When Sorrows Come......
Caution: This Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Heterosexual, Cheating, Slut Wife,
Desc: Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Did she really cheat? Ted discovers the truth.
"Look Ted," explained John Brock, the National Sales Manager. "If you want to advance, you're going to really have to think about this. You've been with the company for, what, almost fifteen years now? You're a senior sales rep and this is your opportunity to move up. A few years as a trouble-shooting rep. and you'll be in line for a district of your own, and don't forget the twenty percent increase in income you start to draw as soon as you say okay."
"Shit, I know, John. It's just the travel. Barbara will have a fit when she discovers that I will have to be away three days or more a week. She really hates when I have to be away the occasional day or so. What is she going to say when she hears this?" Ted just shook his head.
John nodded, he understood the difficulty of Ted's dilemma. "Okay, Ted. You think about this and talk it over with your wife. She has got to be made to understand how important this decision is; it will affect your future with the firm. Make her understand that."
John sat and looked at Ted's retreating back. He knew Ted's wife. Barbara Arnold was a beautiful woman, still firm and shapely despite her 40 years, but with her physical attributes aside, she was also very strong willed and he knew the battles that ensued in the Arnold household. In fact, he was just a bit surprised that the marriage still worked. Ted was also strong willed and they seemed to clash almost constantly. He felt sorry for what was going to face Ted when he dropped this bit of information at the dinner table.
Ted had a frown of worry and concentration on his face as he returned to his office. He should have been tickled pink at being offered this position, it was a step up the ladder and a nice increase in pay; but he also knew that it was going to provoke a battle at home - or should he say another battle. It seemed that all they did lately was fight. He couldn't understand why they seemed to get on each other's nerves so often lately. He knew that it wasn't always like that. Damn, they were so much in love at one time.
His mind wandered back to the early years after college. He had majored in computer science and had secured a position with a small software outfit that seemed to have a bright future. Barbara Clarke was a blind date arranged by her brother who had been a roommate. He remembered how terrific she looked when he first saw her. He had almost embarrassed himself, standing there tongue-tied. She wore her tawny blond hair almost to her shoulders and her light brown eyes always seemed to twinkle when she talked to him. She was about five inches shorter than his 5' 10' and had a knockout figure. He had no idea what her measurements were, but he did see that she was well endowed on top.
She was a brand new nurse working part time at the ER at Jefferson Medical Center. They went to a small Italian restaurant not far from his favorite hangout, Pat's,. After dinner they strolled the Italian Market. He took her hand as they walked and felt like he was walking on air. After a bit, he drove her home and walked her to the door. He stood, uncertainly, for a bit until she took the initiative and gave him a quick peck on the lips and turned and went into her apartment. Before she closed the door, she smiled and her eyes sparkled.
He was smitten and he realized it. He was old enough and had enough experience with women in his two years in the army and during his accelerated program in college that he didn't mistake this as just an infatuation. They dated and were soon known as the "love birds,"
Their courtship was marred by the one incident that still rankled Ted from time to time. Barbara had told him that she had to work some overtime at the ER and wouldn't be able to see him as planned one evening. Since this did happen from time to time, he gave it no thought and changed his plans from staying in, as he told her he was going to do, to going out for a couple of drinks at one of the local neighborhood bars.
It was with a sense of shock and betrayal that he saw his fiancé snuggled in a corner booth with some guy. Snuggled was an appropriate term as the guy had his arm around her and was turning her face in order to kiss her. Ted could see Barbara's engagement ring as she brought up her hand to rest it on this asshole's shoulder.
Almost without conscious thought Ted moved quickly to them and watched as Barbara looked up and saw him. Color fled her face, she turned ashen and stunned, words obviously failing her. Without a word, Ted took her left hand and smoothly removed the ring from her finger, placed it in his pocket, turned and left.
Barbara frantically attempted to rush after him, but Ted was in his car and gone from the parking area in seconds. Days went by. Ted ignored all calls from his ex-fiancé, refusing to speak to her and vowing to never again see her.
He could never remember being as angry and distraught as he was then. He loved her and she had blatantly betrayed him. He could make no sense of the why of it. Why agree to marry him if she did not intend to be faithful? He knew that in order to retain his sanity he would have to see her, talk to her, find out just why she had done this to them. In this frame of mind he did finally answer her call and agree to see her at her apartment. He wanted the meeting there so that he would have the option to leave at any point that suited him.
