank was always in the throes of wheeling and dealing before most employees were even awake.
Today, his coffee cooled, untouched. The silent room was disconcerting.
Word was delivered courtesy of the local morning news.
“An apparent murder-suicide was discovered at the home of Franklin Watkins and his loving wife. Our sympathies go to the family and his associates. The renowned hometown hero will forever be remembered for putting our little town on the map. May they rest in peace in this troubled time.”
Tears and some screams of shock echoed through the hallways. Maggie slumped in the wing-backed chair at the conference table as her coworkers comforted each other.
They eventually all made their way into the same room. Maggie shook her head, speechless with the devastating news.
The questions were rapid-fire with no pause for answers.
How could this be? What could have driven either one of them over the edge? We never saw this coming! They seemed so in love. Apparently, there was no evidence of a break-in or robbery, and the alarm was set.
Was she really going to leave him?
How could he do this? I can’t believe he’s gone. Everyone loved Frank.
Why yes, yes they did. Everyone loved Frank.
Like a symphony in full-blown crescendo, all of the phones started ringing at once.
Maggie dabbed at her dry eyes, took a big gulp of air, and simply replied that she had no idea.
She glanced at the blinking light on her cell. The message she had anxiously anticipated arrived.
It read, “Good Morning, Cynthia. We are pleased to offer you our executive secretarial position and will forward the moving expenses to your account upon your acceptance of the contract. Thank you for your interest. We believe you’re going to fit in our team nicely.”
She was already starting to feel like a Cynthia and looked forward to this next chapter.
It would only take a minute or so to box up her few scant personal items.
Maggie stood to smooth her skirt. Just touching the clips from the garter belt comforted her and she made her way to turn off the phones.
~ ~ ~
Thanks for reading ~ this story was originally published on another platform.
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