Do you know where your wife is and what she is doing?'
That popped onto my screen while I was eating lunch at my desk. I work as the CFO for a small manufacturing firm and I was going over my correspondence and deleting the spam that came from God only knows where. Mentally I answered the e-mail, "Of course I do, she is at a teacher's conference taking a seminar in child behavior and what to do if behavior gets out of control."
Glancing at my watch--it was still lunch hour, I decided to make a call to my wife's cell. It rang several times before she picked it up. Linda answered breathlessly, "Hi John, I thought we agreed that you wouldn't call me when I was in a class. Is something wrong?"
"No Linda, there is nothing wrong. I just wanted to hear your voice. I was sitting here at my desk and I had a sudden urge to call and tell you I love you."
"Well, I'm awfully busy, and I wasn't going to take a call until I saw it was from you. You said you love me and I love you too, but I really can't talk as I am still in class. Now hang up and I will see you Saturday when I get home. It is only two more days. Bye, love."
Bullshit! The dumb bitch. She should have stopped screwing when she answered the phone. Especially if you're doing it on a squeaky bed. Her lover must have been ramming her pretty hard too. I could hear the breath forced out of her every time he hit bottom and they sure did have a rhythm going.
Now what? We had been married for twenty-two years and our anniversary was just last week. I sat there in my office analyzing what must have happened to us to lead her to do something like this to me. I admitted to myself that I hadn't been paying as much attention to Linda as I could have. I should have been romancing her like I used to, I suppose.
I thought back over the past. Linda and her family thought that the more educated a person was, it was the all-be-all of success. I had two years of college and then family problems interfered so I had to drop out. You see my Dad succumbed to the wiles of one of the women he worked with. Mom found out about it and immediately filed for a divorce. Dad begged and pleaded, but Mom wouldn't relent. The day that he received the final divorce decree, he shot himself. Mom, realizing how much Dad had really loved her, went into a fit of depression because she had been so unforgiving. That was when I dropped out of college to try and save her before she joined him by doing away with herself too.
I took up reading to her from the bible. It took months and months before she found the Lord. I ran onto a passage about forgiving and being forgiven. Maybe I stretched it a little, but I interpreted it as the Lord would forgive Dad for the deadly sin of suicide. He would also forgive her for her part in causing the death of Dad. Mother took heart and promised me that she would wait her time to be called and would not do anything to hurry her death.
My financial situation was critical at times so I applied and was accepted as an intern in the financial department of a local manufacturing firm. The two years of college that I did have proved to be an asset and I continued my studies at the community college. Three years later I was named CFO.
Just before I received the promotion, I met Linda. She was a one-year-in-service at the local high school and had just had her contract renewed. She was in the grocery store buying stock for the shelves of the new apartment she had signed for just that day. Liking her immediately, I asked her for a date and was accepted.
The Thanksgiving holiday saw us married. Babies soon followed, John Jr., and then Mindy only eleven and a half months later. Linda had her tubes tied stating that I was a "college dropout" and they never could afford more children. In fact it became a habit when she introduced me to say, "This is my husband John. He is a college dropout, but he has a good job."
The kids always heard this too, and it made it seem in their eyes as if I was only barely acceptable. When she returned to teaching, her salary always went into trust funds for the kids' education. I didn't mind this. I was making good money and provided quite adequately, or so I thought. However Linda insisted on purchasing a house that proved to be a little beyond our means. When I asked her to help with the expenses, she said, "If you had a better education you would be making enough money to provide for something like this. The trust funds were never touched by me and I took up doing income tax returns to supplement our income.
Yet I was pretty happy. Linda was good in bed and with her tubes tied we had some explosive sessions. She didn't let me bond with the kids like I would have preferred though. My Dad and I had liked to hunt when I was growing up. We never shot but one deer in all the years that we hunted. It was great just talking about life and wandering around and being close to nature. I had some of the best times of my life with him out in the woods. Linda wouldn't let me take Johnny out as she said it was too dangerous.
And Mindy, I wanted to attend her field hockey games and then go to the softball games. Linda didn't say no, but wasn't enthusiastic when I did. She said I just went to the games to oogle the moms on the sidelines. So I never was able to bond much with my kids and there was always that, "Dad is a college dropout." I gave up and Linda saw to their growing up into young adults.
