Ellie and Harm
Caution: This Erotica Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Romantic, Cheating, Wimp Husband, Cuckold,
Desc: Erotica Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Wife tries but can't help cheating, loses her family, and then falls on very hard times, or does she...
I don't know why it never seems to occur to adults that their kids have eyes and ears and are generally pretty savvy when it comes to worldly concerns. The fact is kids are information sponges. They hear everything, see everything, and react to everything, and much of the time the adults, in their ignorance, don't realize it. This great truth is a mixed blessing if it's one at all. In my case it proved enlightening.
It was Ben Franklin who once wrote that two people can keep a secret so long as one of them is dead. Well, the same maxim can be applied to kids and especially to teenagers. They not only know everything that goes on around them, they cannot for long keep it to themselves. My daughter Annie is a teenager, a junior at Henderson High.
My name is Harm Carter: the Harm is for Harmon. I used to work in a steel mill before that gawd-damn outsourcing shit sent our jobs and our entire factory to Mexico. Still, I can't complain, I'm one of the few that actually prospered from of the layoffs. I finished college and eventually got a teaching job at Henderson High School where I have taught Language Arts for the past twenty years.
I was single, never married actually, when I lost my job, and twenty-seven years old; so I was able to survive a sight better than most of my compadres who had families. It was at Henderson that I met my future wife, Ellie Potts; she worked a few hours a week there as a volunteer school nurse borrowed from the Mayfield Clinic a few miles up the road.
Ellie always seemed "the unreachable star" to me. All of the male teachers, especially Brad Johnson, were on the prowl when it came to Ellie. Hence, I wasn't going to waste my time "tilting at windmills."
All of the above said, Ellie wasn't the gorgeous model of the year type; she was pleasant looking. She was five-four and maybe 115 pounds, with light brown hair, green eyes, and a sunny disposition that made people always want to be around her. Like I say, she never had any problem getting dates, and again that was the reason that I held off so long in asking her out; I figured that I simply wasn't in her class.
Me? I wasn't actually ugly, but my face was kinda messed up: the result of a 7.65 Taliban bullet that passed through my jaw knocking out half my teeth and leaving me scarred pretty good. The army put back most of the pieces and did a little plastic surgery on me, but there were limits. I was lucky though, a couple of inches higher and the slug sure as hell would have ended my problem with outsourcing.
Apart from my scarred up face, I was about five-seven, medium build, and thinning brown hair. In short, I was not gonna be doing any modeling for GENT. I was, however, in superior shape. I worked out every day and the Army, in point of fact, had been a piece of cake for me; I was hard as nails and grizzly bear tough.
My first date with Ellie was the result, of what I considered at the time, to have been a lucky set of circumstances. She had been working late at the school getting caught up on some paperwork. I was coaching a debate team, and so I was late getting out as well. My car was parked maybe fifty yards from hers. As I keyed the lock and started to get in I noticed her looking at her Honda and frowning. I went over to her.
"Hi Harmon," she said. "My car won't start."
"Want me to take a look?" I said, in my most knight in shining armour tone of voice.
"Would you? I'd sure appreciate it," she said.
Her battery was dead. I got my jumpers and got her engine going. "You owe me a dinner out," I said laughing. Where did that come from, I thought? I was ready for the inevitable polite decline or put off.
"Friday night, okay?" she said.
"Sevenish, okay. I'm staying at the Heywood Arms, number 603. I'm in the middle of changing my address," she offered.
"Uh—okay—thrilled actually," I said. She smiled at that.
I had recovered from my initial embarrassment—shock—confusion whatever and was trying my best to act confident and pleased. I guess I succeeded.
"Good," she said.
Our first of many dates was fun. We went dining, dancing, and ended the evening sitting on the sidewalk patio of a local bistro talking till the wee small hours.
It was some six months later that we were married in front of a justice of the peace in Amarillo Texas. It wasn't fancy, but it was easy and legal. That night was the first time we fucked. I was thirty; she was thirty-one; and she was a virgin!
I hadn't known she was a virgin until we were undressing for the consummation of the marriage.
"Harm, I think I should tell you; I'm a virgin," she said.
I stopped cold, as in a freeze frame photo. "Really," I said. I know it made me sound foolish, but that's because I felt foolish. "Uh—I think that's a good thing." I deadpanned.
She gave a tentative giggle. I broke out laughing. "This is going to be fun," I said.
