Chapter 1

Copyright┬ę 2006 by Blue88

Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A tale of love lost and perhaps found again.

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Consensual   Romantic   Cheating   Slut Wife  


There I was, 48 years old, sitting in my office overlooking the azure waters of the Pacific, weighing whether I should accept the offer I received for my company. If I did I would net around 24 million, give or take a few hundred thousand. I would be wealthy beyond my wildest imagination. I would be able to buy and do whatever my little heart desired, within reason of course. So why was I feeling so shitty. Professionally I was a success, I had made it, but personally I felt my life was totally fucked up.

My name is Jerry Ford, that's Jerry with a J for Jerome, not Gerald, like the President. I came from a lower, middle class, blue collar family and I was a total fuck-up in high school. One reason, I believe, was that I found it so totally boring. I'm pretty sure that I was the only student that my guidance counselor advised to quit and go find a job. I think that she was getting really tired of seeing my rump in her office all the time. I admit it, I was a royal pain in the ass.

Miracles happen, I graduated high school (although I kind of think that they just wanted to get rid of me so badly that they let me pass). The Vietnam war was still raging and was becoming more and more unpopular, but I was a gung-ho kid and I wanted to make the world safe for democracy. (Shit, I didn't even know what the word meant.) Anyway, I enlisted in the Army for a three year hitch. My dad wanted me to learn a trade (he was an electrician) and he agreed that the service would be a good idea. It would give me an opportunity to mature as well as teaching me something with which I could earn a living.

Funny thing happened, I thrived on the Basic Training. For some ungodly reason the rigid discipline, the demanding physical activity, the attention to detail, etc. were things that were alien to me, but really appealed to me at the same time. Maybe it was because I was so good at what was required. I made it through Basic at the top of my unit, which maybe wasn't so good an idea. Yeah, I was so good that they talked me into volunteering for Ranger training.

So I spent the next two months at Ft. Benning, Ga. going through the hell of a intense, uncompromising period of physical and psychological preparedness, in other words, for Vietnam. You have to understand, I was not a heroic physical specimen. I was just shy of 6 foot and weighed about 170. (I keep in good shape, primarily by swimming laps, and I weigh only about 5 pounds more at the present.) But they honed my body and gave me the skills necessary to survive. Two months later found me in Vietnam which, let me tell you, is no Palm Springs.

If the Gods ever decide to give the world an enema, Vietnam will get the nozzle. I spent over a year and a half in that hell hole until I was wounded by some shrapnel which did a number on a couple of vertebra as well as some internal damage to my bladder and surrounding area. After spending a couple of months in a Veteran's Hospital stateside, I was discharged. No, I was not incontinent (thank the Gods) and my limp was hardly noticeable, even today. That was the good news - the news that I would be unable to sire children didn't make much of an impact at the time. What was of much more concern to me at the time was that I wasn't impotent, My inability to sire children would come back to haunt me later in life.

So there I was, 20 years old, out of the army and still without any real skills (if you discount the ability to disable or kill almost anyone quite efficiently.) I was living at home, not quite sure of what to do with myself. My dad did some research and found that there was counseling and career services for returning vets given at Drexel University and was sponsored by the VA. I figured, why not. An appointment was made and I spent the entire day being tested and interviewed. I still remember the psychologist's name, Dr. Cypress, he told me to call him Al.

To make a long story short, the tests showed that I had an aptitude for the technical and he suggested that I attend college and study engineering. I roared, now that was really funny. I told him that I barely made it through high school. He said he had examined my high school records and despite the less than impressive reading, the tests that I had taken in the army and the results of the battery of tests I had taken with him, indicated that I would have no problem in college. He really had me believing him. He made an appointment with the Dean of the School of Engineering at Drexel and before I knew it my ass was in college. My dad was proud as punch and my mom now could brag a little. Remember, I had mentioned that my dad was an electrician which led me to major in electrical engineering.

Coincidentally, it was just about this time that I got a call from Ben Klein, a buddy from my days in 'Nam. "Jerry, Jerry, it's Ben, you sonofabitch. I'm out, Jer, I'm out of the Army."

