Thanks to the Hip and Knee doctor for editing assistance.
It took all the self control that I had to keep from smacking her. I had been hoping that it would not come to this, but she just would not let it go. It had been three months since she brought it up for the first time. I blew her off then and also for the next nine times that she tried.
My wife, Emma, had been trying to get me to sleep with her sister, Arnette. Arnette's husband died five years ago and she had been living with us since then. She was a few years younger than Emma and not bad looking, but she was not my wife. I guess I am a little old-fashioned, but I stupidly believed in the sanctity of marriage. The first time Emma brought it up I was quite adamant in my refusal, but she was unimpressed.
Every week or so, Emma would bring the subject up again and I would always refuse. I wasn't trying to hurt Arnette's feelings by rejecting her, I just didn't think it was the right thing to do. I was also a little confused because she could have quite easily found a man outside of the house. She was pretty, smart, and had a nice body; actually it was nicer than Emma's.
It took me a while, but I finally broke the code. Clever men probably would have known what was going on right away, but I was a little naive and a little too trusting. Once I figured out what was really happening, my whole demeanor changed. On the surface, Emma was telling me that she wanted me to help her sister ease her sexual frustrations, but in reality I read it a little differently. The way that I saw it, Emma was either having an affair and looking for a way to compensate for her infidelity by trapping me a similar endeavor, or she was planning on having an affair as soon I succumbed to Arnette's charms. Both of these possibilities were unacceptable. Just to be fair, I promised myself that I would ignore her nagging for three months or ten more times. If she stopped by then, I would forget the whole thing ever happened.
Our son, Rob, joined the Navy three years ago and we only got to see him once in a while. Bethany, our daughter, married and moved to Cleveland. We never got to see her. I guess with the children gone, our marriage had become dull. I am sure that in some manner, it was all my fault.
I have had the same job since we married. I worked the nightshift, midnight to eight, at Acme Market Warehouse just out side of town. Over the years, I worked myself up to the position of supervisor. Not too many employees wanted to work that shift, but I enjoyed it. When I got home, I usually slept until late afternoon. That left Emma with the whole day to do whatever she wanted to do. I never checked up on her, because I never felt that it was necessary.
If Emma was having an affair, there was no way that I could find out about it. I am sure that other men would come up with all sorts of elaborate ways to prove infidelity, but whenever I tried to think of something, I just drew a blank.
Even if Emma had not yet done anything, I no longer felt that I could trust her. Her insistence that I sleep with Arnette was all the proof that I needed. I started to daydream about my alternatives. If I left, and I was going to, where would I go? What would I do? How would I support myself? How long would my money last? How much money could I actually get together before I left? Would I leave anything for Emma? Should I get a divorce or just leave? Was I legally responsible for supporting Emma? A computer would give me access to the answers that I needed, but I didn't have one. The limit of my technical skills was learning how to use a cell phone and an ATM machine.
"All right, I will do it."
Emma didn't say anything right away. She seemed shocked by my answer. I could tell that she wasn't expecting it, however, she was smiling.
"I will spend Saturday night with her. I'll do anything that she wants, as long as it isn't too kinky."
"Oh thank you, John. You don't know how much I appreciate this." She stammered a little. "I mean for Arnette, of course." She seemed to be blushing at her slip-of-the-tongue.
"Is this a one time thing, or are the two of you expecting some type of encore?"
"If it is all right with you, John, maybe two or three times a month. I think that you are man enough to handle it, and I know that Arnette would really appreciate it."
"I still don't understand why she can't just go out and get a man like any other woman?"
"John, there are a lot of sleazy guys out there that would take advantage of her. She can trust you and I know for a fact that you can keep her happy." I thought I saw her wink when she said that, and it pissed me off.
"Okay. I'll leave it up to you to let her know and get everything prepared. I don't want to do it in our bedroom. Other than that, I don't care. Do you want me to wear a condom?"
"No. I don't think that will be necessary."
Well Saturday night came and I will say that Arnette was a lot better in bed that Emma. Although I was not proud of what I was doing, I certainly did enjoy myself. I know that Arnette did also.
Emma was just bubbling over. She seemed to be happier about the whole situation than either Arnette or me. It pretty much convinced me that I was right about her affair or potential affair.
I was up bright and early Monday morning. Emma gave me a strange look as I left the house. It wasn't normal, considering the shift that I worked. Of course that was all about to come to an end.
I had the Country and Western station blaring on my way to work. I usually played the radio on low volume, if I played it at all. Miranda Lambert started belting out a song called "Kerosene." I wasn't able to make out all of the words, but I did get the gist of the song and it started me thinking.
"Light 'em up and watch them burn. Teach them what they need to learn."
Before I got to work, I was humming that damn song to myself, and I kept doing it all day. As I walked into the warehouse office, I was really starting to feel good about myself. I had made the decision and I was going to stick to it.
I gave notice at work, but decided that it was a little early to do anything else. There was no longer any great mystery about what had to be done and since I had it all worked out in my head, it would go pretty quickly. I was going to take it all. I was not going to leave Emma anything. That was her reward for her infidelity, which I still wasn't sure about.
At supper that evening, Emma informed me that we would be going to a community center dance the next Saturday. She promised to have my sports coat pressed. She appeared to be a little too exuberant about the whole thing.
I went to work that night for the last time. I said goodbye to all my friends and cleaned out my desk and locker. They had my severance, sick leave, and unused vacation checks ready for me. I was going to have to fake it the rest of the week.
By Friday night, I had everything ready. Arnette had given me a few come hither looks during the week, but I didn't bite. Neither one of them noticed that I had packed about half of all the clothes that I owned in the trunk of the car. I had sold off all of my tools and lawn equipment. First thing Monday morning, I had a job interview at Monarch Foods in Pensacola.
I had no idea what to expect at the dance Saturday night, but I was pretty sure that was when I would get the real skinny about what was going on.
As soon as we got to the community center I wanted to leave. My wife was getting ready to hang the horns on me and I wasn't happy about it. There wasn't a whole lot that I could do to undo what she had probably already done, but I couldn't let the world think that I was happy with the situation. First I had to find out who the guy was.
The three of us got a table for four, naturally. I danced with Emma and then I danced with Arnette. While I was dancing with my sister-in-law, I noticed that Tom Kendricks had ask Emma to dance. Tom was our local heating and air conditioner man. He owned his own business and serviced most of the people in our immediate area. His wife had died about two years ago.
When we got back to the table, Tom and Emma were already there.
"John, you know Tom. I asked him to join us since he is all alone tonight. That's all right, isn't it?"
It was all I could do to keep from smashing him in the face right there, but I didn't. I managed a smile with a small nod.
For the next hour or so, the four of us made nice around the table and on the dance floor. I had no trouble at all figuring out where this was going and I didn't like it one bit.
On my way to the men's room, I made a slight detour and went out the side fire exit. It was a good time for a smoke break. Smoking used to be a normal function in community halls and other public buildings, but no longer. There were a couple other guys getting a tobacco fix just outside the door. We exchanged a few pleasantries and I wandered out to the side parking lot. I needed some time alone to think and to figure out what I was going to do. In another hour or so, I was expecting Emma to announce that she and Tom were going to be leaving together. Since I had committed the first sin by sleeping with Arnette, there was no way that I could deny her leaving with him. I was trapped unless I resorted to a straightforward attack, which I didn't want to do.