She looked alarmed. "You aren't going to go too fast are you?" She was genuinely worried.
I immediately reassured her that I would be most guilty of the sin of sloth on this most important of nights.
Taking a virgin who is over thirty years old is both a treat and a challenge. Ellie had never sucked a cock, never had her pussy eaten, certainly never had her ass rimmed; she needed to be brought along slowly, and on this night slow was my middle name.
She actually came out of the bathroom showered and tentative. She was wearing a silvery, full length satin nightgown that hid everything but the tops of her breasts. The damn thing had to go, but slowly.
As disappointed as I was about her nightgown, I smiled and told her how beautiful she was. And she was that.
Being the military genius that I was, I dimmed the lights. The harsh glare was about as romantic as a yard sale.
She sat on the edge of the bed and I sat down beside her. I didn't tell her to relax. I didn't squeeze a tit. I didn't do anything that would worry her. I kissed her shoulder. I kissed it again. I very gently placed two of my fingers under her chin and slowly oh so slowly turned her to face me; she smiled. I kissed her lightly on the lips and then did it again.
In minutes we embraced. I could feel her relax and begin to lose a part of the nervousness that she felt.
I smiled at her indulgently. I very slowly begin to peel the strap of her nightgown downward; I stopped. "Is it okay, dear?" She nodded. Asking her permission gave her confidence that I wasn't just going to destroy her maidenhood. Her tits were open to me. I wasn't sure, but I think she stuck them out just a little as if to tempt or dare me. She smiled at me now; I'm sure she felt that she was exhibiting what she thought was an expression of lust.
I kissed her again and gently laid her down on the silken sheets that the room afforded. I leaned in and kissed one breast then the other. I gave her a look that was a question. She nodded for me to continue. I suckled on a flawless breast that I knew had never been exposed to the rays of the sun.
I began to peel down her nightgown. At first she looked concerned, but then she relaxed. She was naked except for her panties. I placed my fingers in their waistband and began to slowly pull them down and off. Gawd! her pussy was beautiful. Her slit, only partly hidden by a sparse patch of pubic hair threatened to enslave me. I found myself gazing at it for some moments. I think she wondered if I liked the look of it; she seemed concerned, almost embarrassed. I said the right thing.
"Beautiful, absolutely beautiful," I said. I was so sincere that she giggled. "I kissed her there. Soon I was kissing her again and again and then licking and sucking her clit into my mouth; she tasted wonderful. She orgasmed: the first in her whole life more than likely. Certainly the first induced by a man.
I took an hour building up to taking her. As the supreme moment neared I could see she was nervous. I lay my hand gently on her cheek. "It's time for you to become a complete woman," I said. I could see a single tear welling up in the corner of her eye.
"Do it," she said.
I reached for the jar of KY jelly. And spread it on and inside her vagina. I handed it to her. She started to put it on the nightstand, but I stopped her and shook my head no. She understood.
She dug out a large glob of it and spread it all over my raging hardon. I took the jar from her and put it on the nightstand.
Spreading her legs wide, I loomed above and lowered myself to poking distance. I pressed for entry and got partially in. She squealed. I decided not to be ultra slow at this point; it would only prolong her discomfort. I swished my cock around a little at her opening, paused and thrust. Her hymen broke and I could see that she felt a sharp sting.
I pressed for a deeper penetration and then I pulled halfway out. Soon I was screwing her rhythmically. She relaxed and seemed to enjoy the sensation. All of a sudden she looked at me strangely; she stiffened as her first true orgasm tore through her; she screamed.
"Oh my—oh my—oh my," she uttered. She began to choke on her tears. I pumped into her furiously and reached an orgasm of my own moments later. I collapsed on top of her.
Rolling off, I took her in my arms and loved her up. "It's your turn," I said.
"Huh?" she said.
"You need to suck your husband's cock," I said softly.
She looked at me in horror.
"It's necessary," I said. "Trust me."
"Okay," she said. She slithered down my body and then turned around and lay on top of me; I was looking directly into her freshly fucked pussy. She began to tentatively suck me off. I jerked and spasmed wildly as I neared another orgasm of my own. She pulled her mouth from me just as I spurted my cum all over her face and tits.
She lay in my arms for sometime before I was again ready to accommodate her. I had decided to do it all tonight if I could. I did not want to spend the next thirty or forty years with an inexperienced and tentative lover. Tonight was training night as well as fun night.
