Chapter 1



I was lying on our bed, lost in an erotic glow when I heard the garage door activate. 'Shit!" I blurted. Vaulting to my feet, I glanced at the clock 10:45! No! She couldn't be home yet! "Oh Shit! Shit! Shit! SHIT!"

I looked at our bedroom, the rose petals, the champagne and wondered if my whole life was about to crumble around me...

I'm an architect, and I'd been on my own for about a year. I'd been working incredible hours because with only one client, my staff consisted of me, myself and I. My office was in an abandoned gas station. I'd tried to have an office at home, but I found I was taking too many breaks to spend time with Judy and the girls. We had identical twin girls who were born nine weeks before I graduated from the University of Texas six years ago. They hadn't been planned, but we were overjoyed.

We both wanted a large family, but something had gone wrong during the birth process, and she'd had never been able to get pregnant again. We'd tried some fertility treatments, but although the doctors had been certain some of the newer techniques would be successful, we'd decided to put them off because of expenses when I struck out on my own.

Judy had stayed home with the girls until I opened my office. Money was tight, and we'd needed an extra salary. So, without complaint she started working for an oil company as an executive assistant. Judy thought her job had the prefect hours for a working mother. Monday to Thursday she didn't go in until nine and she was off at three. Great hours, except on Fridays when she had to be at the airport for a 7:10 AM flight to Dallas to facilitate her boss's weekly meetings. The airport was a twenty-minute mad dash from our house, or thirty if you drove the speed limit.

It made for a long day because they didn't leave Dallas until 6:25 and Judy rarely walked in the door before 8:15. Then, almost four months ago, it got much worse. Judy's boss got a promotion and the meetings started running longer. After they missed a few planes and had to pay a premium, they began to simply schedule the final flight, which didn't arrive in Midland until 9:55. It was generally close to eleven when Judy got home. I hadn't been happy about it but since Judy didn't complain, I didn't say anything.

Tonight was supposed be pure fun and great sex! Now... now it looked like everything was going to be ruined! I glanced at the clock, again, 10:45! No, she couldn't be home!

I heard her car pulling into the garage. Why was she arriving home now, the time when she'd get in if the plane landed on time? But I knew the plane wasn't on time, because, out of character, I'd checked on the flight. I had wanted everything timed perfectly for when she walked through the door.

In a disoriented fog, I glanced around the room one more time. I saw the bowl of rose petals I'd planned to strew across the bedspread. The champagne in the ice bucket I'd rented from the liquor store. I thought of the "caramelized pecan apple pie" I bought at HEB. It took an hour to cook the frozen pie and I'd only put it in the oven a half hour ago. I'd also picked up the HEB store brand "1905 vanilla ice cream" to top it. Hot apple pie with ice cream is Judy's favorite dessert, and it was one of the few things I could cook.

For a few precious seconds I was distraught that she'd ruined my surprise for her. This was a big day for us. I had learned today that the first house I'd designed had won a Frank Lloyd Wright prize! For an architect that's like... like winning the Nobel Prize!

I'd debated announcing the prize at a family dinner, but I'd decided I wanted to make my announcement to Judy alone, make it the start of a romantic weekend before we again started the very un-sexy process of the fertility treatments. With all the business the prize would generate we should be able to afford the very best. I hoped Judy would be delighted.

So, the twins were with my folks on one of their weekend RV trips to sightsee. I had told them I'd have big news when we all went out for dinner Sunday night.

I heard the garage door activate to close, but Judy shouldn't be here yet. My long denied suspicions formed ranks and began a brutal assault on both my head and my heart. While my gut had been telling me she was having an affair, my heart continued to deny it. What do I really know? I asked myself.

Her recent habit of going straight to the hot tub when she got home on Friday started about the time of the late flights. She wouldn't even change into a bathing suit first, she'd just hop in wearing her bra and panties. She called it "Momma's come down time." I now felt sure it was a terrible play on words; Judy had always been clever that way.

Since the late flights began, we never make love on Fridays when she comes home. She's too tired from work. But before the late flights began, when she arrived only a couple hours earlier, she practically attacked me when she got home from Dallas. If I hadn't been so pleasantly shocked, I would asked her about it. Before those Fridays, I could count on the fingers of one hand the times she'd initiated sex, and still have fingers and a thumb left over. Yet for over a month, she'd barely waited until the girls were down.

After she'd started the late flights, it never happened again. She was still as responsive as ever when I wanted to fool around, but never on Fridays. Of course that could make sense after putting in an eighteen hour day... but...

