Dear readers: The current work has been reviewed by a few. Most agree it has flaws. It is a second half to the story “When.” You know my sick version of a love story. People objected that it was no romance. Further, it was also almost universally agreed that it could only go one of two ways. But this is fiction, right?
Thank you Vickie and all the others who helped. I am only posting it here for those who needed to see how things turned out. Forgive me but I realized that Greg would face the same life changing developments that all we fathers are faced with. Once that little person is put into your arm all that you were is lost and a whole new life begins. I think those of you who have experience this will enjoy the story.
She wrapped her fingers around my cock and gave a possessive squeeze.
“Mine,” she said
I leaned over, cupped her between the legs with my right palm.
“So this is mine?” I said.
Patty-Ann gave a laugh.
“Of course not, that’s mine as well, you silly man.”
“Doesn’t seem quite fair.”
“What’s fair got to do with it? We’re married. It wasn’t easy for me, and you sure didn’t help. The simple act of walking down that long aisle in the Cathedral was physically daunting. Have you any idea, what a sixty-thousand-dollar French lace dress with an eight-foot train is like to walk in?
“The fitting takes forever, and you have to lose weight so you can wear it. You’re required to be at least ten pounds underweight. Really, why not put up an obstacle course and make the bride wear a thirty-pound pack. Only if she gets to the altar does the groom marry her.”
She shook her head and squeezed my cock tighter.
“No mister, I jumped through all the loops now I have earned my prize. Your days of having any say over this, are done,” she said giving my genitals a good slap for emphasis.
“And don’t you dare turn those lovely blue eyes on me, Mister. I will let you have anything I have, but you belong to me,” she said and planted a passionate kiss on my lips.
Her name is Patty-Ann Shelley now, but it was Patty-Ann Tobler as in Tobler GM, Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, Subaru, and Kia. Her Dad’s that guy that makes an ass of himself on TV. However, he is very smart. She gets her brains from dad and her looks from mom. Her parents are rich. She’s the youngest of four children and the only girl, Daddy’s little princess.
I’m Greg Shelley like the Poet. Which is interesting, because I met her at University in an advanced English course on the Romantic Poets. I’m not bad looking and on the large size, but clumsy as hell. Patty-Ann says I have the sweetest baritone voice. But I’m very shy and socially awkward like all nerds. Oh, I guess I should have said that right off. I’m what is commonly referred to as a computer geek. Yet, beneath the tech exterior is buried a romantic hero. At least, that is what my new wife tells me.
“Yes, I know the wedding was hard my love, but whose fault was that? I would have married you at the Courthouse – remember, I offered,” I said.
I could immediately see her dissatisfaction and frustration with me. She is smart, as well as beautiful, and has little patience for what she sees as male stupidity.
“Marriage involves three things. First, there is love. I keep telling you that I love you. Second, there is a sacred union of two souls. It’s a sacrament for a reason—so a church is a necessity. And finally, there is the practical, social, and economic union. As in, I need a father for my children. My parents needed and wanted a big wedding, and that is the least I owed them. You are now my property. I earned you with my work and sweat.”
“Ok, but why do I belong to you but not vice versa?” I asked.
“God you are such a ninny. Look we’ve been married a week, spent near the entire time in this hotel room, and you have yet to fuck me once,” she said.
“What!? We did it four times the first night and never less than three times a day since!” I said, beginning to lose it.
She smiled like the Cheshire Cat, “No my sweet virgin. What you do is make love. Take my word for it. Fucking is something foreign to you. We had intercourse the first night four times, but you came only twice. I have way too much experience to be fooled. You wear your heart on your sleeve, and it’s beautiful and oh, so romantic. No one ever made love to me before. You were the first to take my heart and my body at the same time. I will love you till the day, I die.”
She looked at me with those deep green eyes of hers. A man could lose his soul in those eyes. I needed to be careful. My wife is the kind of woman every man wants. Sexually, she has a lot of experience. I think most women today with her looks and opportunities have significant experience.
