Remember Harry from "It's the thought that counts" who tried to get Jim to join his swing club? Remember his wife, Barbara who showed Cathy her mistakes in the second chapter? Well, this is their story.
Once again, I warn the macho, "torch the bitch" crowd, you're not going to like this story so please pass it by.
The morning sun was still young, yet it was already turning an uncomfortably warm evening into another damned hot July day in the midwest. Seeing the brown patches of grass in his front lawn didn't put Harry in any better of a mood as he backed out of his drive.
His car's magnificent sound system played his favorite music and the air conditioning was on full blast as he started his daily commute to the office. In spite of his comfortable surroundings, Harry couldn't help but become more agitated. The more he thought, the more agitated he became.
For the last week or two now his wife, Barbara, had been acting strange ... distant even, like she was really pissed at him for something but he could not figure out what it could be. Hell, he thought, they hadn't even had sex in a couple of weeks. Isn't that just like a woman, he said to himself, when they're pissed the first thing they do is cut you off in the bedroom. Well the joke is on her, he smirked. Next week is the swing party, I'll get all the ass I can handle there.
All of a sudden it hit him. That's what she's pissed about!
Barbara was still pissed about him going over Jim and Cathy's house to talk to Jim about joining their swing club, but hell, that was Cathy's idea, why should he be blamed for it. That had to be it though, it was the only thing he could think of.
"Good morning Donna," he said as he passed his secretary on the way into his office.
Donna was a very attractive woman, tall, slender, late twenties, long blond hair, just the way he liked them. The problem, as he saw it, she was happily married, but then she was just a fantasy anyway. Harry would never really do anything behind Barbara's back, he sure wished he could get Donna and her husband to a swing party though. Boy would he love that!
Harry had to get ready for Ted Cooper, a client with whom he had a luncheon meeting. He needed to bring himself up to date with the client's file. Just as he started reading, his secretary's voice came over the intercom.
"Harry there's a Mr. Anderson here. He says he needs to speak with you a moment."
Harry thought for a second, Mr. Anderson, he didn't know a Mr. Anderson. "Does he have an appointment, Donna?" he asked.
"No, but he says it's important and will only take a minute."
"I'm busy right now Donna, tell him to make an appointment for later in the week," he said wanting to get back to his client's file.
"Yes Sir," said Donna clicking the intercom off.
"Harry," Donna said over the intercom again. This time sounding a little sheepish.
"Yes Donna," Harry sighed showing his impatience now.
"I'm sorry to bother you again, but Mr. Anderson says he'll wait out here until you have time to see him."
"What!" he said getting aggravated now. "Who the hell..."
He stopped himself. He was yelling at Donna and it wasn't her fault. "What's it about?"
"He says it's personal."
"Personal? Oh alright," he said, still obviously ticked off, "show him in."
A few seconds later Donna opened his office door and showed Mr. Anderson inside. Harry looked at him trying to figure out if he knew the guy or not.
"Mr. Simco, Mr. Harry Simco?" he asked.
"Yes," said Harry.
Mr. Anderson took a large manila envelope from his briefcase and handed to Harry. "You've been served," he said. With that he turned and started to leave.
"Served!" yelled Harry. "What do mean served, served with what, by who? ... hey, wait a minute you ... come back here," he yelled getting up from his desk.
Harry rushed past a shocked Donna and into the outer office catching the guy and grabbing his sleeve. "Hey, wait just a damn minute," he said.
Mr. Anderson turned and jerked his arm away from Harry's grip. "I'm just the process server buddy," he said abruptly, "you got a problem, see a lawyer." He turned and walked out the door and into a waiting elevator.
Harry stood there staring at the unopened envelope he still had in his hand.
"Harry, is something wrong?" Donna was sorry now she let Mr. Anderson badger her into seeing Harry.
"I don't know," said Harry, "somebody is evidently suing me for something."
Harry turned and headed back into his office. "No calls until I say different," he told Donna as he walked by her desk.
"Okay Harry. I'm sorry," she said, but Harry was already back in his office with the door closed.
