I was stunned. What I was hearing was making this day the worst day I had yet lived. As I stood there, behind her, listening to her arranging her liaison—with another man—for sex, I was sick at heart. Still, I was in control; that was something, damn little, but something. I didn't lose it.
I'd gotten home early from my job at Crowley Software. The boss and company owner, Harris Crowley, had given us all the rest of the day off because of the successful completion of the project. Done in time, under budget, and complimented on our achievement by the client—our biggest client, Statten Industries—had brought a smile to the boss' face. The bonus checks, he'd just handed out, brought smiles to everybody else's face.
I worked as a trouble shooter for special software that made organizational problems go away for many major business concerns. But, occasionally—all too often actually—it was necessary to tweak the software to keep things running smoothly for the companies we did business with. Anyway, that was my job. Travel was always in the works for me; it was part of my job description. Weatherly Inc. was a case of installing new and upgraded software this time around and it promised to save their company millions over the next few years; they were very happy.
But, hearing my wife now, the smile on my face faded. The $5,000 check in my coat pocket meaningless at that moment
"Yes, Emile, noon at the usual place ... Yes, $500 for the afternoon, no limits ... Yes, you can have my ass as usual ... Yes, you're the only one who gets that, not even my husband," she said. They talked for another minute or so, while I stood there all but turned to stone, and she hung up.
She was smiling as she turned in my direction. Now it was her smile that quickly faded.
"Well, that's true isn't it," I said, acting more calmly than I felt. "You never did let me have your ass. I stopped asking for it years ago. I guess if I'd have had a few C-notes I could have had it. Right?"
"Ritchie..." Her speech died as she realized how busted she was.
"What? Nothing too say? I would think that you might want to try and save our marriage," I said. "I mean, I confess I don't know what you could say that would unsay what I just heard, but you could at least have the decency to try." I so loved this woman; could the marriage be saved? Hell, I didn't know.
The supreme irony? It had long been my fantasy to watch her with another man. We'd even talked about it, but that had been in years past. Now, that I was a de facto cuckold, an ignorant one, but one nevertheless; how did I feel about it? Bad, I decided.
"Ritchie..." she tried again but finally sank down into a chair at the dinette table. She wasn't looking at me; she was studying the pattern on the tablecloth.
"How long?" I said.
"Ritchie, we need to talk. I need to explain. I know it looks bad, but it's not as bad as it looks if that makes any sense," she said.
"Not really. You wanna stay married, Diana?" Her head snapped up. I was angry and bitter and acting on impulse. One thing I was going to do and that immediately regardless of anything that might happen later.
"Oh god yes!" she almost screamed.
"Then drop your pants," I said. She looked at me funny.
"Huh?" she said.
"It ain't rocket science, Diana. Sounds like you're kind of an expert at this kind of thing. You're a prostitute, right?" I said. She looked down; she knew the jig was up.
"Yes, sort of a call girl," she said.
"So?" I said. I reached into my back pocket pulled out my wallet and threw a one dollar bill on the table. She looked at it not comprehending.
"Huh?" This was getting to be monotonous.
"So, drop your pants," I said. "I'm paying." She looked at me, then at the dollar bill, concern written all over her. She decided to cooperate; she stood and dropped her pants.
"The panties too," I said. She hesitated.
"Just do it Diana—or not. If not I want my money back." She complied. She was standing naked from the waist down in front of me. I dropped my pants and underwear. She stared at me, well at my cock at any rate, all six inches of it. It was stone hard. She might be a public whore, but she would never stop being able to arouse me.
I came to her, bent her over the table, and kicked her legs wide apart; she didn't resist. I knelt behind her and spit on her anus pushing a finger deep inside of her. Her head snapped around when she finally realized what was about to happen.
"Ritchie! Please," she said.
"Please what, Diana? You gonna deny me again? You gonna deny me what you apparently give to everybody else? If you say don't do it, I'll back off, collect the money I paid you, get dressed and just leave; and you can go to your little afternoon party and never see me again." I said. She shook her head and reassumed the position. "Good decision."