It was after 8:00 p.m. that he rang her bell. Barbara opened the door quickly and attempted to throw herself into his arms. He gently held her off and told her to keep away. He saw that she had been crying and that she was pale and drawn.
"Barbara," Ted began quietly. "I'm here only because I need to know why you did this. I need to know that so that I can move on. You have to realize that whatever we had is now gone."
"Nooooooo, Ted, Please, please, just listen, just listen to me. It's not what you think. Just listen, please Ted." Barbara pleaded.
Ted nodded and they moved into the living room. Barbara sat on the couch while Ted very deliberately moved to the chair across from her. He could see how nervous she was, fidgeting and pulling at her sleeve. She looked at him imploringly while he sat impassive.
"Ok, Barbara. I'm listening. Tell me why you lied to me, why you cheated. While you're at it, perhaps you can tell me how many other men you've seen while engaged to me." he said cruelly
"No one, Ted. No one, I swear. Let me explain. The guy I was with was my boyfriend before I met you. Things were getting serious, but I had reservations about my feelings for him. A few months before we met, I told Mark that I really didn't love him and wanted to end our relationship. He became very upset, but finally saw that I meant what I said and left. I later found out that he had moved out of town and I breathed a sigh of relief. I knew that I really didn't love him and I didn't want to hurt him.
"He called me a couple of weeks ago and asked me to meet him. I told him that I was now engaged and that he needed to let me be. He seemed genuinely happy for me and pressed me to at least join him for a drink and allow him to properly wish me a happy lifetime with my future husband. I knew that it was wrong, but he begged and begged and I thought, in order to get rid of him already, I would meet him and that would be that. I was afraid to tell you and I thought that I would get this over with and be finished with him."
Barbara was now looking at Ted with pleading in her eyes, silently begging him to understand and to believe her. She vowed to hold nothing back. Ted just sat and listened.
Barbara continued, now lowering her eyes. "I didn't count on him getting tipsy and amorous. If you had watched a bit longer you would have seen that I was trying to get him off of me. He kept asking for a goodby kiss and I told him forcibly that that wasn't going to happen. I was trying to get out of that booth. I knew then that I had made a terrible mistake, that I should never have seen him there in the first place.
"Please, Ted. That's the god-honest truth. I was never unfaithful and I never intended to be unfaithful. I love you, Ted. I do, I do." she now whispered and the tears streamed from her eyes.
Ted's resolve crumbled. He believed her, her explanation was in keeping with what he saw he now realized, and he knew that perhaps he had reacted in too extreme a manner. He rose and took her in his arms. She clung to him and wept into his shoulder. "Oh, Ted. I would never do anything to make you think that of me. Never, Ted. Never," she murmured softly against him.
They were married a year later. Barbara had gotten her bachelor's degree and now was full time in at the ER. Ted struggled as a sales rep. with the company, knowing the difficulty he he was having trying to sell software that wasn't all that valuable to the business world - it was just too much like much of what was already out there. Ted continued and intensified his efforts and they managed with their two salaries until Barbara discovered that she was pregnant.
She resigned from the center to have the child, a boy that they named Andrew. They struggled in their small apartment, but were happy and content despite Ted's almost futile efforts to make more than just a living. They sat and talked and came to a mutual decision to have another baby as soon as possible. They had both wanted two children and wanted them as close in age as possible. They both knew that money was going to be a problem, but they both felt that this was something that they both really wanted.
That was when fate intervened and the software company that Ted had applied to before landing his present position contacted him. It seemed that he had gotten an excellent reputation in the field for both his expertise as well as being well liked as a friendly and sincere person. He was offered a sales territory in the area and he jumped at the chance. He was very familiar with the products that his new company offered and he knew that his income was going to change dramatically. He was right. The Arnold's money problems became a minor blip on their screen for awhile.
After the birth of Julie, two years after Andrew, they decided that it was time to move and they purchased a relatively large four bedroom, two and a half bath home with a two car garage. One interesting plus to the house was that the previous owner had built a large room with a half bath over the garage that he had used as a study. There was a door at the end of the hallway on the second floor of the house that led directly into the study as well as a flight of stairs from the study down into the garage. Ted thought that this would be perfect for his office and quickly appropriated the space. He purchased an L shaped desk and moved his computer, file cabinets and all of his paperwork in. They had decided on new living room furniture so the old sofa bed and easy chair went into the garage office as well.