"Damn, Ben. It's good to hear your voice. How come you got out early? Where are you? How are you doing? How did you get my number?" I realized I was blabbering, but it was good to hear from him.

"I lost a fucking leg, Jer. I stepped on a fucking mine, would you believe it? Jeez, such a goddamn rookie thing to do. But it's ok, I lost the leg below my knee and the prosthesis is great, I get around almost as good. I called your folks, they gave me your number. Jer, I'm in California and guess what. You won't believe this. I"ve been admitted to Cal Tech. I'm gonna be studying architecture. I'm gonna achieve my dream, Jer. I'm gonna be a fucking architect."

I roared with laughter. Ben may sound like a gangster, but he was probably the smartest guy in the outfit, including the brass. I knew he had the ability and I knew that he wanted to be an architect since he was a kid.

"Ben, that's absolutely great. I'm really happy for you. I guess my folks told you what I'm doing?"

"Yeah, that blew my mind. Hey, Jer, how about that. Guys like us becoming professionals - you an engineer and me a fucking architect. Can you believe it?" and he erupted in laughter along with me. We chatted for another half hour and ended the call, promising to keep in touch.

I sat for awhile, just shaking my head, digesting what Ben had told me. Life is strange, I concluded.

I didn't like the idea of commuting to school from home and since I now had the GI Bill, a small medical pension from the army and the money my folks had saved from what I sent home each month, I was able to afford a studio apartment close to school. I'm exaggerating a

little when I call it an apartment. It was basically one room which contained my bed, a couple of easy chairs, an old sofa and a closet kitchen. Oh yeah, a bathroom in which I was just able to turn around. But for me it was ok. I had a study area there for my desk and a used computer and I devoted as much time as I could to the books. I knew that this was it for me; I would either make this work or my future would be really bleak. I didn't need a car, I could easily walk to class and take the streetcar to visit my folks.

The first two years went quickly and I was amazed to discover that I didn't flunk out after the mid-term exams, in fact I did rather well. I was deadly serious about accomplishing my goal to become an engineer, a professional, so I hit the books hard which, of course, left little time for any kind of social life. I had made some casual friends in some of my classes and we would get together occasionally for a beer or pizza or both. One Friday, one of the guys (Carl) mentioned that there was going to be a get-together at a sorority over at Penn which was only a few blocks away and he talked me into going with him. I figured, why not. It was the weekend and I was pretty well caught up.

That evening changed my life - I met Kimberly. Jeez, Kimberly - who names a girl Kimberly? It's got to be the Main Line. She looked like a rich bitch, with the stylish jeans, top and too cute little diamond earings. My contempt showed I guess. (I know, I know, it was totally unfair, but don't forget my background.) She sensed it when our eyes met, and she flushed. I turned away quickly and went to get a beer.

A sharp tap on my shoulder caused me to turn around, and there stood Kimberly, eyes blazing. "Okay, buster. What gives you the right to turn your nose up at us, or is it just me? You think that we're all just spoiled brats, here only because Mommy and Daddy have a lot of money?"

I stood there, mouth agape, but she wasn't finished with me. She again poked me, this time in the chest. "You know something, buster. I think that you're pretty stupid, you judge people without even knowing them." She then turned and flounced off. I was totally stunned, helpless under her onslaught and struck dumb even after she had finished raking me over the coals.

Carl then sidled up to me and chuckled. "I guess you've just met Kim Van Horn. Nice girl, huh?" and he laughed at my discomfort. "C'mon, Jerry. I think that you've had enough for the evening. Let's get out of here."

We stopped at a local watering hole for a couple of beers and I had the opportunity to quiz him about this broad. "Shit, Carl. What's with her? I didn't say one word to her; she didn't have any call to lay into me that way," I complained.

Carl chuckled. "That's Kim. I guess she's really sensitive about coming from money. She hates it when people think that she's just a dumb blond without any ability. She's my girlfriend's best friend and I've learned to get along with her. As long as you treat her with some respect she's fine; she only gets pissy when she suspects that someone is looking down their nose at her."

"Your girlfriend? I didn't see you with anyone there." I said a bit puzzled.

