Part 1

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Fa/Fa, Mult, Consensual, Lesbian, BiSexual, Heterosexual, Fiction, Anal Sex, .

Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Part 1 - This is my interpretation of what a "Get out of jail free' story could look like. I like to build up my stories with a fair degree of background and in this case, I really needed to explain why a rational man would consider offering his wife-to-be, the opportunity to stray, if only once. And what happens to the main characters, when his wife finally decides to take him up on his offer. This is my homage to this style of tale and I hope you enjoy it.

Prologue:

Many moons ago, well over ten years ago, I did something foolish that I am now strongly regretting. It was, I now realize, a very irresponsible thing to do, although at the time it had seemed the best option to solve a painful situation. It was a gut reaction and I did it to prove that I loved my girlfriend.

As a result of that decision at that time, it seemed that I was about to lose everything I held dear.

How did I get in that position? Well, it was simple really; all those years ago, I’d just proposed to my girlfriend in the most romantic way I could think of.

It was on a moonlit beach in Thailand, and instead of saying yes as I, and all our friends had expected. She hugged me and wrapped my fingers back around the ring I’d just offered to her. Then she whispered in my ear those four fateful words.

“We need to talk.”

I kept on smiling as she stepped back, mostly because I didn’t know what else to do, and she smiled back at me. Our friends all assumed she’d said yes. They all crowded around her, and while they were all occupied, I took the opportunity to slip away. I snagged a cool bag with a pack of beer and an almost full bottle of vodka in it and walked off down the beach.


The beginning.

I’d met my girlfriend, Karen a year before that fateful evening; we met at one of the University’s many summer balls. I say I met her, but the truth was, she fell into my arms. She stumbled as she walked past me and I instinctively put out my arms to catch her. I held her tightly, staring into the most mesmerizing pair of blue eyes I’d ever seen.

I don’t know why I did it, but I just couldn’t help myself. I gave her a big kiss. She started, then relaxed and gave back as good as she got.

After our lips parted and she recovered her equilibrium, I was tongue tied and barely managed to stammer out, “Hi.”

She looked at me with those mesmerizing eyes and wrinkled her cute nose. She said, “Now you’ve tasted the delights of my lips, I think you should be a gentleman and introduce yourself.”

While still holding her in my arms I told her my name. “I’m Neil, Neil de Jong.”

She raised her eyebrows in a question. “De Jong, that’s a rather unusual name.”

“I know, my father’s Dutch and my mother’s English,” I explained as I had many times before, “but I’ve lived here all of my life.” I gabbled on, not wanting to let her walk away, “My parents and sister moved back to Holland last year to take over the family farm.” I stopped talking as I saw her looking at me with the beginning of a smile creasing her lips.

“So, Neil de Jong, do you usually kiss women who fall into your arms?”

“Only the very pretty ones,” I replied. “And just whose delicious tasting lips did I enjoy?”

She giggled and gave me another flash of her beautiful eyes, “I’m Karen.”

“Well, Karen of the delightful lips, I thank you for the loan, I really enjoyed them.”

She gave the most delightful little laugh and took my hand. “Are you here with someone?” she asked.

I shook my head, “No one special; my flatmates had a spare ticket. If I know them, they are probably propping up the bar.”

She gestured at a table across the room with two women seated at it, “Come and join us, I’m here with my flatmates as well, Cindy and Jill.”

She turned, took my hand, and we started in their direction. Her long blond hair swept down her back, contrasting against the black silk of her formal gown. She stood five foot ten in her three-inch heels, she was slim and from what I could see from her cleavage, had full firm breasts.

We walked over and she introduced me to her friends as the gentleman kiss stealer who’d saved her from falling on her ass.

Meeting Karen turned an indifferent evening into an outstanding one. My two flatmates, Paul and Mike, were able to pry themselves from the sanctuary of the bar to join us, and we partied the night away. I’m not the worlds greatest dancer, but with my arms around Karen I felt supreme. Her hair smelled divine as she rested her head on my shoulder. Her body felt perfect as it pressed against mine. In the beginning, I’d attempted to maintain a semblance of decorum. She had pulled me close and hung on tight.

We ended the night watching the sun rose over the trees lining the far bank of the river that ran through the university grounds. I greeted the dawn, sitting on the grass with my back against an oak tree. She rested her head on my thigh, and I gently stroked her long blond hair. We sipped champagne from the bottle we’d managed to liberate earlier. Every now and again she would capture my hand, bring it to her mouth and kiss it.

I knew I was falling in love with the beautiful woman lying by my side, and from her actions, I felt sure she felt something for me. We’d talked through the evening. She told me about herself; she was in her last year studying for a degree in economics, and she was twenty-one. Her full name was Karen Phillips, and her family lived in Cornwall.

She, in turn, discovered that I was twenty-six and in the midst of my last year of studying for my doctorate in biochemistry.

We met up for a second time later in the week, and the magic of that first wonderful evening still infused us. We ended that second date in my bed where we confirmed that our compatibility was complete and all encompassing.

We became ever closer over the next couple of months. Our bodies, our minds, were so in tune with each other that we could talk for hours, baring our souls before falling into bed and consuming each other. Our friends knew it would be only time before I asked her to marry me.

What was important to us was our ability to talk frankly; there didn’t seem to be an issue that we couldn’t or wouldn’t discuss, but I thought I could sense the briefest of hesitation from her whenever I would try to discuss our future. I guessed that it was because of the difference in our ages. She would occasionally comment on how much more world-wise I was, compared to her, and how she wanted to see the world. I tried to reassure her with promises of travel and adventure, but it didn’t seem to work. Afterwards, she would just shrug it off and say how much she loved me.

There was one fly in the ointment that constantly grated on me. Despite the fact, she spent most of her free time with me, she resisted taking that last step and completely move in. For some reason only known to her, she kept hold of her room in her old flat. She was happy to leave clothes and books in my room; she took over more than half of my drawers and wardrobe, but every now and again, every couple of weeks or so, I’d get a call, and she’d that she’d be staying the night in her room at the flat she still technically shared, and I wasn’t to disturb her.

I’d been plagued all along with an uneasy sense that this was all a dream, and I’d wake up alone. She was young, beautiful and very popular; I wasn’t; that was the simple truth. I didn’t understand what she saw in me. I had to keep pinching myself every time I saw her, just to convince myself that it was real.

I was the quiet studious type, the complete opposite from the group of fun lovers that made up the bulk of Karen’s friends. I was five foot eleven and fairly fit as a result of the rowing I did in the little spare time I had, but even there I wasn’t a team player; I rowed alone in single sculls. I’d never considered myself handsome, I was just the boy next door

Because of this insecurity, I succumbed to my fears and followed her when she next called to say she was staying at her flat that night. Of course, nothing happened. She met up with Cindy and Jill at a local wine bar. They were joined by a fourth woman, a former flatmate called Pauline. After an hour they went out for a meal and then back to the flat for the rest of the night. I sat shivering on a cold park bench until the lights went out at two-thirty in the morning. All I achieved for my efforts was a nasty chest infection and an understanding that she, like all of us, occasionally needed her own space.

I hate using the hackneyed term ‘soul mate’, but that’s what she was to me. She came with me to my parent’s farm in Holland for Christmas, and she got the seal of approval from both my mother and my Dutch grandparents.

I went with her to celebrate New Year with her family in Padstow in Cornwall. They lived in a rambling old farmhouse overlooking the sea, a mile outside the village. Her parents were very nice as was her older brother. Her older sister Robyn was a bit odd to me. My impression was that she liked me, but every now and again I’d glimpse what I thought was a fleeting look of pity when she looked at me. Late on New Year’s Eve when she was more than a couple of drinks worse for wear, she cornered me.

