"Put it against the wall" I told the two guys who carried in the dresser."
I went back to hanging the pictures on the wall. Tom came in with two suitcases and asked me where I wanted them.
"Put them on the floor in front of the bed. When you bring in the stuff on hangers just put them in the closet."
When I finished with the pictures I put the suitcases on the bed and then emptied them into the dresser drawers. Tom and the other two guys – Mike and Phil – brought in the rest of the boxes and I had them put the stuff in the closet. Phil handed me a travel case and said:
"This is the last of it."
I took the case from him and then told the three of them that I'd meet them at Murphy's Tavern in half an hour. I emptied the case and put the items on top of the dresser, arranged them neatly and stepped back to look around. I moved a few items to give things a more uniform appearance and then took a look around the room. Satisfied with what I saw I turned and left and went to meet my buddies at Murphy's.
I was on my second beer when my cell phone went off. I looked at the screen and saw that the call was from my wife. I flipped it open and said:
"Rob? I'm at the house and I can't get in. The garage door opener isn't working and none of my keys will fit into the locks."
"Not surprising Maggie since you don't live there anymore."
"Of course I live here."
"Where are you Maggie?"
"I'm at the house."
"I mean where are you standing right now?"
"On the front porch."
"Look around. You should see a man approaching. His instructions were to wait until he saw you take out your cell phone and make a call before telling you what is going on."
"There is a man coming up the walk right now."
"He will answer all of your questions Maggie. Goodbye."
Five minutes later my cell phone chirped again and again it was my wife.
"Rob? What the hell is this nonsense about divorce?"
"No nonsense Maggie. I just decided that it was time to get rid of a cheating wife."
"Don't be stupid Rob. I have never cheated on you."
"I'm not being stupid Maggie; what I am is no longer stupid and blind. Don't bother calling me again. You have been served and the papers have my attorney's name and phone number on them. Any communication between us from now on will have to go through him. And by the way, I moved all of your things out of the house and moved them over to your lover's place. Goodbye Maggie."
I disconnected, waved over the waitress and ordered us another round.
It started with a phone call from Tom. He asked me to meet him for a drink after work. Tom had been my best friend since the first day of seventh grade. It had been an immediate bond and we had been inseparable all the way through high school. After graduating I went to college and earned a degree in Business Management and Tom joined the Navy. He served his hitch and when he got out we reconnected. We saw each once or twice a week and a month didn't go by that we didn't have a cook out in either his back yard or mine.
I met him at Murphy's Tavern. He was already there seated at a table in the back and I waved at Sally as I walked by the bar and she immediately popped the top on a Coors and handed it to Sherri to bring over to me. I sat down opposite Tom and said:
"It ain't good bud and I'm not going to come off looking too good here so I need to set the stage. Remember how we were in high school? If a girl didn't put out on the first date she didn't get a second one and our philosophy was if she did put out on the first date the first wasn't enough and four was too many?"
"Yeah, but that is ancient history."
"Yes and no. What it did was convince me that sex was entertainment. It was fun. It wasn't to take seriously. You know and I know you know that Barb and I are swingers. We keep it away from the people we know, unless they approach us on it, and just swing with groups from out of town. Barb thinks just like I do. Sex is fun. Sex is meant to be enjoyed. It has nothing to do with love and devotion. I love Barb to death and everyone knows it and it does not bother me to see her enjoy herself with someone else because I know she will be going home with me and will spend her life trying to spoil me rotten"
"What does that have to do with me?"
"I'm getting to it. When I got out of the Navy we didn't chase women like we used to. For one thing I had met Barb and had decided she was the one for me and you were dating Maggie. And then of course there was the fact that we were older and a little more grown up. I married Barb and you married Maggie and the next six years flew happily by until two weeks ago."
"What happened two weeks ago?"
"Two weeks ago you sat here at this very same table and after three or four beers you told me that you felt that there was something wrong in your marriage and then you said, and I quote, "If I didn't know better I would say Maggie is cheating on me." Remember that?"
"Yeah, I do."
"Well Rob, that is what brings me here today. Maggie is cheating on you."
"You've got to be kidding?"
"I'm not. Maggie has been cheating on you."
"You are serious?"
"As serious as death."
"How long have you known?"
"That's a hard question to give a straight answer to."
"Damn it Tom, you brought it up so get to it."
"Okay. I've known for two weeks. She has been cheating on you since before you got married."
"Have you been drinking all day?"
