Long after Robert had fallen asleep, Ashlee lay next to him listening to the silence of the night from his bed.
She was in a strange bedroom with a new man but Ashlee felt relief more than guilt or shame. Robert was a gentle and passionate lover, concerned with her satisfaction more than his own which was as different from Jake in recent years as night and day.
Ashlee realized that Jake belonged in a cabin, the outdoors man content with his beer and his fun and she was thinking that maybe she belonged here, in the peaceful quietness of a large lovely modern home.
She dozed a while feeling calm hopefulness even as she pondered what she would say to Jake. Maybe she would tell him that she had found her new womanhood, her new identity.
Ashlee maneuvered herself in the bed so her head was resting on Robert's chest, staring up at his face in the shadows. She felt renewed and reenergized, desired and wanted, appreciated and attended to. So different from how she had been feeling with Jake.
Ashlee didn't want to blame Jake. He was who he was and she had given him plenty of chances. She had been warning him for months. She felt no passion for him and no interest in staying with a man who didn't put her first on his priority list.
Now she lay naked next to Robert and she understood that this was the start of a new chapter in her life. She was willing to lay with him for the future and she was pretty sure he was willing to do the same.
In the morning, Ashlee awoke to find Robert missing from the bed. She wrapped herself in the top sheet and she explored the house, drawn to the kitchen by the scent of breakfast cooking and that's where she found Robert - standing by the stove in his pajamas preparing a feast for her.
"I'm going to the cabin after we eat," Ashlee announced as she took a seat at the breakfast counter.
Robert glanced at her with surprise.
"To get my stuff," she explained with a smile. "I'm moving out."
"Where will you go?" He asked.
"I can stay with my mother while I look for a new job around here."
"You don't have to work if you don't want to," Robert told her. "Take some time off. Figure out what you want to do first."
"I think I already have," she smiled, knowing she had gone from Boy2Man.
Robert nodded happily as he tended to the breakfast.