Part 1: The Taking of Alice

Caution: This Suspense Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Cheating, Slut Wife, Cuckold, BDSM, DomSub, MaleDom, Light Bond, Oral Sex, Masturbation,

Desc: Suspense Sex Story: Part 1: The Taking of Alice - Be careful choosing your friends. Richard will steal your wife, destroy your marriage, make her his sex toy, and devastate your manhood. He'll shatter both your lives and walk away as though nothing had happened.

It's often the case that the big changes in life sneak up on you. It's possible, I guess, that you might anticipate some of them, but not all, and not all the time. My mother- in-law was wrong to think she could avoid all evil by worrying about it. It comes whether you worry or not, like a thief in the night, at a time of its own choosing, and you can't outguess it.

Our thief didn't come where this story begins, a Saturday night, the night for making love, one on which Alice and I had come home early enough to have the energy for excitement. I turned to Alice in bed and started kissing her, and then I ran my palm across one of her nipples. I especially liked to do that because Alice had - has - big, round nipples that remind me of red blackberries.

"Oh," she said. "Do you have something in mind?"

"Maybe I do and maybe I don't."

"Let's check. Oh, my! You're a bad boy. Well, light the candle. I'll be back in a sec."

I turned out the bedside lamps and lit the aromatic candle beside the bed. It's sandalwood and shaped like a star. I'm staring at it as I write this, letting it help me remember. I stripped. Water was running in the master bathroom. In the sink. In a minute she came out carrying a washcloth. She knelt over me and cleaned the head of my penis. It's always a struggle not to squirm. Men will know what I mean. Then she tossed the cloth to the floor and leaned down to lick me.

"Mmm. You taste good." She took me in her mouth and played me for a few minutes, just the head, while I reached around and caressed her ass, running my hand over the whole expanse of it, then up and down her crease, playing a lot right around her anus before I moved my hand to her vagina and began to diddle her. After a few minutes she sat up.

"Why don't you come inside me?" She said it in her husky voice.

She lay down and spread her legs and I crawled on top of her and put it in her. Five or ten minutes later we put on our underwear to keep from seeping, and then we went to sleep.

It was New Year's Eve eve. The night before it all began. That's what made it memorable. Tomorrow night we'd be up late. You can always stay up late in Las Vegas, but New Year's is special, and we planned to have a big night out with Bill and Jessica and some people from Bill's company, and we planned to party like it was ten years earlier. I didn't know the half of it, but then neither did Alice.

Fuck you, Richard! Fuck you! Fuck you, you God damned motherfucking son of a bitch! Fuck you, you shit! I'll kill you! I'll tear your goddamned shit-fucking dick off! I'll fucking kill you! I will! Fuck.

I think we were happy together before Richard came back into our lives. I know I was. Reasonably happy, I mean. I wasn't unhappy. Alice was my wife and I loved her. Some of us are cursed to always want something a little extra, something outside the norm, something different. That's all I mean. We enjoyed doing things together and we had a nice house, nice yard, both of which we'd worked hard on. People commented on them. The paper had even done a Sunday photo shoot of our yard a few years back.

The sex. Well, you can tell the sex wasn't explosive. I mean, we'd been married over a decade, you know? The sex was a lot, oh, more mellow than a decade ago. There were things we didn't even talk about that we'd enjoyed doing a few years before. But it wasn't bad, you know? Sometimes I surfed Internet porn. Sometimes I even subscribed, and it was enough to get me through the rough spots. I wasn't chasing other women. There was nothing to make me think Alice was unhappy with us, or that she would do anything with other men. Nothing at all.

Why couldn't we have skipped the New Years party? I like parties, getting out, seeing people, drinking more than I should, the whole thing. Alice doesn't. Not really. Or didn't. Anyway, I'd made up a lot of excuses for her over the years. She could have begged off and stayed home to watch the New Year's Eve shows on TV. She always enjoyed watching the ball drop in Times Square, and she always considered that the true New Year's moment. Why did she come tonight? I guess because she thought I'd be upset if she stayed home again. Maybe, too, because of the friends who would be there. Whatever. I don't know how events conspire.

Isn't that a nice phrase? "Events conspire?" I don't even know what I mean. Yes I do. Things have to happen just so. For want of a horse, the kingdom is lost. For want of a party... that sort of thing.

And if only we hadn't seen Richard. If, if, if. That didn't have to happen, and then the next thing wouldn't have happened, and the next. I think.

We certainly didn't go looking for him. He hadn't been much of a friend for years, not since he'd decided to move from law to sex. Yes, that. He went from representing pornographers to being one. Almost. Almost. I might be overstating it. He bumped into me a couple of years ago. "Henry, my French film won an award at Cannes!"


"Yes. 'The Irresolution of Mme de Pompadour.' Didn't you see it?"

"Um, no. I saw the review in the Times. Wasn't that the one with real fellatio?"

"Yes indeed! The critics praised its uncompromising standards. The suck scene was the hardest part though, pun intended. We did so many takes. Finally when the filming was over I told Michelle Brioche, who's a fine, fine actress, that she didn't need to have an affair with André, because they'd already done everything on the set! Do you know what she said to me?"


"She said, not until I get mine, too!" Richard walked away, chuckling to himself. At Hanukkah he sent us a copy of the film. I had to admit it was well done, and the sex made me hard and hot. Alice, though. Well, Alice walked out during the blow job.