She turned to me and said earnestly, “How do you cope with her flatmates and... ?” Her voice trailed off.

“What do you mean?”

She gave me a deep soul-baring look and was about to answer when Karen interrupted us and dragged me away to meet her cousin who’d just arrived.

Later I saw Robyn and Karen in an animated discussion in the kitchen that turned into a hug when they saw me looking. Karen reached out and pulled me in close to her and said in my ear, “I love you so much it makes my chest hurt.”

Robyn said, “She does, you know, I’ve never seen her like this with a man since she grew boobs and was old enough to attract them.”

“Robyn!” Karen exclaimed, and Robyn laughed and wandered off.

I was walking on air for the rest of the evening.

Her father wanted a talk later the next day. We retreated to his study, and he poured me a glass of whisky.

“So what are your intentions regarding my daughter?” he asked.

I looked at him earnestly and said, “I’ve two sir, to get my doctorate, and when the time is right, to ask Karen to marry me.”

“Please don’t call me sir, I’m Charles.”

“Thank you.”

“So when would you ask her then?”

“After she’s graduated. We want to go traveling over the summer, and I thought I’d ask her then.”

“So where are you thinking of going?”

“Karen has been talking about going to Australia and New Zealand; I have a nice legacy that my aunt left me so I can easily cover our expenses. Some of our friends are going to Thailand for the summer, and we’d like to meet up with them for a couple of weeks on our way there.”

I took a sip from my glass. “I’ve already been offered a great research job after I get my doctorate. It’s with a major cancer research centre, and they’ve offered to find us a place to live.”

He smiled, “That sound like a worthwhile job. I think you are just what my daughter needs. She talks about you all the time, I’d be happy if you were to join our family.” He held out his hand, and I shook it.


The next few months passed in a blur for us as we each prepared for our final exams, and I struggled to finish my dissertation. Our sex life just got better and better. Although just as before, every few weeks she would go out with her old flatmates and occasionally a couple of other girlfriends and spend the night in her old room. One time they all disappeared for a weekend at a country house spa, and she teased me with the barest of descriptions.

We travelled to Paris for the Easter vacation. Our days were spent exploring the historic sites and the museums, and we indulged each other’s sexual fantasies at night. Recharged and invigorated we entered headlong into the last months of our university education. Those last months, we barely saw each other during the day, only to collapse exhausted in the evening and spend the nights cuddling each other as we slept.

I walked out of my final exam feeling as though I’d pulled through a wringer backwards. I collapsed on a bench in the quadrangle, utterly exhausted. Karen had finished her exams a week earlier and I realized as I sat there, I hadn’t seen her since the evening we’d briefly celebrated her last exam.

I sat still enjoying the warmth of the sun on my face for what seemed like ages, until I registered a presence beside me and a warm hand took mine. I opened my eyes, and once again, I fell headlong into her mesmerizing blue eyes.

“I missed you,” I told her.

“And I missed you,” she said softly. “You were so immersed in studying I’ve been staying at my old flat to give you your room.”

“Don’t ever leave me again,” I whispered, and she wrapped her arms around me in a mute promise.

We made our way back to the flat and fell onto my bed in a frenzy of undressing. The sex was amazing, her body responding to my every move with wild abandonment. Mine was eager to please her in every way she desired or imagined.

The next few weeks were a flurry of activity as we prepared to move out of our various rooms. I wasn’t scheduled to start my research job until the beginning of September, and the apartment they were supplying wouldn’t be ready until then. I was going to stay with my parents in Holland for the first part of the summer. I was hoping that Karen would come with me.

That fell through because Karen was offered a position in the marketing team of a medium-sized advertising agency close to where I’d be working. They were eager for her to start as soon as possible, so eager, that they agreed to honour our holiday plans. She was due to start work at the beginning of July. Because my place wasn’t going to be ready in time, she was going to stay with one of her ex-flat mates for those few weeks.

Pauline’s flat was apparently too small for both of us, so Karen stayed there without me. Pauline was not happy when one time I showed up unannounced. It was only for a few weeks until our trip started so I just grinned and bore it.

Mid-June, both our families came to watch us graduate. My parents and my younger sister flew over from Holland. Hers took the train up from Cornwall. Karen received her degree, a first. The following day, I stood on a stage to receive my doctorate.

The last week in July saw us back together. We and our friends were on a flight to Bangkok. Karen and I were going to stay with our friends for the first two weeks of our trip.

There were eight of us on that first part of the vacation. Our companions were Cindy and Jill, her old flatmates. Then there was Samantha and Georgie, who were in a lesbian relationship. The last two were my old flatmates. We were going to spend two weeks in Thailand with the others before going on to Australia and New Zealand for a month. The others were going to stay a further two weeks.

We had rented a beachfront villa near Phuket for the group on the understanding that for the two weeks we were there, Karen and I got the main bedroom. There were three other bedrooms, and in the original agreement: the girls got two and the boys the last, but there seemed to be a fair amount of bed-surfing going on, so you were never too sure who was going to appear from which room. They seemed to be playing a complex version of bedroom shuffle in the last gasp celebration of their student life.

I think we were all nervous about what the future would bring us. I know I was, for more than one reason. Tucked away in a hidden corner of my backpack was my grandmother’s diamond and sapphire engagement ring. I was waiting for the right moment to give it to her.

We’d been in Thailand for the best part of a week and been having a great time with our friends. Those first days had been a heady mix of partying and relaxing. We’d discovered the best local bars and had enjoyed barbequing on the beach in front of the villa.

I’d hired a scooter so we could get a bit of time away from the others. That morning, Karen and I had driven along the coast a few miles until we spotted a track heading for the sea. At the end was a small isolated cove, and as luck would have it, there was not another soul to be seen. We were quick to claim it for Queen and country, spreading our towels as makeshift flags.

Karen knelt on her towel and grasped the hem of her tee-shirt, gradually lifting the garment off and over her head. There is a point in such an action when the woman’s face is buried in the shirt, and her body is on show. She cannot see anything, and it makes her feel sexy and at the same time vulnerable. She left it like that for a moment or two, as if to show her absolute trust, before lifting it clear and dropping it on the sand. She was smiling. She knew what she had done and what she was doing to me.

The bikini top was pure semi-translucent white, barely covering her breasts. I stared, and she looked smug as she caught the direction of my gaze. She stood, and I gazed up. She undid the clasp on her shorts and slowly pushed down the zip. The shorts made their way to the floor, revealing the micro bikini bottom. She picked up her shorts and, turning away, folded them and placed them in her beach bag. She was quite conscious that she was barely hiding the lower part of her bottom, the cheeks peeping from beneath the revealing bikini bottom, and her cleft tantalisingly half-hidden by such flimsy fabric. God, I loved this woman. My body responded in the only way it could, and my cock grew hard, tenting out my shorts.

She lay back on the towel, removed the bikini top and with one eye on me began to spread suntan oil over her firm ripe exposed breasts. Her full pink nipples stood proudly and inviting. I took the bottle from her and took over the application. She sighed and wrapped her arm around the back of my neck drawing my mouth down to her lips as I massaged the oil onto her breasts. Her nipples hardened under my palms, and she groaned in anticipation and need.

Running my slippery fingers down her abdomen, I slid them under the fabric of her bikini bottoms and let my fingers curl protectively over her mons.

