I knew there would be trouble when they walked into the bar.
Not physical, getting somebody's ass whipped trouble, but emotional, I don't want to hear this shit trouble.
Up until a few months ago, I would have considered them friends. Even when things went to hell, if they had just kept their mouths shut they would have been fine.
The ones I found knew about her affair I dropped like a rock, making it very clear they were no longer my friends. Of course, they tried to argue, they didn't want to take sides, they hoped she'd figure out it was destructive behavior, she still loves you, blah, blah, blah, didn't cut it with me and I told they so. It took a couple of meetings and some pretty intense confrontations before they realized I was serious. To this day, if one comes up and tries to talk, I either turn my back or leave. I think they finally got the point.
The few others I still associated with got the point, and made sure they didn't mention her. If they did, by accident, I simply excused myself and left.
It had been six months, the paperwork filed, the statements given, my offer of a fifty fifty split more than fair, and it was almost done.
She was fighting it tooth and nail. We tried arbitration, but they gave up when neither of us would budge. Mostly they talked to her, trying to get her to see she was getting a really good deal.
Then she hit me with counseling. I refused, telling the judge it would be a complete waste of everyone's time and money, because there was no way I'd reconcile. The judge listening to an emotional, borderline hysterical Becky, threatened me with jail, and was shocked when I said all right, just tell me when to turn myself in.
"You're that positive this marriage can't be saved?"
"Beyond the shadow of a doubt, to use a term you'll easily understand. I will not, let me stress that, WILL NOT ever be living with or have a relationship with her for the rest of my life. We have no children. Since this started, we have very few friends in common, my business partner and his wife helped her carry on and conceal the affair, so I'm through with them. Divorcing her will be just a tiny ripple in the big pond of life. Clear enough for you?"
I may have overstated it, and she decided to test my resolve. I spent three weekends in jail before she finally understood I was willing to keep going indefinitely, and dropped counseling.
They were on a mission, you could see it in the eyes of the women. The men just looked uncomfortable.
I knew they weren't there by accident, the bar was in another town twenty five miles away. I told my new favorite bartender I didn't care for the quality of people in my old one.
She was pretty shrewd, in her mid forties, and had pretty much seen it all. She managed to get the story out of me in bits in pieces, usually waiting until I'd had at least four beers. She had been married to the same man for twenty one years. They owned the bar. What I loved most about her was she never offered an opinion, even though I could see she wanted to.
Finally one night I told her to speak her mind, a one time, never to be broached again opportunity, so she'd get over wondering about it.
When we were done, she just looked at me for a little while.
"Obviously, I've only heard your side of the story. It might be fantasy and bullshit, but I don't think so. You were probably right to leave, but you might want to let her give you her side of the story. I'm sure you've wondered how it all went down the tubes. It might do you some good. It might not, it may make you even more angry.
Still, human nature being what it is, it might help you to hear her out. Up to you, end of discussion. The next beer is on me."
God, I loved this woman. A mother figure who'd feed you all the alcohol you wanted, for a price, if you gave her your keys first.
She knew something was up the minute they walked in and she saw my face turn to stone.
"Friends?" she said, nodding to them.
"I don't know," I answered truthfully, "guess I'm abut to find out."
"Don't do anything stupid," she warned, "just give me a look and I'll run them out of here."
It took them ten minutes to work up the nerve to say anything. Todd walked up and stood beside me.
"Hey Jace, how you doing?"
"I'm fine. The family's fine. Everybody is fine. Cut to the chase, Todd. What do you want?"
My little speech, delivered with no emotion, shook him a little.
"Me and the boys," he nodded at his two friends,
"we don't really want to do this. But Becky has them all bummed out crying over what an asshole you're being over something she's sorry about and you won't forgive her for. You remember being married, hell, technically you're still married, and they won't let it go. So we found out where you were, and here we are. Will you talk to them?"
"If I say no? Tell them to cram Becky up their collective asses and leave me the hell alone?"
He colored a little, but kept on.
