As embarassing as it is to be caught with porn, it's more embarassing when the porn you get caught with isn't even yours.
When Leon Meyer stuck his head in my office, I knew immediately that something was up. My wife who, for all of her faults, is not a violent person, once said that he had a smile that made her want to punch him in the face every time she saw it. He was wearing it now.
"Corbin, m'man," he said, "you might want to check your presentation notes for this afternoon. You've got a typo."
This is from the man who once deliberately let me stand in front of two thousand people with a PowerPoint presentation with the title, "Data Security Using Pubic-Key Encryption," on the bottom right-hand corner of every single page, so I knew it was going to be bad.
"What page?" I asked.
"Right after page eight," he said.
"So, page nine?" I asked.
"No," he said, "between page eight and page nine."
There are few things that put fear in a presenter's heart as much as the idea that something inappropriate has slipped into one of their presentations. Even a blank page can be a cause for conversation for a day or two. I flipped open my presentation, thinking I was steeling myself for the worst.
In between page eight and page nine was a six-page story called, "My Slut Wife." My heart sank into my feet. If Leon had the notes, that meant that every person scheduled to be at the two p.m. status meeting had them. I looked at the clock. It was already twenty-five minutes past one. I tore the extra pages out of the notes and proceeded to try to try to bolt down to the printing office while making sure there were no other surprises. I managed to twist my ankle on the stairs, knock over an intern, and get laughed at when I asked if they could do a fresh run in twenty minutes.
So, back up the stairs I went, favoring my now-twisted ankle, to use the good photocopier. There were only eighteen people coming to the meeting, so it wasn't really like I needed the fucking printing office anyway. I could have done the original batch on the good copier, but that's not The Way Things Are Done Here.
I thought for sure that the photocopier wouldn't be working or some stupid bitch from HR would be making ten thousand copies of a birth announcement. The fucking women at our firm pinch off a flesh loaf so often that sometimes the copiers can't keep up. I'm always afraid to walk into strange rooms at work in case there's some woman squatting there, popping out another one on her cigarette break.
But, either the gods had decided to take mercy on me at that point or they were all laughing so hard that no one got around to smiting the copier. Twenty-five copies, collated and stapled later, I limped into the meeting, ten minutes late.
As soon as people had taken their seats and quieted down, I said, "I've got some revised presentation notes. Pass back the ones you got via interoffice, please, and I'll hand out the new ones. There were a few knowing chuckles and I only got back nine copies.
Surprisingly, I got through the presentation without any wise-ass comments. It took about ten minutes for me to catch my stride and twenty to start thinking that I might get out of today alive and employed. After I wrapped up my forty minute presentation, I'd put the unfortunate events of the morning behind me.
"Any questions?" I asked.
Paula raised her hand. I pointed to her, "Corbin," she asked, "do you really get off on watching other men fuck your wife?"
Good old Paula. The only woman on the information security team, she usually pushed the envelope to prove that she was "just one of the guys." She got a good laugh and I let it die down before I spoke.
Once I had everyone's attention again, I said, "Actually, no. I don't even get off watching me fuck her."
I got a bigger laugh. If Paula was miffed at being made my straight man, she didn't show it. I know the comment was a little harsh, but here's what you have to understand: The story wasn't mine. I'd printed the presentation out at home, to save time. There are only three people living in my house and, while my boy will certainly show an interest in porn if he has any of my genetics, he's not quite four years old.
The porn was my wife's.
I think I'm a pretty open-minded guy. I understand that a woman has a need for an active fantasy life. I have to admit, I even found that particular fantasy to be kind of a turn-on, at least in the abstract. Unfortunately, by that point, sex had become a bit of a sore subject between my wife and me, being that we hadn't had any in almost two years. And, it hadn't been exactly red hot before then, either. We'd had sex twice after my son was born and maybe six times the year before. After eight years of marriage, we'd just sort of given up.
