Madeline, didn’t care for silence. In fact, she despised it. She always liked some form of noise around her. It reminded her of all the excitement in the world. Even when she slept she would turn on her Sleep Machine that would play various soothing sounds while she drifted off to sleep. Noise showed her that she was alive.
Madeline was on her usual stroll through downtown to her favorite lunch spot, Sal’s Deli. It was a hole in the wall but it had the best sandwiches in Brooklyn. Madeline ate there almost every single day. It was right in the middle of where she worked and where she lived so it was the perfect spot. She almost always ordered the Tuna Melt, hold the onions. She usually got her order to go and ate it outside on one of the benches.
Madeline loved watching people as they passed by. It was fun for her to try to figure out where they were coming from and where they were going to. She absolutely loved people. She loved going to parties, coffee shops, anywhere that lots of different people would populate. Each person she talked to had an interesting life that she enjoyed learning about.
For about five months now, Madeline had been seeing a handsome man named Alan. Alan worked for a prestigious law firm. They had met at a bar called “The Deep End.” Madeline had been singing Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” at the top of her lungs when Alan noticed her. Once her song was over, he bought her a drink and began chatting her up. He was the ultimate gentleman. Madeline feel for him almost immediately. They began dating right away.
Madeline was probably the happiest she had ever been in her entire life. She had a fantastic boyfriend, she loved her job, and it was almost Christmas, her favorite holiday. In her book, it couldn’t get much better than that.
That evening, she and Alan had a date. They were going to a small dance club Alan had found. It wasn’t your typical club. Instead of Hip Hop or Pop music, this club focused on Ballroom Dancing. Everyone dressed formally and they had all kinds of fancy food and champagne. Alan had described it to her earlier and it sounded absolutely magical. She was counting down the minutes until it was time for him to pick her up.
As she was sitting on the bench enjoying her lunch, she began to put together her outfit for the evening in her head. She had a beautiful red dress she wore to one of her friend’s weddings that would be perfect. Shoes were a bit harder to choose from. She wanted something that looked nice but she could also move in. She decided on a simple but elegant pair of black high heels. She began to daydream about the rest of her outfit and the fantastic evening to come.
Madeline finished her sandwich and made her way back to work. She worked at the perfume counter at a local department store. It wasn’t very big but it still managed to have a respectable amount of customers. Madeline was a terrific salesperson. She easily charmed men into buying expensive perfumes for their wives and girlfriends or cologne for themselves. With women, she was able to find a way to boost their confidence and help make them feel better about themselves. That was one of her gifts. She could always see the best in people.
The rest of the day moved at a glacial pace. Thankfully today the store was very busy so that helped to pass the time. Towards the end of her shift a delivery man came into the store with a small package. He walked up to Madeline’s manager Stacey, and they spoke for a moment and then she pointed to Madeline. He walked over Madeline and told her the package was for her and had her sign for it. How exciting! She thought. She had never got a package at work before. She quickly tore it open. Inside was a long slender black box with hinges. She opened it up slowly and almost dropped it out of shock. It was a beautiful pearl necklace! As she stared at the necklace she noticed a small note attached to the top of the box. She took it out and read it. “For my one and only love, Madeline. Love, Alan.”
Madeline burst into tears. It was the most wonderful gift she had ever received. Stacy noticed Madeline crying and she rushed over to see what was wrong. “Honey, are you alright?” Stacy asked. “Oh yes,” she laughed, “I’m just overcome with joy! Look at what Alan gave me!” She passed the box over to Stacy. “Holy shit! Are those real?” “I think so.” said Madeline. “Is he in the dog house or something?” Stacy asked. “No. He’s just wonderful.” Madeline replied. “Huh, he must be. The only time a man ever sent me an expense gift was when he had screwed up. Well, let’s see what it looks like on you!” Madeline went to pick up the necklace but before she could touch it two customers walked in so she put the lid back on the box and carefully set it in her purse.
Five o’clock finally arrived and Madeline quickly grabbed her purse, said goodbye to Stacy as she was locking up, and skipped out the door. It was only about a fifteen minute walk to her apartment. It was a beautiful, cool day. She smiled at every person she passed by. Most returned her smile, several looked away, and a few people just stared back at her. When she arrived at her apartment, she took out her keys, unlocked the door, and immediately turned on the radio. This helped to cancel the silence in the room.
