Harry had been my best friend for so long that it was hard for me to sometimes remember how far back we went. I'm pretty sure that it was around the second grade, but it might have been the first. He lived three doors down from me and we started walking to school together in the morning and then home again after school. We played together after school and on the weekends and as we grew older the bonds became tighter.
When we were thirteen the Ellsworth brothers took his bike and I went with him to get it back. I got a black eye out of the deal, but I broke Burt Ellsworth nose and we did get Harry's bike back. When we were fourteen I got it a fight with Ronnie Liss over something I said to his sister and I was cleaning his clock until his cousin Sam jumped in to help him. Harry waded in and took care of Sammy while I finished with Ronnie. Harry had my back and I had his.
When we started dating we double dated a lot and we even swapped dates a time or two. We went out for football and Harry was a pretty good quarterback and as the center I made it my mission to keep tacklers off of him and I did it with some degree of success. We also went out for basketball and during one game a guy blindsided me while I was taking a jump shot and Harry was on him before I hit the floor. The two were thrown out of the game, but it was another case of Harry having my back.
We went to college together and it was there that he met Mary Ellen Baker and fell ass end over tea kettle in love with her. They dated, became close, he proposed, she accepted and three months at a party later Harry caught her when she sneaked off to a bedroom and was fucking another guy. I was the one who took him, got him drunk and convinced him that she was a worthless piece of shit and in general helped him through the bad time. He was there for me when my mom and dad were killed by a drunk driver and he was my best man when I married Suellen Foster.
For over twenty years Harry had been my best friend and confidant. Given that I could only wonder at how my best friend could do what he did.
I met Suellen in my sophomore year at State. It was the first day of the term and my first class of the day was Managerial Economics. I walked into room 116 at Thornton Hall and found an empty seat. I sat down and then looked at the girl sitting next to me and my heart did flip flops. She was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. She looked at me and smiled and I was lost.
I had never seen her before and I knew nothing about her. A quick look at her left hand showed no ring, but that didn't mean that she didn't have a boyfriend and in fact, as good as she looked, it was a damned good bet that she did have one. The British Army has a unit, the SAS, and the unit motto is "He who dares wins" and I had adopted that as my creed. At the end of the class I turned to her and said:
"You may already have a boyfriend, but on the slim chance that you don't my name is Rob Foreman and I would like to apply for the position."
She laughed and said, "My next class isn't until eleven so between now and then I will be conducting interviews at the cafeteria in the Student Union. There are quite a few applicants and the interview schedule is pretty tight, but I may be able to squeeze you in" and she got up and left. I had another class in ten minutes, but a man has to have his priorities straight so I ditched the class and hurried to catch up with the gorgeous redhead.
"So tell me Mr. Foreman just why do you think you qualify for the position?"
"I'm dependable, hard working, fairly intelligent and have a pretty decent sense of humor. I'm physically fit and have been told that I'm reasonably attractive, but I will concede that I may have been lied to about that. But I think the biggest thing I can bring to the table is that a beautiful green-eyed redhead can totally own me and make me her willing slave. I'm told that some women like that in a man."
"Well it all looks good on paper, but I will need to do an in the field evaluation. The only opening I have is tonight."
"I can do tonight. I will have to cancel half a dozen things, but I can do tonight."
I picked her up at six-thirty and we had dinner at Geogio's and then I took her to see a movie. When I took her home and walked her to her door she said:
"As field evaluations go you did reasonably well. I think that I may just take a chance on you, but you need to know up front that you will be on probation and can be let go at any time."
"How long is the probation period?"
"It is indefinite. If you can accept that then the position is yours."
We kissed on the third date, steamed up the windows of my car on the fourth, fifth and sixth. I had her over to my apartment and fixed us dinner on the seventh and then we made out on the couch for hours. We both knew where we were headed and on the eighth I made the move. She said:
"I'm not a virgin Rob."
"Neither am I."
"I didn't expect it to happen this soon so I'm not ready. I'm not on the pill and I don't have my diaphragm with me and please don't insult my intelligence by telling me that you will pull out."
"I can wait. In fact I'll wait until we are married if you want."
"No need to go that far. Marriage is not in my immediate plans. Besides, don't I have to be asked first? And even then isn't a "yes" required?"
"We have only been seeing each other for a month, but it has been long enough for me to decide that I've found the one I want."
"Take it slow Rob; I'm in no great hurry."
