Chapter 1 - Cheating
She was nearing a risky age. If her mother were still living, she would probably call it a "dangerous age."In five months she would be thirty. And single.
She was ambitious, smart, hard working and reasonably good-looking. She had a career, a two-story condo, loads of friends. But no husband.
She had competed in a man's world and had won. But just what had she won?
Certainly not a mate. Not even a decent lover.
She always considered herself a resourceful woman. But this crisis was a little different. It required some special attention.
Her name was Sheila Goldstein and she had a straight nose, green eyes and frizzy hair that seemed impossible in rainy weather. She worried about her weight but always managed to remain thin. She had fetching, pointy breasts, a curvy figure, and she flirted endlessly until she was beginning to act like a professional tart.
Tonight she had been trying to keep busy by helping the families prepare the tables. It was while she was in the kitchen, washing some of the fruits, that she first saw him.
He was wandering through the halls, looking at the announcements on the bulletin board, ducking his head into the kitchen for a moment before returning to the chapel. A newcomer. Tall, well dressed, but unfortunately a little heavy. Or maybe it was fortunate.
She assembled the sugar and almond cookies Mrs. Scherzer had made. She cut the bupka the Schneiders had baked into small pieces and placed them on two plates. She put the fruit Nate and Rosyln Ellis had brought onto a large oval plate. She cut the pineapple and cantaloupe into bite-size pieces, sticking each with a different colored toothpick. The strawberries were placed around the fruit to create an enticing decoration. The other women were cutting the pound cake into smaller pieces, preparing coffee, removing juices from the fridge, and carrying the large bottles of soda that were usually difficult to reach. Everything was spread on the table near the window.
It was Friday evening. After services, the congregation would enjoy another oneg Shabbat. Eventually all the women left the kitchen for the services. Sheila had a different plan. She waited until five to eight before strolling from the kitchen into the synagogue. She looked around and mercifully spotted him sitting in one of the back rows.
She had guessed right. Newcomers usually sat there, unfamiliar with the other congregants. Not wanting to take up space that, like an unwritten rule, was reserved for the members.
The chair next to him was empty. Good.
She carefully moved down the aisle, waving to Mrs. Zimmerman and Mrs. Pinsky and stepped into the row he occupied. She moved toward him, pointing to the empty seat.
"Is this taken?"
He looked up and smiled. "No. It's all yours."
She gracefully sat down next to him, placing her handbag on her lap and picking up the new prayer book.
He looked at her more out of curiosity than anything else. She appeared to be busy running her hands over the prayer book, checking the mimeographed information sheet. When she noticed his second glance, she leaned over and held his arm so she could whisper. He brought his head closer to hers.
"Sometimes you come too late you can never can enjoy it." She had practiced the motion and line. Over time she added perfume, thick eyeliner, a bright iridescent lipstick, a new Bali bra with more uplift and a certain inflection to her voice so the words seemed to have a double entendre.
"Didn't I see you before?" he asked. "Weren't you here earlier?"
What bothered her was his nose. It seemed to float down his face blindly, curving off to the left. She remembered what her father would say: "Concentrate on their good points."
He did have nice black hair, a small and neatly groomed black beard and mustache. Sadly a bald spot was just app