End of the Age: Final Deception
Jesse placed the finished report into the briefcase and closed the lid. Hearing the
faint sound in the distance, she paused as the siren grew louder before receding into the
night. She hated the noise, the shrieking reminder of a growing crime rate. The apartment
was too quiet without Amber. She missed her roommate and the conversation that would
have kept her mind off the commotion in the streets.
She picked up a magazine from the coffee table to study dark eyes staring back
at her from the cover before flipping through pages. The picture of a model wearing a
floor-length wedding gown caught her attention before her eyes moved across the room
to the desk in the corner. She had placed Tom’s letter in the desk weeks ago. The words
ending their engagement should have brought anger, maybe feelings of betrayal, but not
the sad sense of relief in knowing her fiancé had summonsed the courage she lacked.
On the sofa, Jesse stared at the envelope with her name scrawled across the front
in blue ink. This would be the last time she would read Tom’s letter.
After many agonizing days, I find myself stricken with a forming conscience, or
perhaps some other force moves my hand, compelling the truth from such an unlikely
vessel. I’ve come to realize the truth, much like the past, cannot be changed by whim or
regret. When told, it is best told simply. The truth is, I have misled you, Jesse, pretending
to be a man of integrity, a man worthy of your love. I am not that man. In fact, I am a
fraud, an expert at deception who can role-play, design a charming character long
enough to seduce a woman.
Casual relationships, a mindless fling with no strings attached, that’s all I’ve
ever wanted from any woman. That’s all I was looking for the evening we met. I
remember how you caught my eye the moment you walked into the restaurant. I watched
you across the room with scandalous thoughts dancing through my head.
I must confess, I thought your innocence was an act, a play at being coy and I
waited with typical skepticism for the facade to collapse. How surprising, refreshing, to
discover you are just who you seem, a woman without pretense, the woman I became
obsessed with having even through marriage based on deceit. That was my plan until my
reckless scheme began to unravel. Our talks, the time we spent together, everything about
you influenced me in a way I never expected. You became more than a game, more than a
conquest. I came to care about you, perhaps, even love you.
I do love you, Jesse, but sadly, I do not know how to be in love. How could I go
through with marriage knowing that eventually the mask would slip and you would see
the impostor that I am? You would see me, the real me. You wouldn’t hate me. Much