Her prattle about work had changed too. So had our social life. When she first started working, we frequently went to small gatherings with her co-workers, and she would rave about how wonderful her boss was. I remembered being jealous when I kept hearing about his incredible business acumen, or when I listened to her drone on and on about his resemblance to Sean Connery, in his prime, of course. Then about three or four months ago, she stopped talking about him, and we stopped seeing her co-workers. I remember being relieved because my own hectic schedule left me too drained to enjoy the evenings out. Now, I was certain it she changed because of a more sinister reason.

As the reasons continued to percolate, the most damning of all surfaced. I couldn't remember the last time she'd told me she loved me. The last time she'd given me one of her loving pecks on the cheek or and unsolicited hug. Judy had always been a demonstrative woman, and now she wasn't. At least not with me!

I froze mid-thought. I wanted to scream my denial. Judy, my Judy, the woman who taught me the difference between making love and fucking, the only woman I'd ever made love to, couldn't be about to walk in soiled from her lover's bed! That image threatened to overwhelm me. Then she called out, "Matt, where are you? I'm so glad to be home!" Her voice sounded so normal, her tone just didn't fit the mental image I'd formed.

I shook my head, it couldn't be, not my Judy, maybe I'd been looking at the wrong flight. Or maybe the plane had made up the time somehow.

In three strides I was at the computer in our bedroom. I hit the escape button and the screen saver cleared. I clicked the refresh button. There, displayed on the screen, was her flight number with the notation. It was going to be another half hour before it landed! I looked back at our bed, rumpled from where I'd been lying, and for a second I wanted to run away. I wanted to retreat back to the land of denial, but I'm not made that way. The question was in the open now and I had to have an answer.

Tumbling down the stairs, I knew I wasn't speaking, but I felt a guttural sound forming deep in my throat. When I got to the enclosed deck Judy had already shed her blouse and was unzipping her slacks. I came up behind her and grabbed her in a rough bear hug.

"Matt, please you know how tired I am when I get back, let me relax until tomor..." As I began to push my hand into her panties she began to squirm in my arms.

"No Matt, maybe later... NO MATT! She was squirming harder but as my hand worked its way toward her thatch she became frantic. Twisting violently and with surprising strength, she burst free and shouted, "DAMN IT. I SAID NO!" She stood there panting from the effort and glaring at me. I moved toward her, my intention clear. Her eyes got very big and she said in a quiet voice that stopped me in my tracks. "No Matt, not this way. I won't let you find out this way."

I don't think I'd actually processed what I was doing until that second. Those thirteen words, left me as pole-axed as a bull at a slaughter house. I was as surely in medical shock as if she'd shot me. I looked at her and... I felt nothing. I couldn't understand it. I knew my world had just been destroyed yet I felt nothing. I was preternaturally calm. I tried to feel something, anything, but there was nothing there.

In a voice so calm I had trouble believing it was mine I said, "You wouldn't do this to us unless you loved him. Did you ever love me?"

Her face turned tender, "I did love you. I didn't mean for it to happen. I didn't mean for this... I never wanted this to happen. I never thought it would be like this, I'll always..."

I didn't want to hear any more. I cut her off, "Are you going to marry him?"

There was a charged silence, I stared at her silently demanding an answer. She bit her lower lip, "It's come up, he's been pushing me to decide, I'm so confused, I just haven't been able..."

I cut her off again. "Please do me the courtesy of going back to his place. I just figured this whole sordid affair out because your flight hasn't landed yet. I need time alone to think this through."

Judy moved towards me, her face full of compassion intending to take me in her arms as she said, "Oh Matt, I'm so sorry I wish this never got started. Please let me explain it to you, I'm so sorry you found out this way..."

I pulled back, feeling like I might have been made from the most delicate of cut glass crystal, knowing that at her slightest touch I would shatter, irreparably. I took another step back my hand extended to stop her. "Please, just get what you need and leave. Mom and Dad have taken the girls on one of their rambles. They'll be out of contact until Sunday evening. We'll talk Sunday afternoon. I don't want to see or hear from you before then." I was trembling. In a distant part of my brain some part of me wondered if it was rage, fear or a heart attack.

She looked at me her eyes pleading, opened her mouth to speak and I cut her of with firm "No!"

A flicker of fear passed over her face, she sighed and went to our bedroom. The numbness returned. I went into the den, sat heavily in my recliner and wondered just how long the gray void in my mind would last. I have no idea how much time passed before she returned. Her expression was wistful, but I also something I'd only seen when she'd been told she could never have another child.