"It would probably hurt all their feelings, and they'd come after you anyway. Please Jace."
I let him stew for a minute.
"All right. But remember what I told Jeff and Angela? Bob and Gloria? It still applies. I do this, we're through. Don't bother looking me up again, understand?"
I think he got a little angry, like I gave a shit.
"I understand. Man, what a hard ass you've turned into. Now will you talk to them?"
"Yes. Let me ask you something before you go. If it was your wife screwing around, would you let it go?"
He gave me a smirk.
"That'll never happen. She loves me."
"Yeah. Becky said the same thing. Still does. Didn't stop her now, did it?"
He frowned before I continued.
"First, go tell Sandy and George what I said, and then have them come over here and tell me they understand. They might not be as pussywhipped as you are. Then, tell the girls I'll give them ten minutes, no more, so they better be sure about what they say right off the bat, because they'll never get a second chance. I figure I'll have time to enjoy another beer by then."
I turned away, dismissing him. He stood for a second, head hanging, before he went back to the table. I watched in the mirror as their heads jerked up and a heated discussion started. Sandy threw up his hands and walked over to me.
"I've always liked you, Jace. You don't deserve this shit. I'm a little ashamed of the whole thing, and I'm out. I apologize for bothering you. But Tina is determined. We're going to have a long talk on the way home. This is the last time I'm going to put up with her meddling. I guess this is goodbye." He held out his hand. I shook it.
"So long, Sandy. You're one of the good ones. If I ever come back to town, I might look you up. Not Tina, though."
George never really liked me much, so he had no problem.
The women watched me like a hawk. I made them wait a little while, before mentally girding my loins and walking into the lions' den.
I sat, and they started talking. I held up my hand, got out my phone, and set the timer for ten minutes. I could tell it really pissed them off.
"All right, you're on the clock, go."
Tina rolled her eyes.
"Really, Jace, a timer?"
"Nine minutes and forty nine seconds," I said.
They talked over each other for a minute before they realized their mistake and looked at Carrie. Apparently she was to be the spokesperson.
"I know this is really none of our business, but..."
They almost ran when I slammed my hand down hard on the table.
"Finally, somebody understands. You're right, it IS none of your fucking business, and you'd be well served to stay out of it. But you can't resist, can you? You're determined to talk sense into me, because you're our friends, right? Then where the hell were you when she was out screwing someone else? Where was your concern for me then? One word from any of you to either of us would have saved me a lot of grief, we wouldn't even be here now. But looking back, I can't recall you or any of our so called friends ratting her out. Hell, a lot of you gave her alibis. Fuck that. Fuck this. Fuck you. End of rant. Let me reset the timer."
They all sat there stunned before Carrie spoke up. She sounded annoyed.
"Jace, please. It was a mistake. She never meant for it to happen. We didn't know what to say."
"She's miserable. Her parents hardly ever talk to her anymore, her boss has her on probation. She cried when she found out you'd saved her job. I think she's learned her lesson. Time to swallow your stubborn pride and take her back."
I rolled my eyes.
"Time? I'm sorry. I didn't read the Slut Wife Cheating Handbook. I wasn't aware there was a time limit on how long I was allowed to be angry. So now it's okay fine? Kiss kiss, promise promise and we live happily ever after? Not hardly. You know, I'd be a lot calmer if you people wouldn't keep shoving her in my face. Still think you know best for us?"
They actually looked a little guilty before nodding yes.
"You all feel that way?" I looked round the table and they all nodded their heads again. They babbled for a few more seconds before I stopped them.
"Hold on. Let's go off the clock for a second here. Carrie, if you found out George was screwing around on you and all of of us knew and didn't tell you, that it would be all right? Or, if the spouse was found out that they'd eventually be forgiven? You love him that much?"
She frowned but said she would eventually.
"And if the person he was fooling with was someone you knew, a friend even, married to a friend, could you forgive them also?"
She looked definitely uncomfortable. They all suddenly seemed very nervous.
"I'd like to think I would, after a time, if I thought they were really sorry."