He sat down at his desk. His palms were sweating as he started to open the envelope. He had never been sued before. He pulled out the paperwork and started to read, 'In the matter of ... WHAT!" he yelled out loud, "Barbara Simco versus Harry Simco? What the fuck..."
Harry pulled his smart phone out and yelled at it to call home. A second later he heard his home phone ringing but no one answered it. Finally it went to voice mail. He disconnected and now told his phone to call Barbara, directing the call to her cell phone but it just went to voice mail as well.
Harry was totally shocked and bewildered. He leaned back in his chair as all his strength seem to leave his body. He heard a faint knock on his door.
"Harry," Donna poked her head through the doorway, "is everything alright?" she asked.
"Barbara," he said looking straight ahead with a blank stare, "she's divorcing me."
"What?" Donna was as surprised as he was. "No, that can't be," she said.
Harry tossed the paperwork to the far side of his desk. Donna walked over and looked at it. "I can't believe it, Harry, why?"
"I wish I knew," he said. "She's been acting strange for the last couple of weeks but I just thought she was pissed over something I told a neighbor, but that can't be it. She certainly wouldn't divorce me over something like that."
Donna was glancing through the lawsuit. "Harry, here is the name and number of her lawyer, why don't I get him on the phone for you."
"Yeah, that's a good idea," he said, "maybe he can tell me what the hell this is all about."
A few minutes later Donna had the lawyer on the phone. Harry didn't want to sound like a raving lunatic so he made sure he spoke in a normal, calm voice.
The lawyer explained Barbara was seeking a no-fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences. She would agree to selling the house and splitting the proceeds but she also wanted two years of financial maintenance to give her time to complete the degree in marketing she never finished and find a job.
"What irreconcilable differences?" Harry asked. "This is out of the blue. I have no idea what the hell she's talking about."
"Mr. Simco," the lawyer spoke, "your wife states that for some time now, you've been forcing her to participate in swing parties."
"Forcing her? I never forced her, she went willingly."
"Not according to Ms. Simco, she says she has told you on numerous occasions that she didn't want to go but you kept pressuring her until she finally capitulated."
"Well I, ah, I may have..."
"Mr. Simco," the lawyer interrupted, "I would advise you to seek counsel. For your own benefit I think it would be wise to agree to her terms. Otherwise, I have advised Ms. Simco she could change the grounds for the divorce to read mental cruelty and seek much more in damages."
"Fuck you!" Harry yelled, now losing his cool.
"Mr. Simco, I will not tolerate..." he realized Harry hung up and he was speaking into a dead line.
"Donna," he bellowed, "cancel all my appoints for the day, I've got to get home and talk to Barbara. This is crazy."
Donna could hear him through the wall but hit the intercom to answer him back. "Even Mr. Cooper?" she asked. "He's supposed to be here in another hour."
"Yeah even Mr. Cooper," he said already closing up his briefcase, "I know it's short notice but I can't help it. I've got to find out what this is all about. See if you can get a hold of Cooper before he leaves his office. Tell him I suddenly got deathly ill, in fact, tell everyone that. I've got to get out of here. I'll call you later."
Harry rushed out of the building and was headed home.
By the time he reached his driveway Harry's mind was mush. He could think of only one reason why she would leave him and it wasn't because of the damn swinger parties, she's seeing another man, he thought. He ran up the front steps and tried to open the door but it was locked. He fumbled with his keys briefly as he unlocked the door. He was calling Barbara's name before he was even in the house.
"Barbara!" He went to the bottom of the stairs and yelled up to the second floor. "Barbara!" There was no answer. He quickly walked through the rest of the house calling her name but still there was no answer.
As he reached for his cell phone again, Harry's stunned reaction was now turning into anger at the thought of his wife leaving him. What's the hell is wrong with her, he thought as he addressed his phone, "call Barbara."