What most men fail to see is that my wife is not like other women. Her body is soft and welcoming, but her soul is hard as diamond. She will not belong to you. Her man must belong to her, and she does not share. It is so odd to discover that a beautiful woman has the same emotions as any. She is just as possessive of her mate, and she can be jealous.
“I don’t know what you see in nerdy me,” I said.
She laughed and stroked my face, “You are beautiful my love and not just on the outside. ‘There was a rich man on finding a pearl of great price sold all he had and purchased it.’ You, my love, are my pearl of great price,” she said
Patty-Ann wrapped her arms around me, and the kiss she gave me would have melted iron, but it turned my cock to steel. We made love four times that day, but that only hid the problem.
I didn’t trust my wife. If I truly gave her all my love, would she break my heart? Was not she the pearl, and how was a man like me to keep her love. I felt like I was living next to a volcano that was sending out plumes of smoke. I was just waiting for the eruption that would kill me.
We returned from our honeymoon in time for Patty-Ann to begin her first year teaching physical education at Central High. She was also coaching the Cheer Squad. Coaching was her passion. Everything in Patty-Ann’s life orbited around the Cheerleading. That first year was good. It was just the two of us, and the fears I had coming into the marriage dissipated like fog over the ocean on a summer’s morning. But like fog, they returned when the conditions were right.
Patty-Ann was amazingly attentive. Calling me several times a day to ask where I was and what I was doing. Even on her busiest days, she took the time to check up. The unkind would say, “your wife is a bit too watchful even jealous to a fault.”
So what, we were happy. Whatever my wife took, she gave back ten fold. Every time she checked on me, I made sure to ask where and who she was with. Maybe not a perfect arrangement, but I was not complaining.
“I’m going off the pill this month,” Patty-Ann said one day.
It was the first of June. We had been married about ten months. The school year was ending. They’d renewed Patty-Ann’s contract for the next school year. She’s a planner, so I knew she’d worked it all out.
“Do I get a say?”
She gave me that look that said something like, “Just how dumb are you?”
I was getting accustomed to her raising her eyebrows at my male stupidity. I am not a wimp. I’m not. It’s just that she’s in charge, and no place more than the bedroom. From the beginning, she let me know that she’d had enough of guys getting what they wanted from her. I was there to give her pleasure.
“Look, I know what you want and need in bed, but this is new to you, so I will teach you what I need and want,” she said. “Fair is fair. You get yours, and I get mine.”
At first, I feared we might be sexually incompatible. She was so much more experienced. All those jocks had had her.
“Greg, please enough. I have to teach tomorrow.”
“I’m just trying to make you happy.”
“I don’t have to orgasm a dozen times a night to be happy. Half a dozen is more than adequate. Stop trying to compete with the whole football team. The backfield is quite enough.”
The sex was good. I was happy, and she said she was happy. So everything was great. Oh, I sometimes felt a bit challenged in the ego department. A man should rule his home or, at least, have a say. But you need to face facts. My wife was beautiful, and she earned the money. What she didn’t earn her parents gave us, our house, her Mercedes, my overpowered Ford.
We live in a modest three-bedroom in a well-established development about twenty minutes from her parents McMansion of a home. Patty picked the house. She consulted with me, but what did I know of houses.
“I want you to be happy living here,” she said.
“I will be happy as long as we are together. No matter where we live,” I said.
“But what do you think? It has three bedrooms, The master bedroom is a bit small, but there is two good size rooms for the children. They will have the space they need,” she said.
“We have no children,” I said.
“It’s for when we do,” she said beginning to get frustrated.
“Well, I love it then. It’s perfect.”
Her parents put down half the purchase price. They would have paid it all, but she wouldn’t let them.
“We need to be independent,” she said, but the We — was really only her.
My wife carried the load. Patty is more capable. I was relying on her, not her on me. I had no steady job. In my longest employment, I had worked for her father for two months, fixing some IT problems. His usual support firm let him down on a needed upgrade. Daddy wanted to give me a permanent job, but I did not want to work for my father-in-law. Patty-Ann was very supportive.