The only problem that continued to plague them was that while Ted's income improved significantly and continued to improve as the years went by, their expenses also mounted until it seemed that they were living from paycheck to paycheck. Very little was put aside for emergencies or savings.
Money problems, while not dangerously urgent, still nagged at both Ted and Barbara and slowly became a bone of contention. From arguments about money, they proceeded to disagree about other things - idiotic, silly things that previously were never even discussed.
Ted had become more conservative politically and Barbara was a volunteer for liberal candidates. Barbara began to slowly avoid meat and built meals around vegetables or fish, which Ted abhorred. They had even started to argue about the kids. Barbara thought that Ted was too lenient with them and Ted thought that Barbara tended to be a mite too strict.
The occasional disagreement slowly escalated into frequent bickering until it was an almost integral part of their relationship. It was a slow, insidious process, but they went from "love birds" to the battling Arnolds. Fortunately, the love that they shared was real as was the foundation upon which they had built their marriage, but the frequent spats were worrisome and tested that love.
That night after dinner Ted broached the topic of his promotion. Barbara just looked at him and asked, "Okay, what's the catch? I know that there's always a catch."
Ted sighed and told her. "I'll have to be away at least two or three days a week, visiting sites around the country. But remember, there will be an immediate twenty percent raise in pay and I'll be in line for my own district in about three to four years."
Barbara's lips had tightened. "At least three days a week away from home, huh? You thought that I would buy that? Why don't you just agree to be away for seven days a week? What kind of marriage is that? We might as well not be married at all. This is bullshit, Ted and I can't understand how you would even consider it. I'll tell you right now that I won't agree to it."
Ted's eyes had narrowed and he felt his head start to pound. Even though he knew that this dispute was coming, he found it difficult to control his temper. "Look, Barbara. We've been trying to get a second mortgage to finance Andy's college tuition. Did you ever stop to think how we're going to manage paying that off? And, Julie will be ready for college in a couple of years. Where's the money going to come from for that? Bitch all you want to, I'm taking the job." and he turned and left the room leaving Barb to stew.
Ted knew that she would eventually come around. She was an intelligent woman and she would realize that he really didn't have an option. They needed the money and he wanted to continue to climb the career ladder in the company. Barbara did come around, but things were a little strained in the Arnold household for awhile.
They tiptoed around each other for a few weeks until things settled down, but things just never seemed the same. It was a bit strange, while things were a bit cool, the fights seemed to have almost disappeared. In place of the passionate arguments, their conversations were cool and almost formal, as if they were acquaintances, not man and wife. Even the little gestures of affection had vanished. Eventually, a degree of calmness returned to the Arnold house, but they were both aware that things were just not the same.
Weeks turned into months and almost two years had gone by since Ted had accepted the new position. Julie Arnold had graduated from high school and had been accepted at the same college that Andy attended. Ted's salary had continued to grow and money wasn't the pressing concern it had been in the past. Yet, Ted was uneasy and unhappy. He and Barbara seemed to have entered into a strange phase in their marriage. They were cordial and friendly to each other. The arguments had virtually disappeared. But Ted realized also that the passionate love that they had shared had ebbed. Even their love making seemed to have become mechanical and accomplished by rote. Barbara seldom seemed to have an orgasm and also appeared to be a reluctant bed partner at best. Ted was discouraged and eventually just lost interest in approaching his wife sexually. Intimacy between the two had virtually disappeared.
Barbara sat in Ann's kitchen, both sipping on mugs of coffee. Ann was concerned about Barb's appearance. She looked drawn and wan and seemed unusually quiet.
"Ok, Barb. Enough is enough, tell me what's going on. You obviously have a lot on your mind. Is it about your marriage?"
"Why do you automatically think it's my marriage, Ann? Why does everyone always think it's my marriage?" exclaimed Barb.
Ann took a breath and shook her head. "Barb," she said softly. "I almost always think it's your marriage because it almost always is about your marriage. You know what everyone says about you two, they call you the battling Arnolds and there's a reason for it."