Madeline made her way to her bathroom and turned on the faucet. She watched as the tub filled with warm water. The steam rising up was soothing. She added some of her favorite Eucalyptus bath oil and took off her clothes and got into the tub.
While she was soaking she listened to what was on the radio. They were no longer playing music. It had switched over to a program in which people who were worried that their significant other was cheating on them would call into the radio station and express their concerns and then the host would then call their significant other and tell them that they had won a beautiful, fancy dinner for two. They would then ask them who they wanted to join them on their date. If they said their significant other’s name they were in the clear. If not, it got quite interesting. Unfortunately for Jim, the man they were calling, he said the wrong name. This lead to a myriad of colorful insults hurled at his way by girlfriend Alexa. It wasn’t exactly Shakespeare, but it was interesting nevertheless.
Madeline got out of the tub, wrapped herself in a towel and went into her bedroom. She went to her closet and pulled out the red dress and her black high heels. She proceeded to get dressed. Madeline glanced at the clock. 7:00. “Perfect” she thought. Alan was picking her up at 8. Once she was dressed, she went back into the bathroom and began to put on her makeup.
The radio station had switched back to its regular programing. “Top Forty Hits.” Madeline danced along to the music as she put on her makeup. Before she knew it, there was a knock on her apartment door. Butterflies immediately flooded her stomach. She could hardly contain her excitement. She quickly walked to the door and opened it. Alan was on the other side, dressed in a well cut white suit with a black dress shirt and bow tie. “You look amazing.” said Alan. “You don’t look half bad yourself.” she said as she winked at Alan. “Come in. I’m almost ready. Just make yourself at home.” Alan walked over to the Madeleine’s couch and had a seat. She had a copy of “Good Housekeeping” on her coffee table that he thumbed through while he waited on her.
Once Madeline was finished, she walked out into the living room. “Ready?” Alan asked. “Absolutely.” she replied. Madeline and Alan walked arm in arm downstairs and then out into the cold night. Alan led Madeline to his car, a lavish BMW. He opened her door for her and then got into the car himself. He started the car and pulled out into the street. “Beautiful night isn’t it?” Alan asked. “Yes wonderful! I love this time of year.”
They arrived at the club a few moments later. Alan got out of the car and held the door open for Madeline. He then took her by the arm and lead her to the club’s ornate entrance. Such a gentleman. Madeline thought. He opened the door and Madeline immediately felt as though she was transported back in time. The lights were very low. In fact, most of the lighting came from candles on each table staggered around the room. The tables were covered with immaculate white tablecloths. Each spot on the table had a place setting and a bucket with champagne. On stage, there were five musicians dressed to the nines and playing an uptempo Jazz piece. In the middle of the tables was a large dance floor. Very few couples were seated at the tables. Most were out dancing.
“I can’t believe it! I feel like I’m in a dream.” Madeline said as she gazed around the room. “I know.” replied Alan. “Let’s grab a table.” Alan led Madeline to an open table and they sat down. A waiter quickly arrived and gave them menus and took their drink order. “I can literally feel the happiness radiating in this room.” said Madeline. And it was true. Everyone had a smile on their face. No one had a care in the world. The waiter came back a few moments later and brought them their drinks. He then took their order. “I’ll have the filet minion.” declared Alan. “And for you madame?” asked the waiter. “Hmm. That sounds delicious. I’ll have that as well.” she replied. Excellent choice.” said the waiter and he took their menus and hurried to the kitchen. Alan turned to Madeline. “Care to dance?” Alan asked. “Absolutely.” said Madeline.
Alan took Madeleine by the arm and walked her out to the dance floor. The band was just starting a new song. It had a fun, swing beat. Alan was incredibly light on his feet. He led Madeline with grace and elegance around the room. She was in Heaven.
They danced to several songs more, some slow, some fast, until Alan saw the waiter bring their food out. They finished their dance and walked, hand in hand, over to the table.
The food was absolutely amazing! Their steaks were cooked perfectly. The ate until they were stuffed and had wonderful conversation all the while. When they finished their meal, Alan picked up the champagne bottle on the table and with one gracefully movement, he popped the cork and poured them each a glass. He held up his glass and said “A toast to a perfect evening!” The clinked glasses. “Absolutely perfect.” Madeline agreed.