On the ninth date I asked Suellen what she wanted to do and she said:
"Go to your apartment."
"I wasn't expecting that so the refrigerator is empty."
"As long as your bedroom isn't as cold as your fridge we will be okay."
That set the tone for our relationship. Almost every date after that ended up in the bedroom at my apartment and the more time I spent with Suellen the more I was sure that I had found my life partner.
Unfortunately Suellen didn't feel the same way. She said that I was "her man" but she wasn't ready to commit to the long term. We went to Cabo for spring break and I spent half of my time there poised to fight all the assholes that hovered around Suellen when she was on the beach in her bikini. In fact I did punch out one guy who got a little too carried away. When I objected to his putting his hands on her and he said, "Back off little man. The lady needs to see what a real man can do for her" I lost it. It was a good thing I was pulled off the asshole because the way I was going I probably would have killed him. I almost got in a tiff with Suellen over it when she said in a sarcastic tone of voice:
"My hero. Did it not occur to you that I'm a big girl now and I can take care of myself?"
"Hey" I responded, "You want some strange asshole to run his hands all over you just tell me and I'll go the fuck away and leave you alone, but I'm not about to stand around while some asshole messes with the girl I am with. I will not have everybody who is watching thinking that I'm a fucking wimp."
Suellen saw that she had touched a nerve and she quickly turned lovey-dovey on me. The rest of the break passed without incident. Suellen drew plenty of admiring glances, but the guys gave her a wide berth when I was around.
Things ran along nicely until summer vacation. Suellen told me that she was going back to Texas to spend the summer with her family. I knew she was from out of state, but somehow had overlooked the fact that she would leave when the term was over. We would be apart for over two months and I wasn't very happy about it, but there wasn't anything that I could do. I told her that I would probably come down and visit her and she told me to call well in advance.
"My mom was talking about us making a trip to visit my Aunt Mae and I wouldn't want you showing up and me being in Oregon."
I called her once or twice a week for the first month and then I made the phone call that changed things and not for the better. Every other time I called Suellen had been the one to answer the phone. Then I made a call that was answered by her mother. Apparently to her mother on the phone I sounded like someone she knew.
"Hi. Is Suellen there?"
"No she isn't Harvey. She and Jake went to the lake for the weekend. I think he is going to propose. You want to leave a message?"
"No thanks; I'll call back next week."
"Okay Harvey; say hello to your mom and dad for me."
I wondered if when Jake proposed Suellen would give him the same song and dance she gave me about not being ready for a long term relationship. I stewed over that phone call until Monday and then I called again.
"Hi. Is Suellen there?"
"Oh hi Harvey. No she isn't. She and Jake are off somewhere and I don't expect her back until Sunday or Monday. How are your parents?"
"Fine. They said to say hi."
"You want to leave a message?"
"No thanks. I'll call back later."
Except I didn't. I put Suellen out of my mind and got on with my life.
Three weeks went by and then I got a call from Suellen.
"You haven't called."
"Didn't want to interfere."
"Interfere with what?"
"I expected that you would be busy making plans for the wedding and I didn't want to intrude."
"Plans for the wedding? What are you talking about?"
"I did call Suellen. I called twice. Do you know a guy called Harvey?"
"Well apparently I sound a lot like him on the phone; at least I did to your mother. When I asked if you were home she told me no, that you and Jake had gone to the lake for the weekend and that Jake was going to propose. I called a couple of days later on a Monday and she apparently thought it was Harvey again and when I asked for you she told me that you and Jake had gone off somewhere and she didn't expect you back for a week or so. I wish you and Jake the best. Have good life. Bye."
A minute after I hung up the phone rang again and again it was Suellen. When I heard her voice I disconnected the call and left the phone off the hook.
A few words about me here. When my mom and dad were killed by the drunk driver I came into quite a bit of money. Dad had a two hundred fifty thousand dollar life insurance policy the policy had a double indemnity clause in case of accidental death. He also had a fifty thousand dollar policy at work as part of his benefit package and my mom had a thirty-five thousand dollar policy where she worked. Add to that the drunk driver was on the job and driving a company vehicle when he hit my parents and the settlement I received from his company after attorney fee was in the mid six figures. That is why I was able to have my own apartment while in college and drive a new car. I did not need to work, but I wanted to. The money I had was set aside for the future and I fully intended to work following graduation.
