Melting Away, Slowly...
Chapter 1

Caution: This Drama Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual, Slow,

Desc: Drama Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A man confronts the reality of his marriage, in which he feels humiliated, angry,and unhappy. He doesn't know what to do about it. Can he resolve the situation, and find a way to redeem his life? Or should he simply accept the status quo?

The family together at Christmas was a joyous occasion. The tree lights on, our children and grandchildren running around the room like the proverbial 'Wild Indians' your parents always called you when you were young and full of too much energy to be contained.

At our house, we had a particular set of gift-giving traditions.

On Christmas Eve, we would eat a sumptuous dinner, usually a prime-rib roast, with potatoes, dressing, a dish that we called a 'spinach soufflé' but which was really a casserole, and all the rest, pies, raspberry Jell-O, more than I can even remember.

Wines for the adults, sparkling cider for the kids, after-dinner chocolates, all consumed with that rare intensity that a holiday brings.

We would all eat too much, and at least the adults around the table were quietly desperate to go to bed and overcome the lassitude of digestion.

We would give one gift to each family member after dinner, to be opened, and then bed for the little ones. For some of us, there was still work to do that could only be accomplished after they had, despite all of their most valiant efforts to remain awake and vigilant, fallen off to sleep.

In the morning, the children (now grandchildren) would wake up and demand to be allowed down to where Santa had left his gifts, under the tree. We older folks would grudgingly give up our warm and cozy beds, put on robes and slippers, and surrender to the children's desire to attack the gaily attired presents under the tree.

Even then, though, we limited the satiation of greed.

We had stockings full of small presents, and everyone opened their 'stocking stuffers' — often food, or books, CD's, DVD's and other small presents.

Then we all sat down at the table and had a breakfast made of handmade cinnamon rolls. Made by yours truly's own hands, several days ahead of time, as it took most of a day to make them.

Then back to the tearing and ripping of Christmas paper, bows and ribbons thrown hither and thither, as Mother (also known as GrandMother to some, and Martha to me, at least) handed them out, one at a time, making sure that everyone would have roughly the same number opened, and the same number remaining.

When virtually all of the other presents had been opened, and the special Christmas wrap around the base of the tree was visible again, I reached into the pocket of my robe, and withdrew a small box that I handed to Martha.

She looked at the size of the box, and then up at me, with an expectant gleam in her eyes.

"Good things," she proclaimed to all in the room, a huge smile on her face, "come in small packages!"

I smiled back at her, and sat back in my chair, while she contemplated the box.

"Hmmm..." she murmured, shaking the box close to her ear, to hear any movement.

"I think it's too small to be an elephant," she confided to the grandchildren, who all laughed, knowing how silly Grandma was being.

"And I doubt that your Dad wrapped it," she said to the adult children, "since the paper is so tight on the box." This was an inside joke with the family. I could fix almost anything, but don't ask me to wrap a gift.

"Not to mention, there is a jewelry story label on the back of the box!" she exclaimed with a laugh, as if this was somehow a mystery solved. At that, the adults laughed, including me. Like Sherlock Holmes, she had solved the case of the anonymous gift box. Deduction, my dear Watson, simple deduction.

She finally opened the box, and drew out the 14 carat gold chain with its pear-shaped diamond pendent, which she held up for everyone to see. Everyone oohed and awed as they were supposed to.

Martha looked at me and with the smile still on her face, said,

"Oh Mark, this is lovely! You are so good to me. Thank you."

And then turned away to show her daughter's in-laws her gift. The day continued on, once my gift to my wife of thirty-plus years was given, the rest of the day anti-climactic for me.

Finally came the end of the day, the piling and stacking of suitcases, and duffle-bags, and with the added crowding effect of the gifts, into the cars and minivans, as our children and their families pulled away into the evening.

We stood there in the doorway, Martha and myself, my arm around her waist, and waved as the cars pulled out of the driveway and into the street, and with the hint of smoke coming from the exhausts as drivers stepped down on the gas peddles, the family departed, leaving us alone once again.

As soon as the cars were out of sight, Martha pulled herself away from my embrace, to head back into the house and begin the task of straightening out the residual trash, returning our domicile to its more or less natural (meaning just the two of us) condition.

There were bags and bags of paper and trash to be left out for the garbage collectors, and this was one of the only weeks of the year when loose bags could be stacked next to the large plastic containers for pick-up. I dutifully hauled out the entire load, since tomorrow, the day after Christmas just happened to be our pickup day this year.