These thoughts crossed my mind as I sat in front of my computer screen thinking about the phone call I had just made. Did I love Linda that much anymore? Umm--we were comfortable with each other, but was what we had now love? What about our two kids? They were both out of high school and of age. Mindy was first year college and Johnny second. They could well make their own way if their father and mother split, I guess. We never had been an affectionate family so I really didn't know how they would feel if there was a break-up between Linda and me.
Linda and I always were saying "I love you" to each other, but this was like saying "good morning." The words probably didn't mean much any more and the expressing of them just turned into a habit.
As I asked myself if I could go on with my life without Linda, Carrissa, my secretary, came in and placed some papers on my desk. She leaned from the front of the desk and placed the papers next to my hand. Her peasant blouse gaped down and I could see all the way to her belly button. Her little lacy under-wire bra didn't do much to contain her breasts, it just pushed them up. Leaning down like she did, her breasts hid most of the bra behind them. This surprised me as she had always been circumspect and very professional in both her dress and manner. Something had changed her, but I had too much on my mind to even think of following up.
I know she did it for my benefit though, so I let my eyes feast on her until she stood up straight. I then raised my eyes to hers and smiled. Nothing was said until she asked, "Was there anything else you needed John?" It was a definite invitation the way she said it.
"No, Carrissa, I don't need anything now, but maybe later I will think of something. Thank you, and I appreciate everything you do for me." Seeing Carrissa answered my question of whether I could find someone to fill my life if Linda wasn't in it.
Now what was I going to do about Linda? I didn't like the idea of her putting horns on me. Maybe a little revenge had to be considered. To whom, though, Linda or the guy screwing her or both? I decided I couldn't physically hurt her because if the kids found out, I would be more estranged from them than I was now. The guy though was fair game for anything I could think of to hurt him.
On the way over to see Jim, my buddy, I toned down the anger that had built up that day. He was just getting home from work when I stopped and asked the name of the private investigator that he had hired to track Margo. Margo, now Jim's ex-wife, had been running around until Jim got suspicious. The P.I. took care of some of the details and Jim ended up divorced. He didn't even have to pay alimony.
"What's wrong, John? Something to do with Linda?" I nodded without speaking.
Jim looked sad and then said, "Well it took you longer to find out the way she has been acting than I thought it would. She has been pretty open about it and a lot of people knew what she was doing to you."
"If you knew about it, why didn't you tell me? I'm supposed to be your buddy."
"I know, but you didn't tell me when Margo was running out on me. I felt the same way as you did then. I was afraid you'd kill the messenger, if you know what I'm trying to say, and I do value your friendship."
"Sure Buddy, I guess we're cool and I know what you mean."
I called the P.I. (Pete) and he was free to come over to find out what I needed. He brought another operative with him, a woman (Judy). I explained what I wanted. I needed to know who, and for how long. I gave him what little information I had, which was basically the location of the town they were in. Where my cheating wife could be found during the day and if she really was at the teacher's conference. I said Jim (they remembered him) knew some details about my wife and that I hadn't pressed him for details.
When I said Linda was coming home on Saturday, Pete said he guessed he would get up there and find out if he could locate her and find out what was going on. Maybe he could catch Linda in some compromising action even before she got home. I gave him a retainer and said I'd pay whatever it took as long as I got results.
Saturday, Pete, with Judy in tow, were at my door just before nine in the morning. It surprised me that they were there that soon after I had retained them.
Pete handed me an audio tape and said he had installed this in place for Thursday night's meeting between the two. It also had some conversation recorded at noon on Friday, and much more on Friday night. "The conversation recorded Friday noon is of special interest. This man your wife is with is planning some unpleasant things for her a week from today. You may or may not want to stop him, depending on how you feel about your wife."
Judy spoke, "The man's name is Deke Howland and he is a Phys-Ed teacher at your wife's school."
"Let me finish before you get to Howland, Judy. Anyway the recordings of Thursday and Friday nights are just about what you would imagine two people having an affair would be doing. By the way, your wife had lunch with a couple of college kids. The boy looked a lot like you."
"That would be Johnny and Mindy. Linda must have planned to see them while she was up there. My two kids are sharing an apartment, and are going to be working at the university this summer. Linda is making sure they are getting educated and they haven't had a summer off since they were five. So what's on the tape you recorded at noontime?"
"By the way, your wife won't be home tonight. She is going to call you early this afternoon and stay over another night. On the tape Howland is planning on a gang-bang for your wife next week. He was discussing it with someone named Ralph.
