I was drifting ... peacefully; just enjoying the simple pleasure of a warm summer day, lying on the floating platform anchored in the middle of the small lake. I was enjoying the quiet of no cars or crowds around there at the State Park near my uncle's house. Our family went there at least three times each summer when I was growing up. At least we had until I had gone off to college.
But ... that was years ago. Why am I out on that floating platform now?
And that soft beeping sound I keep hearing; what's with that?
And ... SHIT! Why does my body ache so damned much all of a sudden? Oh, SHIT!!! My chest and side are in agony!
I may have groaned out loud. I don't know. It was dark all around me. I could not see anything, and I could only hear that damned beeping, and then the rustle of cloth and a couple of footsteps close by. I heard a voice -- female -- I think -- speaking softly, but with some measure of authority.
"Get the doctor. He seems to be coming out of it." Then, I lost all sensory contact with everything and I guess I went back into a deep sleep.
I don't know how much later it was after I had had the summer lake dream and had partially awakened in agony. But I was coming awake now to the realization that my eyelids had quite an accumulation of that crystalline stuff. You know; the stuff that seems to gather when you have been asleep for quite a long time without having rubbed your eyes reactively in your sleep. That is when you are so absolutely dead to the world that your arms and legs do not move while you are sleeping.
The lights in the room in which I was awakening were dim at the moment, and somehow it registered to my brain that it must be nighttime. I guess the logic centers in my brain were cueing to the fact that I was in a hospital and that the very low activity level around me lent itself to the atmosphere of a night shift.
The pain that I remembered having felt when I had last come out of my slumber was not gone by a long shot. But it was now a recognizable dull ache -- and not a small one, either -- but at least it was not an overwhelming press in the left side of my chest as it had been before. The loopy sensation in my head and the dryness in my mouth seemed to bring back memories of how I had felt when I had taken Percocet following my arthroscopic shoulder surgery to remove a bone spur back a few years earlier.
But, why the hell did I need Percocet? And why the hell was I in a hospital?
The last thing I could remember was leaving my office at the airport, heading out to get in my car to drive home for the evening, and then ... a movement in my periphery, a large shape coming quickly at me, and then huge pain in the side of my head, and falling, and ... darkness.
Believe me. I really tried to stay awake after I began to realize my current situation, but I could not.
The next time I awoke, there was a friendly, not-too-homely, smiling feminine face above mine. Next to that face was a hand holding a small penlight. I realized pretty quickly that this lady must be part of the ward staff and that she was checking out the reaction of my pupils while holding my eyelids up one at a time.
"So," she said in a voice that sounded as if it belonged to someone who had smoked at one time, but had quit a few years earlier, "you seem to be ready to join us at last."
I did not say anything until she let go of my eyelid and allowed me to blink. The crusty eye stuff was mostly gone. Either I had wiped it away myself in my sleep or else someone had taken a cloth and cleaned it away for me.
"Why," I began and felt the dryness in my throat. She must have heard it, as she reached beside the bed and brought back a small cup of water with an articulating straw. I gulped the water down once, coughed softly once--oh, shit; that hurt; took another swallow, and then attempted to clear my throat.
"Why," I said again, "am I here? What happened?"
"Mr. Reese, you are in Saint Elizabeth's in Covington. They brought you in here Tuesday evening. It would appear that you were attacked and beaten in one of the employee parking lots out at CVG."
I did not say anything for a minute as I tried to let my brain process what she had said.
My name is Glenn Reese, and I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. But my workplace is just across the Ohio River, on the Kentucky side, at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport -- a name long enough that a lot of folks related to the airport or airline industry and the surrounding community of Covington, Kentucky, know it simply by its International Air Transport Association airport code as CVG.
"Tuesday, you say?" I said at last. "What day is it now?"
"It is just after midnight on Thursday morning. You have been out since they brought you in on Tuesday evening; and then there was the surgery, of course." She began to check out the electronic IV delivery system next to my bed before she continued.
"But I don't want you to worry about that right now. You need to rest and get well. Your doctor will be doing her rounds sometime after seven, and I am sure that the police officer who was here earlier will want to speak to you."
Police? Well, yeah. I guess if I were attacked and beaten, the police would get involved somehow.
But who would have done this to me; and why? I noticed that she had not said anything about my being robbed; just attacked and beaten.
I closed my eyes and tried to 'feel' myself out by imagining each region of my body mentally, since it hurt too much to move right now.