So maybe it isn't porn, just "almost." What's the definition of obscenity? That I know it when I see it, right? That's what it comes down to. Anyway, his stuff may be serious enough to withstand the new Federal crackdown.

Along with the film, Richard sent a card that offered us free passage on a cruise to his resort island in the Caribbean, the island reserved for sex vacations. Why? Because he was once my best friend, a long time ago. Or he was showing off. Sorry, Richard, no can do. Thanks for the offer, but the wife - you know? That's what I told him.

He has sex clubs, Internet sites, and a legal whorehouse on the Nevada desert. I never received an offer of a free trip there. He gives personal advice and personal services. All

this grew out of an epiphany he had about where money was to be made and what niche needed filling, and where he would be happiest. We stopped seeing him when he dumped his wife, who had stayed with him through pretty extreme bondage. At least that's what she hinted to Alice. I think she would have stayed with him forever, almost no matter what he did, if it had been her decision, but at least he left her well off.

Shit. You can see where this is going. Old story. My best friend and my wife. But it's more complicated than that, in a lot of ways. Not my best friend for a long time, not since he began hanging with sex merchants and movie stars and intellectuals, and affecting that fey accent. And the thing about Alice. Was it her? Or was it me? It's... difficult.

Anyway, there we were on the ballroom floor, faint smells of grass and opium wafting around, the band pounding us, the chinging of the slots next door obliterated by the music. I would have left. Not Alice. Me! I would have left if we hadn't had to stay. If we weren't stuck. It's because we couldn't even talk, or only for the short periods when the slots chimed in the background like a distant Pachinko galaxy. It was the sort of thing for twenty-year-olds. My ears were shorting out. I stuffed some tissue into them and Bill handed me a joint, and in a few minutes it got better.

And then there was Richard. He appeared just as a number ended, poof, like the devil, wearing an all-black suit that didn't fit Vegas at all but would have been better in Chicago, maybe on Al Capone. It fit his hair, slicked back like a mobster's. Do you have to dress like that in the sex industry? It was all so fucking stupid. I don't think I'm being too insulting in saying that, though given how many women he had hanging off his dick, I guess it worked for him. I hadn't seen him for almost forever, but he was always exactly the same. Always in dark, always playing the dom, always with a new, sweet-luscious thing in tow.

The newest one was a blonde. Of course. Lean and big- boobed. She had perfectly round, sticking-out breasts that screamed "plastic!" No, I'm not talking about how he paid for them.

Richard had dressed her in something almost like the go-go dancers of the '70s, but with a short skirt instead of short-shorts. The skirt was so short that you could see the curve of her ass and it was clear if she leaned the least bit over you'd be able to tell if she was a natural blonde. Then she did, and you couldn't, because she was shaved. There was just a twinkling of pale flesh.

We hadn't spoken yet. He was in a sort of antechamber that served as a smoking and gathering room for those with. Those without were relegated to the ballroom. I wasn't certain at that moment that he had seen us. Anyway, he ostentatiously dropped something on the floor and she bent to pick it up for him, and it was then she pussy-flashed everyone. A hint of labium, and a touch of anus, both looking pristine. She was already attracting attention. Even those of us without could see her through the double doors. She certainly caught Alice's attention. Alice jabbed me in the arm and said "look who's here with his pussy-du- jour," and Jessica laughed a nervous little laugh. When I looked up from the vision of sweet pubis, Richard was staring directly at us and leering. No. Not at us. At Alice. The others were too late to see the leer because they couldn't tear their eyes from the girl's crotch. But me-I should have had some sort of premonition. I should have.

From there things became complicated pretty quickly. Richard walked into the ballroom, directly over to us, the girl in tow. I'm repeating myself, but she really was "in tow." Once I took my eyes off her pubes I saw she was wearing a dog collar, and attached to it was a leash. Richard held the leash. She walked two steps behind him as he came over, and the crowd parted for him like the Red Sea, Pharaoh's troops stopping to look, to see if there would be another flash of pudendum, then losing themselves in swirls and eddies. Even women were transfixed. Neither of them seemed to pay the crowd any attention, though. Richard kept his smarmy look as he continued to part the sea, while the girl kept her head down and stared at the seafloor in front of her.

I shouldn't have challenged him. I knew it then, but he looked so damned presumptuous and I was a little high. The pachinko sound from the slots and the ringing in my ears merged to form an otherworldly harmony that told me I could say anything. So it leaped out: "Hi Richard. Where'd you get your pet?"

"Henry!" His voice boomed. "And the always luscious Alice! Allow me to present Diane. Diane, say 'hello'." He emphasized the word 'always.'

Diane looked up at us but didn't raise her head much. Just her eyes. Even so, under all that make-up she looked scared.

"Hello," she said, in a leetle, tiny, Southern voice. My God! Like some poor thing straight out of Mayberry. How had he gotten her into this role?

"I'm teaching Diane the ropes," he boomed again. He was ignoring everyone but Alice and me. He had to know the effect he and Diane were making. People were still watching. He wanted someone to play straight man and Alice took the bait.

"I bet you are! And the tricks, too. Isn't she a little, ah, young?" She had that mean smirk on that said "fuck you" all by itself. Jessica giggled her nervous laugh again.

