She heard the tone indicating the ringing phone on the other end. She grinned through the tears, this was going to be epic! She was a tough woman, sensitive, but with an inner strength that surprised even her, and she needed to show him that she would be fine without him, that she could make a clean break and move on. She was a modern woman and needed to be with a modern man.
But first she had to gain control of her simmering emotions. She took several deep breaths as the phone rang and wiped her nose on her pillow. When the line clicked open and he responded with, "Hello, Suzanne. Do you know what time it is?"
"Dave, hi. Listen, I know we've been going through some tough times recently --"
And in her mind she screamed, Because you're a cheater! CHEATER!
"--but I just wanted to let you know that I still care about you and will always treasure what we had... but it's over."
Dave was silent on the other end for a moment, then he responded with, "Over?"
Suzanne reminded herself that her conviction must remain resolute if she were to make this as quick and painless as possible.
Like taking off a Band-Aid, she thought.
"Yes. There will always be a part of me that loves you, I realize that, and once the pain subsides I'm sure I can forgive you. But for right now I think it's best if we call this thing off."
"What thing? Suzanne, I --"
"Please! Let me finish, Dave. It's the least you can do after you spent all that time with those other girls. Do you know how much that hurts me?"
"Hold on. Suzanne --"
"Did you think I wouldn't find out?! About you and the photographer? Or the Sociology student? Or that whore who works at Bruegers Bagels? Huh?! You've RIPPED out my heart, Dave, and there's nothing left. I need to get away from you so that I can heal, but I don't know how long it takes to mend a broken heart, honestly."
"Suzanne, I don't know what the hell you are talking about."
Emotions welled up within her and threatened to boil over, but for now she kept a lid on it and spoke evenly into the phone, "Don't lie to me, Dave. Don't even bother. I know the truth now. I don't how long you were stringing me along, playing me, or how long you were planning to further string me along... But I'm a big girl, Mr. David Hanrahan, and I am going to college soon. Once there, I will discover a real man, not a boy like you. A man who will treat me right, and respect me, and love me a love so pure and true..."
Now the sobs came, and Suzanne tried desperately to keep control. She needed to get it out into the open and clear the air in one shot; she doubted she would have the strength to go through this again.
Her heart was crushed when she heard another voice on the line, soft and feminine. The woman asked numbly, "Who is it, darling?"
There was a muffled scrape as Dave apparently put his hand over the receiver, but Suzanne could still hear his somewhat muted words, "It's one of my students, Suzanne Collier."
"Oh. What time is it?"
Dave said, "Go back to sleep, honey. I'll handle this."
Suzanne's ire stoked itself into a full-blown rage. She clenched her jaw and blinked the red dots from her vision. Suddenly, her room seemed to be about five hundred degrees, "She's there right now, isn't she Dave? I should have known. You're a damned philanderer!"
"Now see here, young lady," Dave's voice raised and Suzanne thought maybe his blood pressure might be elevated as well, "I don't know what you are insinuating, but let me make it perfectly clear to you: I am NOT a philanderer, I am a happy and loyal married man! If you are implying what I think you are implying then you need to get help! This is an utter fabrication in your mind! I will be contacting the authorities about your harassing phone calls in the middle of the night. Now leave me alone!"
The line disconnected sharply in Suzanne's ear, and despite the madness which fluttered behind her eyes and threatened to explode into the world, she sneaked her hand under her nightshirt and caressed her firm, moist flesh very gently -- which elicited a shudder.