"Matt? I saw what you had planned, I... I didn't mean to spoil it... If you would like..."

The words hit me like a thunder clap. The BITCH! She was offering me a mercy fuck! A sloppy seconds mercy fuck at that! I started to get out of my chair, she saw my face, sobbed and fled. She must have sat in her car for a while because it was several minutes before I heard the garage door open, then close.

As soon as I heard the garage door thunk closed, I slumped back in my chair and the colorless void descended again. I don't know how long I sat there, my mind a perfect Zen blankness before I fell asleep.

I awoke in a rage from a vivid dream of Judy making love to her boss. It hadn't been wild illicit sex but tender love. Every part of my body groaned as I arose from my chair, every joint screaming abuse, but I was also burning with a type of anger I'd never experienced. I stomped back to our bedroom. "OUR BEDROOM!" There was no more 'us, ' there could be no more 'our.' In a red haze I grabbed the champagne bottle from the cooler and I smashed anything breakable... until I was poised over the delicate Dresden figurine of a young woman, with a hundred petty coats covered by a pale blue ball gown and holding a faun. It was Judy's only inheritance from her grandmother. As much as I wanted to smash that six inch high china doll I just couldn't.

I looked around the room. I'd annihilated it, and I didn't feel one bit better. I looked at the champagne bottle in my hand and marveled that it hadn't broken. Not thinking I tore off the wrapper, untied the cork and pulled it out with a loud pop. The bubbly shot out, just like you see in the movies. I had never been a wine snob, but as a kid I'd once read a biography of the Rothschild family. I'd promised myself that if I ever "made it big" I'd celebrate with the one of the most expensive champagnes in the world, Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac. I drank directly from the heavy glass bottle and I vowed I'd never touch the stuff again. It tasted like shit. It didn't put me to sleep either, but exhaustion did and I slept again. I didn't dream, thank God.

I awoke a few hours later as the first light filtered through the window. Whatever type of rage I'd had was gone and my mind had retreated to that numbness. I was dead inside. I tried to summon anger, then sadness, and I got nothing. My marriage was over, I understood that, but my mind refused to accept the reality. Instead it looked for answers in the past.

Judy and I had met while I was at the University of Texas. She attended Southwestern University in Georgetown and played soccer on their Div III team. I played club soccer at UT and had put together a group to enter in a seven a side tournament held on SU's fields.

Judy had come out to watch, and caught my eye. I made a total ass of myself, trying to show off. We didn't even advance in the tourney we'd won the year before and would win the year after. Judy, bless her heart, pretended not to notice. From that day on we were inseparable. Driving the 26.8 miles up and down I35, we burned enough gas to fill the strategic reserve, but who cared.

She was a virgin when we met, I'd had one girlfriend in high school who I'd fucked seventy-three times before we broke up. Yes, I counted, and I couldn't imagine how anyone couldn't keep track of something as important as that! I knew Judy and I were destined to get married when I lost count of how many times we made love, not fucked but made love, on our first weekend together. It was in a nice room at the Four Seasons near the airport after the tri delt's, spring formal on a Friday night. The funny thing though was we didn't made love Friday night. As we were getting undressed Judy freaked out. She said she couldn't, not without a permanent commitment.

Naked, I got on one knee I asked Judy to marry me. Clad in her bra and panties while clutching the sheet to cover her, she accepted... but still wanted a ring! I spent the night on the floor. We were at Americus Diamond out by Highland Mall as soon as their doors were open, and I bought one I thought she would always be proud to wear. Back at our room we exchanged private vows before God as I slipped the ring on her finger.

As we kissed, I slid my hand down her back to her very tight and muscular ass. She snuggled into me and I was rock hard. With a sigh she pulled me to the bed. Without breaking our kiss she slowly sat then reclined.

I slipped my hand under her blouse and she took a deep breath to expand her smallish breast up to me while her tongue made its first ever entry into my mouth. I moved my hand from her breast to her thigh and slowly moved up under her pleated skirt. After a short hesitation she opened for me and her kiss deepened.

When my fingers reached her panties, the most intimate we'd been to that point, they were soaked through. As my fingers moved under her panties, her whole body began to tremble. I broke our kiss, pulled back and looked down on her. Her eyes had been clenched shut but now fluttered open. Looking up at me she gave me a nervous smile and slowly arched her back pushing against my hand. To make her point very clear, she used her free hand to pull up both her blouse and her bra baring her breast for me as she said "kiss me" softly.