Head? Sore on the right side above my ear ... and a whopper of a headache; kept under control by the effects of the Percocet, no doubt.
Neck, shoulders, and arms ... stiff, sore...
Warm pin-prick feel of the IV catheter in my left arm...
Chest and abdomen ... aches like a mother!...
And now I can feel an ache in my groin ... oh, shit ... it's my balls ... what's up with that...
Legs and feet ... can't seem to feel any difficulty down there ... I mean I can bend my knees and wiggle my feet and toes without much in the way of discomfort.
Shit ... I guess that about does it. For the areas that are not injured or achy, the bed sure feels soft and comfortable.
As for the rest; thank you, Percocet.
And that's all I remembered until later that morning.
Luanne! Does she know where I am? Did anyone contact my wife?
I awoke in a panic and immediately regretted my sudden movement as the pain in my chest, side, and groin let me know that I was still in a hospital bed, evidently as a result of a beating. And I had no clue as to the reason behind the beating or any clue as to the identity of who did it.
"Mr. Reese, calm down. You don't want to put a strain on your sutures. And I certainly don't want to have to do them again." This voice sounded feminine yet determined.
When I opened my eyes, I saw the stereotypical white smock with hospital badge and ubiquitous stethoscope around the neck of a doctor. But this doctor was a woman who looked to be about forty-five or so years old, with hair that looked, with the able assistance of her hairdresser, to be about thirty-ish; and tired and experienced eyes that looked to be about a hundred and fifteen.
Dr. Crabtree was her name, according to her badge, and she examined me quickly but thoroughly. I was a bit embarrassed at having a woman examine my 'package' when she pulled to covers aside and lifted my hospital gown. I tried to suppress a groan when I felt her hand on my balls, as she gently lifted them, evidently to check out her handiwork, if her comment about sutures from before were any indication.
"I had to take care of a torsion that had developed in your left testicle caused by the bruising following the assault on your groin area. It appears as if someone struck you above the right ear; and, when you fell, the assailant kicked you several times in the groin, along with giving you several kicks to the ribs. That is why your thoracic region will be sore for a while and why I had to operate on your testicle. If the bruising, coupled with your torsion condition, had continued down there for many more hours, I would have been forced to take the left testicle."
I don't know how my facial expression looked to her at that moment, but my gut was churning at that point with the natural aversion any man feels about a threat to his reproductive glands.
Dr. Crabtree continued, answering my unasked question. "You should not worry about your manhood at all, Mr. Reese. It's all there. And I predict that, if you follow my post-operative instructions and stay with the topical testosterone hormone regimen that I am prescribing for you over the next few weeks, you and your wife should be able to continue in wedded bliss, meeting each other's sexual needs and expectations in no time at all after you heal." She held my left hand loosely as she said this, noting my wedding ring.
"It might itch a bit when the sutures begin to dissolve, but I am sure that you and your wife can figure out who will apply the zinc oxide ointment to the affected area in order to ... make it better." Dr. Crabtree had a twinkle in those ancient eyes of hers as she said that.
"My wife," I said, "has anyone contacted Luanne? She was out of town on business--her job. Has anyone called her?"
"I will check with the floor nurse and have her give you an update on that. Saint Elizabeth's is pretty anal in its approach to HIPAA laws. But the nurse can get the next of kin notification business worked out with you and make sure that any authorized family members are apprised of your situation."
Dr. Crabtree's voice, although businesslike and detached, seemed to calm my fears. I knew that this was one very professional woman. She was coming across to me as someone who was very capable and who had things well under control. And, from what she had said, she had all the confidence in the world in the nursing staff that was working on my ward.
I relaxed a little mentally as she assured me that the staff here at Saint Elizabeth's would get in touch with Luanne.
Luanne and I had only been married for just over four years. We had met shortly after I had gotten a job right out of college, graduating from Western Kentucky with a degree in Art History. I had been hired by the firm that ensured the proper interior design work for the shops and the public passageways at Cincinnati airport. CVG was actually somewhat of a combination of artsy showpiece and traveler's shopping mall. The Airport Commissioner's office and the Airport Authority wanted the place to be a really enjoyable experience for folks traveling through there; allowing them to be soothed by their surroundings when they would otherwise be panicking about flight delays or venting their anger over lost luggage.