"In your wife's defense she said she wasn't going to cheat on you anymore, but Howland asked her for one more date which I recorded on the tape Thursday night. He also got her to agree to have one more man than him present to see if she would like a threesome. She was very, very hesitant, but agreed when Howland said she didn't have to participate with the other person if she didn't want to.
"However, this Ralph is supposed to get four or five football players to screw Linda after she gets there. She is going to be at their mercy. Deke said he wanted Ralph to tape it and then he would 'own the educated bitch.' You better think about what you want to do. I don't expect your wife will get hurt, but she will sure get more fucking than she wants."
"Linda has got herself in real trouble, hasn't she?"
"I'd say so, definitely!"
"Judy, tell me what you found out about this Deke. He must have some kind of history."
"He was once an up and coming athlete. He had a football scholarship to a small college in the Midwest. He was good, but never quite made it into the big leagues, although he did spend some time with a couple of farm teams. He spent two weeks with the Patriots, but was cut early on. To hear him tell it, he spent years there. He is now reduced to coaching and teaching at high schools like the one here in town. Most of his free time is spent chasing teachers and even some of the older students. Eventually he will be found out and fired."
"Pete, how did you get the cassette, if Linda and Deke were still in the room this morning?"
"Well they had to eat sometime after a night of sex. I just waited until they left. I also had some bribes I had to pay to gain access and those will be itemized in your final bill."
"Let me hear what Howland and this Ralph were planning on that noon time tape you recorded? The night time ones I probably won't listen to. If I decide to divorce her, I'll let my attorney have them to use."
We gleaned a couple of facts from the tape. One, Deke had reserved the same room for next Saturday. He liked it because it was on the bottom deck and the last unit on the end of the motel. Two, Linda was going to be forced physically if she didn't cooperate. And three, they wanted to be careful that Linda wasn't injured because Deke wanted to "own" Linda so he could blackmail her to come to him once a month for a gang-bang. He said he thought she would eventually come to enjoy the activities and he could begin to charge money for her services.
The call I received from Linda just after noon today was sweet and loving--and sorry. Sorry that she was having to stay over to finish up the details on the conference activities. She would be home first thing Sunday morning. That call cemented a plan that had been floating around in my mind. It was a way to get even for all the slights and put downs I had ever received from Linda. They were too numerous to count really. I probably imagined some of the slights. Many, though, Linda knew she had gone a bit overboard and apologized--but I knew she didn't mean it.
Linda came home very early Sunday and was nice to me for a change as we went to church together. I wondered what thoughts were going through her head as she listened to the preacher.
Later she even asked me if I wanted sex, something she never asked for anymore. I said no, I had a difficult week and wasn't interested. Linda brought up the fact that she was going to have to be away one more Saturday next week, but after that, she was planning on showing me what a nice wife she could be. "That's nice," I said. "Have you got enough education now so you can show your husband some attention?"
Linda got pretty huffy when I didn't show more enthusiasm for her plan to rebuild our marriage and didn't answer the question.
I called Pete Monday from work and laid out what I wanted him to do. He was totally against it and said so vehemently. I said send me the bill and I'd pay him off. He backed down and then tried to have me leave the kids out of the plan, but again I said no. The only concession I made was to move the take-down from eleven p.m. back to nine-thirty.
Linda was more attentive to me during the week, but I avoided her as much as possible. Disease--I worried about that. Could she have caught something from her lover, and what about Saturday night? How much was I putting her at risk by not preventing her from keeping her date? Maybe I didn't care anymore.
Then I thought--she could have ended it last week. But then she agreed to "one more time" which really was risky, albeit she didn't know how bad it was going to be. I finally pushed it to the recesses of my mind and let everything proceed as planned.
Friday night was my night out with the boys. There were nine of us that had gathered together over the years, told jokes, laughed when one of us had good fortune and cried when some unexpected event brought trouble. I told them just enough so they would know that a teacher, by the name of Deke Howland, was harassing the hell out of my wife Linda. He would be home sometime late Saturday or early Sunday I thought and I wasn't adverse to him being roughed up a little. We had covered one another's back before so I knew he was in for a tough time when they caught him.
Linda passed on the information unknowingly that she was seeing Mindy and Johnny Saturday morning, and the two kids would be staying in at their apartment as they had invited friends over. This was a relief to me as it meant I could reach them by phone and this was an integral part of my plan for Linda. Mindy and Johnny's apartment was only fifteen minutes away from where Linda's tryst was going to take place.
