An odd little story about pride and prejudice. Please don't take it too serious. Sorry not much sex, but some violence. You have Vickie to thank once again for fixing my mistakes.
My wife Shantel was at the bar, perusing what was on offer in the way of male companionship. We were in La Pera, a fairly upscale dance club in the county center. Ours is an odd mix of urban and suburban community two steps away from the city. The town is now congested with office parks and shopping malls. La Pera was the trendy new place where the young and not so young gathered to dance and pick up the opposite sex.
I was surprised that my wife picked La Pera for our first night out without children. So much of our marriage had been about the kids. Now we were reaching a point where we would not need to think of the children before deciding on a night out.
Shantel continued to scope out the bar area. If a man smiled at Shantel, she would smile back. She was obviously flirting and on the make. What was holding the men back was that I was seated close to her with my arm firmly around her shoulder.
I'm not a small guy at six foot three and two hundred plus. I have always had a formidable presence. My looks in my younger days were pretty decent, I believe, but time has not been good to me. A lab explosion a few years back left me with an ugly horizontal scar across my right cheek bone. I'm of Irish descent technically, but my ancestors came to Ireland with the Norman Conquest. My blue eyes have the cold, forbidding look of my Norman ancestors. In short, I look like those big mean white guys you see in the movies and on TV who play the villains.
Shantel is my exact opposite. Her mother is in fact a Norwegian immigrant, with lily white skin and platinum blond, arrow-straight hair. The looks she passed to her daughter have an unusual appeal. But my wife's father was part African American. Her skin is a golden shade darker than a Caucasian woman with a deep tan. Shantel's skin tone gives off a warm, friendly, tropical vibe. She is a handsome rather than a pretty woman, her soft African features mixing beautifully with her sharp Norwegian bone structure. She naturally has a black woman's hair, the kind they sell all those straighten-your-hair products to, long black hair with a charmingly loose curl to it. She's a big woman, over six feet tall like her mother.
Ours is a second marriage for both of us. We came to this union with plenty of baggage. We each had a child. My daughter Margaret, or Maggie, was four and Shantel's son Eddy, or Edward, was eight. Eddy's skin coloring is like his very black natural father. It would have been difficult to blend us together if it were just the race issue, but we had the additional problem that Shantel was six months pregnant when we wed.
Neither of us was ready for marriage. Both our divorces were barely finished. Both marriages had terminated in deep bitterness. Mine still hurts even after more than twelve years. I had married the love of my life while still in University. At twenty-two, I was a Ph.D. candidate in biochemistry. My first wife Susan was an MBA working for a large pharmaceutical company as some kind of executive. I never understood what she did other than go to work and look pretty.
Five years into my marriage with Susan, I was served with a restraining order. I was forbidden to go to my own home. I could not see the daughter I loved. Susan was divorcing me and I never found out why. She had been unhappy for a full year preceding the divorce, although all my attempts to find out why proved futile.
Homeless, I moved in with an old friend from the Brooklyn neighborhood where I grew up. Tony McGlen was the head of security for a Fortune five hundred company. Tony was the kid every bully had to try at least once. He was the toughest guy anyone ever knew, but was only average height and always a little overweight. We became friends because I could not keep myself from jumping in when the self-styled tough guys would gang up on Tony in groups of two and three.
Tony welcomed me to his modest Condo and we reminisced about our childhood. I desperately wanted the restraining order lifted. The first hearing was a week after the temporary order was signed, but nothing happened or changed. They hit me with child support for a daughter I was not allowed to see. This went on for two months. I was frustrated with my attorney. He had submitted lots of affidavits proving I was a good parent, better than my wife by far in fact, but there were no signs that anyone had read them.
"Look be reasonable. The situation is simple. Your wife is lying, but no judge will call her on it. If they lift the restraint and something happens, the judge's ass gets burned. However, if they do nothing, there is not a thing you can do about it. Be patient and let the case workers at Social Services report and the physiologists have their say. Then and only then will this judge act," Tony said.
My friend was right. His work around the edges of law enforcement had taught him well about the limitations of the judicial system. I would have been screwed if two events had not hit together. My wife Susan decided to take a promotion. Her new job was in California. She and her man-hating attorney marched right into court sure that the female judge, who had been so good to them so far, would see everything their way. But God must have decided to take a hand. The old bitch that had sat on the bench was a County Court judge sitting by a temporary appointment. We walked into the courtroom to find a new judge sitting.