I lay her face down on the bed and propped a pillow under her midsection. I got behind her and spread her legs wide once again. She didn't object. Well, not until...
She felt me licking her anus. She popped up and looked around at me. "Harm!"
"Dear heart, relax please. Tonight you learn," I said. She seemed to accept that.
I licked and sucked at her anus for some minutes. I reached for the KY jelly. She looked around at me again; I could see that this time she really was ready to stop me. But, to her credit, she decided to let me lead. I pushed the slick jelly into her rear door and spread a ton of it inside of her.
I pressed home my cock and after initial squealing and adjusting she took her screwing with less problem than I had anticipated. My cum washed her insides liberally. My cock shrank rapidly after that. I popped out and kissed her ass a dozen times assuring her of my love for her and my need for her charms.
We slept for hours. I awoke at first light and turned to see my wife still sound asleep and snoring lightly. Good, I thought, an untroubled sleep: a good way to start a marriage.
She was sore for a few days after our week long honeymoon, but she was definitely a whole woman, and I reveled in that fact.
Today was Ellie's birthday. Annie and I had set everything up. The cake was on the table, the ice cream too. Two presents, one from Annie and one from me, were wrapped and waiting for the woman of the house to arrive. She would be very surprised, at least we hoped she would be. We were excited. She'd be home in less than five minutes; she was rarely late unless she had told us so in advance; she had not.
Well, it turned out that this was one of the "rarely" times. A half hour after she should have arrived, she called. She'd been held over at the hospital. They were short handed. She had volunteered. I must have sounded a little down.
"Oh, honey, I'm sorry. I'll be home as soon as I can, all right?"
I said all the right things. She said goodbye. And then I hung up.
She made it home about three hours later. It was a little after 9:00PM. Annie and I were still up and we put on a good face and gave her our presents. Ellie was genuinely upset with herself for being late. She was all over us for being thoughtful and loving and wonderful. But there was something wrong, and I couldn't put my finger on it. Had I been a better student of human nature, I would have recognized the telltale signs of guilt, and not the kind of guilt for having had to work late on her birthday.
It was only later that I found out that Annie had picked up on what I had missed.
Ellie loved the emerald earrings I had bought her, her birthday is in May, and the new bikini that Annie had gotten her was likewise well appreciated. For the next several days things were wonderful. Great sex for me and lots of quality time with Annie. They seemed the salad days of our family life.
Annie had asked for permission to go to the mall with Carol, her best friend. I'd given the permission, but had insisted that they be home before dark. It was Saturday, so the traffic would be light and Carol was a cautious driver, so no problem, I thought.
I mowed the lawn and then went inside to watch the ball game. It was almost 3:00PM. Suddenly the front door burst open and Annie came storming in crying. She headed upstairs to her room.
I followed her and had to push the door back as she pushed from the opposite direction trying to keep me out.
"Annie! What the heck is going on!" I cried, finally gaining entry.
"Dad, leave me alone," she said. "Just leave me alone."
We verbally tussled like that for a minute of two. Finally, I said, "Okay maybe you'd feel more comfortable talking to mom a little later..." She cut me off and pushed me out into the hallway.
"No!" she screamed, and I heard her locking her door. Very strange, I thought: it had to be some boy. I was wrong.
Some six hours later Ellie's car pulled into the driveway. Annie had stayed in her room the whole day except for a couple of trips to the bathroom. I gave her space. I planned to try and talk to her the next day.
As soon as Ellie had shucked her coat, I told her about Annie's strange behavior. Ellie looked perplexed. Annie had asked to go to the mall after Ellie had already left for work; Ellie didn't know that Annie had indeed gone to the mall.
As soon as I mentioned where Annie had gone, and that she had come back early and how she had acted—crying her eyes out; Ellie went pale. Geezsus! two crazy women in the house at the same time, I thought.
"Harm, I'll talk to her in the morning. Sounds like girl trouble to me," said Ellie. "You go golfing or something. Okay?"
"Yeah—okay—I guess," I said, chickening out.
The following morning, I kissed my obviously nervous wife goodbye and headed for the driving range. I knew Cal would be there and probably Sammy, so I wouldn't be a lone eagle.
Ellie watched as her husband drove off. She steeled herself for what she was sure was going to be a very bad confrontation with her daughter—she had no idea.
She rapped softly on Annie's door.
"Go away!" came the reaction from the room beyond.
