This story was suggested, in a very roundabout way, by the song of the same title, by Marshall Crenshaw.
The minute I saw Kiersten, I knew she was going to change my life.
First of all, she was gorgeous. 5'10", long blonde hair, perfectly proportioned body. She had long willowy legs, a lovely firm ass, and beautiful tits. I was immediately smitten.
This wasn't all that unusual. I can become immediately smitten at the drop of a hat. I'm a confirmed girl-watcher, and I fall in lust five times a day. No big deal, usually. However, Kiersten wasn't a pretty face seen walking down the street. She was a new co-worker.
I was an executive for a large computer company. Kiersten was a junior fast-track type. Don't let that make you think this was a May-September thing, because it wasn't. There was a difference in our ages, but not a huge one. Despite my executive status, I was only 32. Kiersten, I learned later, was 25.
But she was a co-worker. Which means I got to know her. And, as it happened, the attraction didn't go away-it deepened. Kiersten wasn't just a pretty face. She was smart, witty, interesting, and charming. She made me laugh-it had been so long since I'd laughed like that. She also was willing to discuss anything under the sun, and she held her own. We ended up eating lunch together, even going out for a drink after work a few times.
Smitten? I'd passed that point long ago. To paraphrase Paul McCartney: falling, yes I was falling. She'd been working for us for three months when I passed the point of no return. I was absolutely falling in love with this girl. I think the sentiment was shared.
There was only one problem. I was married.
I'd met Cameron-Cammie to all and sundry-one of my first days at college. I walked into her in the bookstore. I mean, really walked into her. Knocked her books all over the place. What a klutz, eh? I stammered out an apology-she just laughed.
I quickly found out she was in a couple of my classes that first semester-us both being business majors. She saw me in the first class, plopped down next to me, and giggled, "Am I safe?"
She ended up finding me in the dining hall for lunch that day, giggling, "Should I put a cover over my food in case it goes flying?" She ate with me, sat next to me in the classes we shared, and we quickly became fast friends.
And that's all we were-friends. She had a number of boyfriends, and I had my share of girlfriends. But she was probably my best friend. I had no surer confidant. We could talk to one another about anything. She had a biting sarcastic wit that appealed to me, and she told me she enjoyed my deadpan take on life. If we didn't have dates, it wasn't unusual for us to be up all night on a Friday, drinking beers and talking. I even introduced her to my beloved St. Louis Cardinals. By the fall of junior year, she was as an enthusiastic baseball fan as I was.
Everything changed later on that year, junior year, in March.
It was spring break. Both of us had nowhere to go, so we stayed on campus. Considering the campus wasn't what you'd call crowded, we spent most of the week with each other. It started out normally-hanging out, drinking beers, sending out for Chinese, watching spring training baseball games, talking about everything under the sun.
Halfway through that week, we were sitting on my couch, and, suddenly, she said, "Damn, I'm horny."
"I know what you mean," I agreed. Both of us had been dumped right before Christmas break, so it had been a good three months for each of us.
"Hey, Glenn. Have you ever though about, you know, you and me..." she trailed off.
"You and me what?" I asked.
"You know," she said, and paused, taking a gulp of her beer. "In bed."
"Have I thought of it? Well, since you asked, I'll admit it. Of course. Cammie, you're sexy as hell," I told her. And she was. The best way to describe Cammie was voluptuous. She wasn't fat, but she was soft and round and curvy. And her gorgeous round ass and D-cup breasts could stop a truck. Then there was her face. Beautiful deep brown eyes, a button nose, and full soft lips made for kissing. She also had gorgeous very long straight brown hair.
"Well, if you think I'm sexy, why haven't you ever made a move on me?" she asked.
"Because you're my best friend, and I didn't want to spoil that."
She nodded her agreement, but then made a decision. Before I knew it, she was next to me, leaning into me, pressing those luscious soft lips into mine, and snaking her tongue into my mouth. Before I knew what hit me, we had moved into the bedroom, we were completely naked, and I was pumping into her.
It was, by far, the best sex I'd ever had. Cammie was a complete animal in bed, did things with her cunt muscles that I didn't think were possible, and came louder and longer than any girl I'd ever seen. And numerous times, too. I never thought I'd see a girl cum like that. Until, after we woke up the next morning, and she asked me if I'd eat her pussy. I'd never done that, but was willing, and asked her to tell me what to do. I must've been able to follow her requests OK, because that was cumming. After about three or four or a million absolutely screaming cums, she gave me the blowjob of my life. Then we fucked our way right through the bedroom wall again.
