I think I caught her totally by surprise. I'm almost sure that she expected me to say "Yes dear" and then do what she wanted. After all, hadn't that always been the way of it?
I met Betty Ann during my second year in college. We were both Business Management majors and we were taking a class in Production Management and we were both put on the same class project. I liked Betty Ann's looks, personality, and sense of humor so I asked her to go out with me, she said yes, and our relationship grew from there. We went steady during our junior year, I proposed and she accepted at the beginning of our senior year and we were married one month after graduation. We both got jobs and began to live the typical middle class life.
We were both doing well at our jobs and then Betty Ann got pregnant and decided to leave the work force and devote herself to being a full time mom. I worked hard and advanced up the corporate ladder and by the time I became a regional manager we had three kids. I considered myself one of the luckiest men alive. I had a wife who loved me and spoiled me rotten; I had three lovely children who were the apple of my eye and I was a rising star in my company. It helped of course that I loved my job.
It is a fact of corporate life that as you climb the corporate ladder the work load gets heavier and heavier until you finally reach the point where you can delegate. I hadn't yet reached that point, but I was closing in on it. The heavier workload translated into late nights at the office and a lot of times when I had to bring work home with me. Those times meant a lot of late nights and busy weekends for me, but I didn't care because I had a goal. The vise president of Sales and Marketing was retiring in a month and I was one of three men who had a shot at getting the position. Once there my workload would only be a third of what I was doing in trying to get there. More responsibility, a lot of high level decision making, but I would be able to delegate the nuts and bolts work to subordinates. But first I had to get there and that meant hard work and hard work meant a pissed off Betty Ann.
Betty Ann had been planning a weekend getaway for us for two almost two months. It was to be four nights and five days at Aspen and she had already made the hotel reservations, purchased the lift tickets, arranged for her parents to take the kids and started packing her bags. Two days before we were to leave I told her that I had to cancel.
"We have a project fastly approaching a deadline and it is in trouble. I'm going to have to ride herd on it until it is done."
"Damn it Harold, you can't do this to me again. That damned job had interfered with our last four vacations, six of our last seven anniversaries and caused you to forget every one of my birthdays for the last ten years. You owe me this weekend Harold, you owe me and I want it!"
"Be reasonable Betty Ann. If I pull this project through on time I'm almost a shoo in for Benson's job when he retires."
"Is that what this is all about? Making points to get Benson's job?"
"You make that sound like a bad thing."
"It isn't a bad thing, it is a stupid thing. I just now realized I lost all those vacations, anniversaries and birthdays because I kept my mouth shut."
"What does that mean?"
"Nothing Harold, just go work on your damned project while I finish packing."
"Yes Harold, finish packing. I'm going with or without you, but I am going."
"You would go without me? Do you think that would be wise? A married woman alone? That would be like wearing a neon sign saying, "Here I am, show me a good time."
"I fully intend to have a good time Harold. I'd rather have it with you, but I'll manage if you don't go."
"Really Betty Ann, I don't thi..."
"Just go do your reports Harold or whatever. I'm going and that's that. I'm through letting your god damned job interfere with things."
The day we were supposed to leave for Aspen came and when I got home from work I found Betty Ann putting the last of her suitcases in the car. I took one last shot at trying to get her to be reasonable:
"I'm serious Betty Ann, going to Aspen alone is not a good idea."
"So come with me Harold."
"You know I can't do that. I have to make sure that this project doesn't go belly up. I save the project and I know I'll get Benson's job and then things will get a lot easier. There won't be any more screwed up vacations or forgotten birthdays and anniversaries. I'll be in a decision making position, some one else will be doing the donkey work."
"That's nice Harold, but I've been looking forward to this weekend for two months now and I'd rather you go with me, but I'm going."
"I still don't think it is a good idea for you to go alone."
"I won't be alone Harold."
"What does that mean?"
"I'll call you tonight Harold, after I get checked in at the hotel."
"Enjoy your project Harold" and she got in the car and backed down the drive.
I stood there watching her go and I wondered about her "I won't be alone" remark. As she turned the corner at the end of the block I put it out of my mind and went into the house.
I was reviewing some specifications when the phone rang. It was Betty Ann and she gave me her room number and the phone number of the hotel. She sounded out of breath and I asked her why.
"I just did twenty-five laps in the indoor pool."
"I'm curious Betty Ann, what did you mean when you said you wouldn't be alone?"
"Did I say that?"
"Yes you did."
"I must have meant that I expect to get hit on a lot while I'm here. I'm not a bad looking broad in case you have forgotten. I expect that I'll be kept on the dance floor all night. I probably won't even have to buy a drink after my first one. Well, I'm dripping wet and I need to get out of this bathing suit and take a shower. I love you baby. See you in five days," and she hung up.
Now I've never had any reason to doubt Betty Ann, but to be absolutely honest about it, it was mostly because I didn't pay all that much attention to what she did. Why should I? She kept the house spotless, she spoiled me rotten, she raised three great kids and I knew she loved me as much as I loved her. But three things just happened in the space of six hours that alone would have meant nothing, but taken together they were screaming something at me.