"Well that's great, because Jan and George have been fucking like monkeys for about eight months now. In fact, when I heard the rumors about you guys, I didn't believe it. And before you ask, I was gonna tell you what I'd heard, but other things came up that required my attention. I left it alone because I thought you deserved to find out on your own, like I did. By then I didn't give a shit about any of you anyway. It's why I moved here, I heard they had a better class of assholes. So take your pompous, hypocritical platitudes and shove them up your collective asses."
I stopped, breathing heavily. There was dead silence around the table.
"So, let the healing begin. That way we can all get over it. Carrie, tell Jan you forgive her. Jan, in four months you can promise her you won't screw him again and everything will be fine. You'll have a stronger marriage for it, I'm pretty sure that's in a chapter of the cheating handbook somewhere."
I stopped to catch my breath.
"Let's get Todd and George over here too, and do a blanket healing. And Carrie, don't throw too many stones, or I'll have to tell an interesting tale about you and a stripper during you last girl's weekend to Myrtle Beach. Did I mention Becky told tales when she was drunk and we were alone? Tina, you and Sandy need a new circle of friends. Looks like the old one is pretty worn out. We've finished our conversation about me and Becky, but it looks like you guys have a lot to talk about, so I'll be leaving now. Let's not do this again, ever. Bye."
Was it a shitty thing to do? Maybe, but it didn't bother me much. He without sin, and so on.
There was a hell of a row at the table. A lot of yelling and tears, and more than a few slaps. Sandy grabbed Tina and they went to another table. He wasn't loud, but he had a finger in her face and she was crying pretty hard. Finally Marge, the bartender, told them to either leave or tone it down. They trouped out, all but Tina and Sandy.
She timidly came up to me.
"I'm sorry," she said, with lowered head and avoided eye contact. Then she gathered her courage and looked up.
"It just that we thought you were the best of us. You guys seemed really happy. I didn't believe it when you split up, and I figured once you calmed down you'd talk it out and get back together. I'm guessing everyone, especially Becky, didn't expect your reaction. You're really through with her, aren't you?"
"Yes, Tina, I am. You're wrong, though. You and Sandy are the best of us. Use this as a learning experience. Choose your friends a little more carefully in the future. Go home now. Love each other. And if nothing else, remember me and Becky, and how you can never be sure of anything, especially how a person will react to betrayal. Maybe I'll see you sometime."
Sandy apologized again, and they left, holding hands.
Marge nodded towards them as they left.
"They seem a decent couple. The others though, I'm not so sure of. I think the divorce court in your hometown will be a little busier soon.
I nodded, agreeing. Then gave her my keys, thirty dollars for the cab, and switched to whiskey.
I was as surprised as any of them at my reaction. I liked to think I was a pretty decent guy. Still do. Then again, you never know how someone will react to stress and betrayal. The fact that I loved her so deeply made the betrayal even worse.
I wasn't really attracted to Becky at first. She flirted too much and seemed a little flighty to me. We didn't date for the first two years I knew her.
She was the best friend of my business partners' wife. Cindy was the one constantly trying to put us together.
"Give it a rest, Cin. We're just not attracted to each other."
"Speak for yourself. I know for a fact she's interested in you. You'd be good for her."
Being half buzzed, I smiled and kissed her cheek.
"But, dear Cin, would she be good for me?"
She left it along for about six months, then Allan, my partner, asked me for a favor.
"Jace, I hate to spring it on you this late, but all of us, Cin, Becky, and her date were going to the theater tomorrow. The touring company of Momma Mia. I know how much you love musicals, you closet sissy, and Beck and her boyfriend had a big fight and they broke up. Would you go with us and keep her company?"
I thought about it for a minute.
"Don't think so, Al. I don't think I'd enjoy it in the company of a weepy or angry woman. And you're the one who picked the show, it's all you've talked about for two weeks. Have you picked which dress you're going to wear? It's after Labor Day, so the white four inch heels are out. Go with the black five inch 'come fuck me' pumps. Maybe Cindy will get excited enough to use that ten inch strapon, you size queen."
