Based on real people and events, but in a fictionalized form.
It was just before our eighth anniversary when my first marriage fell apart, though neither of us knew it, not precisely, not then.
Glennie and I had been married following a protracted courtship and engagement. Hindsight being what it is and all, I'd have to say she seemed desperately unenthusiastic about marrying-- about marrying me, anyway -- but she was getting up there, feeling like a spinster at the ripe old age of twenty-eight, and I was but a pup of twenty-six.
Again with the hindsight, I think she felt inadequate, as if she needed to latch onto the first man who didn't run screaming from her. I appear to have been that one, though I also believe her perceptions were skewed. She was not unattractive, though not a beauty in any classic sense.
I came to discover, later, my suspicions were correct. Her father turned out to be an abusive lout, verbally if not physically; her mother never stood up to the man, never protected her only child from his contumely.
(As an aside: I believe the old man respected me. The first time we met, he tried that shit with me; I handed it back to him in spades and walked out the door. Next time we met, he was far nicer.)
In any event, we finally married, and settled into something like a home life.
The wedding night was unpleasant, not to say a disaster; Glennie was a virgin, and while I'm no John Holmes, she was unprepared for my presence in her body. Her maidenhead was thick, and tore with some considerable pain. We didn't make love again for three nights, and after that things got a little better, though she never really enjoyed sex.
We were substantially older than most first-time newlyweds, and more responsible; and so we were relatively flush with cash. Our student loans had been paid off, we owned our cars, and neither of us had fallen into the credit-card trap. We had the money to afford a house outright, and we jumped at the opportunity to move into a new development shortly after the wedding.
We were never blessed with children. She became pregnant three times, and each spontaneously aborted within the first trimester. I wonder, now, years later, whether things might have been sweeter for her had she been able to deliver a child.
Sex became an issue. She tolerated it, mostly to placate me, but was never willing (or perhaps able) to abandon herself to my attempts to induce pleasure. Her most common bedroom phrase, uttered only when I attempted to initiate lovemaking, was, "How about just a quickie?"
Many men would have enjoyed a setup like that; most, I think, would eventually grow weary of such pro forma intimacy. I certainly did, mostly because I really, truly loved Glennie, and I wanted her, and I wanted her to want me.
I finally accepted such would never be the case. Our relationship reduced to a simmer; we both worked, and enjoyed some of life's finer things, and for the most part kept a respectable distance.
And life went on.
I don't want to give the impression life was all sour. There were plenty of good times. Our neighbors to the left, Tom and Martha Pender, were perhaps our best friends. They were significantly older, early fifties when we moved in next to them, but we developed an over-the-fence relationship quickly. They made us part of their extended family; cook-outs and picnics, card games and birthday parties and New Year's Eve celebrations, a family to love and nurture and stand in for the ones we did not have.
Work was good, as well. Glennie and I worked our respective ways up our respective corporate ladders. If money had never been an issue, it wasn't even on the radar by this point.
Conservative as we were, never prone to excesses, we failed to indulge in new cars and furniture, things like that. Our savings were substantial; the prospect of early retirement came up, even as we were only in our early thirties. We even discussed setting a goal of retirement by age forty-five.
Life took a few turns, though.
One evening I had to stop by the pharmacy on the way home, and so arrived a little later than usual. I knew, from the sight of the ambulance in the Pender's driveway, all was not well.
Glennie was standing on our front stoop, weeping. Tom had had a heart attack, she told me as best she could; the paramedics had just gotten there before I arrived, and it didn't look good.
We watched the ambulance pull away, and there was Martha, trying to get into her car to follow, looking dazed and having trouble with the keys. Glennie called to her; we bundled her into my car, and the three of us drove, as quickly as safely possible, to the hospital.
Tom was gone before we arrived.
The next weeks and months were difficult, mostly for Martha but of course for us as well. We offered assistance, and soul of practicality that she was, she accepted. None of your typical I'm-fine-on-my-own bullshit from that lady, let me tell you.