That was it. We were hooked. We were still the best of friends-the only difference is, after the chat or the takeout Chinese or the Cardinals game, we went into one of our bedrooms and fucked like bunnies. When junior year ended, we decided to get an apartment near campus and stay there all summer. We got jobs, and when senior year started, we were living together.
Three months before we were to graduate, we were careless-and Cammie got pregnant. I did the honorable thing and proposed. Hell, it was easy-we were in love, right? I mean, she was my best friend and we had earth-shattering sex-what else do you need? That was love to me. We got married right then. After we graduated, I found a job in St. Louis, we moved there, and Cammie had Jessica in November. She stayed home with Jessie at first. Three years later, we had an accident. The birth control failed, or so Cammie claimed-I'm now not sure-and, when Jessie was three and a half, our second daughter, Jaimie, came along.
It was just about then that things started to go straight to hell.
The disappearance of our sex life was gradual, but noticeable. We made love fairly steadily for the first year of Jaimie's life, but it was less than before, even after Jessie.
A year and a half after Jaimie was born, Cassie decided to go back to work. I was all for the decision-Cammie was smart and talented and wanted a career. She went to work as an investment banker.
It wasn't long before we wouldn't see her before seven or eight o'clock at night. I understood it was a demanding career, but I had a demanding career but still managed to walk out of the building at five on almost all nights. Cammie, even with her hours, was a good mother to Jessie and Jaimie. I'd pick them up from day care, and cook the meal, and when Cammie came home she doted on them. We did things as a family every weekend.
What paid the price in Cammie's attentions was me. Our sex life dwindled down to nothing. Our conversations-which were always as good as the sex-dwindled down as well. Our kids were getting older. I was 33 years old, married for eleven years, with a ten-year-old and a seven-year-old. And my marriage was a shambles. Cammie had deigned to make love to me on our eleventh anniversary-six months later and that had been the last time.
To outsiders, we were the perfect family. We were financially very healthy and had been able to buy a lovely house in the St. Louis suburbs. We had great, personable, well-behaved kids. Cammie and I were still young and good-looking. We had it all.
If that was the case, I had begun asking myself, why do I feel 53 years old instead of 33?
Then Kiersten walked into my life. And suddenly I didn't feel old anymore.
It started, as I said, slowly. Just co-workers. Then I kissed her. And it was all over. I felt like I was drowning in her, just from a kiss.
Had I ever felt that way about Cammie?
We hadn't consummated the relationship, but there was an opportunity. An overnight business trip, to Chicago, that we both were required to take. We got separate rooms at the hotel, of course, but one of them wasn't going to be used.
We got into Chicago on a Thursday morning, went through all the boring meetings we had to attend, then went back to the hotel restaurant for dinner.
Then we went into my room.
Finally. It was going to happen. My only worry was whether or not I'd go off too soon, considering it had been six months. I had Kiersten in my arms, kissing her deeply, sitting on the bed. I reached down and unbuttoned her blouse, and cupped her bra-covered breast in my hand. I reached behind her and unclasped the bra. After slipping her bra and blouse off, I moved my head down and started suckling her nipples.
Then, I stopped.
I don't know what it was. I just couldn't go through with it. And that's what I told her. "Kiersten, I can't do this."
"Glenn, why not?"
"Because I'm basically an honest person. And this is so dishonest."
"Glenn, I love you. You love me. You're trapped in an unfulfilling marriage with an uncaring wife. Let me love you like you deserve!"
"No. Not like this. This is out of order."
"What are you going to do?" she asked.
I told her. She seemed satisfied with my answer. She pulled her bra and blouse back on, and kissed me. "You do what you have to. I'll be waiting." Then she went back to her own room.
We returned to St. Louis the next morning. I went back to the office, took care of some things, then left at my customary five o'clock. As I pulled into the driveway, I was shocked to see Cammie's car there. She was never home before eight on a Friday!
"Hi, honey," she called as I walked into the kitchen. She was cooking?
"Where are the kids?"
"At my mothers for the weekend," she told me. I went upstairs and washed up and came down to find dinner was all ready. It was delicious. Cammie was a damn good cook when she chose to do so.
After dinner, I was settled in my easy chair, watching TV. She walked in, handed me a beer, then sat down across from me on the couch.
OK, something was going on. I thanked her for the beer but didn't say anything else. I only had to wait until the show I was watching had ended.