It's not that I didn't try. Due to an unfortunate habit of having screaming nightmares that went back to her childhood and often caused her to flail uncontrollably, I had fled her bed to take up a base camp in my home office about three years previously. But, I still made plenty of overtures, some romantic, some pleading, some insistent. Our last successful coupling had bordered pretty close to rape, which had seemed to get her off better than anything I'd tried before. But, when I tried again, she gave me a split lip for my trouble.
In case my deductive reasoning didn't extend to process of elimination, I'd also had to fix a printing problem for my wife the previous night. She'd accidentally set her printout to go to the network printer, the one in my office. I fixed it and didn't bother to explain what had gone wrong. We'd had a fight a few years back about my "lording over" her with my computer knowledge when I tried to explain things. So, I'd stopped explaining.
When I got home, I went through the print basket in my office for anything else my wife might have accidentally printed to my printer and came up with another copy of the story with some changes made. That's when I had my second revelation of the day.
My wife wasn't reading porn. She was writing it--under the byline "The Watchful Cuckold." Up until that point, I'd always respected her privacy. But, something broke inside me that night and I installed a packet sniffer on our home firewall. Soon, I started to get the whole picture. She was writing not just as "the Watchful Cuckold," but also as "the Willful Wife." She had a whole online community believing that her two personae were a married couple that actually occasionally hosted small, exclusive parties where men would be invited to fuck the Willful Wife while the Watchful Cuckold watched and enjoyed. Both personae got a ton of e-mail via addresses she'd set up on AOL, the Willful Wife outdrawing her "husband" by about three to one. A few of her fans had become bold enough to suggest liaisons.
Once it became obvious that she used the same password for everything, it was to wait until she was at the market, log in to her system, and set it up so that I had access to her file system, not just her incoming and outgoing traffic. It soon became evident that she had been writing for over two years and received dozens of propositions.
Whatever understanding I'd had up until that point when I started to find that she had accepted at least a dozen of these liaisons. By my figuring, she was carrying on at least one affair and maybe a second. She'd had another and ended it. Three had been one-night stands. Most disturbingly, she had chosen a half dozen men with whom she arranged to be in some secluded place at night where they could "happen upon" her and have their way with her, ostensibly with her cuckolded husband watching from a hidden place.
Some of the information I found maddeningly incomplete. At some point, she would take each relationship to the phone and I would lose track of it. For months, I watched and considered, my anger growing. I started to deliberately prod my wife.
"Brenda," I said over breakfast one morning, "We should get rid of America Online. With the DSL, we don't really need it."
She scowled at me, "All of my e-mail goes there."
"I know," I said, "and it looks unprofessional. I have a mail server here. I could set you up with an e-mail address there."
I could see the gears working for a few seconds before she said, "Corbin, you know I hate when you lord your vast technical knowledge over me."
"I know, dear," I said meekly, "but, I also know how you hate to waste money and it's costing us more than two hundred fifty dollars a year."
Trapped, she said, "I need those e-mail addresses."
"More than one?" I asked.
Now, she sounded angry, "Corbin, mind your own business."
"Considering that I make all the money," I said, feigning a rising anger much less than what I actually felt, "I would think the budget would be my business."
That started a real rip roarer of a fight. Every time she started to get the upper hand, I brought it back to the AOL account. Unable to explain that she couldn't get rid of it because she would then have to ask me to set up her identitities on the new server, she was soon reduced to incoherent screaming. Our son came running out of his room to see what was happening. I made sure that I looked scared then, like his mother was trying to hurt me, and refused to fight back.
For the first time that night, my son told my wife that he hated her and she burst into tears. I felt like the biggest, most self-satisfied bastard on the planet. I'd used our son to get back at her, but considering how many times she had used him as an anchor, asking me to stay home and watch him while she went out to fuck someone else, I couldn't feel too badly about it.
Besides, I'd started paying a lot more attention to Lance, my son, since I'd realized that my wife must be doing something with him during the day in order to have her liaisons. Brenda had always yelled at me not to interrogate the boy if I asked him too many questions about his day. Now, I knew why.