Luanne Campbell -- her maiden name before we were married -- had grown up in Steubenville, Ohio, where the locals laughingly bragged that the pollution there was measured in 'Steubens.' She had graduated from Ohio State and worked in hotel and resort management for a company based out of Miami, but with its major Midwestern office in Cincinnati. They were a fast-growing company and were continuing to acquire properties as they bought up timeshares and smaller hotel chains all over the U.S. and the rest of North America, as well as into the Caribbean.
Luanne loved her job and had advanced rapidly after coming to work for them. She had finally, after only a couple of years out of college, landed a very-well-paying position with the company; and well ahead of her peers. The fortunate side of this was the pay and benefits package that she was receiving. The unfortunate side was the travel requirement. For just over a year now, Luanne had been required to be away from home -- and me -- for approximately half of each month (home two weeks; away two weeks).
Because she was dealing with new properties mostly in the Deep South, specifically along the Gulf Coast (known locally as the Redneck Riviera), she had two offices. One was here at the company's office building in downtown Cincinnati. The other was in Birmingham, Alabama.
When Luanne had taken this position, I had stated my initial objections about having to endure all of this separation, but she was determined to succeed. I realized that I loved her enough to give her the opportunity to grow in her career.
At one point, after the first few months of the lengthy periods away from home, I had carelessly voiced the feeling that I could not help but wonder if Luanne was more excited about her career than she was about our marriage. She had gotten really angry with me for a bit for saying that, but she had assured me later that she was committed to our happiness. I noticed, however, that she did not seem to argue the truth of my observation about her work quite enough, in my opinion.
Luanne had also assured me that the Vice President in charge of her division had promised her that the situation would resolve itself within eighteen-to-twenty-four months. After that, she would be back home in Ohio for good. When that happened, she promised me, we could get about the business of starting to have kids before we got into our thirties.
A Kenton County (Kentucky) Police Officer came in to see me later in the morning to take my statement and ask questions. It seems that an officer of the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport Police Department had been alerted to my beating by a report from one of the men monitoring the parking area security cameras. Unfortunately, it had been pretty dark; and the distance from the camera to my reserved parking space was just too great, to make any sort of identification of my assailant. The only thing I could determine in my discussion with the officer was that whoever had attacked me had been a pretty big guy and he had really done a number on me.
I only remembered clearly that it had happened in the early evening just when the light was finally fading out and all the parking lot lights were coming on. I had been working later than usual; but without any guilt, since Luanne was out of town. I remembered the first strike against my head, and my assailant saying something that I could not discern as I had suddenly realized that I was about to become better acquainted with the pavement as I slid against the side of my car toward the concrete surface; and then--darkness.
I was too weak to have a long conversation with the officer. Actually, I was not so much tired, as sore, and it hurt to breathe too heavily in order to carry on a long conversation. The officer left me with a reminder to let his office know if I remembered any more about the night of the attack, or if I could figure out if I knew of anyone who might have held a grudge against me; and then he handed me his card. That last part of his request was not hard; I knew of absolutely no one who, for any reason, would have it in for me.
I went under again and did not awaken again, except for a brief stir whenever someone came in to take vitals, until suppertime.
I had just finished my Jell-O, that dreaded lemon stuff, when Luanne came charging into the room.
Thankfully, the nurse's aide was between my wife and me, or else I am sure that Luanne would have thrown herself onto me and bruised or broken every one of my ribs. The nurse's aide asked my wife to be careful when touching me because of my injuries.
Throwing her light jacket and her purse into a chair, only to have them slide to the floor, Luanne came directly over to me with tears in her eyes.
"Oh, Glenn, Honey!" Luanne cried, "What happened? Who did this to you? They called me when I came in to work yesterday in Birmingham, and I tried to get on a flight last night, but the storms and flight delays had everything going into and out of Atlanta in a hairball; there were no direct flights here available from Birmingham; and I could not get anything out until this morning. I was just so frantic and so frightened and..."
At this point, she just covered her mouth with her hand and sobbed as tears flowed down her cheeks from those wonderful brown eyes. Her dark brown hair fell to the sides of her face as she looked down at me with a frightened but still loving gaze. I glanced down and was amused, but curious as to what she was wearing.
She had on a white polo-style shirt with a vaguely familiar, rather large script capital 'A' over her left breast, emblazoned in dark red to contrast sharply with the white background. Her nice high-riding B-cup-sized breasts were jerking somewhat as she sobbed, but they did not jiggle.