"She's away for the weekend. Some family thing, she'll be back on Sunday," answered Carl and then continued. "Look, Jer. Why not come back with me on Sunday to the sorority house and make your apologies to Kim. I think that you'll find she a good kid. I think that you'll like her."

I sat and thought about Carl's suggestion. I was intrigued, Kim was certainly easy on the eyes. She was of medium height, blond hair which she wore to her shoulders, blue eyes and a very, very nice physical package. She was also feisty, independent and no introvert. I decided I would like to get to know her and I agreed to accompany Carl on Sunday.

We got to the sorority house around noon and I was formally introduced properly to Kim and then to Carol, Carl's girlfriend. It was a funny situation. Kim and I tried to talk at the same time, apologizing for Friday's incident. Finally I was able to tell her that I was really sorry for being so stupid, and she was able to apologize for her rudeness. That being taken care of, we adjourned to a local pizza parlor for some pie and sodas. Damn, I really had a good time and I was becoming attracted to this girl with the bubbly personality and infectious laugh. She was bright and totally unpretentious. I liked her. Shit, who was I kidding, I was totally gaga over her.

Over the next few months we dated casually. We would meet, go to a movie or just out for a bite to eat. She certainly wouldn't come up to my place and she never suggested that I come up to her room in the sorority house. We did manage to engage in some light necking at the movies or other appropriate locations, but that's all that there was. Near the end of our junior year I think that both of us began to realize that perhaps there was something building between the two of us. We found that we were in each others thoughts and it seemed that we were dating exclusively now.

It was in May, a balmy sweet evening, we had made plans to meet for a light dinner with no plans after. I remember that evening as clearly as if it were a week ago. I had walked to Kim's sorority house and had stopped, rooted to the spot, totally taken by how she looked. It seemed as if she had carefully applied her makeup (unusual, for she seldom used much) and was dressed in a soft, clingy top and mini skirt. While her outfit was far from blatant, I was so used to seeing her in a blouse and jeans, that my jaw dropped in surprise. She looked good enough to eat and with that thought I started to become erect.

I realized again that Kim was a gorgeous creature. Her eyes sparkled in amusement and she slipped her arm in mine as she guided me along the sidewalk.

"Close your mouth, Jerry. You've seen me in a skirt before," she laughed.

"I still can't get over how beautiful you are, honey. I'm serious," I stuttered. Smoothness is not my middle name. She flushed in embarrassment and pleasure and held on to my arm tightly.

We dined al fresco in a nearby eatery, it would have been presumptuous to label it a restaurant. It had about 4 tables inside and 3 outside, one of which we occupied. We were finishing our pasta and sipping on some Chianti when Kim raised her eyes to mine and said, "Jerry, how come you've never invited me to see your apartment."

I looked at her, startled. "I did, Kim, a few months ago. You didn't think it was exactly proper, as you put it," and I leered at her and wiggled my eyebrows.

She laughed at my antics and continued. "Well, I bet it's a typical bachelor pad, smelly and messy."

Actually, it wasn't. I had been taught well in the army. While my place may have been somewhat shabby, it was clean with things in their place. I asked Kim if she would like to see it and she replied in the affirmative and we made our way there, enjoying the soft evening air as we strolled.

I have to admit, my mind was in a bit of a whirl. How come Kim wanted to see my place all of a sudden? I was full of questions, but I wisely kept my mouth shut and opted to just wait to see what would happen. Yeah, you know what I was hoping.

Kim seemed nervous. She was very animated and couldn't stop chattering. Her laughter was a little giddy and she kept taking quick looks at me as she gushed over topics that seemed totally inane. I could sense her nervousness and I struggled to keep myself calm. I reached for her hand as we walked and that seemed to settle her somewhat.

"Why Jerry, I'm impressed," Kim exclaimed as she stood and viewed all of my earthly possessions. "Everything is neat and clean. I should have known. You're that type of guy."

"That's good, right?" I asked, a bit uncertain about the tone of her voice.