"Of course not. Why the hell would you ask that?"
"Because what you said makes absolutely no sense. You have only known for two weeks, but you know she was cheating before we got married. We got married over six years ago Tom."
"I know what she has been doing since before you were married. But I've only known it was cheating since our talk two weeks ago. This is the part where I don't come off looking too good. Given how much we were alike way back when I just naturally assumed that you were like me; sex was fun, sex was entertainment. Sex wasn't any big deal and it had nothing to do with love, devotion and stuff like that.
"I knew you weren't like me and Barb, but that didn't mean you didn't have your own ways. Some guys like to watch their wives with other men. Some guys like to send the wife out to play and then listen to her talk about it when she gets home. A lot of guys get a kick out of having a slut for a wife and then there are guys who can't keep up with their wives sexually and to keep the peace in the family they let her go out and play. There are guys who don't care what the wife does as long as she always comes home to them. I assumed that you were one of those kinds of guys."
"Why in the hell would you assume something like that?"
"Why wouldn't I? Maggie has been doing it at least twice a week for over six years so how could you not know? I mean come on Rob. I can see hiding cheating for six or maybe eight months, but six years? I assumed you had to know and just like you knew about Barb and me and never mentioned it I never mentioned it to you about what I thought you and Maggie had going. And now comes the "As well as you know me and you can think that about me" am I right?"
I looked at him thoughtfully for a few moments and then said, "No, not at all. If it has been going on as long as you say I can see the reasoning behind your thinking. What I can't believe is that it could have been going on as long as it has and I didn't have a clue. It has only been over the last month or so that I began to feel that something wasn't right. So I guess the obvious questions now are who, when and where."
I listened as Tom told me everything that he knew for sure, everything that he suspected and everything he had heard from others. When he was done I sat there shaken to my very core.
"What are you going to do?" Tom asked.
"Get some proof and then burn the bitch's ass."
As I drove home I thought back to when I'd met Maggie. My brother Jerry and his wife Christina had invited me over for a Sunday afternoon barbecue and I'd no sooner walked in the door than Christina grabbed me by the arm and told me that she had someone she wanted me to meet.
It wasn't the first time Christy had tried playing matchmaker. Whoever the candidate was that day she would be the seventh since my breakup with Marsha. Marsha had been my long term girlfriend (three years worth) until the day she told me that she was going out on a date with another guy on Saturday. She picked a really bad time to do it. I had the ring in my pocket and had intended to propose that night. I just looked at her for several very long seconds and then I said:
"I hope you have a nice time" and I took the ring box out of my pocket, opened it, looked at the ring and then said, "I guess I'll return this tomorrow."
I got up from where I had been sitting and walked away from her as she cried:
"Wait Rob, wait."
She called me two or three times a day for the next two weeks, but I never took her calls and eventually she stopped calling.
Anyway, there was Chrissy trying to set me up with another "girl who is just perfect for you." I'd told her more than once not to do it anymore, but she never listened. She didn't understand that I didn't want another girl in my life at that time. I was still hurting from Marsha. I pulled my arm away from Crissy's hand and said, "No Christina, not this time" and I walked away from her to go find the beer.
There were maybe two dozen people there and I knew at least half of them. As I made the rounds and socialized I checked out the women present just to see if I could guess which one Christina wanted to saddle me with. Christina must have thought there was a specific type I would be interested in and all of the previous seven (none of whom I would have gone after if I was looking for Marsha's replacement) were pretty much the same so I was looking for another one like them. I could not see anyone who fit the type.
I did however spot a raven haired beauty who made my pulse speed up. She was surrounded by guys one of whom was no doubt the husband, fiancée or boyfriend. No way in the world that someone hadn't latched onto that. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I set my empty beer bottle on a table and walked over to where the gorgeous woman was holding court. I walked up and said to the woman:
"Excuse me for interrupting, but Christina sent me over here to get you."
"And you are?"
"I'm Rob. Christina is my sister in law."
"Well we must not keep her waiting. Lead on."
I noticed that she had been drinking white wine and I walked her over to the makeshift bar and offered to refill her glass.
"I thought we were going to see Christina."
"No, what I said was that Christina sent me to get you."
"Are you going to explain that to me?"
"When I got here Christina told me that there was some one here that she wanted me to meet. Her exact words were "She is just perfect for you Rob." She was grabbed by someone before she could introduce me to 'this perfect lady' so I walked around looking and there you were."
