The party was held at a friends house. The usual gang was there, however Patty had invited a few more friends of hers to enjoy the fireworks from the back yard. Patty and Mark's house was right on the lake and every Fourth of July they held a small party, inviting us all over to enjoy their good fortune and view. Most the guests knew us both as we had attended all the parties save for that one year.
David waved hello to a few guys while I scanned around the backyard looking for Patty. Seeing her, I excused myself from David, who gave me a look and a nod and made my way over to her as she was fussing with the salad.
Giving each other kisses on the cheeks, I settled down with her in helping make sure the food was laid out properly. Always within sight of David, I watched him as he seemed happy, speaking with a few guys, reliving last nights game as they argued about some call. He took a slug of his beer and looked up at me, catching my stare.
"How are things between you two?" Patty asked.
I blushed a little and mumbled, "Pretty good, lately."
I scanned the small gathering and singled out the new strangers.
"Oh! You've invited others here." I was a bit startled.
"Calm down, they're just friends from Mark's work. They aren't so bad; in fact let me introduce you to the girls."
I shook my head, but Patty ignored my objections and grabbed my wrist, dragging me over to three women who stood together sipping their wine.
As we approached, the women looked up, saw Patty and smiled. As their gazes moved to me, I saw the familiar reaction and inwardly groaned.
"Ladies, this is Jessica. Jessica, this is Sue, Patrice, and Lisa."
I smiled, what else could I do, and I felt my face turn red as I said hello.
The girls, no doubt were coached not to dwell on me, tried their best to engage in chit-chat. I blandly answered their questions and soon, I began to warm up to them. They were very excited about the fireworks. Lisa and Patrice had brought their kids to see them.
"They're around here somewhere, raising hell as usual!" Lisa laughed.
"It's mommy's time," Patrice said as she downed her wine. "They're in a contained yard. Let the daddies watch them for once!"
Lisa turned to me.
"David," I filled in.
"You and David have any kids?"
"No," I said. "We had planned on having some, but..."
The women were silent.
Patrice looked at her empty glass and excused herself for a refill.
"You want one yourself?" she asked.
I think I looked like I needed one, but I said, "No, thank you Patrice, I don't drink anymore."
She forced a smile and excused herself.
Just then, a little girl around five came running up to Lisa.
"Mommy! Freddy won't share!" she grabbed the leg of Lisa and reached upward to be lifted up.
Lisa stooped and pulled the little girl into her arms.
"Sandy, this is my new friend Jessica, say hello."
Sandy turned to face me and her face dropped. All of a sudden little Sandy started crying in fear. Despite Lisa's best attempts, she had to excuse herself and get Sandy away to calm her down.
The noise of the crying had drawn everybody's attention, leaving me the center of all their stares. Blushing I waited a moment and then tried to slowly walk back into the house. I tried to not look at anyone, but out of the corner of my eyes I saw them, looking at me with revulsion, and morbid curiosity. By the time I had made it to the sliding glass door, I was running, and tears streaked down my face.
I locked myself into the bathroom and sobbed. Some moments later, I heard a soft knock.
"Honey, open up, it's me David."
I tried to compose myself.
"I'm ... okay," my voice cracked.
He knocked again and tried the door.
"Jess, open up. Please."
I took a breath and unlocked the door.
David came in and quickly closed it behind him. I saw him shoo away Patty who had been with him outside the door.
Without saying a word, he saw my look and he stepped forward and held me. I melted into his arms and cried. Soon I became aware of his shortened breathing and I looked up at him with blurred eyes. He was crying too, softly.
"I'm sorry," I said. "It's just that I didn't think there might be new people here."
"I know," David said. "It's still tough on you."
"It's my penance," I said as I sighed.
"It shouldn't have to be," he whispered.
My voice caught in my throat, but I swallowed and managed to compose myself.
"Sometimes I think this is harder than the other choice."
"Jess, come on now. We worked so hard to get past this."
I nodded and held him.
"I know," I said. "It's just that it's not easy to live with a mistake and be reminded every time you see another person."
"Hey, it's hard on me too. "He replied.
I gave him a harsh look.
"I mean," he quickly corrected. "Everyone knows that I did this to you, yet you are still with me. They may see you, but they always think of me."
We turned and looked into the mirror. I saw my rugged handsome husband David, holding me. I try not to look at myself often, but at that moment I took time to study myself.
My hair was perfect, my body had gained five pounds since high school, and at one point I was the envy of everyone. I was hot stuff and somewhere over the years I let that get into my head.
David's hand slowly crept up my back and rounded my body. I felt the first hints of him on the side of my breast. Instantly my nipple hardened. Painfully it stood erect as my eyes traveled down in the mirror to watch his hand. His hardened rough hand took gentle hold of my pert breast. He was always gentle with me now, afraid of his strength. At times I urged him to be rough with me, but he always tried to hold back the beast within.
.... There is more of this story ...