“You don’t need to do anything you feel uncomfortable with. I make enough,” she said.
I ended up forming a partnership with two old school buddies. They were Jarred and Larry. We operated out of a garage at Larry’s mother’s house. Jarred lived in the basement of his older sister’s house. We bought parts from China that were obsolete. We made our purchases through a Chinese friend we’d gone to school with. He scouted out electronics that were over manufactured and no longer in demand. It was up to us to figure out a new use. Our biggest seller was a chip designed to run a toy that I was able to reprogram to run a phone. You know one of those throwaway things. You buy it because it is cheap, and is just a phone for when you need it.
We never made a lot of money, but we built up a good size customer list. Jarred seemed able to sell anything that I could invent, and Larry could manufacture. It was a good partnership, and it gave us something to do while we looked for real work. I gave the money to Patty-Ann. She gave me back my allowance. That was the way it was. She ran things.
My contribution was limited at best. I fixed things in the house when they broke. Set the table for the diners she cooked. Carried the clothing she washed from the laundry room, and I put out the trash. My wife took care of everything else.
“Can we afford a baby??” I asked.
“Well they don’t actually charge you for them, and I have good medical coverage. So I would say yes. We can afford a baby. As for the costs of a growing child, I expect my income to increase. And, of course, the grandparents will want to help out.”
“What about daycare and such?” I asked.
“Don’t need any. I work, you take care of the kid,” she said.
“I don’t know if I can do that,” I said.
“Yes, you can and you will. It’s decided.”
That was the end of the discussion, but only the beginning of my problems. I understood that Patty-Ann had an image of our family in her head. Her home, her husband, and her children. Someone once told me that little boys dream of adventure and little girls dream of marriage and a family.
My wife had her dream. I would never deny her that dream. I did feel a bit guilty she was taking most of it on herself. As men go, and I believe husbands, in particular, I was a bit of a flop. Patty carried all the burdens of the marriage. Maybe I could be a good stay at home husband/father.
Nine months later, the rabbit still hadn’t died or even gotten sick. I remember the day the shit started to hit the fan. It was the Friday before St Patrick’s Day. We had a case of Harp’s in Larry’s Mother’s garage. We were sitting around drinking. We weren’t complete layabouts. We had just shipped five hundred solar powered clocks.
A guy shows up in a suit, and what a suit! It must have run five grand at least. The suit has one of our phones and is threatening patent infringement. Seems some company in California designed the chip. Jarred is non-pulsed.
“How much are you going to pay us?” Jarred said as he leaned back to take a swig of his beer.
The suit smiled and held out his hand, “My name’s Jack Thomas, so do I get a beer?”
Jack got his beer. The suit coat and tie come off, and we spend a few hours discussing the deal that puts their worthless toy part together with our phone programming.
“So this,” he said waving his hand. “Is this what you guys do? Sit around in a garage, drink beer, and invent stuff?”
“The beer is to celebrate St. Pat’s day,” Larry said clinking his bottle with Jack’s.
“But spending time in a garage is pretty much how it is,” Jarred said, “Except for Greg here who has a wife who supports him and watches him like a hawk.”
“Old ball and chain?” Jack asked.
“Drop dead gorgeous, “Larry said, a bit of envy creeping into his voice.
“Yea, but jealous as hell,” Jarred said.
“That’s not true,” I declared, “Patty-Ann just wants to know where I am and whether I’m alright.”
Jarred sighed, “Greg here is the best programmer I have ever known. Give him a technical problem and just stand back, but, and it’s a big BUT, when it comes to his wife he’s the dumbest guy I know.”
“You can say that again,” Larry chimed in.
“That’s not fair. I know Patty-Ann has faults, but who has a woman who does more for them.” I said.
Larry and Jarred nodded their heads.
“Crazy in love the man is,” Larry said.
