"It's about time to get ready to go isn't it?" Tom asked.
"For the last time, I don't want to go. You know I don't know anyone who will be there and I really don't want to spend the whole night trying to talk to people who I don't know. They're your friends, why don't you just go without me?" Julia whined.
Tom sighed and turned to his wife. He said, "Honey, I've told you and told you it's a welcome home party and I want you to meet the gang I grew up with. After all, most of them are still my friends and we will be socializing with them from now on. Now please just change and let's go. After all, you met and socialized with hundreds of people you didn't know when you were running your business. What's the difference now? I know you can do it. I sure went to a lot of functions with you where I knew no one or very few of the people. Now come on."
"Oh, all right but you owe me big time buster."
Tom was excited about the party they were going to that evening. It was going to be his first big get together with his old friends and acquaintances since he and Julia had sold their businesses and moved back home to Missouri. He had sold a large computer servicing company in LA and his wife had sold her large catering business. They made millions between the two sales and decided to move back to the Midwest where they had grown up. He was more interested in the move than she had been-perhaps because she had grown up several hours away from where they were planning to settle now. They had enough investments to never have to work again and planned to travel extensively. The children were both in college and there was nothing to hold them back now. All they had to do was find a home to purchase, move in and start traveling. Tom's dreams had come true.
Tom had been in the local coffee shop for his morning coffee about a week after they had returned home when he met one of his best friends from high school. When Jerry found out Tom and Julia had moved back to town and were looking for a home he became excited. "Oh, man. With you back in town the whole graduating class will live within driving distance. We can get together and golf, fish and party like we used to cant we? Damn, I've gotta tell the guys. Why haven't you called us yet?" They talked a little more then exchanged numbers. Two days later Jerry called inviting them to the welcome home party they had been discussing.
When Julia came down stairs Tom stood and stared. Her beauty always excited him and tonight was no exception. She was in the proverbial little red dress and she was so beautiful it took his breath away. He moved to her and gave her a gentle kiss then he led her down the hallway and out the door to their car. His parents didn't even come out of the den when they left. They continued watching one of their favorite reality shows on TV.
The party was in full swing when they arrived-fashionably late of course. Julia made it a point to never arrive at a party until at least thirty minutes after it had started. That little quirk always annoyed Tom but he had learned to put up with it. She needed to make her grand entrance and this evening was no exception. She lit up like a Christmas tree when they entered the front room of Jerry's home and people began to notice them. The conversational noise reduced by several decibels as they entered. Everyone in the room stopped and watched as Jerry greeted them and turned to face the room.
Jerry stood beside Tom and Julia and shouted, "OK everyone, the guests of honor are finally here. I know most of you know ole Tom here since we went to school with him. Of course since he married after he left town probably not many of you know this beautiful lady with him. This is Julia, Tom's wife of 23 years. They met in Columbia at Mizzou and he decided he would rather marry her than a hometown girl. Now, let's party and renew old acquaintances and everyone meet and get to know Julia."
Jerry lowered his voice and said, "Come on guys, the bar and snacks are out on the patio." He led the two through the house and onto the patio where he got them their requested drinks. Tom and Julia roamed through the crowd visiting. Finally Julia decided to find the bathroom and left Tom. He was standing beside the bar when he heard shouting and looked up. Perhaps his best friend in high school and college was waving at him as he rushed toward where Tom stood.
When Stan walked up to Tom he had a huge smile on his face. After a hand shake and quick man hug they stood back and began catching up on their lives. Stan was standing looking toward the house as he talked animatedly to Tom. All at once his face went white and he said, "Shit, what's she doing here?"
Tom looked where he was staring and saw Julia talking with two other women. One was Jerry's wife Darlene and he didn't know the other one so he asked, "Who's that? What's the problem Stan?"
"Crap, I used to party with that skank out in LA whenever the company had management meetings. Jesus, I wonder who in the hell brought her all the way out here and what the deal is. Shit, if Janice or some of the other wives ever find out about her..."
