My husband's birthday was almost upon us and I hadn't yet found an appropriate gift for him. What do you give a man who has everything? What can you give a man who treats you like he owns you and that you are simply one more of his many possessions? What can you give a cheating bastard who fucks his secretary at lunchtime and your sister every Tuesday and Thursday night? Something special is what you give him - something very special.
I marry Harry on the rebound from my first marriage, which had been an unmitigated disaster. Harry was charming, attentive and after our sixth date I found that he was pretty good in bed too. But like I said, my first marriage totally sucked and I was in no hurry to do it again. It took Harry the better part of two years to talk me into marrying him. The honeymoon wasn't even over before I saw the first signs of Harry's insane jealousy and his need to place his stamp of ownership on what was his. He started treating me like a possession, albeit a prized one, instead of a wife. He began by trying to isolate me from any male friends that I had. The most striking example of that was the way he went after Robbie. Robbie and I had grown up together and our relationship was a brother/sister one. But Robbie was a male and Harry could not bear to have another man around his wife so he went out of his way to be rude and disrespectful when Robbie visited me. Robbie became uncomfortable coming around to see me knowing that Harry might be there so he stopped coming by. We still met to talk, but only after making arrangements ahead of time to meet elsewhere. The relationship still exists, but the spontaneity is gone.
Harry didn't want me working. "No wife of mine needs to work. I'm more than capable of seeing to your wants and needs. No one is ever going to say that Harry Banks can't take care of his own."
So I did what a lot of other non-working women did. I volunteered for various charities, played bridge with a group of other women who were in the same situation that I was, and I joined a health club to try and hold off the advancing years. Each of those activities gave Harry a fit. He was against my playing cards until he had satisfied himself that only women participated. He had the charities investigated and found that several of them gave assistance to minorities and he went ballistic. Harry was a bigot and he was against anything that "Gives those bastards a free ride." He put pressure on me to leave those particular charities and to keep peace in the family I finally gave in.
But it was the health club that really got to him. He stopped by one afternoon to pick me up and saw me in my tight leotard working on the Stairmaster in a room full of people - mostly men - and his face went purple with rage. It didn't help that most of the men in the room that day were in very good shape. On the way home he forbade me to go back, but for once I dug my heels in and told him that the place was doing me a lot of good and I was going to keep on going. He ranted and raved about it for days, but I would not give in. He took to showing up every day to watch me work out and to make sure that none of the men made any attempt to get friendly with me. All that did was make some of the men take notice of me.
Next, he told me that he was going to convert the basement into an exercise room so I wouldn't need to go to the health club.
"Harry, I need the advice of the staff to keep me on a program that will do me the most good."
"No problem sweetie, I'll hire you a personal trainer."
"You going to hire a half dozen women to work out with me? I need some one to pace myself against."
"If that's what it takes then that's what I will do. I'm not going to have my wife on display in front of a bunch of men."
Nothing more was said on the subject for almost a month, which should have alarmed me, because Harry is like a dog with a bone - he never lets go of things. One morning Harry told me he had a surprise for me and he drove me into town. We pulled into a parking lot next to a building that had a sign on it that said "The Lovely Lady". We went inside and I found out to what extent Harry would go to get what he wanted. He'd set up his own health club for women only. He had hired six personal trainers who were women, he had outfitted the place with every type of machine that my health club had and a few others that I'd never seen before. The place had a sauna, a juice bar, a separate room for aerobics, "And I bought the building next door. As soon as I get the permits I'm going to join it to this building and put in an eight lane swimming pool." So, I ended up with everything that I'd said I had to have and Harry had me out of sight of men and had the added benefit of a new money making enterprise.
Why did I put up with it? Because life was good. Harry was attentive (even if a bit overly so), he was loving and affectionate, he took very good care of me and he was pretty damned good in bed. All in all, I was pretty content with my life - right up to the day that I found out Harry was fucking my sister. I found out about it by accident when I stopped by her place one day to try and talk with her. Susan and I were estranged. We hadn't spoken in four years. Susan had been going with Harry while I was still married to Ralph and she had hoped to lead him to the altar. One night about six months after my divorce I stopped by to see her and Harry was there. Susan introduced us and about two weeks later Harry called me up and asked me out. Knowing he was Susan's I declined the invitation. He called me twice a week for the next month and I kept politely turning him down. One day when he called I flat out asked him not to call me again, "I'm not in the habit of dating my sister's boyfriends."
"Is that what's been the problem? It shouldn't be, I haven't seen Susan in months."
That night after work I stopped by Susan's to visit and I asked her how she and Harry were getting on.
"We aren't. He told me that he didn't feel that we were a good fit and he stopped seeing me. I haven't heard from him for about two months now."
"How do you feel about it?"
"A little bummed, but in the long run I guess I don't really want someone who could do that to me. Two years and then he decides we don't fit? Fuck him!"
Harry kept calling and after six months I finally went out with him and a year later we were married. Susan never forgave me for "stealing" Harry from her and she stopped talking to me. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Harry has business meetings and never gets home until late. On Tuesday I made up my mind to go and see Susan and try to mend the rift between us. I swung by her place at two in the afternoon and got there just in time to see Harry going up the steps to her apartment. He rang the doorbell, the door opened, Susan greeted him with a kiss and Harry went inside. I sat outside and watched the apartment until ten-thirty that night. Harry didn't come out and at ten thirty-five I headed home.
Wednesday I hired a private detective and one-week later I was sitting in his office getting his report. I seems that Harry was not only fucking my sister, but he was taking his secretary to the motel over lunch hour almost every day of the week. I told the detective to stay with it until he could get me some photographic evidence that I could use in court and then I went home to sit down and figure out what I was going to do.
I wasn't mad at Susan, even though she was stabbing me in the back. I knew that she probably loved him and had loved him long before I came along and love can make a girl do dumb things, like have an affair with a married man. I wasn't stupid - I knew that she felt she was taking some revenge on me, but part of me, a small part anyway, thought that maybe I had it coming. Maybe I should have stayed away from Harry even though they had broken up. I couldn't even get mad at his secretary. I wouldn't put it past Harry to have threatened Freda with her job if she didn't put out. No, most of my outrage was directed at Harry and whatever I did was going to be done to Harry. Two weeks later the detective handed me the proof I needed and I began to make my plans. Harry's birthday was coming up in two weeks and I was going to make it one to remember.
It took all of that two weeks to get everything arranged. Harry's birthday was on a Wednesday and I began dropping subtle hints leading Harry to believe that I was going to throw him a surprise birthday party. The day of his birthday, as he was leaving for the office, he said he would be home around seven and that we would go out to dinner and have a small celebration.