I grinned up at her in an attempt at giving her a reassuring look. "What's that big red 'A' on your chest all about?" I asked her.
"Oh." Luanne actually blushed. "We had a wager in the office this past weekend. Vernon, my manager there, is a Bama grad and he bet me that Alabama would score more points against Vanderbilt than Ohio State would against Nebraska. Naturally, I had to stand by my Buckeyes. But, the Tide evidently really rolled on Vandy in a big way, and that left me with having to wear this University of Alabama shirt home to Ohio."
I had met Vernon Talbot, her Birmingham office manager, about six months before the attack on me in the parking deck, when he had come up to Cincinnati for company business. Luanne had been in the ladies' room at the cocktail hour organized by the company when he had introduced himself. Vernon had displayed a bit of surprise when I had said that I was Luanne's husband. He had looked strangely at me and started to say, "YOU are her husband? But, I thought..." and let it trail off, as one of the company's execs had asked him a question to distract him before he and I could carry on any further conversation. Luanne had returned and had taken my hand to pull me over to meet another of her co-workers; she had appeared a bit nervous when she had seen me speaking briefly to Vernon, but had relaxed a bit as we had left the party shortly afterward, and I had not thought about it anymore after that.
When I was finally released from Saint Elizabeth's, Luanne was with me. She got me settled at home and, in the days ahead, she ensured that I took care of myself. She made sure that I established and kept all my physical therapy appointments for the next two weeks. Unfortunately for me, Dr. Crabtree had warned me to put off having sex until my sutures were dissolved, and that did not happen before Luanne had to return to her Birmingham office for her next round of work down south.
I was not really all that super pissed; it was just frustrating. I had not gone longer than two weeks without having sex with my lovely bride since before our marriage; and, by the next time I was going to see her, it would have been six weeks! I would definitely be quite horny by then. And I am sure that she would be as well.
Luanne promised to make our next time together very special, and she gave me her very best sexy smile. She said this just after scorching my lips with one of her patented hot kisses when I dropped her off at the airport departure lane. After I waved at her as she passed through the terminal doors, I pulled out and around a waiting taxi standing ahead of me and into the exit lane for the terminal before going around to the airport's main office facility and to my parking space. I had been back working since the week after I had gotten out of the hospital; I just needed to take things easy for a while.
Being alone for the next two weeks, I had time in the evenings to ponder the recent strange events in my life. Bits and pieces of the night of the attack come to me every now and then. And it was strange how little things would bring back the memories of the incident.
First, I tripped during one of my easygoing jogs one evening during my second week back and, as I lay there on the ground, I could smell the soil under the new turf grass next to the sidewalk and remembered that same smell from that night -- like that of freshly-turned earth -- wafting off the guy. I had already remembered that my assailant was a very large man, and he was alone. Finally, I remembered something about hearing the guy say the word, "Wife." After a week of this, I began to make notes to myself in order not to forget the details later.
When I called the police and told the detective who was handling my case about what I was able to recall, he surprised me. He straight out asked me if I was having an affair with a married woman, as the attack on my testicles was telltale of an attack by an enraged husband for that type of insult. I assured him that I was happily married and that I had NOT been messing around with anyone else -- single, married, or even divorced.
Needless to say, when Luanne returned from her latest southern sojourn, after her two weeks away from me, I was horny as hell! She seemed to be too and, after giving me one of her patented scorching hot kisses when she got in the car at the airport, she put her hand in my lap and did not move it away from my erection all the way to the house.
WOW!! Did we ever have the hots for each other by this time!!!
When we got home that night, we did not even wait to get Luanne's bag out of the car. We were in the house and headed upstairs before the motor for the garage door opener had finished closing the overhead door.
"Oh, Glenn, Baby," Luanne panted, "It has been soooo long. I need you; right now!" And, with that, she removed her last remaining items of clothing--lace panties and matching bra; the rest of her clothes having left a trail from the kitchen all the way up the stairs. She lay back on the bed, spreading her legs, raising her knees, and fingering her slit.
I was so on fire at that point, from all the touching of my cock through my clothes on the way home from the airport; and from watching her gorgeous ass as it had swayed in front of me during the ascent to the upper floor of the house. I was surprised that I had not cum spontaneously in my pants before now.
