Chapter 1

I sighed as I pulled the car to a stop in the parking area at my friend, Mitch’s. John Mitchell had gone by Mitch since before I met him in my second year of college and we’d been friends from that first introduction. I introduced him to his wife, Mona, and now, seven years later, they were still together and happy. I was kind of proud of that fact, both for my match-making skill and for their happiness.

I’d been working late, as usual, but had finally gotten done and decided to drop in on one of Mitch’s parties. He always invited me, but I was always too swamped on Fridays to make them. By the time I was done most nights, it was after 10PM and I was too tired for one of Mitch’s bashes. They’d been wilder in our younger days, but we were mostly paired off now. Tonight, I’d gotten help from the new girl. She’d seen me working late a few times and took pity on me tonight, staying with me.

I worked at an accounting firm and was trying to put in the work to earn a promotion we all knew was coming up for grabs as one of the senior partners was retiring. It meant long hours and a lot of missed sleep, but it was all worth it.

My wife, Jennie had been getting on my back to come to one of Mitch’s parties for a while and I admitted that it felt good to finally have a chance to unwind and spend a night out with her. We’d been married almost a year now. I locked up the car and went inside, seeing several people I knew. I was starting to get confused because I hadn’t seen Jennie or Mitch by this point and everyone I talked to seemed really distant and uncomfortable. I thought that Mitch had lost his touch at throwing parties if people were this weird at them now. I went downstairs to Mitch’s game room to look for him and find out what was up. That’s when the world came to an end for me.

There was Jennie, MY Jennie. She was naked and so were the half dozen guys that were taking turns on her. Mitch was fucking her from behind while my boss was stuffing his rubbery cock into her mouth. I fumbled out my phone and started taking video from the back of the room.

“Oh, yeah!” my boss growled. “Keep sucking my dick like that and your idiot husband might get that promotion in ten or twelve years. I have him buried in so much work, he’ll be there until after midnight, just like you asked.” He laughed and added, “Just like you always ask.”

I looked around the room. No one had noticed me yet. All our friends were here, a lot of my coworkers and they were all waiting their turn or waiting for round two from the slimy cocks they were sporting. Mitch suddenly grunted and threw he head back, cumming in my wife’s pussy and when he pulled out, there was no condom, just an increasing puddle of cum dripping from her pussy. I could see gobs of it drop from her cunt and splat to the floor between her spread thighs as one of my other friends got behind her and started pushing.

She pulled her face off the cock in front of her and glared up at the man that had already promised me the promotion. “At least give him the fucking raise, Sandy,” she berated him. “Otherwise he’s gonna stop working the hours and I won’t be able to come to the parties any more.”

He reached down and pulled her head back onto his cock before he answered. “Of course he’ll get recognized for his work. I’ll tell him some bullshit like he’s indispensable to the company where he is and give him a few bucks more. He’ll eat it up and we’ll have Friday’s free.”

I’d moved over to a deeply shadowed corner and took video for an hour or more until my phone battery went dead. I watched her fuck everyone there, suck every cock and when I saw her starting at the beginning, I went to the stairs, tears on my eyes. I hadn’t been able to tear my eyes away, stunned by what I’d seen and heard. My friends were all here. They all knew. They’d all helped with this. I climbed the stairs, stunned and sick and heart-broken. My life was over. My job was a sham, a lie kept up to keep me out of the way for my wife’s lovers. My marriage was over. Every friendship I’d ever had was destroyed. I walked numbly through the party, not even aware that someone had tried to talk to me. Mona turned me to look at her and her eyes searched mine.

“Adam, it’s not as bad as it looks,” she started and I snapped. I balled my hand up into a fist and I hauled back. She looked terrified but I didn’t hit her. I stood there, my face contorted in rage as the two impulses in me fought for control. My whole body shook, every muscle coiled like a spring, wanting to explode. I wanted to kill them all. At the same time, I wanted to get out of there. There was no one here that deserved to see my pain. They’d destroyed my life.