They sipped their champagne and watched the other couples dancing. “Madeline, I know we have only been dating for a few months, but I have to say, I’m madly in love with you. You are everything to me.” Madeline was somewhat taken aback. She felt this way about Alan but she thought that there was no way he could possibly reciprocate those feelings. “Oh Alan,” she began, “You don’t know how happy that makes me. I love you so very much.” “Madeline.” he paused. “Let’s run away together. Let’s leave all this behind. We can move out of this city. Find a nice, small, quiet town. It will be wonderful.” “Alan, I’ll go anywhere as long as you are there too.” Alan pulled her into the most passionate kiss she had ever experienced. When he finally let go she began to cry. Not tears of sadness, but tears of pure joy.
Madeline went to get a tissue out of her purse. When she opened it up she saw the box that the necklace was in that Alan had sent her. Oh no! I completely forgot to put this on! He probably thinks I didn’t like it! She thought for a moment and then said “Alan, I’m going to run to the restroom. I’ll be right back.” “Ok.” replied Alan. She hurried to the bathroom and quickly pulled out the necklace and put it on. Madeline gazed into the mirror. It was truly beautiful. Easily one of the nicest pieces of jewelry she had ever worn. She took a deep breath and gained her composure. It was an honest mistake. Alan will understand. She smiled in the mirror and made her way back out to Alan.
Madeline returned to the table and sat down. She looked at Alan and very seductively gestured to her necklace. “Quite lovely isn’t it?” she said playfully. “Very much so! Is it new?” Alan asked. “Just got it today.” she replied, playing along. “From someone very special.” Alan paused. “Someone special?” he asked genuinely concerned. “Who?” Madeline dropped the act. It was clear that Alan didn’t know what she was talking about. “From you silly! I’m sorry I didn’t wear it sooner. I was so excited for tonight that I forgot to put it on this evening.” Alan waited. Then slowly he said “Madeline, I didn’t send that to you.” “Are you joking? The note that came with it said it was from you.” “Maybe someone sent it to you as a joke?” replied Alan. “Who sends a necklace as a joke?” Just then, Madeline felt a horrible burning sensation around her neck. The necklace felt like it was on fire. She let out a scream. “What’s wrong?” cried Alan. “The necklace!” Madeline screamed. Alan leapt up from his seat. Madeline tore at the necklace and ripped it from her throat. Pearls scattered around the room. Madeline fell to the ground. She lay there, gasping for breath, in complete confusion. Alan took her into his arms. Madeline looked up at him “I…I…I love…” She drew in her last breath.
Everyone looked at Madeline’s lifeless corpse, completely stunned. The DJ quickly shut the music off. It was eerily quiet. No one moved. No one talked. Silence.
What Madeline didn’t know was that Alan was married. Not only was he married, but he also had three children. Alan’s wife, Veronica, had long suspected Alan was cheating on her. She had hired a private detective to follow him and get to the bottom of it. Sure enough, after a little searching, she found out about Madeline. Consumed with rage, she began to think about how she would handle the situation. The more she thought about the other woman, the more she hated her. As her hatred grew for Madeline, so did it for Alan. That son of bitch! How dare he ruin our family?
Veronica decided that the only solution to her problem was to kill Madeline. She knew she couldn’t commit the murder herself so she began to devise a plan. She needed a way to not only kill Madeline but to frame Alan as well in the process. Poison was the weapon of choice when it came to revenge in all of her favorite TV shows and books. But how can I poison her? A light bulb went off in her mind. She ran upstairs and looked in her jewelry box. Alan loved buying her jewelry as an attempt to put a value on his love for her. She found an old pearl necklace Alan had given her several years ago. Veronica could easily ship it right to Madeline without raising any suspicion. As for the poison, several internet searches told her all she needed to know to make a deadly, fast acting poison from a few household chemicals. After a quick trip to the grocery store, she made her concoction and carefully put the necklace in and let it sit overnight. She then took the necklace out of the mixture and let it dry. Once dried, she put it in a box, along with a note and sent it to its unlucky victim.