Within seconds, I was between Luanne's legs, pumping my rock-hard shaft in and out of her very wet honey hole while I kissed her neck. She moaned loudly in my ear as she held me down over her. She bucked her hips up so that her pelvis smacked mine by gripping my thighs in a death-lock with her heels and pulling me to her repeatedly. It only took a couple of minutes for her to begin to moan in ecstasy. In all the time we had been together, Luanne had always been a moaner and never a screamer. I only lasted a few seconds longer, as her pulsing, gripping pussy milked me like a machine on a cool morning at a Wisconsin dairy farm.
Luanne held me after our climaxes, while we let our pulse rates drop a bit, and would not let go; all the while telling me that she loved me. Finally, she relaxed and my cock slipped out of her pussy, leaving wet love traces all over the sheets.
A little while later, upon my return from taking a leak, I entered the bedroom to find Luanne on all fours with her ass pointed toward me. She was looking over her shoulder at me, arousal written all over her face again.
"Fuck me, Lover. I need you to fuck me again!" Luanne hissed at me. This was only somewhat unusual; rarely did she offer to let me do her doggie. In fact, we had never done anything much more adventurous than missionary and an occasional doggie in all our time together -- not by my choice, though. Luanne never asked for more. I had not ever wanted to push things sexually with her; and we both seemed to be satisfied sexually, even with our limited repertoire. And there had never been any arguments about our sexual escapades.
I moved behind my wife's sexy body quickly, since Little Glenn had suddenly felt the need to put on another burst of energy. Holding Luanne's hips with my hands, I bent my knees slightly in order to facility alignment. Once I felt her fingers take my tip and get it centered, I pushed in smoothly, eliciting an, "Ooh, yes," from Luanne. This episode lasted about five minutes, bringing Luanne off twice with the shivers and moans, and a groan from me with several mind-blowing blasts of cum from the tip of my cock deep inside her grasping pussy.
Later, as we just lay in each other's arms, after both of us had cleaned up, I heard Luanne sigh.
"What is it, Sweetie?" I asked softly, kissing her hair on the top of her head as she lay with her cheek against my chest.
"Oh," here Luanne paused for almost five seconds, "I ... I just love you. That's all."
If I had not been so happy that she was home again, and worn out from our love session this evening and had been paying attention enough to her hesitation and had followed up, maybe -- just maybe -- I might have asked the right question. Only weeks later did I get the answer that helped me to realize the need for the question in the first place.
The ivory tower in which I had been living did not necessarily crumble down around me, as generally seems to happen when a husband discovers that all is not perfect in paradise. In my case, though, that tower did begin to develop a few cracks in the foundation about a week-and-a-half later, four days before Luanne was scheduled to fly back down to Birmingham for another two-week stay.
I routinely update our monthly expenses on my computer using a utility program that accompanies the tax preparation software that I use each year. This utility program allows me to enter Luanne's and my legitimately deductible expenses and keep track of them electronically. That way, when it comes time in March and April, at which time I get the chore of preparing tax returns for Uncle Sam and Uncle John (our current Governor), the tax program can just electronically 'inhale' the information about all our deductible expenses in a blink.
Luanne's travel and the apartment in Birmingham, that she maintained as a second residence in order to do her job, constituted legitimate major business expenses, well in excess of the two-percent adjusted gross income threshold. Thus, we were able to save some big bucks on taxes, provided we kept track of the expense details.
Luanne routinely maintained electronic copies of the receipts for all of her associated business expenses, while scanning the printed or mailed paper copies at her office into PDF files and storing them on her Surface tablet and then emailing them to me at the end of each week. By the previous Friday, the mid-week Friday, she had still not forwarded her expense file to me by email.
I realize now, after the fact, that, if I had not been so task-focused at that point on that Wednesday morning, I may not have discovered the evidence that proved that my wife was hiding a part of her life from me, evidence that changed my whole outlook about our marriage and our life together.
That Wednesday morning, Luanne had been checking email, weather, her favorite blog sites, and whatever else she checks before leaving for her workplace when she's here in Cincinnati in the morning. But, for some reason, she had absent-mindedly left her tablet computer on the counter on the way out the door. I did not have to be at work until mid-morning today, and I had a couple of hours to kill before I had to leave. I had grinned to myself at the idea of missing the early morning traffic slow-downs on the approaches to the bridge over the Ohio.
