Gazing out of the conference room window and taking in the late fall landscape of Jacksonville Florida, my sights are fixed on a Wren clinging to the railing. The falling rain is a formidable opponent. I wonder why this cute little bird has waited so long to seek shelter. Suddenly the door opens and Kathryn cheerfully says, "Boss, are you going home tonight or do you plan to stay and stare at that huge stack of mail?" "I'm right behind you Kate," I say, as I ponder which stack to place this letter. Bills, advertising, complements & complaints or the junk pile. I'm undecided because a letter like this has never hit my desk. My stare returns to the rain, wet roads, gray skies, waving palm trees and bustling traffic. As my eyes glaze over, I deliberate the contents of this disturbing letter. The Wren may have taken my advice. My cell phone rings and my wife Jane says, "Hi my man! Honey, did you stop by the shop and pick up the present for the office Christmas party tomorrow night?" "No honey, I'm leaving the office now. I will be home in an hour," I say. "Are you ok honey? You sound sad," she says. "Oh, nothing dear. Just standard stuff. I will see you shortly." With that, I remove my shoes from the conference table and close up. I arrive to pick up the package. While I wrestle with the umbrella to get out of the rain, I bump into another umbrella. Behind it was a soft soothing voice and she says, "Oh I'm sorry, I wasn't watching." As I returned the same salutation, I couldn't help but recognize the voice. Then, a surprise and smile came over both of our faces. "Minh! hey, how have you been?" "Bryan! I'm fine thanks. So nice to see you! I hope you'll be attending the party tomorrow night asiantube." "Wouldn't miss it for the world Minh. Besides, if I don't make it, who will keep you company?" We both hug and say goodbye. Minh and Jae are a couple we've known for five years. Jae and my wife Jane are Engineers for a Real Estate development firm downtown. The firm hosts it's annual Christmas party and as Jane is busy most of the evening, I pretty much end up as a wall flower. Thankfully, Minh is in the same situation. The two of us along with a few other wallflowers typically hangout at the same table. Minh is an LSU graduate and owns a nail shop. She is from Vietnam and Jae is Korean. Like us, they have no children. So perhaps it explains why the four of us feel so comfortable with each other. We've had a blast during the few times we hangout. Minh is a great listener with a captivating personality and she has a found affection for her friends. Her vocabulary is astounding paired with her soft voice. With a petite frame, jet black hair, beautiful brown oval eyes and an adorable laugh, it is easy for a man to have a wandering eye. A man being a man, I can't resist to discreetly look her over when I can get in a subtle glance of her 115 lb. frame. Every place I can inspect is well groomed, impeccably fit and naturally, I'm also curious about the parts that aren't exposed. Jae is also a kind and considerate person and they compliment each other nicely. Jane and I show up at the hotel ballroom and as expected, the employees are cheerful, the booze is top shelf and the food is excellent. The music provided is a small live orchestra. We make our way over to the table and as a pleasant surprise, Minh is waving for us to join them. The four of us sit together with other couples, who are comprised of new employees and spouses. Minh gracefully says, "So nice to see you two again! We don't see each other as often as we should. We should get together more often." "I agree, perhaps the four of us can hit the dinner circuit." I say. "Well if Jae and Jane can ever free up an evening from work, perhaps we can," Minh says. A gentle but sad smile came to my face. "Yes, they do work a lot," I said. Perhaps too much is my thought. "I'd like to see Jane relax more but she is married to the company." As the party gains traction, Jane and Jae were summoned to the stage to MC the yearly awards. A few wallflowers remain at our table and they are busy with the luxuries afforded to them. Soon, it was Minh and I alone and I couldn't think of another place in the world I'd rather be. The only ones not drinking are Minh and I but that doesn't stop our laughing and joking. People gravitate to us because of our care-free outlook. Minh's eyes are sparkling. Her hair looks as though she just left a beauty parlor and she smells like she just got out of the shower. Her scent was overwhelming, intoxicating and erotic. When she speaks to me, I noticed a particularly different look toward me than she gives other men. Almost flirtatious. I recognized it immediately and I am certain this is no illusion. No doubt about it. Let's just hope Jane and Jae doesn't spot it. But Minh doesn't seem to care. I enjoy listening to her as she laughs and tell stories. Deep down inside, I could