I opened a story the other day and what I read in the header and the first paragraph or so, was enough for me to close the story down again. I'm not one for what are euphemistically termed cuckold stories about guys who let their wives run around on them.
However I thought to myself, does the first couple of paragraphs always have to tell the reader where the story is going. Now that's a challenge I couldn't refuse. So please don't be in too much of a hurry to give up on this one.
As always I have to thank my LadyCibelle and Techsan for their patience, proof reading, editing skills and of course their encouragement. I'd also like to add that we don't always see eye to eye, so I take full responsibility for the content and any cock-ups in this story.
My wife was waiting impatiently in the bedroom but pretending not to be. I sat on the bed and watched as she fussed with her hair and make-up, as I had watched her do so many times over the years.
But lately she had outdone herself. I had to marvel at her beauty that was emphasised by the dress she was wearing. Low cut to show off her cleavage and ending at an almost but not quite obscene height above her knee. In doing so it did show off her shapely legs to perfection. The whole ensemble was finished by the highest heeled stilettos I'd ever seen her wearing.
A car horn sounded in the street outside.
"I must rush, there's Tony now. You know where everything is, don't you, Phil, and don't let the children stay up too late, will you?" Stephanie gave me a quick kiss on the forehead and then dashed down the stairs. As she was just about to go out the front door, she stopped to say good-night to our children.
"Mommy's going out to a party tonight, kids," she said, "Now you behave yourselves for daddy. Maybe Auntie Debbie will pop in to see you later." This brought cheers from the children; they all liked Debbie from next door.
I watched her walk out and get into the front passenger seat of the big Mercedes with blacked out windows that was parked in the street outside the house.
I didn't know what to do with myself after Stephanie had left. For a little while, I stayed upstairs just sitting on the bed sulking, until I heard a knock on the back door. That would be Debbie, I knew it had to her; I'd modified that doorway to allow for her wheelchair easy access some years ago. My daughter Sara let Debbie in, and the two of them went into the lounge where the other children were watching television. I made myself a little more presentable and pulled myself together, before I went downstairs.
"Hi, Phil!" Debbie said as I entered the lounge. "My, you're looking down."
"What do you expect, Debbie? This is the sixth time in the last four weeks that Stephanie's done this to me."
"Had me look after the children whilst she goes out with her boyfriend. She says she's going out with friends from work but that same guy picks her up every time."
"And you're jealous?"
"Yeah, well, of course I am. Haven't I got a right?"
"Wow, now, don't go bringing me into your troubles."
"Well, why me?"
"Well, only you can answer that one, Phil."
"Yeah, I've got to be the biggest mug in the world."
"I'll not comment on that one, Phil. Well, not in front of the children anyway."
"Okay, Debbie, don't tell me. I know I started all this in the first place."
"So you can't get annoyed with Stephanie then, can you?"
"But its not like I planned for things to go the way they did."
"No, things have just gotten out of hand on you and poor old Phil has finished up the loser."
"Give over, Debbie. I feel bad enough as it is."
"Okay, I won't rub salt into the wound. Look, why don't you nip down to the pub for a little while and have a pint? I can look after the children until it's their bedtime. But make sure you're back to put them down. I can't get upstairs to see what the little tykes are up to."
"Thanks, Debbie. You're a doll. I don't know what I'd do without you."
"Hire a nanny, I suspect."
"Well, it would save me all this dashing around. See you later and, kids, you behave for Auntie Debbie now."
The children said, "Yes, Dad," in unison as I walked out of the door.
I walked down the familiar street as I had done so many times over the previous few years. Strange, nothing ever seemed to change in that street. Old Mrs Cummings was sitting in her lounge hiding behind the net curtains, watching the world go by as she always did.
Old man Grant was watering his garden. He seemed to be working on his garden twenty-four hours a day, summer or winter, rain or shine. Strange old bugger, that one.
When I arrived at the Pub on the corner, I stopped for a while. I hadn't been in there for some time, and I was sure they'd all heard the rumours and knew what the score was; I wondered what my reception was going to be like. Oh, shit, I thought, Stephanie could even be in here with some guy or perhaps she had been out one night with one of the regulars. Damn it, would they all know?