Seeing Luanne's computer on the peninsula-shaped counter in the kitchen, I realized that now would be a good time to reconcile her most recent expense files before she had to leave town on Sunday. I awakened her Surface computer and flicked my finger across the screen in order to bring up and open her documents files. My finger accidently tapped on another application icon and it brought up an open web browser in which I could see some of Luanne's email.
I did not know then if it was a good thing or a bad thing that I dwelled for a couple of seconds longer than I normally would have on what was open on the screen. Now, however, in hindsight, I realize that, even if I had just pushed on by and skipped those few seconds of perusal of what was on the screen in front of me, I still would have only been delaying the inevitable.
It was the email address names that caught my eye. Luanne was receiving quite a few messages from an email address called 'BamaBoy06.' When I opened one of these messages out of curiosity, I did not even get into the text of the message before I noticed that Luanne was using an email account that I did not know that she had opened, using the name 'OhioBabe08.'
What the shit was this all about?
Well, I guess that you can imagine, by now, that the electronic conversations I was moving through that morning had nothing to do with Luanne and me. But, they sure had everything to do with Luanne and some guy in the Birmingham area calling himself BamaBoy06!
You know how you read about the emotions of the husband moving through what amounts to the grief cycle when he discovers that his wife has been seeing another man, one who evidently (based on some of the steamy stuff I was reading there) causes her not just to moan during sex, but to scream? Well, that did not happen with me.
I went really quickly from shock to anger, and then to sadness and disappointment; and then back to a simmering case of simply being pissed off.
So, this guy, this BamaBoy06, evidently had the talent to get Luanne sexually wound up in bed and could get her body humming to a level that I never could. At least that is what I determined from the few emails that I read before quitting in disgust.
No. I did not reach for the bottle of Maker's Mark, as some of the guys in this situation that you read about do. Yes, I was pissed, but surprisingly not overcome by despair or any of that other emotional 'downer' crap I hear and read about from guys who discover that their wives are running around on them. I just poured another cup of black coffee and then tried to make some sense of what I needed to do next.
Well, obviously, I was not going to stay in a marriage with a cheating wife. Yes, I was still sad and disappointed, but I was also already thinking about the 'what next' phase of things. Guys tend to be problem solvers and process-oriented. This appeared to be a pretty easy problem to solve; simply get a divorce and move on. That answered the question about the process as well; get a lawyer, have her served, and move on with my life, hoping to find someone to replace Luanne in my heart and life while I am still in my late twenties, so that I can get on with the business of having a family somewhere down the line.
Did my love for Luanne die at that point? No. Of course not; I had loved and still did love Luanne, and I guess I felt more disappointment than anything else; but anger was running a close second to disappointment at that point. And my anger extended not only to Luanne, but to this asshole in Birmingham who had helped her to cause my problems.
Curiosity was running third.
Why would she seek comfort in the arms of another man in the first place? Why would she deceive me all these past months? Could it be something as simple as the quality of the sex?
Was I not man enough to satisfy her sexual needs sufficiently that she could not wait just two weeks each month to have me 'tickle her fancy?' Did she need something that I could not provide; financially, emotionally, or sexually?
Or could it simply be the stresses of her job that led to all of this? Oh, there were plenty of other questions that I would need to have answered and I was developing new questions in my mind as every second passed.
I knew that I needed to protect myself legally in case she decided to take action to divorce me. And I had to confront her, at some point in all of this, about her need for 'Southern Comfort, ' so to speak. But I could not corner her now; not until I knew more. But I had to ask myself if I really needed to know any more than I already knew. I mean ... her emails told me quite enough to decide on divorcing her; she had cheated and given her body to another man sexually. Did I really need to know any more than that?
Things were not as warm around our apartment that evening, or for the next three days. Luanne asked me several times what was causing me to be so down and withdrawn.
Yep. I lied like crazy.
I told her that the economic situation was causing everyone at my company to worry about the long-term stability of our jobs. Then I put on a fake smile and said to her, "I would hate to be out of work and not be able to support you, Sweetie." Then I gulped before continuing, "And we would not want to start having children at a time when we could not provide for them, would we?"
Luanne displayed what I thought at that moment was a very sad expression as she glanced away from me and looked at the far wall. Then she took a deep breath and I watched as she deliberately pasted a smile on her face; one that was definitely forced.
"Well, Honey; you know that I make a pretty decent living from what I do. Once all this split living is finished in a year or so, we should still be okay financially," Luanne said, now looking at me with what I would describe as expectation and hope written on her face.