Over the months, I became the model father. I've always loved my son. But, every time I'd tried to get close to him, I had to deal with Brenda's wrath. In the past, I'd tried to find an equitable balance, to understand her rage. Now, I understood it. It was fueled by fear of discovery. She'd been sloppy and let Lance see too much of what she was doing. He didn't understand, of course, but he was remarkably observant. Soon, two or three times a week, he would come and find me in my office before he went to bed and say, "Mommy told me not to tell, but..."
Brenda had really outsmarted herself. At five years old, Lance had figured out that anything Mommy told him not to repeat was exactly what daddy would want to know. Already, he'd joined the conspiracy of men and it made him seem wise beyond his years.
If you've never been divorced or, if you're divorced and stupid, you may judge me harshly for using my son like that. But, I'd made a decision. I was getting rid of Brenda and I was keeping Lance. I knew better than to think that she would stop short of doing what I did if she came to the same decision.
After a few months of this sort of treatment, Brenda was starting to look haggared. She clearly wasn't sleeping well. She didn't know what to do with me now that I'd grown a spine. She screamed and cried a lot. At first, I had to scream back. Soon, I was able to be calm and reasonable when she railed.
One Saturday in late July, I was just bringing Lance back from a softball game. I don't particularly like softball, but it was an excuse to get out of the gloomy environs of the house on a nice day. Brenda sat on the couch, eyes rimmed red with tears, hair a mess, no make-up.
"Hey, tiger," I said, "why don't you go out back and play?" Lance nodded and took off, a bundle of reckless energy.
I sat down in the chair facing her. At that moment, I realized that I still loved her. As much of a mess as she was, I wanted to hold her and comfort her. If my ardor for her had been stilled by frustration, it wasn't really dead. I was still going to have to get rid of her, on account of her being a psychotic tramp, but I would always love her.
"The nightmares have been getting worse," she said. It was the first time she'd reached out to me since Lance started sleeping through the night. I imagine that I would have felt more sympathy if it wasn't less than twelve hours since she'd finalized plans to be "happened upon" by another one of her fans.
"What did Dr. Kilmartin have to say?" I asked.
"He wants to up my dosage," said Brenda, "I won't, though. I already feel like a zombie for an hour every time I take it now."
"Maybe you need a change of scenery," I said. I knew which fight that was provoking, so I raised my hands defensively, "I know. It's a disorder or a disease or something medical. But, moping around the house all day, every day can't be doing it any good."
"Actually," she said, "I'm going out with Vera Friday night. Can you be home to watch Lance?"
She was going out Friday night to play out her little rape fantasy. So, I said, "No can do. We're rolling out a new framework on Thursday and Friday. I'll be at the office late both nights..."
"Corbin," she whined, "can't you get out of it? You have responsibilities as a father."
"Or," I said, "you could try not going out with your slut friend and letting me get some work done."
She was shocked for so many reasons. Her face went pale and she couldn't speak for a long time. She'd never heard me use that word. I hadn't used it since I was about fourteen. But, her writing was littered with it and far more misogynistic epithets. But, what really worried her was that I never should have had a hint that Vera was a slut. If I hadn't been reading my wife's e-mail, I never would have guessed at her one circumspect little relationship with a boring, balding man she worked with.
I knew what she was thinking. If I could spot Vera's infidelity, how much more obvious must her own be?
After a few agonizing seconds, I let her off the hook a little, "Or, you could just get a sitter."
"He's not old enough for a sitter," said Brenda automatically.
"He's five now," I said, "That's old enough."
"Corbin," she looked sad, "Why do we have to fight about everything?"
I wasn't ready to tell her yet. Soon, she would know why I'd stopped being so pliable. Instead, I said, "Get a sitter or don't go. Those are your choices, Brenda."
Her eyes widened, "O-okay. I'll get a sitter."
I raised an eyebrow. Her voice was quiet and deferential. It was not a tone I could remember hearing from her since she was a waitress and I was a customer, before we'd started going out.
I decided to try an experiment, so I added, "And clean yourself up. You look like hell."