Dinner was quiet, as both Martha and I were talked-out after having all of the family back in our home for two-days straight. In some ways, the leftovers for dinner were even better the second time around, for one thing because all we had to do was microwave them to heat them up. Much easier than the cooking process the first time.

We cleaned up our dishes, and resealed the plastic containers of left-overs that now filled our refrigerator to its maximum capacity. The day was, at long last, done.

I went into my once again free office, the trundle bed no longer occupying a large portion as we used it for our younger son and his wife. I checked out my email, and looked at a couple of the news sites and brought myself up-to-date with what was going on in the world.

Martha was out reading her latest mystery novel in the living room, no doubt feeling a certain relief that having the house empty again.

I joined her, catching up on the newspapers that I'd set aside while the family was here.

When Martha stood up, and said that she was going to get ready for bed, I stood up as well, and halted her progress by putting my arms loosely around her waist.

She looked at me curiously, as if she couldn't imagine what I was doing.

"Martha, I thought that maybe tonight, we could, well, you know ... make love," I started, my voice almost pleading, betraying my emotions.

Her look could kill, as she jerked herself out of my arms.

"Is that what that pendent was about? You think that you can bribe me for sex?" she almost hissed.

"No, Martha, I just remembered that you'd seen it and admired it..." I backed off, in an unconsciously defensive movement.

"You know how I feel about sex. We've had our children, and there's no reason that I should have to accommodate your animal desires anymore. We're not that young anymore, you know," she was now walking away from me, back towards the bedrooms.

"If that's what you think, you can take your pendent and get your money back," she told me loudly so that I could hear her even though she was facing away from me.

"Honey, we're not even sixty yet; it's not like we're on death's door. Most people our age..." I stopped trying to talk to her, because it was clear that she wasn't listening.

Then in a quieter voice, from her bedroom, I could hear her talking to herself.

"If he can't control his urges, then I wish he'd go find someone else to take care of it, and not expect me..." came her angry voice until I heard the bathroom door in the bedroom close.

I had sat back down in my chair in the living room, completely shocked at her response, even though by now I shouldn't have been. This had been the reaction I'd been getting for a long time. Like five years or so.

Even then, we had made love at least once a month; then as time went on, maybe six or seven times a year, and now — well, I seemed to remember having sex — six, or was it nine, months ago.

Shortly afterwards, Martha came back out into the hall to informed me,

"Well, I hope you're happy. You've just ruined what was until then, a wonderful day! And Christmas Day, no less," Martha concluded, as she closed the door.

I sat there, my face in my hands, ready to ... to ... oh who cares, I'd had it.

Once again, I had begged my wife, her royal highness it seems, for what should have been a natural and necessary part of our married life. Instead of her acquiescing or at least listening to me, I'm sitting here, humiliated, angry, and most of all, sad. Sad with that feeling of loss, that once I had a marriage, and now I have some sort of pale, phony imitation of the real thing.

I'm not sure how long I sat like that, leaning over, my elbows on my legs, my hands supporting my face, but I decided then and there that I would not accept it again. I would not allow her to hurt me this way. I had given up. I would never ask or expect Martha to make love, or 'have sex' as she phrased it, again.

How had things come to this point, anyway?

As a young man, I had always wanted to be an engineer. The kind that used slide rules (then), not the ones who ran a train — although I always thought that operating a train might be a hell of a lot of fun too!

I was good at math, and when I graduated from high-school, I entered into the engineering program at one of the state colleges, Cal Poly. I loved the program, although it was tough. The science and engineering students were a pretty bright group, although we did tend to resemble the prototypical image of the 'geek.'

My particular area of study was in electrical engineering, which was very exciting at the time — with the transistor technologies replacing vacuum tubes maybe ten- to fifteen-years earlier, and less than ten years in the future we would witness the explosion of the I.C. — the integrated circuit.

I think that I was less 'geeky' than a lot of my fellow engineering students, as I was fairly lean, standing just a little under 6-feet tall, wavy light-brown hair, and hazel eyes. I didn't need glasses (for another 20-years anyway) and I knew how to dress.

I was, at a minimum, able to blend in with the general student body. That didn't mean I had much of a social life, but that was because of the demanding curriculum of the engineering school, which just didn't leave us time, even on the weekends, for much outside of studying.

I was a Junior when I got my first 'four-banger' calculator. What a miracle! Goodbye to the slide rule, hello to the I.C. They had been around for a couple of years before I could afford one. A couple of the professors had early HP calculators that cost in excess of $400.

Then, one day, HP cut the price in half, and the low-cost competitors were manufacturing them for $80-$100. Hey, it didn't take much to get us science, math and engineering types excited. Oh yeah, one of my professors bought one of those $400 calculators right before the price cut. Boy was he pissed at HP!