Steeling myself, I forced myself to enter the lounge bar, the bar Stephanie and I had been in together on so many Friday and Saturday nights in the past.
"Hello, stranger!" the Governor called almost the moment I opened the door. Christ, I wish he hadn't. I was conscious that every eye in the place was on me in seconds. Disconnected voices called, "Hi, Phil!" from various corners of the room. I waved my hand in a general reply to all of them, without looking to see who'd spoken and headed for a stool tucked away at the end of the bar; somewhere that I could sit that would mean that only one person to get within easy speaking distance of me at a time.
I think they all got the message and, for a long time, no one came near me except the Governor to bring me my pint. He hadn't had to ask what I wanted to drink; he knew my usual poison.
"Sorry to hear how things panned out, Phil," he said, as he refused the fiver I proffered him in payment for the pint, with a wave of his hand. "This one's on the house. You look like you need it."
"To be honest, George, alcohol is the last thing I need. It was the cause of all my troubles."
"In moderation, Phil, that's what you've got to remember."
"Now he tells me!" I replied with a false smile, attempting not to look as down as I was feeling.
Look, I'd just fucked things up big time. I didn't really need every Tom, Dick and Harry knowing just how bad I felt about it.
Eventually one of the guys who'd been my best friend locally got up the courage to come over and talk to me.
"Well, Phil, how's it going?" Barry said with a concerned look on his face.
"Like shit, Barry. What did you expect?"
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"I'm not sure, Barry. Kinda gets me down, you know."
"If you ask me, you look like someone who needs to talk, Phil. Don't worry, I wont spill the beans to this lot. We've been friends for a long time. You know me better than that."
"Well, I suppose I've got to talk about it sometime."
"George, anyone in the snug?" Barry asked the Governor.
"No one I can't chuck out," George replied and then he asked, "You want some privacy?"
Barry nodded in confirmation and George disappeared to clear the little snug bar for us. When George reappeared and gave us the nod, Barry led the way in the little bar.
"Okay, what's eating you?"
"It's Stephanie, Barry. She's dating. She's had me come over and babysit the kids six times in the last four weeks."
"Shit, that's a bit quick on her part, isn't it. The divorce can't be final yet."
"Yeah, cuts me up something rotten to see her walk out of the house dressed up like that."
"I can imagine it does, but why the fuck does she ask you to babysit for her."
"She says she can't find anyone else. Debbie comes in to sit with the kids but she can't get upstairs to put them to bed."
"Bullshit! My Ruth would baby sit for Steph. She's only got to ask. If you ask me, Stephanie's turning the knife in the wound."
"I suppose she's got the right. I did fuck things up in the first place."
"Come on, whatever you did doesn't call for her torturing you like this. Everyone knows you love her, even if she doesn't."
"We reap what we sow, Barry."
"Look, Phil, if you don't mind me asking, what was it you were supposed to have done in the first place? You disappeared so fast, no one around here knows what the hell happened. All I've heard is speculation and innuendo."
"I fucked up big time, Barry. I was at a bloody seminar down in Torquay. Big do, it was supposed to be. Bloody joke really, nothing more than an excuse for most of the guys to party the night away.
"Anyway on the last evening everyone hit the juice a bit more than they should have; me amongst them. I'm not sure how, but some of us got invited to a party at another much smaller hotel, don't ask me how, a friend of a friend type thing. Damn place was more like a guesthouse than any hotel I've ever been to, but it did have a bar.
"Well, that party got way out of hand. Jesus, there were people shagging all over the place. They didn't even bother going to the bedrooms. I tell you, I'd never seen anything like it in my life. Now I stayed well clear of the folks who were getting out of hand. I only wish I'd taken one look and fucked off back to my own hotel. But come on, there's a bit of the voyeur in all of us and there was some tasty looking birds running around almost naked. Jesus, later on some of them were naked.
"I found myself a seat at the bar from where I could watch some of the action, even though I had no intention of joining in. I'm damn sure you'd have done the same, right?"
