It was 5:35 a.m. and I was sitting in a booth at the Village Inn. I was sipping coffee and waiting for Rachel to bring me my pancakes with a side of bacon. As I refreshed my cup from the pot on the table I was thinking on what had me there at that early hour. I was usually in there three or four times a week, but never that early. In fact it was the first time I had ever been there when the doors opened at 5:30. I suppose I should have just gone home to bed, but I hadn’t because I knew I wouldn’t have slept much and even if I had fallen asleep only God knows what my dreams might have been like.
It was a story that took place a hundred times a day somewhere on the third planet from the sun. Boy goes out of town on a four day trip, comes home two days early and finds out that girl isn’t his alone. I wondered how many times in those hundred stories that the ‘other man’ was a family member.
I’d called Audrey to let her know I’d be home that evening instead of Saturday, but she didn’t answer her phone. My flight got in at seven and by eight I was turning into the parking lot at our apartment. As I was straightening out from the turn I saw Audrey come down the steps and get into a car I recognized. I hit my brakes and stopped before I got close enough for her to notice me and watched as she slid across the seat and kissed the driver. Saying that I was surprised would be an understatement. Audrey had always led me to believe that she couldn’t stand my brother. According to her he was an arrogant asshole who thought his shit didn’t stink. So why was she getting into his car and kissing him?
Sam pulled away and I let him get a little bit of a head start and then I followed along behind him far enough back that he wouldn’t recognize me in his rear view mirror. They pulled into the parking lot at Duke’s Steak House, parked, kissed and then got out of the car and walked into the restaurant. I was familiar with Duke’s and I knew that there was no way that I could follow them in and not be noticed so I found a parking place where I could see Sam’s car and then I settled in to wait.
When they came out they got in the car and necked for about five minutes and then I followed them to the Barnyard witch was a country-western place with a live band. As with Duke’s I was familiar with the insides of the Barn and I knew there was no place I could sit and not be seen so once again I parked where I could keep an eye on Sam’s car and settled in to wait. They were in there for two and a half hours and when they came out I again followed them. This time it was to The Saddletree Motel. Sam checked in at the front desk and then Sam and Audrey entered room 107. I gave them fifteen minutes to get into what they were no doubt there for then I went to Sam’s car and let the air out of all four tires then went back and sat in my car and waited to see them come out. I wanted to see how Sam handled four flats at oh dark thirty.
While I waited I wondered why, since I wasn’t expected for another two days, they didn’t use the bed in the apartment then I realized that they couldn’t because of Eve. And Sam damned sure couldn’t take Aud home with him because mom and dad would know since he still lived at home. Kind of anyway. There was an apartment over the garage and that is where he lived and the apartment could be seen from the kitchen window and mom or dad would damned sure recognize Audrey. I also wondered how it had started and how long it had been going on. I usually made an out of town trip every four or five weeks or so and I wondered if this is what she did every time I was gone. After a couple of hours I accepted that they were there for the night and I gave up my vigil and headed for the apartment. When I saw the Village Inn sign I decided to stop for breakfast. I parked and was walking up to the door just as Rachel was unlocking the door.
I’d met Audrey in my senior year in college. She was a sophomore and normally we probably would have never met as we had no shared classes or friends. It was a Friday night fraternity/sorority mixer that brought us together. Besides the members of my fraternity there were members of other fraternities there. Halfway through the mixer I was headed for the bathroom and I had just reached the top of the stairs when I heard “LET GO OF ME!!!!”
I turned the corner at the top of the stairs and saw a guy pulling a girl toward one of the bedrooms. He wasn’t a member of my fraternity and I didn’t know him, but I did know it my responsibility to see that his actions didn’t bring disrepute on our house so I walked up to him and told him to let the girl go. He turned to me and said:
“Butt out shithead! This ain’t none of your fucking business!”
Where I was raised no one had taken the time to teach us the Marquis of Queensbury Rules. Our rules were “Hit first, hit hard, get them down and don’t let them get up.” The word “business” was still hanging in the air when I kneed him in the stones and when he bent at the waist I gave him a hard elbow to the side of his head (you can hurt your hand if you hit without padded gloves) and he went down for the count. I turned to ask the girl if she was okay, but all I saw was the back side of her as she hurried down the stairs. I shrugged and went to the bathroom.
When I came out the guy was sitting there shaking his head to try and clear it I suppose. I went downstairs, got a couple of brothers, told them what had happened and we went up to escort the guy out of the house. Ben recognized him and went and got a couple of his frat brothers to take care of him. I looked around for the girl, but didn’t find her and after a couple of days I forgot the episode.
Three weeks later I was sitting in a booth at Annie’s Café having lunch when a girl walked up and asked me if she could join me. She looked vaguely familiar so I told her to take a seat. She saw me struggling to place her and said:
“You don’t remember me do you?”
“You seem familiar to me, but I can’t seem to place you.”
“The Kappa house mixer? You saved me from that Neanderthal?”
“I didn’t get a really good look at you and when I looked for you after it was over you were gone.”
“I should have thanked you, but I was scared so I ran.”
Then I got the story. She hadn’t really wanted to come to the mixer because she had heard scary stories about what happened at frat parties. Things like date rape drugs being used on unsuspecting girls and gangbangs, but the girls in her sorority had convinced her that nothing like that had ever happen at Kappa. So she went and things were fine until she had to go to the bathroom. The guy caught her coming out of the bathroom, called her a prick tease, and told her he was going to teach her a lesson.
“Then you showed up and saved me.”
“So what did you do that made him think you were a prick tease?”
“Nothing. I just tried to be friendly with everyone who was there. Earlier in the evening the guy hit on me and I let him know I wasn’t interested, but I can’t think of anything I might have done that could be construed as teasing. I should have thanked you for coming to my rescue, but at the time all I could think about was getting the hell out of there and putting as much distance between me and that place as I could. This is the first time I’ve seen you since then so I came over to give you my belated thanks. Oh, and by the way my name is Audrey.”
“Well then Miss Audrey I accept your belated thanks, but if you are really thankful I think you should go out with me. At least once.”
“I’d like that. When?”
“Are you free tonight?”
“Will six work for you?”
“It will indeed.”
That date led to many more and by the time I graduated three months later we were a steady couple.
We had stated making love after our tenth date. Neither of us was a virgin so there wasn’t any awkwardness. We seemed to be very good together. I found out that Audrey had a kinky side to her. She liked to make love in places where there was some risk of being seen. It excited her and her being excited excited me. We were never caught, but a couple of times we almost were.
She met my family for the first time at the graduation party that my parents held for me. Mom and dad took to her right away and my brother Sam couldn’t seem to take his eyes off of her. I thought nothing of it at the time. Audrey was a beautiful woman and I was used to males watching her and wishing that she was theirs. Before I left to take Audrey home my sister took me aside and said:
“You lucked out here Bro. Don’t let this one get away.”
That night when I took Aud back to the sorority house I proposed and she said yes, “But not until I graduate lover. Once I have my degree I’ll walk down the aisle to you.” I thought that was reasonable even if I didn’t want to wait that long. I hadn’t found a job yet so I went with Aud when she went home for the summer and spent a week with her family. I liked her parents and her younger sister and they seemed to like me. At the end of the visit I went home to begin my job search. Aud would be staying with her folks until the end of summer vacation so I would pretty much be able to devote my full concentration on my job search.
.... There is more of this story ...