Barbara head sagged and she was silent for a moment. "Ann, I've known you for over almost fifteen years, ever since we moved into this community. You and Dave have been our closest friends and we were also shattered when Dave passed away. But, I've always been jealous of you. You and Dave had such a loving relationship. The love that you shared was so evident every time I looked at the two of you."
Barbara now had tears in her eyes. "Why, Ann. Why can't Ted and I get along. It's been like this for years now. We just rub each other the wrong way. Ann, we don't have knock down, drag out fights anymore, and you'd think that would be a good thing. But it seems to be even worse now. We treat each other like casual friends. It just seems that Ted doesn't give a damn if we stay together or split up and I'm really afraid that's where we're headed."
Barbara looked up at Ann and colored. "Ann," she whispered. "We don't even make love anymore. He just stopped and even before that it was just so... so... impersonal, I guess is the best word to describe it... It was like... by the numbers. I just wonder if Ted is having an affair; that really wouldn't surprise me at this point. In fact, I feel it in my bones, it's just a matter of time before I find out that I'm right. In fact, I'm about ready to have one myself."
Ann looked at her friend sympathetically. She could intellectualize Barb's angst, but could never really internalize it; she couldn't fathom a marriage that wasn't caring and loving. "Barb," she said softly. You know that you're going to have to do something or you'll be looking at a sad road ahead of you."
"I know, Ann. I'm not sure yet what to do, but I think that things will be soon coming to a head and we'll just have to see what happens. But enough about me, tell me what's been happening to you. I haven't even talked to you in days."
Ann hesitated before answering. She didn't want to further sadden Barbara with her good news, but decided to share. "Barb, I met someone and I think that I can really care for him."
Barbara's smile was sincere. "Hell, that's absolutely great, Ann. It's been four years and you haven't even had a real date. Tell me all about him, dish the dirt, gal."
"Well, his name is Matt Weeks and he's the new Director of Personnel at work. He was transferred in to take the place of Doris who retired recently. He had also lost a spouse so I guess we're kindred spirits. Anyway, we've been talking and he asked me out for dinner on Wednesday and I accepted. I think I really like him, Barb." and she colored as she admitted this.
Barb was enthusiastic. "That's such great news, honey. We have to get you all spiffed up for this date. We'll make an appointment for the beauty parlor for Tuesday. Let's get our hair cut, we both wear it too long anyway. And I have the perfect dress for you; we have the same measurements and we're both about the same height. You've got to wear this dress, it'll make you look terrific and I have the shoes to match."
Ann giggled, "Damn, I feel like a schoolgirl. It's just a date, Barb. It's not like I'm getting engaged or anything."
"Who knows where this could go, Ann. The thing is for you to look your best. Don't worry about a baby sitter, I'll be here and look after your girls. They're getting almost old enough so that you won't have to worry about a sitter soon anyway. I want you to just go and enjoy yourself, you certainly deserve it," Barbara bubbled.
That evening Ted mentioned to his wife that the annual company Christmas party was being held in a couple of weeks at the downtown Marriott. "Why don't you go out and splurge on a new dress and stuff," Ted suggested. "It's been awhile since we've been out to a bash and I think that we would both enjoy outselves."
Barb's eyebrows went up a bit. "This was a bit unusual for Ted," she thought to herself. "We haven't gone to one of these company parties in awhile. Does he have some ulterior motive? I wonder if there's someone he wants to see at this party? Well, two can play at this game."
"Okay, Ted. I just might do that. I can always use a new outfit and I did see a beautiful little white number at the store a few days ago. By the way, will Phil Stine be at the party?"
"Stine?" Ted repeated. "Why are you asking about that ass? You know that he's the biggest pussy hound in the area? Why so interested in that prick all of a sudden," he asked suspiciously.
"Don't be so crude, Ted. Phil has always been a complete gentleman around me and I find him amusing and an interesting conversationalist. What? Now you're getting jealous all of a sudden?" Barbara retorted, inwardly satisfied that she had gotten his goat.
Ted eyed her stonily, wondering what the hell she was up to. He knew his wife and he could feel the wheels turning in her head. Whatever she had in mind, he knew that it wouldn't make him happy. He shook his head and went up to his study.
The next days were even cooler between Ted and Barbara. The short conversation about the Christmas party and her mention of Phil Stine seemed to open an even wider rift in their relationship. They viewed each other with a degree of suspicion and wariness. Ted just knew that some kind of major eruption was coming down the road.