I slowly lowered my fist. “I should kill everyone in this house,” I told her. “Then I should track down the families of everyone here and kill them.”

We were in the kitchen and she was acutely aware of how many knives there were within easy reach. She blanched and her eyes darted to the knife block beside me before back to me.

“Don’t worry. Only a real man would do something like that, right? I’m just the dumb wimp husband you all laugh about while fucking my wife. Nothing to worry about here, right?” I was shaking and I could feel myself getting red in the face as it got hard to breathe.

“Adam,” she whispered, trying to pull me back from the brink, but not knowing what to say.

I turned and walked out. By the time I’d gotten back to my car, Mitch was running out the door, trying to flag me down. He looked white as a sheet. I thought about running him down with the car. I thought about crashing it through the house to kill them, I thought about lighting the house on fire, but instead, I put my car in gear and backed it around so I was pointed back at the road. Mitch lived on a five acre plot in the woods about 20 miles outside of town. It was a pleasant spot and he had parties out there often to let the city dwellers have a taste of tranquility. Well, I guess the guests were getting a taste of something else. I drove back to town and stopped at the closest bank machine, draining everything I could from our joint account. I’d do the same all weekend long until I could get to the bank on Monday and close the account.

As soon as I was home, I pulled into the garage and locked the bay doors. I needn’t have bothered. Her car was here. Someone had picked her up to be the guest of honor. I went into the house and made sure all the doors and windows were locked. I barricaded the front door by pulling the sofa over from the living room and wedging it against the coat closet tightly before going to secure the back door so it wouldn’t open even for her key. I plugged in my phone and started working. I called the one person I knew I could trust. Grant Walters was the best divorce lawyer in the city and possibly in the state.

“Hi, Adam,” he said curiously. “What’s up. It’s not like you to call me on Friday night. Are you finally coming to your senses?”

“You’re on the clock, Grant,” I told him tearfully. “I need a divorce.”

“Oh, Sweetie!” he gushed sympathetically. “What happened?” Grant was the only friend I knew hadn’t fucked Jennie because he was interested in me. When he came out, I stood by him, even when a lot of our friends cut him out of their lives.

I told him the whole tale and he nodded, making sympathetic noises the whole time. “And you said you have video?”

“More than an hour of her fucking everyone I knew from college, my boss, co-workers. Everyone except you.” I was looking around the room and saw Jennie in everything I laid my eyes on. Our wedding photo was on the bookshelf beside the TV. I was overwhelmed by another wave of sadness and loss. I wept bitter tears to the one friend that I had left and I could hear him shed a few in sympathy.

“Can you send me the file?” he asked me gently. “As your lawyer, I need to know what we have to work with. If your boss was there and we can prove he was weighting down your schedule to get you out of the way, there’s a whole lot more we can do than just get her in the divorce.”

I already had my phone plugged into the computer to charge as I talked to Grant on the landline. I downloaded the file and sent it to him as quickly as I could. “What do I do now?” I asked piteously.

“Just sit tight, buddy,” he said sympathetically. “We’ll get you through this.”

“No!” I said, still overwhelmed. “Do I stay here and throw her out? Do I pack my stuff and leave? I’m sorry. I ... I’m lost right now. I don’t know what to do.”

“Stay where you are and start packing her stuff. From what you’ve said, she’s got a lot of options for a place to stay. Let her make the walk of shame with her stuff,” he suggested.

“Okay. Thanks, Grant,” I said.

“For you, anything, Adam,” he told me. “We’re gonna nail her ass to the wall for this. I promise.”

We hung up and he promised he’d call back when he saw the video.

I went upstairs and started working. I filled her suitcases and took them down to her car, loading it up. I was going to use my luggage for the rest, but instead took the box of industrial strength trash bags I used for yard waste and took them upstairs. It made sense, I thought angrily. You packed trash in trash bags. I threw the rest of her clothes in there and then tossed her soaps, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, perfumes and make-up in on top of them. I scoured the room and put bag after bag into her car, filling the backseat and the shotgun seat too. I went through the rest of the house and gathered up what I could, tossing it into the car loose. I didn’t care that it would take her days to clean it all out, didn’t care that her shampoo had leaked all over her clothes. I worked like a man possessed, sure that she was going to be home at any moment.