"You bastard," she screamed and hurled a vase of fresh-cut flowers at me. If I were a hero (for lack of a better word, ) in one of her stories, I would drag her, kicking and screaming, into the bathroom, scrub her down, and fuck her with my eight-inch cock. I didn't have the energy or the equipment, so I beat a hasty retreat.
That night, after Lance was in bed, Brenda came up to my office. I had to hastily close a copy of her latest story, in which a husband orders his wife to fuck a backwoods auto mechanic so he'll take a check, rather than leaving them stranded. If nothing else, she was getting to be a better writer.
She didn't say anything, just sat on the futon behind my chair, waiting for me to turn and face her. I took my time, pretending to be engrossed in my work. When I finally turned, I was surprised to find her freshly scrubbed and dressed for bed, not in the voluminous, dowdy housecoat she was so fond of whenever I saw her, but in a silk pajama shirt that left her legs bare. The sight almost stilled my heart. She looked at least ten years younger than she did during the day, putting her at roughly her actual twenty-eight years. But, what took my breath away was something I had managed to forget. My wife is really quite beautiful. Before Lance, she had a lovely, girlish figure. She hadn't gotten it back, but the voluptuousness that replaced it was actually more flattering. With her long, black hair and soulful brown eyes, she had become quite the looker.
Of course, when I say that I'd forgotten how beautiful she was, I should mention that I'd never seen this particular incarnation of her beauty. The last I had seen of her figure, she still had most of the baby weight on, two years after Lance was born. She hadn't done this for me. She'd done it for her legions of adoring fans.
"Is something wrong with your computer?" I asked.
"No," she said, "I was just getting ready to go to bed."
I knew what she was asking, knew that I could have her that night if I wanted to. Strangely, I'd figured out what I would have to do to keep her and make her happy, at least for a time. But, it wouldn't last. She fucked around because she didn't respect me. I couldn't respect her because she fucked around. Based on that, as much as I still loved her and as beautiful as she was, I found that I didn't want her.
"I've got a lot of work to do here." I said, turning my back on her, "Have a good night."
That night, for the first time ever, I thought of her when I masturbated. I no longer had the respect that had kept me from casting her in my dark desires. In my mind's eye, I raped her, beat her, took her anally while other men fucked her and treated roughly. Then, I tied her to a crossbeam in an old abandoned barn and beat her with a leather strap. By that time, I was fading between waking and sleep. I dreamed that I beat her once too often with the strap and killed her. Then, I woke, coming into my own hand.
I should have taken notes. It wouldn't have made a bad story.
By the middle of August, I had decided to serve her with divorce papers. Actually, I had decided that by June. What took another six weeks to decide was whether or not to go through with my mad plan before I did.
Leon was sitting in my office, shooting the breeze. The nature of IT security creates a lot of hurry up and wait time. I knew if any friend of mine would help me with this, he would.
"Hey, Leon," I asked, "do you remember that story that accidentally got stuck in my presentation a few months back?"
"Do I?" asked Leon emphatically, "I particularly liked the bit where the husband makes his wife take it up the ass from his boss." He thought he would embarass me.
I laughed, "Did you know that story wasn't mine?"
He leaned forward, figuring he was about to get some good office gossip, "So, whose was it?"
"Brenda's," I said.
"Your wife?" he looked doubtful, "She doesn't really seem the type to read that sort of thing."
"I wouldn't have thought so, either." I said, "But, I did some checking. Not only does she read it, she writes it--tons of it. She's up over two hundred stories now. And they're all the same. Wife gets fucked while husband watches."
I could already see Leon calculating behind his eyes, "Really?"
I changed the subject, "Do you still take care of the old Vandevoort house up on Cortlandt Street?"
"Sort of," he said, "I get a check every month, then pay kids to do all the actual work."
"Brenda's birthday is next Saturday," I said, "I want to throw her a party there, one I think she'll really enjoy."
"Really?" Leon asked, "Do you think she'll go for it?"
"She'll go for it," I said confidently. I had no intention of giving her a choice, but Leon didn't need to know that.