Linda's last words before she left on Saturday morning, "John, I'm going by the kids this morning and then I have to clean up some details this afternoon and evening concerning the conference of last week. After today, I really am going to see if I can become closer to you and I'm going to concentrate on making our marriage happier for both of us. I guess with the kids gone I have been having a little of the 'empty nest syndrome.' I promise it will get better for us." I got a warm kiss and she was out the door.
Linda's intentions were good, but what about how I felt about her? Years of belittling and the cheating of the past few months--she deserved some pain and payback, so I let her go without warning or stopping her.
Nine o'clock that night Pete called me and said he was just starting for my kids' apartment. "Did you go by the motel?" I asked.
"Yes, and there are two college-age kids hanging around outside the end unit. I saw one come out and one of those outside go in. The good news is that there isn't a whole gang, but I think your wife is getting a good working over."
"Okay, I'm calling Mindy and Johnny now to expect you."
I rang and Mindy answered. "Mindy, this is Dad. I know you have guests, but would you send them home? Your mother is in some trouble and in a few minutes there will be a private investigator at your door. Would you go with him and get your mother?"
"Dad, Mom was here this morning. She can't be in trouble."
"She is and she will need both you and Johnny. Trust me and above all, trust the investigator, he is working for me." I heard the knock on the door in the background, which I assumed Johnny answered. Mindy hung up without more questions. Now I had to wait!
Three-quarters of an hour later Pete called. "John, I have your wife in the car with me. Your kids are following me in their car as Linda wouldn't get in with them. It was pretty traumatic when your kids saw their mother and what she was doing. I should change that--what she was being made to do. Apparently Johnny knew one of the guys, named Mark, that was outside and he blasted him as we came out, saying, 'You never know whose mother you are raping when you sign up for something like this. Maybe next time, Mark, I will get a chance to rape your mother.'
"Anyway, I have Linda and I have the tape from Ralph's video camera. Boy, he was a real sleaze-ball. She must have been scared to death of him. Your wife is okay physically, I guess. I'll see you in a couple of hours."
Two hours and fifteen minutes later the two vehicles pulled into my driveway. Johnny and Mindy jumped out of their car and went to Pete's vehicle. They helped Linda out and half carried her into the house as I held the door open. She had on the dress she had left in this morning, but it was obvious she was without underwear. The smell emanating from her body as she passed me was all powerful and she stunk of sex. Linda didn't look at me and neither did Mindy as the two continued up the stairs--to the bathroom, I supposed. Johnny went into the living room and sat staring into space.
I went out to talk to Pete, who was standing by his car waiting for me. The first thing he did was hand me a video tape, "Here I don't know if you want to look at this or not. It is better in your hands so nobody can see it. I imagine it would have ended up on the Internet eventually if it had stayed there. That Ralph is about the grossest person I ever saw near a woman. I don't think he touched Linda though, but probably would have later if we hadn't appeared in time to stop them. How much do you want to know anyway?"
"Just tell me how you found her."
"Not much to tell except she was being fucked pretty hard by two young men. She was on her knees crosswise to the bed with one in her mouth and the other behind her. Deke was sitting in a chair and Ralph was filming with the camera while he was slowly jerking on his dick that he had out of his pants.
"I really want to say your kids handled themselves pretty well. Johnny shouted for the two guys in your wife to 'get the hell away from my mother. I'm going to have you guys up for rape.' Mindy just went about getting the dress on Linda and leading her out. Johnny said something to a guy he knew as Mark.
"Linda was adamant about not riding with the kids on the way home. I guess she didn't want to explain why she was there in the motel to them. I did question her a little, but the only solid fact is that Ralph did not touch her. I do believe she was forced into having sex with the young men. She has several stripes across her ass as if she was whipped. Some of them even drew blood. Linda doesn't appear to be one to enjoy something like that, so I do believe she was forced.
"You will have to look at the tape to discover how much sex she was actually forced to perform. I would guess she had sex with Deke, most likely willingly with him as that was what she was there for. Then time-wise, she probably had intercourse once each with the others. Probably she had to give several blow-jobs, too. That usually is the way something like this goes."
Pete had been pretty explicit. I guess in his business he ran onto things like this occasionally. He asked me what I was going to do now.