Still, all the help we could give, all the love and support the neighborhood offered, were ultimately not enough. Martha succumbed to the call of her oldest son, to come and live with his family. He and his wife had four young children, and lived not too far away.
And so it was with great trepidation that we watched the moving van pull up to the house we still thought of as the Penders', and the moving men transferring the contents into the house. Trepidation because the Penders were a known quantity; the new neighbors were a mystery yet to be unraveled.
The new neighbors turned out to be a single woman, about our age, a young widow (it turned out) named Sophie. She was attractive but unglamorous, polite if a bit cool, though we wrote that off to being uncomfortable around new neighbors.
Eventually, of course, we began to get to know her. She was quite nice, but maintained a remoteness Tom and Martha never evidenced.
I remember the evening it all started. Our eighth anniversary was approaching; it was April, unseasonably cool and just right for leaving the windows open. Glennie and I had not made love in quite a while, several weeks in fact, and I thought I was due.
As soon as I brought up the subject, I wished I had not.
"Sex, sex, sex," she grumbled. "That's all you ever think about."
"No," I shot back, "you have it backwards. All I ever do about sex is think. I'm sure as hell not getting any."
She threw down the magazine she'd been reading. "When will you GROW UP?" she barked. "You're not eighteen anymore! You don't need sex every day!"
"Married people make love, Glennie," I said, more calmly than I felt. "I can't help it. I'm reasonably young, and I have a libido. I'm married to a desirable woman. This is not just me rutting, this is natural. Living the way we do is unnatural."
We went back and forth on the subject, trading a few more barbs. Finally, she'd had enough.
"Bitch, bitch, bitch!" she spat, and stormed out of the room. She locked herself in the guest room."
I stood there for a moment, feeling simultaneously frustrated and confused. I didn't know how to solve the problem. Maybe, I thought, there was no solution. No viable solution, anyway.
I went to bed alone that night. Sleep was a long time coming.
The next morning, I awoke a little later than normal, but by no means had I overslept. My normal habit is to hit the treadmill for a brief workout prior to my morning ablutions; it would have to take a rest today.
I realized soon enough Glennie had gone to work early. She had left me no note of acknowledgment, apology, or anything else. I sat at the table, fuming, trying to get my head into the day, when it occurred to me I had tons of personal time built up and absolutely nothing pressing on the calendar for that day.
I called Ben, my boss -- he was always in early -- and allowed how I had some things to tend to, household items which had piled up and simply needed attention. He told me I needed to take time off, and gave me his blessing to play hooky. I think he suspected something, but he never let on.
My date with the treadmill was back on.
Fifteen minutes of steady plodding turned into thirty minutes of pushing myself forward, and that into forty-five minutes of motion, all told, including a little jogging and some cooling down. It felt good to release some of my pent-up tension.
I was nasty, in need of a shower in the worst way. Then I realized: there really were things around the house I needed to do, starting with tending the shrubs. That gave way, after an hour or so, to bagging the detritus, and that in turn to raking up the leaves and bagging them as well.
I looked around, pleased with what I had accomplished; but I am a creature of habit, and not getting a shower in the morning is simply anathema. I had more to do, but I figured, if I had to get another shower later, to hell with it; I'd just get another shower later.
So, around ten-thirty, I walked out into the back yard, wearing a clean a-shirt and Bermudas, trying out my new summer sandals, and examined my handiwork. I sighed: if only my marriage could be made to pass inspection with just the application of some good, honest effort.
A voice interrupted my reverie. "Jeff!" I heard the voice say, from somewhere on my left. I looked in that general direction, and noticed Sophie standing there, leaning over the fence. I waved in return.
"So what's Mr Industrious doing at home on a non-holiday like this?" she asked cheerfully.
"I took a personal day off," I answered, not elaborating. "Things to do, you know."
"Had breakfast yet?" she asked.
