Kevin Reilly unlocked his front door, kicked off his shoes and walked down the hallway to the kitchen. He had just taken his wife Keri to the airport where she was going to be catching the 8 a.m. commuter flight to the state capital. It was her biweekly three day trip to perform secretarial duties for her boss, Bradley Knox III, or as Kevin always referred to him, Trey. Every time he used that nickname for her boss's pretentious official name Keri would remind him that her boss hated it. Although he never admitted it to his wife, it was one of the reasons that he always found a way to bring the nickname into a conversation. She might think that Bradley Knox III was a great guy, but Kevin didn't really care for him; there was something about him he simply found phony.
He looked at the clock and saw that it was only 7:30 a.m., which left him a lot of time to drive to the shop by nine when it opened. There was time for another cup of coffee, and as he poured it he realized there was also time for him to check his email and maybe do a little surfing around the Internet. He was not big on computers or the Internet, but he did find that email was a good way to keep in touch with some of the guys that he'd been in trade school with. There had been four of them who had stuck through it as a group, learning the intricacies of diesel mechanics together. The other three had all taken jobs away from the city, while he had been fortunate to catch on with one of the major heavy equipment sales and service firms right here in his home town.
At the age of 30 Kevin was now one of three head mechanics and had a crew of five men working under his supervision. Being the head of the group didn't mean that he didn't have to pull wrenches with the rest of them; he still got just as dirty as they did, although he primarily worked on fuel systems. Kevin enjoyed his job even though it could mean unexpected overtime and the occasional need for out of town work. At least he didn't have to travel as much as Keri did with her job.
She had only been at the Crosby and Knox law firm for six months, getting the job the week after she completed the upgrading courses necessary to move from a job as a real estate secretary to a better paid one as a legal secretary. She and Kevin had met at the college while each was learning their craft. That had been over eight years ago, and the two of them had been married for the last six. When they married Kevin had just started at the shop and Keri had been hired as a secretary for a local real estate firm. With the two of them working they had been able to make a down payment on this home they now lived in. Being able to move into their own home had occurred less than two years after they started their respective careers, something they both took pride in.
With his coffee in hand Kevin headed down the hall to the spare bedroom where their computer was set up. He hoped it was still on because he had noticed Keri use it for a few minutes after getting dressed and packed. At least he wouldn't have to wait for it to boot up if she left it on. As he entered the room he could see the picture that they used as a screensaver slowly moving across the screen in its random journey around the face of the monitor.
"Damn, we're a fine looking couple," he said to the empty house as he watched the photo of them move in front of him. They were side-by-side on lounge chairs surrounded by nothing but white sand, with the blue of the Gulf behind them. Both of them were nicely tanned, smiling and wearing the briefest of swimwear. It was one of many pictures they had taken during their vacation to Cancun 18 months earlier.
They both had sunglasses on so you couldn't see his gray eyes or Keri's blue ones, but there was very little left beyond that that you couldn't see. Keri's shoulder length blond hair was lighter than his sun bleached light brown hair, and their tans were almost a matching shade. With the two of them lying back in their chairs you couldn't tell the she was 4 inches shorter than his 6 foot height.
This wasn't the picture that he wanted to use as their screensaver, but Kerry wouldn't let him use one of the photos that had been taken when they spent a day on the nude beach at the resort. She was afraid that her parents, or someone else that she wouldn't want to see the picture, would somehow walk in while it was on the screen. In deference to her fears he had left those pictures in a secure folder, hidden behind a password. Maybe if he had time he would take a quick stroll through that folder before heading out to work so he could pay homage to Keri's luscious 36Cs. Then again, with having to spend the next two nights alone in their bed, he decided that perhaps it wasn't such a good idea.
After watching their photo travel from the right margin diagonally to the top of the screen, he finally moved the mouse to clear the screensaver. The photo and the black background dissolved, and he could see that there was an email on the screen from Keri's email account at Crosby and Knox. He wondered why she left it on the screen, as she had told him their corporate system had to be kept secure for a multitude of legal reasons. She was always paranoid about him seeing her messages when she got onto her corporate account from home.
After a second of thought he glanced to the top of the screen where he could see the familiar hourglass figure hovering over the Logout command. He realized then what had happened: their flaky high-speed modem was acting up again. Every week or so it would quit communicating to the equipment at the cable company, and the only way to get it working again was to cycle power to the modem. This brute force reset would always get it going.
He was just reaching for the modem so that he could turn it off when a phrase jumped off of the screen from the email that Keri had left showing in her haste that morning. The phrase that caught his eye was 'bra and pantie', and as he stared at it he couldn't quite understand why it was there in an email on her work account. It was at that point that he pulled his hand back from the modem and sat transfixed reading the email that his wife had received that morning from her boss. It wasn't very long but the words went through him like a spear.
Hope I catch you before you leave. I really want you to bring that black bra and pantie set I got you on our last trip; the one with the teal accents. You never had a chance to wear them for me.
My first appointment isn't until 2 p.m. with the Governor, so maybe we'll have enough time for you to put them on and for me to take them off for you this morning.
He reread the message three times, hoping that it would somehow make some sense to him, beyond the obvious. He was left with only the obvious, however; Keri was having an affair with Trey, her boss. Kevin didn't realize it but had there been a witness to him sitting there at the computer, their description of him would have been that he was staring at the screen, intermittently opening and closing his mouth like a goldfish in a bowl.
Finally Kevin shook his head and staggered to his feet, pushing the chair hard enough that it bounced off the wall as he left the room. He knew which black bra and pantie set Trey was talking about; he had seen it in Keri's lingerie drawer when she packed, and it had still been there when she closed and zipped her suitcase. He prayed that it was still there now as it might mean that the email had been a joke, some kind of sick joke. His hand was shaking as he pulled the drawer open, and it was quickly obvious that the black bra and pantie set, the one with the light blue-green bows decorating the front clasp of the bra and the thin ribbons at each side of the pantie, was no longer there. He quickly checked all of her drawers, praying she had simply moved them, but they weren't to be found.
As the realization that his wife had returned to the room and taken the missing lingerie with her sank in, Kevin sat down on the edge of their bed and tried to think of what Keri had told him about them when she had brought them home. Kevin had seen them as she unpacked that day, and had taken them from her hand saying, "For me? I mean, for you to wear for me?" He remembered grinning at her like a fool.
Keri had smiled at him coyly as she took them from his hand and said, "Not for tonight. I wouldn't want you ripping them off me in your haste to get me naked. I got them on a half-price sale at Victoria's Secret, but they were still expensive." He remembered her putting them into the drawer and they hadn't come back to his mind until this very morning. They had made love that night, just as they always did when Keri returned from her biweekly trips. She didn't need sexy lingerie to turn him on; she could always accomplish that by simply being near him.
Kevin sat there for several minutes thinking about the email and the lingerie. He finally decided that it couldn't mean what it seemed to mean. There weren't any of the signs or signals he had always assumed would be present if a wife were cheating on her husband. She was as loving as ever, eager to be with him. He couldn't remember the last time they had a serious disagreement let alone a fight, and if anything their lovemaking was more frequent than when they enjoyed their Mexican vacation. There simply had to be something he was missing that would explain that message.
.... There is more of this story ...