In just a few seconds he heard her phone ringing, but it wasn't over the line, it was coming from inside the house. Oh thank God, he thought, she is here. "Barbara, where the hell are you?" Still no answer. Harry followed the ringing to the kitchen where he found her phone. It was laying on the counter near the back door. There was a piece of paper laying under it. As he got closer he could see it was a note. It was in Barbara's handwriting and it was addressed to him.
"Harry, I'm sorry but I just can't take it any longer. Please believe me when I say I still love you but I no longer am sure the feeling is mutual. I am beginning to feel like the only reason you still want me is so you'll have a partner for the swing parties. I believe this is best for both of us. I hope you will not fight the divorce so we may part friends and go on with live our lives.
For a moment Harry just stood there and stared at the paper. What does she mean she doesn't think I love her, he thought. Haven't I given her everything she wants, a beautiful home, a nice car, she goes clothes shopping anytime she wants, what more does she want? Just then another thought hit him, damn, if she doesn't go with me, I can't go to the swing parties. SHIT!
Harry sat down at the kitchen table still holding the note in his hand. I've got to get this straightened out he thought, how can she say I don't love her ... I do, of course I do. For the first time since his nightmare began, Harry started to realize his wife really left him. She was gone. She didn't want to be part of his life anymore. There was a strange eeriness in the house. It was so quiet, so empty, so lonely.
This can't really be happening, he thought. Harry felt his breathing becoming ragged as a feeling of sadness started to overtake him. He felt his eyes starting to water and, for the first time since he was a kid, Harry cried.
After several minutes, he tried to compose himself. I can't let myself go to pieces, he thought. He knew he could straighten all this out if he could just talk to her. He ran upstairs to see if there were any clues as to where she went, but when he got up there, all he found was empty draws and closet space.
As he laid down on the bed to think, he notice it was made. He laughed, she leaves me but she makes the bed first, he mused. Harry was not a particularly religious man but he looked up at the ceiling and, in a small voice, he spoke out loud. "God, please help me find her. Please help me bring her back, please." Once again tears rolled down his cheeks.
The entire evening past without so much as a word from Barbara. As soon as he was at his desk the next morning, he started his quest to find his wife. The first person Harry called was her sister.
"Audrey, it's Harry," he said as soon as she answered the phone.
He knew immediately the way she said his name, she knew something. "Audrey, I know you're aware Barbara left me. Is she there, can I talk to her please."
"Harry, yes, I know she left you, more than that I'm not saying."
He couldn't mask the sadness in his voice as he had to ask the question. "Audrey, just tell me this, please, did she go off with another man?" His voice started to break up at the end of his question.
Audrey heard the mournful tone of his question. She couldn't help but feel sorry for him. She knew the problems they were having and she knew her sister had good reasons for leaving him; but she also knew how this was tearing him up inside. She was sworn to secrecy but she could not let Harry think Barbara left him for another man.
"No Harry," she said emphatically. "Look, you guys have some problems. I don't even know if you're aware of them, but believe me, Harry, there is absolutely and under no circumstances, another man."
Harry was more than relieved to hear that. Audrey and he had always gotten along well and he considered her an honest person. He believed her. The call ended with no more information offered by Audrey. Harry made some more calls but it was fruitless. If it's not another man, he thought, what is this all about?
Harry was finding it hard to concentrate on anything long enough to get any work done. Even though he put up a good front, Donna could see what he was going through. She tried to cover for him as much as she could but it wasn't long before Harry's boss saw his lack of productivity and called Harry into his office.
Unlike his gregarious, confident self, Harry entered Mr. Coulier's office more like a whipped dog. Harry's boss looked at him almost in disbelief as Harry took a seat on the opposite side of his desk.
"Harry," he said with genuine concern, "what's wrong. You look terrible, are you still sick?"
Harry looked at his boss. He hadn't told anyone about Barbara leaving him yet. He was embarrassed. At this point only Donna knew what was going on, but he knew his work wasn't up to par and he felt he had to tell Mr. Coulier why.
"Barbara left me," he just blurted out, "she's suing me for divorce."
Mr. Coulier was stunned. Harry had always bragged about how strong his marriage was. "Harry, I'm so sorry. When?"