I worked her back door for some few minutes probing with my fingers and licking her to a state of readiness; her ass did taste great. I was as hard as I'd ever been as I pressed my penis against her sphincter. It spread easily for me; it had clearly had more than its share of usage even if not by me. I pushed in and she grunted from the pressure.
"Please, go easy, Ritchie, okay?" she said. I didn't respond, but I did push in slowly. Soon, though, I was banging her quite properly, and she was responding. I could feel myself ready to cum. I stiffened and unloaded into her. I stayed in her until I literally fell out.
She was showering. I waited in the kitchen for her to come back in.
About twenty minutes later she came back dressed and looking pale—worried. But, she'd had time to think about her situation, our situation. I had to admit to being curious about what she could possibly say to me.
"One question before we get into the rest of it," I said. She nodded for me to go on. "Why them your ass and not me, I mean until now?"
"I wanted to give it to you, Ritchie, more than anything; but it's something that I thought might make you suspicious. I didn't used to like the idea; you know that. So, all of a sudden changing my mind? Well, you can see the dilemma I was faced with," she said. "Plus, I still don't like it all that much; it hurts unless the man is very considerate. So..."
"Okay—okay, so, like I said before, how long? I'd appreciate the truth," I said.
"A year, a little more," she said. "Ritchie—do we have a chance?"
"Not sure. You gonna quit?" She looked down. I looked at her.
"You like it don't you?" I said. "You like giving it to other men who pay you to cuckold me?"
"Honestly? I guess I do on some level. Not the cuckolding you part; and I have never allowed any of them to talk about you when we were doing it. I love you and only you. But—the sex—I guess I do. It's exciting, I guess. I mean doing something really naughty like that."
"But now, knowing how you've killed my heart? You gonna quit?" I said. I just couldn't make up my mind if it would make any difference to me if she did say she'd stop, now that I knew. I sure did love her, no doubt about that. But, the staying or the going? it was something that I was going to have to do a lot of thinking about.
"I can't," she said. Okay, that one stunned me. I had expected her to say that she would quit. She had to know that I wouldn't be tolerating anymore of her fucking around behind my back. She couldn't expect me to be okay with it—could she?
"You'd lose your job." She said.
"Huh? What are you talking about?" I said.
"Ritchie, your boss—he—he—he's the one got me started in this. And, the one you heard me on the phone with just now was Emile Weatherly." She said.
"Weatherly!" It was my turn to literally fall into a chair. Mr. Weatherly was CEO of our largest customer; we'd just completed doing a big contract with him and his, actually his wife's company, she being Annabelle Statten Weatherly: two million dollars worth it meant to us. I'd met Annabelle a number of times; she was a looker, and several years younger than me or my wife; I'd guess maybe thirty-five. She was the granddaughter, and sole heir of the Statten advertising agency's founder Wolf Statten. A player on Madison Avenue in times gone by. Why an old goat like Emile Weatherly would be playing around on her was beyond me. Of course, why she'd even married him was an even bigger mystery, but, whatever.
I guess the rich and famous were never satisfied.
"It was a bit over a year ago. At the Christmas party. You were there. Your boss, Harris Crowley, put it to me. Make a certain client happy, he told me, and you'd be a regional manager by summer. I did it, and you were promoted. It's escalated from there," she said.
I had to think back. I had been promoted. I was now regional manager for public relations. Our software company, one of the most successful in the Midwest, was becoming known internationally. That my wife had been whoring herself out so that I would be promoted made me sick to my stomach.
"You can quit," I said. "I'm done with Cowley Software as of this minute."
"Ritchie! You can't quit. You make $250K annual. You could never get a job like that again, at least not on short notice. We have responsibilities!" she all but screamed.
"Yeah, and chief among them would be to be able to look myself in the mirror every morning and not throw up," I said. "You have any idea how humiliated I feel now, at this moment, knowing what you've been doing behind my back?"
"Ritchie—there was a time when we talked..."
"Yeah, and I was supposed to be a party to any decision about that kind of stuff; I mean if we ever did decide to try anything, Diana. Did you just forget that part?