“In love we are all fools alike,” Jack said.
“Don’t get me wrong. I would willing be a fool for a drop dead gorgeous babe like Patty-Ann. A woman who seems to think literally supporting your man is the way to go, and I just wish that some woman was as jealous of me as she is of Greg,” Larry said.
“Does she need to be jealous? “ Jack asked as he turned to me.
“No. I have never even thought of another woman since the day I first saw Pat. She means so much to me. I know for some strange reason she is a jealous woman. Though she has no cause, I love her so much. I don’t know what I would do if...”
There was an awkward pause in the conversation. It was Jack who finally spoke.
“They don’t tell you that being married to a beautiful woman will be hard. You wake up every day wondering, Is this the day I lose her? Well, love her and hold her tight, and if all goes well you will bring her home a pot of money,” Jack said, and then we all clinked out beer bottles to our new venture.
Jack left with a smile and a promise to come back Monday with the contracts.
I get home a bit drunk, with the exciting news that maybe I am good for something after all.
“Bedroom! Now!” My beautiful wife said, none too pleased with my late arrival and inebriated state.
“Take off your pants and sit on the edge of the bed,” she said.
With my pants off, naked from the waist down, I sat on our marital bed.
Patty-Ann squirted some lotion into her hand and proceeded to jack me off.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Getting a sample. Kelly is waiting at the clinic. She is staying late because you can’t get home on time. We will have it tested and have the results by next Friday.”
She had a little trouble gathering her sample. I can take a while, usually not a bad thing, but she was in a hurry. It was not what I would call a pleasant experience.
A week later and there are still no results. My wife puts me off with a wave of her hand. What happens if I can’t produce? I’m not afraid of her, really—I’m not.
But if she wants a baby, and if I can’t come across. What happens?
It was one of those early spring days that is unexpectedly warm. It takes you by surprise, and if you are working in someone’s mother’s garage without air-conditioning, you take off.
Our house has central air, but, of course, it is off. I need to do the maintenance to start it for the year. I get everything done but the attic fan and ducks. I strip down and go up. It’s hot as hell. I am almost through when I hear the voices.
Patty has come home from work and is sitting on the back patio with Kelly.
“So have you told him?” Kelly said.
“No, you know how Greg is. I hate to worry that pretty head of his.”
“You know I warned you against falling for a pretty face and a pair of deep blue eyes, but would you listen.”
“Gee Kelly, Miss practical. How has cautious, love with your head and not your heart, worked out for you,” Patty said.
“Please don’t rub it in. We have exactly the opposite problems,” Kelly said.
“Well if the man fails there are alternatives,” Patty said.
“Yea, and we both know what the best alternative is.”
“At least, you have an option, but what do I do. I was anticipating two children. How do I tell Greg he might not be a father. That he will never be more than my husband,” my wife said.
“Is that so bad, I think he lives pretty good for a man who has no career, no job, and no prospects,” Kelly said.
“Why are you so down on him. He does his best. He is not like other men. He’s not practical or ambitious. He’s a poet. It’s why I love him.”
“Well, I need to get home. I need to spread my legs for my stud before he is too tired,” Kelly said.
They both laughed as they went into the house.
I came down stairs and turned the air-conditioner on. As it kicked in, Patty called out.
“Greg are you home?”
“Yes, I just got the air-conditioning working.”
She came to me put her arms around my neck and said, “how sweet you are. No woman ever had a better husband. You’re sure worth having around the house.”
“But not worth much for making babies,” I thought.
Life with Patty-Ann went on. She often had a sad look in her eyes. It was a look that hurt me and worried me. She was a strong woman, but like iron, she was also brittle. I knew what was bothering her. It was not just that she wanted children, I believe she needed them. She could not see herself as a woman without them. That I realized is the trouble with dreams. My aimless one day at a time existence had that advantage. I had no dreams to lose.
My problem was what would I do if my fertility was the issue. There are medical things you can do, but Patty-Ann is the direct natural type. Could I keep my wife if I was sterile?