"She left me a few days ago. I'm sorry, Mr. Coulier, I know I haven't gotten much work done but I just can't seem to focus right now."
"Harry I wish you had come to me and let me know."
"Well it's not really something I like to talk about," said Harry.
Mr. Coulier could understand that. He had gone through a divorce himself when he was younger and still remembered how painful it was.
"Harry, why don't you take a few days for yourself. Take some time off and do what you have to do. Have you seen a lawyer yet?"
"No. She has one but I don't even know who to call."
Mr. Coulier picked up the phone and called the company's legal department. From one of his own attorneys he got the name of Josh Brennen and gave it to Harry.
"Okay Harry," Mr. Coulier said, "give this guy a call and take some time off. Just keep me in the loop and let me know what's going on. Okay?"
He couldn't believe how nice and how concerned Mr. Coulier was. Harry thanked him profusely and told Donna he was taking a few days to see a lawyer and get some personal matters in order. She was glad to hear that he was starting to take control of things again, after all, that's what he did best.
His new lawyer looked over the lawsuit and told Harry it was pretty cut and dry. She really wasn't asking for that much and he gave Harry the same advice the other lawyer did, settle. Harry reluctantly agreed. Mr. Brennen then told him to check his bank accounts and make sure Barbara didn't take out more than fifty percent of anything.
"In the mean time," he told Harry, "I'll contact her attorney and let him know we accept the terms of the divorce."
Hearing those words tore right through Harry's heart. He really didn't want to accept the terms, he didn't want to accept the divorce at all. He wanted her back.
Later that night Harry sat home with loneliness closing in all around him. What I need is a good fuck, he thought to himself. He remembered the swing party coming up in just three days. He wondered if he could bluff his way in without Barbara.
He pulled out his cell. "Call Peter Thompson," he told it.
"Hello," said Pete.
"Hey Pete, it's Harry, how you doing?" he said trying to sound up-beat.
"I'm doing great," he answered, "so, you looking forward to the party? I've got a new couple coming and she's not bad."
"Well that's why I'm calling, Pete. Barbara had to go out of town and take care of her sick sister. She'll be away during the party so I was just wondering ... ah, well there's no problem if I come alone, just this one time is there?"
"Oh man, Harry, I wish I could, especially since Barbara doesn't really join in anyway, but I don't know about you coming alone. That's really pushing it."
"What do you mean Barbara doesn't join in?"
"Well she doesn't ... not really. You know, she socializes and maybe does a little flirting but she never screws anybody, or at least hasn't in a long time."
This was news to Harry. He couldn't believe Barbara wasn't getting laid at the parties. "Well, if she's not getting laid what does she do?"
"Damn, Harry, I can't believe you don't know. I guess you're always so busy at the parties you never even pay any attention to Barbara," Pete said with a chuckle. "Jeez though man, she is your wife."
Those words stuck in the pit of Harry's stomach. Yeah, she's my wife, he thought, but I wonder for how much longer?
Pete continued. "Anyway, like I said, she flirts a little but you know how it works, no one is forced to have sex with anyone. If you're not into a person, no means no. So, Barbara says no a lot. From time to time she'll give a guy a hand job, but I really think she does that just so you guys keep being invited back. She never seems like she is really in the scene if you asked me. You and I have been best buds for a long time, that's mainly why I always invite you guys and I know you enjoy yourself."
He did enjoy himself at those parties. Always. If Barbara didn't enjoy herself that was her problem, he thought, not his.
"So what do you say old buddy, can I come without her then?"
"Ah, like I said, Harry, that's really pushing it. If I let you come alone the next thing I know it'll turn into a singles party and that's when all the trouble starts. How about just holding off till the next one. It won't really kill you if you miss one, will it?"
"No I guess not, Harry said sounding dejected. "Okay, I'll catch the next one."
They talked for only a couple more minutes before hanging up. Harry was disappointed but he also couldn't believe he didn't know Barbara wasn't participating at the parties. He thought back to what Barbara's lawyer told him about forcing her to go. Hell, he thought, I may have used a little persuasion now and then but I never forced her to go, did I? Ten minutes ago he would have said absolutely not, but now he wasn't so sure.