"Does Weatherly know you're my wife," I said. She looked down; it seemed to be getting to be a habit with her.
"And my other customers, I mean any you've been servicing?" She continued to remain silent.
"God damn it!" I said. "How they must have been laughing at me behind my back. And you helped them do it, probably joined in with them. Humiliated doesn't even begin to cover it. Fuck!"
"No!" she said. "Maybe they did, I don't know, but not me and not around me." I just stared at her. "None of them ever talked about you; your name almost never came up."
"Again, are you going to stop it or not!" I said.
"I can't, Ritchie!" I looked at her. I must have had on a sad face. I know I felt sad. Job gone. Wife almost certainly gone. At least we didn't have kids, I thought.
"I don't know what to tell you, Diana. I am not good with this, not good at all. Call it ego or whatever you want, but I can't deal with this. You don't stop..."
"Richard, I know you're upset, but it's not as bad as you think. It's not the end of the world. We can get by this. I—we—can include you. You know like in our fantasies in the old days. Who cares what these people think so long as they pay us," she said.
"Pay you, Diana, not me? That promotion you got me? Fuck it. Money's ain't what drives me, Diana. I gotta go. I gotta go. You best think about what you're doing or we are over, probably are anyway," I said. "Yes, you better think about it real hard."
"Richard, we'll talk tonight okay? I know I can make you see my side here. I'm sorry I've hurt you. It is the last thing I ever wanted to do. But, we'll talk and I will make it right by you. I'll get Crowley to make it right by you too; I can do that. Okay?" she said; her voice had taken on a begging tone. I shook my head slowly, sadly.
"I gotta go." I turned, grabbed my coat and went out. I could feel her gaze on my back as I closed the door behind me. I had to think. My heart was hurt seriously bad. I was giddy with fear and a sense of loss and betrayal; and hell, who knew what else. She actually thought that she could make me see it her way—fat chance.
And what kind of a wimp was I anyway? I should've just chucked her ass to the curb and saved myself a ton of grief, not to mention self-respect. I needed to know more. Fifteen years invested. She was thirty-nine; I was forty-five. We were just getting to the serious part of our lives, and now this shit!
Diana was no military genius, but she wasn't that stupid—was she? Stupid enough to think I'd go along with her little part time job. Or, maybe I was the stupid one.
I knew that there were some things I needed to do immediately whatever else I finally decided. I wasn't going to be caught with my pants down—no pun intended—if it did finally come to a divorce which looked very likely at that moment.
I had to get my act together. I went immediately to the bank and sequestered the near hundred grand, that we'd managed to save, of "my" money, into a numbered offshore account; the Cayman's were a good for that sort of thing, and it was easy if one knew how, and I did. I left the checking account untouched for my whore of a wife; there was only a couple of grand in it, and it wasn't worth the trouble to mess with. Anyway, I almost didn't give a damn anymore—almost. Though not completely decided, I made the decision to ensure that I cut my loses, just in case, once I had made up my mind what to do.
In the next few days I'd kill all of the cards, cancel or change my various insurances, and generally get set for the likely outcome. It wasn't quite inevitable yet, but close.
I didn't go into the office. I was afraid that if I did that I would kill the mother fucker that I had worked for all of these years. I had long fancied myself his best asset, but maybe I had just been kidding myself; maybe his best asset had been my wife! When I didn't show up for work, they'd all figure out, soon enough, that I was gone for good.
I knew too, that as much as she was charging to fuck these guys, Diana probably had a bunch stashed, but who knew for sure. She'd never worked an honest day in her life. For sure she'd have to keep fucking for her bread if I left. Tough shit, I said to myself. I surprised myself at how quickly I seemed to be hardening my feelings toward her.
It was Wednesday and still early. I wondered if she would keep her appointment with Weatherly that afternoon. And if so, where would she would meet him? She'd said something about a hotel. I knew he was married. Annabelle was sixtyish as was her husband, and, Annabelle had the money, and the company, Statten Advertising, was hers; her granddad had left it to her, her mom and dad having been killed in a plane crash when she was seven. If I'd had to guess, she wouldn't be all that thrilled that he was playing around. Oh, how I wanted to sink his ship. Then it hit me. Ron Hodges! My best bud. I pulled my cell. If she was going to meet him, even after our little talk, I wanted to make it memorable for them.
