I should have known better. I should have remembered that old saying, "If it looks too good to be true, it is."
I was in love. She was damned near all I thought about with the exception of my studies and it didn't make sense to me. I prided myself on my intellect and my ability to think logically, but there wasn't anything logical about the way I felt about Althea. She was beautiful, smart and very popular and I was not. I wasn't a bed looking guy, but I was nothing exceptional. I was smart, but popular was something I had never been and probably would never be. Not that I didn't want to be, but for some reason shy, nerdy types like me were avoided. I didn't play sports; all I did was study and concentrate on my passion — computers and the wondrous things that you can do with them.
Althea changed boyfriends like I got haircuts — every couple of weeks. She went from guy to guy — all jocks and all what I have heard girls refer to as 'hunks' — like a honeybee flitting from flower to flower. At the time it didn't occur to me to wonder about the fact that maybe two-thirds of them were black. Outside of a couple of shared classes I had absolutely nothing in common with Althea so it was totally illogical of me to even waste a minute thinking about her. Still, for my sophomore and junior years I watched her and wished that I could be one of the guys she spent time with.
It was the start of my senior year when the miracle occurred. I was at the library doing research on a paper that I had to turn in. I was sitting at a table pouring over reference material when Althea walked up to the table and asked me if she could sit down. I was so surprised that I was tongue tied, but no way I was going to say no so I just motioned to one of the chairs.
"We hardly know each other" she said, "So you probably are not aware that I can sometimes be blunt almost to the point of being insulting. This is probably one of those times. Are you gay?"
I was caught totally off guard by the question and I just sat there opened mouthed and started at her. After an embarrassingly long silence she said, "Not a hard question, a simple yes or no would do."
"No, no I'm not" I managed to croak out.
"Next question. I've watched you watch me for the last couple of years now yet you have never any attempt to get to know me. Why is that?"
The situation was just so totally bizarre that I just sat there.
"Not much of a conversationalist are you. Well, let me give me my thoughts on it. I figured that it was one of two things. One, you were gay and you were watching me running around with the hunks that you wanted for yourself, but you say that you aren't gay so that takes me to number two. You are shy, shy and unsure of yourself. Shy with maybe a touch of an inferiority complex. Is that it? Too shy and afraid that you wouldn't measure up against football and basketball players?"
It was too much, too fast, and I was overwhelmed; the words just would not come out.
"Come on Herb, help me out here. Don't make me do it all."
"Do it all?" I managed to blurt out.
"Yes, do it all. You won't come to me so I had to come to you. I'm sitting here giving you opportunities up the kazoo to jump in and say something, but you are just sitting there like a lump. You are not doing my ego much good here Herb."
"I'm sorry, I... I... just don't know what to say."
"Not used to forceful, assertive women Herb, or just not used to women at all?"
"I... I... I haven't much experience with women."
"Okay, I guess I will have to do it all."
She slid a piece of paper across the table to me, "That's my address. Pick me up at seven. I have a party to go to and I need an arm to hang on."
"I... I can't. I have a paper due and I need to finish it tonight."
"Bullshit Herb. Your GPA is a solid four point oh and you are the darling of every professor whose class you take. You could turn in a paper that simply said, "I hate this class" and you would still get an A on it. Seven Herb" and she stood up and gathered up her purse and her books. She turned to go and then she turned back to me.
"And Herb? Wear a tie. First dates need to be just a touch formal, don't you think?"
I watched her walk away and wondered just what in the hell had happened.
I was there to pick her up at seven and I did wear a tie. We went to the party and I spent four hours being stared at by people who were just as curious about what was going on as I was. A couple of times a guy tried to separate Althea from me and get her to leave with him, but she just said that she didn't think that her boyfriend would like that. Boyfriend? I was absolutely lost about what was going on.
The party over I took Althea home and walked her to her door. She smiled, patted me on the cheek and said, "I don't kiss on the first date Herbie; it gives the guy something to look forward to on the next date. For us that will be day after tomorrow. Dinner and a movie. Pick me up at six" and she went inside.