I thought nothing of it. She was still a female if quite a bit younger, maybe mid-thirties. Susan's attorney did a good job of presenting her as the poor abused wife seeking to relocate to start a new life away from the uncaring husband. When she finished my attorney was up and ready but the judge waved her off and I was ready to kill someone until the judge ordered my wife to the witness stand.
It was the first time in this proceeding that anyone had actually been called to testify about anything. The Judge asked the questions. She deftly demolished by wife's ludicrous charges of abuse and then asked the question that stunted me.
"Mrs. Fitzmaurice, your daughter, is four years old -- what inoculations has she had?" the judge asked in a sweet innocent tone.
Susan had no idea and had to admit that she left such things to me. The judge didn't bother to put me on the stand -- she just asked me to rise and answer her question. I had no trouble telling her that we had every immunization that could be given to a child age four, running through the litany from whooping cough to measles. Which was everything until just before puberty.
"Yes, that's just as I thought," the judge said.
The Judge left and came back in about thirty minutes. She read a brief handwritten decision that changed custody to me and lifted the restraining order. Then added,
"In conclusion, I will admit that my decision is based in part on my view that women have no naturally superior child-rearing skills. My husband and I have four little girls -- the youngest is only two. He is with her right now, providing child care while he pursues his work as an artist. Many view him with derision because he is the caregiver, but I see him as a man who provides for his daughters.
"Like you Mrs. Fitzmaurice I am a career woman who leaves trivial child care duties to her spouse. The problem is they are not trivial to the child. You choose to go to California to pursue your career. By all means go, but leave the child in the care of the parent who would never make that choice," the Judge said.
After that, I don't know what I expected. Maybe I thought that Susan would be very upset, but I was wrong, She went off to California without any further fight. In retrospect I think she was relieved. She didn't want the burden of her daughter and the Judge's decision gave her the excuse to walk away. I have to admire that Judge, she looked at my wife and I guess she just knew what the true situation was. For whatever reason, Susan wished to leave us.
Shantel was a totally different matter. She was the broker who sold the house Susan and I owned together. Susan's lawyer insisted we put it on the multiple listing. Shantel came by with a couple of prospective home buyers. We got to talking. I discovered she was also coming out of a difficult divorce. Her ex was walking away as well leaving her with an eight-year-old boy.
We began casually dating. It was nothing serious. She self-identified as a black woman with a black child. Our relationship was a rest stop on the road of life. We didn't need to be serious. The sex between us was the comfortable kind you have with someone you like and trust. Ours was the sort of easy going relationship that you need coming from a bad marriage.
Maggie and Eddy did not see it that way. My daughter desperately needed a mother. Eddy never actually had a father. Shantel's former husband had trouble parenting and when the marital problem started, he was gone quickly. She always spoke of him as a good man who was, unfortunately, unable to relate well to others. From what I learned he was a handsome man and well educated. He was a history professor at the State University.
The few times Eddy had a visitation with his father, he came back upset. The professor had unreasonable expectations for the behavior of an eight-year-old. Then when dad took up with a young co-ed, it pretty much finished the father-son relationship. It was natural I guess that the boy should turn to the man his mother was dating. On my side, I could not turn away from the boy even knowing that the woman did not see me as husband material.
So there we were, two parents unable to resist the needs of our children. Then fate struck. Shantel and I were careful we thought. When she missed her monthly flow she at first ignored it. The over the counter pregnancy test was supposed to be purely to ease our minds. Several positive results quickly led to medical confirmation. We were six months into a relationship that neither was supposed to take seriously, though I knew by then that I did not want to end it with her.
We were in an awkward situation. The news of the pregnancy changed things. I had not intended to have a serious connection with Shantel, but the fact was, I did. I knew I loved her, but was unsure of her feeling toward me. Eddy was another consideration, as was Maggie. The boy and I had bonded as if we were fated to be father and son. Maggie was attached to Shantel to the point that she was asking if Shan -- as she called her -- could be her mommy. Susan had called her daughter only four times in the preceding six months, which left my daughter desperate for a mother.
"We need to talk—" I began.
"Wait, don't go there, and please tell me you haven't bought a ring," she said.
"No, I was waiting to hear your reaction, but now I guess I know."