He picked it up on the second ring. "Hey buddy, I need you, and I mean now ... El Serape'? ... Good. In fifteen," I hung up.
Ron was a detective on the force. If anybody could find the butthead that was planning on doing my wife he could.
I waved him over as he entered the little Mexican bistro.
"Hey compadre," he said. "What's the big emergency?"
The waiter showed up and took our orders: tea for him, a Lite for me.
"I need your help, Ron. Turns out I never knew my wife," I said. I gave him the rundown over the next twenty minutes.
"Jesus, Ritchie, I can't believe it. But yeah, I think I can help you. If they do meet we'll nail 'em. Hang loose for a minute," he said. He pulled his cell and started talking to somebody very fast. He hung up.
"Relax," he said. "it shouldn't be long unless your perp is using an assumed name."
I nodded and tried to suck the last dregs of yellow Pepsi out of the bottle of Lite. I waved at Jeanine for another. A waiter passed by with a pitcher of iced tea and refilled Ron's glass.
His cell went off maybe thirty minutes later. "The Towers?" he said to whoever it was that called him. "Okay, get me pictures and audio too if you can ... Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it's short notice. Perps don't send me their schedules ahead of time," he said, hanging up.
"The Lincoln Towers. Only five minutes from here. Want me to have them busted?" He was almost drooling hoping he could make a bust. Ron didn't like overpaid CEOs or their kind. He'd been screwed over in his now long dead marriage by just such an asshole himself; the divorce had been messy.
I nodded. "Yeah, go after them. Make sure missus Weatherly gets a record of the action. Maybe we can make the little twerp pay and cost my former employer his best and biggest client in the bargain. Wouldn't hurt if Diana got a conviction out of this too, I said, hopefully. Well, I was becoming ever more pissed the longer I thought of her in that room with Weatherly.
She looked in the mirror and studied the face that reflected back at her. She had to shake it off. Emile Weatherly could cost her husband his job. True, Richard had made noises about quitting. She could understand that. He was hurt and angry, and she had hurt him. But, when it finally came to making that decision for real, she knew he'd hang in there at least for the near term. He'd get over it; she'd be making damn sure of that. He had to; they couldn't make it financially otherwise. She'd have to figure out a way to include him in her activities. He'd always said he wanted to do that kind of stuff, to watch. It'd been a long time since either of them had mentioned it, that was true, but maybe now was the time.
The money she was making on the side didn't come to a fifth of what Ritchie made; and she'd spent much of what she'd made—well, dresses in the kinds of stores she shopped in didn't come cheap. Then too, the house was paid for, but not the beach house or the cabin. The land on the big island was almost paid for; they'd planned to put a bungalow on it as soon as it was. No, he couldn't quit. His job was needed; his paycheck was needed.
"Her" big job was going to be to get him to deal with what his boss, and herself of course, had done to him—but also for him, she reasoned. Yes, she allowed, it was going to be humiliating for him to be around men he knew had had her, and that now would know he knew, but what was a little bit of bent ego when it came to the opportunities that were there for him. All he had to do was look the other way once in awhile, or even join in, while she plied her wares and made a few high rollers happy.
She couldn't keep it up forever, she knew; she was thirty-nine now. When she finally did stop, she and her Ritchie could live the life of Riley off of what they had achieved: he by his business acumen and her by her sexual skills. For the first time that morning she smiled at the image in the mirror; she knew how to get her Ritchie onboard. He was going to be one happy fella when he got home that night.
She finished freshening up for her date and headed out. Emile would be waiting.
The balding man was seated at the hotel bar when he saw his afternoon entertainment arrive. Damn that Crowley did know how to take care of a customer, he thought.
"Diana, how the heck are you?" he said.
"Good, Emile," she said, kissing him lightly on the cheek.
"Let's have a drink before we head on up," he said. She smiled and took a seat beside him at the bar.
