They had been married for six years and went together for a year before that. After all that time she knew her husband inside and out. He wasn't going to like it. Still ... she had to try. It was such a worthwhile cause. Even if he didn't like it, it was for charity; really ... how could he say no?
She'd been rehearsing ever since her friend told her about the event earlier that day. She had it all planned out. She waited until after dinner and everything was quiet. His stomach was full and he should be a little mellow from the wine; the time was right.
"Jerry, do you have a minute to talk?"
"Yeah, sure, honey. What's up?" he said while putting the TV remote down on the coffee table. With a pat of his hand, he scooted over to give his beautiful wife room to sit next to him on the couch. "You have my full attention," he said with a smile.
Marcy sat down and flashed her big green eyes in his direction. "Well, you know ever since mom died of breast Cancer last year, I've wanted to do something for charity."
"Yeah, honey, and I think it's a good idea," he responded.
"Well, I've got a chance to raise some money for Cancer research next month. Emmy, my friend from work, did it last year. She raised eight hundred dollars and said it was a lot of fun. She's going to do it again this year and I'd like to do it with her, but I'm afraid you won't like it."
"How much is it going to cost me?" he asked with caution.
"Nothing, honey; not a cent."
"I like it already," he joked. "If it's not going to cost me anything, why wouldn't I like it?" he asked with a slight chuckle.
"It, ah ... it involves going on a date," she sheepishly replied.
"A date; what do you mean, a date?"
"Um, well, it's not really a date, date; it's just dinner and maybe some dancing."
"You lost me," he said, looking a little confused. "We go out to dinner, then go someplace to dance ... how do you raise the money for the charity?"
"No, no, honey," she quickly replied. "It wouldn't be us. I'd be going out with someone else."
"Someone else ... who?" She was right in the first place; Jerry suddenly wasn't liking this at all.
"Whoever bids the highest," she responded. "It's an auction, a charity auction."
It didn't take Jerry long to put two and two together. "An auction; you mean you'd be up on some stage, strutting your stuff while a bunch of strangers bid to take you out for the night? Sorry, honey; you'll have to come up with some other way to raise money. There's no way I'm letting my wife do something like that."
He knew how hard his wife took her mother's death. She was way too young to die. Ever since, Marcy had been talking about doing some charity work, but this... ?
"I can't believe you're even considering this, Marcy. Hell, it's demeaning," he continued as he cut her off. "Would you really stand up there while a bunch of horny guys bid for you like a side of beef? No, absolutely not," he said again, this time even more emphatically. "I'm not putting my wife on the auction block; I don't care if it is for charity."
Again, Marcy started to say something but he still wasn't done yet.
"Honey, it's not only demeaning, it's downright dangerous. You could wind up with a rapist or some psycho killer. How the hell can they even get away with setting married women up on dates, like that? I thought that kind of thing was only for single people."
Marcy was disappointed. She knew he wouldn't like the idea but she wasn't expecting his reaction to be quite so strong. She was hoping to use a little friendly persuasion to talk him into it, but her hopes were rapidly diminishing. Still ... nothing ventured, nothing gained.
She finally got a chance to speak. "When they first started, it was just for singles, but then a few of the married women wanted to volunteer, and of course the more women they have, the more money they make. So they opened it up to both married and single people. It's all for charity, honey."
"Yeah, I know; you said that before. The answer is no, Marcy. We'll put our heads together and figure out another way to give to charity. I'm sure there are things we can do together to raise money. I'm not letting you go out with some total stranger. I'd be worried sick the whole time you were out."
"Jerry, it's all very platonic. Last year the guy that won Emmy took her out for a nice dinner and a little dancing. He was a perfect gentleman and had her home before midnight."
"Honey, that's not the point. It isn't that I don't trust you. What if the guy who wins you is NOT a perfect gentleman? What the hell am I supposed to do while you're on this date that's not really a date, sit home twiddling my thumbs?"