It struck me: no, I had not. "Actually, I think I got so busy I just forgot," I replied a little sheepishly."
"I have some fresh coffee and croissants for brunch, and I could sure use some company," she said, smiling enticingly.
I thought for a moment. "Okay," I replied, and crossed through the two gates separating our yards.
For the first time, I was able to take stock of her in a very informal setting. Glennie and I had been in her house, briefly, when she first moved in, welcoming her to the neighborhood. She was always well-dressed, her home immaculate.
This particular morning, she looked fresh-scrubbed and shiny, wearing culottes, flipflops, and a t-shirt; and unless it was so thin as to be undetectable, she wasn't wearing a bra. Her breasts, respectable B-cups to my eye, were firm and proud with no assistance. I tried not to stare, but I'm a breast man, and it had been a while since I'd seen a pair. Real ones, anyway.
She had ducked into the house through the patio door to grab an extra coffee cup and saucer. She emerged, motioned for me to sit, and as I complied she put a couple of very hot croissants on a small plate and placed it in front of me. She proffered jam, honey and butter; I declined all three, mostly because I just prefer plain bread, especially when it's fresh.
We talked about this and that, how she was settling into the neighborhood, how she liked the town, where she had lived before. She discussed the few, brief years of happiness when she and her husband, Frank, were married.
"After my Frank passed on," she said, "I had to get away from everything. I couldn't stay where we had lived."
"Why?" I asked.
"My in-laws," she said crisply. "They think I somehow arranged his death. He died of an aortic dissection. You understand what that is?"
I nodded. "It's sorta like an aneurysm. Quick, painless, usually a congenital defect, if I recall my biology class."
She smiled. "Most people wouldn't have known that."
"I had this nasty habit in school," I replied. "I studied."
She laughed, a tinkly little sound. "Anyway, I tried to remain part of the family, but they weren't having any of it. I think it chapped their asses when I was the beneficiary of his life insurance."
"Shit," I muttered, "it's always about the money with some people."
"So," she continued, "I pulled up stakes, and here we are, you and me, having brunch."
"You seem to have gotten over ... well, the situation ... uh," I trailed off.
Her smile never faltered. "You mean I'm acting like some sort of merry widow?"
I nodded, and she continued, "My Frank was the love of my life. I loved that man with all my heart, and now he's gone. I mourned for him. I'm done. There's no contradiction. I feel no guilt whatsoever about it."
I smiled to match hers. "That's great to hear. So it was a happy marriage."
She nodded. "Far from perfect, but very happy. The only bone of contention, you should pardon the expression, was Frank's sex drive. He was ... hmm, how to say ... not impotent, but he had a low libido. I, on the other hand, have a much higher drive. He tried his best to please me, and that was enough. Does that make any sense to you?"
I sighed. "Yes, it actually does. My wife and I are ... shall we say, at odds right now."
"Yeah," she said, "I know about that."
My eyebrows rose. "Come again?"
She leaned forward on both elbows, and said, "Jeff, I don't want to embarrass you, but your windows were open last night."
"Oh, shit," I muttered. "I'll bet the whole neighborhood heard us. Shit..."
She patted my hand, laughing lightly. "I don't think so," she said soothingly. "Your window," she pointed, "opens on this side of my house. I could hear what was being said, but not completely clearly, and I was not inclined to eavesdrop. I doubt if anyone else heard anything."
That took some of the initial sting out of it, but I kicked myself mentally.
"So tell me," she said, "has she always been like this? I mean, thinking sex was a duty to be performed?"
I looked away, then back at her; I sighed heavily, and said, "Yeeeeeah, pretty much." For reasons I didn't understand at the time, the story began to tumble out of me; the long engagement, the wedding night, the miscarriages. I talked nonstop for ten minutes. She nodded sympathetically at key points, asking a couple of insightful questions along the way.
Finally I was done. I felt drained, liberated, like I had gone to confession for the first time in years. Sophie sat, looking at me intently, smiling slightly, non-judgmentally.