"You bet I would," Barry said in reply.
"I'm not sure how long I'd been sitting there when this young bird came and sat beside me. Honestly I didn't think she was like most of the other crumpets there. She seemed a little frightened of what was going on around us. Well, we got to chatting about this and that. She was telling me about the university course she was supposed to be taking. Honestly I can't remember much of what she said.
"Well, I was still drinking and so was she. To cut a long story short, I woke up in her bed with her the following morning. Shit, it scared the bleeding life out of me. Honestly, Barry, I've no recollection of getting in that bed or of what I did when I was in it. The next thing I remembered was the little tart saying, 'Morning, Lover, are you ready for another round.' Jesus, Barry, I was out of there so fast, you'd have thought my arse was on fire."
"You lucky bastard! Good looking, was she?"
"Yeah, she wasn't a bad looking sort. I've seen far worse. But there was nothing lucky about it. I finished up with the bleeding clap and that was just the beginning of my troubles."
"Oh shit, you didn't pass it on to Steph, did you?"
"No, mate, I didn't get the bleeding chance. Luckily, in a way, it was Steph's time of the month. And then before the week was out some bastard sent some photographs taken that night to Steph. She just blew up and threw me out."
"Oh, fuck, what fucking bastard would want to do that to you? You got any trouble at work? You know, made any enemies over the years?"
"No. No one else from my company was there, but I've got a good idea who sent those pictures and I even know why."
"You do? Who was the bastard?"
"Tell me, do you remember that couple that used to live at number 32? I can't recall their names, but she was done for soliciting and he was done for being her pimp. Living off immoral earnings or something they done him for."
"Yeah, just about. They moved out just after we bought the house. I was too late for all the fun though."
"Oh, you missed the police raids in the middle of the night then. Well, I never saw them when I was there, but guess who tended out to be at that bloody party in Torquay?"
"What, both of them?"
"I don't know for sure about him, but I'm damned sure it was her in the background of one of the photographs that the bastard sent Stephanie."
"Oh, fuck! You think they sent the pictures to Steph?"
"Bloody sure of it. They accused everybody in the street of grassing them up, over the prostitution lark. I think they recognised me and maybe even set up the thing with that little tart. Like a fucking mug, I walked right into it."
"Holy cow! But didn't you explain that you were drunk to Steph? Surely she'd cut you some slack over it."
"Well, she might have done, if I held my hands up and confessed when I first got back home. But like a fucking idiot I kept my mouth shut. I figured what Steph didn't know about, she wouldn't fret over. Christ, Torquay's nearly two hundred miles away. How the fuck was I to know those bleeding pictures were going to turn up in the post a week later?"
"Were they bad?"
"Bad enough. There were some of me and the little tart naked on the bed."
"And that's when the shit hit the fan?"
"Sure did, and caught me right in the face as it did so. But it didn't end there. I'd caught the clap off that little tart, remember. Well, a few weeks later when the symptoms showed, I had to go to the VD clinic and they had to get in touch with all my sexual partners in the previous three months. Well, there was no one beside the little bitch and I hadn't had sex with Steph since I'd been with the tart, because of her monthlies. But they're a right job's-worth crowd down there at the clinic and to them rules is rules. The fact I hadn't had sex with Steph since I'd been with that tart didn't stop them from calling her in for tests.
"If Steph was angry when she saw those pictures, she was bloody apoplectic when the bloody VD clinic wrote to her. I tell you she called me on the phone and I thought she was coming down the soding wires to rip my throat out. I think she might have forgiven me for sleeping with the little slut, but if she hadn't been on her period I would have given her the clap as well and we both knew it.
"There was no way she was going to forgive that, and she went straight to the divorce lawyer. Now once Stephanie was through that bitch Samantha Cromer's door, all hope of us staying together was flushed down the pan."
"Bugger, Phil, I'm sorry to hear all this."
"Well, do me a favour, Barry. Don't spread it all around."