Complying, I began to circle my tongue around her areola. Then I opened my mouth as wide as I could and took most of her breast into my mouth. I speared my tongue onto her nipple pushing it into her softness. For the very first time I heard her actually gasp in sexual pleasure.

Taking advantage of her passion and wetness, I pushed my finger inside her for the very first time. She flinched, but her hymen allowed entry, and it didn't tear. When my finger was all the way in I curled it up to search for her G spot.

I pulled off her breast and looked at her. She gave me a puckish but embarrassed grin, and pulled me back to her breast. As I took it back into my mouth I heard her sigh in pure sexual pleasure.

I knew I'd found her G spot when she began to squirm and shift to bring us fully up on the bed. I pulled my finger out as we repositioned ourselves, then I started to pull her panties off. Her reaction was immediate. She clutched them for a second then looking into my eyes and begged, "Please don't look at me down there, please, promise."

I nodded but vowed that this was one hang-up that we'd banish before we left the room. I'd learned to love giving head and I knew that Judy would too, but this wasn't the time to push.

Judy swallowed hard and using both hands she managed to keep her skirt from moving up as I pulled her panties down. She looked so vulnerable as she tentatively opened her legs barely enough to allow my hand between them. I kissed her and said softly. "Would you like to get under the sheets?"

She looked so relieved, I almost smiled. As we crawled under the sheets I gave a little tug on her blouse and with another nervous smile she pulled it over he head. "I'm sorry I'm so small..."

"Sweet heart..." I paused, it was the first time I'd used that word and it sounded strange. I rolled it around in my head and decided I liked it. "Sweetheart, I've always been an ass man, and yours is prefect. But you know the old saying, 'anything more than a mouthful is wasted.' Well you already know that you've got more than a mouthful, and they're so perfectly shaped I'd hate to have them any bigger."

"Oh Matt," She said in a tone of disbelief, but her face flushed with pleasure. With that quick move only a woman can do, her bra disappeared and she pulled me to the breast that I'd yet to suckle.

When I moved my hand back between her thighs she opened a tiny fraction more, perhaps enough to allow my leg between them. I moved over her a bit and pushed on my hand with my upper thigh as my finger moved back inside her. Again she flinched as my finger stretched her hymen. Her whole body tensed until I again curled up to press her G spot. As soon as I found it she pressed hard against me, turning slightly to rub on my hand.

My problem was that she also rubbed on my cock which almost made me explode. I knew I should take more time, but I was afraid I wouldn't make it. Pulling out I practically ripped my pants off, only slowing to retrieve a condom from my billfold.

Trying to think of cold showers and the shriveled crone that taught me algebra in eighth grade I tore open the package and rolled it on. I tried, I really tried to go slow as I moved over her. I could see the apprehension in her eyes as my body forced her legs open enough to let me between them.

With a wan smile Judy pulled her knees back to give me access. I told her I loved her, pushed forward and felt her hymen rip. She winced and I came!

I was mortified. I'd never cum so much in my life, or gone soft so quickly. I tried. I squeezed the base of my cock trying to hold the blood in to stay hard. I tried to push that limp noodle into her, but all I accomplished was to pull out of my condom.

Judy didn't say word but her quizzical expression spoke volumes. I blushed, "No, that's not supposed to be all there is, but... I just got too excited. I've wanted you so long you felt so good that I couldn't help it. The next time will be much better I promise."

Judy wasn't able to keep all the disappointment from her expression but her words were more than kind. "We've got a lifetime to get this right, and practice makes perfect. Are you ready to try again, now?"

I didn't have the courage or the heart to tell her that as much as I wished otherwise I required more than three minutes to re-charge. Instead I said, "I'd love to, but I only have one condom." I silently added in my billfold. "I'm going to need to run to a drug store to buy more."

Judy looked skeptical, after all I had rented the room for two nights when we checked in, but bless her heart she didn't say anything. I said, "I'm going to clean up a bit and be back in no time."

I didn't actually take that long. By the time I'd bought another box, to go with the box I had in my overnight bag, I knew I was ready. The second time started out worse than the first. Because the first condom had slipped off I decided to use two the second time. Unfortunately, I slipped them on before I was fully hard. Cutting off the blood flow they kept me from getting fully hard until tore one off.

With my pressure relieved, I was able to concentrate on Judy and brought her to an orgasm before I tried to enter her. The only other mistake I made was because neither of us knew that a hymen could be torn more than once. Since my first entry wasn't complete I'd only partially ripped it. The second time I was surprised when she yelped as I finished the job.