After the normal four (plus a couple of summers) years of college, I managed to graduate and enter into that rather ugly universe: the real world! Yes, to my father and mother's eternal joy and surprise, I actually ended up with a job, out on my own, supporting myself. Don't get the wrong idea; they were happy to have me back home as long as it was a 'visit' where after a couple of days they knew I would return to my apartment.

I met Martha at church.

Confession time here: I was not and never was one of those sex crazed young studs out there to get as much pussy as I could find. I had always attended church with my parents. Although when I was on my own during college, I wouldn't call myself a regular, I would at least sometimes show up for services, either on campus, or at one of the local churches. And when I got my first engineering job, down in the San Fernando Valley, I began attending one of the larger non-denominational churches in the area.

My selection wasn't at random. I had read about this particular church, especially about its large youth and singles programs.

It was at a 'get to know each other' type function for the young singles group that I first met Martha. It wasn't the classic 'love at first sight' or anything; she was one of several young women who I met that night who seemed to be nice people and who (to be honest) were good enough looking to be of interest.

Martha, who it turned out had gotten her degree in Business Economics from UCLA, was about 5' 5" tall, so about five inches shorter than me, and was slim without being skinny. Her shoulder length, dark-brown hair was surprising when you saw the light blue color of her eyes. She smiled easily, and was at ease, more than I was, in a crowd.

That first night, I talked to her for ten or fifteen minutes, before going on to someone else. That was how these things were run; we had to limit who we spoke with to about 15 minutes, and then move on and meet someone else. So over the course of the evening, I spoke to six or eight different women from the group.

But as the event was shutting down, that good looking brunette, Martha, who must have made enough of an impression on me that I remembered her name, walked over and handed me a piece of paper, and told me how much she had enjoyed meeting me. Written on the paper was her phone number. Or, I should say, her parent's phone number because she was still living at home.

Our courtship was done in the way that such things were, back then, at least within our fairly religious environment. Meeting parents, dating in public venues, a lot of group activities, with the level physical contact and intimacy growing over time, but not going to those final steps until it was clear that there was a significant, and most likely permanent, relationship in sight.

About a year after we first met, we were wed by our pastor in our church, surrounded by our family and friends. After the wedding reception (where minimal alcohol was served — mostly the Champaign for toasts), Martha and I left for our hotel suite, two virgins heading into the great unknown of connubial bliss.

We did consummate the wedding that night, and not unexpectedly, it was a bumbling and inexpert affair. Martha didn't seem to have any particular pain, although there was enough bleeding to know that she had truly been 'intact', and if it wasn't the greatest sex imaginable, it held promise that we would get better with time and practice.

The following morning, we left on an early morning flight for Hawaii, where we spent the next week.

Our honeymoon there was completely normal — walking on beaches, holding hands, making love, snorkeling, sailing, and attending tourist luaus at the hotel. We returned to the mainland in love, and, it turned out, with Martha pregnant with our first child. By all standards, a successful beginning to a lifetime partnership.

Upon our return we got back into the swing of everyday life, only now we were living together in my apartment, Martha having moved out of her parent's home and into my care.

We both had jobs in the Valley, close to my apartment.

I was working for a company best known for their defense business, although we also had a significant portion of the civilian market for radar systems as well. I was one of the engineers involved with new systems development, design and testing. The job was great, it was exactly what I had studied for, and it was a constant challenge during the time, almost 30-years that I was working there.

While I was involved with the business, we went from systems relying on vacuum tubes (necessary at the time for high-power applications) and wired circuits, to systems using solid-state devices and hybrid IC/Microwave circuits, with computer controls that could make our systems jump and roll over, on command!

If terms like 'spooking' and 'spoofing, ' and 'phased array' mean anything to you, you know what I'm talking about.

I know that to an outsider, my work sounds pretty dull, but to someone with my background, this was hot stuff I was working on.

Martha worked for one of the large insurance companies, at their headquarters, also located in the Valley. She was not involved in the insurance end of the business; she worked in the accounting and finance department, where she held various positions over the years.

She hadn't worked the entire time, actually taking a couple of years off when our sons, Dan and Josh, were young. But she was able to return to her firm after the hiatus, even regaining her seniority, despite her time off. The first couple of years back, she worked part-time, and then, as the boys got older, she gradually returned to full-time employment.

In essence, like a lot of people in those untroubled times, we worked basically our whole careers at a single firm. Seems like an antiquated idea these days, doesn't it?