“Oh God, I love it when you touch me there,” she gasped and spread her legs, inviting me to plunder further. I untied the ties at the side of the bikini bottoms, and with a slight of hand made them disappear. Her little blond tuft drew me down and she shuddered as I licked along her succulent pussy lips, tasting the sweet honey of her arousal. I licked and sucked her clit, my arousal painfully pressing against the hot sand.

She came with a muted cry as I pushed two fingers into the hot wet warmth of her pussy. She came again moments later as I caressed her G-spot, this time with a loud cry. Her legs tightened around my head, and I nibbled at her clit as she writhed under me.

“Oh holy fuck, what are you doing to me? I love you so much.”

I looked up at her flushed face as she rose to her elbows and peered down her body at me.

“I love the sweet taste of you,” I told her, “But now I just want to bury myself deep inside you.”

“Please,” she said, “fuck me; show me how much you love me.” She held her arms out to me inviting me to cover her body with mine.

I rose up and pulled my shorts off, tossing them over my shoulder. My rampant cock was as hard as I’d ever seen, and moments later, all seven inches drove into her willing passage.

I groaned as I slid into her tight wet pussy. The walls fluttered as they stretched to accommodate me.

“Oh fuck Yesss,” Karen gasped as I pressed down on her. Her legs arms and legs wrapped around me holding me in place.

She felt so wonderful, and I wanted to watch her face as she lost herself to the waves of pleasure that ran across her features when with slow, deliberate movements I thrust in and out of her. She met my thrusts, pushing up against me each time. Her mouth was open as she gasped each time the head of my cock ran across her G-spot. We moved to the rhythm of the waves lapping at the golden sand, both of us reaching our climaxes at the same time. Karen cried out incoherently, and I groaned as I came, cum pulsing out to coat her willing vessel.

We lay in the dappled shade of the coconut palms that fringed the sand. It was an afternoon of new delights. I can’t remember how many times we made love, on the towels or in the sea by the time the sun dipped below the horizon.

Finally, we dressed and rode the couple of miles back to the villa in the falling twilight. As we rode, Karen’s arms were wrapped tightly around me, and I could hear her murmuring in my ear.

“I love you; you make me feel complete.”

They were my sentiments as well, and I decided that tonight was the night I would ask her the question.


Through the pain, nausea and the constant throbbing in my head, I heard a jeep coming down the track to the beach, then voices and finally the sound of the jeep faded into the distance as it drove back up the track. I pried an eye open and winced at the bright afternoon light. Karen stood at the top of the beach beside my scooter that lay on its side. Her hand shaded her eyes as she searched for me.

She saw me sitting in the shade of a coconut palm, and I watched through bloodshot eyes as she walked over to me. She gave a little moan of horror as she saw the state I was in and took in the empty bottles that lay scattered around me. She knelt down on the sand beside me, holding her hands out to me. Her eyes were red from crying and were full of fresh tears. She could barely look at me.

“I’m so sorry,” she said, barely above a whisper. “What did I do to you? I didn’t handle that well. You surprised me.”

“No, you handled it just fucking perfectly,” I said through gritted teeth, groaning slightly at the pain shooting through my head. “Your answer told me everything I needed to know.”

“Neil, please, love, talk to me. I love you. I’ve never loved anyone like you.”

I gave a small ironic laugh and buried my head in my hands as the pain skewered my brain redoubled in strength. I had to breathe deeply, swallowing to stop myself throwing up. Seeing her in front of me brought my reality crashing down on me again. I didn’t think I could feel any worse, but I was wrong. All my fears over the years that our relationship was a dream I would wake up from looked like they were justified. I wasn’t good enough for her, and she’d finally realised. She was still talking, and I had to concentrate to understand her words.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you. I only wanted to talk about it first.”

I lifted my head to look at her with despair tinged with a bit of anger written across my face. “Talk? All I asked was one simple question, there were only two possible answers. Either you wanted to marry me, or you didn’t. You didn’t say yes. I understand. I’m sorry if I embarrassed you in front of your friends.”

“Embarrassed me? Neil, you could never embarrass me. It was the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.”

“Yaeh right!” I shook my head and groaned as the pain stabbed from the back of my head to my eyes. “Shit,” I groaned, “What do you want, Karen? Can’t you see I want to be alone right now?”

“I want, I need you to talk to me, please, and we’ve always been able to. We can talk about anything. It’s one of the things that’s so great about being with you. I love you, Neil, with all my heart, but I’m just not sure if I’m ready to get married. Please, please can’t we go back to the villa and talk?”

“Why,” I asked, “We’re hardly going to be disturbed here.” I gestured around us at the deserted beach.

“Please, Neil,” she begged, “Come back to the villa, you need to eat something and get cleaned up. You smell like a brewery.”

I stood up and swayed, and then I had to hang onto the trunk of the palm tree as I lost the battle with my nausea and emptied the contents of my stomach over the sand. She held my arm, and I shrugged her off. I wiped my face and turned to walk back to my scooter.

I looked back over my shoulder and said despairingly, “Karen, I know when I’m not wanted; frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken you so long to get tired of me. I’m going to get my bags and go back to Bangkok. I’ll get a flight home. You enjoy your holiday.” She staggered back from me at the sound of utter despair in my voice.

“Please, no; you can’t leave me.” We both stood there crying, and she pulled me back into the shade of the palm trees, and we sat down again crying.

“Why didn’t you say yes?” I finally asked once we were both cried out, sitting there silently.

“I don’t know. I’ve been waiting months for you to ask me. But when you did, I panicked, and all of a sudden I was petrified.”

She gently caressed my matted hair. “For a few moments, I completely lost the whole direction our relationship had been moving. Dad hinted that you were going to ask me while we were away, and I couldn’t wait. Suddenly there you were kneeling at my feet holding out a ring. I froze, I swear my heart stopped beating for a few seconds. A montage flashed in front of my eyes of me married, tied down with children, my freedom lost.”

She whispered, “Look at me Neil, I’m almost twenty-two, I’ve done so little with my life compared to you, but I’ve got all these ideas, dreams, things I want to do.”

I reached out and tucked a lock of her blond hair behind her ear. Her face was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. And I knew what I was going to say next was going to hurt. “I’ve got dreams as well,” I told her. “I’ve a list as long as my arm of things I want to do someday, but the big difference is, I wanted to do them with you. I can’t picture doing them without you with me ... but now I’m going to have to try, aren’t I.”

Karen looked pitiful, and she curled up looking out across the sea, her head on my lap. “I’ve been such an idiot,” she whispered. “I’ve spoiled the most important moment of my life. I love you so much. I’ve been hoping for a life with you, to grow old and wrinkled with you. I want to have your babies.”

She sat up and looked at me and said with a tremor of fear in her voice, “But I’m afraid. What if there’s something I want to do, and you don’t want to? Do I just give it up? Will I regret getting married before I’d done more with my life?”

“I can’t answer those questions,” I replied. “But I think the fact that you need to ask them tells me you aren’t ready.”

She shook her head, “That not true, I’m just panicking. I am ready, I know I’m ready, I want to be married to you.” She held out her hand imploringly to me.

I stood up and began walking to the fallen scooter, Christ, I’d left the keys in it. I was lucky that it hadn’t been stolen. I pulled them from the lock and contemplated throwing them away. It seemed fitting to throw them away just like Karen had thrown my happiness away.

She caught up with me as I was righting the scooter and almost knocked me down, throwing her arms around my waist and clinging to me. “Neil, I’m begging you. Please don’t do it. I love you so much it hurts. Yes, I’ll marry you, and I’ll do whatever it takes so you don’t leave me.”