"Yes," she replied softly. "Jerry, that's very good," and she put her hand on my cheek. She then turned to face me directly and took my face between her palms. She seemed a bit unsure of herself and looked at me with uncertainty in her eyes. "Jerry," she asked. "Do you love me?"

I hesitated and realized that I had never really told Kim how I felt. We had kind of grown together as a couple, but we had never really discussed our feelings. I suddenly took her in my arms and whispered in her ear, "Sweetheart, I love you with all my heart. I should have told you that months ago."

She sighed and let out a long breath. "Oh, Jerry. I love you too, more than you'll ever know." We then kissed, long and deep. Kim then put her hands on my chest and pushed me down onto the sofa. She stood over me and pleaded. "Please, Jerry. Don't say a word, I want to do this badly, but I'm afraid I'll chicken out if you say anything. Just sit, ok?" I sat.

Kim stood before me and then her body began to sway, slowly and sensuously to a beat that only she could hear. She stepped back and the dance took on a more intense rhythm, her hips now grinding slightly, back and forth. Her hands went to the buttons of her blouse, slowly undoing them, from the top, down, down until the garment hung loosely from her shoulders. With a slight shrug the silky covering fell to the floor. Kim stood quietly for a moment before resuming the movements of her dance.

Her bra was nothing more than a strap and two half cups supporting her full breasts, the points exposed above the lacy fringe. Her nipples were pale pink and very erect. She then starting humming a melody unknown to me but with an erotic, exotic tempo. Her hands went to the clasp of her skirt and that too fell to the floor. Her hands then went high above her head, clasped together and her body moved snakelike from side to side. I was spellbound by this stunning apparition before me, scarcely able to breath for fear that she would vanish.

The melody she was humming became louder and more intense as she quickly moved to free her breasts from their confinement. Kim slowly raised her hands and lifted those full mounds before letting her palms gently brush over her nipples, causing her to gasp softly. I suddenly recognized what she was humming; it was Henry Mancini's Charade - how appropriate that would become. Her feet stood rooted to the floor as her body moved sinuously to the throbbing beat of the music coming from her throat. She was now dressed only in her panties, brief clinging fabric hardly hiding the swollen lips of her vulva.

Her hands moved slowly to her hips, thumbs hooking under the waist of her undergarment. Slowly they descended, pulling her panties slowly over her smooth belly until the soft, blond pubic hair became visable. With an abrupt and sudden movement they too fell to the floor leaving her totally nude before me. I sat, frozen by the erotic figure before me. Her legs were a bit separated and I could see the slightly open lips of her pussy. They looked damp, a sheen of moisture evident.

Her eyes bored into mine, searchingly. She moved closer to me and lowered herself to her knees, between my legs. With her eyes still locked on mine, she began to unbutton my shirt. When I tried to help she brushed my hands away and murmured for me to sit still. I was quickly naked to the waist and her hands went to my belt and zipper. I was afraid to make any movement, frightened of breaking the moment. With an effort, Kim managed to pull my jeans and boxers down my legs and off. I sat there as naked as she, my cock erect and throbbing, the head already coated with its natural lubricant.

Kim slowly grasped the base of my cock, holding it gently. She had not taken her eyes from mine. "Jerry, do you think that I'm terrible? Am I acting too much like a slut?"

I just shook my head almost violently, from side to side. "You're fantastic, you're the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me," I replied quickly.

The words were barely out of my mouth when she lowered her head and engulfed the head of my cock. I gasped in shock and delight. Her eyes sought mine again and she kept her gaze on me as she gently laved my throbbing phallus. Then dropping her eyes once more, she slid my cock all the way down her throat, burying her nose in my pubic hair. I felt her throat surround the head and struggled not to explode in orgasm. Kim spent the next five minutes or so between deep throating me and gently sucking and licking the head of my dick. I just sat and luxuriated in the sensations.

Kim then stood and towered above me. She pushed me on my back, flat on the sofa and climbed on board. I thought, with whatever senses remained, that she would impale herself on the organ that she had so thoughtfully prepared. Not so. She moved up on me until her pussy was directly over my mouth, her thighs straddling my head. I could see the lips gaping open and the moisture literally dripping on my chin. With a soft whimper she lowered herself down on me and ground her sex into my mouth. I attacked that organ with tongue and lips, moving from her clitoris to her vagina, driving my tongue in as deeply as I could.