"Jesus, Phil. I won't tell a soul. Bugger me; I'd be stupid if I did. You know too much about what I've got up to over the years. It would only take one word from you and Geena would be at that bitch Cromer's door as well."
Barry got up to replenish our glasses whilst I sat and brooded. When he sat down again, he asked me, "So what's the story with you and Steph now?"
"Well, that Cromer woman made sure Steph went for a divorce. You know the bitch told Steph not to even talk to me before she'd had her day in court?"
"What, did you try and fight it then?"
"Yeah, well, I was trying to delay things. I thought give it long enough and Steph might calm down and forgive me. But I should have known better once that amazon Sam Cromer was involved. I'm sure the witch is a man-hating lesbian. Christ, just about every one knows her reputation. Can you name any other solicitors off the top of your head?"
"No, but I've heard of Sam Cromer. She nailed a mate at work to the wall by his balls, when his wife divorced him."
"Yeah, well, my solicitor almost shit himself when he heard she was representing Steph."
"Don't blame him."
"Well, Steph got her decree nisi, and we've got a few months left before it becomes absolute. I see the kids every weekend and a couple of evenings a week."
"Yeah, I know I've seen your car outside the house."
"Well, after the first few weeks, Steph started to be a lot more relaxed and friendly to me when I was visiting the children. She even started staying in the room with us and talking to me. You know, I was just beginning to think there was a chance that we might get back together when she calls me one day at work and says she going out with some friends that night. The trouble was she couldn't find anyone to baby sit but Debbie. Well, you know Debbie can't get upstairs to put the kids to bed, so she asked me to come over and sit with them.
"I jumped at the chance. I thought it would help me get back into Steph's good books. What with her being so friendly in the weeks before, I really did think I had a chance, but I'm not so sure now.
"You see, Steph hadn't gone out, when I got there. Christ, she was done up to kill. I haven't seen her dressed up like that for bloody years. Then, this fucking great Merc pulls up outside the house and blasts his horn. Steph suddenly gets a fucking great smile on her face and trips out of the bleeding house like a fucking teenager. Christ, Barry, she's found another man already."
"Six fucking times in the last four weeks she's gone out with the bugger and she's never home until about one in the morning."
"Oh, fuck, well, who is he and what the fuck are you going to do about it?"
"What the fuck can I do about it?"
"Well, for a start, I'd want to know who the fucker is. Have you asked her?"
"Yep, but all she says is that she's going out with friends. She denies she's going out with a fella. But when he picks her up, she says, 'Here's Tony. I must go.' Or something like it."
"Phil, does she mention his name on purpose?"
"Now you come to mention it, I think she does. Probably to get under my skin."
"And he drives a real big black Mercedes with blacked out windows in the back?"
"Yeah. Do you know him?"
"I'm not sure, but that bloody car rings a bell. Look when we went to Florida the other year Geena hired a limo to take us to the airport. It worked out cheaper then the parking charge at Heathrow. Guess what, a big black Mercedes with blacked out rear windows."
"What, you think Steph's gong out with a limo driver?"
"No, mate, the driver was old enough to be her father. Have you ever got a look at who's driving it?"
"No, the angles are all wrong for me to see inside."
"I think Steph's using it as a taxi and could be winding you up at the same time."
"Why not, you said yourself she was well pissed off with you. Then she suddenly gets all friendly and asks you to baby sit. Look, young Ruth's sitting at home now; she's always sat for you two in the past, so it's not like Stephanie doesn't trust her with the children."
"That doesn't make sense."
"Yes, it does. Well, to me anyway. Look, you say Stephanie gets home just before one in the morning."
"Yeah, you can set your watch by her."
"Just like she would if she was picked up by a booked taxi every time she goes out."
"But that doesn't say she isn't meeting a guy somewhere."
"I'll give you that. But if I was you, I'd be interested to know who's driving that Merc and where she's going. Aren't you?"
"To be honest, Barry, I've been thinking I don't want to know where she goes and with who, or what's she doing either. Its killing me enough as it is."