Suddenly, Leon looked suspicious, "Am I invited?"
I laughed, "You sure are. I need you to organize a few things."
I really had his attention now, "Like what?"
"I want it to be a nice party," I said, "A sformal affair. This is not just some back-alley gangbang. White tablecloth, fancy dress. Any guy who can't clean up and wear a tux or at least a suit isn't welcome. Also, I need you to find me a couple of beefy-looking black guys. They're in more than half her stories. I want them to be guys you know and trust enough to play by the rules. Also, invite a couple of other guys. Make sure they all know the rules. Nobody hits her. Nobody calls her names. Nobody gets in her pussy without a condom, so they'd better bring them. Anybody can't follow the rules, they're out. I'll cover all of the expenses, food, champagne, etcetera."
"You're really serious, aren't you?" Leon asked.
"I really love my wife," I said, "I just figure it's about time she finds out what that means."
The change to my personality that week was not at all subtle. Brenda's fiction was full of arrogant men who demanded what they wanted from women and got it. But, there was no primer on how to get from point A to point B. If this was going to play out, I was going to have to learn my role. To my own ears, my dialogue sounded trite and contrived. But, it seemed to have the desired effect. At first, Brenda resisted. But, after a few days of my speaking to her only in commands and blanket statements, she began to respond. She became obedient to a fault, began dressing better, and started openly flirting with me. If she hadn't betrayed me, I'm sure I would have been quite aroused.
My plan was brilliant. For two weeks, I would treat my wife the way the men in her stories treated theirs. I had never treated a woman like that. I always believed that women were meant to be cherished and honored. But, I learned quickly. I subtly treated my wife like a whore, worthy of only scorn and command. The only thing I couldn't bring myself to do was fuck her. She might as well have been dead for all of the lust she raised in me.
In hindsight, the fact that my wife responded so well to that treatment should have been the tipoff that my plans were not as foolproof as I thought.
With a week to go, I came into her bedroom just as she was laying in to bed for the night. Under my arm, I had a package wrapped in silver paper. She looked up inquisitively.
"Get up," I said, "I have a present for you."
A month ago, the tone of my voice would have prompted a screaming match. Now, she sat up obediently.
"This is for you to wear on your birthday," I said.
"Where are we going for my birthday?" she asked, ripping into the paper like a child.
"To a party," I said.
"Where?" she asked.
"Too many questions," I answered, "It's a surprise."
She frowned, "You know I hate surprises."
"You'll like this one," I informed her, "Open the box."
She did. As she pulled the dress out, her eyes widened.
"I couldn't possibly..." she said.
"You can and you will," I insisted, "If you need to, get it altered by then."
She stared at the dress, then at me. I kept my face unyielding before turning to go.
"Would you like me to try it on?" she asked.
Strangely, I hadn't thought of that. The idea pleased me, though. I may not want to fuck her, but it had been a long time since I had seen my wife naked. I can't explain why I would want one and not the other. But, I did.
I leaned against the doorframe, my posture arrogant, "Yes. Try it on."
She stripped, slowly and deliberately, unbuttoning her green silk pajama shirt, although I knew she could just slip it over her head. It was all she wore. Now, she stood naked before me.
"You've become very beautiful since I saw you like this last."
She looked startled by the comment. She even blushed. My whore wife blushed.
"I still don't have my figure back," she said.
"I like you better this way," I told her, "You were too skinny before."
Everything I told her was the truth. It may have been bent to a specific purpose, but it was all true.
She slid the dress over her head. The dress was black with spaghetti straps and no back at all. It even showed a hint of ass cleavage. She blushed again.
"I couldn't possibly wear this," she protested, "It's indecent."
"You will wear it," I said.
She looked up at me, "Corbin, what's gotten into you? It's like you're a totally different person lately."
I laughed, "I could say the same of you."
She examined herself closely in the mirror, twisting this way and that.
"Make sure it's ready for Saturday," I said. For the second time, I turned to go.