I had gotten a job as a summer intern at an insurance company and following my phone conversation with Suellen I buried myself in the job. I bought an answering machine to screen my phone calls. I kept myself busy during the day with the job and spent the evenings shooting pool and playing darts with Harry and some other friends. It was Harry's turn now to tell me what a bitch Suelllen was and how I was better off with her gone from my life. Harry was more than happy to do it because he had never liked Suellen. Maybe it was because she made no secret of the fact that she thought he was an obnoxious idiot.
I wasn't ready for it when I got home from work on Friday after having a few beers with Harry to find Suellen sitting on my doorstep.
"What are you doing here?"
"You won't answer your phone so how else am I going to talk to you?"
"Did you not consider that since you couldn't get in touch with me that I didn't want to talk to you?"
"Doesn't matter if you want to talk to me or not; I want to talk to you. Bad enough to haul my butt up here three weeks before classes start."
"I don't understand why."
"Because we have something special Rob and I don't want to lose it."
"That doesn't make sense Suellen. If you thought we had something special what the hell were you doing going on romantic weekends with another guy."
"I wouldn't call it a romantic weekend."
"Not what your mother told me. She seemed pretty happy that you and good old Jake went off to spend the weekend at the lake so good old Jake could propose."
"He did propose and I said no."
"That doesn't take away from the fact that you did go off to spend the weekend with him."
"I felt that I owed it to him."
"You owed it to him?"
"Please try to understand Rob. Jake was my boyfriend all through high school and it was more or less expected that we would get married when we graduated, but I wanted college, but Jake didn't. His future was already set. He would be working for his father and eventually he would take over running his family's ranch. Jake has been home patiently waiting for me to finish so I would come home and marry him, but I met you and Jake was history. I needed to let him know that and I needed to do it gently. When he asked me to go to the lake with him I figured that it would be the perfect opportunity to end things. We were able to part friends."
"What about the week you were gone with him?"
"I wasn't with just him. There were five of us. His dad sold a hundred head of cattle and we moved them to Kansas City."
"Did you have sex with him while you were there?"
"Can we go inside and talk about this? I don't need your neighbors listening in."
I unlocked the door and she followed me in. She took a seat on the couch and I said:
"The question was di... :"
"I know, I know; did I sleep with him. The answer is yes. All it was was saying goodbye and thanks for all the good years we had."
"So why are you here Suellen? What are you expecting?"
"I'm not expecting anything, but I am hoping that you will say that you understand."
"And this Jake is totally history? No more visits with him when you go home to visit?"
"It is over Rob."
I sat there looking at her in silence and then she said, "Let's go to bed Rob; I'll show you just how much I've missed you and how much you mean to me."
She started to get up but stopped when I said, "Can't do that Suellen. Have you ever heard the expression that when you have sex with someone you are having sex with everyone that someone had sex with? I don't know this Jake and I have no idea of what or who he might have been doing while you were up here. I won't sleep with you until you can show me a complete bill of health from your doctor."
Her face turned ugly and she snapped, "That was a rotten thing to say to me. I never knew you were a bastard" and she got up to leave. As she was heading for the door I said:
"You never knew because until now you never put me in a position where I needed to be one. Don't forget Suellen; you are the one who opened your legs for another man. I had nothing to do with it."
The door slammed and I went into the kitchen and fixed myself a bite to eat.
The next day at work I was asked to take an out of town trip to work on a project and I said I'd do it. We were gone two weeks and when I got home my answering machine had fourteen messages from Suellen asking me to call her. I thought about it and then decided not to. It was over between us and all that would come out of talking to her is that I would end up depressed.
However I wasn't given any choice in the matter. The second day that I was home there was a knock on the door and when I opened it I found Suellen standing there.
"May I come in?"
I stepped aside and she walked in. I closed the door and turned to find her standing there. She had a piece of paper in her hand and she handed it to me.
"When I left here Rob I was as mad as a wet hen. I told myself I would go and get the damned tests and then come back and hand the report to you and tell you to wipe your ass with it. Then I was going to spit in your face and walk out."
"I think I hear a "but" in there."
"When I got the results I was told that I had a mild case of gonorrhea. I guess Jake didn't spend all of his time just waiting for me. I'm on antibiotics and it should be cleared up in a couple of weeks. I'm sorry Rob. I never meant to screw things up so badly."