"Well, you need to know. You'll never be able to get on with your life if you don't. So when Steph gets home tonight, I'm going to be waiting at the end of the road. The first thing we need to know is who is driving that bloody car. If it's the old guy who drove us to the airport, there's no way Steph's getting it on with him."
Barry and I talked for another ten minutes or so before I had to go to Stephanie's house and put the children to bed.
Through the dining room window, I watched the Merc pull up outside Steph's house at its usual time. It had become routine by then. The car had been sitting there for a good ten minutes before the front passenger door opened and Stephanie stepped out. Plenty of time for a good night snog or whatever, I really didn't want to think about it. As usual, Stephanie stood there and made a little show of straightening her clothing, before she hunted for her keys in her handbag and then made for the front door. This was my cue to slip back into the lounge and appear to have been lost in a TV program before she entered the house.
"Oh, thanks, Phil. I hope I haven't kept you too late. Would you like a coffee before you go?"
Once again a speech that had become routine for Stephanie when she arrived home from these nights out.
"No, thanks, Steph, got a lot on tomorrow. I'd better get going. Did you have a nice time tonight?" I asked, not really wanting to know the answer but being polite. I picked up my jacket and started to head towards the door. Barry was going to meet me down the street to tell me what he'd seen.
"Oh, you usually have time to have a coffee with me, Phil. Are you in that much of a hurry?"
"I'm afraid I am, Steph. See you Saturday when I pick the kids up. Night," I said, closing the door behind me.
As I got in my car, I made a discovery that I really didn't expect and that gave me something to think about. In the darkened dining room that was only slightly illuminated by stray light getting into it from the hall, I could just make out Stephanie standing there watching me. Bugger if I could see Steph standing there, had she seen me watching her get out of that Merc?
I stopped my car at the end of the road by the pub; Barry appeared out of the shadows got in the passenger seat.
"I was right. It was the old geezer driving the Merc."
"But why did they sit outside the house for so long. What were they doing?"
"Nothing, nothing at all. I think I could make out Steph getting money out and paying the old boy. Then they just sat there, I don't even think they were talking. I saw Steph look at her watch a few times, then she suddenly got out and went inside the house."
"Doesn't make sense, Barry."
"Yes, it does. Look, Phil, I don't like to say this but Steph's playing games with your mind."
"Look, the next time she calls you at the last minute, tell her you've got something on and can't make it. Then you call me on my mobile, here's the number. Look, if she's going out she'll have to ask Ruth to baby sit. If she's doing what I think she's doing, she won't go out at all. I can watch the house from mine and we'll soon know."
"And if she doesn't go out?"
"Well, the time after that you say yes, but let me know as well. I'll get Ruth on standby, the moment Steph goes off in that Merc. We'll be right behind her and see just where it is she's going all dressed up to kill and what she's doing there."
"I'm not sure, Barry!"
"Come on, Phil. Yes, you started this bloody mess and you've got to put an end to it. Whether you like what you find out or not."
"Okay, Barry, if you're willing to help me."
"Of course I am, Phil. What the fuck are friends for but to help each other when we're in the shit?"
It was the following Tuesday that I received the expected call from Stephanie at my office; as usual, quite late in the afternoon.
"Phil, sorry to ask you at the last minute. But could you by any chance look after the children for me tonight? My friends have asked me to go out with them."
"Oh, damn, Steph, I can't, I'm afraid. I've been dumped with the job of looking after a client from out of town. I've got to take her to dinner tonight. Sorry, girl, I won't be able to con any of the other guys into doing for this late in the day. Anyway it would probably upset her if one of the others showed up. Can't upset the clients, you know.
"Oh, damn, that's going to drop me right in it."
"Why don't you put it off until tomorrow night? I'll be at the house anyway to see the children."
"Oh, yeah, I'll see if I can change the night. Thanks anyway." Stephanie hung up.
As you might have guessed there was no client for me to take to dinner and I'd made the client female just in case Stephanie was playing games. I'd taken clients to dinner many times whilst we had been married but they always had been men in the past.
I called Barry and told him that Steph had just phoned me and I'd said I couldn't make it. I told him I'd made the client a female and he laughed.