I checked my watch and it was after midnight. Still no sign of her. They must have decided that there was no need to hurry home now that I knew.

When the phone rang, I checked the display before answering it. “Hi, Grant,” I said, sitting down. I was aware suddenly of how tired I was. I’d been throwing myself into the task, buried in the immediate need to get her out of my life.

“Hey, Buddy,” he said gently. “I watched that video all the way through. It was hard to watch, but I know you had to watch it happen. I owed it to you to sit through it all.” He sighed. “Would you like the good news first, or the bad news?”

“There’s good news?” I asked in dismal disbelief.

“There is,” he said firmly. “Your boss admitted to saddling you with extra work for the purpose of creating an opportunity for your wife to cheat on you. I already have the lawsuit against your work typed and ready to file. I also have one for your boss. All I need is his full name. All I have is Sandy.”

“Sandy Blevins,” I said dully. “What about the rest of them?”

“You give me names and we’ll serve each of them civil suits for alienation of affection. You’re a very rich man. We just have to see a judge to cash your ticket. Mitch is fucked. He’s been hosting these parties for months while you’ve been working your ass off. He’ll probably lose his house for the amount on the suit. I have a great idea how you can make it even worse for him. He’s hosting a rally on Wednesday. I want you there. When he’s served with the lawsuit, speak up and tell him in a loud voice that you’re suing him for hosting gang-bangs at his home where your wife cheated on you repeatedly. Talk about how much you trusted him and how you thought loyalty meant everything to him.” Mitch was running for Mayor. The polls put him comfortably ahead and election day was less than two weeks away.

“Yeah,” I said numbly. I wanted very much to die at the moment. I didn’t want to go to a rally for Mitch. I didn’t want to talk about this. I just wanted to stop breathing. Breathing hurt, thinking hurt, remembering hurt.

I sighed. “So that’s the good news,” I said leadenly. “What’s the bad news?”

“I can’t file until Monday,” he said smugly. “You did everything right. You didn’t hit anyone and you didn’t do any property damage. There’s just two things I want you to do. First, I want you to stop answering your house phone. Call-forward it to your cellphone. Then I want you to download an app to your phone. It records conversations. Tell everyone that you’re recording at the beginning of each conversation and get their permission to record. If they don’t give it, hang up and let them call back.” We went over the wording of the recording request until we got it right.

“Get some sleep, my friend,” he said with a sigh. “You’ve got to be exhausted, working all day and then finding that at the end of the day.”

“Yeah,” I said, knowing that I was going to keep working to scrub my cheating whore of a wife out of my life. I packed up all the food in the kitchen that I’d never eat and tossed it in the car with the rest, packed her laptop after creating a backup of her hard-drive with a program Grant had told me to use. It would grab anything she might have stored on there, including all her emails. He’d access it from the cloud on his end and tear it apart. I systematically filled her car as much as I could and then I used her spare keys to back it out of the garage into the driveway. The last thing I put in the car was our wedding photo. I put the framed picture on the driver’s seat where she’d see it when she opened the door. I took the remote for the garage door opener out of her car and locked it up.

I looked at her car and shook my head. I’d loved her with all my heart. I worked my ass off at the accounting firm, trying to make partner so I could provide the good life that I wanted her to have. I never suspected she’d use my devotion against me. She’d turned it into a tool to get me out of the way to make it easier for her to cheat on me. I idly wondered if there even WAS a promotion, or if they’d invented it so that I’d throw myself into work to chase it while they laughed about it.

I locked up the garage and then turned off all the lights. My car was in the second bay. For all she knew, I’d packed her stuff and done the same. I turned my phone to silent and sat on the couch behind the front door, waiting. I’d made sure the back door wasn’t opening. I’d wrapped rubber bands around the dead-bolt latch until she’d break her key before it would unlock.

