The construction had been going on for five months now and was nearing the end. Eric stared out at the pavers and steamrollers as they crawled along the new onramps, putting asphalt down on the $6.8 million project he had worked on for the past two years as a member of the Heritage County Department of Civil Engineering. It was the Deer Creek Boulevard project in south Heritage County, a badly needed onramp/offramp/overcrossing of Deer Creek Boulevard and Interstate 5. When it was complete the residents of the fast growing Deer Creek section of the county would be able to commute to work without having to go five miles out of their way to the next onramp.
"A real work of art," said Julie Pendleton, who was standing next to him. Julie was a drainage and irrigation specialist. She had worked closely with him as he'd designed and overseen the roadways.
He shrugged. "It looks pretty on paper," he said with a note of bitterness, "and it's coming in under budget, but..."
"I know," she said sympathetically. "It'll be a mess when it comes to practicality. For what its worth, I agree with your reasoning. I'm sorry the bosses didn't."
Eric nodded. Though he had engineered most of the onramp/offramp system, the basic design was one he sternly disagreed with. In order to save on construction costs the traffic-engineering department had insisted on a dual-purpose feeder/extrication ramp system — a concept in which the traffic leaving the freeway and that entering the freeway shared the same portion of the ramp for about four hundred yards. What this meant is that during rush hour there would be one line of cars trying to merge to the left to get on the freeway while another group was trying to merge to the right to enter the cloverleaf portion and circle up to the Deer Creek Boulevard overpass. Such designs had already been proven inefficient and prone to accidents in other metropolitan areas in which they had been used. But that didn't cut any shit with the traffic engineers or the board of supervisors. All they cared about was that it would shave $2.2 million and four months off the project.
"Fuck 'em," Eric said. "What do I care, anyway? I don't have to drive on the friggin thing."
"Amen to that," Julie agreed. Both of them lived in the more established northern suburbs of Heritage County.
"So, you dumped that boyfriend of yours yet?" Eric asked her, lowering his voice a tad just in case one of the other engineers happened by.
She smiled, knowing he was joking but also knowing there was a small shred of seriousness as well. "Not yet," she said. "Why? Does someone miss me?"
Someone did miss her. Several someones in fact. There was a certain... well... relationship between Eric, Julie, and Eric's wife, Maureen. It had started at a Labor Day party nearly four years before when Julie and Maureen had gotten drunk together and decided to go get their belly buttons pierced. A relatively sober Eric had driven them. Following the piercings they had ended up at Eric and Julie's house where the three of them had ended up having a full-blown sexual threesome. It had not been a one-time-only occurrence. That first encounter had only served to convince Julie and Maureen that they were indeed bisexual - as both had always suspected of themselves. Every two months or so after that, the three of them would get together at either Julie's house or Eric and Maureen's, get drunk, and have a sweaty, lustful, no-holds-barred ménage a trois. Sadly, the get-togethers had ended six months before when Julie started dating her dentist, Will Shaver DDS, who was a nice but somewhat square and prudish man.
"Let's just say that Maureen really got to enjoy a softer touch in the bedroom once in a while," Eric said.
"And what about you?" she asked. "You never seemed to mind it either."
He laughed. "I'm a guy. I'd be up for it every day and twice on Sunday if I could."
She joined his laughter. "I always liked your honesty, Eric. And I miss our little get-togethers too. Especially... you know... the Maureen part."
"Well thanks a lot," he said, feigning offense.
"Oh you," she said, blushing. "You know I enjoyed your part in it too."
And in fact, he did know this. He had vivid recollections of driving in and out of her body from behind while her face was buried between his wife's legs, moaning with pleasure, urging him to fuck her harder, to fuck her faster.
"But Will is giving me that part now," she said, then considered. "Or at least a reasonable facsimile of it. He just can't give me the Maureen part. And I don't think he would really be interested in trying if I found another Maureen who was willing to join us. He's a little uptight about things like that." She shrugged. "What can you do?"