"Corbin," she said. I turned to face her. When she spoke again, it was only a whisper, "You could stay if you wanted."
"Patience, Brenda," I said, "On your birthday, you'll get what's coming to you."
I would have thought that line was so over the top that I'd given away the whole game. But, Brenda seems oblivious to it. By that point, we were both in thrall to the fantasies we'd written for ourselves. I still didn't entirely understand Brenda's fantasy, even as I helped her play it out. It was still an act, one I could never have maintained as a loving husband. But most of the time, it was so alien to me that I might as well have been speaking Mandarin phonetically.
Tuesday afternoon, Leon knocked on my office door, waiting deferentially on the other side of the doorway as if the door were actually closed.
"Come on in, Leon," I said.
He came in, standing uncertainly in the center of the room. This is a very unusual pose for Leon. He has a natural arrogance that makes women want him and men want to be him. But, I had him rattled. Whatever wildness he had in his past, I had trumped him so badly that even his role as my lieutenant raised his stature in his own eyes.
"Have a seat," I offer.
He sits, "What did you say to John Taylor?"
I dismissed the question, "John Taylor is a fool." I knew it wasn't what Leon came to talk about.
Still, he persisted, "That fool is in his office crying."
I shrugged, "What did you come in here to talk to me about? Is there a problem with the planning?"
"No," he said, "everything's ready. But, I have a question?" I didn't say anything. He seemed to be bracing himself. I gave him his time. Eventually, the silence became so awkward, he had to speak, "Are you sure Brenda will go for this. Because, I don't want to..."
I cut him off, "It doesn't matter what she wants."
His eyes widened, "What?"
I didn't repeat myself, "Brenda will do as she's told."
"You're sure?" he asked. He looked like he was losing his nerve.
It didn't matter. If everything was ready, he was in much too deep to pull back. Still, I gave him a small reassurance, "I'm sure." I wasn't, entirely. If she put up too much of a fuss too soon in the process, it might still be ruined. But, that's not really the question he's asking.
"Can I ask you a personal question?" he asked.
Looking at Leon, I felt a momentary contempt for him. I'd chosen him because he was the edgiest guy I knew. The idea had stripped away his braggadocio. Asking if he could ask a question was the sort of behavior I liked him for never doing.
"Leon," I said patiently, "you're organizing a gangbang for my wife. I'm pretty sure that, if anyone can ask me a personal question without getting permission first, it would be you."
He chuckled nervously, then said seriously, "Why are you doing this?"
I considered the question. I could dissemble and reassure him some more, but there's no need. He was already committed to seeing it through by both action and self-image. So, I answered him truthfully, "After this is over, I'm divorcing her. But, just letting her go would be a gift. She's... she's done too much to be let off so easy."
Leon was so focused on what I was saying next that nothing could have broken his gaze. I relished the attention for just a moment before going on, "For years, I've just consigned myself to our marriage. Brenda used this fantasy of hers to escape without telling me and without granting me the same priviledge. So, I want to give her the fantasy, down to the last detail, as much as is really possible. I want to strip away that fantasy and let her see what the reality is behind it. Then, I can let her go."
Leon looked like he wanted to say something more, but then changed his mind. Instead, he asked, "What if she decides it's rape?"
I shrugged as if I had not spent weeks hammering out that little detail, "She may. She won't go to the police if she does. She has too many secrets and I know all of them. If there were a trial, it would be all over the news and I would tell all her secrets." I wished I were as confident about this part as I sounded.
"So, then," he persisted, "why all the rules? Why not just have a gangbang and get it over with?"
"I want it to be perfect," I answered, "I don't want her to be able to say that it was bad because anything went wrong. I want to destroy the fantasy completely."
Leon seemed mollified, "This is going to be something." I just smiled. It would certainly be that.
Unbelievably, at the same time she was trying to seduce me, Brenda had arranged another liaison for that Wednesday night. When she claimed to have a church council meeting that night and I told her we would need a sitter, she didn't even ask for an explanation.
