Both Sylvia and I enjoyed sailing, and we would often walk around the local marina dreaming about owning our own boat. We couldn’t afford anything so indulgent, but sometimes we would rent a small watercraft. We would visit a few of the other beaches or coves, have a picnic, and soak up the sunshine. While I was away at university, Sylvia continued our little tradition on her own.
That is how she met him.
She had decided to rent a sailboat for an hour. The last person to use it had done an excellent job of tying it to the wharf. Sylvia was struggling with the ropes when she heard a deep voice offering to help.
According to her, she looked up and gazed upon the most handsome male specimen she had ever seen. He had a set of beautiful green eyes and a brilliant smile, both of which were directed at her in full force. She happily allowed herself to be swept off her feet.
It was a lovely sunny day and he invited her to join him on his sailboat. She accepted, and they spent a wonderful day together, followed by a candlelit supper at the marina’s restaurant overlooking the moonlit water. It was a fairy-tale romance.
Mike told her he was a businessman, working for a large international company. She found it odd that he didn’t spend a lot of time talking about himself, but she assumed he was a private person and she respected his wishes.
Sylvia knew the basics. She knew he had a brother and sister, and his parents were both still living. He was twenty-nine years old at the time, while she was only twenty-one.
He showed a great deal of interest in her life and her work. In her loneliness, she willingly soaked up all the attention he gave her. She was completely charmed by him. He was handsome, sexy, intelligent, interesting, and interested. He seemed to be everything she had ever wanted in a man.
Mike and Sylvia started seeing each other almost every day. They did everything young lovers do. They went to movies, to restaurants, for walks in the park, and sailing every chance they had. They also started spending almost every night together, always at her apartment. She was so wrapped up in him she rarely stopped to question why she had never been introduced to his family and was never invited to his home. The one time she enquired, he said he shared an apartment with his brother, and they wouldn’t have any privacy.
Shortly afterward, her world fell apart.
One day, four weeks into the relationship, during her lunch break at work, one of her co-workers was sifting through the social pages of the local newspaper. There was an article about a fundraising gala, which had been held the previous evening. The page was covered in full-color photographs of some of the couples who had attended. Her friend drew Sylvia’s attention to the paper to admire the beautiful dresses of some of the women. What actually caught her attention was a picture of a tall, handsome man with a stunningly beautiful young socialite on his arm.
It was her Mike. Or rather, it was Michael Alexander Walters, vice-president and heir apparent of Walters Industries, a huge multi-national company with interests in the automotive industry, real estate and telecommunications.
The beautiful woman on his arm was none other than Cynthia Page, only daughter of William Page, CEO of Starlight International, a large consulting firm specializing in the oil industry.
Sylvia’s co-worker read the article aloud. Apparently, it was rumoured they were engaged to be married, and a spring wedding was predicted. Sylvia was stunned. Mike had lied to her. She had thought he was a regular, down-to-earth guy, making a decent living, but nothing extraordinary. As it turned out, he was a member of the social elite, engaged to another member of that same club. He had been using her just for the fun of it; a bit of variety on the side.
She left work, went home, locked herself in, and cried her heart out. When she finished venting, she walked the floors and attempted to harden her heart against him.
That evening, he called. She saw his name on the call display of her phone and refused to answer. The next day, he called her at work. Again, she refused to take his calls. When she arrived home that day, he was waiting for her, leaning up against the side of his Jeep. She sarcastically asked him if his Jag was in the shop. He wanted to talk to her but she refused. She told him she wanted to have nothing more to do with him.
After several more unsuccessful attempts to contact her, he finally gave up.
A few weeks later, she realized she was pregnant and she had to make the decision about whether or not to tell him. She researched the Walters family and found he hadn’t been lying about having siblings or parents. They were a very rich and powerful family.
Sylvia could envision three reactions to her news.
First of all, her child could be welcomed into the family with open arms. This seemed unlikely. Michael (she now thought of him as Michael, not as Mike) would be forced to marry her against his will, giving up his relationship with the beautiful and well-connected socialite. They would live in his mansion surrounded by his family, and their child would become a pawn within an unhappy marriage.
The second reaction would, of course, be total rejection and the possibility that the Walters family would try to make life difficult for her and the child with a lot of legal wrangling.
The third, and the worst, possibility would be that they would somehow find a way to take the child away from her.
Sylvia’s only desire was to provide a normal, happy life for her child, and she felt strongly that desire could only be achieved without the knowledge of the father.
Thus ended the tale of her unlucky affair.