Six weeks go by without a word on my fertility. I know the test has come back. The question if why haven’t we discussed the results. Finally, a serious Patty-Ann sits me down. She gives me a smile that tells me something bad is coming.
“You know we are having a problem conceiving,” she said.
“I will do better. I promise,” I plead.
She sighs and says, “As unbelievable as it seems the problem is not you, it is me. It seems that some of the injuries I suffered as a cheerleader have affected my cervix and my uterus.
“It took them a while and numerous tests to find the problem. I could have surgery, but that would take some time to heal, and I still would possibly have a problem. That is the bad news. You married a defective bitch.”
I take her hands in mine and look deep into her sad eyes.
“I love you with children or without out,” I said.
She gives me a wane smile,” I know that, but there is also good news. The doctor says I’m married to a super stud who with a little help may still get the job done.”
She is laughing now.
“Oh, Greg, the doctor says your sperm count is at the top of the chart, and your boys are all Olympic swimmers, ‘ she said.
I’m taken aback, but so relieved.
“Ok, so we just keep trying,”
“Well ... there are things we can do to increase the chance that your boys reach the end of the pool.”
“Oh good, what?”
“You see, your swimmers have further to travel and a more difficult journey. If we can shorten the journey, and give them a little push, that would be a big help.”
“Ok, how do we do that?”
“Well, when you make love to me, I should be on my back and a little elevated. Then I should stay that way for at least a half hour after we finish ... And,” She hesitated.
“We need to have lots of sex when I am fertile, and you need to refrain from ejaculating when I am not ovulating,” she finished in a calm even voice.
Like any guy, I heard the lots of sex and nothing after that.
“So let’s go,” I said grabbing her hand and pulling her toward the bedroom.
“No, I am waiting for my friend. You know the one that visits every twenty-eight days. We need to wait about two weeks,” she said.
“Oh, so what do we do in the meantime?”
“Well, you need to refrain from...” and she made a vulgar motion with her hand.
Then to my perplexed expression, she moved closer.
“Look, love, we can still have sex. You can please me with your mouth, tongue, and hands like always, but we need to save you for when it counts.”
“Ok, I guess, if that’s what we need to do,” I said.
“I’m sorry for this, I feel so inadequate...” she said.
“No, we need to see this as what it is, good news. We have a chance. We chose to have a child, and we make it happen.”
“I don’t know what I did to deserve you. Why, would you marry the campus slut? I was used goods, and you knew it,” She said.
Patty put her hand on my cheek. She looked at me with her impossibly green eyes, and said, “I wanted you never to have a regret that we married. I know I can be a bit possessive, but I never cared for any man but you. I’m afraid that I am a one man woman, and unfortunately, for you that man is YOU.”
We hugged then, and I relaxed, and that is always a mistake with a woman like Patty-Ann.
So we began the strangest period of my life. Patty-Ann was insatiable for oral pleasure when she wasn’t fertile. When she was fertile, we had sex until I thought my dick would fall off, but it was anything but pleasurable. She lay flat on her back unmoving, and I was expected to perform. When I complained that my hand was more satisfying, I instantly regretted it.
Patty-Ann grabbed my manhood and said, “If I so much as catch you touching yourself, I will cage this up so tight your eyes will pop.”
She was serious, and she must have seen the fear in my eyes. Could I live with this woman? Should I have ever married her? Then the warm, loving wife came back.
“Dear love, I’m sorry, but I want a baby so bad. Please promise to keep trying. It’s only for a little bit.”
She kissed me and petted me, and did all the usual things she did to get around me.
After four months of trying, I came home to a party. I had good news, a contract to design phones that were going to make real money. But the party was my relatives celebrating the impending birth.
I was the last to know, my wife was pregnant. I had a moment of relief. The ordeal was over. I had performed, and I expected rewards, like a return to normal sex. I know, stupid, but even a smart man could not have foreseen the trouble that was to come. That would have taken a genius on the scale of Sherlock Homes.