We laughed and went back to work. That evening, Cindy called.
"Please Jace. She's a mess right now. She could use the company of a decent man."
"But I don't need the company of an emotional woman."
"She'll behave. I promise. Please please please?"
"All right, but just because I want to see the show. In gratitude, tell Allen you'll use the strapon if he's a good girl. He'll understand."
"You asshole! Now I have to buy some scented lube on the way home. Cherry, if they have it."
We laughed for a minute while I tried to get a mental picture. Allan was six four, with a beard. Cindy might be five three.
"Seriously, dude, thanks."
"If tonight sucks, I'm gonna take a turn on you with that strapon. Now, let's get to work."
We went to dinner first. Becky was subdued but not whiny. I really looked at her for the first time.
She was five seven, slender, small breasted, but she had a world class ass. Her auburn hair went to her shoulders in soft curls. Her face was well proportioned, with brown eyes that sparkled most of the time, and a mouth that seemed to say "Kiss me! Now!"
All together she was a very nice package. The problem was she knew it and used it. I'd seen her work a guy, and the poor bastard never had a chance when she turned on the charm. Then she'd laugh and walk off, leaving him hanging.
We enjoyed the show. The girls were actually singing their favorite song from the show in the parking lot. I looked at Al and grinned. We jumped right in. Soon half the parking lot chimed in for the big finish.
We went for a drink later, at a small club I suggested. I have nothing against dance clubs, but sometimes I actually like to hear myself think, and hold a conversation. It was the weekend, and they had a four piece band. Two keyboards, drums, and a guy that switched from guitar to bass as the song called for. It was old, light melodies, mostly slow. There were actually a few couples dancing on the small floor.
Allan looked at Cindy and she dragged him out on the floor.
"Wanna..." was all I got out before I was on the floor, with a hot woman wrapped around me. It was slow, it was soft, it was comfortable instead of arousing.
"Thank you," she whispered.
"For what?" I asked in surprise.
"For showing me good guys still exist. Cindy told me to behave, so I did. I know you didn't want to come, but I'm glad you decided to."
"Me too," I said, realizing I meant it.
"Whether you know it or not, you're a hell of a woman, Becky. Tone the flirting down a notch or two, invest in someone worthwhile, and I'm sure you'll be very happy. And I'm not criticizing you, just making an observation based on watching you for the last few years."
She actually smiled.
"Thanks, I think. You really think I'm a nice woman?"
My turn to smile.
"When you want to be. Either way, you've got the best ass I've ever seen. Ever noticed when we're around each other I'm always a step or two behind you?"
She flushed, then punched me on the arm.
"Again, thanks, I think."
The song ended and we walked back, talking and smiling. Cindy was sitting there amazed.
"What were you two talking about?"
"How Jace says I'm a good woman most of the time. And what a great ass I have."
Allan choked on his drink and Cindy laughed. I looked at him.
"What? Don't tell me you've never noticed."
Cindy looked at him suspiciously.
"What about my ass, honey?"
He was trying to think of something diplomatic to say when I rescued him.
"You do have a nice ass, Cindy, but it's not even close to hers. If it's any consolation, you've got a killer rack."
Both women were looking at me like I was crazy for talking to them like this. Allen started laughing.
"Stop, Jace. Quit while your breaking even. Honey you do have a nice ass, and you've got Becky beat all to hell in the boob department. But it's you I love, and that's all that counts, to me."
Nice save, Allan, I thought, remembering now what a good salesman he was. Becky just grinned, turned around and shook her butt in his face. I wished many times I'd had a camera that night.
Not to be outdone, Cindy grabbed my head and stuck my face between her boobs, nearly smothering me. We all laughed until we cried, had one more drink and three more dances. The last dance Becky molded to me, rubbing until she felt me get hard. Then backed off, grinning.
"You're a good guy, Jace, but you're still a man."
I got a really good kiss, and she made me promise to call her, soon.
