Yes, I know what you're thinking, and yet another sequel. I would like to warn the ladies, this story has chauvinistic overtones.
To the, "torch the bitch at any cost," trolls ... do not read this story. You won't like it. If you do read it I can only think you must be masochistic.
My story, "It's the thought that counts," received more comments than any of the other stories I've written, by far. A lot of those comments dealt with the over the top reaction of Jim. This sequel deals with his reaction as well as Cathy's fantasy.
I believe this story has enough details to stand alone but I would suggest reading its predecessor, "It's the thought that counts," first for a better understanding.
As most of you know, I usually like to keep you guessing about the end, but this time I'm telling you up front..."And they lived happily ever after."
It's the thought that counts
The warm summer sun sunk into a painter's palette of red yellow, and orange as the evening sunset blistered against a darkening blue sky. To most of the residents of suburbia, it was the perfect end to a lazy summer Sunday afternoon.
Eerie shadows from tree branches outside the window danced across the bedroom walls. There was an unpleasant and deafening silence throughout the house broken only by Cathy's occasional sobs. Over the last three hours her emotions had gone from disbelief, to anger, to remorse, and finally despair.
Cathy still could not believe her loving husband of seven years would walk out on her for simply having a fantasy. How could he be such a bastard? It isn't like she actually slept with anyone or cheated on him. She thought he loved her. How could he throw away seven years of marriage over a fantasy without even talking to her?
The sound of the front doorbell suddenly injected her with hope, hope that Jim had come to his senses and was back. Cathy sprang from the bed and rushed down the stairs not even taking time to dry the tears from her eyes. She quickly pulled the door open expecting to throw her arms around her husband, but it wasn't him.
"Cathy, are you alright?" asked the concerned neighbor, "My God you've been crying. What happened? Harry said Jim was really pissed off when he left. What happened?"
At Cathy's request, Harry, Barbara's husband had been there only a few hours prior to talk to Jim about joining a swinger's club that he and Barbara belonged to.
"He left me," Cathy managed to say through the sobs, "the son of a bitch left me."
"May I come in?" Barbara asked as she stepped inside. "Do you have any tea in the house?"
"Yeah," said Cathy still sniveling, "I'll get it."
"No, no, I'll get it. You just sit down and I'll make some tea for us. I have to talk to you," she said, "this is partially my fault. I should have never allowed Harry to come over here like that without talking to you first."
Barbara walked her over to the couch. "Come on," she said, "sit down and try to pull yourself together a little. I'll make the tea and be back in a few minutes."
Barbara found the makings for a couple cups of tea and with in a few minutes, returned to the living room with both cups in hand. Cathy was still sitting on the couch wiping her nose with a tissue.
Barbara put the cups on the coffee table in front of them and rubbed Cathy's back trying to comfort her. "Why don't you tell me what happened Cathy, it might help to talk about it."
"There's not much to tell Barbara, after your husband left, Jim went up stairs, packed a bag and left. How could he do that to me. It was just a fantasy. Can't I have fantasies like other people? I thought it would make our marriage stronger like it did for you and Harry."
"Cathy," Barbara began, "do you know what a fantasy is?" Without giving Cathy a chance to answer she went on. "A fantasy is something that will never happen. Having sex with a famous movie star is a fantasy. Being a princess is a fantasy. A fantasy about having sex with other men is a fantasy until you actually decide you want to do it. When you decide to make a fantasy real, it's no longer a fantasy. It becomes a desire, something you really want to happen. When you start to take steps to actually achieve that desire, it becomes a plan, and when you do it behind your husband's back, in his eyes, it becomes a betrayal."
Cathy was shocked at the word betrayal. She thought Barbara came over to make her feel better, she was sure doing a lousy job of it so far.
"Betrayal!" Cathy's voice indicative of her surprise. "I would never betray Jim. I wasn't talking about cheating on him. He could have sex with other women too, just like you and Harry."
"Yeah, me and Harry," Barbara said with some disgust in her voice. "Well let me tell you about me and Harry. Going to those damn parties was not my idea. In fact I hated the idea. It was Jim who kept pushing and pushing until I finally gave in and I'm sorry I did because it has destroyed our marriage."
My eyes got wide and I looked at Barbara with disbelief. "But I thought it was so good for your marriage. That's what Harry keeps saying."
"And he'll keep saying it right up until the time he's served with the divorce papers next week. Jeez," said Barbara realizing her slip of the tongue, "I didn't mean to say that. What ever you do, don't say anything to anyone. Please! I still have things to do before he finds out. Harry can't know anything until he's served."
Cathy promised Barbara not to say anything to anyone.
Barbara continued. "Swinging is only okay if both partners are enthusiastic about it. If one is even a little reluctant they usually end up in divorce court, just like Harry and me."