The conversation was light and touched on nothing whatsoever that was meaningful. About fifteen minutes into the little get together, a man two tables away, who had been surreptitiously clicking photographs of the two, smiled; three of the photos were of the man sliding a white envelope over the bartop to the woman, who looked inside of it and counted whatever the contents were; she closed the envelope, and put it in her purse. The man with the camera smiled once again; two utter idiots, he thought.
Weatherly downed his drink and offered his date his arm. She took it and they adjourned to the elevators.
Once in room 1515, she looked around the expensive digs that a man with Weatherly's money and influence could afford. She nodded her appreciation of it all. "Nice," she said.
"I like nice things," he said. "And none is too nice for you, girl." She looked at him, and bid him wait while she freshened up.
In the bathroom a momentary feeling of guilt assailed her. Ritchie was not going to be pleased that she was here; she knew that. But, she consoled herself that she was doing it for him. Weatherly was just an old fossil that needed to get his rocks off and was willing to pay well to make it happen. Ritchie had to know that Weatherly was no threat to him, none of them were. Did they, the johns laugh at him? She hadn't ever given any thought to that before Ritchie had brought it up. They probably did laugh at him, she knew, but it was a small price to pay for all of the advancement and goodies that resulted from their sacrifice—yes their sacrifice, not just Ritchie's. Besides, it was the johns doing the paying not Ritchie. They were the ones that were the true laughingstocks: they had to purchase their pussy; Ritchie never had to. And again, yes, she thought of it as a sacrifice on her part as well as Ritchie's. She was doing it for him, for the both of them.
She made a decision. She would fulfill this assignment and then beg off for a while so that she could mend her fences with her husband. Crowley would just have to understand that sometimes she needed to take care of things at home.
She stripped herself naked, her usual modus operandi and headed back into the room. Entering, she was stunned. Her date was being handcuffed by two uniformed policemen and being read his rights.
"Diana, say nothing to any of them, I'll get you a lawyer," Weatherly yelled at her as he was being led out.
"Wha..." she started, as a female uniform came to her and led her back into the bathroom to re-don her clothes.
Dressed she was led out, cuffed as her john had been, and taken to the elevators.
She had to call Ritchie. Boy was he going to be mad. Would he even come get her. And Weatherly? Would he really foot the bill for a lawyer for her? Shit-shit-shit! Why now? Why when she had so much to do just to convince her Richard that she was doing it for the two of them! God, what a mess.
Harris Crowley was seated at his desk when he got the call. It took him less than three hours to get to the jail and get her bailed out. He was standing in the hall, as she came up to him after having retrieved her personal effects.
"How could something like this have happened Diana? Jesus, we could lose Weatherly's account over this. Jesus!"
"I don't know, Harris. I was in the bathroom. When I came out they were leading Mr. Weatherly out in cuffs. I don't know who turned us..."
Suddenly it dawned on her. Ritchie? Could he have? Would he have? No, he didn't know where she was going to be or even for sure if she were going to do it with Weatherly at all. But—who else?
"Harris, it might have been Richard. He caught me on the phone this morning making the date with Weatherly. I talked to him. He wasn't happy about—well you know—the situation. But, I thought that I had calmed him down, explained how little it meant and how big the rewards—"
"Jesus, Diana, you mean he knows about what you do?" said Harris.
"Yes, but, he didn't go crazy or anything. In fact, he fucked me—in the ass," she said. "I thought I had calmed him down. He did walk out after I told him I couldn't quit. I do plan to talk to him later. He loves me. I know he'll be there when I get home at least by tonight. I plan to speak to him and make it right by him if you know what I mean."
"For Christ's sake, Diana, your husband is a very proud man. His ego would never be okay with you dating other men, no matter how big the rewards. Fuck-fuck-fuck! He's my best agent: irreplaceable really! All this time and no problems and then a stupid phone conversation— All of this time! I knew that it could happen, I suppose, but we had taken precautions. Jesus! Do you know where he went?" he said.
"No, I tried to call him to come get me out, but I couldn't reach him. That's why I called you," she said. "But, I know he'll be there for me tonight. He loves me too much to just up and leave. We'll be okay," she said, but she was beginning to worry.