I didn't call for two weeks.
That Saturday I got a pretty sharp call from Cindy.
"You asshole[she called me that a lot. I hoped it was a term of endearment]. She was starting to think there were good guys in the world, and then you don't call. Her feelings are hurt pretty bad."
"Cindy," I said calmly, when she finally wound down.
"What's Allan been doing for the last two weeks?"
"You know damn well what he's been doing. You've been keeping him at the office all those ungodly hours getting the Jamison account done."
"Exactly," I said softly, "and what was I doing all this time?"
"Guilting Allan because you're practically living at the office. What's that ... Oh."
Suddenly she was apologizing.
"I'm sorry, Jace. I didn't think. I should have told her."
"Well, call and tell her now. Tell if she's interested, I'll call next Thursday."
"I will, I will. I wasn't thinking."
I thought later many times about my next statement, and how true it turned out to be.
"Relax, Cindy. She's your friend. Of course you want to protect her, help her be happy. I understand. Gotta go."
She was still talking when I hung up.
I did call Thursday, and she chattered happily. We made a date. She wanted to go to a movie and then back to what she called 'our' club. I threw in dinner.
We had a really great time. The movie sucked, one of those vapid tearjerkers some asshole was making a fortune writing, but the dinner and the dancing was great. By the time we left the bar she was firmly under my arm.
I surprised her by not coming in when I dropped her off. She looked disappointed until I explained why.
"I'd love to, honey, but Allan and I are working tomorrow. We're almost over the hump. This account and another we're courting will make us pretty secure, so we're putting all we have into it."
I think calling her 'honey' did the trick. I got a really strong kiss, followed by another. I finally had to break it off.
"Damn, you know how hard it's going to be working tomorrow thinking about these kisses? If I blow this account, I'm making you support me."
She giggled prettily.
"You'll do fine. If you think those were great, wait 'til I bring out the A game."
"That wasn't the A game?"
"No. That was a I really like you a lot first date kiss. Keep up what you're doing, and you'll get the A game soon. Now go. Conquer the business world. Call me soon."
She and Cindy surprised us by showing up the next day, bringing a home cooked meal.
"You have to eat, right?" she said, sailing by me. They set the conference table and we ate a feast fit for a king. Afterwards, they cleaned up and packed. I found her on the conference table, bouncing up and down.
"What are you doing?"
"Stress testing the table. I don't want it to break when we christen it."
Cindy laughed and joined her.
"Yeah, It'll hold us. Bye honey."
Becky got up. "Yeah, bye honey. See you this weekend. We're going to the lake, grill and swim. You guys need some sun."
As an ad guy, I know one of the most hard and fast rules is always display your wares to the best of your abilities, while minimizing the weak points.
The girls had both bought new bikinis. Becky had on a modest top, but the bottom was a not quite thong. Cindy on the other hand, had on a modest bottom, but her top was two postage stamps and some wrapping string. I still don't know why we weren't thrown out of the state park we were in. I think the fact that the lifeguards and manager on duty were all male had something to do with it.
Allan and I almost burned the steaks because we couldn't keep our eyes off the girls. They finally laughed and put slinky covers on.
We ate, we played in the water, got into a volleyball game, us against four guys. Every time they got ahead in points Becky would bend over to pick up the ball, or Cindy would jump op and down, making her boobs shake wildly. We won, despite not being very good.
Just before it got dark they dragged us into the water, snuggling into us. That almost naked ass rubbing on me got me hard in seconds. We were kissing, when she pulled back and dove under. She popped back up, grinning. Cindy did the same.
"Sorry," she said, "We were getting too hot."
we snuggled and played a little longer. She handed me something. I looked down and found her bottoms in my hand. She grinned as I rubbed down her hip, finding nothing but skin. Her ass felt better than it looked, if that was possible. She turned slightly, and I found out she was just as smooth in the front. She hunched up a little, and soon I had two fingers inside her, stroking slowly.