I was a bit stung that no one seemed interested in my news, but I told everyone just the same.
“Good man!” my father-in-law said before he launched into a long discussion of the merits of the various Ivy League Universities for his grandchild. Surprisingly, it was Patty-Ann’s girlfriend Kelly who was interested in my news and me.
Kelly handed me a Sam Adams, and said with a big friendly smile, “You look like you need this and congratulations on the new company! Always knew you would succeed.”
I was a bit surprised, since she had never been friendly, and had been openly hostile when I initially refused to ask Patty-Ann to marry me. I had remained close with her husband Jerry who had gone to work for my father-in-law.
“How is Jerry, is he coming by later?” I asked.
“No, the dealership has a softball league. He’s playing tonight. At least, he’s good for something,” Kelly said with a frown.
Before I could wonder what was off with them—they had always seemed a happy couple—my wife was dragging me away.
“What were you doing?” she said.
“Just talking to Kelly.”
“Flirting, more like,” she said
“What! This is nerdy me that you are talking about,” I said, unable to suppress a smile at her ridiculous statement.
“Don’t run the innocent act on me, buster! Kelly is one jealous lady right now. Her prize bull is not performing up to expectations! But I don’t lend mine out.”
I realized what their earlier overheard conversation was about. Two couples trying to get pregnant. The wife being our problem, the husband failing in the second couple. I felt sorry for Kelly and Jason but relieved for myself and Pat. I firmly believe what was to come was unforeseeable. The California deal took off, and both my partners were invited out. One to discuss sales, the other manufacturing. Our corporate partner seemed to feel its research crew could function without me. I didn’t care. I seemed to be very busy with baby showers and catering to a pregnant wife. It seemed there was always something she needed, or that I was expected to do.
Pat did not have significant morning sickness, but she was irritable as hell. She began to put on weight. I assumed this was just the usual until the doctor’s appointment. I was required to attend each appointment as the ignorant but dutiful husband. However, I am neither blind nor stupid.
When the obstetrician, who was female, listened to Pat’s belly, concern showed on her face. She tried hard to mask it. I was shuffled out of the room so she could talk to my wife in private. The first sonogram was moved up to later that afternoon. So Pat and I went to kill some time until the test could be done.
“Ok, what is up?” I demanded when we were alone.
“Please, let me get the sonogram and then we will talk,” she said.
“No, I am fed up with this. I have a right to know what is wrong.”
“You need to trust me and be patient. We will know very soon. I don’t want to upset you unless it’s necessary,” she said.
There was no point in arguing for what I would know in a few hours, given the procedure. I was going to be in the room.
When we got to the sonogram room the doctor was there, and a tech. They spread gook on her belly and started the sound waves going. In a minute, I was in a room with three smiling women while my wife squeezed my hand.
“One, two, and three,” the doctor counted “just like I thought.”
Patty-Ann turned to me, “Well stud you certainly did the job.”
We were having triplets! It was too early for the sex to be known, but you could just see the little hearts beating. They were one of the side effects of Patty’s condition. She took fertility drugs that increased ovulation. The problem in the front of her womb had been overcome, leaving my sperm free to find as many eggs as she had available – in this case, at least, three.
After that, Patty-Ann blew up like a parade balloon. She alternated between exaltation at having her babies to depression over her looks.
“I’m so ugly,” she said weeping.
“No you are beautiful,” I said. The truth was, she looked terrible. So bad it was worrying! Some women may shine during pregnancy, but I doubt they’re carrying three at once. The doctor said she would be ok, but then gave us a list of things to watch for. Patty didn’t see the danger, only how she looked.
“No, I’m ugly. I know you can’t love me, but please don’t leave me,” she cried. Nothing would convince her, I was not on the verge of dumping her for someone else. I was partly to blame. It was hard to look at her. Her appearance scared me. I had feared losing her to another man. Now I saw a new threat. One I had let happen, in my weakness.