sense her sad inner feeling. As if her heart is empty. As If she has music still inside that needs to escape. As if she's a caged bird in need of flight. Nevertheless, she is a vibrant person and a joy to hangout with. Later, Jane and Jae return somewhat tipsy and care free. As the conversation continues, my eyes glaze over and I again have thoughts of this beautiful and classy Asian jewel. As I see Jae and Jane joking, a gloomy feeling has me hypnotized as my mind again reflects on the letter. Suddenly we notice the band has played their final song. The men grab their Cigar and the ladies grab their bottle of bubble bath. A nice gift from the hosts. Minh is the first to hug me. Without reservation or care, I discreetly pulled her close to me as she welcomed it. This just felt like the natural thing to do. Her eyes glowed as if she has never had a hug like this. I could feel her electricity as her hand reaches around to hold my back. Minh says, "How about the four of us going out on town sometime." I know its her way of saying, she wants to spend more time with uh... me! I'm just fine with that. "Let us know where and when and Jane and I will meet you guys." With that, Jane and I say good night. I am intoxicated like most of the guests. But, it wasn't from the alcohol. As I take a final and discreet glance, Minh and I are on the same page. We don't need to say a word. The hug said it all. Our discreet glances ends any doubt. I'm convinced she has a buzz too as she waves us goodnight. On the way home, my thoughts were on Minh. Her hug, her scent, her brown eyes, all etched in my mind. What a mysterious and lovely lady. Telling me her life story without saying a word. Assessing this as a far-fetched fantasy, I blow it off and drive onward as Jane is fast asleep. In the morning, my thoughts about Minh return. Jane asks me if I had a good time. I said, "Oh sure honey, it was a fantastic party. By the way, Minh and Jae want us to go to dinner soon. I'm free anytime, just set a time and place." Jane, replies, "Anytime is fine honey, but not next week. The office is going to New York regarding a building we purchased. We will be there most of the week. But the following week is fine." Back at work, things are going well. I'm happy to have a thriving mortgage brokerage. The clients are pleasant and half of my employees are a pain in the ass. But I can deal with them so long as they treat my customers right. If they don't, I get rid of them quickly. It's just my policy. When the new year breaks, things are moving fast as we prepare for the upcoming real estate season. Sitting at the conference room table with work spread out all over is the norm. Another huge stack of mail looks me in the eye. I'm thinking that I should hire a retired USPS employee to handle it. Then suddenly, another strange letter appears. I open it and again, this stops me in my tracks. I read it over and over again. I can't believe my eyes. Same anonymous author. It's not everyday you get a letter like this. So, to say I'm suspicious is an understatement. The author says we have met before and he/she just thought I should be aware of this. The author goes into detail of an affair Jane and Jae are having. When away on assignment they sit close to each other while eating and kiss like newlyweds in the hotel bar. Holding hands in public (see enclosed pic) and share a room at night. Additionally, they buy expensive gifts for each other. There is no caution on their part. The author suspects the management is aware of their actions. The author has provided a temporary email address for us to correspond. Major clues? The author is a woman. The author works with Jane. But why is this lady the affairs police? I've got to respond so I email and thank the author. I would like to check out any available evidence. I suggest that we refer to the author as Pat. I ask Pat, "What is your quest here? Pat replies, "I have no quest but as I've said before, I think its something you need to know. I get no joy out of this. You're a kind and pleasant man and I would only hope for the same. I'm just the messenger. Nothing more. My task is done." "I appreciate anything you can do to help out Pat. But you should know I need solid proof to find your story credible," I say. Pat, emails me two pics. One of Jane and Jae hugging and another of them kissing. "Bryan, they plan to go away alone to San Francisco. I'm not sure exactly when but the office has no immediate plans for travel to San Francisco. Perhaps prior to the scheduled Los Angeles company trip. Last year's trip to New Orleans was not business related. Same for the Washington, D.C. trip. I will keep in touch. I hope things work out for you." Hmmm, this lady knows Jane well. As strange as this whole situation is, I have concluded that Pat is believable. I revert to another deep thought as my eyes glaze over. Suddenly, a realization occurs to me. If