"Oh, just doing a favor. I'd much rather have a mature lovely like yourself." He looked Alice up and down slowly, deliberately, so that no one could mistake what he meant. "In fact, if Henry wanted to trade I'd take you in a second! Half a second!" He turned to me. "Want to do it, Henry? Sweet Diane is just the girl to recharge the old guy who hasn't had variety in a while."

How do you answer? I started trying to say something, but he turned back to Alice. Her mouth was half open.

"And you, lovely Alice, I'd do everything for you and to you. I'd play with your ass, lick you, stretch out the love-making until you begged." Her eyes widened. "Any man who does less than that doesn't deserve you."

No one except Richard had any idea what to say, not even Bill. You could hear the silence. Our silence. We were all standing there in the middle of the tinkling of the slot machines, as thoughtless as any group of idiots. Jessica looked like she wanted to hide, though she couldn't take her eyes off Richard. He, though, he could have kept it up for hours, I think, but the music started again. The house lights dropped, leaving only the fairy lights from the chandeliers, and some music crashed down on us. Richard stepped right up to Alice and shouted, so all of us could hear him.

"Would you like to dance, beautiful woman?"

And Alice stepped back so fast she would have tripped if she hadn't bumped into someone behind her.

"No." She paused, thinking. It was clear to me that she wanted a good answer for him. "No thanks. You have a date."

"It's okay. Henry can take Diane. He'll enjoy her. And I'll enjoy you."

"No. Ah. No."

"Well, maybe another time." He took the leash and pulled Diane out to the floor, just as the strobe lights came on.

I'm not sure there was a melody, or a vocalist. For me the music was noise with a beat that went with the strobes. I have no real memory of it. I kept putting my hands over my ears, then pulling them down to keep from looking like a total dork. The floor was full of people, some in the light, or at least in the flashes, some in shadow. Music hammered me. People were caught in successions of strobe stills, like some experiment in motion pictures. Neither Alice nor I did anything.

Richard was directly in front of us in his Al Capone suit, dancing with Diane. He was barely moving himself, just a little shuffling of his feet, holding the leash while Diane went out and back and wrapped the leash around herself as she twirled to him, then twirled out when he pulled on the thing, spinning her out in spastic strobe segments. Her little skirt was almost short enough to show her vagina even when she was standing. And it did show - once, then again. More people were watching them. Damn, it must have made him happy, being the center of attention as usual. On the floor and at the tables, you could see some of them leaning and pointing. Men were staring. Women were staring. Alice was staring. She was trying to say something to me but I couldn't make it out. It was too loud. The room went black for an instant and the music changed tempo and pitch. When the strobes started back up Alice was yelling in my ear and grabbing my arm. "That son of a bitch!" she was yelling. "Look!" I could hardly hear her because my ears were ringing.

Richard was still swaying in that otherworldly succession of flashes, but something had changed. Somehow the leash was wrapped around Diane's neck so that at first I thought he was throttling her. But no. He pulled her down. He bent her from the waist. Her face was away from us and he pointed her ass directly at us. Richard was pointing his face at us, at Alice, the whole time, ignoring everything else, the music, the strobes, me, the crowd. Now Diane's hairless pussy was visible to everyone.

Richard held the leash close to Diane's neck, to keep her head down. He held the end with his right hand. There was about a foot of loose leather that dangled from his hand. He ran that hand up from her crotch, across her anus, and into the air. He was looking at Alice while he did it, as though daring her something, as though there was some communication only the two of them could hear, as though he owned the world, as though he owned Diane, as though he owned Alice.

Then he took the next step. He took the end of the leash, swung it back, and whipped it right across Diane's vagina. The leather took about three strobe flashes to land, so that it was a slow-motion stroke.

Alice pulled at my sleeve and screamed something above the noise. I think it was "Make him stop!"

Diane jerked a slow-motion movement to the left, upwards, and down. Her ass clenched. The crowd on the dance floor moved away from them, forming a circle with Richard and Diane in the middle. They were looking and talking, though you couldn't hear them through the noise. More were pointing. I remember some leers and some looks like laughter, and some shock, though people in Vegas don't like to show that anything could shock them. Richard leered at Alice and struck Diane again. You could tell it was a hard lash. Diane jerked again. There was a little mark on her where the first one had hit some white skin. Then Richard raised his middle finger in a bird, pointed it at Alice and, still staring at her directly in the face, put his hand down to Diane's vagina, and pushed it in. All the way in. Slowly. He finger-fucked her slowly while the music reached crescendo, stroboscopically in and out while the noise pushed us to the bottom of the sea and a hundred people watched him breathlessly. Finally he pulled his finger out, theatrically, slow-motion, up in the air, and brought it to his face. He smelled his finger, an elaborate sniff. He sucked on it. He was still looking at Alice while he sucked. Alice was staring but not yelling anything any more, or pulling at me. Just staring.

And then the music ended, making my ears feel like they were stuffed with cotton. The soft house lights came back on. I looked at Alice, and when I looked back, Richard and Diane were gone in the crowd. I could see his head moving out toward the gambling area.

That set the mood for the evening, and the conversation. Alice couldn't stop saying "that creep," or "that bastard," muttering things while others talked, and it didn't help when someone tried to make a joke of it. "None of you even tried to stop him!" She was angry. "Why didn't security arrest him?" I mean this was Las Vegas, for Christ's sake. Things sometimes happen, especially where people have money, but you couldn't tell that to Alice.

Bill held Jessica close and said he was going to whip her when they got home. She curved against him and said she'd be good, and she giggled, but she's such a mousy, nervous little thing that I bet it really happened. Would he make her shave, too?