That was the only mistake that I'd made the rest of the weekend. By the time we left the room on Sunday, Judy loved oral sex as much as I did. Unlike my first girlfriend she was anxious to have me cum in her mouth, and she always swallowed.

We were married during the following Christmas holidays. We lived in Round Rock, and both finished a year later. Except for those first two times, I couldn't remember a single time when I wasn't certain that Judy enjoyed sex at least as much as I did. Thinking back to the last few times when we'd made love, I was certain that she'd been more than satisfied.

Nor had I been inattentive. Even with all the extra hours I'd been working she'd never said a word about being lonesome or needing more of my time. You've heard the expression "I worshiped the ground she walked on." In my case it was true. When we built this house, I made a trip back to Georgetown and took a grass plug from their soccer field. It was from the very the spot I'd first seen her. I bought enough sod of the same type of grass to make our yard, but that little plug was the first thing I planted. No, our sex life was the stuff of dreams. Our family life? Frankly, although Judy would never allow me anal, about the only thing we never tried, I was convinced her shit didn't stink.

I pursed my lips, I couldn't find the answers in our past. As I fixed myself a cup of Twinning's China Black tea, I tried again to summon some sort of emotion, even pain. I still felt nothing. I could generate faux feelings, but real emotion of any kind were just beyond me. I think my sub-conscious understood that I couldn't deal with the pain yet, and I didn't have the stamina for the rage I felt earlier. Besides, I needed to be unemotional if I was going to salvage anything from the fetid swamp where Judy had cast me.

I'd known our marriage was over as soon as I realized that she was cheating. As I was destroying the bedroom last night, I knew I wanted to hurt her, to punish her. I WAS surprised this morning to find that I'd slashed everything in her closet. I had shredded all of her underwear, and ripped up everything else in her closet. I hadn't even been aware that I'd gotten my fish filet knife from my tackle box until I saw it on the floor near the bed. That realization brought back memories of a boyhood friend and it terrified me.

Desperate not to revive that gruesome memory, I began to review what I knew about Judy's affair. First, she'd said she'd thought about marrying him. I wondered why that concept wasn't causing me pain. My mind shied away from even the image of a fully clothed Judy in that man's arms, but the idea of her getting married to him didn't seem to bother me at all.

I explored that line a bit further with that same unnatural detachment. I felt to the fiber of my being that Judy still loved me. I was certain that if I pushed it I could "win" her back. I knew all her levers, and I had the advantage of the twins and her own moral code. I knew how guilty she had to be feeling, and if I were honest how easy Judy is to manipulate.

I then thought about man who was fucking her. I knew a fair amount about her boss, James Capote. In his late forties, he'd been divorced from his second wife for over five years, with two children, a boy about to graduate from Midland Lee high school and a daughter two years behind him. According to Judy he was always trying to increase his access to them, but only had them every other weekend and alternating holidays. He didn't even get them over the summer.

I'd met him many times shortly after Judy started working, but not at all for the last three or four months. I didn't like him from the start. He had wandering eyes. Although I could understand him going after Judy, I had trouble believing that Judy could have actually fallen for him.

That line of thinking tempted me to go down the "what if" memory lane, or the "what did I do wrong" path. Instead, I went to my computer and began to research the divorce laws in Texas. I discovered that a divorce can be final in Texas in as little as 60 days after the filing. The decree had to be read in open court but the parties didn't even have to be there if it wasn't contested. The quicker this is over the better I thought.

There were forms you could print out, for a fee, and I gladly paid. I spent several hours thinking about what I wanted out of a settlement and how I could get Judy to agree to my terms. I finally decided that I wanted what was best for my girls. I thought about calling and cancelling our credit cards, emptying our bank accounts, but I decided that as much as I hated Judy right now, I didn't think she'd try to steal from me, or from our girls.

I wanted the house so the girls wouldn't have to move. We'd borrowed every penny of equity to help me start my business, which had only amounted to about ten grand. With the prize I'd be able to borrow what I needed to buy Judy out. With the award my business was going to be worth a fortune. I didn't want her, or more importantly that asshole Capote to have any claim. That was another reason to get this done quickly. The awarding of the prize wouldn't be made public until the big banquet in three months. The winners wouldn't be publicly announced until then, but it wasn't like the academy awards, the winner sometimes knew in advance. Held in New York City, I'd been given a heads up since I normally wouldn't have made plans to attend. Hell, if I wasn't winning a prize I couldn't have gotten a ticket.

