It was an upscale bar, guess I should really call it a Cocktail Lounge. But it was a friendly place. When I got into a casual conversation in the john with a guy who came in with some fellow workers he invited me over to join their group. Nice bunch, too, four guys and a couple gals just leaving the office on Friday afternoon. From what they said this was a regular routine of theirs for Friday after work. The gals and three of the guys were married; the guy who invited me over was divorced. From what he said, I gathered he'd be staying a while longer than his fellow employees.
They gave me a warm welcome, and we had a great time until the marrieds got up to go, leaving me and Phil behind. I told him I was in town on business, and wouldn't be going home until tomorrow afternoon. That's what I told him, and in a way it was true.
I had needed to get away after Monday nights 'event' and was quietly celebrating. My wife had taken the kids yesterday morning, and taken a long overdue trip to see her parents. The kids had been ecstatic, even if they wondered why I wasn't coming with them this time. They would be back home Monday.
After what had happened some would find it strange that Alice and I weren't spending the weekend cuddled together. We had spent all day Tuesday snuggled and sniffling. Then the rest of the week we just kind of hung all over each other. Except for my meetings with the other members of the support-group-to-be and figured we needed a day or two apart to just think and get ourselves together.
Yeah, I was doing some of the sniffling, too. And if you think that makes me less than a man, go to hell. And I'll be glad to make something of it, too.
Me, I decided I had to celebrate in a quiet way and figured the only safe way was to get away from the small city I lived in and into someplace big where I could work off steam. Don't get me wrong, no women for this Daddy, but I did have to blow off some steam. Just get a new perspective, as they say.
Phil told me he wasn't planning on heading to his apartment until after dinner and asked me to join him. It sounded like a good deal.
We ate in the restaurant connected to the lounge we were in, and a nice one it was, too. Then he showed me to a fine little jazz club where we had a few more, and I guess I got too mellow. No harm done, he didn't know me, and had no idea where I was from.
"Hey, Phil! I am celebrating tonight," I told him. "If you'll listen to my story, I'll pick up the tab for the club." Jeez! Sometimes I wish I could keep my mouth shut! That little bit cost me a couple hundred. Next time I'll look and see what they're charging for drinks and cover before I open my mouth.
He gave me a quizzical look, and nodded his OK. "Is this a single malt story, or Four Roses?" he asked.
"Well, order the scotch if that's what you want to drink," I told him. "It's a pretty good story, and it's just winding down. But it looks like a happy ending. You be the judge, OK?" With that I swung into my story.
It started a few weeks ago, on a Tuesday. It suddenly dawned on me that morning that Alice was really down. She was moving stiffly and acted like she was pretty sore. I asked her what was wrong. She told me she must have slept funny, she'd be all right as the day went on.
I went on to work, not thinking anything more of it until I called her at lunch to find out how she was doing. She answered the phone kind of angry, something like, 'What do you want NOW!' Stopped me for a moment, and when I said hello, she gave a gasp of surprise and stumbled all over herself apologizing. She passed it off as thinking I was a telemarketer. She told me she was fine, and loved me. She was a lot more lovey-dovey than usual.
After I hung up the phone, I started thinking. Monday was her night out with the girls, they got together for cards and didn't get home until late. They were real cutthroat players; several were into Tournament Bridge and the games meant a lot to them. She had been out until almost two that morning, much later than usual even for her Bridge night. Just a little more thought and I remembered the same thing had happened the week before.
What I suddenly realized was she hadn't bent my ear that morning about the game the night before. I usually listened with one ear, the same one she used when I talked about my golf game. I was interested because I was interested in her, but she hadn't mentioned one thing about it this morning. Very unusual!
And last Tuesday she had gotten up grouchy and moving like she was sore then, too. I passed it off as coincidence, and got back to work.
That night I waited for her to tell me about the tricks she had finessed, the foolish bids her partner had made, who she had partnered with and so on. She never said a word. I asked her how the game had gone, and she just told me it was pretty good, like usual.
This wasn't usual.
On the way home that Wednesday I stopped for some groceries Alice had asked me to pick up. At the market I ran into Fay, a casual acquaintance to me but one of Alice's favorite partners on Mondays. I was going in as she was leaving and we hardly slowed down as we passed one another. She told me hi and to tell Alice she had missed her Monday, and hoped she could make it next week. I had taken a couple steps into the store before what she said registered, and when I turned around she was already in her car. That set me to thinking.
Something was going on, and it didn't sound good. We had been married for a dozen years, and I had never doubted her in all that time. Suddenly I was seriously worried for my marriage and family. This wasn't like Alice at all.
My sudden doubts made me feel like a heel, too. All I had were a couple of coincidences and a casual comment. Maybe Fay had been the one missing Monday. Nevertheless I figured I'd better look into this. If I didn't it would be bugging me and I would find myself looking jealously and doubting my best friend. I'd never been jealous before, and it would put a sour smell around our relationship.
At the same time, I couldn't bring myself to tell my love that I doubted her. It was too preposterous to be true and she would either get mad or think it hilariously funny, or both. And I sure didn't want to give her ideas.
Now that was exactly the kind of thing I'd start thinking if I didn't get this cleared up!
Now I'm not a very impressive physical specimen, and I wondered how I would handle myself if I found out my Alice was having an affair. Sure wouldn't make sense for me to rise to my full 5' 7" and 180 lbs. Balding head and all, it would make me giggle and I was the one doing the rising!
So that might take some thought too.
If anything was happening it was going down Monday nights while I was watching the kids, and she was supposed to be at bridge. That weekend I did a lot of scheming and planning. By Monday morning I figured I had covered every contingency.
That Monday I called Alice and told her I had a lot of work I had to do. She said she would call our regular babysitter to come over so I could be undisturbed. The sitter was to come over just before Alice left which allowed me to 'suddenly remember' I had to get something from the office and the kids would still be taken care of.
I left about forty-five minutes before Alice would normally leave. I just drove down to the mall where I'd parked a rental from Rent-A-Wreck. She had to pass the mall on the way out of our little community so I just waited until Alice drove by in her Volvo station wagon. When I saw her go by, I fell in a safe distance behind her. Almost immediately I knew she wasn't going to play bridge. They were scheduled to play tonight just half a mile down the street from the mall. Instead she drove out of our little development, and I followed her to a small house in a questionable neighborhood a little over seven miles away.
She parked in the driveway, and after dithering in her car she got out and walked to a side door I could see from where I was watching. She stopped on the porch and buried her face in her hands for a moment, then she straightened her shoulders, opened the door and walked in. From where I was sitting I could see the window. I watched my wife's shadow, as she seemed to be stripping out of her clothes in front of the shaded window with a light behind her. When she turned out the light I figured she was leaving for either the living room, or the bedroom. It didn't make much difference. An attractive naked woman is a utilitarian ornament any place she goes.
Emotions I didn't know I had slammed me hard. For a moment I was sure I was going to throw up my dinner, but I managed to hold it in. I had already switched off the overhead light in the car so when I opened the door nothing called attention to me. Making sure I was carrying the little bottle of 'muscle relaxant' I'd managed to cumshaw I made my way to the side door. It was still unlocked, and opened into a utility room off the kitchen.
The dark clothes I was wearing pretty much hid me in the night, and my soft-soled shoes made no sound as I stepped onto the porch and eased the door open. Stepping inside I heard a deep male voice, "Hey bitch, where the hell is my Dago?" I heard the meaty thunk of a hand or fist on flesh. "Now get the fuck back to the kitchen and get it!" I saw a bottle of red wine was on the counter, already opened.
.... There is more of this story ...