Harry went into the kitchen. A few minutes later he walked back into the living room and sat on the couch with a martini in his hand.
As he took a sip of his drink he thought back to the last swinger's party. He was trying to remember seeing Barbara, what was she doing, who did she talk to. He did remember her in the den talking to someone, but he couldn't remember who.
Then his mind started to wander. He smiled as he remembered Peggy sneaking up behind him and grabbing his ass. Ah, sweet little Peggy, five foot four inches of dynamite. Of course she didn't have a body as nice as Barbara's and she couldn't hold a candle to Barbara in the cock sucking department, but damn did she scream when she came.
Harry recalled seeing all the spunk dripping from Peggy's pussy as she slipped her dress off in the bedroom. He wondered how many times she had already been fucked that night. He started to suck her nipples but she couldn't wait to get him inside of her.
"Forget that," she told him, "I want your cock."
Harry certainly wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth, he pushed inside of her with one thrust. It was easy with all that cum lubricant.
Her husband, Eric, was in real estate. I wonder why Barbara never matched up with him, he thought, Peggy said he wasn't bad in bed and Barbara was certainly better in bed than Peggy.
His memory brought him back to the bedroom, thrusting in and out of Peggy like a man possessed. He reached under her legs and brought them up to his shoulders. She was moaning in time with the pounding of her pussy. She screamed at the top of her lungs as they both climaxed and Harry exploded into Eric's wife.
Peggy recovered sooner than Harry. He was still laying on the bed when he looked up and saw Peggy with her dress back on already. The whole episode only took about ten minutes or so. Peggy thanked him and left the room. Damn, he thought, I love those parties.
The next couple of weeks passed with little change. Harry was back to work and, except for letting his mind wonder a little now and then, was back to a hundred percent.
Donna's sexy voice was emanating from the intercom on his desk. "Harry, your lawyer's on the phone."
My lawyer, what the hell could he want, he wondered as he picked up the phone. "Hello, this is Harry."
"Hi Harry, how are you?" his lawyer said in a friendly tone.
"I'm okay I guess. You know, holding my own. What's up?"
"Well to tell you truth, I'm not sure. We've been instructed to appear in court tomorrow for a case management conference at ten in the morning."
"Court," Harry didn't like the sound of that. "What for?"
"That's just it, Harry, I'm not really sure. It's awful early for the judge to want a status report. I checked with Barbara's lawyer and he got the same notice."
"Barbara's lawyer," he said, "will she be there too?"
"Yeah, the notice says all parties so she'll be there as well."
Harry couldn't contain his excitement. It had been almost a month since he had seen or heard from her. His heart was pounding in his chest at just the thought of seeing her, hopefully talking to her. Maybe he could even talk her into dropping all this silly nonsense and coming home. He could only hope. He told his attorney he would be there.
The next morning Harry was in court bright and early. He wore his wife's favorite suit and the cologne she liked so much. The next person to arrive was Josh, his attorney.
"Come on," he said looking at Harry, "let's go sit down in front."
"Wait a minute," said Harry, "I want to get a chance to talk to Barbara when she comes in."
"Harry, her lawyer isn't going to let you talk to her. Come on," said Harry's attorney motioning in one direction with his head, "sit down over here."
Disappointed, Harry sat next to his lawyer near the front of the courtroom. Josh leaned over toward Harry and spoke in a low voice. "Listen, I don't like surprises so I made some calls last night. If this is what I think it is, you're going to leave here a happy man."
Just then his eyes caught sight of her. Harry started to get up but Josh grabbed his arm and pulled him back down in his seat. Barbara looked over and their eyes met. Harry was trying to read her expression but he couldn't tell if she was happy to see him or not. Barbara quickly looked down to avoid his stare.
Harry felt little electric shocks run through his body. Just being in the same room with her again got his heart pumping faster.