The next couple of weeks passed uneventfully. Barbara did, in fact, get the "little white number" she had had her eye on. She had been a bit hesitant because that little dress was a bit risque. It was a little on the short side, coming down to mid-thigh with a plunging neckline and virtually no back. But Barbara knew that she still had the figure for it and she also knew that Ted would be royally pissed that she would wear that to a party attended by his colleagues.
"Screw him," she thought. "Let him realize that others appreciated what he didn't. Let him eat his heart out."
The day before the big Party, Ann was sitting in the Arnold's living room watching Barbara model her new dress. "My God, Barb. Are you sure that you want to wear that? I mean it's a beautiful dress, but there are going to be a lot of guys at that party and there's going to be a lot of drinking. What you're wearing could be like a red flag to a herd of horny bulls, plus you know you can't wear a bra with that," she laughed.
"And Ted will be royally pissed," Barbara giggled. "I can't wait to see his expression when he sees me in this." But, inwardly she had doubts about the appropriateness of the outfit and was not quite sure that she should go through with actually wearing it. She knew that she shouldn't push Ted too far. Realizing that she was being too apprehensive, she shrugged her doubts off and looked forward to the splash she would make at the party.
The following evening, after showering, putting on her makeup and dressing, Barb made her way slowly down the stairs, awaiting Ted's reaction to her dress. He looked up from his seat in the living room and then quickly rose to his feet, his face flushed.
"What the fuck are you wearing," he shouted hoarsely. "You can't go in that thing."
"Why? You afraid that other men might think I'm hot? You don't own me, mister. I'll dress however I wish." she snapped back at him, and without a backward glance went to the closet and shrugged into her coat.
Ted stood there, his anger almost overwhelming him. He knew that she was doing this purposefully, goading him. He also knew the sales force and the ribbing he would get days after. He kept his mouth shut, got his coat and went out the door and into the car, not waiting for her. He sat behind the wheel and when she was finally beside him, he started the car and drove to the hotel. Not a word was exchanged between the two of them.
They arrived at the hotel shortly and had the valet take their car. They made their way to the main ballroom and stopped at the coat room where Ted averted his eyes as they gave their outerwear to the gal behind the counter. Entering the ballroom, Ted quickly left Barbara's side and made his way to the long bar. He ordered a scotch neat and gulped it down quickly.
John and Joyce Brock saw the Arnolds enter the room and John muttered to his wife, "Oh, oh. It looks like Ted and Barb are at it again. Shit, he looks like he's ready to spit nails. I better go over and calm him down." He rose and waited for Barbara to make her way to their table.
In the meantime Barbara had attracted quite some attention in her attire. She felt the eyes on her as she wandered into the room and, seeing Joyce Brock, moved over to where she and her husband were sitting.
Joyce smiled at Barbara and murmured, "Damn, Barb. That dress is gorgeous and you sure know how to fill it out. Just make sure that my husband doesn't get too near you," she laughed.
John colored a bit and asked Barbara if she wanted a drink and then wandered over to the bar next to Ted. He put his hand on Ted's shoulder and said quietly, "If you don't settle down you're going to have a heart attack. Your pressure must be sky high."
Ted took a breath. "Yeah, I know, John. I'll be ok, just give me a few minutes. Did you see what she's wearing? It's like she's surfing to get laid, and not by me."
"Wait here for me, I'll be right back," John told him as he made his way back to the table, depositing drinks for his wife and Barbara. He looked down at the ladies and told them that he would be with Ted for awhile. Joyce nodded and he departed.
Barbara turned to Joyce and whispered, "Joyce, I know that Ted is really angry about how I'm dressed, but it's not really all that outrageous. I've seen worse."
Joyce nodded, "I know, Barb. The dress is not all that daring, but I think that Ted's mad because of the setting. You know how these guys are here. Half of them keep sniffing around trying to get laid all the time, and being married is no impediment to them. Ted's jealous and fearful, I think. It could be that he's pissed because he thinks that you're fishing, and without a license - being married and all that."
Barbara sighed. "I know, Joyce. I probably went too far with this outfit, but I wanted to get his goat. It looks like I certainly did do that. Besides, "she added with a grin, "a girl can use all the attention she can get at my age."