Just to satisfy myself I called the number she gave me for the hotel and when the desk clerk answered I asked him what were the hours on the indoor pool and I got the answer that I hoped I wouldn't. The last time I had been in that hotel four years previous they didn't have an indoor pool. According to the desk clerk they still didn't. Couple that with Betty Ann's "I won't be alone" remark and a red flag was being raised. The third thing, and the one I really didn't want to think about was that I was almost positive that I heard some one else breathing heavily in the background while I was talking to her. All of a sudden I wasn't as sure of my wife as I had always been.
I made myself a drink, sat down on the couch and put my feet up on the hassock and tried to think of things that might have been an indication that my wife might have strayed on me. I did a lot of deep memory probing and found out that I really didn't know all that much about what went on around our house. I deferred every thing to Betty Ann.
She wanted to paint the bathroom a creamy yellow? "Yes dear, whatever you want."
Buy a leather sofa for the living room? "Of course dear, whatever you would like."
She picked out my shirts, ties and even my shoes and I said yes dear and kept on doing whatever I was doing. She picked out the house we lived in, she picked our friends, she picked out the places where we went to eat and she chose the films and TV shows we watched and I just said yes dear and went along with it. Even this weekend that she had planned was all Betty Ann. She picked the hotel; she decided where we were going to ski and she even made a list of the runs we would take. She made dinner reservations for each one of the nights we were to stay there. She asked me if the arrangements were all right and I said, "Yes dear, just fine."
It occurred to me that my wife could have been the neighborhood gangbang queen and I wouldn't have known because I hadn't paid any attention.
The next twenty-four hours sucked as all kinds of shit ran through my mind. Friday night Betty Ann called at ten in the evening and asked me how I was.
"Sitting here having bad thoughts. My own fault of course. If I was there I wouldn't be here thinking the things I'm thinking, wondering about what I'm wondering about."
"And what would that be babe?"
"I wouldn't be sitting here wondering who it is that you are sleeping with while you are up there."
There were several moments of silence from her end and then she said, "And just why would you think that?"
So I told her about what I'd heard in the background when she called and then about my call to the hotel. "You lied about the pool, heavy breathing in the background and the comment you let slip about not be alone. Two and two have always equaled four to me Betty Ann."
"I can see we will need to have a talk when I get home."
"I don't see why. Your lack of outrage and lack of indignation over what I have just accused you of say all that needs to be said. Your "I won't be alone"comment before you even left tells me that you knew I probably wouldn't be going along and you already had made other arrangements. To me that means that this probably isn't the first time you have cheated on me and it probably means that this weekend wasn't really meant for you and me anyway. You set up everything, even your lover."
More silence from her end and I said, "Your lack of response to that is just as telling. Good night Betty Ann" and I hung up on her. The phone rang again almost immediately and it rang several times during the evening, but I ignored it.
I was sitting at the kitchen table pouring over the list of things I needed to do to keep the project on track when the phone rang. It was Betty Ann.
"You hung up on me last night."
"Didn't have any more that needed to be said. Can't think of anything that needs to be said now or that I need to listen to now. I've got a project I have to stay on top of so you just go ahead and enjoy your long weekend with whomever it is you are sharing a bed with."
There was a loud sigh of exasperation and then Betty Ann said, "Harold, you do know that I love you, right?"
"No, I don't know that any more. If you loved me, truly loved me, this weekend wouldn't have happened. Even then, knowing what I'm thinking, I notice that you didn't get in your car and race home to try and save your marriage."
"You can doubt it if you want, but I do love you Harold, more than you can possibly realize, so please understand that I'm not saying this to hurt you. You could not bother going to work for a month and it wouldn't affect your job. You could walk into Randy's office and piss in the potted plant in the corner and all Randy would do is smile at you."
"I don't understand Betty Ann, what are you saying?"
"Harold, you are a regional manager and you will be Benson's replacement because Randy and I have been having an affair for the last six years. Don't let the news upset you Harold, I love you, I really do."
I sat there, phone to my ear, but stunned into silence. Six years? She had been fucking my boss for six years? She had been fucking that black son of a bitch for six years? I was a regional manager because she was fucking Randy? I hadn't gotten the job because of my hard work?
"Harold? Harold, are you still there?"
"We will talk about this when I get home."
"Yes dear, whatever you say."
I hung up the phone and then I sat there and stared at the wall.
I spent the rest of the day stumbling around in a fog. I'd busted my ass for years to climb the corporate ladder only to find out that I didn't have anything to do with my success. I find out that my wife is a cheating whore and had been for at least the last six years. And with Randy? My wife, born and bred in the South was having an affair with a nigger? Not only a nigger, but one who was old enough to be her father. I was almost ashamed of myself for using the "N" word when referring to Randy, I had never thought of him that way before, but then again 'before' I didn't know that he was fucking my wife. I tried to imagine his big black body on top of my small white wife and the image made me sick to my stomach. All the times he had smiled at me and shaken my hand he was thinking "I'm fucking your wife stupid" and I smiled back at him and shook his hand. I wondered how it started, but then I realized that it didn't matter. The only thing that mattered now was that it did start.
Then I thought that's six years with Randy. How many and for how long before Randy? Hell, if she was doing it while we were married she was probably doing it while we were going steady and while we were engaged. Then I had a really bad thought. Were my kids really my kids? Obviously none of them were Randy's, but could one or more be some one else's?
Seven that evening Betty Ann called again. "Are you okay Harold?"
"Just peachy Betty Ann, just fucking peachy. So tell me, is his cock in you now like it was the first time you called me?"