Since it was only Wednesday (Thursday early AM actually) I had a day and a half to try and figure what was going on, but by five o'clock on Friday evening I still didn't have a clue. I suppose that I could have just come out and asked her, but why should I do that? For years I had watched her with no expectation of ever even speaking to her and here she was telling people that I was her boyfriend. I was going to jeopardize that? No way. I might only last a week or maybe not even that long, but I was going to take what I could get.
I was there to pick her up at five-fifty and her hello was accompanied by a bemused smile.
"A little eager are we?"
"No, I just hate to be late."
"It's a good trait Herbie, being eager I mean. I've made reservations at Lascars and I hope you like 'chic flicks' because I'm dying to see First Wives Club."
She looked at her watch and then at me and smiled as she said, "Don't worry Herbie, I didn't order your entrée too."
Dinner was nice and we used the time to find out more about each other. The movie wasn't my cup of tea, but I would have happily sat through a foreign film with sub-titles as long as I could be with Althea. When I took her home and walked her to her door she thanked me for a lovely time, gave me a kiss that turned my bones to jelly and told me to pick her up at one on Saturday. I drove to my place with a head full of thoughts and questions and the only thing I was sure about was that I was totally confused. The girl of my dreams had taken me out on two dates and had just set up a third one and I had not even asked her out for the first time. What's more, as I recall it, I never did ever ask her out. Althea ended every date we had setting up the next one. She took charge of my life and I was so happy that I never said a word, never questioned it, not once.
The next four dates ended with kisses on her front porch, each one just a little longer than the previous one. The next dozen or so ended with necking sessions in the car that seemed to get hotter and hotter until one night she unbuttoned her blouse to show me that she wasn't wearing a bra. She took my hands and carried them to her breasts, "Show them that you like them Herbie." I played with them for a while and then Althea pulled my head down to them.
"Work the nipples Herbie, lick my nipples."
I did and she started moaning and her hands grabbed the back of my head and held me to her. I moved a hand up her leg and she slapped it away, "Don't get greedy Herbie, all in good time."
The next three dates ended the same way — I got to pay homage to her tits — but the next one, when I reached for her breasts, she pushed my hands away. "No Herbie, not tonight. Tonight it is your turn" and her hand went for my fly, she pulled down the zipper and reached inside for my cock. Things moved quickly after that. I got a hand job on that night and on the next two. Then one night I picked her up and as we headed for the car Althea asked me for the keys.
"I'll drive tonight Herbie."
Fifteen minutes later we were in a motel parking lot. I looked over at her and she looked back at me and smiled, "It is called escalation Herbie, moving on to bigger and better. You aren't a virgin, are you?"
The look on my face answered that one only too well.
"Good! I love taking cherries and teaching guys the right way to do things."
I don't know why, but those words and the tone of voice she used in saying them made me finally ask the question that had been waiting to be asked since that day in the library.
"What is going on here Althea?"
"It is a compatibility check Herbie."
"Compatibility check? I don't understand."
"In almost all areas you are a perfect fit for me Herbie. The only thing left for me to check is whether or not we are sexually compatible."
"And if we aren't?"
"Then obviously I won't marry you."
She opened the door and started to get out of the car, "Come on Herbie, let's see if we have a future."
We were married two months after graduation.
Almost everyone who knows Althea and me considers me pussy whipped. It is true, but at the same time it isn't. Yes, I do appear to be subservient to Althea's wishes and desires. "Yes dear" and "Of course dear" play a large part in my conversations with Althea, both in public and at home, but it is not because I am pussy whipped, it is because I just don't care or because it just doesn't matter. I was in the market for a new car and Althea picked out the one that I bought.
"It gives great gas mileage and has a very high safety rating, and besides, it fits the image you need to project if you want to get ahead at work."
What did I care? I'd never had any particular interest in cars and the one she picked got me from point A to point B just fine. She picked out my clothes, but as far as I was concerned that just meant that I didn't have to do it. If she had said, "Herbie, I'm going to paint the dining room walls black, put two white horizontal stripes through the middle of it and a yellow vertical stripe just to the right of center" I would have said, "That's nice dear" because I just did not care about things like that.