Barbara sounded confident, but she was uneasy and she kept her eye on Ted. It wasn't long before Joyce's husband returned to the table, leaving Ted to simmer by himself at the bar. Chatting with the Brocks and another couple who had joined them, Barbara kept stealing glances at Ted. She had almost made up her mind to approach him to try to salvage the evening, when she saw an obviously tipsy blonde woman stagger over to Ted.
"Teddy, buy a girl a drinky poo?" Denise burbled as she leaned against him.
Ted tried to shrug her off, leaning her against the bar. "Denise, you're smashed, I think that you've had more than enough."
Denise Richards worked in accounting and had been flirting with Ted for years, but not in any serious manner and Ted always took it for what it was, harmless bantering. Denise was very happily married to an airline pilot, who, as usual, was absent for the evenings festivities.
Denise leaned over and whispered in Ted's ear, "Ted, now's your chance. I'm drunker than hell and hubby's not here." and she then caught his ear lobe in her teeth.
Ted, amused, knowing that she was pulling his chain, straightened her and smiled, "Denise, hubby would have my balls on a skewer and I'm not suicidal."
Denise suddenly lurched and turned a bit pale. "Ted, I think I'm going to upchuck. Help me to the little girl's room, will you?"
Ted quickly put his arm around her waist and walked her out of the door and down the hall, searching for the lavatories.
Barbara had sat, observing the interchange between her husband and the blonde, from across the room. She had felt her temper flare and her anger caused bile to rise in her throat. Then, to her shock and dismay, she saw Ted, with his arm around this strange woman, leading her out of the ballroom and down the hall. Her fingers clutched the tablecloth tightly.
"That bastard," she hissed to herself. "So that's why he wanted to come to this shindig. Bastard - right in front of me and everyone."
Barbara had turned pale and her eyes blazed. Her first reaction was to get her coat and drive home, but she calmed herself. "He thinks that he can thumb his nose at me in front of everyone, does he. Two can play at that game,"
Meanwhile, as Barbara steamed, Ted was frantically searching for the ladies room before the woman he was holding up barfed all over him. Noticing two gals from the office coming out of a door he shouted for help. Seeing his dilemma, they laughed and quickly gathered Denise and led her into the ladies room.
Ted breathed a sigh of relief and realized that he really didn't want to return to the ballroom just yet. He continued along the hallway until he came to a door which led to a sheltered outdoor alcove. He stepped out, making sure that the door didn't lock behind him. The air was cold, but it felt good on his overheated skin. He slipped a slender panatella from his inside pocket and lit it with a match. He felt now more relaxed then he had in days. He stood there, smoking his cigar and wondering how the two of them had screwed up their marriage so badly. He now acknowledged, at least in his own mind, that there were real problems in their relationship and he knew that he and Barbara needed help. He loved her, but they had to find ways to get back to the loving couple they had been years ago. He knew that with love and understanding, they would be able to fix what had gone so wrong.
Back in the ballroom Barbara was startled to find a tall, slender man, bending over her, asking her to dance. She looked up and saw that it was Phil Stine. She smiled broadly and took his hand, accompanying him to the floor. She laughed inwardly to herself. "How delicious, how perfect. The bastard - let him burn, let him know that I'm still desirable. Let him know that I won't sit back quietly and let him play around."
"Damn, Barb, you look absolutely scrumptious, good enough to eat in that outfit," Stine almost leered at her. "Sorry, didn't quite mean it the way that sounded," he added and laughed.
Barbara colored a bit, looked around to see if anyone had heard that comment, and swatted him playfully on the shoulder. "Behave yourself, Phil. You're supposed to be a gentleman."
"Oh, I am, Barb, I certainly am, you know that" he murmured as he gathered her into his arms for the slow number the band was playing. Barbara could feel his cock starting to stiffen against her and she tried to move her hips back a bit, but he held her closely and she just relaxed and put her head on his shoulder.
Stine held her captive for dance after dance, intermingled with drinks from the bar. Barbara had tried to keep her eye out for Ted, but as time went by, she finally gave up looking for him. She knew that by this time he was enjoying the favors of that blonde and she fought to keep the tears from her eyes. She just gave in to Stine's compliments and kept consuming the drinks he would periodically get for her.