I froze, indecision racked my very soul, and there was no doubt in my mind that I loved her. Loved her with every fibre of my body. I wrapped my arms around her. I so wanted to say yes, but how could I do that to her now.

“And if I agreed, how soon would it be before you hate me?” I asked. “It wouldn’t be fair or kind to either of us if we got married now. I understand the situation more clearly now. I love you with every fibre of my body, but it would destroy me if you grew to hate me. But I agree we need to talk.” I sighed, “Let’s go, Karen, you’re driving.”

I was incapable of driving that stupid scooter, she took the keys, and sobbed all the way back to the villa, the front of her tee-shirt growing wet with her tears. Somehow the alcoholic haze I’d been in before I barfed had disappeared, so at least I didn’t fall off the damn thing.

Luckily, our so-called friends weren’t around when we arrived. She held on to my hand desperately as we walked into the villa. She followed me into our room and then the bathroom. She sat down on the toilet and watched me intently as I undressed and stood under the shower letting the cool water stream over me. The next thing I knew she was standing beside me in her bikini, and we held each other. We both cried, my tears streaming down my face mixing with the shower water. She let it all out, sobbing. I hugged her to me and stripped her sopping top off her, and finally her bikini bottom. I wrapped a bath towel around her, and we lay down on our bed.

She had admitted she was racked with doubts, and I wondered if there was one underlying fear that was triggering the situation; I thought I knew what it was.

I sat up and took her hands in mine. We both sat cross-legged, and I tried to get to the bottom of her fears. “I know you’re scared, and I’m trying to understand what’s causing it. Is it the sex, or rather your lack of previous partners?”

She was quiet for a long while. The towel had slipped to her waist, and I counted her breaths, watching as her breasts rose and fell. Finally, she spoke, “I’m not sure, possibly. It’s a part of it I guess. I think I’m jealous that you’ve done so much more. You were my first real boyfriend, the couple of men I had known before you were fumbling children in comparison. I hadn’t realised how great sex could be until I met you. You make my body sing with your barest touch, and you were so patient with me.”

She gave me a crooked smile, “Even when I hurt you.” We both recalled the time I had to sleep with ice packs on my groin because of her over enthusiastic blow job. “You taught me so well, my love.” She leaned in and briefly kissed my lips.

There was a sense that wasn’t all, “But...” I prompted her.

“But because you taught me so well, there are times I get jealous. I look at you, and you’re so relaxed around other women. I wonder, how many women did you have before me? How did you learn to be so amazing? I lie beside you after the most mind-blowing sex, and I wonder, will I always be enough for you? Will you get tired of me?”

I shook my head trying to reassure her.

“And sometimes what’s even worse,” she carried on. “I wonder, will there come a day when I feel I that I’ve missed out? Will I succumb to the temptation of another lover someday?”

What was she saying; that she didn’t love me? I thought that we are meant for each other. “Temptation?” I asked a tremble in my voice. “Aren’t I enough for you? Don’t I satisfy you?”

Then a worse thought struck me, “Is there someone else?”

“Nooooo, believe me when I tell you that you are the only man in my life, there will never be another man. You are wonderful in bed. You leave me a quivering heap each time we make love.”

She reached out to me, I pulled her into my lap and she sighed as my arms wrapped around her. She whispered, “I had no idea love with a man could be as it is with you.”

“And yet it’s still not enough?” I said softly.

“That’s not it, Neil. I swear.” She paused to get her thoughts straight.

“I get men hitting on me all the time, I can’t help it. You’ve seen it, yesterday in the bar, remember that pushy Australian? Yet I have no interest in them, none at all. But just occasionally, late at night, I wonder what it would be like with someone else. Don’t you ever look at a woman and wonder what it would be like with her?”

“I’m a man, of course I have, on occasions. It’s hard-wired into every red-blooded male’s psyche. But I don’t act on it. Why would I when I have you?”

“But just suppose, that one day it’s different, Neil? And you do succumb to another woman’s attention.”

Again I shook my head. “It would never happen,” I told her.

“Neil, I promised myself that I would only get married once, and it would be for the rest of my life. It would be the end of my world if you were to cheat on me. I take the words of the marriage vows seriously, and I need to know that you do too.”

“There is one thing I can promise you; I’ll never cheat, Karen. I hate cheating. I know what it’s like to be cheated on. Before I met you, I had a bad experience, but you know that. I hurt so much when I found out that I swore I’d never put anyone I loved through that.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, “but I’m so scared I might I cheat on you. If I’m wondering about it now when everything so perfect, what might happen in five, ten or even fifteen years’ time?”

We kept talking about all of her concerns as the sun went down until we both collapsed in exhaustion and fell asleep. For me it was a fitful sleep, we hadn’t resolved the big question, and I was scared to ask her again.

I woke and the room was in darkness, there was a glimmer of light from the part opened door. The sounds of the rest of our group returning from their night out had disturbed me. I stretched my arm out and felt an empty space. I could see that I was alone on the bed. Getting up, I pulled on a pair of shorts and padded silently into the main room. As I passed the first bedroom, I could hear the soft murmurings of love from Sam and Georgie. I heard muted voices coming from the veranda, and I couldn’t help myself; I crept over and listened in to the conversation.

It took me a moment to work out who was there, Karen, of course, and I could hear Cindy, so I guessed that Jill was there as well, although I hadn’t heard her. I’d heard the others in their rooms, so I knew they weren’t there.

“I think I’ve screwed it up,” Karen said in a voice that was suffused with tears.

Cindy said, “I still don’t understand why you didn’t say yes. You love him, and we all know he loves you.”

“I was going to, but then I looked around the bar at all those people enjoying themselves, and all my hidden insecurities came surging up out of the hidden recesses of my mind. Having you two there made me panic, so I didn’t say yes, just that we needed to talk.”

Jill spoke, so she was there. “You are an idiot; Neil wears his heart on his sleeve for all to see. We love you, and as strange as it is, we know he’s the best thing for you. Last month you couldn’t wait for him to ask you, what changed?”

“Shit, I know,” Cindy snapped. “It’s that bitch, Pauline, you know how she hates Neil. She’s been working on your fears while you were staying with her, hasn’t she?”

Crap, I knew we’d never really got on, but I hadn’t known that Pauline hated me.

“She kept asking me questions about what I wanted out of life. When I said Neil, she would laugh at me and ask me about the dreams we’d talked about in the past. She kept going on about it all the time I was there.”

“She always was a manipulative bitch,” Jill muttered.

“So when you found him, did you say yes?”

“I did, I begged him to marry me, he wouldn’t say yes. I’m not sure that enough for him anymore.”

“Why?”

“Because he said that he couldn’t do that to me. I had to want to be his and only his for the rest of our lives. I told him he was the only man I’d ever fully loved, but I admitted that I was scared that one day I might just wonder what it would be like with another lover ... I even told him I was worried about cheating on him. You know what he thinks about fidelity, he’s not looked at another woman since he met me.”

“Why the fuck did you say that?”

“Because I can’t lie to him.”

“So, do you want another lover?”

“God, no, but what happens if sometime in the future I get curious and respond to a temptation. If I did, it would destroy him; I couldn’t do that to him.”

She stopped talking as a wave of crying overcame her. My heart went out to her, and I was beginning to fear that we were going to end up as star-crossed lovers, destined to love each other from afar. There was an itch at the back of my mind that refused to open up, I kept thinking it was the solution, but for the love of everything I held dear, I couldn’t remember it.