I could feel her tense suddenly, her thighs gripping me tightly and with a low moan she came, the moan turning into a shrill wail, soft but keening. With a sudden movement, she wrenched from me, moving herself lower on my body onto which she collapsed. I could hear soft sobs coming from her and I held and comforted her, now apprehensive and concerned about what she was now feeling. I thought it best to just keep quiet, at least for the time being. Wise choice

"Jerry, kiss me, please. Just kiss me," Kim said plaintively, and I did. My lips met hers and we kissed softly and gently.

"I'm so embarrassed, Jerry." Kim had her head buried in the crook of my neck. "I wasn't sure that I could do what I just did. I planned on seducing you today. I wanted you so badly, I wanted us to make love. I can't imagine what you must think of me now."

I couldn't help it, I had to laugh. "Honey, what I think is that I'm one of the luckiest men alive. I can't even begin to tell you how you made me feel." I suspect that she had begun to suspect that for my very erect cock was lodged between her thighs, rubbing against the lips of her pussy.

Still lying atop me, Kim began moving her ass slowly, sliding my cock along the lips of her well lubricated sex. My hips moved and my cock was quickly buried in her. Kim again gasped softly as she felt herself filled. We then made love, quietly and gently, her hips guiding me in and out until we both couldn't hold it any longer. I felt my climax building and as she felt me explode in her she again moaned and came with me.

We became inseparable, ignoring all outside distractions, completely

oblivious to anyone or anything else. Fortunately it was now summer break between our junior and senior year and our obsession with each other didn't impact on our studies. I shudder to think what would have happened to our grades had this occurred during the school year.

Kim was spending more and more time at my place, sleeping over many nights. I hated it when she wasn't there, the place seemed so empty and squalid. Her arrival turned my humble abode into a palace for me.

We spoke of marriage, we knew it was inevitable. My fear was how she would view my sterility, my inability to father children. From something that I had always considered rather inconsequential, this now became very worrisome for me. My fears were allayed not long after our first discussion about our future.

"Jerry?" There was a question in Kim's voice. "I have to tell you something before we get too much further into our relationship." Her voice faltered. "There's nothing in this world I want more than to be your wife and spend the rest of life with. You know that I love you," and she looked at me with trepidation in her eyes.

"I don't want children, Jerry," she blurted out. "Please, Jerry, don't hate me. I know who I am and I know that I wouldn't make a good mother. I have given this a lot of thought, and I really don't want children." Her eyes glistened with unshed tears. "I'll understand if you want to break up, Jer. I really will."

Wow, now wasn't that an interesting development. I took Kim in my arms and comforted her. "Kim, if you don't want children, then I don't either," I reassured her. My sterility was now a non-issue, I could bury my worries, I didn't even have to bring it up. Little did I know...

The thing that rather amused me at the time was how Kim was so cavalier about taking her birth control pills. Oh, she would remember most of the time, say 6 or 7 days, but then she would just forget and skip a day or two. The fact that she never got into trouble just reinforced her contention that skipping a day or two really made no difference. I knew that this could be dangerous, but in our case it, of course, made no difference.

"Jerry?" Kim said to me one afternoon, a question in her tone. "I think it's time for you to meet my parents. I've told them all about you and they want to meet you."

"Oh, oh," I muttered to myself. I should have expected this. I saw no way out, but I just knew that this meeting wasn't going to go well. They would take one look at me and know that this schmuck wasn't good enough for their only child. Jeez, I started feeling sick to my stomach, but I also knew that there was no way out of this. The meeting was slated to take place on Sunday, two days hence. I was stuck, this was going to happen.

I had done a little research on Kim's family. They were on the social register and very well known in the best circles. Bernard Van Horn owned one of the largest construction firms in SE Pennsylvania and had a net worth of hundreds of millions, (Gulp) Katherine Van Horn, his wife, was descended from the Lodges of Boston. (Gulp} They go back to colonial days. I was going to look like the proverbial pair of brown shoes at a black tie affair. I had no choice, I would have to endure.

