Thanks very much, as always, to Techsan for his quick and accurate editing and to Lady Cibelle for her feedback.
Thanks for reading, please vote. Please note that this is an idle fantasy and I'm sure that lawyers could rip it apart and shred it. Please suspend your lawyerly instincts for a while and just accept this for what it is ... a story.
SOMEBODY HAS TO BABY SIT
Well, it looked like it was my turn to baby sit. Not that I minded. Lucy (Lucinda) was our twenty-two-month-old daughter. I say daughter, but she is as much the love of my life as her mother is. She was a real surprise to us as we had been trying for kids since we got married eighteen years ago.
Marla was out working at a blind auction at the church. She had some shopping to do afterwards and was going to be gone for a while.
Believe it or not, I was actually pretty good at this babysitting stuff. Yep. I could feed 'em, bathe 'em and change diapers with the best of them. I did the first and second right on schedule and hoped I wouldn't have to do the third. Lucy was working her way through potty training, but hell, accidents do happen.
I sat her down and she did what she was supposed to. I played with her a while, you know, anything to get a giggle and a grin. I'm easy. When she was properly tired out, I took her in to put her to bed. Through long and bitter (well, not that bitter) experience, I had learned to do the smell check as the very last step for bedtime. You know, you grab them underneath the armpits, lift them up and put their nether regions in front of your nose ... and smell. Don't forget that last step. So I did the smell test and ... oh crap!
Well, you know, accidents do happen. Like I say, I've done this before so first I got out everything I needed and then I started changing her diaper. Only one problem, when I pulled out three of the baby wipes from the carton I noticed there weren't anymore. Now Marla and any woman I ever saw could make do with no more than three baby wipes. It usually took me about six. From the smell this looked close to my personal record of nine baby wipes.
Now here we have to get into the difference between men and women. I know, everything is equal now and women reporters can go into men's locker rooms, but woe unto the male reporter that tries to do the reverse. I maintain, a minnow swimming against the ocean tide, that there are really notable differences between the sexes (without even talking about the sex part.)
A woman would just wave her arms around her body (or god forbid, her purse.) and come up with a workable solution. No fuss, no muss. But a man is logical. The job called for baby wipes and by god I was going to use baby wipes. So I sat on the bed for a minute, getting woozy from the fumes and had my fully expected brainstorm.
I had certainly noticed that Marla usually carried a bag of baby stuff around with her all the time. I know, I know. Women think we never notice things. Well, I'm here to tell you that that ain't true. It was less than three months after Marla got her hair cut short that I told her how nice it looked. I never did find out why she was pissed at me though. Women.
So being a man, ergo logical, I thought it through as I was becoming nauseous from the increasingly foul odor. With no more of three minutes of applying my keenly analytical mind, I decided it should be in the closet. So I looked. Violá! Logic prevails again. A pink bag with a brilliant red "Baby" splashed on the side.
Holding down Lucy with one hand I rummaged through the bag with the other, feeling for the baby wipes. I hope to tell you, it was a mess. I guess women (easy now, I've got a crappy diaper to deal with) use the baby bag for overflow from their purse. I dumped the bag on the bed and grabbed the wipes; I figured I'd deal with the mess later.
Lucy has always been pretty good at going to sleep ... after no more than ten minutes of requisite whining and complaining - hey, she is a girl - she fell asleep. I took the bag in the kitchen and wiped it out with some paper towels and went back to put everything back ... you know, organize it.
Let's see ... the gum goes in the trash, same for the gum wrappers. The deposit slip I put in my shirt pocket. The dirty Kleenex went into the trash also. The small package of new tissues - back in the bag. Same for clean diapers and Desitin. Empty wrapper for prophylactics goes ... oh crap! What the hell is this?