"Annie, it's me, mom."
"Get the fuck away from me bitch!" came the scream from inside.
Ellie went weak in the knees. Her worst fears were all but realized. She gathered her wits about her and made a decision. She'd already gotten the room keys from atop the frig. Now she slowly and, as quietly as she could, slipped the key into the lock and turned it. She pushed the door open wide.
Her daughter was huddled on the floor in the corner near the window. Her bed was still made. She looked terrible. She had been crying all night.
"Annie, what's goin' on? Why are you talking like that?" Ellie was still hoping it was something other than what she knew it must be.
"Are you fucking kidding me, you whore!" snarled Annie. She was now up and moving toward her mother.
"You saw us didn't you?" said Ellie.
"Oh yeah, momma dearest. I saw you. Carol saw you. Danielle saw you. Hugging and kissing and loving up that shitass Clyde Barrow. Did you know, Momma dearest, that your cheating ass squeeze was named after a gangster, a killer?"
"Yeah, you know, Bonnie and Clyde. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow."
"Uh—no—I didn't—I mean he's not my squeeze. Annie, we need to talk."
"We will mom, just as soon as dad throws you whoring ass out the door!"
Ellie lost it. She slapped her daughter and hard. "You will not talk to me that way," said Ellie.
Annie stumbled back a couple of steps from the impact.
"Annie, I'm so sorry," said Ellie. She knew she had crossed the line.
Annie held up her hands to stop her from talking. "Mommy dearest, do not raise your hand to me again. I bench 125 at the gym and I am one tough female of the species. I will react; I promise you."
Ellie nodded. Her eyes were tearing up. "Whaddya gonna do, Annie? Whaddya want me to do?"
Annie eyes were narrow. Her breathing shallow. She was going over the things in her head that she had been considering all night. Her rage gave her the look of a predator.
"First of all you're going to tell me everything. Give me all of the gory details. Then you're going to confess to dad as soon as he gets home."
Ellie shivered. "He'll divorce me, Annie. I know I deserve it, but do you really think it is the best thing, the best way?"
"You mean honesty? Are you asking me if honesty is the best way? Is that what you're asking me?" spit Annie.
Ellie could not look her daughter in the eyes. "I don't know, Annie. It was a mistake. Maybe if I do tell you all..."
"Start now, mommy dearest."
"Mr. Barrow, Clyde, and I met at that hospital picnic last year. You were there too and dad," said Ellie.
"I know. He's a car salesman in town; I know Carla, his daughter, we have classes together," said Annie.
Ellie looked surprised. "I didn't know that."
"I didn't know you were fucking her dad either, so I guess we're even," said Annie. "You are fucking him right?"
Ellie started to cry. "He asked me to lunch a couple of months ago. Your father and I were going through a rough patch. I guess I wanted to get even. I let him—I let Clyde take me to a motel. I know it's a cliché, but it's what happened. He got into my pants and we did it."
"You fucked him! Right? Say it!" said Annie.
"Yes," said Ellie. "I fucked him."
"How many times since then?" said Annie.
"Once a week. He likes me. Tells me how pretty I am. Treats me like a woman. I guess I thought I needed to be told those kinds of things," said Ellie. "Your dad...
"Do you love him? The asshole?" interrupted Annie.
"Uh—no, I don't think so. He's pleasant, a diversion," said Ellie.
"You don't think so! Are you shittin' me! You've been in each other's pants for two months and you don't think so!" screamed Annie. "When do you think you might be sure?" Annie's sarcasm was palpable. "What is your definition of a slut, mommy dearest!"
"I'm sure. I mean I'm sure I don't love him," said Ellie. "I love your father. He's the only one I have ever loved."
"Wonderful," said Annie. "Just freakin' wonderful. What are you going to do when dad finds out? Had you thought that far ahead? Were you thinking at all?"
"I don't know. I was weak. I gave in. I'm so sorry, Annie. I don't know what to do. I just don't know what to do. And, yes, I had thought about it. But, I was caught up in it. Clyde even implied that if I didn't keep spreading my legs for him that Harm—your daddy—would find out. I guess you can say he kinda blackmailed me. I'm not making excuses. I did it. I liked it at first. But, now I know it was all a horrible mistake. I'm guilty and I know I am going to be punished. I'll do whatever you say to do."
She fell to the floor sobbing uncontrollably. Annie stood over her. She looked like Athena ready to strike dread into any who crossed her.