"Glenn, I need to ask you something," she said, twirling her hair as she always did when she was nervous, and looking down. "Are you having an affair?"
SHIT!!! How did she know? I tried to cover it, but was unsuccessful. As I said, I am basically honest. I told her the sort-of truth. "It depends on what your definition of affair is."
"Oh, Glenn, don't go all Bill Clinton on me!"
"OK. Am I seeing someone else? Yes. Have we consummated the relationship? No. We were supposed to do so last night in Chicago. I couldn't go through with it."
"Why not?" she asked.
"Because it was too dishonest and sleazy. I want to do this on the up-and-up." I took a deep breath. "Cammie, I think we should consider separating."
"I see," she said. She didn't look shocked-but she looked upset. That surprised me.
"Cammie, you must have seen this coming." She nodded, looking miserable. "Why continue to put ourselves through this torture? We're making each other miserable. Why not make a clean break of it?"
She finally looked at me. "Because I kept hoping. Right up until this moment, I kept hoping." She took a breath. "We have two different problems, you know. Yours is that you don't love me. Mine is that I love you too much."
"LOVE ME TOO MUCH?" I exploded. "You've got to be kidding! You love me so much you're never here. Even when you are here, you're not here. We haven't made love in six months, and it was sporadic as all hell before that. If you love me too much, you've got a funny way of showing it!"
She looked up at me, lower lip trembling. She visibly sucked back the tears that were threatening to form. I was shocked. Suddenly, in a complete change of subject, she asked, "What's her name?"
"Kiersten," I told her.
"Is she pretty?" I shrugged noncommittally. "How does she make you feel?" I just looked at her. "Giddy, lightheaded, all out of breath? Like a sixteen-year-old?"
"Yeah," I admitted.
"You never felt that way about me." It wasn't a question, but I nodded.
"We started out as friends, remember," I told her. "Our feelings for each other grew gradually. It wasn't that sudden thing."
"For you it wasn't," she said. I looked at her, shocked. "It was for me. The minute you ran me over in the bookstore that day, I was in love. And I waited around for over two years for you to notice. When you didn't, I took matters into my own hands."
"I never knew," I wheezed.
"I know you didn't," she smiled. "But I thought you fell in love with me, finally." She sighed bitterly. "Then I had to go ruin everything by getting pregnant. Then I doubled the mistake by getting pregnant again. And that was a birth control failure, I swear. I know you've doubted that."
"I trapped you. I know it. And I've spent the past eleven years, and especially the past seven, trying to deal with it. I didn't do it on purpose. I didn't. But it happened anyway."
"Cam," I told her, "our problems aren't because of Jessie and Jaimie. I love those two. We both do. Our problems are because of your job, your lack of interest in sex, and your complete lack of interest in me in general."
"My job-Glenn, I have to work late, if I don't want to get bumped aside."
"No you don't. I don't."
"You're not a woman."
"That has nothing to do with it," I told her. "First of all, you've been their top performer three out of the past four years. You should be dictating to them, not the other way around. Second of all, you forget-I know a guy that works with you, and a guy that used to. Chuck works more hours than you do. And Eric used to. They're not women. It's not a gender thing. It's the company you work for. They use people. I've been telling you that for five years. That's another problem-you don't ever listen to me. Chuck wants out, you know. Eric got out, he's making just as good money at his new firm, and he gets home at a reasonable hour every night." I looked right at her. "I think you want to work late. You get home tired. You have energy for the kids, but that's it. You don't have energy for me. I think you prefer it that way."
"Maybe," she admitted in a small voice.
"And you love me?" I snorted.
"I do," she maintained.
"Then why haven't we had sex in six months?"
"Guilt," she said softly.
"Guilt." She looked down, wringing her hands. "Every time we tried, all I could think was 'this is how I trapped him. This is how I trapped him.' After Jessie I was able to will it away, but after Jaimie, I couldn't. I stopped enjoying sex. All I could think was, will the birth control fail again? Will I get pregnant again? Will I give him another reason to be stuck here with me? I couldn't deal with it."
"I've never tried to make you feel guilty," I said.
"Not overtly. But you can't hide it. There's something you've never realized-I know you as well as you know yourself. You can't hide things from me. Why do you think I suspected you were having an affair? It shows in your face." She shuddered out a breath. "I can't really tell if Jessie did it, but I know Jaimie did it. You don't resent her, to your credit-but you've been resenting me since the minute I told you I was pregnant. You can't hide it." Another shuddering breath. "And I feel guilty because, although it was an accident, I was happy. I wanted another baby. I was thrilled when I got pregnant with Jaimie. And you weren't. And I felt, I don't know, guilty about being happy about it."