THE HUNT FOR TRUTH
I missed Lucy's birth. She was four months old when I got back from my war. I was one of the lucky National Guard troops that got called up for Iraq, second edition. For thirteen months I fixed teeth and was otherwise totally bored. Yeah, I'm a dentist. War for me meant doing what I did all the time anyway, except I didn't get paid very much for it. Luckily I had a patriotic partner that agreed to keep the partnership alive until I got back. I had to borrow from my retirement account to keep the family going.
Now, after I had paid my dues to my country, I come home and find out she is cheating. I felt betrayed ... devastated. My love for her was total and I had thought she felt the same.
We had been trying for years to have children and it just never worked out. That made Lucy such a special gift. But I was forty and Marla was thirty-eight and that was getting too old to be having children. Sure, she could have another child but as each year passed the risks would increase. Marla and I had a 'come to Jesus' meeting a month after I got back from Iraq ... either she or I should get fixed. I very lucidly presented all the reasons why it shouldn't be me.
You've been there: high blood pressure, change in voting patterns, loss of interest in televised sports. The stories are legend. So it only made sense for... me to have a vasectomy. Which I did. Hey. No change in blood pressure. I could watch football games for ten hours straight and I had never voted anyway. She never even apologized.
But the vasectomy meant that there could be no good reason why the prophylactics would be in the diaper bag.
I prided myself on being logical - thinking things through and then getting pissed off. I couldn't see when she had the time to cheat on me. She didn't work but with the baby and the volunteer work at our church she had a busy schedule. She didn't go out except to shop and her church work was during the day with a lot of people around ... soup kitchens, volunteer teachers aide at the church school; you know the drill. She sure as hell didn't have any 'girls' nights out.
The only thing was ... damn, last week after I got fixed she went home to Omaha for a few days. When she came back she seemed a little upset. I asked her what was wrong and she muttered something about how old her mom was getting — she was always forgetting things. Thinking it through that was the only time she could have done anything. Oh, Marla! Why did you do this to me? Who are you cheating with?
I knew I needed a plan or I would go nuts. I thought of all the obvious things: private detective, hidden camera or microphones, even following her. I didn't feel comfortable with any of these. It would be hard enough just to lose her. Even if she still loved and wanted me, I knew I couldn't live with her if she was cheating on me. To see photos or to hear her telling some other man how much she loved him would stay a stone in my heart forever.
Finally I just decided to sit down and talk to her. We had always been able to work through our problems. I didn't think she would lie to me right to my face. Damn.
Before I had the talk though, I wanted to make sure that Lucy was mine. Tears came to my eyes just thinking about that. I immediately got a swab from the baby and put it in a Ziploc bag. Marla was coming in for a checkup next week and she would never notice my taking a swab from the inside of her cheek.
Marla came home from her running around and gave me a big hug.
"Toby, I love you so much. How was Lucy?"
What could I tell her, that she was as full of shit as the baby was?
"Oh, she was great. Outside of my having to change her diapers a couple of times that is. Oh, by the way, I ran out of baby wipes. Luckily I found some in the diaper bag in the closet."
Hmmm. She seems a little pale now.
"Man, the diaper bag was a mess. I had to dump everything out and put it back, throwing the trash away."
Damn, now she looked like a ghost.
I didn't want to push it until I got the DNA lab results back so I finished with, "Yeah, she was a great little girl. We were really lucky to get such a sweet baby so late in our marriage. God has blessed us."
I walked away and got a beer from the fridge and sat down to watch whatever game was on (there is always some game on).
A few days later I got her swab and took the results over to a local lab. I knew the lab manager from college. I told him what I needed. He smiled knowingly and said he would rush it.
So I waited. Marla played the loving wife. Slut. I played the loving husband. Liar. Life was wonderful ... just peachy keen.
A couple weeks later my friend Bob called me and asked if I could meet him for a beer after work. We met at the Pub and had a couple of Pints of John Courage. This was Bob's idea of a joke. He said I needed courage to see the lab results.
Damn. Damn! I knew it. That damned slut.
Laughing a little (what the hell was funny?), Bob pulled out the results.