She abruptly changed the subject. "So you're having a goof-off day to relieve your frustrations, are you?"
"Yeah," I said. "I can always find something needs doing around the house."
She began to clear the dishes; I grabbed some of them and followed her into the house. "How'd you like to help me a little?" she asked. "I have some things that have gone untended to, not having a man around and all."
"Somehow, you don't strike me as being dependent on a man," I quipped, and she giggled.
"Okay, that was sexist," she allowed. "I mean, another pair of hands, a strong back, a different perspective. Like that."
"Gotcha," I said. We loaded the dishes in the dishwasher and tidied the kitchen.
Afterward, she said, "I was sorta joking, but if you'd hang around, I'd really be grateful."
"Lead on, m'lady," I replied.
She grinned and led me to the attic entrance, your typical trap-door in the hall ceiling. She explained there were some boxes in the attic, more like a crawl-space, that contained items she needed, and some boxes she'd prepared downstairs that needed to be placed in the attic. I could see it wasn't going to be a terribly difficult job, unless attempted solo.
We worked for about an hour; she brought boxes to me, which I carried upstairs, and took the boxes which I handed her. She was no shrinking violet, that was certain; she was matching me, effort for effort, and while the day was coolish, we worked up a sweat.
I began to notice telltale signs of wet areas between her breasts, which grew and eventually accentuated her nipples. I struggled to keep my own libido in check.
Eventually we finished, and took a break. I stole a few glances at her wet-t-shirt impression, as we sat and drank cold water. She prepared cucumber sandwiches -- by this time, it was after noon -- and we munched the light repast, punctuating the meal with small talk.
We let lunch settle, then got back to work, attacking the garage with fervor equal to the morning's. By two-thirty or so, we'd done quite a lot. "Enough for one day," she declared.
We retired to the comfort of her sitting room. She turned on the fan -- it was too cool for the a/c -- and we sat in comfort for a few moments, the only sound the soft hum of the fan.
I was sneaking surreptitious glances at her breasts, showing nicely beneath the sweat-soaked t-shirt. Turned out I was not nearly as sly as I thought; she leaned forward, chest thrust outward, in an exaggerated stretch, and then in one quick motion removed the garment. She sat there bare-breasted, grinning at me.
After a moment, I said, "Uhm, Sophie... ?"
She maintained the grin. "Like what you see? Come on, I've seen you peeking at me." I must have blushed, because she laughed lightly and said, "Oh, not to worry. I won't tattle. Besides, it's my house, and if I want to sit here topless, that's my business."
I found my voice. "Well, it's a nice sight, I must admit."
She stood, walked over to my seat, and plopped down in my lap, straddling my legs. She looked directly into my eyes for a moment; then she took my face in her hands, leaned in close, and kissed me.
It was erotic and passionate without being too physical. There was no great moaning, no writhing, no grinding of crotches; just an intense and very enjoyable kiss. After a few moments, she broke the kiss, took my hands and pressed them to her breasts.
I smiled, kneading her orbs gently, gently; and she returned the smile and said, "You know what? I think you'd enjoy this a lot more if they were nice and clean. If we were all clean. Don't you?'
I looked up into her eyes, feeling slightly surreal, and nodded. She smiled, dismounted and extended a hand, which I took. I stood, let her lead me down the hallway to the bathroom.
She slipped off her culottes, then turned to disrobe me. She reached into a closet and retrieved bath cloths and towels. We stepped into the shower stall; she turned the water on a nicely hot setting, and we began the very romantic process of washing one another.
It was one of the most erotic events of my life. Glennie had never consented to such a thing, much less initiated. As I ran my hands over Sophie's soap-slicked breasts, as she leaned into my hands, I felt urges I had all but forgotten. I got on my knees and gently washed her mons; then, as I ran clean water over her mound, eliminating the soap, I gave in to the urge to run my tongue along her pussy lips.