"Listen to me, this will take a bit. I know you love me. It's been obvious the last several months. What you don't know is that I love you. You don't know, because I have been hiding my feelings, but I can't marry you. My husband had every right to divorce me. I cheated ... on him. Not once but several times," she said.
She had turned away from me. I could tell she had started to cry. I wrapped my arms around her from behind.
"My love we all do things we regret when we are under pressure. I don't think your former husband was a saint—" I said.
"NO, NO you don't understand. Yes, he cheated, but what I did had nothing to do with that. I can't be faithful, not long term. There are times that I need something different. I get this itch and there is no controlling it. I am sure this baby is yours because I have been ok for the last six months. But it will come again," she said.
"I'm not sure what you are telling me," I said.
"Rob you are a good man. The best man I know and frankly the man I would most like to be a father to my children. I love you and love Margaret like she was my own daughter. I have only myself to blame for getting pregnant. The truth is I want this new child and will not even consider not having it. But I love you too much to hurt you with a marriage."
"Now you are making no sense at all. If we love each other how can we not be faithful," I said.
"Please try to understand. Sometimes I need what you can't give me. You are a sweet, gentle lover and ninety-nine percent of the time that is all I need. But the one percent is my undoing. I can't help myself and I wouldn't go through another painful divorce. And certainly not a hurtful divorce with what I now realize is the only man I have ever actually loved," she said.
The discussion went on like that for an entire evening. I did not understand what she was saying. We had been exclusively together for six months. I had never seen her look elsewhere. True we did not live together. She could have played around if she wanted to, but I firmly believed she had not been doing so. Why she would need to in the future, I did not understand. In fact, I did not believe what she was telling me.
We didn't seem able to resolve the situation. We broke up, but I knew we could not just leave it like that. Something would need to be resolved about the pregnancy.
But I did not expect the reaction from the two existing children. Maggie could not understand why she could not see Shantel. My daughter started acting up. She was in a half-day kindergarten program by this time and I got called into the school because she was acting too aggressive there.
And then, Eddy ran away from home. He was gone a whole day before we found him. In fact, I found him in the park where he and I played ball on the weekends.
We sat the kids down for a long discussion session. Probably should have done that to begin with. They were unable to comprehend why if we loved each other and were going to have a new child, why we weren't going to be together as a family. They had apparently seen this as an inevitable step.
The truth was we didn't have a good explanation, or any explanation. Trying to defend our situation only made me see how absurd it was. I sent the kids to bed. Eddy usually spent as many nights in my home as in Shantel's condo. Then I sat down with Shantel to have it out. She had been very shaken by Eddy's actions and she was missing Maggie far more than she anticipated.
Looking at everything including the needs of the new child, we both knew we needed a solution.
"What if we had an open marriage?" Shantel asked.
"I guess I would need to know what you mean by that," I said.
She sat and thought for a long time and then began
"First we pledge our love to each other. We acknowledge our love and work to make that love without limit or any condition. That love must always come first.
"Second we always put this family and each other ahead of everything else we do.
"Third, we recognize that monogamy is not a prerequisite of the first two. By open I mean that I am free to have sex with other men and I will not stop you from having sex with other women."
"I still don't see how this is to work."
"We set up rules, the first of which is honesty and the second respect," she said.
Ultimately she had a list of twenty rules. They seemed to cover everything but how in hell I was expected to live with her stepping out on me. One part of me said to walk away, but there was no way I could do that to the kids.
I set only one additional condition on my side.
"If this doesn't work out, you agree to let me go in peace. No nasty divorce. No fighting over custody or money," I said.
"I swear. If you want a prenup of some kind," she said.
"No. I trust you with my life. If you promise, I have to believe you."
We were married in an intimate ceremony with our children, her mother, and six good friends. She wore a pretty blue dress.
"I'm not wearing a white dress to my second marriage when I'm six months pregnant, " she said.
She was none the less the most beautiful woman in the world to me and I was the happiest man.
Three months later she had our son Douglas in Mercy General Hospital. I was there for the whole birth process. She never even whimpered. Later I took the kids to the nursery window to see their new brother. He was a big boy, eleven pounds eight ounces. He was the whitest, most Nordic looking child in the nursery.
I was worried about Eddy's reaction to having a fair-skinned brother. I needn't have worried. My eldest son was so taken with being a big brother the baby could have come out green. As the years proved, Eddy was a great big brother to both our other children. I tried not to show him too much favoritism. But it can be hard for a stepfather who has such a wonderful stepson. You find yourself spending that extra time playing ball and helping with his first car. Then all too soon he is off to college and you have lost him and a big part of your soul.