"Faster," she whispered. I threw it into high gear, and soon she was moaning and shaking. She lost it, cumming on my hand. When she calmed down, she put her hand in my suit, grabbed my aching cock, and stroked me until I blew so hard some of it actually floated to the top.
I looked around at Cindy and Allan. She was completely naked, her nipples would pop out of the water once in a while as she bounced. I couldn't see her hands either.
"Honey, will you get my cover?"
"Aren't you going to put your..."
She put her fingers to my lips.
"No. I intend to stain your upholstery on the way back. Wanna complain?"
"Not in the least. Looks like I need to get Cindy's cover too. That's her top, isn't it, out past the safety line?"
Cindy squeaked when she saw it. Becky teased her, telling her she had to come get her cover, while Allen just grinned. Finally she tossed it to her. Hers was a lot lighter than Becky's, and it was like wet tee shirt night watching her come out of the water.
I heard a gasp, and looked around. Three teen boys, carrying their gear out, were standing there like deer caught in headlights.
Cindy grinned, stretched, forcing her nipples out, asking Allan for a towel. Not to be outdone, Becky bent over, showing the bottom of her ass cheeks as she picked one up and gave it to her.
"Goodnight, boys. Maybe we'll see you next week." they said, as they walked to the car. We followed along, admiring the view and laughing.
That night will be etched in my memory for the rest of my life. Even now, as hurt and heartbroken as I am, I still get hard thinking about it.
We damn near broke the bed. Seems she's multiorgasmic, and goes absolutely crazy if you eat her pussy. Her blowjobs would bring tears to your eyes. She could torment you for hours, if she wanted to. By the time she was done you wanted to come so bad it actually hurt.
Her pussy was tight yet yielded easily to my thrusts. I can still feel her muscles massaging the cum out of me.
I had only had anal once before. She didn't like it so we never did it again. Becky taught me it was all about preparation and anticipation. When we first did it, I thought I would pass out.
In spite of everything else, I never had complaints about the sex, before I found out I was sharing.
We were constantly together. They'd meet us for lunch once or twice a week. One would bring it, while the other went out. We discovered the conference table was really sturdy, the couch not so much. We had to replace it after Allan and Cindy had lunch in one day.
We were heading towards moving in when we hit a bump in the road. I always felt it was a warning I should have heeded.
We got the other account we wanted so badly. It meant enormous hours until we could afford to hire someone. I usually worked more hours than Allan, so he could spend time with Cindy.
Becky and I hadn't been out in three weeks. She was a beautiful woman and used to getting a lot of attention, and it didn't sit well. She was bitchy the last two phone calls, despite my apologies.
I looked up one Saturday at five.
"Fuck this," I thought. I was going to call her, spend some quality time. She wasn't home. I called Cindy and she said she thought she was out with her friends from work, after bitching me out for not paying more attention to her. I wasn't in the mood.
"All right, if that's the way you feel. Tell Allan starting next week he works every hour I do. Sound good?"
She was trying to back pedal when I hung up.
Forty minute later Becky called.
"Where are you?" she asked.
"I couldn't get hold of you, so I went back to work. Enjoy your night out. I'll call you tomorrow." She was still trying to talk when I hung up. Cindy had killed my mood and I wanted to be alone.
I had started back to work when I decide to eat something. There was a little mom and pop operation down the street from the office that had killer hot dogs, so I stopped and ate two piled so high with toppings they were dripping everywhere, with a large order of hand made onion rings. After all, I wouldn't be kissing anyone tonight, would I? Still grabbed a couple of breath mints on the way out.
I started home when I remembered a club Cindy was telling me about. It was sort of like the one we liked except it leaned towards jazz. She had read about it in the entertainment section and thought it might be a change of pace. Maybe they'd be there. Either way, I could check it out.
It was a nice place, muted lighting, dark wood, with a pub style kitchen and a nice bar. They had a three piece, drums, piano, standup bass. They were pretty good, even If I wasn't a big fan of jazz.
I remember thinking Becky would like it when I heard her laugh. It made my day. This had been where she had gone with her girlfriends. Sneaky little devil was doing what I was, checking it out.