Yes, that was another excellent reason to get this settled quickly. Which meant I had to provide a fair division if I wanted it done. I was torn between wanting everything that hinted at our life together gone and wanting to have as few changes made as possible for the girls. I decided that I'd have an appraiser come in a value everything we had, including the things I'd destroyed. I'd offer to buy replacement stuff in addition to her half of our property. We would alternate picking what we wanted until someone reached half the total value.

I went through the rest of the housekeeping details of how to sunder our relationship, making notes and adding specifics to the forms I'd bought. By evening I thought I had a plan I could live with and that Judy would readily accept. I realized that I hadn't eaten a thing all day and that the very thought of food turned my stomach. Still, if I was going achieve my goals, I'd need my strength. Not trusting my culinary skills I wondered what kind of food would go best with slicing up our life together. I ordered pizza.

As I ate my mind returned to what I could do to hurt Judy, to make her hurt. I knew that when I got past the denial stage the emotional pain was going to be unbearable. But how could I make her feel that kind of pain too. Leaving me wasn't going to hurt her, not like it was me. I mean sure there would be regrets, but she was leaving me for someone. I would be the one alone. There was nothing that I could do that would break her heart. Yet as much as I was in denial, as unacceptable as what she had done was, I didn't think I could stop loving her. After much internal debate and rationalizing I realized that it wasn't my choice to keep her or send her away. She made that choice when she accepted Capote into her body. Having a wife do that was something I would not live with, period.

If it wasn't my choice if she stayed or left, what was the worst that I could reasonably hope for? Then it came to me, the perfect solution. I still had to ask myself if I could pull it off. Judy had always been deferred to my wishes. It used to drive me nuts that I could never get her to tell me things like where she'd like to go out for dinner. She might pout later about my choice but she refused to ever give me her opinion unless I made an issue out of it.

Could I use that to push her into what I wanted her to do? Ultimately it would be her choice. Still, I knew I had a good shot. I knew her... perhaps not as well as I should have, but I did know what sorts of pressures she responded to, and I knew I could bring a lot of pressure... Late into the night I plotted and planned. This was going to take a very delicate touch.

Judy called a little after eight. I took several deep breaths before I answered. "Judy, you've made your choice; even if you didn't mean to you've made the choice for both of us. The question now is how this is going to affect the girls. You know divorce is always hard on kids, especially ones the girls' age. The question is, do you want a war or are we going to work to make it as easy on them as possible."

"Matt, please let me talk, I'm sorry I hurt you, I love you, I don't want you to hate me... I never expected for it to get this far, but I still..."

I almost lost it when I heard the word LOVE "Judy, every time I hear your voice it just makes me hate you and what you've done more. Do you realize the effect this sorry affair is going to have on the twins? We're trying to raise them with values and morals. How are we going to explain that you threw away the most solemn vows a person can make for some recreational sex?"

Judy was sobbing, "It wasn't like that..."

"Oh really! Even after months you still hadn't decided to marry him. How's that going to sound to the girls?" I paused and let the silence linger. Then I continued, "I'm sorry, I managed to reach my folks and told them to plan on keeping the girls a little late. If you agree, I'll have them brought over here at five and we can give them the news together. Otherwise I'll tell them alone.

"I will be civil to you while we talk to the girls but that's the last time I ever want to hear your voice until we're divorced. I'm working very hard not to say the things I want to say. You will always be the mother of my children and we will have to talk about them. Just don't push me right now."

"Matt, I really didn't mean to hurt you, it just..."

"Yeah I know it just worked out that way. Let's get this done as quickly as possible. I'll pay for an apartment for you, I just hope you don't plan to live with your asshole unless you get married. That would really wrap them." I paused and let my heart rate slow. "I'd like to keep as much of this sordid mess from them as I can. It's up to you, you're calling the shots."

"Could I come right now and talk..."

"No."

"Please Matt, I don't want it to be this way..."

I cut her off. In my most forceful voice I said, "Our marriage has been over from the second you spread your legs for him" I sighed dramatically. "Whatever your reasons you killed it. So let's just bury it as decently as we can." I paused for emphasis then said in a wistful tone, "I really hope you'll marry him. Not just for the girls, I think it'll make it easier on me too. I don't want to think you killed our marriage just for some hot sex..."

I then let the silence build. Finally Judy and said, "Okay Matt, if that's what you want, I'll do it your way."


If there's a hell, I've been there. The detachment stayed, or I think I would have died from the pain I saw in my little girls when Judy started the "You need to know that your daddy and I love you very much, but sometimes adults make mistakes..." talk.