Three weeks after the baby was born, Shantel handed me a medical report.
"What's this?" I asked.
"It's a DNA report shows that Douglas Fitzmaurice is the natural son of Robert Fitzmaurice," she said.
"You didn't need to do that," I said.
"I didn't do it for you. I did it for our son so there would never be any question."
As we sat in the La Pera, Edward was at University in a pre-med program. Maggie -- now Margret -- was in California in a summer film school at UCLA. She was actually staying with Susan, and I was happy the two were attempting to have some kind of relationship. Our youngest, Douglas, had been dropped off that morning at summer camp. We had a week to ourselves. I was hoping for some quality time with my wife, but Shantel's itch was making itself felt.
The first time had been a year after Douglas was born. We had been married all of fifteen months when I came home on a Friday night to find my wife dressed to go out.
"Sorry but I have a date and it's not with my husband," she said.
I just looked at her. Whoever he was he must be tall -- she had heels on high enough to look down on my six foot two inches. She was dressed sexy and elegant. Neither too formal nor too slutty, but she was making a statement about how far she would be going.
"Look please don't wait up. I believe I will be very late. I have a pizza coming for dinner for you and the kids."
I looked at her -- what could I say? Some words came to mind, but I bit my tongue. She pressed her cheek against mine and whispered, "I love you," in my ear.
Then she was gone. I never saw the guy. I had an image of a tall black man in my mind, but that was probably just my racist tendencies. I had the kids to take care of. They occupied most of the evening, but still it was a long night. She did not get home till well after 2 am. I pretended to be asleep. She spent a long time in the bathroom. When she came to bed, she did not cuddle, just laid down on her side of the bed.
In the morning, she woke me with kisses to my manhood. She had already been up and had settled the kids into breakfast in front of the TV. She had given Eddy strict instructions to keep everyone downstairs while she had time with Daddy.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Making up for last night. I needed that and I want to show you it made no difference. You are and will always be my man."
I tried to put it out of my mind, pretend that it did not happen. For three months everything was fine. And then she called me at work.
"Rob, I will be late. I'm seeing someone tonight. Can you pick up the baby from daycare and the kids from school? I wouldn't ask, but I'm leaving right from work to meet him," she said.
I picked up the kids, but I was steamed. I have a bad habit of burying my anger. She got home after midnight. I said nothing then and pretended to be asleep. The next day I left for work early. When I got home late, nothing was said. After the kids had gone to bed, she let me know she was available for some loving in the bedroom. She didn't push things when I showed no interest.
I guess her strategy was to let me stew and to shower me with love and attention. They say a man's home is his castle. Well, I was certainly treated like a king in his castle. She enlisted the kids in her effort. I came home each night to the affection of my children. She had them primed and ready for me. She would be there holding the infant. She was the perfect wife and mother. Dinner would be ready and waiting only for my presence.
I was never asked to do a dish, make a bed, or check on the laundry. Mowing the lawn and garbage detail still fell on my shoulders but with substantial help from my son Edward. He was happy to help me, obviously under the vigorous urging of his mother. I hear others talk about their kids and wonder at the differences with mine. I know they have problems and could at times get into trouble or be difficult. Yet the facts are that Shantel was like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, she could lead our children anywhere and they would gladly follow. There is something magical about a personality like Shantel's. She makes you happy just being with her.
Still my anger simmered. Why? I sometimes ask myself. In those early days perhaps I thought I could change her. I formulated a plan like a good scientist. I worked out every detail. It was designed to humiliate her and at the same time make her so jealous that my problem would be totally resolved. They say that when it comes to women, men are stupid. How right they are. My plan was a mistake from start to finish.
My life was not all wine and roses regardless of the extramarital sex problem. I am what the administrators refer to as a research scientist. The MBA types need to put people into little boxes. I work in the laboratory of a biotech company. At the time, I was the assistant head of the lab. That doesn't sound like much until you realize the lab employs over thirty-five scientists and more than one hundred staff in all. On what is the business side of the lab there are three people above the director of the lab. There is a Vice President of Research and Development, his immediate assistant, and the Director of Human Resources. Still, where the lab was concerned, I was number two.