I had two more calls to make and I wasn’t looking forward to either of them.

I dialed the phone and let it ring. After four or five, her father came to the phone. “Son?” he said groggily. “Is everything okay?”

“No, it really isn’t, Ted,” I told him. “I caught Jennie cheating on me tonight. I wanted to let you know that she might need a place to stay until she figures out what to do next. I ... I’m sorry to dump that on you, but at least you didn’t have to see it.”

“Oh my God!” he said in disgust and disappointment. “Did she say ... I mean, did you talk to her? Was it like it seemed? Could he have forced her?”

“There were about twenty guys,” I told him. “They were laughing about how I was at work while my boss and my friends and co-workers were piling on her one after another. She planned it.”

“She what?!!?” he gasped. “No, that can’t be right!”

“She had my boss set me up with extra work for a promotion that I’m starting to think they made up, so that she could go to parties and fuck around. When I left there was enough cum pooled under her to fill a coffee mug.”

“I’m sorry you had to see that,” he said and sighed. “You need to tell Sylvie. I can’t say those words about my little girl. I’m sorry. I’ve always liked you, but she’s my daughter.”

He woke his wife and I went through the same conversation with her. It was getting a little easier. Anger was blocking some of the pain.

Sylvie was sympathetic, but followed the same line of thinking as Ted had. She was their daughter. I was an outsider. I’d never felt like that about them, but there it was. Just one more set of people that I couldn’t count on. I hung up and at that point, my phone rang. It was Jennie’s cellphone.

I decided to answer it. “Hello, Jennifer. Before anything else is said, I have to let you know that I’m recording our conversation. Do you consent to having our conversation recorded?”

“Adam, can’t we talk about this?”

“I’m sorry, do you give consent for our conversation to be recorded?”

“No, Adam. This is ridiculous!”

“Since you’re non-consenting, I will disconnect the call and delete the recording immediately. I apologize for the inconvenience.” I hung up and deleted the recording as promised.

Five minutes later, she called back. “Alright, Adam. I consent to you recording our call,” she said, annoyed.

“Thank you, Jennifer,” I said. “That’s very kind of you.”

“Now, can we talk?”

“Okay,” I said lightly. Underneath the surface, I was sick to my stomach, but she wasn’t the woman I could share my innermost feelings with any more.

“It was just sex. It didn’t mean anything. I don’t get why you’re so upset anyway. We talked about opening up our marriage.”

“No, we haven’t. The number of times I told you that you were the only woman I wanted should have clued you in that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. We never talked about you having unprotected sex with 20 or more guys while I was working my ass off for a promotion that probably doesn’t exist and that I won’t get even if it does because it was just a way to get me out of the way so you could be the center of attention for what I saw tonight.”

“Shit,” she swore, some of her bravado fading. “You heard that?” I’ll give her credit though. She rallied and tried a new tactic. “Baby, I did it for you. He was threatening to fire you if I didn’t have sex with him. I had to and he even promised you’ll get a good raise.”

“And did Mitch threaten to fire me too? And Rob?” I went through all the names of all the friends and coworkers I’d seen enjoy my wife’s charms. “And Mona? Did you go upstairs and have sex with her too? Or did all those people upstairs come down to join the fun after I left? Was it twenty people you cheated on me with tonight or fifty?”

“I love you Adam,” she pleaded with me. “It didn’t MEAN anything! It was just for fun! PLEASE! I’ll do anything! Just tell me how I can fix this! I don’t want to lose you. We’ve been together for six years! We were gonna start a family!”