I could hear Cindy and Jill consoling her, then Karen said, “I need him so much, I don’t care if he never asks me to marry him again. I’ll live with him and take whatever scraps of love he offers me. In my heart, I know I’m married, and he’s the only man for me. Now all I have to do is stop him flying back home, and if that means screwing him into a coma, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

I heard her getting up, and I quickly scurried back to our room and feigned sleep when she slid naked into the bed and curled up behind me, hugging me to her.

“I love you so much,” I heard her whisper, “Please don’t leave me.”

I rolled over and kissed her. She sobbed into my chest, “I’m so sorry, please, please don’t leave me. Say you’ll marry me.”

“I can’t, I love you too much to hold you to a promise that one day you might not be able to keep.”

“Please,” she sobbed.

“I promise you, we won’t leave Thailand without making a decision. I love you too much, and you love me, but we’ll talk tomorrow.”

She rolled on top of me, and her hand grasped my hard cock. With a cry, she impaled herself on me and rode me to a shuddering orgasm. We made love a couple more times before we both collapsed and fell into a deep, deep sleep.

When I woke, Karen was still dead to the world, I kissed her on her forehead to the world and left her asleep. I showered and then sat down on the veranda. I need to clear my head and decide what I wanted to do. After a while, I wandered into town and stopped at a bar that was famous for a wonderful spicy seafood omelette they served for breakfast.

As I waited for my meal to be cooked, I thought about what I wanted to do. Well, that was simple, I wanted Karen as my life partner, but I didn’t want to trap her into a marriage where she would always be scared that one silly mistake would end it. I understood her fears, our age difference although not vast, only six years, meant that our experience of life and relationships was completely different.

Karen went from an exclusive all-girls grammar school in Cornwall, straight to university. I had gathered she’d never had a serious boyfriend until she met me. Oh, she wasn’t a virgin, she’d told me about a couple of brief encounters. But when I’d met her, she’d been a sexual novice and had been so cute and timid in bed with me. So I understood her revelation that she’d thought about what it would be like with other sexual partners. But I also knew that it would destroy me if I found out about an affair in the future.

I, on the other hand, had in the words of that wonderful phrase ‘sown my wild oats’ in my youth. I’d had several long-term girlfriends though the seven years I’d been at university. Unfortunately, the last serious girlfriend had spent the month she was supposed to be on a field trip in the arms of another man. Since I’d been ready to ask her to marry me when she got back, her betrayal had turned me into a basket case for several months. That had been a year before I’d met Karen, and her words over the last days had opened wounds I thought were closed.

Karen was everything I’d ever hoped for to spend the rest of my life with, and the events of the past few days hadn’t changed my opinion. I was sure that she’d say yes if I asked her the same question, but was that the yes I wanted, a yes that now seemed steeped in desperation. Would we forever wonder about the ‘what if’ scenario she’d talked about?

My breakfast arrived interrupting my musing. I ate the spicy breakfast and drank a fresh mango juice. While I did, last nights itch resurfaced and resolved into an unlikely solution. The trouble was, I realised, it was based on a stupid story I’d come across online a few years earlier.

In the story, a couple were in a similar situation to Karen and me. The guy’s solution was to give his girlfriend a Monopoly ‘get out of jail free’ card. He had explained to her that it was valid for one time only, and no questioned asked. She had accepted it, but the punch line was that because she knew she had the opportunity, she never actually took him up on it. It sounded corny, but I thought that with a few adaptions it had potential to ease Karen’s fears. Deep down, I was aware the issue wasn’t that she wanted to cheat, it was the uncertainty that she might.

I spent most of the day walking around, refining and editing my idea. The idea of using a Monopoly card was a no go, primarily because I couldn’t find a damn Monopoly game anywhere. Finally, I ended up in at a local jeweler. I found a gold heart locket with a small diamond set into its face. I had him engrave on the back, the words,

ONE FREE
PASS
and on the inside,
Whatever you
need to do.
No questions asked.
No recriminations.
I love you.

I had the jeweler attach it to a gold chain and place it in a fancy box.

It was late afternoon as I made my way back to our villa. I’d barely walked up the steps to the veranda before her two flatmates attacked me.

“Where the fuck have you been?” Cindy snarled. “She’s been frantic; she thought you’d left her. The others are searching all over.”

“And you didn’t think to check if my bags are still here,” I replied. “Or that my passport is still lying on the bedside table. God damn it, Cindy, you’re supposed to be her friend. All you had to do is open your eyes, and you’d have known I hadn’t gone. I think even you can guess I had a lot of serious thinking to do.”

“But why are you doing this to her?” Jill asked.

The frustrations of the last days surfaced. “For fuck’s sake, I’m not the one who said ‘no, ‘ and ripped her heart out.”

“But she didn’t say no.”

“She damn well didn’t say yes, I think I might have noticed that response, and she’d have a ring on her finger. Look, just do me a favor, I need you all to fuck off so I can talk to her in private. Where is she?”

Cindy and Jill looked at me earnestly for a few moments before nodding, pointing at our room and leaving. As Cindy left she said, “You better not hurt her.”

“What, any more than she did to me!” I called after her. The villa settled into silence after my parting words. I sounded bitter and resolved to fix that attitude immediately.

I found Karen huddled on the bed, dressed only in an old tee-shirt of mine clutching my yesterday’s dirty tee-shirt to her. Her eyes were puffy, and she looked all cried out. She looked up when she heard me enter the room, hope flashing across her face.

I sat on the edge of the bed, and she crawled across to me. “I thought that you’d left me,” she whispered.

“I just needed some time to think,” I told her. “I said we’d talk today, and we are going to. But first I have a couple things I’d like to give you.”

I held out my hand and opened it reviling my grandmother’s ring.

“Yes, yes, yes,” she cried, wrapping her arms around me in a bear hug that threatened to stop my breathing. “I promise to be the best wife you could ever imagine.”

“There’s something else,” I said, and she relaxed her grip on me, giving me a worried look.

“What?” she said nervously.

“This,” I said, and I held out the box containing the heart.

She opened it and lifted the locket out, she looked at it and saw the engraving on the back. Opening it, she carefully read the inscription on the inside. Then she looked at me and tried to read my expression. I kept my face still. She looked down again at the open locket in her hand and reread the inscriptions.

“Does this mean what I think it means?” she whispered.

“If you think it means I’m offering you one chance to stray in the future without any arguments or recriminations then you’re right.”

She looked at me with wide open eyes. “You ... you would do this for me? I can’t believe I would ever ... you would forgive me. God, I don’t deserve your love.” She clutched me tightly, kissing me with a passion that was almost painful in its intensity.

“I understood what you felt when you said I was more experienced than you. I realized I didn’t want to lose you if you ever decided to experiment in the future. There are some rules, though,” I said. “Should you decide to use it then you must practice safe sex and have yourself tested afterwards. Then you have to give it back to me so I can destroy it. One time means just that Karen. One time only, or we’re done.”

She looked at me with her wide innocent eyes, “I’m never going to use it, but I understand, love.” She pulled me from the bed and dragged me into the bathroom. “Can we shower and then find the others to tell them the good news.”

She attacked my clothes, virtually ripping them off me before shedding her tee-shirt. She drew me into the shower with her and stood in front of me, her lithe body glistening in the spray of cool water.

“I said I will be the best wife ever,” she said seductively.