"I honestly don't know. I will have to see how Linda deals with several things, me especially. It was I who sent Mindy and Johnny into that room to see their mother at her worst. I regret that now a whole lot. My reaction to her having an affair just compounded all the feelings and resentments that have been building in me over the years. Then she goes out and has an affair so I had to get even and degrade her.
"Oh well, this isn't the first time in my life I have had problems. Who knows, something good may come out of this. Anyway Pete, thank you for all your help. You handled this the only way possible." I could see that Pete, if given a choice would have done differently. He would have stopped what went on last evening before it got started probably.
Johnny went up to his room without speaking to me. Mindy came down and said, "Dad you can go to bed in your room. Mom is sleeping in my room with me tonight. I have a question. Are you trying to turn me and Johnny against Mom by doing what you did to us tonight? Sending us into that room, knowing what we would find, makes me think you hate us all."
"No Mindy, I don't hate any of you. Strange as it may seem, I love your mother. I don't know if I can explain it to you and have it come out right. Linda is my wife and you two kids have always been hers. You were never mine and it has always been that way. It just seemed the right thing to do if I wanted to save your mother that the saving had to come from you two. I know she has been shamed in front of you, her children, and you felt shame for her seeing her doing those things.
"You three have a special bond that I'm not a part of. I could have stopped what went on from happening because I knew of it beforehand. Linda would have made excuses of why she had an affair to me and even might have told you about it, but she was fast sliding into deeper waters than she could control. I had to stop it so I chose you two who love her. You have the most influence with her. You had to be the ones to make her stop and think how wrong she has been.
"Do I regret making you all feel ashamed and uncomfortable? Of course I do and I am ashamed, too. When we can all face each other, let's sit down and see whether we can go on from here. It took a long time for us to get in this mess and it may take some time to get out of it and still have any love left."
"Are you going to kick Mom out? She fears that the most and she knows you are within your rights if you do."
"It may come to us parting in the future, but for now, no. For now your mother is still my wife and I will treat her as such. The only request is that I want her tested for any diseases she may have picked up. I have been in for tests myself this week because of her, but I won't have any results back for awhile. If either of us has any positive results we will have to decide what to do then. So to answer your question again, no I don't hate you or your Mom.
Mindy looked closely at me until she decided I meant every word I had said. She gave me a wan smile and headed upstairs.
Church service began in the morning at eleven. Linda hadn't come down, relying on Mindy to bring her up toast and coffee. At nine-thirty I asked Mindy if her mom was planning on attending services. "No, I don't think so."
"Would you ask if I can speak to her for a minute then?" Mindy went up and was only gone for a few minutes.
"She said to come on up, Dad. Now don't you start shouting at her. She isn't ready for that yet even if she deserves it." I promised Mindy I would be civil.
I knocked on the door and Linda bid me enter. She had bathed, probably more than once. Mindy had pulled her hair into an attractive arrangement, but she definitely looked as though she had been through an ordeal as she was extremely pale. "Yes John, what is it?" She had a fatalistic attitude when she asked this.
"Linda, this morning it isn't us I want to say something about. It is this, we went to church last Sunday morning. I saw you praying to God so I assume you promised him something that involved me and about ending your affair. Maybe you ended up making a deal with the devil? I think church is the place for us to be this morning. I very much would like to have you attend with me so I don't have to face God alone when I make excuses for you."
I quietly shut the door and slowly walked down the stairs to face Mindy at the bottom. From the look on her face, she had been ready to bolt up the stairs and defend her mother.
Linda and I sat near the middle of the church in the center of the longest pew. We were early and few of the congregation had arrived yet. Linda immediately bowed her head and started praying and just before the first hymn, she squeezed my hand saying, "Thank you John, I feel better."
Mindy and Johnny had put together a lunch and we all sat down together. They both kept looking at me strangely. How could I act this calm when my forty-four-year-old wife of twenty-two years had done a gang-bang with some college kids last night? They also finally realized that my wife and their mother had never treated me as an equal in their remembrance. It just wasn't realistic for a person put in my position to act this way.
I led my family into the living room and sat them where I could face them. "Kids, I can see you don't understand how I can tolerate your mother after last night. Actually how I could tolerate her after the way she has denigrated me since we have been man and wife. Sometimes I wonder myself and don't understand it all either. It is just the way I am. I have always felt that this is her defect or her problem and not mine. I wish she would change, because when she says something belittling about me in front of other people, it just makes her look smaller in their eyes. Your Mom has never understood this.