Cathy couldn't believe what she was hearing. She really thought these two had be best marriage on the block because they could have sex with other people.
Barbara continued. "We've been going to those fucking parties for a year now and so far I've screwed one guy and that was during our second party. I did it once and I felt so rotten, so cheap I never did it again. Harry on the other hand, screws anyone who will let him. Usually he's trolling for someone new, the younger the better as far as he's concern. He's so damn busy at those parties he doesn't even realize I'm not participating. Hell, I don't even take my clothes off. You'd think he'd notice that wouldn't you, but no he's too busy to notice. On the way home he always asks if I've had a good time. I've tried to tell him no, I didn't and I don't want to go again but he just keeps pushing so I've had it. From now on he can screw anyone he wants at any time, I don't care."
Barbara took a sip of her tea and looked back at Cathy. Cathy was now feeling worse than before.
"Enough of my problems, we need to work on yours," said Barbara. I know you don't really think you did anything wrong, or at least not much wrong, but in Jim's mind you betrayed him, emasculated and humiliated him."
"Barbara how can you say that, I would never do that to Jim. I love him."
"Think about it Cathy. You betrayed him by speaking to Harry, another man, behind his back. You emasculated him by inferring he wasn't man enough to take care of you in the bedroom."
"No I didn't!" Cathy exclaimed. "I would never say anything like that. Jim's a wonderful lover."
"Cathy, as far as Jim is concerned, what other reason could there possibly be for you wanting to screw other men?"
Cathy just looked at her.
"Then you humiliated him by expressing all this in front of someone else, a neighbor no less."
Cathy couldn't believe all the implications Barbara was talking about. Hell, it was just supposed to be a simple request to go to a swingers party. She never wanted to hurt her husband. She just never thought about it that way. She honestly believed it would be good for their marriage.
"Thank God Harry's not that big an ass-hole," said Barbara, "but what if he went around the neighborhood telling people Jim wasn't man enough to take care of you in bed so you asked him to convince Jim to take you to a swingers party; then told everyone Jim refused because he was so threatened by other men?"
Cathy was aghast at the very thought.
Barbara could see in her face that she had never even considered anything like that. "Like I said, Harry's an ass-hole but not that big of one. There are guys out there though who would do that though just to be mean. Now do you understand more about how Jim feels and why he left?"
Cathy was finally beginning to understand how Jim must have felt.
"What you should have done was talk to him yourself. There are ways to be subtle you know. You could have asked if he ever fantasized about sleeping with other women. Gauge his reaction. If he got angry at the question and said absolutely not you would have had your answer. At that point you drop it."
God, thought Cathy, how could she have been so stupid. She should have known what his reaction would be. She should have thought it out before jumping into something like that. She was just so taken in by Harry's talk about how great it was for marriage.
Cathy broke down in tears again nodding her head in my hands. "I ... I didn't think," she said, "what have I done? He'll never come back to me."
"Cathy you have one thing working in your favor."
Cathy had a questioning look on her face as she looked at Barbara.
"Jim loves you very much," Barbara said. "and you're right, you didn't cheat on him or actually sleep with anyone else."
For the first time since Barbara stepped through the door Cathy felt a glimmer of hope.
"Do you know where he would have gone?"
"He mentioned going to the, "Y" but I doubt that. I'm sure he went to some motel but I have no idea which one."
"Have you tried to call him?"
"Yes but his phone is off. It just goes straight to voicemail," she said still trying to stifle my tears.
"Okay if he doesn't want to talk to you he'd probably just tell his secretary not to put you through if you tried calling him at work tomorrow."
"What am I going to do if I can't even talk to him?"
"Well," Barbara said, "let me tell you what I'd do."
Together Barbara and Cathy worked out a plan. Jim was a reasonable man who loved her very much. Cathy prayed their little scheme would work. She just couldn't imagine her life without Jim.
Monday morning Jim dragged his butt from the uncomfortable motel bed and took a shower. Between the noisy air conditioner, the lumpy mattress, and thinking about his wife's actions, he got zero sleep. Even his secretary told him how bad he looked when he reached his office.
"Thanks," he snarled back sarcastically.
He had originally intended on calling a lawyer but, consciously or unconsciously, he kept putting it off always finding something else to do first. At the end of the day he told himself he'd find the time tomorrow.
The only thing Jim disliked about his job was the dress code. Every day he had to wear a suit and tie and every day he hated it. For as long as he had the job, before doing anything else, he would go home, shower and change into more comfortable clothes. That's exactly what Cathy was counting on.
Jim opened the door to his motel room and stopped before entering. What the hell, he thought to himself. He looked at the number on the door and checked his key card. Yup, same number. He slowly entered the room.