The business managers kept the laboratory separate from the rest of the company. We were our own little empire. But we answered to the business side of the company. They liked schedules and project reports, even though research doesn't work well with deadlines or schedules. My boss, the chief researcher and Director of the Lab, operated most of the team. They worked taking recent discoveries, ours or others, and developing products. I was left in charge of the small group actually looking for the next discovery. It was a good division of talent, but my days at work were often troubled by bureaucratic hassles. What made the job worthwhile was the money I could bring home to my wife and kids.
Rebecca Stillman was an intern. Rebecca had a biology degree but also an MBA. She had a driving ambition. She had short blond hair and crystal blue eyes. The lady stood just five feet tall with a very curvaceous little pixie body. She was always dressed professionally but with a sexy subtext. She was also in perpetual flirt mode.
Becky, as she was called, was a danger to every man in the place, but particularly to anyone who might help her career. I was mostly immune to her charms. She was not my type, and I had been and still was totally in love with my Shantel. I simply did not want anyone other than Shantel. The fact that my wife wanted other men hurt all the more because she was all I desired. Shantel's promiscuity may, in fact, have increased my desire for her.
I started my plan for revenge by flirting with Becky. She responded by shamelessly flirting back. By the time of the company Christmas party, Becky had made it clear that she would be receptive if I made an advance.
"But what about your wife?" she asked.
"We have an open marriage," I told her.
It was true, right?
"How wonderful," Becky said.
The night of the Christmas party, Shantel looked like a dream. We had attended the Christmas party for her firm the week before and had a wonderful time. She had shown me off to all her co-workers and they had treated me like a prince. My Shantel was the prettiest woman in the small restaurant where the party was held. She was at my side the whole night, as if to say 'this is my man and I love him dearly.'
My firm's party went differently. It was held in a big hotel ballroom. Shantel was still the greatest beauty in that hall, but Becky was dressed to kill and joined us at our table. I did dance with Shantel that night but made a point of dancing more with Becky. I could tell Shantel was not happy with my behavior. However, she remained the lady and never said a cross word or let on that anything was wrong.
At the end of the evening, I rose from my seat and bent down to her ear and whispered, "I'm taking Becky upstairs to the suite I rented. I will see you at home tomorrow."
I led Becky out of the ballroom to the elevators, leaving what I could see was a furious Shantel to find her own way home. In the elevator, Becky attacked me. She had her tongue down my throat and her hands on my ass.
"Oh, baby was that woman mad. You didn't tell me this was revenge sex," she said.
"Well ... if you don't want?"
She answered by sticking my hand up her dress.
"I am soaking, this is so hot," she said.
There was no getting away from her even if I wanted. I was determined to go through with it just to teach my wife the lesson of how it felt. What I had not counted on was Becky. I had assumed that her flirting was her way to advance herself. I did not expect the level of sexual desire this woman had. She was insatiable.
The minute we hit the room she stripped me. There followed a ravenous blowjob. She respected my desire to use condoms and practice safe sex. But when Becky discovered I knew how to perform cunnilingus and enjoyed the practice, there was no stopping her. We literally had sex all night and into the dawn.
"So I guess this is it," she said.
"What do you mean?" I said.
"Oh, come on. Your wife owns you. This is you getting back at her. I know, I gave you a good time. But not near as good a time as I had. If you can go to bed with someone like me, and still be thinking of her, well, you need to get over your problem and learn to live with the woman who owns your heart," she said.
"Thanks, but things depend on her," I said.
Becky laughed, "You sure got that right mister. But don't expect her to give up her little something on the side. Sweets are fine, but a woman like yours periodically needs a little beefcake too," she said. "To tell the truth we all do."
When I returned home, the children were at her mother's and I had one very angry wife to deal with. I thought that I was in the right, but I was soon to be dissuaded from that erroneous position.
"What do you have to say for yourself?" she said.
She was seated at the kitchen table drinking coffee. She might have been there all night, but she looked perfect. She was in one of her dark business pinstriped suits. She looked like she was getting ready to go to work, but it was Sunday morning.
"I don't understand the question?" I lied.
This only infuriated her more.
"Then you sit down and listen," she said.
I pulled out a chair and sat down at the table. I felt like a small boy being called to the principal's office.
"I will not be humiliated and have your cheating thrown in my face," she said.
"You dare say that after what you've done?" I shot back
She gave a frustrated sigh.