She sank to her knees and stroked my cock as it grew and saluted her. When it reached the perfect size, she swallowed the crown and gave me the best blowjob I’d ever had. I tried to warn her as I reach the point of no return, but she refused to let go. Sucking and swallowing all my cum as I emptied myself into her waiting mouth. She looked up at me with a broad grin plastered across her face and opened her empty mouth to prove she’d swallowed all of my essences.

“I will never spit out your gift to me,” she told me proudly.

I pulled her up, and she laughed in happiness as she pressed her delicious body against mine.

“You’re a greedy minx,” I told her; “aren’t you ever going to share?”

She shook her head, “Nope, it’s all mine; God, I love you so much.”

We made it to the bar a couple of hours later. We were greeted with looks of concern until Karen proudly moved her hand from behind her back where she had hidden it and showed them the ring on her finger. Around her neck, she wore the locket. She’d cut up a photograph of me she had found her purse and had stuck it in the locket hiding the inscription.

She’d said as she did it, “It’s to remind me just how much you love me, and I don’t think I’m ever going to take it off. I just have to open it, and I’ll know why marrying you will be the best thing I ever do.”


Interlude: Almost the present.

Fast forward almost ten years. Karen and I were still very happily married, no children yet, but they were most definitely in the near future. Karen was no longer the stunning young woman I’d asked to marry me. She had morphed into the most beautiful thirty-one-year-old and even after all those years I had to pinch myself every time I woke up beside her. She still wore the locket, but I’d almost forgotten what it represented; in my mind, it was just a symbol of our love.

Four years earlier I was offered a position as senior lecturer in molecular biochemistry at Cambridge, and one year ago, I was offered the chair of the department. We moved to a small cottage in a village close to the city. The advertising company Karen worked for had grown and now occupied a prestigious office block in Epping, North of London, twenty-five miles away. Our move to the cottage came at the same time she was offered a promotion to become their marketing director. The new role came with a great pay raise, stock options and a BMW X5 as her company car.

With me, Karen was the most passionate wife, companion, and lover, so at one of her company’s Christmas parties. I was surprised to discover that all her staff referred to her as the ‘Iron Lady’ (a homage to Margaret Thatcher, a no-nonsense Prime Minister from the 1980’s). Not that they called her that to her face!

Her assistant tried to explain it to me later that evening when she’d had more wine than was good for her. “She chops any attempt to flirt with her off at the knees,” she said as she held onto my arm for support. “She’s absolutely ruthless with customers if the client tries to get fresh. She won’t take shit from anyone, even from her boss, David. But when she talks about you, it’s so different; you can hear the love in her voice.”

So she was the ‘Iron Lady’, I mused; one of these days I’d have to tease her with that. I steered the young lady back to the arms of her boyfriend and went over to retrieve my Iron Lady from her boss.

As the chair of the department, I was expected to attend a number of university functions each year. Fortunately, Karen enjoyed attending them which made an onerous task extremely pleasant. I loved watching her cutting the inevitable cock hounds who graced every event down to size. I have no idea what it is about my fellow academics, but give them a couple of glasses of that God awful wine they always served on these occasions, and stir in the presence of a beautiful woman, and it always brings the worst out in them.

One recent night, it was the turn of a visiting American professor to encounter Karen at her best. He’d arrived the day before, and I was yet to meet him. The party was a meet and greet affair at the home of the master of the college, for him, and I was running late. I’d called Karen, and she said she’d meet me there. When I arrived, I saw her in conversation with the Dean and a second man in his late forties. She’d seen me arrive, and she gestured to her empty glass, so I headed to the kitchen where a temporary bar was situated.

I’d been waiting to be served when the Bursar spoke to me.

“I see our American visitor has found your beautiful wife.”

“Is that who he is? I was surprised to hear he’d agreed to join us for a year.”

The Bursar laughed, “Not that surprising, he’s in the midst of a messy divorce. I think our offer came at an opportune moment.”

I caught the eye of the student playing the barman and managed to acquire a couple of glasses of a decent Chablis I knew the master kept hidden in the fridge. As I made my way over to Karen, I could see that she’d been cornered by our guest of honor. I walked up behind him and stood there listening to his technique.

He’d obviously been explaining how important he was and what important research he would be undertaking, and she’d been making the appropriate interested sounds at the opportune moments

“And are you going to be visiting our quaint little town for long?” She was asking as she saw me and gave me a quick smile. I put her glass down on the table beside her, sat down on one of the chairs and waited for the fun to begin.

He looked around to see who she’d smiled at but I had my back to him as I settled down. “I’m going to be here for the next year,” he said. “Maybe I can convince you to show me around?”

“Oh, and you think that would be appropriate? I am married.”

“He’s not much of a husband if he leaves you to fend for yourself. I think I need to look out for you. I understand he’s a lecturer here?”

There was ice in her eyes as she replied, “My husband trusts me, and I never need looking out for as you quaintly put it. And yes, he’s a lecturer here, he’s the chair of the molecular biochemistry department, aren’t you darling.” She looked over at me, and I turned in my seat and offered her, her glass.


Back to where our story started:

Karen looked at me across the kitchen table with a look of shock and a hint of fear in her eyes. I looked down at the broken wine glass in my hand. Glass, blood and wine spreading out on the table top below my hand. There was no pain, but the shard of glass protruding from my palm was glistening with red blood. Blood dripped down and swirled into patterns as it mixed with the white wine.

“Shit, Neil what have you done?”

“Fuck!” I moaned as the pain hit me.

“Neil, you’re hurt, let me look at it,” Karen cried. “Please just forget I said anything,”

I groaned as I pulled a shard of glass from my flesh and grabbed at a clean tea towel from the back of a chair, to try staunch the flow of blood.

I looked from the half eaten meal to her white face, and tried to put into context what had happened in the last few horrible moments.

I’d had no warning; was that a warning in itself? We’d spent the previous weekend at our little cottage down on the coast. We’d spent the time recovering from the stress of our jobs, or more accurately, Karen was recovering from the stress of a last minute trip, a five-day sales conference in Chicago. I’d picked her up from the airport first thing on Saturday morning. We’d driven straight down to the cottage and spent the weekend reaffirming our love.

She’d been a bit preoccupied the next couple of days. “Just pressure of work,” she said. “I’m away for a few days, and the office goes to pot.”

Early Wednesday evening, she’d served up my favorite seafood linguine for dinner. We sat at the table on the terrace, and I’d poured us each a glass of a nice crisp white wine. I’d just taken a sip when she asked out of the blue.

“Neil, do you trust me?”

I gave her a puzzled look, “I’ve always trusted you, why?” I replied.

“Do you love me?”

“Is this a trick question?”

“I’m serious.”

“I love you just as much as I loved you yesterday, and the day before that and the one before tha...”

“Okay, okay,” she interrupted me with a smile that quickly disappeared. “I just needed to know that you loved me.”

“I guess that means I should ask you the same thing?”

She looked at me seriously, “I not only love you, but I love you more than ever. You are the one thing that makes me complete.”

She swallowed and said, “Which is why this is so difficult to say.”

There was a long pause, my mind was racing. Had something happened, was she sick.

Then she said softly. “There’s something I need to do this weekend. I need you to let me do it and trust me that it won’t affect the way I feel about you.”

She held out her hand and opened it slowly to reveal her heart locket. I looked at it blankly, my mind not totally comprehending the implications. Then it hit me; it felt like someone had punched me in the stomach, I found it hard to breathe. She wanted to cheat on me. After all these years, she’d finally decided to use her free pass. Christ, I’d thought that she’d forgotten all about it, I know I’d almost forgotten what the locket truly signified.