Just then the bailiff entered the room. "Here Ye, Here Ye, the fifth circuit court of Cook County is now in session. The honorable, judge Glenn A. Parker presiding. Please stand."
Everyone stood up as a tall, middle aged gentleman with salt and pepper hair and wearing a black robe sat down at the large desk in front of him.
"You may be seated," said the bailiff.
The judge took just a minute to look over his docket and confer with the bailiff then looked into the audience. "Is counsel for Simco versus Simco here?" he asked. Both attorneys got up from their seats and approached the bench. In just a moment Harry's lawyer came over to get him. "Come on," he said, "we're going into the judges chambers."
"Why, what's going on?"
"Just come on," he told Harry, "I'm still not sure but cross your fingers."
The next minute they were all sitting in chambers, including the judge. "I've been going over your case here," he said, "and to tell you the truth, I see a strong case for reconciliation here."
"But your honor," Barbara's lawyer started to object but Barbara put her hand on his arm as a signal to stop. Harry saw it and smiled.
"Mrs. Simco," the judge said, "do you still love your husband?"
"I do," she said sadly, "but I don't think he still loves me."
"That's ridiculous," shouted Harry before Josh could stop him.
"I take it from your outburst, Mr. Simco, that you also love your wife."
"Yes, your honor, I love her very much and I wish she'd come home with me."
"Well that would be completely up to her. I have to tell you though, Mr. Simco, I've done some checking on this case and, from what I know, I have to agree with your wife. I'm also wondering if you truly love her," said the judge. "Let me ask you this," he continued, "if I gave you the opportunity, do you think you could prove to your wife and to me, that you truly do love her?"
Harry's heart was about to burst. Just the thought of having a second chance had him ready to jump up and down. He had to fight back tears of joy as he answered the judge. "Yes, your honor, I'd give anything for another chance."
The judge directed his next question to Barbara. "What I am considering doing, Mrs. Simco, is ordering eight weeks of marriage counseling for both of you. Would you have any objections?"
Harry held his breath while she answered. "No your honor, that would be okay with me," she said.
"Okay then, it's settled. Check with the bailiff on the way out. He has a list of court approved counseling services. You guys can work out the schedule, I don't care what it is as long as you both show up. The counselor will keep me up to date with your progress. Mr. Simco, I'm gambling on you. Don't let me down."
With that they all headed back out to the courtroom. Barbara's lawyer still wouldn't let Harry talk to her so all the arrangements for the counseling sessions had to be handled through the attorneys.
Harry and his attorney walked together to the parking lot. "What happened?" asked Harry, "Did Barbara ask for this do you think?"
"No Harry, it was the judges daughter. This is the third time in two weeks that Judge Parker has ordered counseling like this."
"His daughter," said Harry, "I don't get it, do I know his daughter?"
"No, about six months ago the judge's own daughter was involved in a messy divorce. I guess she's not doing too well. From what I was told, there's been a lot of tears and hard feelings on both sides and Judge Parker is seeing, first hand, what a divorce can do to people. So, he's been going through the files and, if he sees a case where both parties don't absolutely hate each other, he's been ordering the counseling."
"Hot damn," Harry said, "I can't wait till that counseling session. I know once I get to talk to her, I can get Barbara to stop this silly divorce and come home."
"Harry," Josh got very serious, "I don't think it's going to be that easy. I'm on your side, I'm you lawyer, but I have to tell you, I think you're going to have to work hard, very hard, to get her back. I hope you can, I really do but it's going to take a lot of understanding on her part and some sacrifice on yours."
Harry wasn't sure what his attorney was talking about, all he knew was that he wanted his wife back.
Their first conference would be in two weeks. Harry was still very confident that once he actually got to talk to her, he could convince Barbara he loved her and persuade her to come back home. Harry felt like a new man. He would approach this like a business deal. Failure was simply not an option.
As he found himself standing outside the marriage counselor's door however, Harry's bravado started to wane. He read the sign on the door.