"It's not what I'm going to do, mommy dearest, it's what dad is going to do. You have not only fucked Mr. Asshole; you've fucked your family too! You do realize that, don't you mommy dearest," said Annie.
Annie began pacing. When she stopped she had softened some. "Mom, you have to confess to dad. No delays, no lies, no half truths. You have to tell him everything. If you want I will be there with you. Wait. You do still want to stay with dad; I mean from now on, right? I mean if he doesn't ship your slut ass the hell outta here."
"Gawd! yes, Annie. But, if I confess there is little chance of that. I mean of us staying together. He will for sure throw my worthless slut ass—as you so accurately term it— the hell out. I won't blame him either; but we will be done as a family. I am just so scared, Annie."
"I'll bet," said Annie. In contrast to her earlier angry outbursts, Annie joined her mom on the floor and comforted her. But she remained adamant in her resolve, "The truth mom. All of it."
"Okay," came a weak reply.
"One more thing mom, and it must be the truth. You understand?"
"Yes, sure," said Ellie, stilling sobbing.
"Have there been any others? Do not lie to me," said Annie.
Ellie sobbed even louder than before.
"I guess that answers my question," said Annie, paling at the news. "How many?"
"Geezsus, dad is going to kill you—or himself. Fuck mom! You are a bigger asshole than the assholes you let bang you," said Annie.
Ellie Carter looked at her daughter, and through her sickness of soul, suddenly saw a very strong young woman that would one day dominate all around her; that, if she didn't already. She just nodded her acceptance of her daughter's assessment.
I returned from the driving range some three hours later. It had been good exercise. I was hoping against hope that I wasn't going to be involved in something really unpleasant when I got home. I had hoped in vain.
Ellie was sitting at the kitchen table when I walked in. She had a glass of water perched on the table in front of her.
"Harm, I need to talk to you," Ellie said evenly. That she didn't meet my gaze worried me.
"I've already spoken with Annie at length, and now the jig is up. I am so sorry, Harm," she said.
Annie stood with folded arms at the other end of the kitchen. Suddenly Ellie broke down and started crying like a baby.
I all but ran to her. "Honey, what's wrong!" I put my arms around her and held her tight.
"Harm—I—I cheated on you."
At first I was sure I hadn't heard her right. Then, I was sure. My legs betrayed me. I actually started to faint; I felt real funny. I finally was able to catch myself by grabbing hold of the kitchen counter. "Oh my," was all I was able to say.
Annie was suddenly beside me guiding me to a chair. I looked up at her. She was clearly very concerned. "It's all right daddy, just listen. We'll do what needs to be done afterwards. Okay?"
I think I nodded.
"Harm, I am so sorry. I am just a stinking whore and I deserve whatever punishment you see fit to hand me."
Nothing was clear to me. It was surreal in a way that I could not even begin to describe. My breathing was short and I felt faint again. That was the last thing I remembered until I woke up to an incredibly white light shinning in my eyes.
Ellie and Annie were standing on either side of the bed. "Honey, you've had a heart attack," I heard Ellie say, "and it is all my fault. Harm, I don't know if you can ever forgive me, but I can tell you that I will never, ever, forgive myself." I slipped back into a safe and singular place once again.
I regained consciousness for good on the day after that first awakening; it happened late at night. Ellie was in a chair across from me. Annie was gone. I assumed home, or to her grandma's.
I watched my wife sleeping. It all started filtering back to me: the short-shanked conversation. Ellie had cheated on me. Why-why-why-why-why! My heart at that moment might not have been in danger, but my stomach was in awful shape. I vomited everything I'd consumed in the previous year, or so it seemed. I began to choke on my own spit and bile. Ellie woke and a nurse came running. She pushed a button and I was soon surrounded by battalion of medical personnel.
Two days later, it became clear after some tests, questions, and astute observations by my doctor that both my mild heart and my stomach problems had been triggered by stress—surprise, surprise. The following day I entertained a psychologist who gave me the short version of my prognosis. I'd be all right, but I needed to take it slow. Work things out one way or another with my wife and try to get my mind back on an even keel—all easier said than done I didn't say.
At home things were quiet and tense. I didn't need tense. Ellie and Annie took turns nursing me. I didn't have to lift a finger. Ellie had guilt written all over her, and I felt sorry for her. Annie shot angry glances at her mother periodically but did her best to not roil the pot.