I realized how shallow, I had been. Faced with literally losing my wife and/or our unborn children my prior fears seemed as petty as they truly were.
The bigger Pat got, the worse it got. She became obsessively jealous, and I could no longer sleep. My dreams were filled with nightmares and awake I was filled with dread. In some dreams, the babies were born dead. In others, Pat died, and then in the worst I lost wife and children.
In daylight, I had to contemplate not just the risks of birth, but what happens after. How does a useless, clumsy nerd cope with being the father of three girls? Yes, they were all girls. My disquiet only fed Patty-Ann’s jealousy.
“Where were you?”
“At Larry’s,” I said, but I didn’t say I was hiding there trying to forget my fears.
“Try again. His mother said he was in California when I called.”
“Who is she?”
“Please calm down and let me explain.”
I must have talked for a good two hours while she alternated between crying and shouting at me.
“What have I ever done to make you doubt me,” I finally said when she was ready to accept that I was working in Larry’s mother’s garage. That was only after a phone call to Larry’s mom confirmed my presence there all day.
“You have to understand that being ugly like this is new to me. I know, I only got someone as good as you because of the way I looked. I’m just some easy piece of tail cheerleader. You didn’t even want to marry me. Now I’ve lost the only thing I had going for me,” she cried into the arm of the uncomfortable overpriced sofa her mother had bought us.
“If you weren’t pregnant I would put you over my knee. You certainly deserve a spanking, although that might hurt your brains that are certainly in your ass. I married you in spite of your looks. Yes, I knew you were a slut. How could I not? That scene you acted with the basketball player. Oh, sure, you didn’t fuck him Saturday night. But are you so stupid as to believe I was unaware that you spent Friday night in his bed?”
“Yes, but I loved you so! It was tearing me up. I knew with my head that I should not marry you, but my heart was saying otherwise.”
Oh!” she moaned as she came into my arms.
We made very careful sweet love, me and my puffy wife.
Afterward, she cuddled with me as best she could, and said, “Promise you will never leave me.”
“That’s easy. I will never leave you,” I said, words I would all too soon regret.
“NO!” my wife screamed.
“Please try to understand – I have to go.”
“How stupid do you think I am?”
“Please, you have to understand—”
“Oh, I understand alright. I’m too fat to physically have sex with. You are tired of blowjobs, and your buddies call you every day to tell you how easy the girls in Silicon Valley are. I read all about it in Cosmo,” as she said this she began to weep... “You barely even touch me anymore!”
I would have been angry if she weren’t so pathetic. At six months pregnant, she was virtually helpless. If she lay down, she could not get up without help. She no longer walked, only waddle like a duck, swaying her enormous rear. I suppose if she had not been an athlete it would have been worse, but she was no athlete now! It hurt me to see her this way.
The doctor had taken Pat off work, and she would be going back no time soon. We faced the distinct possibility that her contract would not be renewed. Moreover, I knew I would never be able to take care of three babies on my own. I had a terrible fear at the back of my mind that I would be on my own. At the very least I was sure I’d have a non-working wife. Peter Pan needed to grow up fast.
My salvation was the phone deal. It promised substantial profits. We might not get rich, but I would have real income for a year or two. It was what we needed when we needed it.
“Please, there is a problem with the software. It works on the phones here, but not in California. We have tried everything, but can’t figure it out. I have to go work with the engineers there.”
“You said you would never leave me,” she said in a soft sob.
“I’m not. If you could fly, I would take you with me, but the doctor said no to that. I will be gone a week or two at the most.”
I left her with her parents. Her father understood, but her mother did not. I felt like shit. The woman owned me, heart and soul. My initial fears had come to pass – she could hurt me without even trying. And now I had responsibilities. The impending birth of not one but three little girls. All three girls would be looking for me to support them. Pay for their college and weddings in fancy lace dresses. The geek who could not get or keep a job. Life can be so cruel. It dangles happiness before you, but only delivers pain.