"Jerry," she responded, "all the guys bidding are registered with the charity council. They have all the pertinent information on everyone. They even run them through credit checks. Most of them are big shot CEO's and business owners who contribute to several charities throughout the year. This is just a little more fun than simply writing a check. In addition to their donation being tax deductible, they get to spend some time with a member of the opposite sex, that's all. It's all very innocent, honey."
"Babe, I'm sorry but I just don't like the idea ... not at all. I'll check around. I'm sure there's something you and I can do together to raise money for Cancer research."
"Honey, please; let's drop it, okay? I'm just not comfortable with the whole idea."
"So ... what did he say?" asked Emmy, the next day at work. Marcy hadn't even had a chance to sit down at her desk with her coffee yet.
"Nix," she replied. "He shut me down, cold."
"Why? Did you tell him it was to raise money for breast Cancer research?"
"Yes, of course I did. He just doesn't like the idea. I told you he wouldn't like me being out with another man. He said he'd be sitting home worrying about me all night."
"Shit, Marcy, is he really that insecure?" asked her friend.
"It's not that, he's afraid the guy will turn out to be a rapist or something."
Marcy took her first sip of coffee and thought about her friend's question. "I don't know, maybe you're right. Maybe he just doesn't trust me. Maybe he believes I'm going to sleep with the guy who bids on me."
"But that's ridiculous, Marcy. Have you ever given him cause to think like that?"
"No, of course not. I've never cheated on Jerry and he knows it. Honestly, I'm not sure what he thinks but he was adamantly against it."
"You think it'd do any good if I talked to him?"
"I don't know ... maybe, but I doubt it." Marcy thought for a moment. "Actually, it might be better to have another man's perspective. Do you think Stan would talk to him?"
"Yeah, I don't see why not, but you think he'd listen to Stan. They only met once."
"I don't know, Emmy. I don't see that I have anything to lose."
"You have a point. You want me to have Stan call him at home tonight?"
"Yeah, I guess ... no, wait a minute. I think it'd be better if Stan talked to him in person. How about if I ask you guys over for dinner? After we've eaten you can come in the kitchen with me to help with the dishes. We'll leave Stan and Jerry together in the dining room."
"Yeah, good idea," Emmy confirmed. "Hey, I have something here that might help as well," she said, digging in her purse. She handed Marcy a brochure. "Here's some literature about the auction. It tells all about the whole thing; how it's organized, the sign up process, how the bidders are vetted ... everything."
Marcy took the pamphlet and looked it over. "Yeah, this is good. I'll leave it on the coffee table tonight, right under the remote. He's bound to see it there. Thanks. Between this and your husband, maybe we can get him to change his mind. I really want to do this ... for my mom," she said as her eyes gazed over a little with moisture.
Later that evening, Marcy anxiously kept glancing at her husband who was sitting on the couch in the living room. "Come on," she urged under her breath. "Come on. You must see it. It's sitting right in front of you. Come on, pick it up."
Almost like magic, Jerry started reaching for the bro- "No, damn it," she silently cursed. He picked up the TV cable guide, instead ... wait ... he's hesitating. I think he sees the brochure. YES! He has it in his hand. He's opening it.
A big smile stretched across Marcy's face as she started to load the dishwasher. Maybe it won't change his mind, she mused, but at least he's reading it. She took that to mean he hadn't completely ruled things out. It gave her just the slightest bit of hope.
Jerry was still reading it when Marcy finished in the kitchen and joined him in the living room.
"Is this what you were talking about last night?" he asked refolding the tri-fold piece of literature and setting it back down.
"Yeah, honey. Emmy gave that to me to look over."
"Why? Didn't you tell her you couldn't do it?"
"Yes, of course I did. She ... well, she gave it to me for you, actually. She thought that maybe if you knew more about it..."
"That I would change my mind," he interjected.
"Yeah," she sheepishly admitted. "Honey, it's for..."
"I know, I know; it's for charity. That doesn't mean everybody involved in this thing is a saint, honey."
"Did you read the brochure? Did you see all the precautions they take?"
"Yeah, I read it. I'll admit, it seems very well organized, but this is only the third year for this thing. If you ask me, they've just been lucky something hasn't happened."
.... There is more of this story ...