The shrink had said to work things out with Ellie. What the hell did that mean! I decided to make the effort to talk to Ellie about things. I couldn't just sit and stew. I had to do something. But it was at that juncture that Annie got into the mix in a big way.
"Dad, can we talk, you and me," she said.
"Annie, this is between..."
"No, dad, it concerns the three of us, and I really do have a lot to say, and I need to say it," she said.
I was taken aback by her firmness.
"Okay, I guess you're right about it concerning all of us," I said.
She set her glass of water down on the TV tray next to me.
"Dad, mom is an idiot. She didn't even like those guys, especially not Barrow. I have been talking to her. Dad, I think she's compulsive. She just does things without thinking and then, when she realizes she's done bad, she's too involved to just walk away. Mom simply cannot handle 'complicated.'"
"Honey, your mom is an adult. Adults have responsibilities. One of those; the biggest one, is to love and honor your family. You mother..."
"Dad, she does love us. I know you know that. As for the honor part—well—she did disrespect you, and for that matter me too. That one is going to be hard to get by, but as your daughter, I really hope you will listen to me and give her another shot with you, and by inference me.
"Honey, I want to, but I just don't know at this point," I said.
"Will you promise me that you'll think about it?"
"Yeah, I guess. You know you'd make a helluva salesperson," I said.
She smiled and retreated into the front room.
The den had become my favorite hangout for the duration of the getting back to normal processes. I could see out on the patio, and there was a TV and a computer in the room, so even though I was wheelchair ridden—as a precaution—I had a pretty good set up. I did get up and walk from time to time, slowly: to go to the bathroom, to get a drink if the women happened to both be out of the room. But, in the main, I just sat and thought; I knew that wasn't good.
I got up and walked slowly into the front room. I felt better, but that might be about to change, I knew, when I caught up with Ellie. She was folding clothes in the living room.
I saw her jump when I called her name: she hadn't seen me come in.
She nodded, "I know," she said in a voice almost too soft to hear. "It's time to talk."
"I feel better today. I need to hear it, I guess. I can't go on wondering what happened, what happened to us." I was glad that Annie was out for the moment.
"We've been married for twenty years, Harm, twenty very good years. You've been a wonderful husband, father, a faithful and beautiful lover. I, on the other hand, have been an ungrateful selfish shit."
I waited to feel faint or for my stomach to churn, but nothing happened. I was getting by my initial physical problems. I nodded for her to go on.
"As much a cliché as it is, it was only ever sex, or more accurately, the variety of another man doing me, Harm, I swear."
"Is that supposed to make me feel better, Ellie," I said.
"No, I just want you to know. I know I've hurt you. I will live with that in my heart for the rest of my life.
"There were three men over the course of our marriage, Harm. They were all short term, all just for the thrill of it, all less than memorable; and, if you will believe me, all in the past with absolutely zero chance of it ever happening again."
"Who?" I said.
"Jimmy Shanklin, Mario Cummings, and Clyde Barrow," she said.
I knew all of them, none of them well. I also knew the first two were divorced by their first wives, and I wondered if Ellie's liaisons with them had triggered the divorces. I thought it unlikely because I would have most likely heard something had such been the case. But once a cheater always a cheater as the saying goes; those guys probably messed around with more than one married woman and it had caught up with them. Clyde Barrow was about to join the parade.
"Why did you finally decide to tell me all of this?" I said.
"I didn't, not exactly. Annie happened to go to the mall with her friends that day last week; they saw us, me and Clyde. Annie made me tell you. I'm glad she did. The cheating was eating me up inside. That girl of ours is a wonder," said Ellie.
"She is that," I said.
"What are you going to do with me, Harm? Do I have a chance?"
I realized that I was short on answers to that question. I had not even considered doing anything. I just wanted to hear what was going on, or had gone on. Now I had, at least to some degree.
"I haven't gotten that far, Ellie. What do you think I should do?" I said.
That surprised her. "Me? Harm, I don't know. I know if it had been you cheating on me—but it wasn't was it."
"You made a good point, Ellie. Would you have kicked my ass out or given me a chance to make it up to you, to reform my ways?"
"Honestly? I don't know the answer to that. But, I hope that I would have given you another chance. I know that sounds self-serving."