I started into the lounge area when she walked into view arm in arm with some guy I'd never seen, heading towards the dance floor. It didn't concern me, we were both often asked to dance by others. We did, but not often.
I looked around the floor and didn't see any single girls. Huh? I decided to hang back, see what was going on.
I took a small table off to the side, and watched. There was no one else at the table. They danced three more times, the last with his hand firmly on her ass. The kiss at the end and the one at the table sealed it. I hadn't asked her to be exclusive, but I expected her to be more up front if she was dating others.
I can't deny it hurt. It did, a lot. I wrote it off as a life lesson and started to leave, before I remembered the remark about being out with the girls. I got the waitress, had her take them a round of drinks in exactly five minutes, giving her a twenty dollar tip.
She had the radar of a good cocktail waitress or bartender.
"There's not going to be any trouble, is there?"
I assured her, saying I was leaving, they were friends of mine, and I felt foolish not noticing before. The drink was an apology because I had to leave and hadn't talked to them. She bought it, kind of.
I waited a minute and dialed her number. The band was on break, and I heard it ring from where she was sitting. She looked at it, said something to her companion, and took it.
"Hi, honey. Change your mind?"
She sounded so sincere.
"NO, I'm beat. It's bed for me. Say hi to the girls for me. Where are you? It sounds awfully quiet."
The band's on break, and the girls had to go potty. I'm guarding the drinks."
The waitress was approaching with their drinks.
They looked over at me and I stepped out of the shadows.
"The Fedora is nice isn't it? Tell your girlfriend here not to go into the ladies room dressed like that. They may not understand."
Her mouth opened and closed a couple of times before she could recover. I was already out the door. I sat in the darkened lot across the street and watched as she ran out the door, looking around wildly. Her date came out and said something, but she shook him off.
The phone started ringing, and I cut it off. I didn't feel like talking. Her date argued some more and she kept shaking her head no. He finally gave up in disgust and went back inside. I wondered what she was waiting for? Fifteen minutes Cindy roared up in her SUV. She climbed in and started towards my apartment. I went the other way.
Not in the mood for a bunch of drama, I found a motel, paid cash, and knocked out for ten straight hours.
There was no one in my parking lot when I got home, so I showered, changed, and headed back out. I went by the office, but Allen and Cindy were there. I figured Becky was lurking somewhere, so I drove by, went four hours away to the mountains, called and left a message at their house since I knew where they were, and told them I needed a break and would be back Tuesday.
I slept. I walked around in the sunshine enjoying it immensely. I ate when I wanted, what I wanted. Even stopped at a tourist trap and bought them all some gifts. Tuesday morning I was in the office bright and early. I had parked the car out of sight and he nearly jumped out of his skin when he walked in. He grabbed his phone immediately.
"Use that and I'm gone for the rest of the week. Understand?"
He nodded, watching me warily.
"Good. Let's get to work. I feel great. That little break made a world of difference. I've come up with some good ideas. Tell me what you think."
So until lunch time we worked away. He was excited about the new ideas.
At lunch I told him I'd see him in an hour, and left. Usually I ate a sandwich at the desk and kept working.
He had been back twenty minutes before me. Cindy was there twenty minutes later.
She drew in a big breath, and I held up mu hand.
"I'll talk first, if you don't mind. Becky doesn't owe me a thing except honestly. We hadn't talked about being exclusive. I would have hated it but understood if she told me she wanted to see others. But she didn't. And then she lied about who she was with and where she was. That tells me a lot."
She started to talk and I held my hand up again.
"Not done yet. Tell her not to bother me. I'll call her sometime this week. One more thing, did you know she was on a date? And then lied to me about it? If I think you did, it would affect our friendship greatly. If I can't trust you you're not my friend. Understand?"
She paled a little and Allan looked uncomfortable. Then she lied her ass off.
"I didn't know or I would have stopped her. I'm mad at her too, Jace. I thought she was finally growing up. I'm as disappointed as you are. I chewed her a new ass over it."