She gave me an appraising glance and then said, "And you knew right away I was perfect for you?"
"I could see it from all the way from the other side of the room."
Just then Christina walked up to us. "Oh good, you found each other. Maggie this is Rob; Rob meet Maggie O'neil."
Maggie and I both broke out laughing and Chrissy gave us a confused look and said:
"What? What did I say? Why are you laughing?"
Still chuckling I said, "I forgive you Chrissy. I think this time you got it right."
"This time?" Maggie asked.
"A long story and I'll tell you all about it on our first date which I'm hoping will be tomorrow."
It was and it began a courtship that ended six months later when Maggie and I exchanged our vows in front of a municipal judge with Christina and my brother Jerry as witnesses.
It took every ounce of my self control to act normally when I got home. Maggie greeted me with a kiss and told me that dinner would be ready in twenty minutes. I grabbed a beer from the fridge and went into the family room, turned on the TV and tuned it to Fox News. As I listened to the talking heads drone on and on about inconsequential bullshit I sat there and wondered how Maggie could tell me day after day that she loved me while all the time cheating on me behind my back. Six years! Actually it was more than six years since she was doing it while we were still dating.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, some Saturdays and always whenever I went out of town on business trips is what Tom had told me. Tuesday was card night with the girls she went to college with; sorority sisters that she stayed in touch with. Thursday was book club night at the library. That meant that as soon as dinner was over she was going to kiss me, tell me not to wait up and she would leave to play bridge except that now I knew that thirty minutes after kissing me she would be lying on a bed with her legs spread for her lovers. Yes, not lover, but lovers.
I got my kiss and as soon as she was gone I was on the Internet. It took me a little less than five minutes to find what I wanted. A credit card number and a couple of key clicks and what I wanted would be delivered to my office within three working days. I looked at my watch and saw that I still had time to get to Radio Shack before it closed. By the time Maggie got home from 'bridge' the house phone had a tap on it and I was in bed pretending to be asleep.
Even though before we had often made love when Maggie came home from her card nights on those occasions I had never known I was the second or third that night. While I would have sex with Maggie on some nights – not to do so would raise a red flag – I would never again let myself follow some one else.
In the mornings I usually left for work before Maggie and I almost always got home after she did so I had no chance to check on the phone tap until Thursday evening when Maggie left the house for her so-called book club meeting. Wednesday morning Maggie had called her mother and had talked for about five minutes and then:
"Hi. You okay?"
"You didn't seem like your usual self last night."
"I guess I'm just a little worried."
"Rob. He's acting a little funny."
"You think he knows or suspects something?"
"I don't know. It is just a feeling I have. I don't have anything concrete, just a feeling."
"You want to cancel tomorrow night?"
"No because if he is suspicious I'm afraid it would make him curious as to why all of a sudden after years of going I suddenly stopped. I guess we have to keep it like business as usual. Both of you need to stay on your toes and make sure that you don't do anything that will give us away."
"I'll tell him. We don't want it to get out either."
There was only one call on Thursday. "Hi."
"Hi yourself. We still on for tonight?"
"Wouldn't miss it."
"Love you too baby; see you in an hour."
Once again I was faking being asleep when Maggie came home and it took all I had in me not to flinch when she cuddled up next to me on the bed.
Friday my package arrived. I opened it and familiarized myself with the directions. It was a wireless mini-camera disguised as a book. It was motion activated and sent its signal to a receiver that could be up to three hundred feet away. According to Tom my wife and her lovers sometimes used our house when I was away on business. I suspect that it was so that Maggie could be home if I called. My plan was to set the book in place the next time I went out of town and hope that Maggie did her thing at our place.
As I was putting the unit into the trunk of my car I was thinking about Tuesday's phone call. I needed to get my head out of my ass and make damned sure that Maggie got over that "feeling" she was having and there was only one way to do it. When I got home Maggie was in the kitchen fixing dinner. I walked up behind her, reached around her and cupped her tits in my hands and said:
"Turn off the stove. I'm having desert first tonight."
"Is this desert going to be cream filled?"
"I wouldn't be at all surprised."
She twisted the knobs to the two lit burners to the 'off' position and I picked her up and carried her to the bedroom. I made it a point to do it again Saturday morning and Sunday night and hopefully that took care of uneasiness.
Monday I told Maggie that I would be going to San Diego for four days the following week. Tuesday I even bit the bullet and waited up for her and we had sex (no love making, just sex) before falling asleep. Her telephone conversations never again contained mentions that Maggie thought I was behaving strangely.