That night, the Saturday night before she left on Sunday, we made sweet love, despite everything that I had discovered earlier. I felt sad that this beautiful woman, in whom I had invested my emotional future, could be so seemingly devoted to me, yet so duplicitous.
As I drove her out to the airport the next day, our normal bright conversational pattern was replaced by a strange silence in the car. Luanne's left hand reached out to lie gently on my right thigh as I drove, but she said very little and I only spoke in response to her.
As I stopped in the Departures lane to let Luanne out, she gave me one of her megawatt smiles and leaned in for her goodbye kiss. It was super hot, as usual. I knew from all these indications that she loved me; you just cannot hide that. But, inside, I could not understand why all the other shit was going on.
I hated the idea of divorce, even though I knew that it was the logical next step. I had seen it rip families completely apart and wring everyone out to dry financially.
Fortunately, Luanne and I were not overly in debt. I had paid off my college loans at around the turn of the previous year. Luanne still had a couple of years to go on hers, but, with the hefty income she was drawing down in her job, that should not be a problem for her. Living as we did in an apartment, we had not gotten to the point of home ownership yet, so our debt situation beyond student and car loans was not that great.
We each had investments through our work-related 401(k) plans, but the biggest investment that would be disrupted by all of this would be the emotional investment we had both put into our relationship. And I felt as if I could never recoup what I now considered to be almost four lost years.
I got a referral for a good divorce attorney through one of the guys at work who had gone through the ordeal about two years before. Evidently, the divorce business was booming in our area, because I had to wait three days to get an appointment for two hours of his time.
"Are you sure that reconciliation is not possible?" Mark Helmond, my attorney asked me, as we were filling out all the questionnaires and other forms necessary to begin the divorce proceedings. "Do you believe that counseling might help? I just ask because, if she contests the divorce, seven times out of ten, the judge in the case rules for mandatory counseling."
I took a breath and considered what he was asking. After a couple of more seconds, I responded. "No. I know Luanne. And I know that this is not a case that will be one of bitter fighting over money or other assets; hell, we don't have that much. And it is not that we do not love each other. It's just that I cannot remain married to a deceiver; a manipulator; a cheater. And I am pretty sure that, when I confront her, she will not fight about this."
"Okay, then," Helmond sighed and went on, "it should not be too difficult then. If you want the easy way out, we will file a petition for Dissolution of Marriage under the Ohio no-fault provisions. I presume that this is what you want; right? Otherwise, we can go for a petition for Divorce, using Adultery as grounds for the action." He was just giving me the options, I know. Everything I could read from his body language told me that he thought I would be better off simply going for a no-fault dissolution.
I might have still been pissed at the situation in which I had found myself, but I was not entirely stupid. I knew that it would be better for me financially, emotionally, and with respect to time and the ability to get on with my life, to take the easier option. I nodded to him and told him to go with the no-fault dissolution. I did not hate Luanne; I just hated what she had done to me ... to us.
We finished up and he stood to shake my hand. I would have very probably left Mr. Helmond's office and gone on with my life, awaiting the outcome of the dissolution proceedings, if his PA had not buzzed him at that moment.
"Mr. Helmond," came her voice over the intercom speaker, "I am sorry to interrupt your meeting but I have Paul in the outer office and he says that he needs to see you right now."
Helmond sighed and said, "I apologize as well; I guess it is good that we are finished with our business. The PI that I use in contested divorce cases is working on some time-sensitive stuff for me in another case and we need to get it resolved. I will be in touch."
And, with that dismissal of me, Helmond shook my hand and ushered me to the door to his outer office. A handsome man in a nice suit and a runner's body -- not the image I had of the unshaven, overweight, poorly-dressed PI that I had from TV and reading -- stood anxiously in the outer office and passed quickly around me and into Helmond's office as the PA showed me out of the main door. I had planned to leave and go about the rest of my daily business; but something made me stick around.
I stood in the hallway outside Helmond's office for about ten minutes, waiting for some reason. I had not planned to consider using a PI for my situation, since I was not going to Divorce Luanne for Adultery, and I did not figure that I needed any additional evidence. Hell, I had enough in the emails that I had surreptitiously forwarded to my account on the day that I had first discovered her deception.
But the nagging curiosity still lingered for some reason. Why? Why had she really done this to us? What was this lover of hers in Alabama giving her that I could not?