this is true, what about Minh? Oh, that fragile angel. She will be heartbroken. I surely have no reason to protect her husband. She has the right to know. But how can I approach her or should I just keep quiet? Pat and I email tag back and forth and little by little, I am gaining more confidence in her claim. Not long afterwards, Jane tells me the office is settling on another project in San Francisco and Los Angeles cams. She will be called on to go. Oh boy! Bingo! No doubt about it now! Suddenly, all of the pieces are fitting in the puzzle. Surprisingly, I am not grief-stricken. Why should I care at this point? If she enjoys her fling, what choice do I have? I can't stop her infidelity, only delay it. Let it happen. I could give two shits about her now. Let's face it, our love life hasn't been well for some time now. How do I get out of this deal is my main objective. The next few days are quiet. Jane is being overly nice to me. It's her cover. Her guilt. I've seen this movie many times before. Again, I don't give a crap. I play it cool for now. But I do know our days are numbered. At work, I get a call from Minh. Is she aware of this? Has she also caught on to the two lovebirds? I say to Minh. "Hello Minh! Nice to hear from you. To what do I owe this honor?" Minh laughs and says, "Nice to hear your voice again buddy. I need a favor. My sister and I are contemplating buying the five-unit strip center my shop is in. Can you give me some details to discuss with her?" "Of course I can. I'd be happy to help out," I say. "Thank you Bryan, can I stop by on the way home from work one night? Jae will be in San Francisco so how about Wednesday?" We settle on 6pm Wednesday. I cannot wait for this moment. Alone and able to chat with Minh without interruption? Hey, that's a nice way to spend an evening! Minh shows up on time. She looks stunning. Tight straight-legged jeans shows off her cute Asian ass and fit legs, a conservative long-sleeve pullover shows off her flat tummy and a nice pair of zip up boots with a matching handbag makes her look like a fashion model. This lady knows how to dress conservatively and look stunning. Working all day and she looks as though she has just come out of the shower. After a brief hug, we go over a package of paperwork. "Are you free to grab some dinner Bryan?" she says. I boldly answer, "I sure am, conditioned upon me paying. Let's get out of here. We can finish our chat over dinner." I don't feel guilty at all, well, since my wife is having her fun. The only consideration and respect I will offer is to Minh. As we near the restaurant, the Eric Clapton song Wonderful Tonight plays. Oh how fitting this is. What timing! ...This beautiful lady walking around with me... yes my darlin, you look wonderful tonight .... "Bryan this is a lovely song." she says. "Yes, it sure is. Wonderful like you", I say with a smile. She giggles so affectionately as we pull up to the restaurant. "What are you in the mood for, Cowboy?" she jokes as we share a menu. I laugh loudly at her silly nature. " I'm hungry enough to eat my horse," I joke. We spend the evening gazing into each others' eyes as we sample each others food and talk about life. Very interesting how neither of us seem to have a care. We are enjoying each other as we have previously. Minh's eyes are sparkling and she has made it clear that I am of interest. We both have a nice meal and laugh like teenagers. She boldly makes reference to my blue eyes. "Well Minh, no charge to look! Free for me too!" I say. We sit close as we share a dessert. "Thank you Minh for suggesting dinner. It's so much fun to enjoy our friendship. Just like the Christmas party." I remind her. There is nothing more I'd rather be doing with Minh than what my wife and Minh's husband are doing. She briefly shows this lonely expression. The side of her that suggests an empty heart. Perhaps it's just her nervousness. But it soon evaporates. Her positive attitude prevents it from lingering. As we stroll to the car she walks close to me. She loves my affection and she doesn't seem to care while brushing up against me like a kitten who needs her belly scratched. Waiting for me to hold her hand or put my arm around her. The song again flashes through my mind. ...You were wonderful tonight... As we enter the garage, she takes my hand when we start down the steps. Suddenly I stop at the bottom of one flight of stairs and tell her to, "Hop on!" Without reservation, she jumps on my back and throws her arms around my shoulders for a free piggy back ride to the car. "You need a shave Cowboy," she jokes as she openly rubs my face. A free opening for me to reach around and spank her butt. She accepts her punishment with an innocent giggle. As we drive to her car, another song plays softly in the background. Still, by Lionel Richie. As I glance over at Minh, her head rests on the back of the passenger seat in