"One, I took great pains not to throw my extra-marital activities in your face. You went out of your way to hurt and humiliate me.
"Two, you picked a woman solely to get under my skin. That short little blue eyed white girl is not only everything I am not, she is definitely not your type. Who did you think you were fooling? You want to make me jealous, pick a woman you might be attracted to."
"And three, you have sex with a slut who has obviously been spreading for every guy around. God knows what diseases she gave you," Shantel said clearly attempting to control her anger.
"I don't know how you can say I was not humiliated by your actions or that I was cheating on you. And I wore a condom," I said.
"Please. You are a very intelligent man. You cannot compare my coming home late or leaving on a discreet date with what you did last night. You went way over the top with the clear intent to hurt me.
"As for the cheating, that may not be obvious to you, but think! Is it the same? I come home hungry and eat the last brownie. You take the last brownie and throw it in the garbage because you do not want to share it. If you wanted to have sex with that woman and were responsible about it, I would understand. But you did what you did just to hurt me. That is a breach of our agreement and clear cheating.
"Wearing a condom is not enough. I don't go out and jump into bed with just anybody. I need to know them and their partners. Yes, they wear condoms, but they are also responsible sexually. They get tested for STD's and we have no unprotected sex activity unless they can prove both that they are exclusive to me and disease free. I can and do get exclusivity from my partners. That girl of yours can't say the same. Only God knows what she has been exposed to and may have given you."
The lecture went on like that for another hour, her explaining the difference between her actions and mine. Then I was ordered to shower and change, and taken off to church to pray for forgiveness for my sins. She took the kids to church every Sunday but didn't usually require me to attend. That day I did the full service and the social get-together afterward.
On the way home we drove to her mother's to pick up the kids.
"I'm going to forgive you, Robert," she said, "but I want no more trouble. I will not throw my extra-marital activities in your face and I expect the same in return. I also expect that having agreed to an open marriage you can keep your bargain. That includes only having sex with others if you have a sincere desire for that person, and then only when you have fulfilled your marital and family duties," she added.
After that Sunday, things returned to what I suppose you could call our normal. We had a loving and joyful family life. I was still treated like a king, but periodically she would let me know she would be seeing someone else. I never played around on her again because as we agreed, to do that you needed the desire and I never had it. I loved her too much. Instead, I adopted the pretense that it was not happening. Even when I knew she was out with another man, I refused to think of it.
A decade later I was still pretending that she wasn't seeing other men. I knew of course intellectually that she was. But that was like knowing the earth orbited the sun. You know it of course but are you thinking about the scientific facts as you watch a sunset? She made sure I knew the actual fact, as that was the honesty part of our agreement. The details were never discussed so it became a fact that never affected our home life.
I never wanted for sex. We made love at least four times each week. It was not just sex. We held each other and experienced each other's love and commitment. The children as they grew up came to make fun of their parents. They teased us when they knew we had slipped off to fornicate in the bedroom or some secluded spot. I think they took pleasure in knowing their parents were so much in love.
Now it was the Fourth of July weekend. Edward was attending summer school. Margaret had left the week before for California to live with her birth mother and attend film school. Douglas and I were in the garage packing for a fishing trip we had planned. I knew with the other kids gone he would be feeling lonely and left out. He loved to fish, an activity I enjoyed as well. I had purchased him a new very expensive fly rod, and he was dying to get to the mountains and into a trout stream.
Shantel's silver Mercedes pulled up in the drive. I was surprised to see it. I had invited her to the mountains just as a formality. She could tolerate camping, but hated fishing. She was a beach person and she had her Fourth planned at the shore. I knew that a new man was also involved, but I never expected to see him.
Had she waited another two hours Doug and I would have been gone. But she exited her expensive car in the company of an exceeding tall, well-built black man. He had to be at least six foot five and well over two hundred fifty pounds. He looked like he spent most of each day in the gym. They walked up the drive smiling. He held out his hand as my wife introduced him.
"I would like to introduce my new friend Samuel, and this is my husband, Robert Fitzmaurice," my wife said as if this was the most normal thing in the world.
We chatted briefly. She was home she said to pack a bag for the weekend. A lame excuse. She had packed last evening and had all day to get her luggage into her car. Samuel (please call me Sam) chatted with us about our upcoming fishing trip.
"He's a personal trainer," She said.