"What's her name Stan and how do you know it's the woman you know from LA? I seem to recognize her but I don't know from where. That's my wife there with them. You need to meet Julia anyway why don't I have her come over and meet you then we can see if she can tell us about her. Or maybe Jerry's wife knows her."
"NO! Don't draw her attention. We'll mosey over there as soon as that Black headed skank moves on. Surely Darlene or Beverly can tell us the skinny. Christ could that skank fuck. She ran the catering company we used and she and her girls would entertain the men after the meal for a little-oh, hell, a lot extra. Crystal there charged $2500 a night or $500 a pop. She was worth every penny of it and more. Even at those prices she always turned men away. She would never hurry a John but limited herself to five separate men, any combination. She wouldn't stay much past 9:30 because she said she had to get back to her husband. Christ, sometimes she would let us make her airtight and could wear out five or six of us by herself. I don't know what she made for catering but just the entertainment fees probably made her rich."
Tom felt his eyes get big and his stomach lurched when Stan began talking about his times in LA. He looked at Stan in shock and said, "What? Uh, are you sure? I mean..."
Stan looked at Tom then said, "Hey ole buddy. What's the problem? You don't look too good all at once?"
Tom looked at Stan and grabbed his arm. He pulled him over to two unoccupied chairs and collapsed into one. He felt like he was panting, he was having trouble seeing. Finally he licked his lips and said, "Stan are you talking about the woman in the red dress?"
Stan stood a moment longer then sat beside Tom as he said, "Hell yes, who else could I be talking about? Hell, we know all the other women that were standing there. Most of them have never been out of the state for more than a short vacation with their husbands. Why, do you know her too?"
Tom licked his lips once more then said, "Stan, are you positive about what you just said? Do you have any proof?"
"Well, yeah, shit I fucked her three or four times a year for over ten years. I guess I know her. When Margie divorced me they had PI surveillance from California in part of the evidence. I'm pretty sure Crystal was one of the women they have in the report but I'm not sure now it's been so long. As for proof, hell, do you think I'm crazy? Shit, I'm a married man. Do you think I'd have anything like that lying around? What's the big deal anyway?"
"Crap," said Tom. "Stan that woman is my wife Julia. She owned and operated Crystal's Catering for over 15 years. She just sold it when we decided to retire and move back home. I almost had to divorce her to get her to quit. I just ... I just can't believe ... But you know, she would never, but never let me see her or make love to her the nights she catered a big do. She always said she was just so exhausted ... FUCK!"
Stan was looking at his friend in shock as he saw him wilt before his eyes. Finally he said, "Damn Man. I'm sorry. I just didn't know and..."
The two friends sat in silence watching Julia as she moved from group to group working the crowd. Tom noticed she seemed to pay a lot more attention to the men than to the women and after what Stan had told him he began to worry and think. Damn, what should he do? If he confronted Julia she would get angry and he would be in a world of hurt but if she had been a whore ... SHIT, SHIT, SHIT. What should, what could he do?
Stan sat with Tom and stared off into the distance for a while. Finally he said, "Hey Tom. You know I might be able to help you after all. A couple of the big wigs from the LA office always had camera's and video equipment at the meetings. Let me do some checking around and see what I can come up with. Hell, if they had some pictures I might get them to send me some of them. Hell, I can even tell them I think Crystal is back here and I want to see the pictures to see if it is her before I meet with her. I can tell them if it is her I want to use her to cater our meetings here from now on. Would that be OK with you?"
Tom just looked at Stan and nodded his head 'yes'.
Needless to say the rest of the evening was a total bust for Tom. Finally it got late enough he felt they could go home without raising too many questions and he rounded up Julia. When she saw him she asked, "Tom, what's the matter? Don't you feel well? You look like hell."
Tom replied, "No Julie I have felt worse and worse as the evening went on. I just want to get home and get to bed."
.... There is more of this story ...