Her plan was to be in Orchard Square at ten p.m. It was a good one. Orchard Square is surrounded on four sides by office buildings. During the day, it's a bustle of activity. At night, it's basically deserted. Unbelievably, Brenda had so little fear of me finding her out that she didn't seem to care that I can see all of Orchard Square from my office window. Maybe she just thought I couldn't make out faces from sixteen stories up. And, she certainly didn't know that I'd bought a pair of military-grade binoculars with which to watch her.
She'd obviously considered her route carefully. She wandered into the square, then out to one of the secluded nooks and crannies where she could be safely assaulted. I wondered if she had considered the possibility that she might actually be raped by some random man who noticed her behavior. I wondered if she cared.
She kept checking her watch. Apparently, her designated rapist had stood her up. Poor Brenda was already learning that fantasy and reality didn't always match up.
After wandering around for a half hour or so, Brenda sat down on one of the benches almost directly under my building. Unable to resist the urge, I picked up my office phone and dialed her cell. Surprisingly, she had it with her and answered.
"Brenda," I said, "I'm still at the office. How did everything go with the church meeting?"
She sighed, "The usual. Vera and I went out for drinks afterwards."
I did my best to sound alarmed, "You're not home, yet? Brenda, who's babysitting?"
"Jessica Klein," she said.
"Doesn't she have school tomorrow?" I asked.
"She's probably sound asleep," said Brenda, "I'm on my way home now."
"All right," I said, "I'll see you there."
It took me another hour to leave. As I watched her, I wrote up a story about a man who watches his wife from a high window with binoculars, knowing she is waiting for her lover. When it becomes obvious that she's been stood up, he goes down to street level and stalks her, throwing a bag over her head and raping her over the hood of the car he bought her. I thought it was pretty hot and posted it to the same forum where Brenda put her writing, signing it "The Vengeful Cuckhold."
Thursday, I took my list of Brenda's lovers and intended lovers and began dialing each in turn, formally inviting them to the party, telling them the rules, and threatening them with banishment if they ruined the surprise. When I called, I introduced myself as the Watchful Cuckold. A few seemed surprised to realize that I even existed.
Friday, as I was cleaning out my many throwaway e-mail accounts, I got to the one I used to post my story. There are a half dozen comments on my story, all of them positive. The most glowing one is from Brenda, who said she wished more people would write on the subject as well as I did.
Before I went home Friday night, I deliberately broke the lock on the passenger-side door of my car.
Most of the day Saturday, I spent in my office, considering the enormity of what I was doing. I was determined to go through with it. We had a little ceremony for Brenda's birth with cake and presents. I gave her a delicate-looking golden waist chain and put it on her myself.
After I had tucked Lance in and Brenda had picked up the babysitter, we dressed for the party. After she had showered and dried her hair, she turned to the wardrobe to get the dress. Standing behind her, already dressed in the new suit I had bought myself for the event, I leaned down and kissed the back of her neck, something I had not done in years. A shiver ran through her whole body and she leaned back against me. It was, of course, a Judas kiss, but she didn't know that.
I opened the car door for her. "What a gentleman," she said.
"Actually," I said as I got in on my side, "The lock's broken on that side. I need to get it fixed."
She laughed, "You're not planning on getting fresh with the babysitter, are you?"
I shrugged, pulling out into the street, "A man's got to get it where he can."
She stared at me, the shock and hurt evident in her face. In spite of everything, I was sorely tempted to apologize. Eventually, Brenda changed the subject, "So," she said, "you still haven't told me anything about this party."
"Leon will be there," I said simply.
She made a face, "I don't like him very much."
"Really?" I asked, "I would have thought you would be quite attracted to him."
She looked shocked and a little angry, "What on Earth would make you say something like that?"
I shrugged, "He seems like one of the heroes in your stories, the ones who fuck the wife while the husband watches."
She blanched. It took her a long time to find her voice, "You know about those?"
I nodded, "All two hundred eight of them."
She was starting to sweat a little, watching me warily, like a caged animal.
"What do you think of them?" she asked quietly.