Eric had a good idea of what she could do. She could dump the little teeth drilling dweeb and come back over to their house for some real sex. But of course he would never say that to her. Instead, he just duplicated her shrug and repeated her words. "What can you do?"
Their discussion drifted back to the principals of drainage engineering and roadbed construction. Both concluded that the project - though not what they'd initially envisioned - was going as well as could be expected. Julie then went over to examine one of the pipe systems she'd designed. Eric started towards the construction foreman, with whom he wanted to discuss the asphalt mixture. Before he could get there, however, his combination PDA/cell phone began to ring from within the holder on his belt. The caller ID told him it was Maureen. He ducked over behind a portable toilet to block some of the machinery noise and answered.
"Hey, baby," he said. "What's up?"
"It's noisy there," she commented. "Are you out on site?"
"Yep. The Deer Creek overpass. They're doing the paving."
"Ahh," she said. "No wonder I couldn't get you on your office line. Listen, I just got a real interesting call."
"It was from a woman named Lorrinda. She said she wanted look at one of the rentals. The one on Mission Avenue."
The rentals she was referring to was a side business they had gotten into early in their marriage, during the great real estate stagnation of the mid-90's. Unable to sell their first house when their expanding family had outgrown it, they'd elected to rent it out instead, a venture that had proved somewhat profitable. These days they owned six rental properties; two houses, three duplexes, and a small apartment complex. Though the rentals were a lot of work, they pulled in almost as much income each year as Eric's salary. And they were great tax breaks as well. The Mission Avenue rental was one of the houses, the nicer of the two they owned. A three bedroom on a premium lot in a decent neighborhood, it had been recently vacated by the previous tenants and had been on the market for just over a week now.
"So what's strange about that?" Eric asked. "Did you make an appointment to show it to her."
"Well... yes," Maureen said. "But that's not the strange part. She asked for you by name."
That was a little bit strange. In the advertisements they put in the paper they did not list their names, just the phone number for the business line they had in their home. "Hmmm," he said. "Interesting. Did you ask her how she knew my name?"
"Oh I did," she said.
"Well, it seems this woman thought I was your secretary instead of your wife. She says that she used to date you."
"She used to date me?" he asked, raising his eyebrows.
"That's what she said," Maureen huffed, though it was a playful huff. "Anything you need to tell me, hon?"
"I don't think so," he said. "I haven't dated too much since we got married. And I don't think I dated anyone named... what was her name again?"
"Lorrinda," she said. "Lorrinda Bryant."
"Lorrinda," he repeated. "I never dated a Lorrinda before we were married." Even as he said that, though, a small tinge of association wanted to come forth. And it wasn't a pleasant association.
"She said her last name used to be Mitchell," Maureen said next.
This brought the association much closer. That last name did sound familiar, horribly familiar. In fact, it felt like it was attached to one of those memories that he would prefer to keep buried. The name brought up thoughts of laughter, pointed fingers, derision.
"She say anything else?" he asked her.
"Yes, that she wanted you to personally show the house to her. And that her friends call her Renny."
"Renny," he whispered, feeling a chill of shame running up and down his spine. "Oh my God."
"Hon?" Maureen said, picking up on the tone of his voice. "Are you all right? Do you remember her now?"
"Yeah," he said slowly, bitterly. "I remember." He shook his head. "Renny Mitchell. Holy shit."
"Who is she? Did you really date her?"
He sighed. "I suppose you could say I did. Just one time."
There was a pause. "Did you... you know... did you and she..."
"No," he spat. "Nothing like that. I didn't even kiss her. The date was a set-up. She took me to a..."
Another sigh. "A party," he said. "Look, you know what I was like back in college. I was an engineering major. Basically, I was a nerd, right?"
"Well, sure, but I was a nerd in college too. I majored in computer programming for God's sake. What's the big deal? I'm a part-time programmer and you're a full time engineer. We're both still nerds when you come down to it. Haven't you accepted that by now?"
.... There is more of this story ...