Daddy sent "the car" into the city for us. A black, Lincoln Town Car, naturally, only the best for the little princess. Yeah, I wasn't happy and my attitude was shitty. Kim could tell, but she just smiled and told me not to worry. Like that really reassured me. It didn't take too long and the car pulled into a long driveway that curved into a landing area in front of the house. It was a large, gray stone, two story colonial. I could see a four car garage off to one side. The grounds were immaculate, maintained, I was sure, by a crew of landscapers.

Kim pulled me from the car and led me to the front door. Pulling me inside, she called out: "Mom, Dad, where are you?"

As soon as her parents came into the large foyer, everything changed. Damn, they couldn't have been more gracious. They welcomed me as if I was a long, lost family member just rediscovered. They couldn't have been nicer. I have to admit that I was a bit flummoxed, certainly not expecting such a warm welcome, but as warm and cordial as Katherine Van Horn appeared, I could detect just a hint of caution in her manner. There was nothing overt, but I could sense a bit of coolness that she tried to hide. She did it well though and was friendly and proper. Yeah, that's the word, "proper." She was about 5' 5", blond, blueyed and still built like a young girl, at least from what I could see, despite her years. I'm guessing she was in her mid 40s. Was this Kim in 20 years? If so, I could live with that.

Now Bernie was another story. Yeah, he insisted that I call him Bernie; how incongruous. Here's this guy, around 50 years old I guess, tall, distinguished, worth a ton of money and he's insisting that I call him Bernie. But that's the kind of guy Bernie was. I know, I heard the stories; he could be a shark if he thought he was being taken and he could be vicious if provoked, but he could also be one of the warmest, kindest guys you could meet. For some odd reason he took an immediate liking to me. He was fascinated by my background, my school work and my major. I still remember his last words as we left that day.

"Jerry, I'm impressed with you. Continue doing well with your studies. You know that I can always use a good engineer," and with that he laughed and slapped me on the back. "Kim, you got a keeper, make sure that he doesn't get away." I had a grin on my face just like Dopey, the seventh dwarf.

"See, I told you not to worry. They loved you," Kim smiled and snuggled into me in the back seat of "the car" taking us back into the city. I gave a huge sigh of relief and thanked the stars that that was over. But a recurring thought came into my head; now it was Kim's turn. She would have to meet my folks. I smiled slightly as I compared my Mom and Dad's small, south Philly row house with the estate I had just visited - jeez, talk about contrast. Well, I knew that my folks would take Kim into their hearts, that's the way they were. I just hope that Kim would understand that there was rich and there was not so rich. It would be interesting.

Actually, Kim's visit to meet my folks didn't go badly at all. I could see her eyes widen when she first took in my parent's little row house. Kim had never been exposed to how the working class lived and this was a new experience for her. I have to admit she handled it well. It was only now and then that I was able to glimpse a strange expression in her eyes, a look that unsettled me just a bit. Was it contempt? disdain? No, I knew Kim pretty well by then; she wouldn't look down on folks who were in a lower economic level. She and my mom seemed to bond well and before I knew it they were in the little kitchen with Mom giving her a recipe for my favorite pot roast. I had to stifle a laugh, I was not sure if Kiim could boil water.

My dad took this opportunity to guide me outdoors where we sat on the stoop. He turned to me, "Jerry, Kim seems like a really nice gal and she obviously adores you. I hope that you'll be very happy together."

I could sense a hesitancy in his voice. I looked at him with a question in my eyes. His mouth turned a bit grim as he continued. "Jerry, you have to understand, Kim has only known a life free of want, a life of privilege. I suspect that, without her even realizing it, she will expect you to provide that same kind of life. I know that engineering can make you a good living, but I'm not sure it comes anywhere near what she will want. Look, I could be totally wrong, but it's something you should think about."

He clapped me on the shoulder and guided me back into the house. When the four of us were in the front parlor, my dad brought out wine glasses and stated that he had an announcement to make.