"I think they're disgusting," I answered. "I think you're disgusting for writing them."
"Oh," she looked crestfallen. What had she expected me to say?
"They're just fantasies," she said weakly.
"Not after tonight," I said, grinning cruelly.
She paled further, "Corbin, no... You can't... I won't." There was no strength behind her words, "What makes you think I would go along with something like that?"
"Because you're a whore," I said simply, "They're not just fantasies, are they, Brenda? How many men did you fuck before I caught on? I know of less than a dozen."
Her shoulders slumped and she bowed her head. What little fire she'd have left eked out of her, "That's about right."
"Hey," I said, savoring the moment, "don't look so glum. I'm giving you everything you ever wanted. If you behave yourself, there will be a lovely dinner first."
She was crying, "And then you're going to give me to Leon Meyer?"
Her head shot up, "How many others?"
I shrugged, "If everyone shows up, a baker's dozen. I doubt they all will, though. Some of them sounded a lot less confident on the phone than they did in your e-mail."
Now, she was mad, "You've been reading my e-mail?"
"I've been reading everything," I said. "I used to respect your privacy, until I realized how badly you were abusing my trust. I know all of your secrets, Brenda."
She started crying more freely now. I let her.
"Who else did you invite?" she asked, her voice a whisper.
"Beyond the men you chose for yourself, I let Leon choose the guest list."
She was bawling now.
"Stop it," I said sharply, "Stop crying. Clean your face. Reapply your makeup. I want you to look good tonight."
She nodded glumly and did as she was told.
"And, don't be petulent," I said, "This party is in your honor. I expect you to be gracious."
"Please," she begged, "don't make me."
"Brenda," I lectured, "you will do nothing to embarass me tonight. If you do, I will take you home and take my belt to you until long after you stop enjoying it." I was guessing. She hadn't mentioned any sort of beatings in her stories and I had never laid a hand on her.
There was a weird glow behind her eyes that I couldn't read. It looked like religious zealotry.
"All right, Corbin," she said meekly, "I'll behave."
When God needs a loan, he asks the Vandevoorts. Their summer house, the one Leon is the nominal caretaker for is not the biggest on the lake, but it's close enough not to matter. They use it maybe one or two weeks out of the year, when they want to go boating or just see how the other 99% live. In addition to taking care of the mowing and dusting and such, Leon also provides the security when the owners are not home. That means two high school kids at the front gate, even though I'm sure the Vandevoorts are paying for more. They checked our names off on a clipboard and told us to drive through.
Leon was waiting on the portico as we pulled up. When he saw Brenda, he gave her that smile that she hates so much. Tonight, she smiled back.
"Brenda," he said, "so glad you could make it."
"Thank him," I whispered fiercely in her ear. Then, I realized it was unnecessary. She'd already been about to, automatically.
"Thank you, Leon," she said softly, "is everyone here?"
"With the two of you, we are ten tonight," he said, offering Brenda his arm. I held out a hand, indicating that I would lead her inside.
"Tell Beavis and Butthead down at the gate that no one else is to be admitted tonight," I said. "Anyone who can't be on time is not welcome.
The dining room in the Vandevoort house is entered via a long, sweeping staircase. It is designed to facilitate the making of a grand entrance. With Brenda on my arm, we could have snuck in through the servants' quarters and made the same effect.
From their pictures on her hard drive, I recognize one of Brenda's current lovers and one of her former. Two of the men she's had one-night stands with. One is the erstwhile rapist who stood her up earlier in the week. I don't recognize the other white guy, except that he's a dimly-remembered friend of Leon's who may have met Brenda once or twice. The last two guest were black and huge, well over six feet tall. The first is Gregory Swinton, who I had thought was gay because he is so soft-spoken and gentle. The other one is some local sports celebrity, barely out of high school. Every one of them was staring up at us as we descended, eying Brenda hungrily. Her legs started to tremble and I worried that she would bolt.
"Don't you dare bolt," I growled.
"I won't," she said, "Just keep me from falling, please."