Harris Crowley sank onto a wooden green bench that among others lined the hall at Central Jail. He had to think. "I sure hope so, Diana, I need him more than you do, if you can believe it."
"So, you nailed 'em in the act," I said.
"Yeah, they were both naked and getting ready to go at it. We shocked 'em. The old man was furious. Wanted to know—no demanded to know—who set him up. For the record, he wasn't overly concerned about your wife, just himself. He did yell at her, though, to keep her mouth shut until he could get her lawyered up," said Ron.
"Did she ask for me?" I said.
"A dozen times. Tried to call you too. She wouldn't believe that I didn't know where you were. I mean she has been around me a hundred times when I was with you," he said. "She did finally give up asking and called that other guy."
"Crowley?" I said.
"Yeah, that's him. I was sitting four feet away when she called him. She used my desk phone. I locked her up after that, but she was out by 4:00PM.
"You gonna go see her? She's home now; I had her followed. Oh, and Crowley was with her at least until I called off the surveilance," said Ron.
"No, her going on her date killed us as a couple. What would be the point?
"What's gonna happen to her now?" I said.
There'll be a hearing. She's got a clean record. It's a victimless crime in this case. The judge might kick it, or she might get community service. Worst case: thirty days in the county lock up. I can't see it bein' worse than that for her," he said. I nodded.
"Thanks a million, Ron. Yuh, know, I don't feel good about getting her nailed. I should feel good. Shouldn't I?" I said.
"Buddy, affairs of the heart are a real tough nut. I've been through it as you know," said Ron.
"Yeah, I know. Are you over it—her?" I said.
"Fucking wonderful," I said, about as sardonically as I ever said anything.
"If you are not going back to the house to talk with her, what are you planning to do if may ask," he said.
"I'm gonna drive—south—way south," I said.
"Mexico?" said Ron.
"Yeah, and except for gas and peeing, I ain't gonna be stoppin'," I said.
"Hmm, wish I was goin' with yuh," said Ron.
"This one I'm doin' alone," I said. He nodded.
"I can dig it," he said. "You leavin' me a number so I can get hold of yuh?" he said.
"I'll email you when I get wherever it is I finally end up," I said. "Actually I have a little place in the Baja. I guess I'll go there."
"Okay," he said. We shook hands. He left. I was already packed. While Diana and her asshole were being busted and cooling their heels, I had made good use of the time to finish all of the gettin' rid of stuff and making the calls I needed to make. Anything left undone, I would do through my attorney: Jack Hillings; he'd been my second call in the morning. I'd made it immediately after I'd left Ron at the El Serape.
My final call had been to my secretary, Jean Parker. She was surprised, but understood when I gave her the skinny. She said I could call her if I felt the need, and she'd keep it confidential. Jean was a princess; I knew I could trust her.
It was damn near 2,400 miles from Detroit, Michigan, to Popotla in the Baja: Small village no more than fifteen minutes south of Rosarito Beach, the latter famed for its surfing part of the year. Another bud of mine was there. One of the few in the whole world that I absolutely trusted: Juan Diego Santana De Los Robles: the seer of Popotla. Ron couldn't help me get over my hurt, but Juan Diego might; I was certain of it; it's what he was known for; well, in the Baja, in Popotla.
Juan smiled. "Ah our women," he mused. "If they lend a man a smile, he feels like a king. If she finds another to love, little can save his heart. It is always, so."
"Not very comforting," I said.
We were sitting out on the veranda of my mobile home. We'd been talking for some two hours. There was a raft of empty Corona bottles stacked on the table in front of us. The mobile was one I had purchased years ago. I had put my friend, Juan, in to take care of it for me. I rarely got this far south, but once or twice a year, I was able to work it out so that, in my travels, I could spend a little time unwinding and reenergizing my brain.