She went on for several minutes using euphemism the girls didn't understand. Finally I said as gently as I could, "Your mommy has fallen in love with another man and now she wants to marry him. I've said it was okay so we will need to get a divorce."

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew that I would have done anything not to have said them. A poem by Omar Khayyam I learned in high school ricocheted around in my brain and I had to fight back the tears.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

Nothing has changed in the ten centuries since he wrote that. My whole universe consisted of their two precious faces. I couldn't even see the rest of their bodies, just two little masks of pain. I wasn't much older than they when the father of a friend on my soccer team murdered his mother and then killed himself right in their living room. His little sister and my friend had been hiding in their room as their parents yelled at each other. The only thing he remembered hearing before the shots was his father yelling, "They're better off with dead parents than this."

There had been a terrible fight between his grandparents for custody, and his mom's parents who lived in another state won. I never saw him again, but at that moment I knew just how his father had felt. It took every erg of my willpower not to get my gun and kill Judy. I've never hated anyone like that in my whole life. I thought I had, but until I saw what this was doing to my daughters I hadn't the tiniest inkling of what real hate was.

I know other things were said, the girls asked questions and Judy must have answered them. I couldn't hear a sound. All I knew was that I was holding two waling little treasures. Finally a question penetrated, "But, Mommy why don't you love Daddy anymore?"

I blinked and color returned to the world. I saw a creature, it couldn't be human. No human could bear the pain written on the body that looked like Judy's. Its face was a confused contortion of pain trying to radiate love to my daughters, "Mommy still loves Daddy, she will always love Daddy..."

I jumped in, "You won't understand this until you get older, but Mommy had to choose and she choose him. Sometimes people love more than one person but you can only be married to one. Mommy needs to be married to Mr. Capote, but we're all going to try to make this as easy on you as we can. Mr. Capote will love you very much, but I will always be your daddy. You're just getting an extra person to love you, just like mommy is."

Carrie, always the more demonstrative of the twins pulled herself out of my arms, rushed her mother and began to windmill blows on Judy using every ounce of her strength. Laurie followed her sisters lead a few seconds later but she'd picked up a long brass kaleidoscope from the coffee table. Her first blow cut Judy's forehead just above her left eye. I grabbed Laurie back, but made no attempt to help Judy. Instead I said in a voice that sounded unnaturally cold, "You've upset the girls, I think you'd better go. I'll let the Captain know when you can pick up your stuff."

Judy stood, blood pouring over her eye, and walked into the kitchen to get ice and paper towels. When she returned a few minutes later both girls had their arms wrapped around me and were crying. Judy started to open her mouth but I cut her off. "You will be staying with the Captain won't you, or do you want the girls to only call you on your cell?"

Washing her face had taken off her makeup and her eye was swelling shut, but her voice was calm when she answered, "It's where I've been the last two nights. I haven't said anything yet... I hoped we'd talk to him as a family..."

I cut her off again, "Girls, please go to your room, your mother and I need to talk alone for a few minutes."

As soon as they'd left I said, "As much as I admire and love the Captain, he's your father and I think you need to tell him alone. Besides, I'm sure you'll want to start planning the wedding."

I took a deep breath, "I've got a packet with some legal papers I've drawn up. I'd like you to take them with you. This is my plan for how to divide our property and settle our affairs... sorry bad choice of words. I will agree to pretty much anything you want, except the girl's custody and your using my name... I'll relent on that if you marry Capote as soon as this is final, it'll help hide what happened from the girls, but either way, I want this over in the minimum time, which is sixty days from Monday.

"I sort of lost it a minute ago, but if you'll agree, we can meet with our lawyer in the morning and work out a deal. I'm sure your boss will give you the day off and I want the papers filed by tomorrow night. If we can do that, I'll promise to do everything I can to help your relationship with the girls. I'll never tell them, the Captain, or anyone else that you're a lying cheating whore who tore up our happy home."

Judy had been looking like she wanted to interrupt but her tears finally started to fall. Without a word she turned and walked quietly out the door.

When I finally got the girls down for the night, I retired to my chair. I put my head in my hands and I whispered, "The Captain, oh shit, this is going to kill him. I'm so sorry this had to happen to him; he doesn't deserve this!!"

Judy's father had retired as an admiral, although he never served in that rank and refused to use the title. His last command had been one of the super aircraft carriers. A botched landing when he was riding backseat with a pilot new to the ship had left him paralyzed from the waist down. Although I had never been able to think of him as crippled, he lived in a wheelchair and had to pee through a tube. Judy, a very late first child, was fathered just before his accident.