Ted had finally returned to the ballroom and he saw immediately his wife in the clutches of Stine. "Son of a bitch," he thought. "It didn't take either of them long to hook up. Is this what she had in mind all along? Is the dress for that prick?" All of his noble thoughts about fixing their marriage went out of his mind and he turned to the bar for another scotch, stewing and allowing his blood pressure and resentment to rise.
He made his way over to a group of buddies and joined the conversation, trying to get the sight of his wife and Stine out of his mind. It wasn't long before he was engrossed in the conversation and didn't notice the passing of time. When he again looked at his watch, he realized that he had been sitting there for almost an hour and he looked around to see where Barbara was sitting. He couldn't see her and then slowly examined the room, section by section. Nothing - and what was even more worrisome was that Stine was nowhere to be found either. Ted quickly rose to his feet and excused himself.
Striding out of the ballroom he looked one way and then the other. Moving down the hallway he had previously traversed, he saw door after door of conference rooms, all seemingly locked. The fourth door was slightly ajar and he slowly and cautiously opened it and peered in. He froze as he saw his wife in the arms of Phil Stine. They had their lips locked and it looked like his tongue was down her throat. One of her breasts was out of her dress and Stine was pulling on her nipple.
Ted exploded; he rushed into the room and pulled Stine's hair and head away from Barbara. He then kneed him viciously in the groin and watched as the prick collapsed to the floor, curling up into a fetal position and moaning piteously. Ted turned to his wife, who was now cowering from him, white faced. Her words were slurred but understandable. "Ted, don't - it was a mistake. Please," she muttered, trying to stand upright.
"Find your own way home, you slut," he snarled at her, disgust and anger distorting his features. "Maybe you can fuck a ride out of someone else here." He then turned and almost ran out of the room, down the hallway to get his coat, and then out of the door. He collected his car and broke a few speed limits getting home, trying to drive with tears blurring his vision.
Ted left his car in the driveway and stumbled to and entered the front door. He threw his coat at the closet and then turned, trembling, not knowing what to do next. He clenched his fist and suddenly hit the wall with maximum force. Luckily, he missed the studs and punched a significant hole through the wallboard. The suddenness of the unexpected damage seemed to bring some semblance of sanity back to him and he took a deep breath and tried to calm down and think rationally.
Ted's first thoughts were of divorce. He would not stay married to a wife who cheated, who betrayed him. The shock of that course of action rocked him then, could he actually walk away from Barbara, from all of the years that they shared together? He then told himself that the last few years weren't all that wonderful anyway, perhaps it would be best for both of them if they split. He also knew, deep down in his psyche, that he still loved his wife and wished desperately for a loving and giving union with her.
Ted was a man torn, pulled in different directions. His rage at what Barbara had done at the party consumed him, but he also realized that walking away from her would be terribly difficult for him to do. Ted was not a stupid man; he knew that making any decisions now would be impossible. He would wait and have a rational discussion with Barbara tomorrow. Tomorrow, when he was calmer and more able to contain his anger. Together, they would come to some kind of resolution.
Ted wearily climbed the stairs, gathered his toiletries and his pillow from the master bath and bedroom and made his way to the guest room where he undressed and climbed into bed. He more then suspected that he would get little sleep that night. As he lay there, eyes wide open, he heard a car pull into the driveway. He heard car doors slam and then voices in the foyer. They were muffled, but he soon heard the front door close again and then hesitant footsteps up the stairs. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore the sounds. Ted lay there, quietly, listening to himself breath in and out, willing himself to concentrate on the memory of an evening at the beach when he was a teenager, remembering the setting sun, and the reflection on the calm sea. He fell asleep.
The bright sunlight streaming through the window caused Ted to reluctantly open his eyes and squint at the clock on the dresser. It was 9:33 a.m. and his head was pounding and his mouth felt as if it were filled with cotton. Memories of the previous night flooded his mind and he felt a tinge of nausea which he fought down. He made his way to the hall bath and downed three aspirin and brushed his teeth and gargled with mouthwash. A hot shower followed by a few seconds of icy spray soon had him feeling more human. He now noticed that the master bedroom door was wide open and saw Barbara sprawled on the bed, naked except for her panties. She was still asleep, snoring softly.