She stepped by me and was reaching for the door handle, but before she could turn the knob I made a snap decision that would end up having far reaching consequences as far as my life was concerned.
"Where are you going?"
"I need to get out of here before I start crying."
Five weeks later Suellen moved in with me and we lived as man and wife until we graduated and then we made it official. The only bad part of our relationship was Suellen's animosity toward Harry and nothing I said or did ever got her to change her attitude. It came to a head with our wedding. Suellen was adamant that Harry not be a member of the wedding party and I was just as adamant that Harry was going to be my best man. I finally laid it out for her.
"Harry has been a part of my life for almost twenty years. He is my best friend and he will be a part of my life for the next twenty or however many more years I have. Get used to it; it is not going to change."
She wasn't happy, but I think she knew if she pushed it any harder that the wedding would end up being cancelled.
The next eight years were good ones. We both got jobs in our chosen professions, settled into married. We both decided early on that we didn't want to have kids so I had myself snipped so we wouldn't have to mess with birth control pills, diaphragms or condoms. We both put our energies into our jobs and began the corporate ladder climb.
We bought a house and had an in ground pool installed. We had a lot of friends and we made a lot more and we entertained a lot. Our love life was great. We would hear that things would slack off as we grew older and became more and more used to each other, but that didn't happen to us. We were still making love four and five times a week even in our eighth year of marriage.
Life was everything that I could have wished for.
I doubt that I will ever forget the date. It was Tuesday the eighth of June and the day before my birthday.
I had dropped my car off at the dealer because of a factory recall and Suellen had followed me to the dealership, picked me up and dropped me off at work. Two hours into the day Hal called me into his office and asked me to fly to St. Louis and get a contract signed. He said that it would just be a quick overnight and I'd be home in time to celebrate my birthday.
I called Suellen and had her meet me for lunch and then drive me home so I could pack a bag for the overnight trip and then she drove me to the airport. As she dropped me off she said:
"You better make sure that you get back tomorrow. I have a special present for you."
I kissed her goodbye and headed inside to begin the stupid ritual of taking off my shoes, emptying my pockets and shuffling through the line. Twenty minutes before my flight was due to be called I got a call from Hal.
"Never mind going to St. Louis. Albertson just called and he has to come to town tomorrow for an emergency meeting and he will sign the contract while he is here. Take tomorrow off and enjoy your birthday."
I decided not to bother Suellen and caught the airport shuttle to the downtown Hilton and then took a cab from there home. I was in the basement working on a custom computer desk that I was making when I heard the garage door opener start to run. I looked at my watch and was surprised to see how late it was. I had planned on having dinner ready when Suellen got home, but somehow time had gotten away from me.
I grabbed a rag and cleaned my hands and then headed for the stairs. I heard Suellen laughing as she came through the connecting door to the garage and then I heard:
"Are you sure this is all right?"
"Don't worry. I took him to the airport myself."
"I can't help it. I still think we should have used a motel."
"What? And pass up a chance to do this on my own bed? Come on baby; you know you want to do me on my own bed."
I stood there frozen on the bottom step. I was too stunned to move. It couldn't be! It just couldn't be! I shook it off and then started up the steps and then stopped. What was I going to do? Suddenly a calm came over me. This was quite obviously not their first time so there was no need to hurry up the steps and break things up. I already knew more than enough to know what the outcome was going to be so there was no hurry. Besides, I'd like to see the looks on their faces when I walked in on them. I'd give them some time to get into it before I made my appearance.
I gave them five minutes and then I went up the stairs. I could hear them as I approached the bedroom.
"That's it baby, push it hard; push it hard and deep. God you feel so good in me."
"Better than your hubby?"
"Oh God yes baby, much better. You fill me up so much better."
"I can't get over how tight you are. He must have a dick the size of a pencil."
"Forget him baby; fuck me. Fuck me and make me cum."
Neither one of them saw me come through the door, but when I said, "He won't forget me. He will remember me for the rest of his worthless fucking life" both turned to look in my direction and I saw fear on both of their faces. I moved quickly to the bed and pulled Harry off of my wife and then I proceeded to stomp the living shit out of him while Suellen screamed and tried to cover up.
Harry was unconscious on the floor and I was kicking him in the ribs and balls when Suellen grabbed me and tried to pull me away.
"Stop it! Stop it Rob. You're killing him."