She took my head in her hands, opened her legs a bit, and shuddered as I tasted her freshly clean woman-scent. After a moment, she stopped me. I stood, we completed the shower -- she took a moment to stroke my penis, but only briefly; I believe she knew what would happen otherwise -- and stepped out, drying ourselves and one another.
We kissed our way into the bedroom. I picked her up and placed her on the bed, joining her as we resumed our kissing.
I kissed my way down her torso, lapping at each breast, sucking, lightly nipping her nips, kissing the underside of each of her bosoms -- I learned long ago many women consider that a neglected region -- and worked my way down, once again, and in better position, to her grotto.
I'd eaten pussy before, in my younger days, but none so exquisite as this. I inserted my tongue as deeply as I could, extracting the nectar from her walls; she rewarded me with vocal appreciations of what she was experiencing.
At length I got to work on her clitoris. My technique, rusty perhaps, stood me in good stead, and I was able to flick her button, rapidly and steadily, until she came with a soft howl. She pressed her thighs against my head as she pushed me away; I recognized the gesture as orgasmese for, "Enough!"
I scooted up to lay supine beside her; she rolled over to rest her head on my left shoulder, running her hands through the hair on my chest. After a moment, she whispered, "Wow."
I rubbed her shoulder with my left hand, and said, "Pretty good?"
She nodded mutely. After a few more moments of silence, she said, "That's the best orgasm I've ever had."
"I'll bet you say that to all your lovers," I quipped.
She moved her head back and turned to face me, a blank look on her face. I realized how that must have sounded, and said, "Sophie, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that. I was trying to be humorous..."
She smiled. "It's okay," she said. She got serious again, and continued, "I guess I've sorta given you the wrong impression of me, huh?"
"No, Sophie, no, really," I said. "I just ... damn, I was just..."
She stopped me with a finger to my lips. She said, "My Frank never did that for me. He never even gave me a proper orgasm, just little mini-pops. I've only ever had three men total, before you, and only my college lover gave me an orgasm. Bastard dumped me, but then I met Frank..." She trailed off.
She placed her head back on my shoulder, and said, very softly, run your finger around in my pussy?"
Well. I of course complied. She was already a little slick, but after ten seconds or so she really started flowing again.
She must have sensed it, because she climbed on top of me and sank onto my penis in one smooth motion. Her technique was good, but of course I was sex-starved and very aroused. In mere moments I was climaxing, spilling volumes of seed into her warmth. Beyond the roar in my head, I thought I heard her squealing an orgasm as well.
After a moment, after continuing to rock a little on my shrinking self, she fell forward and kissed me, as effortlessly as an act performed a thousand times. I returned the kiss, elated and deflated, drained and energized and happier than I had been in many days.
She rolled off, eventually, trailing our mixed fluids, to resume her position on my shoulder. We breathed in rhythm for a few moments.
A short time later, I said, "Sophie? May I ask you a question?"
She raised her head fractionally. She looked me in the eye, grinning wryly, and said, "Honey, you've had your tongue halfway to my cervix, and your semen is making a mess on my bed. I don't think there's much room for secrets between us."
I chuckled, and continued: "Why me? Why did you choose me as a lover? Am I you lover? Or am I reading way too much into all this?"
She smiled and said, "Jeff, I wanted you because you're a sweet, healthy, giving man who's been deprived, and I'm a healthy woman likewise going without. You have a marriage that isn't feeding you, I had a marriage that didn't fulfill me, and I have the ability to bridge both our gaps."
I looked at her for a time. "I could very easily fall in love with you," I declared simply.
She shook her head. "Don't do that, because I'll disappoint you. I wont fall in love with you. I won't break up a marriage." I stated to protest, but she put a finger to my lips. "No," she said firmly, "I will not break up a marriage. I'll be here for you, tend to your sexual needs, let you attend to mine ... no, I'll insist you attend to mine," here she grinned, "but I will not interfere with your home life. Think of me as a vitamin supplement."