And it passed. The first bit, the shock. I thought it was over. He'd come and done his act and now we could go on about our own business. We stayed in the casino until the New Year came in, and we all had pretty good buzzes on by then. It was in the middle of a slow dance with Alice that I first noticed the change in her. She began to writhe against me and move her mound up and down against my crotch. We frenched and my penis began to grow.

"Oh, you're my bad boy," she panted in my ear. Her bad Donna Summers imitation.

"You're gonna be my bad girl," I told her.

About two in the morning we went outside and walked down the Strip to watch the fountains dance. It was as crowded as everywhere else, crowded and dark enough that I could slip my hand down inside her skirt right there and be almost invisible. I hadn't done that to her for years, and even though we could get caught she didn't stop me. I had a flash memory of Richard finger fucking Diane, and I move my hand until I felt fur, then further, to lips, then to the hole. I finger-fucked her while the fountains danced to some 1950s number and she leaned against me pretending to watch them, until in the middle of it she pointed toward some bushes away from the light. There was a man leaning against a beam, and a woman was kneeling in front of him, giving him a blow job.

She put her mouth to my ear. "Would you like me to do that to you, big boy?"

"Yeah. Right now."

"Let's go home."

So we went home and sexed the second night in a row. That didn't happen very often. We did the same things as the night before.

The wheel turned, as it does, but just barely. A few days of the New Year passed, life went on, and then something happened. What happened? Something happened. Something changed between our phone conversation at lunch and dinner time. Why was she different? What was going on? But I came in the door from work and Alice was different. I should have marked it on my calendar. It seems a lifetime ago, but it was only a few months back.

"Hi, honey, I'm home." She ignored me and went on chopping some lettuce. I bent to give her a peck and she hardly responded. "Helloooo?"

"Oh, I'm sorry Henry. I'm just tired. I'll have dinner ready in about half an hour. Why don't you watch the news?" She didn't look at me as she said it. Her eyes wandered up to the cabinets, then to the refrigerator, to anywhere but right at me. Her voice had that flatness, you know, the tone that says "I'm upset but I'm not going to tell you; you have to figure it out." Oh shit, what was the matter? What had I done this time?

That wasn't how we were. We always chatted and joked, except when we were having a fight. But there was no fight. Nothing had happened. I couldn't be certain she was really angry. She was more-how to put it?-distant, as though something was on her mind that she wouldn't tell me.


There wasn't much conversation during dinner. She left the table early. She asked to be excused during the national news and walked out of the room. Definitely angry. What had I done? It had to be bad.

But then she came back in while I was clearing the dishes and gave me a hug. It was so sudden and intense I almost dropped a plate. One minute I'm staring out the window at our grape trellis, feeling hollow inside and wondering how I can make right something that's hidden from me, and the next minute Alice is holding me like she's afraid I might try to get away from her.

"I'm sorry, honey," she said. "Really, I'm just tired. But let's go to bed early tonight, okay?"

And in bed it was different, in the good way. She came out in lingerie to get me, carrying the candle. This wasn't Alice. It was almost embarrassing. Then she attacked me, and played with my dick the whole wobbly walk back to the bedroom, while we frenched like mad. In bed she asked, "Honey, will you do that thing? With your tongue?"

I wasn't expecting that! I thought, you decided three or four years ago that you didn't want me do that to you any more. What changed? What I said was: "Of course, ma'am. It's my pleasure."

So I pushed her thighs apart with my shoulders and went down. Her legs were pulled up, leaving her knees in the air, and I could look straight down to her bush. I brushed one thigh all the way down, over her vagina, and up the other side, giving her chills. Everything was so soft, her thighs especially, even getting plumper like they were. I gave her nibbles all the way down both sides, and gave her a hickey, before I nestled into her mound. I sucked in her labia, ran my tongue up and down between them, then searched out her little nub. I hadn't thought about her taste for a long time, but right away I remembered what I had liked about it. It was even better when I moved my tongue down to her vagina and pushed inside. She was so damn tangy in there.

It wasn't that her body was open to me. Well, yes, of course it was partly that, her thighs and vagina spread for me and hidden from everyone else, there for me to use, the feel of her skin and her soft puff of brown pubic fur and the plumpness of her labia there for me alone. But it was also the other, that I could tell I gave her touches of pleasure and excitement, then jolts of them, that I could do this to her and know she wanted it and that I had touched something deep and personal and usually hidden.

Alice was holding my head, pulling me into her. When I looked up her eyes were open and she was staring at what I was doing. I moved to her button and began circling it with my tongue, once twice, again, again. At about the third pass she sighed and closed her eyes. Her hands clenched in my hair. I kept it up. Sigh, Alice. Moan for me. Love it. Show you love it. Show it. She began huffing, "hah, hah!" like she does when she's really high, and her voice went higher and higher until it was like a begging little whimper, and then she came for me.

"Please, honey. Come inside me. Hurry. Please." I got inside her and began humping while she squeezed me with her vagina. I think she came again before I finished.

Whatever the problem had been. Or so it seemed. Everything was fine when Alice got home the next evening, her day to work late. I was fixing a dish with pork loin and she came right up to me, hugged me tight, and said, "I love you so much, Henry." She kept giving me surprise little kisses during the evening, and whispering "I love you." Finally, when she was getting ready for bed, I came up behind her, reached around, and rolled both her nipples.