Ted made his way downstairs and into the kitchen. Picking up the coffee pot, he paused and lowered back to the counter. "Fuck it," he muttered as he picked up his coat from the floor near the closet and walked out of the house. He drove downtown and stopped at a IHOP and had a late breakfast and then to his office. No one was there this Saturday late morning and he was able to finish up some odds and ends that he had put off.
It wasn't until almost 1:00 p.m. that he headed home, steeling himself for what he knew would be a very unpleasant confrontation with his wife. He truly didn't have any idea what the outcome of their conversation would be. He suspected that it could very possibly lead to the end of the marriage at worse, but if not that, then what - a continuation of a marriage that was troublesome at best? He tried to clear his mind and let whatever denouement come.
He walked into the house and saw Barbara sitting in the living room. The drapes were drawn and the room was lit only by the daylight trying to creep in around the fabric over the windows. She sat in the shadows and he saw that she was wearing her housecoat and was pale and drawn. He sat down heavily across from her and began:
"We have to talk," he said quietly. He looked at her and saw that she wouldn't meet his gaze.
Barbara finally raised her head and said, "Before you say anything, I want to ask you a question." She paused, waiting for his approval to continue. Ted nodded.
"Did you fuck her? Did you fuck that blonde who was hanging all over you last night?"
Ted felt the rage rise up and threaten to overwhelm him. He had to make a conscious effort to tamp it down, not let it gain control over him. He shaped it, compressed it and rose to his feet.
"Why is it that cheaters always feel that everyone else is also a cheater? They cheat, so I guess it follows that everyone else does it too. Perhaps it makes them feel less guilty. To them the marriage ceremony isn't a commitment to love and cherish - it's only round one in a constant battle for supremacy. To them marriage isn't a promise to be faithful, it's an opportunity dominate and overwhelm," Ted replied quietly. He kept his voice low, but the steel and anger were quite evident.
Barbara had turned deathly pale and he saw the tears start to flow down her cheeks, but he felt no sympathy for her. He continued:
"To answer your question, no, I didn't fuck her. I took her into the hall, looking for the ladies room and two of the gals from the office saw my plight and took over. Also, and pay close attention to what I'm going to say,... I have never cheated. I have never in my married life touched a woman inappropriately and I have never allowed a woman to touch me inappropriately."
He paused and looked at his wife with contempt. "Can you say the same, wife?" he snapped. " Can you repeat my words? Can you tell me that no man has every touched you inappropriately?" He looked down at her and there was now sadness and hurt in his eyes.
"How many, Barbara? How many guys have you allowed access to your body? How many men have felt your tits, stroked your pussy. How many men have you fucked, Barbara? he asked quietly, the sorrow evident in his voice.
The questions that Ted hurled at her caused Barbara to leap to her feet and scream, "Never, never, never. Ted. No one has ever done that. Last night was the first time that any man has done that to me besides you. I was drunk, jealous and angry and I let that creep go too far. I was trying to pull away from him when you burst in. You have to believe me, it's the god-honest truth." she wailed and then collapsed into a fetal position on the couch. He heard her whimper softly, "I have never been unfaithful to you, never."
Suddenly, and unexpectedly, Ted's anger and resentment dissipated. He felt his heart go out to his wife, but he did not move. He put his hand to his head, his thoughts chaotic and malformed now. Then, with a abruptness that surprised him, he turned to Barbara.
"Sit up, Barb. Sit up and listen to me. I think that we've reached a fork in the road for us - a point where we have to make a concerted effort to love and support each other or else call an end to this marriage. Perhaps the events of last evening were a call to both of us; perhaps that was a wake-up call. I do know that things are going to have to change. We both have to change if we're going to survive."
Barbara's tears had stopped and she was listening to her husband intently. "Ted, I know that you're right. I'm disgusted with how I acted last night and I hope that you can forgive me. I also know that we both have to remember why we married in the first place. I do love you, honey. Please believe me, I do love you," Barbara said softly as she moved to him.
Ted gathered her in his arms and they kissed tenderly. He breathed a silent sigh of relief and prayed that a page had been turned and their future would be better than the immediate past.
They were cautious and careful with their words and actions in the days following. Things seemed to be getting more comfortable and they were both making efforts to be loving and supportive. They were both making the effort it takes to make a marriage work and it showed, except in the bedroom. They both recognized that there was a certain restraint, a withholding and because of that their love making was strangely empty and unfulfilling.