"Jerry, Kim, a toast to your happiness. May your lives together be long and filled with joy. And now I would like to tell you that we have sold the house and that we're moving to Florida. We bought a small, two bedroom villa on the west coast there and I have been offered a part time job. We have had enough of the cold winters and we'll be moving by the end of the month. Cheers"

He tipped his glass as I sat there dumbfounded. When I was able to get my voice back, I laughed and told them that that was great news and wished them good luck. I mentioned that they should keep that second bedroom ready for Kim and I when we came to visit. I again saw that look in Kim's eyes, but shrugged it off. I was happy for my folks.

Kim decided that between what her parents were paying for her lodging and what I was paying for the one room "apartment" we could pool our resources and get a real apartment close by. Her reasoning made sense and that's what we did. We were able to rent a relatively nice apartment not far from where I was now living. Of course Kim insisted that she now needed a car to get he to school so daddy got her a 300 series BMW. Well, she needed a car so I really had no cause to complain.

Our senior year went well. Kim was busy with her studies and with wedding plans. Since I had little to do with either I concentrated on my school work and made sure that my grades were high. It was funny; between my school work, Kim's school work and the time she spent on the phone and with her Mom planning this wedding, we actually had less time with each other then before we began cohabitating.

A rather unsettling event occurred about two months before graduation. Kim returned home and interrupted me at the computer with startling news. "Jerry, I got the job, the part time job. I start next week, it's just two nights to begin with but if things work out I'll have a promise for full time when I graduate. Isn't that great," she gushed.

This was all new to me and I pressed her for more information. She informed me that it was with a large publishing house in center city and she would be a probationary assistant editor. After graduation, the probation period would end and she would assume full time duties in that position.

I complained (or whined) a little. "Jeez, Kim. We see each other so seldom now, it's like we're strangers living in the same place. It will be worse now."

"I know, Jer. But this is a golden opportunity. Please be happy for me, honey. It's what I've been shooting for," she pleaded.

So I just bit my lip and shut my mouth. How could I begrudge her this opportunity? I forced a smile on my puss and tooki her in my arms.

"You'll be great, honey. You'll knock them dead. It won't be long before you'll be a senior editor once they recognize your talent."

She laughed gleefully and danced around the apartment, while I had this forced grin on my face, wondering why I was experiencing a cold chill of foreboding.

Actually, it worked out fairly well. Kim spent a couple of evenings at Crown Publishing during the week when I had late classes, so we really didn't miss too much time together, at least no more than usual. The end of the semester came quickly and before I even realized it the date of the wedding was here. She was to be a June bride. I had only invited a few friends from school and of course my parents came up from Florida. I tried to get Ben Klein to come in from Calif., but he still had a couple of finals and couldn't miss them. It was a bit strange; there were over 200 guests for this shindig, held of course in one of the ritziest hotels in town, and only a handful were my family and friends. I went through the entire day and evening in a bit of a haze, just allowing events to carry me through.

The only part of the day that really stood out was a conversation I had with Bernie, Kim's father. Later in the evening he took me aside and escorted me into a room off the ballroom. It was outfitted like a study with easy leather chairs and walls full of books. I briefly wondered what the hotel used this for.

"Jerry," he began. "I know that you have resumes out, but I want you to really consider coming to work for me. I need to supplement my technical department and I want you to train with Don, our head electrical engineer. Look, Jerry, this isn't a sinecure, this is a real job with a lot of room for advancement. The fact that you're the boss's son in law won't mean shit to the guys you'll be working with, plus I'll pay you more than anyone else," and he grinned at me.

What the hell, I'm not stupid. I recognized that this was a good deal for me and it wasn't like this was a handout. I would give a 100 percent and Bernie knew it. He was also sensitive to the fact that I felt very strongly that Kim and I would have to make it on our own. We shook hands and that was our contract.

My folks gave us a beautiful sterling silver service for 12 which I'm sure put a crimp in their budget. My In-laws gave us a 10 day vacation in Jamaica. I felt a bit funny about that, but I realized that it would be boorish to refuse or complain about them paying for our honeymoon. I just began to feel uneasy about the influence the VanHorns were going to have on my relationship with Kim. Kim and I had had a few conversations about this topic and she knew how adamant I was about making it on our own. She would pooh pooh my concerns, but they were very real to me.