It did sound self-serving, but I also happened to believe it. She had always been forgiving when she had been stepped on or offended in the past. Of course nothing that had ever happened to her was equal to what she had done to me. That said. She had helped hold the marriage of two of our best friends together when it had begun to fall apart for the same reasons.
Annie came into the room out of breath. She could see we had been talking. She frowned. "Should I stay?" she said.
I was on the verge of asking her to go to her room, but changed my mind. Annie, it seemed to me, had more of a head on her shoulders than either of her parents. "Yes, stay if you will, Annie. This involves you too.
"Your mom and I have been talking. There are a lot of issues. I would appreciate your input if you're willing," I said.
Annie nodded her assent.
I turned to Ellie. "Ellie why did you start doing these things to me," I said. I had phrased my words to get to get the most bang for my buck.
"Harm! I didn't do it to hurt you. You must believe me," said Ellie.
"But you knew it would hurt me. Didn't you?"
"I thought—I thought that you wouldn't find out," said Ellie.
"Really. You knew that I knew all of these men you've named. You never thought that one or another of them would slip up and let the cat out of the bag?" I said.
"It didn't occur to me, no," said Ellie.
"I see. I find it hard to believe that you never even considered it," I said.
"I knew it was possible, Harm, but I was very careful. I didn't want you to be hurt. I really didn't," pleaded Ellie.
"Careful, Ellie? You were messin' with the guy in the middle of the freakin' mall! What the hell, exactly, is your definition of careful?" I was not trying to be kind.
"Mom, you really are an idiot. How did you ever get through nursing school?"
I looked at my daughter. I thought it best to allow her to make her points; I was the one who'd asked her to stay.
Ellie just shook her head is despair.
"Good point, Ellie. You are not stupid. I think that you didn't worry about it because you were to full of yourself and thought you were too smart to ever get nailed," I said.
I cut her off. "I think you thought I was just too dumb, too stupid, to catch on. Wasn't that more like it, Ellie?"
"Harm, no, I never thought you were stupid. I really didn't. I wasn't thinking at all. I had my head so far up my ass that I couldn't see daylight," she said. "I made horrible mistakes. But Harm—" She seemed to lose her train of thought.
"I never ever stopped loving you. And—I never loved any of them."
"You say you did it for variety and for the thrill of it. What about me? I know I don't qualify as variety, but haven't I ever thrilled you? Don't I thrill you?"
"Oh my gawd yes, honey! It's just that you are always so busy, even on weekends. I need sex a lot. I guess that maybe is the main reason I cheated: to get more." She looked down. The tears were coming again.
That one stopped me. I sat in silence for a moment. I tried to think back, to visualize how often I'd run off without considering her needs. I had to admit, she was right; I hadn't been the most attentive husband in the wide, wide world. That didn't give her any get out of jail free card, but I could at least accept the hypothesis that I might have done better as a husband.
"Tomorrow, I am going to start working out again, Ellie. I need to get my strength back. The doctor said it was okay to do it if I took it slow. I want you to join the gym with me," I said.
She looked at me strangely, like I was crazy. "Me? Harm, I'm no muscle builder or anything. I wouldn't know what to do at a gym," she said. Her face seemed to lighten considerably. "You mean..."
"I know, but I do, and, I will show you. I've been thinking a lot this past week. I can believe that I haven't been doing you right when it comes to our being intimate," I looked over at Annie.
"Annie you can go upstairs if you want, honey," I said.
"Like that's not going to happen," said Annie, digging in for the long haul.
"She has a right to be here," said Ellie. "She needs to know what is going to happen next, and how you are going to punish me.
"But, what you said, about going to the gym: does that mean you're keeping me around," she said hopefully.
I nodded. "I was going to say. That from now on I am going to be darn sure to keep up my end of this, of this marriage. We're going to be doing everything together. You'll go to the gym with me and stuff and I will drive you when you want to go to the mall."
"Does that mean you are forgiving me?" said Ellie.
"Ellie, I forgave you when I saw you sitting in the hospital watching over me these past days," I said. She saw something in my demeanor that made her unsure of my meaning.
"But?" she said.
"Ellie, I forgive you, but it is going to be a long time before I trust you again. That's going to be a toughie. That will be your punishment, Ellie. You will know that I am likely to be suspicious of damn near everything you do.
"It goes without saying—right?"
"That you will throw my cheating ass out if I do it again. I understand. I wouldn't blame you one iota. And thank you, Harm. Thank you for giving me another chance."
"I guess we'll see, Ellie."