“And which of tonight’s contestants was going to be the daddy and watch me raise their kid, clueless that I had nothing to do with making it?” I asked harshly my own tears starting to break through. Talking about family cracked my facade. “I watched for an hour, hoping, PRAYING that it was all a nightmare, that you were being raped or drugged, but you PLANNED it. You came up with the idea to dump work on me until I was on the verge of collapse. I worked 80 hour weeks because I was planning for that family. I had my eyes on our children and our future. While I was doing that, you were LAUGHING AT ME!” I screamed that into the phone. “I saw the RIVER of their cum bubbling out of your vagina, the vagina that you swore was for me alone when we got married. ‘Forsaking all others’, remember that part of our vows?!!? I do! I held those vows in my heart and when I saw you being used as a whore for everyone-” I cut off with a sob. I collapsed onto the couch and wailed in despair. “I LOVED YOU!” I screamed in agony worse than I could imagine before tonight. “You were enough for me. You were beautiful enough and sexy enough and good enough and ... EVERYTHING enough for me. You were everything to me. WHY WASN”T I GOOD ENOUGH?!!?”

She was crying in earnest now, but I didn’t know it. I was bawling too hard to hear her sobs. There was no words for a long time as I wailed in despair. When I finally got hold of myself, I was gasping for breath and shaking. “You asked me how you fix this,” I told her brokenly. “You tell me. You cheated on me with almost everyone I work with and every friend I had. You didn’t just have a fling, Jennifer. I don’t have any friends, any dignity at work. I don’t have a future. I don’t have anything. Everything we built together is a lie. It’s all gone. The only hope I have is to go get my gun and hope I’m strong enough to end my pain. The pain and the bullet. That’s what you left me. How could I even call myself a man again, knowing what you did with them. I’ll never get that sight out of my head. I can never stop hearing your laughter about how stupid I was. I’ll always be the stupid wimp husband that never guessed he wasn’t even good enough for you to worry about getting caught. Ho do you fix THAT?!!?”

“I’m so, so sorry, Adam!” she blubbered. “I never wanted you to get hurt. You ARE good! Please don’t talk about hurting yourself. I’ll do anything you want! Just don’t do that! Hurt ME if you have to, but please don’t shoot yourself!” She babbled on and on, swearing to me that I was the best man she knew and that it wasn’t because I wasn’t enough for her and that I should hurt her instead of myself. “Beat me every day for the rest of your life if you need to, but please, Adam! Don’t hurt yourself. I can’t ever make it right if you die. I want to make it right. I swear to you, I do. I’ll do anything. I’ll put it in writing. I know you called Grant to be your lawyer. He’s the only one you could be sure I hadn’t...” She trailed off into fresh tears for a few minutes before she got hold of herself.

We were both taking deep breaths to try to calm down. “I know I don’t have any right to ask you for anything,” she said softly, “but PLEASE, just wait. If this pain is too much to live with, I ... I’ll always think of myself and the other people that hurt you as murderers if you died over this. I think ... I think I probably will anyway. It’s hurt you so much that you’re probably not going to be the same. I’ve never heard you talk about killing yourself before. Please, just wait a week, talk to me, talk to your friends and maybe we can find a way to make this hurt less for you. I want that, even if it means that you beat me like a dog every day for the rest of our lives. I deserve it. I’ll do it gladly for you if that’s what you need to feel better. Just promise me that you’ll take it out on me and not on yourself. You’ve never raised your hand to me, but I deserve it. You don’t. I’d tell you to kill me instead, but I don’t want you to go to jail either.”

I let her talk herself out and sighed. “Jennifer, I don’t HAVE any friends to talk to. Mitch was my best friend. I’d have died for him. I trusted him and I was loyal to him. He didn’t just fuck you, he hosted a party so that everyone else could too. Even if you didn’t have sex with everyone there, they all knew. They all knew and none of them told me. I wasn’t good enough as your husband to keep you from fucking other people and I wasn’t good enough as their friend to keep them from joining in, whether they watched or fucked. Which of them do you think I can talk to?” I was talking softly. I was too broken to scream, too broken to even care right now.

“Fuck!” she wept. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! How could I BE so stupid?!!? I’m so sorry, Adam. I fucked this up. I fucked up everything. I need to do something to make this right. Can I come home so we can talk?”