I lashed out and hit her with a backhand across the face and she stumbled back, tripped and fell to the floor as I gave Harry a couple more kicks. I bent and grabbed his ankles and pulled him from the room and down the stairs. I had the satisfaction of seeing his head bang on each step as I drug him down the stairs. When I got him to the front door I opened it and pulled him out to the center of the lawn and then I left him there and went back into the house. I locked all the doors so he couldn't get into the house and then I spotted Suellen's purse sitting on the table. I got her car keys out and hit the little red "panic" button on the keyless entry device and the horn on her car started blaring. It was in the garage, but it was still plenty loud enough that it would eventually draw attention. I wondered what the neighbors would do when they saw a naked man lying on my front lawn.
I headed up the stairs to take care of Suellen. She had pulled on some sweats and was sitting on the side of the bed sniffling when I walked into the bedroom.
"Don't say a fucking word you whore; not one fucking word. All you have to do is listen and do what I tell you. Pack what you need for a few days and then get your worthless cheating ass out of this house. I will pack the rest of your shit and put it in the garage and you can come and get it the day after tomorrow. I'll give you thirty minutes to pack and get out. If you are still here thirty-one minutes from now I will physically remove you." I looked at my watch and said, "Time is running. Better get a move on."
I went downstairs and looked out the front window. Harry was curled up in the fetal position with both hands over his crotch and there were two of my neighbors standing on the sidewalk looking at him. I went to the kitchen, got a beer and then sat down and started to make a list of what I was going to have to do. I'd just finished my beer when the front doorbell rang. I got up to go see who it was and as I passed the front window I saw a police car sitting outside with the lights flashing. I pushed the button to silence Suellen's car horn and then I opened the door. There were to cops standing there. I did not unlock the screen door and ask them in.
"Sir, what can you tell us about the naked man in your yard?"
"What? A naked man in my yard?"
I looked out, but I didn't see Harry so I said, "I don't see a naked man in my yard."
"We have him in the back of the squad car. Are you saying that you know nothing about how a naked man came to be in your yard?"
"No idea officer. You might ask the people three doors down. They throw some pretty wild parties. He might be one of theirs."
"Sir, it is a crime to impede an investigation. Are you positive that you know nothing about this?"
"Well now that I think about it he just might be the man I caught in bed with my wife."
"And what did you do to him?"
"Why nothing of course. He panicked when I walked in on them and he ran, tripped and fell down the stairs and then he ran outside. I assumed that he jumped in his car and left. I had no idea that he had collapsed in my yard. I was too busy with my wife to pay him any attention."
"And how is your wife?"
"She is an emotional wreck as you might imagine."
"Did you do any thing physical to her?"
"Of course not."
"We would like to come inside and verify that she is all right."
"I'm sorry, but unless you have a warrant I'm not letting you in the house."
"Sir, I must insist."
"Insist away, but you are not coming in without a warrant. If you want to see how she is go sit in your car." I looked at my watch. "I gave her half an hour to pack a bag and get out. She has five minutes to go. You can check her out when she leaves the house."
"You realize that it makes us wonder why you don't want us in your house."
"I'll tell you why. I don't trust you. In this day and age the man always gets fucked over by the courts and the cops where something involving a woman is concerned. I'm not going to give you people the least little bit of leeway. Now I need to get upstairs and make sure that she isn't trying to pack something she shouldn't."
I closed the door on them. I hollered up the steps:
"Times up Suellen."
She appeared at the top of the stairs with two suitcases and I went back into the kitchen and got myself another beer. Suellen came into the room and started to set the suitcase down and I said:
"Don't! Just get the fuck out."
"We need to talk Rob."
"No we don't Suellen. I heard enough while you were in the bedroom playing and old pencil dick doesn't want to hear another fucking word out of you."
She teared up, but picked up her suitcases and went out into the garage. I heard the garage door open and I walked into the living room and watched her back down the drive. The cops got out of their car and stopped her and I turned and went upstairs and ripped the sheets off the bed and put clean ones on it. When I next looked outside Suellen and the police were gone.
Suellen tried several times a week to call me, but I wouldn't take her calls and she finally gave up. She didn't fight the divorce.
Harry must have felt that he had his beating coming because he never pressed charges. He did make sure that he stayed out of my way. Twice I saw him at a bar and he got up and left as soon as he saw me.