Friday I listened to the tape from the tap and heard that Maggie would be visiting her lovers before going to her standing appointment with her hairdresser and I heard what I'd hoped to hear.
"I suppose we will be doing it at your place next week while he is gone?"
"Of course. You know I have to be here when Rob makes his nightly check in call."
"I can't wait for next week. No hurrying, no rushing to get you home. I love it when we can spend the whole night together."
"I do too baby."
"I have to be going. I need to get hubby's dinner on the stove."
We had sex Friday night, Sunday afternoon and the then on Monday morning I left on my trip. As I kissed Maggie goodbye I was aware of the fact that if the book camera worked as advertised and caught what I expected it to catch Maggie and I would no longer be living together a week from then.
The camera did do its job, but it didn't catch both of Maggie's lovers. It confused me at first since I had expected to have footage of both of them, but then I shrugged it off since I had more than enough for my purpose.
I tried to act normally around Maggie over the weekend. I met Tom for a beer on Saturday and we made our plans for Monday. At ten o'clock, well after Maggie had left for work, Tom, Phil, Mike and I met at my house and moved everything of Maggie's out. At eleven the locksmith was there and all the locks were changed and the garage door opener was reprogrammed. The previous week I had seen an attorney and got the paperwork started on the divorce, but we held off on serving the papers until I had the visual proof that I wanted. Monday morning I called him and told him to have them served.
Phil and Mike had already gone so it was just Tom and I sitting at Murphy's when Tom said:
"Ready or not its show time."
My brother Jerry stormed up to where we were sitting. He was boiling mad and he said:
"You bastard! What do you mean by suing Christina and me for alienation of affections. Are you fucking crazy?"
"No, but you must have been to think you could get away with it for ever."
"You are out of your mind if yo..."
"Get the fuck out of here Jerry while you can still do it under your own power."
"Don't threaten me you little asshole." (Jerry was six three and I was only five eleven so I was little to him).
I stood up and hit him. I caught him right on the chin and he went glassy eyed and started to stagger and I hit him twice more and he fell to the floor (I'd already warned Gus behind the bar what was likely to happen and he just kept drying glasses). I looked down at Jerry and then I kicked him in the crotch and was drawing back to kick him again when Tom pulled me back.
"Enough bud. I think he has a pretty good idea of how you feel. I don't know if he has the balls to charge you with assault, but let's not make it any worse than it is."
Jerry was struggling to get up when I said, "Mom and dad are going to be so proud of you."
"You wouldn't dare."
"I'm having dinner with them Wednesday night and they are bound to ask me why Maggie isn't there with me. Want to guess what I'm going to tell them? Oh, by the way; I took the key you gave me when you asked me to watch your place when you were on vacation and used it to get into your house and move all of Maggie's shit into your spare bedroom. She can stay there all the time now instead of just Tuesdays and Thursdays."
I turned to Tom and said, "Let's get the hell out of here." I waved at Gus and he waved back and we left.
Maggie's car was parked in the drive when I got home and she was sitting in it waiting for me. I hit the button on the garage door opener, edged around Maggie, pulled into the garage and hit the button to close the door. Maggie got out of her car and ran to try and get in the garage before the door closed but didn't make it. I went on into the house hoping that she would go away but knowing that she wouldn't.
The front door bell started ringing and I knew it would keep ringing until I went to the door so I decided to just get it over with. I had foreseen the eventuality and after the locksmith was done I locked the screen doors on the front and back doors and the patio. I opened the door and Maggie tried to pull the screen door open, but it wouldn't budge.
"Let me in Rob."
"Nothing in here for you Maggie. All of your stuff has been moved over to Jerry and Christina's place. You live in their spare bedroom now. It will save on the travel time you used to have to spend on Tuesdays and Thursdays."
"We need to talk Rob."
"No we don't. The time for the talk should have been the day I asked you to marry me. What should have happened on that day is that you should have said:
"Oh gee Rob; I don't know. I have long term lovers that I don't want to give up. If you can see your way clear to share me with them of course I will marry you."
"I would have said sorry no thanks and we could have been spared what we are going through right now."
"I need to explain Rob."
"Probably" I said as I cut her off, "But while you feel the need to explain I don't feel the need to listen. All talking is through my attorney from now on" and I closed the door in her face.
Maggie beat on the door for another fifteen or twenty minutes, but I just turned the volume up on the TV and ignored her.