Judy's mother had passed away from cancer when Judy was still in junior high, and the Captain raised her all by himself. I've never met a finer man. He was as much my father as my own, more. No, that's not fair, my father was a good dad, he just spent his life as a petroleum engineer and geologist. He was gone more than he was home, and while he did his best we were never close.

It was different with the Captain. I had always said I could never leave Judy unless the Captain left her too. He was the first man I'd ever admired who also treated me like a man instead of as a kid. Judy and I still had almost a year and a half of school left when we got married. Even I knew I was a bit immature for marriage, but the Captain brought out the best in me. Trapped in a wheelchair, still he was the most intimidating man I'd ever met and... I guess I could go on for days about how I felt about him and the influence he'd been in my life.

I took a deep breath, looked at the clock and for a second tried to convince myself it was too late to call him. He answered on the second ring. "Son, first let me say that I'm on your side. She's my daughter, and I love her, but I can't believe she did something this stupid. I know she's confused, but..." we talked for a long time. He talked about problems he'd seen in the Navy with wives cheating when their husbands had been gone for six months or even a year. He never actually said that some of them lived happily ever after, but I knew where he was going. As much as I wanted, I had too much respect for him to cut him short. Finally he got to his point. "I've read your paper work, is there any chance that if I beat this silly bitch to a bloody pulp that you'd consider giving her another chance?"

I had to smile at the Captain's hyperbole. He and I had talked many times about the problem with trying to spank our girls. We both believed that the mild spanking of a young child was more effective than trying to reason with an immature brain, but neither of us was very good at it.

I felt a coldness in my chest, and I worried that I might be having heart problems. "No, sir. Captain, I'm sorry but this wasn't a one time mistake. I've never understood how a man could kill his wife, but I do now. I'll spend the rest of my life working on forgiving her, but even if I could, I still couldn't live with her."

I sighed, I hadn't wanted to hear the words, especially coming from my own lips, but I couldn't equivocate with the Captain. "Besides, Sir, even if I could, we talked and she loves him. I couldn't live with that, not even for the sake of the girls."

The Captain's voice got very soft, "Son, she's pretty screwed up right now, if you give it some time..."

"She said they were talking marriage, I didn't even know what was going on and they were talking marriage. I know I was working long hours, but... I just can't excuse this. I want her to marry the bas... the guy, and we'll both live with it. I've said I won't bitch about her. Captain, our marriage is dead. But I do think it would be best if the twins didn't grow up thinking their mother threw away our marriage for the cheap thrills of a fling.

There was a long pause, "She hadn't told me that. Son... Son, are you sure this is what you want to do? You want to push her into this marriage?"

I made my voice as firm as I could. "Judy and I will always be tied together by the twins. Right now I have absolutely no respect for her. If she marries, at least she's trying to do the honorable thing. Who knows, maybe a few years from now we can both look at this dif..."

The Captain broke in, "If she marries him it's going to be bad, and that will make it awfully hard on our relationship, yours and mine..."

"You'll always be the girls granddad, and I'll always be their father. I'll let you decide how much more you're comfortable with, but... but I'll never be the one to step back from what you and I have."

I heard the Captain sigh; then he said, "This is harsh, but we'll play it your way. She's made her bed, I guess we'll just have to see how much she likes it, but... but, you know how I feel about you and you know I don't think two wrongs make a right."

I don't know how many times I've heard some variation of the expression "hard heart." All through our conversation, I'd been feeling mine morph. I didn't exactly hear a voice in my head, but I knew I was crossing a line, a line that turned my heart into case-harden steel. "I know sir, but I don't have a choice I couldn't take her back now and look myself in the mirror. As much as I loved Judy, I won't be a wimp husband. Even if I were willing, what sort of example would that set for my girls? Judy severed our marriage bonds. The sooner we make it legal the better, the sooner we past this, the sooner the future can work itself out."

If I hadn't known the Captain, I might have thought I heard tears in his voice, "Son, I'm going to encourage her to take your offer, to... to get this settled tomorrow. Just promise me that you and I can continue to talk, that you won't shut me out no matter how bad it gets. Please, promise me that..." His voice broke.

My own voice was a bit husky when I said, "You have my word on it, sir."

There was a very heavy silence and I heard the Captain croak something that might have been goodbye. I didn't trust my own voice to say even that. I knew his pain was worse than mine, he loved us both. I hung up the phone and though I tried, I had no tears. I didn't like myself very much and I hated Judy for making me this way.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Heterosexual / Cheating / Slow /