It was a chance remark that started it all. I had just walked off the elevator at work as Charlie was saying to Mel:
" ... Becca and Phil if they can make it."
Then they saw me and said, "Good morning Rob" and then the two of them headed for their desks. As I walked into my office I was wondering if it was my wife Becca that they were talking about and if it was why would she be "making" something with Phil? That overheard remark made me uneasy. In fact it downright disturbed me.
I sat down, turned on the computer and brought up the program I had been working with the last couple of days, but as I stared at the screen it wasn't work that was on my mind. I was remembering the last company Christmas party. I'm not much on dancing when we go out, other than country western, and Becca loves to dance so it is not unusual for her to dance a third of the dances with me and the other two thirds with anyone who asks her.
The last company party was no exception and while she did dance with several others I did notice that she danced quite a few dances with Phil. I commented on it on the drive home. A trace of a smile passed quickly over her face and then was gone. I expected her to say something like, "Why Rob Daltry; I do believe that you are jealous" or something like that and pass it off, but she didn't. What she said was:
"He was a better dancer than any of the rest of them so yes, I did dance more with him than anyone else."
I couldn't press it without getting into territory I knew I should stay clear of, but what I knew about Phil was that he was a cock hound; the kind of guy who drew comments like "He would fuck a snake if some one would hold it's head" and I wasn't all that happy that Becca had spent so much time with him. A little irrational of me perhaps since I was there and had my eye on them and Becca had never given me any reason to doubt her, but I just did not trust Phil at all. I shook it off and got to work. It couldn't have been my Becca they were talking about since the only place she could come in contact with Phil would be at company events and the next one was the company picnic and that was still months away.
As I drove home that night I thought about what I would fix myself for dinner. It was Becca's card night so I would be on my own. Becca was an avid bridge player and I couldn't stand the game. I liked to play cards, but I just could not get into bridge, Becca belonged to a group that played every Wednesday night and that is why I would be cooking for myself.
There was plenty of food in the house, but after looking at the possibilities and finding nothing that appealed to me I decided to pamper myself and go out to eat. I settled on the Olive Garden and I was working on my salad when I saw Bill and Helen Winters come in. I thought it odd since Helen was part of the group that met to play bridge, but then I guessed that everyone needed a night off sometimes. They noticed me and waved and I waved back. They joined a couple at a table and I got involved with my veal scaloppini.
When I got home I turned on the TV and watched for a while and then I headed off to bed. I took the book I'd been reading off of the nightstand, propped myself up with some pillows and then read till I got sleepy.
In the morning I got up and showered even though I knew it would piss Becca off. I would wake up half an hour earlier than she needed to get up and the shower would wake her and she would always be grumpy with me over it. I would just shrug and tell her to get home earlier from her card game and she wouldn't have such a short nights sleep.
I was in the kitchen having my first cup of coffee and paging through the morning paper when Becca came into the kitchen. She poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down opposite me. I put down the paper and said:
"Have a good night at cards?"
"God no and in fact I'm almost sorry that I went."
"I thought you loved bridge?"
"I do, but last night I was paired with Helen Winters and she is the worst bridge player I have ever seen. She made so many boneheaded blunders that I wanted to crawl across the table and strangle her."
Suddenly I was having bad thoughts. I was having some very, very bad thoughts."
"Helen Winters? I've not heard you complaining about her before."
"That's probably because she never upset me before like she did last night."
I finished my coffee and got up and as I put my cup in the sink I said, "I guess you will just have to hope you don't get paired with her too often."
The obvious question in my mind as I drove to work was where was Becca last night? She obviously wasn't playing cards with Helen Winters. It ate at me all day and by four in the afternoon I decided to take a gamble and I called Helen.
"Helen, this is Rob Daltry. I'm sorry to bother you, but something has been bugging me and before I confront Becca about it I decided that I should prepare myself with some information."
"What happened with the Wednesday night bridge group?"
"We ran out of players. Marge Holbrook left Dan and ran off with a truck driver. Bev Marshall got married and her husband moved her to Jamesville and Mary Ellen found out that her husband was using her card night to play around with one of the filing clerks where he works so she quit. We just didn't have enough people to play. Why?"
"Becca just seems to get bent all out of shape every Wednesday and she gets majorly bitchy with me. I've had enough of it and I'm trying to line my ducks up in a row before I have a sit down with her over it."
"You would think that after three months she would be over it. My God, it is only a card game."
"My thoughts exactly. Thanks Helen. Take care."
Three months? Three fucking months? Where the fuck had Becca been going every Wednesday for the last three months?
And what the fuck had she been doing? And almost like it was the answer to those questions came the memory of " ... Becca and Phil if they can make it." Something was sure enough rotten in Denmark, but I was going to want a lot more information before I confronted Becca on things. I was going to have to wait for the next Wednesday to get answers, but answers I would get and God help Phil and my wife if what I was starting to think was true.
Rebecca Anne Porter had been a part of my life since the ninth grade. Becca was the first girl I ever dated and the first girl I ever kissed. We dated off and on through the tenth grade. It was off and on because her parents wouldn't let her have a steady boyfriend until she was in the eleventh grade.
On the first day of classes when we started the eleventh grade I asked Becca to go steady and she said yes. We went steady for about four months and then one day just before the Christmas break she gave me back my letter sweater and told me she was breaking up with me. There was a guy who had just transferred in from out of state, he had asked her out and she wanted to go out with him. Without a word I turned and walked away as she called out "Wait Rob, wait."
I was upset. No, I was mightily pissed and my attitude became, "Okay, you want to date another guy? Well that works both ways." I ignored Becca and whatever she was doing and for the next six months I dated at least a half a dozen girls. A couple of times I was at parties or events and Becca was there also, but I made sure to avoid her. A couple of times I saw her head my way and I pointedly turned my back and moved away.
Summer came and I got a job working for a landscaper and a couple of times when I got home from work my mom told me that Becca had called and wanted me to call her back, but I never did. Did I want to? Yes I did. I missed her terribly, but pride kept me from picking up the phone and dialing her number. She had dumped me so fuck her and the horse she rode in on. What can I say? When you are a teenager and getting used to girls you are allowed and probably even expected to be stupid.
School started two weeks before Labor Day and on the first day of class for my senior year I was sitting in Mr. Patterson's room waiting for class to start when Becca took the seat next to me. I glanced quickly around the room, but there were no empty seats that I could get up and move to. Becca saw me do it and said:
"No way to get away from me Rob unless you want to skip class, but if you do that you are going to have to skip a lot of classes because I'm going to have the seat next to you in every class we have together."
"Why? Why bother?"
"Because I want to get back on good terms with you. Because I miss you. Because we had something nice and I miss it."
"You miss it? You're the one who threw what we had away."
"I didn't throw anything away Rob; you just took it wrong."
"Wrong? You gave me back my letter sweater, told me that you didn't want to go steady with me any more and I was wrong?"
"You walked away before I could explain."
"I didn't want to stop seeing you Rob; I just wanted to date other guys too and I couldn't do it if we were a known steady couple. I still wanted to date you."
"So? That's what you wanted. It wasn't what I wanted so that hardly means that I took it wrong. You dumped me Becca. You dumped me for some dickhead who moved here from out of town. I didn't get that part wrong."
Then I heard, "Mr. Daltry; if you and Ms. Porter could hold it down we can get on with class."
I looked around and saw Mr. Patterson and everyone else in the class looking at us. After class was over Becca stuck to me like glue and followed me down the hall. And just before I went into Mrs. Osbourne's room Becca said:
.... There is more of this story ...