Erwin R. Klees; PHD MA. ABSW
The relationship with the woman he loved was on the line here. His hand started to shake as he gently knocked on the door. A man's voice told him to come in. As he stepped inside the small office he saw Barbara already sitting to one side of the room.
"Honey," he said as he started to approach her.
"Mr. Simco," The man he assumed was the social worker spoke in a very stern voice. "You will NOT address your wife, at least not now. Most likely there will be times when I will have you talking directly to each other, but that will be in up coming sessions. Do you understand, Mr. Simco?"
Harry just stood there looking at him. "Sit down over here Mr. Simco, please," he said pointing to a chair on the opposite side of the room from his wife.
Damn, this was ridiculous, he thought, no one will let me talk to my wife. He suddenly felt like a little boy sitting in the principles office as he quietly sat down.
Dr. Klees started the meeting by introducing himself and his credentials. He explained what he hoped to accomplish at the meetings and how he would be reporting everything back to Judge Parker. He told them it was not his job to get them back together, that would be their decision. His job was to make it possible for them to communicate fairly and honestly with one another.
He started to address both of them. "Since Mrs. Simco is the person filing the petition, she will be first. Mrs. Simco," he said looking at Barbara, "You can have as much time as you wish. You will talk to me, not your husband, and tell me all the reasons you believe he no longer loves you. If you need the entire hour it is yours."
"Mr. Simco," he said now looking at Harry, "you are not to say a word to anything she says and I do not tolerate outbursts. If you two have any chance at all, you will follow my rules, understood?" Both Harry and Barbara nodded their heads in agreement.
"Here is a tablet and a pen for taking notes, Mr. Simco," the counselor said, "If you find fault with something she says or you feel the need to defend yourself, write it down. Next week will be your turn. Please take good notes because you will be studying them all week and preparing for what you have to say in next week's session."
"Now," speaking to both of them again, "do either of you have any questions before we start?" They both shook their heads no.
He turned toward Barbara again. "Okay Mrs. Simco, in your own words, please tell me why you feel your husband no longer loves you."
Barbara's eyes started to water before even opening her mouth. Once she started to talk, years of pent up fears, anger, frustrations, and love came pouring out with uncontrollable emotion.
Harry sat and listened in awe as his wife talked about the first swing party they went to. She hated the idea from the start, from when Harry had first learned of Pete's parties and said he wanted to go. She wondered if she could handle the knowledge of her husband having sex with other women and she, sure as hell, knew she had no desire to have sex with other men. She was terrified her husband would find someone to take her place, but he was so adamant about going she was also terrified she would lose him if she didn't give in.
From then on she literally tortured herself at every party with the thought that it could be the one where her husband met someone new. She admitted that her efforts to give Harry unbridled sex after the parties was not, flames of passion, fanned by the swapping of partners like he thought, but a desperate attempt to keep her husband.
She told Dr. Klees of the extreme emotional distress she would feel as she watched her husband talk another strange piece of ass into the bedroom.
On many occasions she tried to talk to Harry, to tell him she didn't like the parties and didn't want to go, but he simply would not engage in any real dialogue. Instead he merely dismissed her concerns telling her it only strengthened their marriage.
Finally, as a defense mechanism, she started to shut down, to detach herself and her feelings from Harry. She told herself, he doesn't love me anyway, so if he wants to leave me ... let him.
As the months went by that defensive attitude grew stronger until the day she simply decided she could no longer live with the tensions and fears, something had to be done. That's when she filed for divorce.
By the time Barbara finished, she had gone over the allotted hour long session by twenty minutes. Dr. Klees was not about to stop her, she needed to get it all off her chest and Harry needed to hear it.
Did it get through to Harry. Does he understand now how his wife actually felt and the stress that he put her under? That was the unspoken question both Barbara and Dr. Klees had for him. Only time would tell.
Still not giving Harry a chance to talk with her, the counselor had Harry stay behind while Barbara left.
"Harry," said Dr. Klees, "I'm really pulling for you two. You have a lot to think about between now and next week. You heard Barbara, next week it's your turn. Just like I did with her, if you need the whole hour, it's yours. I'll see you next week, same time."