I don’t remember the flight to San Francisco beyond the fact that it was long and dreary. The seats were too small for a man my size. I had to bear it – what else could I do? The limo ride from the airport to the glass enclosed corporate box seem to take a long time.
A tall, very attractive woman greeted me.
“I’m Karen Danforth, head of research and development,” she said extending her hand.
“Good to meet you can we get started?” I said.
“Don’t you want to get settled in, unpack, or get something to eat?”
“No I have just the one bag, and it can wait. I need to start work.”
Karen led me to the lab. She introduced me around. I didn’t remember a name five second after I heard it, but we all smiled at each other like good friends. Soon enough she showed me the problem, and we started examining the difficulty. It just didn’t work. The software would function and then cut out. It would appear to be a flaw in the algorithm. Maybe something causing a continuous loop or an undefined variable. The time slipped passed me as I worked.
“Ah, were you thinking of sleeping tonight?” Karen asked.
“It’s almost midnight.”
“Oh sorry, I guess we should quit for the day.”
“More like quit for the night ... Listen, we figure it would be easier if you stayed at my place. It’s not far, and that way I can drive you back and forth,” she said.
“Hmm, that could be a problem. I have a very pregnant and very, very jealous wife,” I said feeling a bit silly, but not stupid enough to go and stay with a female colleague.
Karen began laughing,” don’t be ridiculous, my spouse is jealous too, and I assure you no one will see a problem even if we slept in the same bed. But no worries, you will be sleeping in the guest house.”
We drove about forty minutes to a gated residence. There was a beautiful gingerbread cottage that had been expanded with a modern addition. Behind the house, a garden lit by architectural lighting. Nestled in the garden was a guest house.
“Wow, you never said you were rich,” I said.
Karen laughed, “We make a good living, and yes this place cost a penny. But it is worth the price.”
She settled me in the guest house, and I fell asleep in my clothes on a bed that was amazingly soft. The jet lag had finally overcome the adrenalin, I was running on.
Next morning, I showered, changed clothes, and walked through the very lovely garden toward the house. The sliding glass doors at the back of the house were open and welcoming. They led directly into a big farmhouse style kitchen. Once again I wondered what this place must have cost.
A pretty blond woman was at the kitchen stove, a child who was a littler version of herself held against her hip.
“Hello, I’m Nancy. You must be Greg,” she said on seeing me.
“Yes,” I said, a bit confused as to who she was.
Reading my mind, she said, “I’m Karen’s wife. I hope, you’re not some conservative Christian.”
“Oh, No. I just thought...”
Nancy laughed which caused the little girl to laugh with her.
“This is Sadie ... Say hello to Greg.”
“H-e-l-l-o,” Sadie said before shyly turning away.
“Good morning all,” Karen said entering the kitchen, “I see you guys have met.”
Karen gave Nancy an affectionate kiss on the cheek. You could just tell they had a loving relationship. It was relaxed and comfortable in that kitchen. It had none of the tension that I often felt between Patty-Ann and myself. I wondered if someday, we could be that comfortable with each other.
We had a quick breakfast, and then fought the worst traffic I had ever seen, all the way to work. The trip that had been just forty minutes the night before took almost two hours.
As a result, it was almost noon when I discovered the problem.
“It’s not the same chip,” I said
“What?” Karen replied.
“Very slightly different. Somebody cut corners on the chip, I originally used. Unfortunately, I fitted my code to that chip.”
“So, a simple fix, we rewrite the code,” Karen said.
“It took me over three months the first time.”
“Well you have a whole team now, and what’s a month or so? They can start manufacturing as we rewrite,” Karen said.
“You don’t understand. What am I going to tell Patty-Ann?”
In the end, I told my wife very little and decided to work around the clock. This, of course, was a big mistake. Patty-Ann was a jealous woman. Her fears filled in the blanks that I failed to. Although I set up a cot in the lab, I still went to the little guesthouse to get some real sleep when I needed it.
One morning Nancy and I sat at her kitchen table while I waited for Karen.