About a month before the divorce was final Hal asked me if I would be willing to relocate to Kansas City to run our office there and I said yes. I was in Kansas City the day my divorce became final and I went out and tied one on. My head hurt in the morning, but I felt that it was worth it.
The next three years skated by and then I got a call from Hal. He was going to retire and he wanted to know if I would come back and take his job. Vice President of Operations? Damned straight I'd take his job.
So there I was, three years after the meltdown of my marriage, back in the town where Suellen and Harry still lived. I would have thought that they would have gotten together after the divorce was final, but I guess that they never had. I heard that Harry was married and I heard that Suellen had stayed single. The word was that she dated from time to time, but never got serious with anybody.
I eased into my new job and when I was settled in I went looking for a place to live. I knew that in my new position I would entertain a lot so I was looking for a suitable place. I found a four bedroom on two acres with an in ground swimming pool and a tennis court and by paying cash I got it for a pretty damned good price.
I reconnected with friends and started hitting the places I used to frequent. Occasionally I saw Harry at one of them and as soon as he saw me he would leave. I'd been back just a hair short of two months and I was sitting in Haggard's ye Olde Bar and Grille. Not a misprint. That was the name of the place. The sign actually read "ye Olde Bar and Grille. Anyway, I was sitting at the bar nursing a Pabst Blue Ribbon and watching the ball game on the TV when a fine looking dark haired beauty took the bar stool next to mine, extended her hand and said:
I took her hand and as I shook it I gave her my name and asked her if I could buy her a drink. She accepted and after taking her first sip of it she said:
"May I ask you a question?"
"I suppose, but I reserve the right not to answer."
She gazed at me intently for a moment and then she asked, "Why is my husband so afraid of you?"
"Not knowing who your husband is makes answering that question a bit difficult."
I took a closer look at her and said, "I'd heard that Harry had gotten married. I see that he did rather well for himself."
"Thank you for the compliment, but are you going to answer the question?"
"What makes you think that your husband is afraid of me?"
"Whenever you show up and we are there he suddenly has to get up and leave. If we are invited somewhere he won't go if he thinks you might be there and a couple of times I've even heard him ask if you were going to be there."
"I don't know that he is afraid of me; it may just be a case of his not having the balls to face me or it could be that he is just too embarrassed to be around me."
"The question is still why?"
"How long have you been married to him?"
"A year and a half."
"How long did you know him before you married him?"
"About six months."
"And in all that time you haven't heard about Harry and me?"
"Just that you have known each other for a long time."
I thought about it for a couple of seconds. I sure didn't owe Harry anything and I didn't know his wife at all so I didn't feel any need to hide things from her so I told her the whole story."
"That's kind of a cliché isn't it? I mean the wife and best friend thing."
"It is a cliché when you hear about it or read about it, but not when you live it."
"That's true I suppose, but back to my question. When you and Harry wind up in the same room you aren't going to go after him?"
"No. I've put the asshole behind me."
"What did you do to your wife?"
"Kicked her out and divorced her."
"Why didn't you beat on her? She was as much to blame as Harry."
"Well she did get a bruise when I backhanded her as she tried to pull me off Harry, but beating on women is just not something I can do."
"Did she ever tell you why?"
"No and I never asked. The why never mattered; only the doing mattered."
By then her drink was empty and I asked her if she would like another.
"Better not. If I sit here much longer I might give the impression that I'm trying to pick you up."
"To whom? I didn't see Harry here when I came in."
"Harry isn't here. I'm here with a bunch of girls I work with and they all have dirty minds. I wouldn't doubt that a couple of them all ready see the two of us bedding down."
"Well, for the record, if I were out looking tonight you would be what I was looking for. I'm partial to dark-haired beauties."
"And the fact that I'm Harry's wife wouldn't even enter into it, would it."
I had not had that thought at all, but when she said it I realized that what I would really love to do to get back at Harry was to use his wife as he had used mine and right then I decided that I was going to do my best to seduce Mellissa and then let Harry find out. As the first step in that seduction I did an "Aw shucks, who, me?" I looked Mellissa right in the eye and said:
"I would never stoop so low as to use a woman to get some petty revenge. When I go after a woman it is because I want that woman and not for any other reason. That said, you would still be at the top of the list. Nice meeting you Mellissa."
She left and went back to her friends and I had another drink before leaving and as I drove home I started making plans.