El Vidente de Popotla, the seer of Popotla; for such he was known in the village because of his usually sage advice, and I had met years before when he was working for a company I was engaged to do some work for in L.A. He'd just been laid off—he was fifty-seven at the time—and was about to head back to Mexico, to Popotla. I'd noticed he was feeling down as we exited the building at the same time. I didn't know he'd been laid off or where he was headed or anything about him, but I had a feeling. On an impulse, going over to him, I invited him to have a beer at the bistro across the street. He'd accepted. We'd become friends. I joined him, actually driven him to Popotla, bought the mobile, hired him to be the live in caretaker of the place, provided for him subsistence and the rest, as they say, was history. That was six years ago.
The codicil to all of this was the fact that my wife knew nothing about the place; it had become my get away, my refuge from the cares of the moment.
"It is what the woman is about, my friend, any woman. Men see things in black and white and they are not very understanding of the emotional side of their partners, their wives and lovers. Men are all the rational side of the equation. Women mix the rational with the emotional; it is the way it is," he said.
"It sucks," I said.
"Spoken like a true hombre," he said, laughing. I looked at him and frowned.
"My heart is broken, Juan. She cheated and wanted me to b okay with it." He nodded gravely.
"So why were you not okay with it?" he asked. I looked at him like he was crazy.
"Are you serious!" I said. "Did you not hear me? She cheated on me. I mean she had lovers behind my back! You think I should have been okay with that!"
"Hmm, yes, and your heart was hurt, broken as you say. Yes, a man's pride is important. Did she do it to hurt you to get back at you? Were you cheating on her?" he said.
"No. She did it, she said, to help me in my business, my job. She got me promotions and raises by fucking important men, even my boss," I said. Juan nodded again; he looked pensive.
"So you say she did all of this in secret," he said.
"Yes. Like I said, I caught her talking on the phone about it. She told me she did it for me. But, I know she was loving being fucked by all of those men. Some of them old enough to be her father," I said. I knew I sounded whiney, but it was how I felt.
Juan just sat there looking out at the ocean in the distance.
"Any advice?" I said. He was the El Vidente de Popotla," the seer of Popotla.
"Here in Mexico, so many of my compadres think like, you, like most other men. They do not understand a woman's needs. Only their macho male pride matters to them: their self-respect as they see it. But, it is all just on the surface. There is no thinking it through for them; they're men.
But, you, senor, are different. Go back to your wife and love her. From what we have spoken this past hour, it is clear she loves you, and you love her. You will be happier if you do," he said.
"Be her cuckold! I can't do that," I said.
"Then find a new woman that will treat you better and love her," he said. "But, always remember what a woman is and needs; she is not the same as a man."
"Juan, what are you saying? That it doesn't matter that she cheated on me?" I said.
"It only matters if you think it does. She evidently does not think that it matters," he said. "Is that right?"
"That is right. She doesn't think it does. And, she told me that she didn't want to quit, or actually she said she couldn't quit," I said.
"You must take control of the situation you find yourself in and lead her to where you both need to be. Just remember that her needs are different than yours because she is a woman. A woman is fragile, and emotional, and frightened much of the time. If she knows you love her and want to protect her and be her closest friend; she will want no other man. No other man will be able to even interest her. But, she must be sure of you, very sure of you and your love," he said.
I listened and wondered. Could what he said be so? I had my doubts. But, then, I remembered an old saying, I think it was Voltaire: "No one can resist generosity forever." Maybe my situation with Diana could be seen that way. God knows I didn't like the idea of another man's penis inside of her or hands touching her. Was it possible to get by my feelings about it all? I was not at all sure. This was no mere mental images, no mere fantasy.
The subject changed, and we killed another half dozen bottles of yellow pepsi before we hit the hay.
It was some six months, after my leaving, before things changed. And, when they did, they changed in a big way.
That last day with Weatherly was bad, very bad: jail, a criminal record, and the first days of my new life of poverty. It all came out, everything. Weatherly's wife was sure to divorce him and take him to the cleaners. Harris' wife at best would make his life a living hell.
Harris for his part was struggling to keep his business accounts. After Ritchie left, his company wasn't able to keep up with the demands made on it. He really did need Ritchie more than he needed me. I was just so much fluff, a diversion for rich men who were thinking only of themselves. Now, I had the unenviable task of trying to not be lonely while at the same time trying to make a living. And what a living! I was full time prostitute now and barely surviving. The house is in foreclosure. The other properties are also close to going back to the banks. Harris had helped me a lot, but his wife had finally put her foot down and now I was up against it.