The only real disagreement we had (ok, it was a doozy of a fight) came when we discussed where we should live after graduation and our wedding. Kim only insisted that we buy an apartment in one of the high rise buildings in center city. It would be close to her work as well as close to the Van Horn building where I would be located. I tried to explain to her that we had nowhere near the resources for that kind of expenditure and that we would rent a nice apartment near the center of town. Then, when we could financially afford it, we could look for something to buy.

Kim was furious that I wouldn't accept help from her folks. I told her in no uncertain terms that mommy and daddy were not going to be cash cows for us. We would either make it on our own, or not make it at all. Kim saw that I was intransigent and finally and grudgingly gave in. It was an argument that I won at the moment, but I didn't know at what cost.

We did find a nice two bedroom, two bath place not far from where we both worked. Kim had her car and I would be able to hop on a street car which would drop me off at work ten minutes later. It was really convenient. We went into hock for the furniture, but I was able to control Kim's spending and we had the place furnished nicely in no time.

Bernie was true to his word. My job was no cake walk. I was introduced to Don Malone, a big, heavy Irishman, with a shock of white hair. I think he forgot more about engineering that I had learned in the four years in college. He might have been gruff, but he took me under his wing and I learned. Boy, did I learn. I began to realize that graduating from the college program was just the beginning of my career in this field. We wrote performance requirements, we developed maintenance schedules, we planned and designed layouts, we developed time and cost estimates on construction projects. It was a training program that was invaluable to me as a trainee and I took to it like a duck to water. Our work day ended at 5, but it was not unusual for me to remain until 6 or even later, cramming in as much as I could.

Kim was also immersed in her job. She loved the excitement of meeting with and working with new authors and developing projects to introduce new works to the market. Two years into the job she was now no longer an assistant, but a full fledged editor. She was making pretty good money and we were trying to sock away as much as we could for a place of our own. Since we were not going to have children, our plan was to buy an apartment in one of the luxury high rises in center city, a place that Kim wanted from the outset.

I also noticed that instead of Kim finding pleasure in our new place, she constantly denigrated it, even going so far as to once calling it squalid. It was obvious that she wasn't going to be happy until she was settled into digs that she thought appropriate to her station. I resented her attitude and our relationship became a bit strained...

Ben Klein and I kept in touch. He kept trying to get me to move out to California, but I was content where I was and I also knew that there was no way I was going to convince Kim to move. I tried to convince him that getting me to move was a dead issue, but he would bring it up now and then. I had to laugh, he was such a character.

It started with a telephone call. It was a Friday, early evening and I had quietly made reservations at one of the poshest restaurants in town, I had two dozen roses delivered, which were now sitting in water in a very pretty crystal vase. I also had a little velvet box containing two diamond earings as a gift for my beautiful wife It was our 2nd wedding anniversary. I bet she thought I had forgotten, she hadn't said a word to me about it.

The ringing of the phone startled me from my reverie. "Jerry?" It was Kim. "Honey, I'm really sorry, but it looks like I'm going to be late again tonight. We have a million things yet to do about the turnout of Paul's new novel and I'm going to be here for at least another few hours. I'll grab something to eat and see you around 10 or so," she rushed.

She didn't even give me time to reply before she hung up. I sat with the phone still in my hand, gazing at the roses on the sideboard. Did she even know that it was our anniversary? I wondered. Was that job of hers more important to her?

I thought back to the past year. We were both immersed in our jobs, I realized, and had not paid too much attention to the most important job we had; the job of keeping our marriage alive and well. It was almost as if we were friends sharing an apartment. In the last couple of months Kim was almost always either at work, or preoccupied with work.

When they had begun work on the introduction of Paul Lavell's new novel, that's all she could talk about. Her excitement was infectious and I was happy for her; although I got a little tired about hearing how wonderful Paul was. I had the occasion to meet him a couple of times and was not too impressed. Oh, he was a tall, goodlooking guy, but I could sense a bit of arrogance in him. He seemed to think that me being an engineer was funny, for some reason.

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