The friends we had were the ones she picked for us, but so what? I'd never had many friends anyway. Althea picked our activities and again, so what? Before we got married I'd never done much except study and play with computers so whether it was opera or line dancing it was all new to me and if it kept Althea happy, I was happy. Althea got her way ninety percent of the time and always it was over things that I just did not care about. Althea did not get her way when it did come to things I cared about and that is what counted for me. When I furnished my home office Althea wanted cherrywood for the desk and bookshelves and I wanted oak so oak is what I got. For our home computer Althea wanted a Mac and I wanted an IBM clone so a clone is what we got. So I got my way on the things that counted to me and Althea got her way on all the rest. If that makes me seem pussy whipped or hen pecked so be it.
The marriage was trouble free, from my standpoint anyway, for eight years, seven months and two days and then I made the mistake of coming home unexpectedly. Not that I would have called ahead anyway because Althea was supposed to be at work. I'd gone to an early lunch with my boss and something that I ate apparently gave me a slight touch of food poisoning and the boss told me to take the rest of the day off. When I got home Althea'' car was in the driveway and I wondered why she was at home and not at work. I didn't have to wonder long because as soon as I opened the front door I heard, "... me damn it, fuck me hard."
I quietly closed the door and went and looked in the living room. Althea was bent over the arm of the couch. Her dress was up around her waist, her panty was dangling from her left foot and a black man was fucking her from behind. I watched as the black man pounded into Althea's pussy and she urged him on.
"Hurry lover, hurry, make me cum. We have to get back to work, hurry baby, get me off, hurry."
I should have been mad. I suppose that I should have exploded in anger and rushed into the room, but I didn't. I leaned against the doorframe and watched. Finally the black man noticed me and he abruptly stopped fucking Althea and pulled out. He set himself in a stance to ward off an attack and waited for me to do something. As soon as he stopped fucking her and pulled out Althea started crying, "Don't stop damn it, I'm almost there, don't stop, get me off."
When he didn't answer or come back Althea lifted herself up and looked over her shoulder and saw me. Her face went pale. She got up off the couch and said, "We need to hurry back to work Jerome" as she straightened her dress and pulled on her panties. Then she looked at me and said, "This is nothing for you to worry about Herb. We will talk about it when I get home from work tonight."
"Nothing for me to worry about? I come home and fi..."
"Not now Herb, I have to get back to work. Tonight we will talk" and she headed for the front door. Jerome kept a wary eye on me as he followed her and I could not resist a little sarcasm.
"Be cool dude. You heard her, It's nothing for me to worry about and we are going to talk about it when she gets home."
As I watched Althea back down the driveway I wondered why I wasn't more upset about the situation than I was. I think it was because the moment I saw Jerome ram his cock in Althea I realized that we were never supposed to get together in the first place. Something had shifted in the space/time continuum just long enough to knock things off their planned course. Althea was supposed to keep hanging with her black football and basketball players and I was probably supposed to stay a confirmed bachelor, but something weird happened and Althea ended up at my library table.
Well, it was easily enough corrected. I would see a lawyer in the next day or two and get the ball rolling, but first I had to figure out what I was going to do to Althea and quite possibly Jerome if he was stupid enough to keep hanging around. Althea was about to see a side of her husband that she never knew existed.
In keeping with the calm way that Althea had reacted when I caught her in the act of cuckolding me and my own demeanor after catching them, I had dinner ready and waiting when she got home, complete with a bottle of wine opened and 'breathing' on the kitchen counter. I assumed that Althea would keep to her regular schedule, especially in light of what had happened and she didn't disappoint me. Show no fear could have been her motto. She entered the kitchen calm and self assured as always, saw the preparations that I had made and I saw just the faintest trace of a smile at the corner of her eyes and I could read her mind — "This is going to be easier than I thought."
She poured herself a glass of wine, took a sip and said, "I'm sorry that you had to walk in on that today, but you never come home during the day. Still, I should have planned for something like that, it's just that motel rooms are just so tacky."