I guess I really fucked up trying to do something for my husband while at the same time cheating on him. How do you spell idiot! But, I really, really, never thought that he would actually just up and leave me helpless and flapping in the wind. I don't know where he is, and I am desperate. I do hope he's all right. He deserves better than me for a wife. If I ever get a second chance, I will get down on my knees and thank my lucky stars.
Oh my, I do hope he comes back, even if it is only to let me beg his forgiveness.
The phone is ringing. A customer? Well, I do have to pay the bills.
"Hello? ... Ritchie! Wha-wha-what! ... Ritchie come home please. Please come home ... oh okay ... of yes-yes-yes ... I'll be here." He's on his way.
She's home. She wants to see me. Well, the feeling is mutual. She sounded desperate too. Maybe—
It's strange after all these months sitting out here looking at that door. The last time I was here it ended badly.
I rapped on the door once. The door almost flew open.
"Hello, Diana," I said. She just stood there with those cow eyes, tears welling up in them.
"Come in, Ritchie," she said. I did and she fell against me sobbing like I have never seen a woman sob before. I had a fresh handkerchief in my pocket I pulled it and handed it to her. She took it and wiped away her tears. "Oh Ritchie, I have missed you so."
"I've missed you too, babe," I said. That started another round of sobbing. I led her into the living room. Nothing had changed that I could see. I eased her down on the couch and asked her to wait while I got us both something to drink. I just knew my stuff would still be in the bar in the den; it was.
I returned with two glasses of wine. I handed her her glass and sat next to her on the couch.
"How have you been, Diana?" I said, after taking a sip of the clear elixir.
The sobbing had subsided some and she was gathering herself to speak coherently for the first time. "Where have you been, my husband?" she said.
"Far far away," I said. "I needed time. I mean after..."
"Ritchie, I'll stop," she said. I'll never do it again,. Just don't leave me, okay?" Well, that told me a lot. Mainly that she was still doing it. I wondered if that was how she was making her bills. I hadn't left her much when I left.
"You're still fucking them, then," I said.
"I had to, Ritchie, I didn't have any money. I had to pay the bills, and they were a lot. Even so, I—we—are about to lose the house, I have thirteen more days before they kick me out," she said. "I'm already packing." She nodded toward some boxes in the corner across the room.
Now I felt guilty. It had been her infidelity that had caused me to leave her, but I had not really intended for her to lose everything. Or maybe I did, and I just didn't realize how traumatic it was going to be for her.
Juan was right; womankind was emotional and attached to things in ways that a man really could not completely comprehend except on an intellectual level. This woman, my woman, was terrified. Well, I could fix that. I'd fix it regardless of how the next twenty minutes turned out.
"You still seeing Crowley and Weatherly?" I said.
"Crowley, but not Weatherly, not since his wife kicked him out. Harris helped me with my bills, the rent on this house and the properties mainly; well, he did until Marie, his wife, put the boff on that. Now, I have to work..."
"You mean fuck for money," I said. She nodded. "Just to pay the bills?"
"Yes, sir," she said. "I don't want to, Ritchie. I want to stop. Will you come back and help me, Ritchie? I need you," she said. "Ritchie, what I said before is still true. I love you. I really, really do."
I took her in my arms and held her, and the sobbing began again. This woman was in dire straits emotionally.
Juan's parting words to me came to me now, "Don't pressure her. Guide her, love her, and give her some free rein; she'll come back to you."
"I'm back, Diana," I said. No more sobbing now. Now, she was wailing like a cat with its foot caught in the door! I just waited. The phone rang.
"You want me to get it?" I said. She was in no shape to talk to anybody. She nodded in the affirmative.
"Hello ... yes ... well I..." she was shaking her head no. "No ... she says she's tied up tonight ... okay ... yes ... she has your number? ... okay." I hung up.
"One of your customers," I said.