satisfaction. I can only imagine what is going on in her mind. I ask her if she is fine to drive home. "Its only three miles away Bryan. Thank you, I will be fine," she says. She half jokingly asks me if these love songs were planned. I laughed and said, "No they weren't planned. But they sure are the ideal songs to remember a nice evening." She gives me an alluring smile. With that, I pulled up to her car. The look in her eyes are spectacular. I think she would accept my kiss. But I can't. Out of respect for her, sadly I just can't. "Minh, call me when you get home. You have my cell number," I say. She slowly departs as if she is waiting for me to stop her. A few minutes later, she calls me and reports that she is home and safe. "Bryan, I had such a wonderful time." I proclaim that it was all my pleasure and I had the time of my life. "Minh, I will let you go now but feel free to call anytime. I really enjoy talking and hanging out with you. I feel so comfortable around you. Thanks again for the nice evening." She says, "OK then, I will call you after I shower." An immediate thought of Minh's freshly cleaned body in her PJ's runs through my head. Not long after my shower, she calls. " I am fresh and relaxed Bryan and we can talk until we fall asleep." "Perfect!, we can lay in bed together and talk, only in different beds," I joke. She laughs so much. As we make small talk, we cover a variety of topics. How she came to the US, her family, her love for the Piano, all about college, med school at Tulane, how an Anesthesiologist became a nail shop owner, how she met Jae and their life now. She shares most without reservation. "Now it's your turn. Tell me all about you." I share my life's story too. But no where near as impressive as Minh's. She laughs and says, "Oh, I love Racquetball too! I've been playing for years. We need to play sometime. I will beat you badly.", she boasts. "You think so, do ya?. Minh, I will spank your butt." She laughs and says, "I can handle that." "I think you'd like it, Cowgirl," I say. One interesting trait of hers is that she is a classy and demure lady yet she is as bold as a tom boy. Eventually, our conversation slows to a crawl. "Minh oiiii, its time to sleep now. We have plenty of opportunity to chat as we wish." "How did you know to refer to me like that?" I laughed and said, "I have my ways." "Oh so lovely! she giggles. Thank you Bryan, but your Vietnamese sucks!" In the Vietnamese language, the word oiiiiii (oy) is only used with a very close love. Such as a girlfriend, wife, child, family member or someone very close to you. It means honey, darling or baby. With that, we say good night. Even though I don't want to hang up, I have a strong feeling that this won't be the last date with Minh. Two days later, Minh calls my cell phone and I can't answer fast enough. Minh says she wants to meet with me to discuss the building purchase and financing. She thanks me again for a fun time. "I'm glad you enjoyed dinner Minh. It made my day too. We'll do it again soon, I'm sure," I say. For the next month, things are quiet. In fact, I look forward to Jane being gone. The occasional email from Pat continues. The casual snack or late night chat with Minh is a rare treat. One afternoon Minh calls and says she wants to buy an investment home. " Bryan, can we meet this week to go over the details?" "How about next Monday, Minh? Jae and Jane will be gone again. We'll grab some dinner afterwards." She agrees. "But this time It's my treat. I have a nice place to take you," Minh says. Minh shows up as agreed. She hugs me again. Her V-neck blouse is stunning and she looks inviting with her tight jeans. She looks like she stepped off of a Hollywood movie set. But I feel a strange sense. Minh says she has something important to discuss. She says she doesn't know where to start. Her face changes from her usually happy self. Her head hangs and she cannot look me in the eye. "What is it my buddy? You know you can tell me," I say. "I am having a difficult time with this. I don't know any other way to say it Bryan. Jae and Jane are having an affair! I've known about this for some time now but I didn't know how to tell you," Minh says, as I listen patiently. Minh goes on... "I'm so sorry to keep this from you. The pressure has gotten to be too much. I am so heartbroken for you. Bryan, the trip to San Francisco is not for work. This is the final time with his affairs. I knew not to trust him. Bryan, I can't take this any longer. I will buy a home and move on so I need you to help me get a home loan." "Minh", I say calmly, "Lift your head up and tell me how do you know this. Listen, it's not your fault so don't beat yourself up. Minh, you know you can trust me. Now look me in the eye." She reluctantly obeys. She talks about some letters she has received and how she has been discussing this with a confidential employee at Jae's company.