"Oh, do you have something in mind?"

"I know how to push your button."

"You nasty, nasty man."

"I'll show you nasty in a few minutes." I went to the bedroom, lit the candle, and lay there naked, watching the soft flickers on the ceiling and caressing my penis to keep it up for her, until she came into the room. She wore a peignoir under a green satin robe, old anniversary gifts that usually stayed in the armoire.

"Stop right there, lady. This is a stick-up."

She looked at my penis. "I can tell that."

"So drop your clothes right there and get ready to be robbed."

"Of what? My virginity was taken long ago. By you, I believe. Have you lost it?" She was beginning to disrobe.

"I want some more of what I tasted last night."

"Oh! Oh. Well, we might have some more."

Indeed she did. But even more was to come. I licked her to orgasm again. It was a lot like the previous night, so I was able to watch her get higher and higher and then explode, but when she had come she didn't ask me to put it inside her.

"Let me do you, honey." I lay down and she began playing with my penis. She took baby powder and used it on my balls

and dick, tickling the whole ensemble until I could hardly stand it. I wanted to touch her while she did it, but she knelt between my legs so I couldn't touch her. She played with me for about twenty minutes, then she sucked my dick in as far as she could take it, moving her mouth up and down, that hot mouth, soft flesh on my penis. Jesus, I got so close so fast. I put a hand to her head.

" I'm getting close. I'm almost there."

She lifted off. "I'm doing you all the way tonight. Lay back." So I lay back and she fucked my dick with her mouth and I came inside her. Oh Jesus! That wet, soft mouth.

We made love a third night in a row.

The next afternoon she was distant, flat, moody. It was like the first day. What was wrong?

"I'm just tired," she said.

I thought, it'll pass again, like before, but it didn't that night. She hardly spoke again and I could hardly get a peck out of her at bedtime.

But sure enough, the next night she came out to the den when I was watching TV, pulled down my zipper, and sucked me all the way to climax right there. I thought, who is my new Alice? What's starting to happen? Let's progress! But she wouldn't let me do her back.

Then... oh, you could see this coming, couldn't you? You're far ahead of me, the village idiot. Well, maybe the village idiot doesn't want to imagine the worst possibility. She became permanently distant. By permanent I mean the next several days. Little conversation, no sex, a lot of time spent reading back in the bedroom or surfing the Net on her computer. That was when she was home at all, because she had to go back to the office to work late twice, and she found the need to go shopping alone Saturday and Sunday.

I tried to keep busy, so I wouldn't keep wondering why I was in the doghouse.

Monday she wasn't home when I arrived. The place was empty. Her car was gone.

That wasn't like Alice, not at all, but there's an instant when something hits you, when the possibility that something bad could happen becomes real to you, and it hadn't yet hit me. Maybe she'd run out for some groceries. But she hadn't left a note. There weren't any phone messages. Where? What? I walked through the house. I went through every room. Everything seemed normal, except that Alice wasn't anywhere. I called her cell number and got voice mail. Alice? Where are you? Call home, will you? I called her office, but it had closed for the day.

Six-thirty p.m. Seven. Still no Alice. Stare out the window. Pace. Look again for a note. Make sure the phone is working. Do it all again. The thought kept rising, call the police. Call them now, before it's too late. Maybe there was an accident. Maybe something else. Maybe what? I was beginning to get an inkling of the 'what.' I knew it, but I didn't want to think it, that it was me. My chest and stomach felt hollow and electrical current spread down both my arms. Have you had those terrible feelings? I almost hoped there had been an accident. God, Alice. What is it? Where are you?

Could she have left me? Could I have blown it that badly and not have a clue? I'm dense, but not that dense. Could I have missed something so big? Maybe I should call her sister first, to check on her. How do I explain the call? Hi Deb, I can't find Alice. Has she left me? But what else to do? Call the police.

Wait! If she left she'd take a bag. I ran back to the bedroom closet. Of course a suitcase was gone, and by now I knew Alice was, too. So it really was time to call Deb; maybe Jessica. What was happening? What was it? Was the sex a parting gift, a way to make the break easier for her, a goodbye blow job, something to lessen the guilt?

The phone rang.


"Hello, Henry!" Richard's voice boomed through the phone.

"I can't talk, Richard. I need to stay off the phone. I'm expecting a call."

"Yes! Of course! From Alice. She's right here."

I didn't answer. I couldn't. I didn't understand. It was surreal. Could Alice really be with Richard? How? I did not understand. I stood there with the phone pushed to my ear, staring at a print above the phone stand, and none of it made any sense to me. Finally...

"Put her on."

"In a moment, Henry. In a moment. She'll have a hard time talking to you, so I told her I'd speak with you first. Alice is with me, and she's staying with me. She's my woman now. You'll have to get over her." His voice was as warm and jolly as ever.

"What the hell is going on? Put my wife on now!"

"Sure, Henry, sure. But try to control yourself. This isn't easy for her, and she's just trying to grab some happiness in her dreary life." There was a crackling sound as he handed the phone to Alice.

"Henry, I'm sorry. I couldn't tell you, but I had to get out. I was smothering. I couldn't stand it anymore."

"What do you mean? What's going on? I don't understand, Alice. I love you! Please, come home so we can talk."

"No, I'm not coming back. I had to get a new life. Please stay away." The phone went dead.