"This other thing; the affair and everything leading up to last night, really has hurt me. When I found out about it ten days ago, I wanted to get even with her. I thought of doing her harm physically and I even went so far as to think of killing her. What would we have had if I had followed through on those thoughts? I would be on death row, your mother dead and you two would be orphans.
"I knew a week ago yesterday that your mother was apt to have to take on more than her lover last night. I knew the minute she told me she was going to be out of town this weekend.
"There is more. I wanted your mother to experience an extra hour and half of sex overload more than what she went through last night. I was talked out of it by the private investigator. He influenced me so you kids could break it up at nine-thirty instead of at eleven. I am glad I listened to him because I realize she may have been damaged physically or mentally in that extra hour and a half. When I was told about the whipping to make your mother conform, I knew I had been too harsh. Linda, I am sorry."
Tears were running down Linda's face. In the last few minutes, I had shown Linda what kind of person she was, and yet it was me that was the first to say I was sorry. "Are you going to ask me to leave, John? You should. I have been a miserable wife to you."
"Let me finish my thoughts first before we get to anything like that. I have never told you about my mother and father. You met my mother a few times when we were first married. She was a hard person to know because she had her own cross to bear. She felt she had no way to correct a mistake she had made. You see my father was unfaithful to my mother, even though they loved each other passionately.
"Mother did what she felt others expected of her and divorced Dad. The day he was handed the final papers, he shot and killed himself because he loved my mother so much and she wouldn't forgive him. Mother realized what she had driven my father to do and wanted to follow him. It took me years to get a promise from her to not take that way out. Linda, when I would go over there after we were married, I would read the bible to her.
"The most troubling for her was her belief that when one commits suicide they go to purgatory and remain there for a long time until the intervention of someone. Someone to release them and send the soul on to heaven. Mom was sad her remaining years and died old and broken sixteen years ago without finding any way to move my Dad out of purgatory. On her death bed and almost the last words she spoke, was to charge me with the obligation to give someone a second chance, no matter how grave the infraction.
"Linda, I'm not going to forgive you and give you a second chance for myself. I am going to give you this chance so I can fulfill the charge my mother left me. My belief is that this will intervene and release my father from Purgatory and then my mom and dad can be together in heaven where they belong.
"Would you Linda, accept my forgiveness without any restrictions? This second chance will renew our marriage and we can work together to make a happy union, never thinking about the past."
Linda was overwhelmed! "You mean my affair is wiped off the slate? We would really be starting new? I can see where you would forgive me for last night. Well the last part anyway, but what went before that with Deke, I don't understand at all. I am thankful, don't get me wrong, but it is like I had a free pass to sin."
I spoke sharply for the first time today. "No Linda, I didn't give you a free pass. Your second chance dealt with some issues my mother placed on me. Those issues have been resolved. I'm now a changed person and will look at my life and those I love very differently.
"I said the past is behind us and what we make of the future is up to me and up to you as well. You may find you don't love me enough to continue our marriage, but if you decide that divorce is what you want, we will dissolve our union. It would make me sad, for I do still love you."
Linda stared at me and then said, "Thank you John, you've given me an awful lot to think about. What you just said clarifies my position with you. I know you love me, which makes me happy. I have some real soul searching to do to see if I am worthy of you. I think I will go up and rest for awhile." Linda came over and gave me a kiss before heading upstairs.
Mindy came over and pulled me out of my chair and gave me the warmest hug I had ever received from her. "Dad, I'm just beginning to know you and I'm liking you more and more."
As she hurried after her mother, I glanced at Johnny. I saw he didn't agree with something and it was plainly on his face. "You have a problem, Son?"
"Yes I have a problem. You didn't see Mom like I did last night. Today, I gather from what has been said, she has been cheating on you for awhile. You find out about it and say, 'Okay dear, I forgive you.' In God's name what kind of wimp are you? Haven't you any balls at all?"
"So I ask, how would you have handled it? Remember this is your mother who we are talking about. If I had said 'leave, ' would you have gone with her? Stayed with your macho Dad? Fought with your sister, because she sided with your mother against your father or with your father against your mother? Tell me what you would have done in the same situation."
"I don't know, but you never even said you would be watching Mom to see if she did this again, or said if she did it again you would divorce her. You set no conditions at all."