"I'm sorry that I walked in on it too. Motel rooms might be tacky, but I would have much rather have had you suffer through tacky than for me to come home to what I came home to. It isn't every day that a man who thought he was happily married comes home to find out that he isn't."
"Herbie, I told you that you had nothing to worry about. I have no intention of leaving you for Jerome. My god Herbie, it was just a fling. You are my man Herbie and you should know that. I love you and you should know that too."
"That was a very strange way of displaying your love for me."
"I said I was sorry and I am. I should have taken Jerome to a motel or a hotel."
"How long has it been going on?"
"Jerome? About two weeks now."
"The way you answered that makes me think that Jerome isn't the first."
Althea was silent for a moment or two and then she said, "He isn't."
"How many and for how long?"
I don't remember how many right off hand, but it has been going on since before I met you."
"Would you care to explain that?"
"Not really, but I guess I have to. It goes all the way back to high school. I went to a victory party after a football game and had a bit too much to drink. I woke up the next morning between two black football players. As soon as I was awake they treated me pretty much the same as they had when I was drunk, like a white trash whore. I can't explain why it turned me on, but it did and I've had a taste for black meat ever since.
"So why did you marry me if what you really wanted was black men?
"At first it didn't matter Herb. I only married you for your potential. As far as looks go you weren't bad, but you weren't all that great either. All the guys I ran with in college had it all over you in the looks department. Good looking, hard bodies, good in the sack, but that was all they had. I could predict the future for every one of them. They would become gas station attendants, convience store clerks and used car salesmen. A couple would have gone into professional sports, blown out a knee and ended up selling real estate. I didn't want that. I wanted some one who was going to make something of himself. I looked around and there you were and I went after you. I'd have my security and I'd have my hard bodies on the side.
"Then things got complicated. I fell in love with you. What complicated things even more was that I found out that even though I loved you I couldn't break myself away from my hard bodies. And I found out that it wasn't just the hard bodies I couldn't break away from, it was black hard bodies. I don't know if it was the black/white taboo thing or what, but I was hung up on black men.
"The first year of our marriage I fought off the urge, but every time I saw a black man I would feel a tingle in my crotch and then one day I ran into one of my old boyfriends at Wal-Mart, he was working there — I had read his potential right — and we ended up at a motel. When I came home that night I felt guilty as hell and even though you didn't know I'd cheated on you I did my best to fuck your eyes out to make it up to you. You never suspected a thing and I let it happen again and I've been doing it ever since, but I swear to you Herb, they don't mean shit to me. They are just feeding my habit. You are my man Herb, you are the one I love and want to live my life with.
"So the entire we have been married you have been hanging horns on me with niggers."
"No, not the entire time. It is an occasional thing. I know that it is self-destructive behavior so I quit doing it, but after five or six months the craving drives me crazy and I find a black man and have an affair. After a couple of weeks I break it off and in six or so months the cycle starts all over again. It is just a fling Herbie. It doesn't threaten our marriage at all. If anything, it helps."
"Oh? And may I ask just how?"
"Whenever I'm having one of my flings the number of times you and I have sex in a week increases."
"And that is because it turns you on to be giving me sloppy seconds?"
"No Herbie, I would never do that to you. Well, that's not exactly true. It did happen once and I felt so guilty about it that I never let it happen again. I always shower and douche before I come to you Herbie, always. The reason it causes our sex life to increase is because I leave my black lover knowing that all he is is a fuck, but that I'm going home to a man whom I love and who is going to make fantastic love to me. This isn't about hurting you or shaming you. I love you Herb, I really do. My thing for blacks is just an itch that I have to occasionally scratch. We have been together almost nine years Herb and it has been going on all that time and it hasn't hurt us a bit and there is no reason that it should bother us now that you know."
"That sounds suspiciously like you intend to keep on doing it."
"Of course I do Herb. I already pointed out that it hasn't hurt us."
"So I'm just supposed to say "Yes dear" and turn a blind eye to it?"
"Yes honey, exactly."