Short, direct little sentences, one after the other, like footsteps leading away. But not an explanation. She was unhappy. She wanted out. Why now? There was the coldness recently. But a week ago she loved me. What happened? Where was the unhappiness?

All Richard's phones are unlisted. I called the numbers I knew but no one answered, so I left messages everywhere. "Richard. I need to speak with Alice. Have her call me, or come by, or anything. Richard, do it! We have to talk. I need to understand!"

I called Deb. "Henry!" she scolded, "I don't know what's going on with you two. She told me she was making a change. Let me finish! It was just today, this morning. What did you do?"

Indeed, what did I do?

I called Jessica. Bill answered. "What did you do, Henry? I can't believe Alice would just up and leave out of the blue. Some women, but not her." No, Jessica hadn't heard anything at all.

You'd call everyone you could think of if she were yours, if it was all you could do in the night, dialing people who were almost strangers to tell them you'd lost your wife and did they know anything, had they heard anything, was there anything at all they could tell you. So our whole world knew almost right away. "She went with him?" He's that well known. Yes, yes, and yes, she did. At least none of them asked me what I had done to deserve it.

I have trouble remembering separate things, details, from that night and the next few days. I was too frantic to keep my thoughts ordered. I think it was around midnight that it occurred to me to drive to Richard's estate. It's his own gated community of one, lined with trees from the eastern woodlands that could drink the desert dry. I had the security guard at the gate call the house. He talked for a moment, glancing down into the car at me every few seconds as though I might be a troublemaker. "I'm sorry, sir. He's staying at another residence tonight. The staff doesn't know when he will return to this one." I asked the logical question and got the answer I expected. "No, sir. We aren't authorized to reveal his location." Shit. What was he doing to Alice while I chased my tail? He had her tail all to himself, didn't he?

I fell asleep on the couch, waiting for a call that never came.

I drove to Richard's office building at dawn, when everything was still quiet, and waited in the car until people started to arrive. At nine I called Alice's office and got her administrative assistant. Another surprise. She had quit. Last week. She hadn't even given them two weeks' notice.

So she was changing everything in her life, cutting out everyone and everything and especially me. I couldn't have been bad enough to have caused that. She could have gone to Deb's, gotten an apartment, demanded counseling. It was him. Only him. That son of a bitch!

A dark limo pulled into Richard's parking space and I jumped out of my car and ran to it without even closing my door. I needn't have bothered. The passenger window rolled down and I was looking at some attorney.

"Where is he? I need to see him!"

"As you can see, Mr. Moriarty is not here. Moreover, you are not welcome on these premises. If you do not leave right away we will have you removed."

"But he has my wife! He took my wife, damn it!"

"That would be an issue between you and your spouse, not Mr. Moriarty." I looked around and found two very large, but polite, young men, ready to escort me away.

A PI I've used once told me people should never think they can't be found. They leave traces. Hell, Richard hardly tried. He had the money to make himself unavailable. My PI found two other residences with a couple of hours work, along with three more phone numbers, registrations on four cars, two work addresses, the whole McGillicuddy. I drove to the first address, another gated estate. The same two men were waiting for me there. They followed me as I went on to find the third residence, and then to Richard's other work address, where they were met by two more men.

I went home and began calling all his numbers, leaving voice messages all over. I called his offices over and over. His attack secretaries got to not answering. Fucking caller ID!

At 2:00 p.m. I called to cancel all my appointments for the week.

I drove to a spot a few blocks from one of Richard's estates, parked, and began looking for a chink in its fortifications, but within five minutes the second set of large men came out to greet me. This time they grabbed me and hustled me back to my car. "Listen, you fucker!" one said. "Stay away from Mr. Moriarty or you're going to get hurt!" Not nearly as polite.

I finally saw Richard because he came to see me. It was a few days later, two or three I guess, and I was sitting in the living room staring at a wall, out of ideas and out of gas. Alice, my wife, my life partner. She was gone, and it was out of the blue, and it was with Mr. Sex. I jumped when the doorbell rang. There he was, flanked by the two polite bodyguards, one of whom positioned himself partly between the two of us.

"Henry!" It was his usual warm voice. "I hear you've been asking for me."

"Where is Alice?"

"She's fine, Henry."

"Where is she? You took her, you fucker. I need to talk to her!"

"She left you. Happens all the time. Accept it, Henry. Find someone else, someone more your speed."

"What do you mean? What have you done with her?" God, I wanted to kill him. That was the moment I hated him above all the other moments that would follow.

"Oh, you don't want to ask that, Henry. I've done plenty with her. Our lovemaking is, oh, very imaginative. And I might add 'passionate.' Why, the things you never did to her!"

I stared at him. Could I land a good punch before the polite young man took me down?

"What did you do? How did you do this?"

Richard looked a little impatient. "Look, Henry. I seduced her, okay? I convinced her I'm the man who can give her these experiences she's missed. And it's true. I can. So I talked her into it."


"Henry, Henry, Henry. If I have to tell you it won't do any good. The fact is that a lot of women are pretty easy if you approach them right. Alice was as easy as any. Men are so pussy-whipped they think they have to be sensitive, and supportive, and all that, to get them." He twisted out the word "sensitive."

"But that's not what most women want. Some. Not most. They're so transparent if you look at whom they gravitate toward. They want a man with a capital M. They want him clever and strong and rich and powerful and experienced. He has to be smarter than they are. And they want him aggressive and a little controlling. For this guy, they want to be his special girl."