"Oh how interesting," I said
"No, it's not, just gets you a good body if you work at it. Being a scientist is interesting and meaningful. I wish I had the brains for something like that," Sam responded. "By the way where are you guys going fishing?"
"Trout fishing in the Adirondacks," Douglas said.
"Oh, I prefer the seashore to the mountains," Sam said.
"Yes, Mom likes the beach too," Douglas said.
"Glad she has someone to share the driving," I said trying to continue the illusion of propriety for my son.
"Yes we will share," Sam said, giving me a look that said what he intended to share, and it wasn't the driving.
He was clearly looking for a reaction, but I gave him none. Shantel appeared with her bag. I knew she had packed two, but she carried only the smaller one. She must already have the larger bag in the car. Any doubt that the intent was to put me in the frame with Sam was dispelled. He took her bag and carried it to the car, and as he placed it in the trunk he gave me a friendly smile. My wife kissed me and my son, said she loved us, and then departed with another man.
The month that followed was anything but good. I forced myself to be cheerful and show my son a good time fishing. I was, however, a broken man. I saw no way I could keep my self-respect. I was a joke of a husband who had let his wife go off with another man. Shantel was home waiting for us when we returned from fishing. She was in a loving mood. As soon as she got our son off to his room for the night she wanted to drag me to bed. I blew her off. I did not want to even touch her -- forget sex!
Shantel was hurt. She said nothing but she was definitely distressed. Things only got worse. Day followed day of my being even less loving and more distant.
"Please, Rob, tell me what's wrong. Did something happen?" she said.
I couldn't answer. She had crushed me, and she just couldn't see it.
We had booked Douglas into summer camp for the first week in August. It was a two-hour drive to the camp. We left early Saturday morning. On the way, everything in the car was happy. Our son was enthused with the idea of going to camp. It was the first time he would be away from home. It was rather tough letting him go like that. I refused to cry when we dropped him off, though it seemed to me like a first step toward our empty nest.
On the way back neither of us spoke, lost in our own thoughts. I decided I was being silly. I should make an effort to re-establish my relationship with my wife and lover. After all, she had long told me she would never let it come to loving anyone else. And then she suggested we have dinner and go dancing at La Pera.
The first guy to approach our table was a tall white asshole. He was very smug and sure of himself. He asked Shantel to dance as if I wasn't there. She accepted just as if I wasn't there. She proceeded to dance very close to him. As soon as the ice was broken she was soon gathering dance partners. I tried to break the flow by asking her to dance.
"I don't want to dance with you," she said.
It when on for hours. The men were soon feeling her up quite openly. She was rubbing herself against them every chance she got. It was as if she were deliberately trying to see how far she could push me. Finally, she came back to the table with a big black dude.
"I'm leaving now with my friend," she said. "I'll see you at home."
That tore it. It was over as far as I was concerned. She'd broken every rule we had. I went home only long enough to pack a bag, then headed out to my lab. I was the head of the lab now. We didn't run twenty-four hours a day, but often staff worked long hours with a particular experiment. We had cots available for sleeping, and showers, gym, and cooking facilities. Some researchers were wont to live in the place for weeks at a time. I was never one of those -- my family was far too important to me.
Now I simply moved into my office in the lab. I pulled a cot into the office and settled in. There was plenty of work I could do. My phone rang at two a.m. It was Shantel and I didn't answer. A text followed, "Where are you? Don't be childish, call me."
That was it! I knew her -- she would call and text only once a day. Eventually, she would stop, and then we could end this as she had promised without rancor. Was I upset? I was devastated. I cried that first night like a baby, but I was determined to finally start acting like a man.
As I came out to my car to go to dinner Wednesday evening I saw her leaning on my Camry. She had her silver Mercedes SL400 blocking my car into its slot. She was dressed for the kill in a tight gold lame dress that hugged her spectacular figure and was cut far too low and far too short. In that dress, she was a golden goddess, come to get me in her silver chariot.
Over the years, my earnings were always very high. We tended to use the commissions Shantel earned as fun money, an expensive car for her or a great vacation for the family. Now with a divorce coming and three kids still to put through college that seemed imprudent.
"Got Ya!" she said as I approached.
"What do you want?"
"Came to take you to dinner."
"So we can talk and I get a chance to explain myself. After twelve years I think I'm entitled to that."
"We had a deal. If I couldn't take it, we were to part without recriminations."