My mind went blank, and in the distance, I heard the sound of breaking glass and a scream.


“No.” I smacked my hand down on the table then gingerly lifted it up as a searing pain lanced across the palm. Fuck, there must still be some glass in the wound. There was a perfect impression of my hand in blood on the table top. Both of us looked at it in horror.

Karen started to stand, tears rolling down her cheeks. “Sit down,” I said, a lot quieter that I thought I would sound.

“But your hand.”

“My hand’s not important, I think you wanting to go away this weekend to get fucked is a bit more important than anything else in the fucking entire world right now.”

She hunched up at the tone of my voice. Then, ignoring my words, she fetched the first aid kit from the larder. She sat down and grasped my wrist, turning the hand palm up and inspected the cut.

“Ignore it,” I said, “I need to understand just what you want to do and why?”

“Shut up, I can see some glass, I need to remove it.” She used the tweezers and deftly removed a small sliver of glass. I winced as she sprayed antiseptic on the wound before closing it with a couple of steristrips. She wrapped a bandage around my hand and then she looked up at me.

“Why?” I asked. “Is it something I’ve done, or not done? I thought you loved me.”

The tears she’d wiped away earlier reformed in her eyes. “I love you more than I’ve ever done. Please, Neil, forget I asked,” she pleaded.

“No, you can’t do that to me. There has to be a reason you want to fuck someone else. Are you bored with me?”

“I never said I wanted to fuck someone. I just...”

I interrupted, “You just what? If it’s not to go and fuck someone, then why the locket?”

“Because what I was going to do stretched the boundaries of our fidelity, and I couldn’t lie to you.”

“What the fuck does that mean, what do you want to do?”

She looked at me desperately, her eyes pleading with me to understand. “I can’t tell you, but I was going to fulfill a promise I made to someone I had known before we got engaged.”

“That’s not good enough. If you expect me to let you go with no recriminations, I need to know who and why?”

Her eyes were full of tears, “It doesn’t matter I’m not going to do it. It would hurt you too much.”

“Who and why?” I repeated.

“I can’t tell you, I made a promise, please understand,” she pleaded.

“Damn it, Karen you can’t sit there and pretended that nothing’s happened. You’ve made a decision to be unfaithful. Even if you don’t go through with it, I’m always going to wonder what it was that was so important you’d risk our marriage, and...”

I stopped at that point as the real reality of the situation hit me. Regardless of what I thought, I’d already given her my permission. She didn’t consider she was putting our marriage at risk. I looked down at the locket sitting abandoned on the table where Karen had dropped it. I picked it up with my good hand and clenched it tight, the knuckles turning white with the effort. I slowly relaxed my hand and turning it over, read the inscription I’d had engraved all those years ago.

‘ONE FREE

PASS’

I’d made the offer, and I had to honor it even though it threatened to tear my heart out.

Inside were the rest of the damning words.

Whatever you

need to do.

No questions asked.

No recriminations.

I love you.

“When are you going?” I said softly.

“I’m not, it’s hurting you too much. I can’t risk our marriage.”

I shook my head. “That’s not the point; you’re not risking your marriage. I gave you my word all those years ago. I just hoped that you’d never take me up on it.” I held out the open locket and dropped it into her open hand.

I went on, “But I meant what I said all those years ago, Whatever you need to do. No questions asked. No recriminations. I love you. So again, when are you going, and when can I expect you back? Forgive my earlier outburst; I’d almost forgotten about the Free Pass.”

“Neil, please let’s just forget all about it.”

I shook my head, “You made a promise, as I did, and I intend to keep mine.”

She looked at me shaking her head; both hands outstretched seeking reassurance, but at that moment I couldn’t touch her. I had to get out of the house to clear my head. I picked up my car keys and ignoring her words of protest, hurried out of the house.

It was a warm sunny evening in late June, but I felt chilled. The sun was still well above the horizon as I drove aimlessly along winding country lanes. The phone buzzed in my pocket, but I ignored it. Every time I squeezed my hand on the stearing wheel a sharp pain brought back the reality of my situation.

I finally found myself in a small village. I stopped outside a white painted pub. The conversations ceased as I entered, and irrationally I thought that they knew all about me. Stupid, I know, but that’s how paranoid I was feeling. I pasted a smile on my face, ordered a pint and found a quiet corner to hide in.

As the alcohol began to infuse my veins, I started to take stock of my life. Until a few hours ago I thought I had a wonderful marriage and a wife that loved me.

A second pint appeared miraculously in front of me, and I sipped the amber liquid. Was I going to leave Karen? Don’t be silly I told myself. This whole damn situation is your fault. You’re behaving like a spoilt child that’s had his favorite toy taken away. I just couldn’t understand; why after all these years did she feel the need to taste forbidden fruit. She seemed as eager and as enthusiastic as ever when we made love, and while we were no longer fucking like bunnies, we still made love most nights. Nothing made sense anymore.

Did she want an affair? That didn’t make sense; one time wasn’t an affair, and that’s all the agreement allowed. I suppose the thing that hurt the most was she wouldn’t talk to me about it. We had no secrets as far as I knew. Every time she got hit on she’d tell me about it, often in excruciating detail.

My musings were interrupted by the bell for last orders. If I had another drink I’d be over the limit and with the way this night was going, I was sure to get stopped by the local plod.

I took my empty glass over to the bar.

“You alright, lad?” The grey haired barman asked. “Do you want one for the road?”

“If I do then it won’t be one for the road, I can’t risk losing my license.”

He gave me a calculated look. Then said, “We’ve a couple of rooms we rent out if you want a place to stay? Thirty-five quid with breakfast.”

“In that case, I’ll have a large scotch” and gave him my car keys.


“Let me get this straight,” George said, as he sipped from his glass. Just why is it that all genial hosts seem to be called George, I wondered... “To convince your wife to marry you. You gave her permission to cheat, but only once.”

“Correct.”

“So now you’re just feeling sorry for yourself because she wants to take you up on your offer and go away for a weekend of passion.”

“Brutal, but again correct,” I said as I filled my glass from the half-empty bottle on the table. “But that’s not everything. What hurts the most is that, for the first time in our lives, she won’t discuss the situation with me. We had no secrets or at least until today I didn’t think we had any.”

“And your response to this was to walk away and drown your sorrows,”

“As I’m sitting here, I think we can both agree that’s a yes.” I gestured towards my nearly empty glass.

He sighed, “Not that I’m an expert in this field, but I’m afraid that wasn’t your best decision on the night.”

Another sip, and I continued, “What I don’t understand is, where did she meet the guy? My best guess has to be the sales conference in Chicago, but there was no indication that anything had changed when she got back. Suddenly, this evening over a bowl of pasta she tells me she wants ... No, that she needs to go away this weekend, and by giving me the locket, indicates that she won’t be faithful to me.”

I thought about her words, “Oddly, though,” I said, “She didn’t say she was going to fuck him. Just that it would ‘stretch the boundaries of our fidelity’ whatever the fuck that means?”

George considered my words, “Have you asked her?”

“I tried but she wouldn’t discuss it, and I don’t have the right to force her. When I gave her the free pass, I said no questions and no recriminations so basically I’ve fucked myself.”

“I think you need to ask her again; after ten years of marriage I think you have the right to get answers. And for Christ sake, will you either answer your damn phone or switch it off. The buzzing every five minutes is pissing me off.”

“Sorry,” and I grabbed it off the table and checked it. Multiple missed calls and then after I guess she’d filled the voice mail, numerous texts.

I tried to focus on the last few texts.