He played with the world "special," dragged it out.

"They deny it. They think they should be feminists, but it's true. Then, once they make the commitment to a guy, in their heads, he can make them do almost anything. They'll like most of it, too. Didn't you ever wonder why so many of them change their feelings about sex to match his, start doing the sexual things he wants? Almost all the women into swinging and bondage started doing it to please their men. And it isn't just sex. You find it in all kinds of attitudes. You see it but you don't understand it. If he's in charge that's how it usually works out. That's why so many stay with batterers and child rapers. They can't imagine life without him, and they'll do anything to try to stay his special little thang."

"And Alice..."

"You want to know how I got to your little Alice, don't you? God, it was so easy! I seduced her over the phone. By the second call I knew I was in, figuratively speaking. You wouldn't believe how much fun it is with those bitches who think they're tough and want to show it by being insulting. No, of course you wouldn't, Henry. You don't know how to seduce a woman at all. If you ever did it, it was by luck."

He finally got to something concrete.

"She never told you I called, did she?"

He'd called? He'd called. Of course. Probably that first day, sometime after lunch. Things began to fit into place.

Finally I spoke: "And she talked to you? I can't believe it."

"Believe it." He laughed. "Really she's always been intrigued by me, but she hid it behind an air of hostility."

"I thought it was real enough."

Richard laughed again.

"I'm never fooled by appearances," he said. "She thought she was supposed to hate me but I was this fantasy man. I could offer her so many things. I became the man in her imagination. I'm sure after my first call she was wondering what it would be like to be fucked by me. Maybe before that, after the New Year's thing. That's the way the sex works out, Henry dear. Don't think women go into it wanting the pleasure. Oh, they love the pleasure all right. But first they want the man. She commits to him in her mind and then she starts wanting him to do her. And she'll get off by letting him fuck with her."

His beeper went off. He pulled it out of its holster and looked at it.

"Gotta go, Henry. By the way, this was just a courtesy call. You should leave Alice alone. She doesn't want to see you, and I wouldn't want things to become... unpleasant. But who knows? Maybe one day we can all be friends again. Meanwhile, if you need to leave a message, call this number only."

One of the polite young men handed me a business card and they left.

A CD arrived the next day. The bell rang again. It only brought bad news. This time it was a courier, who hand- delivered the thing. What would you do with it? I went straight to a CD player and popped it in. It was a recording of Richard's first call to Alice. His way of boasting. What it told me was that everything he'd said was true. Richard had seduced Alice just like he said he had. He was truthful, I thought one of the most truthful people I've ever known.

I still have the CD. It's stored carefully, and I transferred the text to my hard drive so I could listen to it over and over, when I wanted to torture myself. Listen.


"Hello, lovely Alice. This is Richard."

"And to what tragedy do we owe the honor of this call? Henry isn't home just yet."

"No, that's just as well. I'd rather talk with you anyway. You're much more interesting."

"Well, I don't think you're very interesting. I don't get off on displays of cheap sex and dominance."

"Dominance? The other night? Oh heavens, Alice! Do you really think I forced Diane into anything?"

"I'm sure she loves being whipped. Especially in front of a crowd."

"Of course she does! Dear, dear Alice. It was part of the fantasy. Couldn't you see how excited she became by it all? Everything was a fantasy scene we worked out in advance, so she could experience something she'd only imagined. So she got to live it out. I thought surely you recognized that. I saw it in your eyes. Everything that really drives people has large dollops of fantasy, you know, and New Year's Eve drove Diane into a such a state."

"Oh, I'm sure it did. And what of your state?"

"A day at the office. I build my life around fantasy. You know that. It's made me wealthy. And free. And in demand."

"Maybe to some women, Dick, but not to me. That wasn't just a show at New Year's."

"Don't try so hard to convince yourself, lovely Alice. You find me more intriguing than you let on. And I find you irresistible. But it was only half a show. It was a scene. She accepted the rules before we started, the rules of the fantasy. She was bound to uphold her side. If she didn't, if it were just a show, she wouldn't have been half so aroused. She had to know I could play out everything in the role of master, to give her fantasy world the illusion of reality. If you'd like, I could ask her to explain it to you."

"You arrogant bastard!" Finally she was through bantering.

On the tape Richard explodes in a warm laugh, sounding completely un-self conscious, before he responds: "Well, yes to the first part." He laughs again. "But not so arrogant that I think I can just swoop in and a lady will find me irresistible. Things are muchly much more complex than that!" Again he laughs.

"Oh, you don't just lay on a fantasy? I thought you could do anything in fantasy!"

I'm sure she thought she was laying on withering sarcasm, but he wasn't stopped at all.

"Heavens no! Good fantasy requires imagination and a mind for myriad details, but it also needs enormous preparation. That's why most people's fantasies go nowhere. One must master them, play with them, plot reasonable paths and outcomes, deal with logistics. And it requires action. It takes all that to grow fantasy into something more than a desperate yearning within you when you're having your coitus."

Alice doesn't say anything. Silence. Such a long pause on the tape.

"You're so quiet, Alice. Why don't you tell me a fantasy? With thought and discussion, it can evolve."

Finally she says something, in a quieter voice, all the high-spirited, romance-novel challenge drained from it. "I think I better go now, Richard. I'm not one of your girls. I'm a happily married woman. I'm not looking for your games."