I felt like I had been slapped in the face.
"I have tried, the best I know, to put this aside. To try to make this marriage work. I can't. I'm consumed by guilt and sadness." The tears she had been holding back started rolling down her cheeks. "I don't know what to do anymore. I love you, but I can't show it, I can barely say it, and I can't make you love me. And I can't keep you trapped anymore." She sniffled, and drew herself up into a sitting position.
"I won't contest it. I'd like to split everything fifty-fifty. I think that's fair, since our salaries are just about equal. And I'd be inclined to try to work out something approaching joint custody for Jaimie and Jessie. They need their Daddy. They shouldn't have to suffer because I fucked up."
She stood up, looked at me in despair, and climbed the stairs to our bedroom.
Everything I wanted. She had just given me everything I wanted, on a silver platter. So why did I feel like crawling under a rock and dying?
Damn. All these thing she never said. All these things I never knew. We used to be able to talk to each other about everything. Now we couldn't even talk to each other about our own marriage.
I thought about what I almost did last night-but, more importantly, I thought about why. Full of my own righteous indignation about how horrible my wife was. Full of the conviction that all the problems in our marriage were her fault. Full of... full of shit.
I felt like a snake. The image of Cammie sitting across from me, giving me my freedom, a tear running down her cheek, was burned into my brain. A fucking snake.
I sat in that recliner, all this whirling around in my head, for a very long time. I didn't know what to do. I'd thought she'd hurt me, and I concentrated on how badly I was hurt. It never occurred to me how much I had hurt her. And I didn't know if it was repairable.
When I finally dozed off to sleep, the sky was already lightening.
I was woken up the next morning by a coffee cup clinking on the coffee table. I opened my eyes and saw Cammie sitting on the couch across from me.
"Good morning," she said softly. "I thought you'd gone to sleep in the guest room."
"I never made it out of the chair," I told her. "And the quantity of actual sleeping leaves a lot to be desired."
"Glad I'm not the only one," she said wryly.
I reached over to the coffee cup she had set in front of me. "Thanks."
"Are you hungry?"
"No, I'm not awake enough to be hungry."
She looked at me. "Look, this is not the time for this, but it's done and I can't change it. You remember that Joe and Clayton and their wives are coming for dinner tonight?"
"Oh, yeah, that's right." Joe was Cammie's boss. Clayton was Joe's boss. "That's OK," I told her. "We'll be OK. Is there anything I can do?"
"Would you mind mowing the lawn?"
"Not at all. I'm going to drink this coffee, then go run some water over my face, then I'll go cut the lawn."
"Fine. Thank you." She started heading towards the kitchen, when she stopped. She turned towards me, looking down, wringing her hands together. "I told you last night that I wouldn't contest anything. I meant that, and I still mean it. But I need to say this. I need to say this once and I'll never say it again." She looked up at me. "I don't want you to leave. I love you. I wish we could work this out." Then she turned and headed for the kitchen.
I thought about it as I finished my coffee. I thought about it as I tooled the riding mower around the yard. I thought about it in the shower. I thought about it as I made myself a sandwich.
I didn't know what to think anymore.
I walked out to the living room, a coke and a diet coke in my hand. I settled on the couch and found the ball game. Cammie came into the room, dusting perfectly clean surfaces as she went.
"What are you doing?" I asked pleasantly.
"Just cleaning up. Don't want my boss to walk into a pigsty," she said with a little grin.
"It looks fine," I told her. I pointed to the TV. "Cardinals are playing the Cubs." I pointed towards the diet coke. She smiled at me gratefully and sat down next to me on the couch.
We watch an inning or so in silence. "God, when was the last time we watched a ball game together?" she asked.
"I don't remember." I grinned at her. "You probably don't even know any of the players."
"Sure I do." Her voice dropped. "I watch all the time. When you're down here, I watch upstairs."
Her voice dropped again, to a sad little whisper. "You just never seemed to want me around."
"And I thought you didn't want to be around." Damn. How the hell did this happen?
"Glenn? Did you ever love me?"
I thought about that one. She deserved an honest answer. "If you had asked me that eleven years ago, on our wedding day, I would've said yes, absolutely. If you had asked me that two days ago, I would've said no way. But you're asking me today. And I find that the only answer I can give you is that I have no fucking idea what love is-and I'm not sure I ever did."