"You're wrong in thinking that. I forgave her the past. Now it is like I just met your mother and we are going to build a life together. She broke her vows once and now she is upstairs thinking to herself if she wants or can remain with me the rest of her life. She may come down in ten minutes and tell me she can't remain faithful and at that time we will decide to divorce.
"Let me ask you, when you first saw your mother last night and realized she was being forced to perform some sex acts, did you stop loving her?"
"No, of course not!"
"Well hate me then, because I knew before she went there what was likely to happen. I let it happen because your mom had to do penance, not for me, mind you, but for herself. It was a dangerous move because if you had gone in there and she was reveling in what she was engaging in, she was lost to me as well as to herself. Did it seem like that to you?"
"No, definitely not!"
"Don't you think she is worthy of forgiveness then?"
"Yes, but what about the affair? You must hate that she did that to you."
"I hate the thought of it, but there is no way you can halfway forgive a person. There is also this charge my mother laid on me that may have skewed my decision. It is done now and I am feeling very satisfied. Why don't you go up and be with your mother? You haven't said two words to her since you found her and I'm sure she would like to have you near."
I shortly found out I wasn't done with last night. I had forgotten that I had my buddies watching Deke's apartment to visit retribution on him. Jim called and wanted to know if the guys should still be watching for him. "No you can stop. I don't know where he is but it is immaterial now as Linda is home and we are talking. Thank the guys for me and I'll buy them all a round of beer on Friday."
Mindy and Johnny had to drive back to their apartment late this afternoon as they had left in such a hurry that their guests had been asked to lock up. This left me alone with Linda for the first time since yesterday morning. So much had happened.
I sat with a beer and thought about my actions. I did what I usually do, if I feel right about what I've done and someone disagrees, it is not my problem--it's the other person's problem. Linda came slowly down the stairs and over to the couch where I was sitting. Taking my hand she sat down next to me.
"Mindy and I talked a lot last night. I told her all about my affair with Deke. It was like I wanted her to know how shameful I have been acting. Today when you gave me a second chance you rose to near God-like status in her eyes. Johnny hasn't said hardly anything to me and avoids looking in my face. He did say he hasn't figured you out yet. Do you think I've lost him?"
"No, but he is pretty disappointed in you and can't understand how I could forgive you. Some of it is a 'macho man' thing. We did talk about it some. I tried my best, but it may take awhile. He is more bothered about you having an affair than what happened last night."
"I have to ask. How long have you known and how did you find out?"
"You remember a week ago last Wednesday when I called you at the conference? You really should have stopped fucking when you answered the phone. The bed you were on was squeaking and every time he pushed into you he was pushing your breath out and the phone was picking it all up."
Linda jumped up and ran to the downstairs lavatory, heaving. She finally returned, but couldn't stop the hiccups. Tears were streaming down her face. "Oh God, John, that had to have been torture for you."
"It was and if you had been half the distance away I would have found you and killed you both. I even headed over to Jim's to get his pickup and establish an alibi to go and do just that. On the way I thought about Johnny and Mindy, so I changed my mind and found Pete, the private investigator. He took it from there."
Linda drew away from me, realizing that her actions had almost destroyed all of us. It had almost triggered a violence in me that she never imagined. "Johnny looks at me like he thinks his mom is a slut and I am! God, I am so stupid! Oh John, I am so sorry for the pain I have caused you. I don't deserve you. Why don't you divorce me? You should after what I have done."
"No, that is in the past and we are going forward now."
We slept in the same bed that night, but Linda was very careful that she didn't come near me to excite me in any way. She said it was going to be a period of time before we could have sex. She was hoping she hadn't killed me already with some disease. I ran my fingers over the whip marks that criss-crossed her butt. Linda tensed up and asked me not to touch her as it brought back last night with a vengeance.
Johnny called after we were in bed and I answered. "Dad I'm glad you and Mom are still together. I didn't know how to say it to her this afternoon, but I do still love her. If you can be as big as you have with her mistakes, then I can too. Be talking to you again, Bye." Tears of happiness poured from Linda as I had shared the phone and she heard it all.
This was the next to last week of high school. Johnny and Mindy had already completed their classes at the university and were with us for a short vacation before starting summer classes. Linda had made a doctor's appointment and had the lab work done. I could feel the love emanating from Linda as I lay next to her, but we restrained ourselves. That in itself was a torture.