"No. Of course not, Alice." Richard's voice drops, both volume and timbre. "I never suggested otherwise. I apologize. I'm not that presumptuous. And yet. And yet you do have fantasies, unspoken ones. You make love in predictable ways, at predictable times. And you bring the fantasies up from the back of your mind when you're doing it. Maybe before you start. Maybe they're what get you excited in the first place. They're your most private thoughts, not even for Henry."

A very brief silence. He didn't let it drag, the bastard. His timing comes out on the tape. "Tell me I'm wrong, Alice. Tell me that honestly."

She finally comes back on. She sounds depressed, tired.

"Everyone has fantasies. They add spice. I'm certainly not going to tell you mine."

"Of course not, Alice. I apologize again. I'm explaining what I do. I evolve fantasies for people, and I charge them for the job. I charge them excessively. I tell them everyone's can be more, and it's true. Later they come back and pay me more to take their fantasies further or to craft new ones. There can always be more. Fantasy is what makes life really worth living for the thinking person. You know yours can be more. I do that for people, and it's worth it to them to pay me very well."

Here it seems she tries to make a joke of the conversation with a laugh that is only a little bit forced. "I don't know why I let you go on like this! Like I said, I'm not going to be one of your little fantasy girls."

He laughs again, and it's not forced at all. "And yet here you are, talking with the enemy when you could have hung up long ago." He laughs once again, then says something with faux sadness: "I guess I'll just have to go away with my own little fantasies of you."

She laughs, still forced: "Yes, I guess so." There's a hesitation. "Though I don't think I like your having fantasies of me. You don't have my permission to have any."

"But as you said, everyone has fantasies. I'm simply more honest about them. That's part of why I'm good with them, why they're my business, because I'm not like other people, not ashamed of them." Then he sounds more serious. "And they're mine. I don't need permission. Goethe wrote, If I love you, what business is it of yours?"

He lets the silence hang this time. I can imagine him timing it, deciding how long he should give her. It's only about five seconds before she responds, but it seems longer.

"I... I don't know about your having those fantasies." Her voice has changed. She doesn't sound angry, or disapproving.

"I don't need your approval, Alice."

She hesitates again: "Should I worry about what you're thinking?"

He drags it out again. He's good: "You said you didn't want to know."

"Well. Well, I don't know." Her mouth seems dry: "Maybe you should. Tell me. I think... I think you should tell me what they are." Another pause. She's ill at ease. He has her. "Because I think I might worry about them. About what you're thinking."

A silence.


A brief silence.

"So you want to know something I've fantasized about you."

"Yes. No. But... I don't know. You brought it up, not me."

"And you're curious."

"I'm concerned."

"Okay. So I'll tell you. Just one little thing. Nothing. A little thing in my mind."

Hesitation: "Okay."

"Well..." He drags it out, again. It's as though he's taking long drag on a cigarette and letting it out slowly: "In this one I'm licking and sucking your pussy."

Another pause. Then: "Oh." I can't tell if that's a question or a statement, or if it's a little gasp, caught and molded at the last instant.

"Only you're tied to a bed, spread to the four posts."

"Oh! Of course! Your typical dominance!" She sounds relieved that it sounds simple and unimaginative.

"Heavens no! It's just that such a woman as you might throttle me with your thighs at just the wrong moment, and we couldn't have that, could we?" He laughs, but continues before she can interject: "But really this is for you, so that you can't control how it goes, or how long it goes, and so you get to experience the delicious mixture of helplessness and pleasure. Because in the fantasy I press my tongue against your spot with hard, steady pressure, then move it up and down and around. I make you hot, but I go slowly, slowly, slowly, and I make it drag on once you're high enough."

Alice doesn't say anything.

"How is that for a fragment of fragment of a fantasy, Alice?"

Finally she says something: "If the woman in your fantasy doesn't want you to do that, does she just tell you?"

"No. You can't."

"Why can't she?"

"Because I have a belt. If you say anything at all, you know I'll whip you. So you have to take it. My tongue is moving over your clitoris, around and around. My mouth is hot on you."

She delays responding. I can picture her wondering what to say, and how to phrase it. She sounds almost empty of air when she finally comes back on. "So. What's in that fantasy for you, if you're busy pleasuring the woman?"

"My time will come, I'm sure. And I get to experience you the entire time, Alice, in so many ways. I feel your flesh and feel you move. And I see you under me, your sweet body, your face. Do you know you close your eyes when you're inflamed?"

Alice doesn't say anything.

"And I taste you. You taste musky in my fantasy, Alice. I smell your musk as you become more aroused. It'sa like a wonderful cologne. And I get to hear you. I'm experiencing Alice with all my senses. I hear every breath, every gasp, every little whimper, every sound of disappointment when I let up a little and every moan as I go faster and harder on you. You move your body because you can't help responding, Alice. You get so caught up in it. At some..."

Alice finally cuts in, and it's sudden: "Richard, I have to go. I'm sorry..."

"Of course, Alice. I'd like to call you again."

"I don't think you should. I'm sorry..."

"Let me call you again in a few days."

"I have to hang up."

"Tell me I can call you."

"I have to go."

"Tell me. Say it."

"I have to go." I've never heard someone sound so desperate.

"Say it."

"Some other time."

"Give me a day. A time."

"Not before Thursday. In the afternoon.

"I'll call you."

There's a click and the recording ends.

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