She thought about that one, then changed the subject. "You won't move out without talking to the kids, will you?"
"Of course not. We'll talk to them together." Yeah. And what do I tell them? Your father's a selfish bastard?
Just then she started weeping. "Damn it, damn it all to hell. I told myself I was not going to fucking cry!" I just looked at her. She wheezed through her sobs. "I do not want you staying here out of pity!" But she couldn't hold the tears back anymore. They flowed from her like a waterfall. "Oh, God, I've fucked everything up so badly, I can't stand it."
"Two days ago I would've agreed with that, too," I said. "I was just sitting here trying to figure out how to tell my kids that their father is moving out because he's a selfish bastard."
"And I get to tell them that their mother's an idiot." She sniffled, and tried to compose herself. "There's a way out of that."
"I know." Don't leave. Stay. Try to work it out. Could I?
"I will say this," she told me. "One thing you said last night, was absolutely right. Completely dead-on. That's one area where I have been letting you-and the kids-down, and I'm going to fix it."
"What are you talking about."
"You'll find out tonight," she smiled enigmatically. "And so will a few other people."
I had an idea what she was talking about, but I had to wait until Joe and Clayton showed up to find out for sure.
And, before that, I got the shock of my life.
Cammie usually dresses-for work, functions, even going out-in suits. What I disparagingly call "man drag". That was an issue I'd given up on long ago. I know-whatever she's comfortable in. It's just so unfeminine.
Well, after we had finished preparing the meal-and had done so together without killing one another or breaking down in a crying jag-she went up to change. I let the folks in, and then down the stairs she came.
I was gobsmacked. She had poured herself into this clingy deep purple dress, that showed off every single one of her curves. I didn't even know she owned anything like that. Like I said, Cammie's voluptuous. Boy is she ever. Especially in that dress. And, though she's never going to be rail-thin, she didn't weigh a pound more than she did before Jessie and Jaimie. My eyes bugged right out of my head.
After we got the folks seated, we both went into the kitchen and started grabbing food. I leaned into her and said, "If you're trying to use your feminine wiles on me, it's working." I got a delighted giggle for my trouble. "I don't think I've ever even seen that dress."
"Sure you have," she said, "at our last dance at college. That's the last time I wore it."
I was stunned. "And it still fits?"
"Yup," she grinned. "Well, it's a little tighter in the boob area."
"A little tighter in the boob area never hurt anyone." I got another giggle.
We went out with the folks, and ate. We pulled it off. We did a fine job playing the happy married couple. Hell, for her, at least-I now knew-it wasn't acting. Was it for me? Good question.
After dinner, over wine, she dropped the bomb. "Joe, Clayton? I have something to tell you. You'll get word officially on Monday, but I'm giving you a heads-up. I'm resigning."
"WHAT?" Joe burst out. Poor Clayton almost spilled wine all over himself! "You can't!" Joe said.
"He's right, Cammie," Clayton agreed. "You're our number one performer. We can't lose you."
"Do you have a better offer?"
"No," Cammie admitted. "I have nothing yet. I'm sure I'll find something."
"What do you want?" Joe asked. "A raise. Bigger bonus. Another administrative assistant? What? Anything, Cammie, anything at all to get you to stay."
"Anything?" Cammie asked.
"Anything," Joe reiterated. Clayton nodded agreement.
"What I want, and what I will get if you want me to stay, is to walk out the door of that office at 4:30 on the dot, every day. I don't care if there's a customer holding for me. I don't care if there's a crisis on the market. I don't care if the fucking building is on fire! At 4:30, I stop, and leave."
"You know customers call after that sometimes," Joe pointed out.
"That's why we have a night customer service team," Cammie reminded them.
"Your customers want to talk to you."
"Then they can call during regular working hours, like normal people. If they don't like that, fuck 'em." I couldn't believe it! You go, Cammie! "My husband has a far more critical position in his company than I do in mine-we do have that night CS team-and he's home at five almost every day."
"This is absolutely non-negotiable. You want me to stay? Those are the terms. I'm fully prepared to go elsewhere to get a normal working schedule, and I'm even prepared to take less money if necessary."
"If that's what it takes to keep you, then that's what it takes," Clayton agreed.
After they had left, I walked up to Cammie and said, "I'm proud of you."
"I'm proud of myself." She sighed. "I understand what you said-that I might have been subconsciously keeping myself away from here-but, consciously? I've wanted to do that for a long time. I was just scared to."