Although my job had been a very rewarding career, there came a time, when the defense budget's started to cycle into one of their down times, and the contracts we were getting to be more evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, designs, and I found myself frankly a little bored. It was time for a change.

I had reached a point with the company that based on my 'points' — a combination of age and years worked, that I was max'ed out for retirement anyway. I was 54 years-old, but as I calculated it, I could continue working for another 10-years there, but I would be as well off retiring early as staying at a job that had become something of a burden to me.

When the company offered a special early-retirement incentive plan, I jumped at it. As usual, the unintended consequences for the company surprised them; I think that most of the folks they would have liked to see take the early retirement didn't, and a bunch of us who did, they would have liked to keep. Oh well, management's mistake.

Nevertheless, I soon found myself retired, albeit with a consulting agreement that let them get some of my time for a much higher rate than what I had been paid in salary.

More exciting, I had landed a teaching job at one of the local Junior Colleges in their engineering program! Talk about landing on one's feet. I would teach several of the lower division engineering classes, as well as classes in the math department on an 'as needed' basis.

I found that I loved teaching, and professionally, I was happy as a clam, after three-years in the classroom.

Martha was still working at the same insurance company where she had started so many years before, only now, she was one of the Directors in her group, with a fair possibility that she would become the Vice-President of Finance within a few years, when the current V-P retired.

As I said, I sat there in my chair, that Christmas Day evening, but finally I dragged myself up and walked down the hallway and back to the master bedroom.

I entered the bedroom, and looked at the king-sized bed.

We'd had a queen-size for most of our marriage, but a couple of years before, Martha decided to move into one of our son's old rooms, that we had been using as a guest room. She told me she found it difficult to sleep with me, and to some extent I could understand that — our space requirements had 'expanded' over the years, to the point that the bed was pretty crowded, as we started to need extra pillows to support for our aging legs and backs as we slept.

I'm a problem solver, so I shopped around knowing my wife's preference in a mattress, and one day brought a new king-sized bed, with a thick layer of that 'Swedish Memory Foam' on top, to make us more comfortable.

Martha's response wasn't what I had hoped for.

She agreed with me that the mattress was very comfortable, and the bed certainly large enough to accommodate both of us, pillows and all. But, she told me, she had grown accustomed to sleeping by herself, without having me tossing and turning, and making noise in my sleep, so she was going to continue sleeping in 'her' room. It was not, she assured me, unusual for couples as they got older to find it more convenient to sleep in separate rooms. As did The Queen and Price Philip, for example. Boy, did knowing that comfort me.

Like our master bedroom, the guest room that Martha now occupied had its own bathroom, so every morning I would notice that fewer and fewer of her lotions, soaps, and creams in the master bath, until it had, de facto, become my bathroom alone. Similarly, the clothes in her bureau in the master bedroom mysteriously migrated, when I wasn't around to see them, until the chest-of-drawers was empty.

The exception to this rule was that the walk-in closet, where the longer dresses, sweaters, and her shoes resided remained in place, I assume because there was not a similar storage space in the guest bedroom.

I'm not sure if Martha noticed when I took her old, now empty, chest-of-drawers out and stored it in a room at the back of the garage.

Our house, as might be expected in a household of two working, decently high-earning professionals, was large, on a one-third acre lot, and located in one of the nicer areas of the north Valley. The local public schools were safe, and did a reasonable job educating our two boys. Yards were kept up, there weren't any rental houses on the street (at least not that I knew of) and real estate values had risen regularly, until the recent decline that had effected everyone's real estate.

Even then, there weren't any foreclosures in our neighborhood. Everyone was able to make their payments and ride out the storm, knowing that in the long run upper-middle class neighborhoods like ours would regain their lost value.

My mind back in the present, I shook my head, sitting there on the bed. For a couple of days, I'd gotten overly hopeful.

Earlier in the week, Martha had moved back into our bedroom, and into our king-sized bed. My expectation was that once she had slept there for a couple of nights, she would return permanently. But that was not to be.

She was, I concluded, sharing a bed with me to make room for one of my sons and his wife, while they were visiting for Christmas — and, I suspect, to keep them unaware of the true state of our living arrangements. Once they left for their own homes, several hours distant, she reverted to sleeping in 'her' room.

I had to face the facts: my wife simply didn't want to share my bed, if at all possible.

With those happy thoughts, I undressed, brushed my teeth, put on some pajamas (even in Los Angeles it can get a bit brisk in the winter) and went to bed. I slept surprisingly well, but honestly, that new mattress is very comfortable.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Consensual / Romantic / Heterosexual / Slow /