“No,” I said. “I packed as many of your things as I could find in your car and pulled it out into the driveway. If you came here right now, you’d want to hug me and probably kiss me. The last thing I saw you doing with your mouth was sucking another man’s cock. If you touched me, all I’d think about is the other men you were with tonight. All I’d feel would be their cum between your skin and mine. All I’d be able to think about was how much more you wanted to be there with them than here with me. Once you have a place, I’ll probably let you have the rest of the furniture here. I keep thinking about ... Well, I’ll keep that to myself. This call isn’t about hurting you.”

“I never brought any of them home!” she told me adamantly. “It was only ever at Mitch’s and only on Friday nights. The furniture at home is clean, I swear! I know you probably don’t believe me, but it’s true. At the parties, it was just fun. Everyone’s clean and birth control is used. It was just fun. It was never anything more than the physical. I know I said that and I know it doesn’t matter. It killed you to see me like that and it kills me to know that I did that to you.”

I grunted sourly. “Other than Grant, is there ANY of my friends that you didn’t have ‘fun’ with?” I asked, not knowing whether there was an answer I could trust.

She fell silent for a long time and I sighed. “I see. That’s what I thought,” I said dully. All the light in my life had gone out tonight. “I wish I had the words for what this did to me,” I told her. “I need to go. I need to throw up.”

I hung up the phone and ran for the bathroom. I just made it in time, heaving my dinner into the bowl violently. I could hear the phone ringing, but there was no way I could get it. I let it go to voicemail. I sat there, staring into the toilet when it was over, thinking it was a great metaphor for my life. It was in the toilet, it was revolting, I didn’t want to touch it and there was nothing that could be saved. If only I could flush the people in my life this easily. I watched the contents swirl away, replaced by clean water. If only my life could be clean again.

I got to my feet and washed my face with cold water before brushing my teeth to get rid of the sickly taste of bile in my mouth. I left the bathroom and checked the message. It was from Mitch, surprisingly enough, asking me to call him. Not fucking likely.

I plugged the phone back in and downloaded the conversation with Jennifer, sending it to Grant right away. It was nearly 2. Way too late to make the other call I wanted to make, but I thought I could do it early in the morning and still be in time. I wanted to lay down, but despite what she’d said, I didn’t feel right about her declarations that everything was clean. I finally sighed and got into bed fully dressed and tossed and turned, never getting any real sleep. Every time I settled into sleep, I got the mental image of my Jennie in the middle of all those guys, eagerly servicing them. That was all it took to wake me right back up. It was just starting to get light out and I gave up. I went downstairs and made myself some coffee. I looked out the window and her car was still there, so I assumed she was still at Mitch and Mona’s.

That probably should have pissed me off, but I didn’t care any more. It was like a gentle rain in the middle of a tsunami. I sipped my coffee and gathered my thoughts. I’d have to leave the house eventually today. I didn’t like that thought. It wasn’t really that I thought she’d fuck around with the house while I was gone, but everyone I trusted in the world was in this house: me. Out there was an entire world of liars and cheaters and worse. I didn’t want to go out there. I knew I had to, but I had no faith in humanity any more. Every one of the people I trusted were in that room, plunging their cocks into my wife. Those were my FRIENDS. What would a stranger do to me?

I sighed and sipped at my coffee, letting it wake me up and checked my watch. It was late enough. I picked up my phone and called.

“Hello?” Christina’s voice came through the phone, curious who’d be calling her this early. She’d helped me finish my work last night. I didn’t want her to get into any trouble for it.

“Hi, Chris,” I said softly. “It’s Adam Dean. I’m sorry if I woke you, but I remembered that you were planning on going into the office to do some extra work and wanted to warn you.”

She groaned. “Is Sandy on the warpath again?” she asked, dreading her choice to go in now.

“No, but it’s about Sandy,” I told her and told her about what I’d walked in on last night.

“OH MY GOD! Are you serious?!!?”