"First, Toby, the good news. You are Lucy's father. No question."
Well, that made me feel a better — a lot better.
"Now the rest of this is strange. In fact I have never seen anything like this. Marla is not the mother"
What? Jesus, what was going on?
"Bob, what do you mean? How is that possible?"
"Well, my best guess is the mother is a close relative of Marla's. Does she have a sister?"
Oh, hell. Except for Marla's role in all this it was clear what had happened. Just before I went overseas Joanne came down to visit us for a couple days. Marla was going to help out at an all day church picnic. I couldn't go with her because that Saturday afternoon I had to go to the National Guard Armory to fill out paperwork for the shipment to Iraq the following week.
Joanne was really a sexy package. Statuesque is the word that comes to mind. She didn't have huge breasts but they sure looked like a handful. The night before she had worn a low cut blouse, a peasant's blouse I think she called it. She kept showing me what she had and I kept looking at it. Hey, I'm a man. I even got a couple of flashes of dark pink nipples.
So about an hour after Marla left for the picnic I was lazing in bed imagining what Joanne really looked like. The door quietly opened and as soon as Joanne saw that I was awake she walked in. She was wearing a short nightgown and panties that seemed pretty sheer to me. Talk about an instant erection.
"I'm sorry to bother you, Toby, but I don't like that shower/tub in the guest bathroom. Could I use yours?"
Somehow (accidentally?) she didn't close the door all the way and I could see her reflection in the mirror as she slipped the gown off and jumped in the shower. After a minute the glass fogged up and I couldn't see her anymore. I put the pillow over my face trying to decide whether to run for it or not. I'd finally decided to throw my robe on and go downstairs and have some coffee.
I heard the shower stop and lifted the pillow up and peeked at her. She was standing in the bathroom, facing me and toweling off. She had a funny smile on her face. She dropped the towel and slowly walked across the carpet to me. There was no smile on her face now. Not saying a word she got on the bed and sat on top of me then leaned forward and put her lips to mine. I was gone.
Later, we both felt really bad about it and we agreed not to say anything. She told me she had always had a crush on me and had lain in bed all night thinking of how we could get together. We both apologized to each other. She headed on home and I went to the Armory.
We were selling our condo in Shawnee Mission, Kansas and Marla would live with her folks in Des Moines, Iowa while I was gone to Iraq. When I got back we were going to buy a new house in a development that was in the planning stages.
I felt really bad for a couple of days and then with all the hassle of embarkation I gradually forgot about it. Oh, a flash would come to me once in a while and I would smile a guilty smile, but this happened less and less often as time went by.
A couple of months after I got to Iraq I got a letter from Marla saying she was pregnant. That was a wonderful surprise. When I got home Marla mentioned to me, among other family news - that Joanne had died. She didn't give any details and I thought it politic not to ask any questions. Our house was finished and she had moved back from Des Moines into an extended stay place until the closing.
But Marla and I needed to talk.
When I got home I told Marla we needed to talk after Lucy was asleep. She nodded her head sadly and went in to fix dinner.
Later we sat down in the living room; somehow the more formal atmosphere seemed appropriate. I thought I would skip any alcohol; I wanted to keep a clear head. I changed my mind and poured a large single-malt. I figured I'd need it. Marla had her usual evening tea.
Both of us looked at each other ... not knowing how to start. Finally I jumped in.
"Marla, do you love me?"
"Yes, Toby, I do. Very, very much."
"Do you want us to stay together?"
"Oh, yes. Honey, I have always loved you."
"Okay. Do you believe that I love you?"
"Do you believe me when I say I want to stay married to you?"
"Yes, I do believe you."
With that I went over to the sofa and sat down by her and took her in my arms. We both sat there crying for a while. Finally I got up and went back to my chair.
"Marla, can we start with that then? We love each other and want to stay together?
She nodded her head.
"I don't know all that has happened but let me tell you what I know. Let me finish and then you tell me what you know. Okay?"
She nodded again.