When?" I asked.
"What do you mean when?"
"When did you chew her a new ass?"
"That night. She called me from the club, a crying mess. We spent half the night looking and waiting for you. We finally went to my house and crashed for a few hours. You had come and gone while we were asleep. Can I at least call her and tell her you're back and will talk to her?"
I sighed, mentally. Maybe she was telling me the truth after all.
"Yes, by all means call her. Now, if you want to keep that house and that tank you drive, you need to let us go back to work."
At six on the dot I told Allan I was leaving for the day.
"You're kidding, right? There's lots to do yet."
"And it'll all be here tomorrow when we come back. No more killing myself, at least for awhile."
I left him with his mouth hanging open. The next day I placed an ad for an associate. Allan was pissed because it ate into the profits.
"Fine," I said. "I'll pull the ad. But if we do, from now on we're hourly. The salary goes out the window."
He didn't like that because he knew I easily worked at least a third more than he did, so he shut up.
I hired a woman straight out of school. She was really talented but had no real world experience. I ended up spending a lot of time with her at first, but she developed nicely. Our business actually increased because we could handle more.
Between Aida and I we kept the ideas rolling while Allan handled the contacts and sold.
I called Becky like I promised. She didn't know what to say. I waited.
"I'm sorry," finally came out.
"For what?" I wasn't going to make it easier.
"For lying to you. For going out behind your back. I was climbing the walls, and just wanted to get out. I wasn't going to sleep with him. I just needed a companion."
I shocked her.
"I understand. And you hadn't made me any promises. But I expected honesty, and you lied like crazy. Tell me how I could trust you enough now to return to where we were? Or go forward? You know I was wanting more. I thought you did too. Ah well, a leopards spots and all that."
That off hand comment actually sent her into a rage.
"Damn you! You always had it in the back of your head I couldn't measure up, didn't you? I bet you threw your arm out of socket and put a callous on your tongue patting yourself on the back and saying 'I told you so'. I was falling in love, asshole, for the first time in my life. I was scared, and lonely. Feelings I never had to handle. I fucked up. I'm sorry."
I said it gently, just above a whisper.
"I'm sorry too. And I was already in love with you."
I hung up to her voice pleading with me to stay on the line.
I didn't talk to her for two weeks.
When I did, I didn't expect what was said.
"Would you like to go to a club Saturday? Maybe eat at that new Indian restaurant before?"
I was shocked by the anger in her voice.
"Decided to forgive the poor sinner, huh? My penance over?"
I hung up, gently. I didn't need this.
Cindy called me.
"What did you say to her?"
"Asked her out."
Silence. I thought maybe she'd hung up.
"Oh. What did she say?"
"She didn't say yes, and that's all that matters. Good night, Cin."
Two days later Cindy called me again.
"I'm with Becky. If I give her the phone, will you talk to her?"
"Yes, if she'll talk and not rant. Make her understand, it's getting easier and easier not to talk to her. So if she wants to say something, do it, without drama or hysterics. Tell her, then hand her the phone."
I heard a couple of minutes of whispering.
"Jace, I'm really sorry. For everything. I'd like to start over, like new. I want you to see me as a new person, not someone that you used to know. Allen wants to grill Sunday, will you come over?"
"To visit or grill?"
She gave a little laugh. Allan would burn concrete if you put it on the grill.
"Both. I'd like to actually eat."
"Make your potato salad and it's a date."
"I will. Thank you, Jace."
It took five months to get a sense of intimacy back. I dated others, which pissed her off no end. I told her up front if I couldn't go out with her and why. She bit her lips raw holding back.
When we decided to get intimate, we had the big talk.
"If we're intimate, it's just us. No one else. Do you understand? Even if you just go out with old friends, if I find out about it from someone besides you, we're over. There won't be any rising from the ashes this time. And I don't intend to be your jailer. I won't be checking up on you, you're on your own. Screw up, and it's all you."
She agreed too quickly for my taste.