Jealousy can make people do terrible things and the cost can be very high. This is one such case.
Edited with comments by LadyCibelle
I looked at myself in the mirror, rubbed a little blush into my cheeks and took a brush to my hair for one last touch. I sighed, backed away and put on the short black dress I bought this week. It was perfect, not too short and not too long. I still had good legs and I loved to show them off. Bill always made comments about them and I guess he convinced me how good they were. I slipped on my heels, snapped the back straps and stood up. A touch of perfume, a last touch of the dark red lipstick and I was ready.
"Ok Wendy, are you ready for this? You still look good girl." I was talking to my reflection in the mirror, trying to convince myself that I was ready for this. I'd been on a few dates and I had to admit that they were pretty much disasters. Maybe this one would be better.
I walked down the stairs and into the family room where Jase and Jenny were playing. They were my twelve year old twins and the love of my life. I adored these two, and I let them know that as often as I could. I stood there, watching them play their new video game, the one their father bought them just last week. Rachael Maier, our next door neighbor who was watching them tonight while I was out, was already there and absorbed in the game as well. She was older, almost eighteen, and had been our babysitter for the past four years.
"OK kids. I'm ready to go. Now can you be sure to finish your homework before you go to bed? Jase, you have that test in math tomorrow and Jenny, you have an English quiz coming up."
They turned to look at me and, as usual, I saw the disapproval on Jase's face. I didn't want to start so I turned to Rachael and said, "Be sure you check their work to be sure it's done, OK?"
"No problem Mrs. Stridell. They always do their homework for me. Don't you, guys?"
Jase turned away, not answering. I knew he was angry at me but I couldn't give in to him. Jenny smiled and told me how nice I looked. She wasn't pleased with me either but she was never as obvious as Jase. The three of them turned back to the game so I walked out and into the hall. I got my jacket and laid it over the banister, ready when James came to pick me up.
I walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table, less then anxious to go out tonight but I had to get myself back into the dating game. It was really hard and so different now. It had been almost fifteen years since I had gone out on a date. After all, I had been married for thirteen of those years and dating my ex-husband for the two before that. My divorce was final six months ago and this was only the third time I had accepted a date. Tonight was with James Conklin, a co-worker of mine at the bank where I worked as a teller and a reasonably good-looking guy. He had been asking me out for over a month and I finally accepted. I liked him, but that was all. He was just a friend as far as I was concerned but I knew he wanted more. I told myself for the tenth time that maybe this was a bad idea.
Maybe if things had been different, I would be engaged and probably married by now to Brad Eisley. Brad and Bill worked together and used to be friends. They both worked for Lever, Kline and Patron, Inc., a company that specialized in handling corporate takeovers and consolidations. They were investigators who delved into corporate finances and determined what obligations and debts they had and the value of their assets. It wasn't until later that I learned they were always in competition for the top spot in the company. Bill had the edge, or so most of his contemporaries said. Brad was good but not as good as Bill.
In spite of their competition, Brad was at our house often for parties, barbecues and the like. I knew Bill didn't like him all that much but I had no such problems with Brad. I knew he was single, with an ex-wife who he never spoke of and no children of his own. He was friendly, always ready to lend me a hand and always complimented me on my appearance, the way I threw a party, just very observant. Bill did confront me after one particular party where Brad spent the entire evening standing next to me. I was surprised at Bill's attitude and when he suggested Brad was after something that didn't belong to him, I got angry and defended him. We didn't talk for days after that one.
Brad had been our friend for almost three years before it all blew up. That's when I found out how good a friend he was. After all, he was the one that had my best interests at heart and the one that made me aware of my husbands philandering. He was there for me when he brought those pictures of Bill and that blonde bitch he was having the affair with. I didn't know her name; I never bothered to find out. Brad had pictures and dates and the whole affair documented. He produced a Private Investigator's report which he paid for out of his own pocket. The whole thing was there in black and white. He admitted he did it because he had always been fond of me and was so upset when he found out about Bill that he didn't want me to be hurt any worse than I would be if it went on longer.
When I confronted Bill, he blew his stack and screamed at me. He wanted to know who gave me those pictures and that report but I wouldn't tell him. There was no reason to point to Brad; it would only make him more defensive. He denied the whole thing, telling me he had never been unfaithful to me or our marriage, but he couldn't answer the questions I had for him. I asked him why, who she was, when he did it and why he chose to cheat on me. He wouldn't answer me, saying none of it was true. When I showed him the pictures, he took them, glared at them with anger and threw them on the floor, telling me that none of that ever happened. I had the proof and he still denied it!
I got so angry at him that when Brad convinced me to take out a restraining order on him and make him move out of the house, I did. Bill was very hurt and angry when the police served it on him. He continued to deny everything right up until the time I filed for divorce. He vowed to fight it every step of the way but I enforced the restraining order to keep him away from me and out of the house and I got a good attorney. She was the best at divorce and she said we had an open and shut case.
The only thing I wouldn't do was refuse to let Bill see the twins. After all, he was their father and they wouldn't understand why I wanted to make him stay away. They complained when he didn't come home but I tried to explain that he couldn't live there any more. They took it hard but I told them he would see them as often as he could. I let him know through my lawyer that I wanted him to spend time with them and he agreed. I just wanted notice so I could be gone when he came to pick them up.
During this time, Brad was always available to go places with me, to help me with my filings and meetings with the attorney, pick up and drop off the twins when I couldn't. He was by my side through it all. I was becoming quite fond of him and I knew he returned the feelings. We did go out a couple of times but we just parted at the door. That was until the court ruled on the divorce and our separation became official. The next time Brad and I went out, I asked him to stay. The twins were with Bill for the weekend and Brad slept over Saturday night.
We made love that first night and I have to admit it wasn't all that good. I think it was because I was still married at the time and I was nervous and a little guilty. After all, I hadn't been with any man other than my husband for almost fifteen years. Long before we were married and then all during our marriage. One of the things I didn't like was that Brad was very demanding. I just wanted to cuddle and make gentle love but he was insistent. He wanted me to suck him, something I did for Bill but only because he enjoyed it: I certainly didn't. And Brad wanted to do things like anal which I just refused to do.
But, I was fond of Brad and felt it would be get better as we got to know each other. After that, it did improve but it never was as good as it was with Bill. And Brad was always frustrated with me because of my reluctance to do those things he wanted. But it became a pattern: Bill took the kids on alternate weekends and Brad would sleep over. That continued until one Sunday morning Bill came back with the twins to grab an extra pair of shoes for a trip he planned.
Bill stayed outside as the twins came running up the stairs to get their things. I heard them and came out of my bedroom to ask what they were doing. As I spoke with them, Brad came out of the room wearing his robe and the twins saw him. I saw the shock and anger on Jase's face and the tear that started in Jennie's eyes. I was about to say something when Jase ran down the stairs, his sister following. They went out the door, slamming it behind them. I had no choice but to let them go.
When Bill brought the twins home that Sunday night, he came in with them, something he hadn't done since I filed the restraining order. He waited until the twins ran upstairs and then looked at me with the coldest, angriest look I had ever seen on his face.
.... There is more of this story ...