The first thing I needed was information. The next morning I got out the Yellow Pages and picked out a detective agency. I called and made an appointment and that afternoon I gave them a check and turned them loose to find out everything there was to know about Mellissa Wilson.
Three weeks later I was sitting at my desk reading the report. A few things jumped out at me right away. She belonged to a gym and worked out three days a week after work and before she went home and she stopped at "ye Olde Bar and Grille about once a week with the girls she worked with. There was more about where she shopped and had her hair done and stuff like that, but none of that stuff would do me much good. There was a limit on how many times I could "accidently" bump into her at the store without her figuring things out. But the gym and "ye Olde Bar and Grille" showed promise.
I kept the detectives on Mellissa and concentrated on what I had to work with at the present time. First there was the gym. It wouldn't hurt me any to join and get myself back into shape while I worked on my plan to get back at Harry. I didn't want to run into Mellissa too soon or she might get the right idea as to why I was there. I joined and started going in every morning at five when it opened.
Meanwhile I started stopping in at "ye Olde" three or four times a week. That wouldn't seem strange to Mellissa because that is where she came up to me in the first place. She only came in occasionally with the girls she worked with, but I wanted to establish that I was a regular if she ever looked into it.
The second week after I started stopping she came in with four other girls. After she had been there about half an hour she noticed me sitting at the bar and came up to say hi. She looked around and then said:
"Pickings seem to be pretty slim tonight. Can I call on you if necessary?"
"Necessary to what?"
"We girls stop here to have a few drinks and relax after a hard day at the office. We like to dance and I don't see much in the way of dance partners here tonight. Can I call on you if necessary?"
"I'm not sure that would be such a good idea."
"Because of my relationship with your husband."
"That is between you and him."
"He might not think that way."
"Too bad. I'm not asking you to go to bed with me; just a dance or two if none of the other guys here want to."
"Too bad. I just might agree to that first part."
"Don't be a pig."
I laughed and said, "You are the one who opened the door on that."
"You know what I meant."
"Yes, unfortunately I do."
"So, can I call on you if necessary?"
"No thanks. I have to watch myself real close when I'm around dark haired beauties. Maybe if I'm still here when the need arises I might dance with one of the girls you came in with."
She gave me a look I couldn't read and went back to her table. I finished my drink, had one more and then I left and went home.
I waited two weeks and then I made sure that I was in the gym working out when Mellissa got off work and came in. I was halfway through my set on the leg press when she walked up to me.
"This is getting to be too much of a coincidence. First the bar and now here."
"What does that mean?"
"I'm starting to think you have set your sights on me."
"Well I did mention that I had an affinity for dark haired beauties and I did say that you would be at the top of the list if it wasn't for who you are married to, but you are an untouchable as far as I'm concerned."
"I'm not sure that I believe you. You seem to show up where I'm at a lot lately."
"No, you seem to show up a lot where I am. If you check with the bartender at Haggard's you will find out that I stop in there almost every night when I get off work and as far as this gym is concerned I didn't even know that you worked out here. I'm usually here every morning at five when they open the doors and I do my workout and take a shower before going to work. I'm only here this afternoon because I couldn't make it this morning. You are a good looking woman Mellissa, but don't flatter yourself. As long as you are married to Harry I'm not the least little bit interested in you."
I could almost read her mind when I said that. The look on her face said that she didn't believe me and I would have bet that the thoughts in her head right at that moment were "Oh yeah? We might just have to see about that."
Two days later when I walked up to the door of the gym at five in the morning I saw Mellissa standing there with her gym bag. I put on a half assed smile and gave a little chuckle and she said:
"And just what is that supposed to mean?"
"I seem to remember a recent conversation about who seems to show up at a lot of places."
"Is that what you think? That I'm here because you said that you were always here at this time?"
I just looked at her and shrugged.
"It just so happens that I have something to do after work tonight and so I won't be able to come in. I decided to do my workout this morning instead."
"If you say so."
Before she could reply Nancy was unlocking the door to let us in. I didn't look directly at Mellissa while I worked out, but I kept track of her out of the corner of my eye and she rarely took her eyes off of me. I didn't think she really had an interest in me. I think it was probably more of a "How can he say he isn't interested in me" attitude. I'd spiked her pride and she had to prove me wrong. Or maybe I was wrong. Maybe she was just there to satisfy herself that I hadn't been lying to her when I said that I was there every morning. That brought up the question of why it was important for her to know that.