“Yeah. I don’t think the promotion is even real, just a way to get me to put in extra hours so they could gang-bang my wife.” I put my head down and sighed raggedly. My head was killing me and I knew that I was running on fumes. “Sorry to unload all of that on you, but I wanted you to know what was going on in case someone started asking how I got through my workload last night. If someone invites you to a party on Friday night, I’d suggest you tell them that you’re not interested in going. They might be looking for a replacement after last night.”

“Yeah. I don’t think I want to work at a firm that allows that to happen,” she said certainly. “Thanks for letting me know to watch out. What are you gonna do?”

“Not much I CAN do,” I said. “I don’t have any friends left that weren’t fucking her. I don’t have a job any more. I thought about getting really fucking drunk and hoping that I can sleep, but right now, I’m just on autopilot.”

“Well, let me know if you need company,” she said. “My Saturday is suddenly free and you’re the only guy I work with that isn’t a creep, by the sounds of it.”

“I don’t think I’d be good company right now,” I admitted. “I’m taking turns crying and screaming and throwing up, and I’m miserable and suicidal in between.”

“Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help,” she told me adamantly. “You have at least one friend she didn’t cheat on you with. I mean it. I’ll check on you later today.”

“Okay,” I said. “One thing I need to tell you though. My lawyer had me download an app on my phone that records all the conversations I have. I’ll delete this one since I didn’t ask about recording you, but I’ll be starting all my calls by asking for permission to record.”

“Don’t delete this one,” she told me. “I, Christina Garland, do hereby give Adam Dean permission to record and save this conversation and all future conversations whether we discuss it at the time of the subsequent conversation or not. This permission shall prevail unless I specifically exclude a conversation and ask that it not be recorded ... There, that ought to cover you. I understand why you have to do that and if we have to start our conversations that way anyway, then it’s okay. You’ve been stabbed in the back by a lot of people. You need to protect yourself.”

“Thanks,” I said to her truthfully. I felt a little better, having had her to talk to and told her so.

“You’re very welcome,” she said. “I’ll call you later. I think I’ll go spend some time in the park. We’re not gonna have too many warm days like today is supposed to be. Call me if you need me.”

I promised I would and we hung up. I took a deep breath and then went to the computer to download the conversation, storing it in a separate folder on my desktop. I had no idea what to do with myself. Saturday, we usually slept in, me from exhaustion, her from her Friday gang-bang. That twisted my mouth and stomach sourly. By noon, I’d normally be puttering around the yard and she’d be doing housework. I decided that I should start tackling the housework and cleaned the kitchen, dusted, changed the sheets on the bed, vacuumed and then finally cleaned up the bathroom. Our house wasn’t huge. It was three bedroom, but our other two rooms were an office for me and a craft room for her. She loved quilting, saying it reminded her of her grandmother. I wondered what Grandma would think of her today.

I opened the door, but I closed it again almost immediately at the overpowering smell of HER that wafted through the door, setting off fresh tears. I found myself in the basement, in front of the open gun-safe, loading my Desert Eagle .50 AE pistol. I’d bought it for self-defense, but now there was no one left to defend. Jennie was precious to me and I wanted something that could do the job right with one shot. I had the magazine halfway into the gun when I realized what I was doing and stopped. I put the gun and clip back and locked the safe.

“Right,” I said quietly. “Stay out of the crafts room.” I sighed and went back upstairs. My legs felt like lead and my head felt like a drum. I took something for my head and reluctantly moved the couch back into the living room and unlocked the door I got the tools out of the garage and went to work on the yard for the next few hours, mowing the grass and weeding the flowerbeds around the yard before I went back inside. I’d taken my phone with me, but it had been silent all day. I’d been a little edgy, being outside, but I hadn’t seen a soul. We lived at the end of a dead-end street. In winter time, they just plowed the road up against the trees at the end of the road. It was a good deal for us. They plowed our driveway since it was where they turned around. It also made our house very secluded. If people came this far down the road, they were lost or here to see us.

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