Harry took that to mean he could go. He nodded his head and was out the door in a flash hoping to still be able to catch Barbara, but she was already gone.
The doctor was right, he had a lot to think about. This was all Pete's fault, he thought at first, if Pete had told him about Barbara's lack of participation sooner, maybe he could have come up with something, some way to get her to enjoy herself, or maybe taken someone else. No, not that. That would be like cheating. His dad cheated on his mother and Harry vowed he would never cheat on his wife, not after seeing how it hurt his mother ... never.
There must be a solution to all this though, thought Harry. Hell, there's a solution to every problem, you just have to find it, that's all.
For the next week Harry tried to do exactly that ... find a solution. Unfortunately he didn't come up with anything so when he found himself in front of the doctor's door again, he was even more nervous than last week.
Just like the week prior, Barbara was already there and sitting on the far side of the room. Without having to be told this time, Harry sat in his usual place.
"Okay," started Dr. Klees, "you've had all week to prepare, are you ready to start, Mr. Simco?"
"Yeah, I guess," said Harry. "Well, first of all I figured out this is all Pete's fault."
"Pete?" asked the doctor, "who is Pete?"
"Yeah, he's the guy that has the parties. I talked to him last week and he told me Barbara wasn't participating much. Hell, if he had told me that before, maybe none of this would have happened."
"But Mr. Simco, Barbara told you herself that she didn't want to go."
"Yeah, I know," said Harry, "but I kind a figured ... well you know, she was just saying that to make me think I was the best lover and that none of the guys there could compare with me."
The doctor had to shake his head as he listened to Harry's outrages ego talking. "So, in your own mind, you translated her objections to feed your own ego and dismissed her feelings so you could continue with your own selfish desires."
Harry looked at the doctor shocked at the rude tone of his voice and the crassness of his statement. "So what do you want from me, doc? He said as he rose from his seat and put both hands on the doctor's desk. "You want me to stop being a man?" he said emphasizing the word man, "you want me to cut my balls off?"
He looked at Barbara who was now crying again. "Honey I love you, please, please come home with me."
"SIT DOWN, Mr. Simco!" said Doctor Klees with authority, "I've asked you not to talk to Mrs. Simco directly and I will not have any more outburst like this again. You will either sit down and follow my rules or I will contact Judge Parker and tell him there is no hope, at which point he will cancel the rest of the sessions and grant the divorce, is that what you want?"
"No," answered Harry immediately, "no, please don't do that. I'm sorry. I just want all this to end. I want my wife back."
Doctor Klees toned down his rhetoric, "I understand that, Mr. Simco, but this is not the way to go about it. Now please, have a seat and calm down."
Harry backed off his failed attempt to intimidate and took his seat.
"Mr. Simco, you mentioned being a man. Tell me, what constitutes being a man in your opinion?"
"Ah, well I don't know, I've ... ah, I've never tried to put it into words before. I ... ah, well take my dad for instance, now there was a man, a man's man, you know what I mean? Everyone looked up to him, they respected him, admired him."
Harry's face lit up as he started talking about his late father. "He was good at everything, sports, business ... you know, everything he went after he got. He used to tell me when I was a kid, 'set your sights on what you want and don't stop till you get it.' He built his own company from the ground up. In his younger days he excelled at every sport he tried. Even when he got older he had an eight handicap in golf. He knew how to take care of himself too. He once mopped the floor with two guys at once, in a bar fight. In addition to all that, he was also known by his buddies as a real ladies man."
Then Harry's face seemed to change. "The only problem with that was, he used to cheat on mom. She never said anything but she knew, you could see it in her face. I always felt sorry for mom. I vowed I'd never cheat on my wife ... and I haven't, never, never have, never will."
Harry pretty much just rambled on and on until the hour was up. Just like last week, Doctor Klees had Barbara leave first with Harry leaving a few minutes later. Before they left he told them both to think about one question they wanted to ask each other. Next week they would be permitted to talk to one another but only under controlled circumstances.