Please come home you are the only one I love, and we need to talk.

Neil, where are you?

Neil, please come home, and I’ll explain everything.

I clumsily typed in, thankful for corrective text.

Not sure where I am, but too pissed to drive. I’ll be safely back tomorrow, luv, me :).

I pressed send and then switched it off.

I looked at the now almost empty bottle and decided that the siren call of a bed was too loud to ignore. With George’s help I made it up the stairs, and he showed me my room.

The bedside clock said one-thirty as I lay down and then nine-o-five when I managed to prize my eyes open the next morning. Considering the amount of alcohol imbibed last night, I felt a lot better than I expected or deserved.

I made my way downstairs, 30 minutes later, after a refreshing shower spoilt by the fact I had to wear yesterday’s clothes, I followed the tantalizing aroma of frying bacon to its source. George, and a woman he introduced as his long-suffering girlfriend, Milly, greeted me with a smile, and more importantly a large plate of bacon and eggs. I ate gratefully, enjoying the toast and marmalade and washed it all down with the perfect cup of tea.

As I mopped up the last of the egg yolk with a piece of toast Milly said, “George was telling me about your situation. I admire the strength of your love that you were comfortable enough to give your wife one chance to let her hair down.”

“Honestly Milly, I’m not sure I’m that strong. I was a lot stronger and more desperate when I made that offer to her than I am now. I love her, and it was a hell of a shock. After ten years of marriage, she feels the need to roam.” I put my hand up to forestall the question on her lips.

“I thought she’d forgotten all about my offer; I know I almost had. So when she let me know last night that she wanted to go away this weekend. I don’t think my initial reaction was the one she expected, and I’m not proud of my behavior.”

Have you spoken to her?”

“Not since the text last night,” I replied.

Milly looked pointedly at the phone in my shirt pocket. “So call her.”

I suppose now is as good a time as ever I thought and switched my phone back on. The welcome message had barely appeared before it buzzed in my hand.

I accepted the call and put the phone to my ear, moving away from the table as I did.

There was a long pause before I heard a timid voice say, “Neil, is that you?” And then another long pause. “Please speak to me, Neil,” she sobbed down the phone.

“Hi, love.”

“Neeeil, please don’t leave me.” And I heard her crying uncontrollably.

“Karen, I’m not going to leave you. I’ll be home in a couple of hours.”

“Good,” said a strange woman’s voice, “because I won’t let you hurt her anymore. Not when it’s my fault!” The phone disconnected.

I looked blankly at the phone in my hand. Who the fuck was that? Somewhere in the distant recesses of my mind, her voice sounded vaguely familiar.

Milly and George looked at me as I returned to the table. “All sorted?” Milly asked.

“Damned if I know?” I replied. “There was someone with her. A woman who said it’s all her fault. I think I better go.”

I paid my bill, and George gave me back my car keys and a travel mug of strong coffee. I made a quick call to the department secretary and let her know that I wouldn’t be coming into the department that day. I had a feeling the discussions when I got home were liable to extend deep into the night.

The sign at the side of the road as I left the village said.

You are leaving

UPTON

Thank you for driving carefully

So that’s where I was; I’d never asked. The Sat-Nav said I was an hour and a half away from my destination. I headed down the windy road to my date with destiny. Christ, even in my head that sounded pretentious.


The clock in the church tower was striking twelve noon as I pulled up outside our cottage. My old Golf looked shabby in comparison to the BMW, and a new top of the range Porsche Cayman parked in our drive.

Shit, whoever it was, they had a lot of money. I parked in the lane. Seeing the Porsche parked in my spot felt like a statement, and unconsciously I was preparing myself for a quick surrender and retreat. I wondered if Karen’s weekend of infidelity and stretching of boundaries had started early.

I almost rang the doorbell but controlled myself. I walked around the side of the cottage and let myself in silently through the back door. I paused in the utility room and heard low voices through the partially open door to the kitchen. Although I’d showered at the pub, I was still wearing yesterday’s clothes. I didn’t feel like facing Karen and whoever was with her, wearing yesterday’s creased slept in clothes. I snuck out the door into the hall and crept up the stairs. A quick change, a wash and shave and I made my way downstairs. Rather than surprise them, I opened the front door and closed it loudly.

Karen ran into the hall. Her eyes were red from all the tears. She hesitated until I held out my arms to her. With a sob, she threw herself into my arms, pushing me back up against the wall.

She buried her head into my neck, her lips desperately seeking mine as she constantly repeated, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

I stroked her hair and replied. “Why are you sorry? It’s all my fault. I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did. You had every expectation that I’d agree to your Free Pass, although I do admit to being surprised that you’d decided to use it.” I placed my finger on the locket that was once again nestled between her breasts.

She shook her head and kept whispering, “I’m sorry.”

I had a thought, “Whose car is that, and who was the woman I spoke to earlier?”

“It’s mine, and that would be me,” came the voice from the kitchen doorway. I recognized it as the mystery woman on the phone.

I looked in the direction of the voice. Standing in the doorway to the kitchen, was a very recognizable raven haired beauty. Her face had graced the covers of countless magazines and stared down at me from posters and cinema screens. She was the sex fantasy of almost every man, including me, and more than a few women I knew. Her name was Gillian Faith, and from the look on her face, she wasn’t pleased with me.

“This is the second time you’ve fucked up my life,” she said bitterly.

“Jilly, you can’t blame him. It was my decision both times.” Karen sounded upset.

I looked from Karen to Gillian. Several conflicting emotions struck me. The first was that my wife knew Gillian Faith, and it seemed to be much more than a passing acquaintance. Secondly what the hell had I done to piss her off, and come to think about it, what the fuck was a movie star doing in our home? The last coherent thought was what was Karen calling her Jilly.

Karen could feel me tensing and stepped back slightly, although she didn’t let go. “Neil, this is Jilly Rodgers, she’s a very old and dear friend of mine. We went to school and uni together.”

“Rodgers,” I said with a hint of disbelief in my voice.

“He’s not an idiot; he knows who I am. Rodgers is my real name, my agent decided it wasn’t suitable and picked Faith as my stage name.”

We moved into the kitchen, the evidence of a long occupation was spread across the surfaces. I looked at Gillian and asked, “I’m not sure where you fit into all of this, or why a major film star is in my home, but the fact is I want to talk to my wife about her lover, and I’d rather do it in private. You picked a rather bad day to visit, I’m afraid.”

“No, she needs to be here,” insisted Karen as she continued to clutch my arm to her breast.

“No, she bloody well doesn’t,” I snapped. “I’ve made some mistakes, and I’d prefer not to have to air my dirty laundry in front of someone I don’t know and doesn’t seem to like me. Sorry, no insult meant,” I said rather insincerely, as I sat down looked at Gillian sitting across from me.

She started to rise, but Karen stepped behind her and placed her hands on her shoulders holding her in place.

“No, you need to be here. I have to break my promise to you and tell Neil the truth. You need to be here, so you know exactly what I tell him.”

Gillian twisted in her seat to look Karen in the eye. “You promised,” she pleaded.” Several emotions flitted across Gillian’s face: fear, terror, and underlying it all love. Shit, she was in love with my wife, and from the casual but tender way, Karen’s hands rested on Gillian’s shoulders. The way the tip of Karen’s finger caressed the side of Gillian’s face. She had feelings for this celebrity, too.

A light bulb exploded behind my eyes. My shoulders slumped, and I whispered, “Oh fuck! She wasn’t going away with a man, it was you. You’re her lover!”


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